September 19th | Victoria Island
“She has Alzheimer’s…dementia.” Ifeanyi stated over her shoulders as she lowered her frame onto the chair he’d pulled out for her. “And you look lovely, by the way.” He continued digressing, before easing over to his side of table and settling on his chair.
Her pixie cut brought her pretty facial features into sharp focus; there was no ignoring her. However, how she looked was the last thing on Esohe’s mind. Her expression assumed a worried and confused one simultaneously. “Dementia? Is she 70?”
“And there lies the problem. She’ll be 60 this year. In December.” He raised a hand and signalled for a waiter. “Too young for the disease.”
“Oh God! Is it bad?”
“Rapidly debilitating said his brief mail last night.”
The waiter appeared by the table with menu cards.
“How…how is he and the family taking it?” She wanted to know. “I’ll have a medium-sized glass of Chapman, please.” She waved away the card the waiter presented to her.
Ifeanyi gave the list a quick scan and pointed to his choice. “Make it a large.” He instructed. “With a lot of ice cubes, please.” He turned towards Esohe again. “They are… coping, I guess. It’s rather awkward asking all these questions over electronic mail. So I am not probing too much until he returns.”
“When will that be?”
“Tomorrow night.” He paused. “He asked after you.”
“Oh? What did you say?”
“I’m not your mouthpiece, Esohe. Get in touch with your man. He sent a mobile line. I can give it to you if you want.”
She eyed him. “You’re suddenly mean!”
He shook his head, grinning. “It’s tough love. And who better to dish it out than the man who has been…” His voice trailed off just in time. However, his thoughts continued the trend…in love with you all this time?
Thankfully, she didn’t catch on and shook her head. “Now that I know what’s going on, I’d prefer to see him and talk to him in person. But hand it over anyway, just in case I change my mind.”
The waiter reappeared with their drinks and gave both of them food menus.
“Fish.” He stated immediately. “I need to eat a sizeable portion of fish to replenish all that strength expended in bringing Folarin to his knees.” He threw her a glance.
She met it with a small, half-hearted smile of her own; her mind unequally divided between him and Eddie.
“Why do I have the feeling he’s going to send me out of his sight?”
“Before or after you’re done talking?”
“Jeje, be serious!”
“You go tanda for dia o! We die hia! Cry better hot blood for am! Blood wey dey sweat na im you go cry!” Alero’s voice told her from the background. “But nor cut out until you don hook that man back o! You dey reason me so, Esohe?”
“I beg, leave me jare.”
For wia I wan leave you?” Her friend sounded pissed; her voice becoming closer, stronger. “If Jeje nor go tell you, I go tell you! How you go do dat kain tin? Let dat bastard Folarin make you troway a whol’ Eddie for corner? Eh? Our Eddie!” She seethed. “You get luck say I nor dey town when you try dat nonsense! I for go fin’ Folarin, bus’ bottle for im head. Cari the remainin’ con bus’ for your own.”
“Eh Alero, face your god daughter.” Jennifer’s voice could be heard saying. “You came to see her, abi? Not to quarrel with your friend.”
“If my friend dey cast, I nor go tell am?” Alero came back swiftly, caustically. “Mstchewwwww.”
On the other end of the line, Eshoe sighed. “She’s right, you know?”
“Esohe, you did what you thought was best, what was right in your opinion.” Jennifer’s voice came on stronger, reassuring. “I doubt any mother would judge you harshly for protecting your child.”
“I hope Eddie sees it the way you do, Jeje. I know he was upset with me, probably still is.”
“The man I met, and from all you’ve said about him, sounds like a reasonable, mature person.” Her friend said. “Even the last time I spoke to him, he…” She suddenly stopped talking but it was a little too late.
“When did you speak to him, Jeje?” Esohe questioned almost immediately.
If she thought her friend would hedge and haw, she was wrong. “I told him, Esohe.” Jennifer admitted, unabashedly. “I told him about Folarin’s madness with Osayu. I couldn’t sit back and do nothing. Now, you can hate me. “
The ensuing silence was difficult to decipher, interpret. Anger? Betrayal? Resentment? “Thank you, Jeje.” Esohe’s words, expelled quietly, took the other woman by surprise. “You’re more than a friend to me.”
“Me nko?” Alero’s voice sounded in the background before Jennifer could respond. “Who I con be? Your enemy?”
The unexpectedness of her intrusion diffused the mild tension hanging in the air; all three women giggled.
“You’re my friend too, Alero.” Esohe replied moments later. “But you know that already.”
“Even wen I dey everly yarn you de truth?” Alero probed.
“Especially when you tell me the truth.” Her friend confirmed.
“So what’s the plan?” Jennifer’s voice took over, questioning. “When is he back? Where are you going to meet him? At home? In the office?”
“Seyi, that’s his assistant, says he should be in on Friday morning. He’d let me know.”
“Okay. And Esohe, whatever happens make sure he hears you out; let him understand you didn’t mean to hurt him.” She paused. “I want, more than anything, for both of you back together but…with his mother’s situation, we do not know what his frame of mind will be when he returns.”
“Yeah, I thought about that too.”
“In any case, we’re rooting for both of you. All the best, my friend.”
“Thank you, Jeje.”
“Call us when una don settle with one hot kiss!” Was Alero’s parting shot before Esohe broke the connection.