So for two weeks he had been traipsing round about town having fun. It was really good to be home but time was really flying fast, he was dreading his departure. So much had happened in these two weeks, his younger sister Ifeoma had gotten married to a good family friend, Kene and it was obvious theirs was a love-match.
He had been right; Cynthia, the lady he had met on the plane was really something. She had attended the wedding and had blended in well even with Uncle Joe and Anthony, the renowned family jesters. Even His grand aunt fell in love with her and had cornered him to tell him not to leave the country without putting a stake on her. He had laughed inwardly because he didn’t need anyone to tell him what he already knew. They had spent every minute they could spare together except when she had to be at work or when he had family obligations. They both knew his departure date was looming in the shadows and had set out to make the most of it.
The mere thought of her always made his spirit soar. She was a mix of wit, charisma and beauty. It was funny how she understood him so well and she had only known him a few days while so many people in his life after so many years were still barely scratching the surface. With her there was no pretense, he always knew where he stood and when he made a faux pas. They had talked and asked each other different questions both mundane and important. So He could beat his chest to great extent that he knew her.
So yesterday when she had asked him what he thought about single parenting and the ladies who had children out of wedlock, it didn’t sound unusual. She went ahead to narrate a story of a close friend who was in such a dilemma and how the guy she was dating has been behaving standoffish to the child and has started avoiding her altogether. Up until this moment he still didn’t know why he said it but he blurted out, “Can’t blame the guy, nobody wants to raise another man’s bastard.” Immediately the words left his lips he regretted especially since as Cynthia winced. She was looking at him with a mixture sadness, shock and disappointment. He tried being diplomatic and made a joke of it but it didn’t help. For remaining part of the meal she was silent with exception of her brief replies to his questions.
By Wednesday, two days shy of his departure the issue had escalated. She was ignoring his calls and messages. His flight was Friday morning so time was running out. Since that fateful dinner on Sunday, it was as if Cynthia had turned into a ghost of her former self. Initially she had given the excuse of being swamped at work to avoid seeing him but now she wasn’t even talking or replying him anymore. He would give an arm to get that careless remark back but he couldn’t. He still didn’t understand why she was overreacting and taking it personal. After all it was just a friend and he was sorry about it. The way things were going it was obvious she was going to avoid him until he left and he wasn’t going to sit back and let that happen. What they had was special and definitely worth fighting for. He had never been inside her home. She had always insisted on saying goodbye in the car. Since going to her office was out of the question since he knew how much she hated office drama or ‘scenes’ plus he didn’t want to embarrass her. So that left going to her house uninvited the only alternative. As he sat in his rental car, across her street, thinking of what he wanted to say, a school bus passed by and stopped in front of her house and a little girl whom he guessed was about eight years old came alighted. When she turned to wave at her friends on the bus he got a glance at her face and then it hit him. It was like looking at a very young replica of Cynthia. There was no doubt this was Cynthia’s daughter. So many things were going through his head and he needed answers quick. He waited a few minutes to put his thoughts in check before approaching the house. He knocked and was about to give up and go back to the car when the door was opened by the help with little girl in tow. He said his name and introduced himself as a friend of Cynthia and lied that she was expecting him and had told him to wait here for her. He had half expected his bluff to be called or told to wait on the porch or something but what he didn’t except was the little girl to lunge at him and give him a fierce bear hug. It was so unexpected that he almost didn’t catch her. She started screaming and talking with a high pitch that it took awhile for him to understand what she was saying. After what felt like forever, she lead him to the living room and told him her name was Ama and that her mom had showed her picture of him on her phone and had said he was her special friend just like Jennifer and Tunde were Ama’s special friends. For the next few minutes he found himself interrogated and loving every minute of it, she asked him a lot of questions from his best food to why he liked her mother. She was a smart and that didn’t surprise him. Anyone who had Cynthia as a mother would be. He was still enthralled as she told him about her friends, mom and grandparents in Enugu. She was still talking when he heard someone insert a key into the front door and open it. Immediately Ama jumped off the sofa shouting Mommy! He couldn’t make out what Cynthia was saying but he could hear the both of them laughing and it did wonders to his heart. As she entered the foyer, she looked up and was startled to see him. She whispered into her daughter’s ears and little girl said OK then waved at him before leaving the room. As she turned to face him, he noticed she was angry and had a few words for him. But at that moment Chuks couldn’t care less. He loved her and everything thing about her especially her child. He would be a fool to walk away for in her eyes and that little girls he had seen a glimpse of his future and it was wonderful. He didn’t care if he had to grovel or beg or use any other tactic to make her see reason, he had finally come home and he had every intention of staying home.