Amaka (Part 2)

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“Flight 3870 from Chicago is just arriving…” the announcer went.

That was Raymond’s flight. I jumped up from the bench and began to make my way towards the arrivals.

Lips smiling to myself, fingers intertwining more out of nervousness than eagerness as I strolled my way forward. Today would be the first time I will be setting eyes on him.

Would he look the same? Would I feel the same way?

And  how about him? Would he feel the same way? These thoughts accompanied me as I approached the escalator.

I arrived at the feet of the escalator, joining the rest of the other people, Raymond and his flight members will be coming down from here.

I looked to my side and noticed a few persons holding up flyers with names of people they were expecting, I didn’t need one of those, I had seen enough of his photos to know what he looked like. So I returned my focus to the escalator, smiling expectantly to myself.

As people climbed down the stairs, some in pairs and others alone, I saw him, amongst the descending crowd.

His eyes fell on me and my lips instantly lifted into a helpless smile. I waved excitedly, bouncing impatiently on both legs. He looked just the same, exactly the way I had seen in photos and videos. You could tell he was excited to see me too because he started to stomp down the escalator.

I squeezed myself through the crowd to the fore front of the gathering. Raymond’s feet touched the floor and we ran into each other’s arms, embracing tightly and laughing hysterically. I was so happy, a tear must have escaped my eye.

“Oh my God!” he exclaimed, finally letting me go, just enough to look at my face.

I beamed shyly, looking down to the floor.

He lifted my chin with his finger and looked lovingly into my eyes before throwing my hands back around his waist and his arms tightly around me.

“I am so happy!’ he confessed.

We hugged some more and then began to make our way to the baggage claim for his stuff, smiling sheepishly at each other, holding hands.

He didn’t bring many luggage, just two medium sized boxes, one was black in colour and the other brown.

“Hey!” he protested as I bent down to pick up one of the boxes. “Let me”

I stepped aside and he lifted the second box by the handle and began to roll both boxes towards the exit of the building. I followed beside him.

We stepped out of the terminal and I pulled out my cellphone to place a call to the cab man that brought me to the airport. I had asked him to wait. “Wale, where are you?” I inquired, searching around with my eyes.

“I don see you madam, see me here… look straight!” He raised his hand and waved from the far left of the parking lot

“There!” I pointed to Raymond and we began to move towards him.

The cab man met us half way. “Welcome sir” he said to Raymond as he received the boxes from him.

Raymond nodded in acknowledgment. “Ehn thank you”. I beamed at his use of the word ‘ehn’. Having spent years in America, he still spoke like an African man, I was impressed.

We walked to the cab and climbed inside. The car began to move and we resumed holding hands.

I really couldn’t stop smiling. He was staring at me a lot and rubbing the back of my hand with his free hand.

“Madam which side we dey go?” The cab man asked, interrupting our moment.

“Jabi, Dilida Guest Suites”

Raymond had given me the money to book him a room before his arrival. His family stayed in Enugu but he was going to spend three days here with me before going home to visit his people.

We got to Jabi and the cab took us straight to our hotel. The cab man withdrew the boxes from the boot and Raymond received them from him. I paid him off  and began to lead the way into the reception with my man following behind.

“Welcome back Ma” the receptionist greeted, acknowledging my earlier visit. “Welcome Sir”

She reached to the board behind her and took out my key form the rest of the other keys. “Enjoy your stay” she said, handing it to me.

I received it from her. “Thank you”.

A hotel staff collected Raymond’s luggage from him and led the way up the stairs while we followed closely behind.

We got to our room, the staff received the key from me and opened the door for us to go in. He dropped the boxes by the door, put on the air conditioner and slightly bowed his way out of the room.

Now it was just me and Raymond, standing face to face. We had talked about this day before, all the things we would do to each other when we met, yet here we stood, my hands in his, smiling awkwardly,  in this awkward silence.

He pulled me closer into his embrace, lifted his hand to my face and tucked a dangling strand of my hair behind my ear

Then, he closed the gap between us in a soft kiss.

I was excited, expectant.

I kissed him back, slowly at first then hungrily.

He undressed me and I him and I walked backwards to the bed.

He made me lie my back to the properly made mattress and came on top of me.

We were both naked, without any hindrance between us, without any covering on him, but I didn’t mind, he was my man after all.

****

“You sure your parents will like me?” he asked as our taxi pulled up in front of my house.

“Of course! “ I assured. “Who wouldn’t?” Raymond was a tall well built guy with very fair skin.

He didn’t keep an afro or wear his trousers beneath his buttocks, nothing to make a parent weary yet everything to get a girl excited – he grew a beard like most young men these days, wore clean shirts with well ironed pants and clean looking slides, I didn’t think my parents would have a problem with him at all.

He even came bearing gifts.

“Let’s go inside” I encouraged.

He sighed. “Lets.”

”We will call you when we are done” I said to the taxi driver before alighting from the car.

We walked to the house and I pushed the door open.

My family was prepared to meet him. It wasn’t an introduction or anything of the sort, but I figured meeting Raymond would get them off my back and they’ll see that he was serious about our relationship, it was barely a year old but I had good feelings about it. And after this evening, my parents will get to feel the same way as well.

My brother stood to his feet as we entered the parlor. “Sis” he said to me. “Good afternoon” he greeted Raymond.

“Yeah good afternoon” Raymond replied.

“Mum! There are here!” my brother yelled.

“How about daddy?” I asked

“He was here just now, I think he went to ease himself”

“Raymond sit down,” I said. “I will be back”

With that, I breezed out of the sitting room to the kitchen. My mum was wiping her hands on her cloth and already making her way out.

“Amaka, you people are here”

“Yes ma” I replied, unable to hide my excitement.

“Is daddy there?”

“Not yet.” I reached out my hand and took my mother’s wrist happily. “Mummy come let’s go”

“En eh!” she smiled with me.

We walked out to the sitting room and just that moment, my dad was climbing down the stairs.

Raymond stood to his feet at the sight of my mum whom he first saw.

“Is this the young man?” my father spoke from the stairs, causing Raymond to look his way.

“Good evening Sir” he greeted him before glancing back at my mum and I who were now standing just few spaces from him “Good evening ma”

“Welcome” my mother smiled politely.

“You are welcome” my father said, giving him his hand.

Raymond shook it while my mother accessed him from head to toe. I was watching all of their expressions. My brother too was smiling, standing to the side.

“Sit down” my father pointed to the chair.

Raymond sat down and the rest of us followed.

“I brought this for the family Ma” Raymond said, picking up his gift bag and handing it to my mother.

“Eiya!” my mother exclaimed, receiving it. “Thank you” she said.

My father nodded, smiling.

Raymond sat up straight and introduced himself to my family. He told them where he was from, who his father was and rounded up by saying, “I really like your daughter sir, I have not come to use her, it will all end well”

My father nodded. “You are aware that she already has one child right?”

“Yes Sir”

“And you are okay with it?”

“Very okay Sir.”

“That’s good then, I have nothing more to say than you are welcome and we hope to be seeing more of you”

“Thank you Sir”

“Mummy,” He said to my mum.  “Anything to say?”

“Nothing o” she replied jovially. “At least now we have seen the face of the man our daughter likes and is always talking to”

I grinned.

“It is okay”  she completed.

“Thank you ma” said Raymond.

“Let us move to the dining table” my mother said and everyone rose and began to trudge to the dinning section.

“Mummy!” my daughter called, rubbing her eyes and dragging her sleepy feet into the sitting room.

Everyone turned.

I rushed to her side and carried her into my arms. “Someone is awake, slept well?”

She nodded.

“Come, there’s someone I want you to meet.” I carried her to Raymond and he grinned warmly at her.

“Hello there” He leaned forward. “How are you?” he asked, touching her cheek.

“Fine!” she replied babyishly.

Everyone chuckled.

“Let’s go eat” my father chipped in.

We sat down to a meal of semovita and vegetable soup, eating and drinking like one big happy family.

That evening, I couldn’t go back with him to the hotel but I stayed thinking of him, extremely happy with the events of that day. Everything had turned out fine. My daughter even liked him as she swayed to his side several times during the meal.

It seemed like my lonely days were over and happiness was finally visiting me.

Raymond returned to the house the next day and took myself and my daughter out. We went to Silverbird, watched a movie, had ice cream, my daughter played some games and he bought toys for her. He bought me dresses and even hair bundles, all these was in addition to gifts he had already bought for me.

I was so glad.

We went back to the house, dropped my daughter and with my mum’s permission, I went out with him alone. We told my mum we were simply going  around town but that wasn’t true, as soon as we got into the taxi, we asked him to take us to Raymond’s hotel. I was ovulating, hadn’t been with a man for a year until last night with him and now we couldn’t wait to go for a second round.

We got to the hotel and hurriedly scrambled out of our clothes, and passionately, we made love.

That day, as we lay breathless in each other’s arms, he asked if I would like to be his wife. I said yes!

The next day, he appeared in our house with a ring and before my parents, repeated the same question.

Everybody rejoiced with me. Everything felt right.

****

He left a day after our engagement. He was going to go to Enugu to see his family before returning to the United States. I asked him why he wouldn’t take me with him especially now that we were engaged and he said, he would do so the next time he was here. He needed to go home first and see how things were at home.

I stood at my gate, with my daughter and brother and we waved him goodbye as his hired cab reversed out of our compound.

“In a few months” he had said, “I will be back in a few months”

I missed my period the very next month. I was late for 2weeks when I decided to conduct a home pregnancy test. Two thick lines appeared on the strip, causing my hand to fly to my mouth.

I rushed into my bedroom, picked up my phone and called him via WhatsApp video call. I had the strip held in between my fingers so the moment he picked, it was the first thing that he saw.

“Woah!” he exclaimed. “What is that?”

“I’m pregnant!” I said, lips quivering, fingers shaking.

“Calm down”

“Don’t tell me to calm down, my parents would freak!”

“When did you find out?”

“A few minutes ago..”

I watched him drag his hand down his face. “Waoh. Y-you’re sure it’s mine though?”

My eyes almost popped out of its sockets. “What?!”

He shrugged. “I’m just saying”

“I can’t believe you asked that”

He exhaled heavily. “I’m sorry, what are you going to do?”

“What am I going to do? What is wrong with you!”

“Why are you getting upset?”

“Because you are saying all the wrong things”

“I’m just….”

“Please bye!” I ended the call and broke down in tears.

**5 DAYS LATER**

He didn’t call me. It was impossible for us to go two days without speaking to each other, yet here I was five days after that call, moving through motions, worried sick.

I kept checking my call logs as well as WhatsApp messages, yet nothing. I had good reason to be angry, what was his?

On day 7, I decided to call him since he won’t call me. I had just served my daughter lunch when I sat down on the couch and dialled his number.

He picked on the third ring.

“Hello” I said.

“Hey, how are you?”

“Are you sure you really want to know?” I asked.

“Amaka don’t start. I’ve been caught up with a lot on my job and its crazy…”

“We’ve never gone this long without speaking ”

“Yeah I know, it’s been crazy. How’s the pregnancy, have you decided what to do with it yet…..”

“Decided what to do with it, what is wrong with you Raymond! It is our baby and I am your fiancée, remember?!”

I could hear him exhale at the other end. “What do you want from me?”

“How about you tell me if you want the baby or not?”

“I mean, we are going to get married so yeah I guess I do want the baby..”

“You guess?”

“Amaka stop tripping aii? I can’t think straight when you get like that”

“Well, why don’t you take your time to think” I was been sarcastic, “when you are done you let me know what you decide!”

I dropped the call.

He called me the very next day to apologise and inform me that he was sorry and that we should keep the baby, promising to be back to Nigeria in three months time to take me to his parents and begin traditional rites over my head.

I was relived. For a second there I had been afraid.

Communication resumed normally between us. While we were back to being lovey dovey and even sifting through baby names, I was doing everything to keep the pregnancy from my family. I couldn’t afford to let them know, not now. I was going to wait until Raymond was here and then we would make the announcement to both families.

Time seemed to agree with us as it moved along very fast.

Three months came, I was almost showing at this point, the pregnancy was over four months but thanks to my petite figure and baggy clothing, I was able to keep fooling everyone. My mother had earlier travelled to another state for her teaching job so everything was working out in my favour until Friday morning when Raymond was supposed to land.

My brother and I drove my daughter to her school, I kissed her goodbye and begged my brother to take me to the airport so I could wait for Raymond.

He agreed.

As we drove towards the airport, I got a WhatsApp notification. I opened it expecting it to be a message from one of my friends.

But it wasn’t any of my friends.

It was Raymond.

“I’m sorry I can’t make it anymore, I’m not sure I can make it at all. I love you but I love my wife more. You weren’t supposed to get pregnant, I’m sorry”

 

-THE END-

WRITTEN BY OGBUGOH TERUNDU JOY.

 

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