Ice for Hearts (Chapter 5a)

The alarm on her phone gave Ezinne a jolt that she almost tripped over herself in a bid to shut it from waking the entire neighbourhood. She had set it for 4 am so as to prepare breakfast early and still leave her enough time to attend service. Her husband was having bean cakes with oats this morning, as he did every Sunday morning and she had to make them at home as was his instruction.

She thanked God for hearing her prayers and giving her electricity this morning, other wise how else would she have managed to blend the beans. She had actually planned to blend it yester night unfortunately the light went off while she was washing off its coat. At least she had the beans washed and soaked in water awaiting blending.

Quickly she loaded her blender, enjoying the sound of the machine as it hummed and reduced into pastes every bean seed in it. The door was securely shut just to ensure that the noise of the blender didn’t wake her husband up. The bean puree was ready in 10 minutes, quickly she placed her frying pan on the stove and heard the water dry out. She then poured oil in it while stirring in the mortar the quantity she was about to fry and turning in circular motion to make the bean particles rise and stick together, that way the bean puree wouldn’t spatter when it hit the frying pan. She smiled when she remembered the day her mother-in-law gave her ‘the lectures on the proper way to make home made bean cakes’.

Within 45 minutes food was ready and served, at least her husband wasn’t going to find a reason to prevent her from attending service today. Chizaram was still sleeping peacefully when Ezinne got to her room. Ezinne watched her for a moment as her chest heaved in the rhythm of her breathing. She was grateful, at least she had a child, her own offspring. A feeling of fear settled over her, how was she going to take care of her child if she left, and would her husband allow her take Chizaram from him? It wasn’t as though he loved the child anyway; Ezinne knew that somewhere in his heart he blamed them both for the death of his mother. She didn’t believe in re-incarnation otherwise she saw a lot of semblance between her late mother-in-law and her daughter.

Without waking her up, Ezinne carried Chizaram, the girl stirred, rubbed her eyes and mumbled a ‘good morning ma’ before settling herself comfortably on her mother’s shoulder.

Ezinne kissed her, “good morning dear, did you sleep well?”

Chizaram did not reply and Ezinne knew that the hand of sleep was still strong upon her child. She put her down gently when they got to the bathroom.

“Chi, wake up. We are going to Adesanya’s church”

The girl’s eyes flew open, she rubbed them with the back of her palm, stretching her little body at the same time. A smile lit her face as she squinted up at her mother.

“Are we going in their car?” she asked in her innocent little voice.

“no dear, I didn’t tell his mummy that we would go with them but I am sure we would find our way there. His mother told me where the church is located, so I am sure we would be fine”

“ok” she answered happily and cooperated with her mother in the shower.

Ezinne smiled in satisfaction as she bathed her daughter, today there was no fuss or complain about the water being too hot, or the water touching her hair. There was no struggle with the toothbrush, whether or not to brush the top or the down first.

Chizaram maintained that she would chose her own cloth and Ezinne allowed her. What was the point? All the girl’s dresses were good, she had limited choices anyway. The girl picked a pink top and a blue jean and Ezinne patiently wore them for her. She was a little nervous but she was excited too, probably even more excited than the little girl that put her hands into the arm hole of the top. Hair brushed, shoes cleaned and cloth in order, Ezinne placed food in front of her child while she ran off to prepare herself.

She seemed less sophisticated than her daughter, thankfully her wardrobe still had some of her old church dresses. How she missed her native wears! She took out a purple gown she had sewn 3 months after her wedding, the white petals that adorned the cloth looked old and worn out. She flapped the gown 3 times to be sure there were no roaches on it, then ironed it to take out the rumple. It carried the smell of her wardrobe but there was nothing she could do about it. She put the dress on her body, it was a little tighter than when she had sewn it yet it was manageable.

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