“He doesn’t exist ” Sandra declared and Blessing gasped in faux shock.
“I’m sure he’s just a myth and a figment of her imagination.” Sandra continued.
“She probably just made him up to fool everyone ” Thomas, Blessing’s husband said rubbing her protruding tummy and she practically started to purr.
“Don’t be so mean!” Blessing said and giggled, enjoying every bit of the conversation.
Mr. Nwachukwu, the girls’ father looked at them over the top of his Sunday Sun, opened his mouth to say something and thought the better of it. They were awaiting the arrival of their weird cousin and her so-called fiancé. Cousin Ezinne was weird in more ways than one but the one Blessing couldn’t stand the most was her annoying accent, which they were all sure was fake. All because she had gone to University in Scotland, she had to come and be forming with her fake phone and her eccentric ways. A few weeks ago, her mother, Auntie Nkiruka had announced that she was coming home to get married and the whole family had been astir with the news.
“Which kain engaged?” Sandra continued. “Someone that didn’t even have a boyfriend two seconds ago.”
“Abi oh!” Blessing chimed in shifting in her seat to ease the ache in her back. She was almost eight months pregnant with her second child.
“From where to where now?” Sandra added.
“I’m sure it’s pride that has caused her to remain single until 32. Which man wants a Professor woman doing gra-gra in his house?” Thomas said and Blessing nodded in agreement.
“When she was meant to have settled down, she was busy chasing some pipe dream.” Mrs. Nwachukwu said shaking her head.
“It would have been better for her not to have even gone to school at all and be properly married, rather than having all these degrees and awards with nothing to show for them.” Thomas said, really warming up to the topic. “Will her PhD make her a real woman ehn?”
“With all that reading, she probably thinks she’s better than everyone else.” Sandra said, drawing out a long hiss.
“What if it’s something else?” Blessing said slyly.
“What else could it be?” Their mother asked.
“What if she’s a lesbian!” Blessing said and the other women gasped.
The Sunday Sun came down all the way this time.
“Why would you even say such a thing?!” Their father asked glowering at her.
“Think about it. How is it possible for anyone to get to that age without as much as a Boyfriend? Abi have you ever seen her bring any man home before?”
“It’s true sha.” Sandra said. “Who knows what nonsense she has gone to learn in that place.”
“See why I always advised her mother to bring her back home to Lagos.”
“Don’t ever mention that nonsense in this house again!” Mr. Nwachukwu declared.
“But it’s true now Daddy, she…” Sandra started.
Blessing exchanged a knowing look with her sister.
“Whether we say it or not, people will come to their own conclusions and talk, and it’s the family’s reputation at stake.” Mrs. Nwachukwu countered.
“Has she not brought a husband home like you all asked?” their father said exasperated.
“Let’s wait and see first.” Sandra retorted and he shook his head and went back to the Newspaper.
“He’s probably a married man with children.” She continued.
“Abi oh, just like Caroline.” Blessing chimed in.
“That one is another case entirely, opened her eyes wide and had not one, not two, but three children for the same man who kept promising to leave his wife for her!” Mrs. Nwachukwu said. “God only knows what girls of nowadays are coming to. I blame it on bad upbringing.”
“Yes oh. God forbid that any of my children becomes like these our cousins.” Sandra said snapping her fingers over her head.
Just then, the doorbell rang and the house girl ran to get the door. Cousin Ezinne came in holding hands with the mythical fiancé and all their jaws practically dropped to the floor. Not only was he very real with red blood flowing in his veins, he was also very white.
Ezinne curtsied slightly, in front of her uncle.
“Ehihie Öma.” She greeted.
Ghost Fiancé prostrated before her uncle and his wife. He actually prostrated! The nerve of that girl, trying to pull the wool over their eyes!
“Good evening Sir.” He said.
If he noticed the mouths hanging agape or the incredulous looks coming his way, he showed no signs of it.
“It is a pleasure to finally meet you Sir.” He added. “And you too Ma’am.” He said to Mrs. Nwachukwu.
“Uncle, Auntie, this is Jared” Ezinne said shyly.
Despite how excited she’d been about introducing him to her family, she was very nervous. Her uncle was the first to overcome his shock and he proffered his hand, which Jared shook.
“You’re welcome. Please have a seat.”
“These are my cousins, Sandra and Blessing, and this is Thomas, Blessing’s husband.”
“So, this is your fiancé!” Sandra blurted out and Ezinne beamed.
“Yes” she replied.
They all stared, flummoxed as the myth they had thought was non-existent settled his behind on the leather sofa. He took Ezinne’s hand in his and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
“So how did you two meet?” Mr. Nwachukwu asked.
“We met at University.” Jared answered. “We were housemates during our third year.” He said and Sandra’s and Blessing’s ears perked up at that.
“So you two lived together?” Blessing said almost jumping out of her seat in righteous indignation.
“Yes.” Ezinne replied. “We lived together for almost two years actually.” She turned in her seat to look at Jared. “Remember we had a leak in my Block during the last few months of year two and I was placed in a temp room on the second floor of your Block.”
“Oh yeah, that’s true. I was on the fourth floor, so we didn’t really get to know each other well until our third year.”
“Okay, so you lived in a block of apartments?” Mr. Nwachukwu said, giving the girls a pointed look.
“Yes, the University’s student apartments.” Jared said.
Sandra huffed under her breath. Story for the gods! Like that was going to fool anyone.
“What do you do?” Thomas asked, eyeing him up. Let’s see if he was man at all.
“I’m a Geophysicist with Halliburton. Been with them the last four years, since I completed my Masters degree. But now, I got an offer from Exxon Mobil so I’ll be returning home to Houston in a few months.”
“So you’re American.” Mrs. Nwachukwu said.
“So you’re going to move to Houston.” Mrs. Nwachukwu said to Ezinne. “We thought you were finally returning home.”
“Yes I’ll be moving to Houston. I’m already looking for academic positions there.” She replied, crossing her legs. Blessing’s eyebrows shot up when she saw the line of music notes tattooed on her right ankle. She caught Sandra’s eye and shook her head in disgust.
The interrogation continued for almost two hours and with each moment that passed, their opinion of Ezinne kept dropping until it was at the bottom of the barrel. They didn’t want to have a big wedding (so now, she’s too big for all their family members to attend her wedding), they wanted to wait a year or two before having children (agaracha did not realize that her biological clock was ticking away) and they wanted just two children (of course she would be too busy chasing her career to have time to raise children), Jared’s family was Jewish (what happened to all the Catholic men in the world oh?) and they were going to have a Nissuin instead of a Church ceremony.
“I’m sure she’s just using him to get a blue Passport.” Timothy said as soon as Ezinne and Jared were out the door.
“Before!” Sandra said. “It has arrangee written all over it!”
“But why on earth would he want to be with her?!” Blessing exclaimed indignantly “She’s so old, why would anyone want to marry her?”
Outside, Ezinne almost collapsed with relief.
“Wow! That went way better than I expected!” She said.
“I told you it would be fine.” Jared replied.
“I was just so nervous!”
“You did well, Babes.” He said giving her hand a squeeze.
“I’m so glad we got that out of the way.”
“You think that was scary? Wait until you meet my family!”
“They can’t be as bad as my family for sure.”
“They’re old-fashioned Southerners and won’t be too happy about having colored grandbabies…”
Photo Credit: Dreamstime