Violet angrily tossed the make-up brush in her hand on the table in front of her. She looked at Oyim who was drying his upper body with a small towel. “How will you say I didn’t tell you on time? I told you three times last week. Chike also told you the day before yesterday when he thanked you after eating. How will you say I didn’t tell you? You should just say you forgot eh? You want to put the blame on me?”
Oyim threw the damp towel on the bed. Violet winced. “Okay, even if I knew, I won’t have time to go there today. You know how Saturdays are for me.”
“Then who would go for the PTA meeting eh? Today is Open Day at my school. You don’t expect me not to go? I have a class to handle.”
Oyim sighed. “I still don’t have time to go. Moreover, I don’t know how it works. I’ve not been there before.”
“What is there again? Is it not just to sit down and discuss with the other parents? If they discuss something that you don’t accept, you can make objections. It’s not after the meeting that we will just stay at home and be complaining.” She picked up her brush and continued applying her make-up.
Oyim buttoned his shirt. “What time is it? I have to go and settle the boys first before I go.”
“It’s true!” Violet turned to face him. “How is the shop doing? I’ve not been there for the past few weeks. They should be almost done with the construction.”
“You know how these workers are. Hopefully, they will be done by Monday. The goods arrived the day before yesterday.”
Violet nodded. “That is good. But make sure you go on time. The meeting is starting at 9 am and it usually closes before 1 pm. At least be there before 11. That is when they start discussing important things.”
“Okay. I have heard.”
Violet stood up and walked into her closet. She returned with a gown. “Biko, make sure you bring back some of those cookies they share for me. Don’t worry. They package it well so you won’t have to bother yourself.”
Oyim laughed loudly. “I thought you were doing fit-fam? Why are you still eating them?”
“Those cookies are really tempting,” Violet grumbled. “I don’t know how they make it. When I bought from the same woman that made it—she has a shop inside the school—the taste was really different.”
Oyim came up behind her. He brushed her hands away from where she had been struggling to pull up the zip. He zipped the gown. “I will bring it for you. But I want to eat ofe nsala this evening.” He put his hands around her waist.
“Not this night-”
He tightened his hands and brought her closer to his body. “I know, I know. It is not on the timetable, but if you take ofe nsala this night, you will not mysteriously add weight in the morning.”
She pulled his hands away and turned to eye him. “That is what you keep on saying. Do you think it is easy to be cooking all these food every day? The other day, you wanted onugbu. Just be giving me headache.”
“Sweetie, honey, baby’m!” He blew her a kiss. “Just this night. Nnamdi said he is going to come too. I don’t know when.”
“Tell him to come in the evening. I will come back late. So that he won’t have to wait in front of the gate like the other day.”
“O eziokwu.” Oyim nodded. “Do you want me to buy fufu on my way back? So you won’t have to stress yourself to pound yam.”
Violet scoffed. “At least you have the sense to remember. By the way, yam is almost finished. If you are coming back from school, just branch to the market and buy some o. Ezigbo di’m.”
Oyim gave an exasperated sigh. “Hai! My Saturday is gone, just like that.”
Violet coughed out a laugh. “The same person that is making me cook nsala when the freezer is filled with four different soups. And you’re complaining. See your life.”
Oyim put on his wristwatch and adjusted the collar of his shirt. “Where do you want to go tomorrow?”
Violet looked at him in surprise. “I thought we agreed that we will stop going out every Sunday? We went out last-”
“Just answer the question. Is it not me that asked,” Oyim said.
“I’m just surprised.” She sat down on the bed to wear her shoes. “Is there anywhere we have not gone before? I’m even tired of all these outings. Why not buy some things from Stanel and we will eat them at home? There is this program that they even started showing on Sundays. I want to stay at home and watch it.”
“Okay o! It’s you that said it.” He picked up his car keys from the top of the drawer beside the bed. “I’m going now.” He kissed her forehead and started towards the door.
“Don’t forget the PTA meeting o. If we miss it, we will have to pay a fine,” she shouted after him.
It wasn’t until five in the evening that Violet finally drove out of the school. She was so beat up that all she needed was a warm bath and a good night’s sleep. She sighed as she looked at the notepad stuck to the front of the car. Go to the market and buy things for nsala soup. Why did she promise Oyim to prepare the soup for him? Normally, she could just warm up one of the soups in the fridge, make eba and eat it with the family. Now she had to first go to the market, then return home to prepare the soup. She was sure that they would eat past their usual dinner time.
By the time she got home, it was well past six. As Sochi brought out the things she’d bought from the car, she contemplated forgoing cooking the soup. She remained in the car, listening to the radio show playing from the car stereo.
A few minutes later, a car honked outside the gate. Violet pretended not to hear the honking. Sochi rushed out of the house and went to open the gate.
“Uncle Nnamdi, good evening sir,” she greeted politely.
A tall man with broad shoulders walked into the house. When Violet saw him, she quickly switched off the radio and came down from the car. She had forgotten they were expecting a visit from him.
“Prof, I almost forgot you were coming today. Good evening sir.” She greeted, bending at her knees in respect when she got to his front.
“Ah, my daughter, with the way you are looking, there is no need to ask how you are. It’s showing on your face.” He enclasped one of his hands around her shoulders.
“We thank God o. God has been good to us.” She led him into the house. “Sochi, go and bring a bottle of Star from the fridge.”
They went into the parlor. Violet switched on the television and lowered the volume.
“Why am I not seeing Chike and Nma? Nma especially?” Nnamdi looked towards the entrance to the parlor.
“They went out with their father. I don’t where he went.” She gave a slow laugh. “How is Mummy Gideon? Hope she is fine? And the children?”
Nnamdi leaned back on the sofa and stretched his legs. “They are all fine. Before I forget, she asked me to tell you to send her the recipe for the vegetable stew you prepared the other Sunday. You know, she started exercising last two weeks.”
Violet sat up with widened eyes. “Are you serious? After all the mouth she was making, she finally started taking action.” She burst out laughing.
Nnamdi laughed, nodding his head. “Even me, I was surprised. I came back home and saw her sitting in front of the house. She was breathing as if she ran a marathon. I thought it was just that day, but till today she is still doing it.”
“Well, it’s good.” Violet’s voice was filled with approval. “She shouldn’t be doing intense exercises. At her age, it won’t be good for her to over-stress her bones and muscles.”
“I told her. She says she is not doing it to lose weight. But I already see the way she is slowly reducing the amount of food she eats.”
“She has said it before. I told her that I will help her anytime she starts. Later, I will call her.” A car honked by the gate. “Oyim has returned.” She stood up. “I’m coming. Let me prepare dinner.”
For an hour and a half, she muttered and hissed to herself as she prepared the soup. It was a wonder it came out perfect, given that at one point she had put excess salt and had to use potatoes to reduce the saltiness. However, the approving nods and lip smacks that she got from Oyim and Nnamdi loosened the sour feeling in her chest. For her, nothing beats the well-being of her family. Even tiredness wouldn’t stop her from cooking for them.