“Come on! We haven’t seen each other in like, how many years? 7? 8? Didn’t you miss me at all? Sure I know you did” Akunna continued when she sensed Ezinne’s hesitation.
“Oh I am sorry. Yea I did. I missed you” Ezinne lied. What was she to say? Of course she had missed her childhood days, even longed to go back but there was no going back in life. Once that age passed, it was gone and no matter how she deeply longed or wished it would come back again she couldn’t get it back. However she hadn’t exactly had the time out of her busy schedule of self-pity and depression to consider enjoying the memories. Wasn’t it when she sat back to enjoy the memories that she would miss those who made the memories memorable?
She made a mental note to retrace her steps maybe she would find the point when she lost the footstep of God and return to that point. It couldn’t be any worse than the difficulties she had faced walking in the wrong path. She picked Chizaram unto her shoulder and got into the car. It was clean and smelt so good, the AC was killing and Ezinne wondered how anyone would put on Air Conditioner in this weather. She was cold already with the water dripping off her already drenched cloth. She apologized more than four times once she was in the car, for entering, for being wet, for her daughter being wet and for their messing up the car. Ok she didn’t exactly explain her apologies to Akunna though she guessed the other lady already understood because she laughed and told her to stop apologizing as she knew that Ezinne was wet before asking her to come in.
Akunna had hardly changed, other than her skin colour, her carefree attitude was still much the same from what Ezinne remembered, there was a little twist to it though she laughed more often than before. The brown tooth that used to make her refrain from laughing so loud was now white and all her reasons for not laughing was now gone with whatever changed the colour. Ezinne couldn’t help but notice that there was no wedding band on Akunna’s finger only fashion rings. She made up her mind to ask, Akunna was too beautiful to still be single, so why was she?
“Ezinne stop looking like a bush woman! It’s just me!”
“Akunna, what happened to you? You were dark like me so how come you are now fair?” Ezinne asked sounding exactly like a village woman.
Akunna burst into another bout of laughter, the innocent look, and innocent tone from Ezinne was really beyond her. Moreover she was surprised especially because she had heard that Ezinne had been living in Lagos with her husband.
“Ezinne! What can I say? God has been merciful. I live in my own house, I eat healthy, I pray…” to that she gave a small chuckle, certain that Ezinne would not believe that she did, considering her looks. “Generally I would just say its been God”
Ezinne shook her head, her left palm supporting her chin while her left held unto her child.
“Your own house? You are not married?”
Akunna glanced at the bewildered Ezinne, taking her eyes off the road for a moment and caught the bewilderment on Ezinne’s face melt into disappointment. Then she saw something else in her eyes, yes there was a tears hiding in there. Her eyes grew damp.
“Ezinne what is it? You can’t seriously be crying because I am not married?” Akunna questioned, the amusement on her face was gone.
“No, no dear. I am not crying” Ezinne quickly replied, Akunne may have been her best friend when they were children yet they were so far apart. Besides she couldn’t let the floodgates open now, not before this woman who had everything going well for her and definitely not with her daughter sitting on her laps else she wouldn’t hear the end of it today. She swallowed “I was just grateful to God for how far He has brought you” she sniffed.
“Ok” Akuuna replied emphatically, and on purpose. She knew it was more than that, so she made a decision against keeping silent or ignoring it. “So how has life been with you? I heard you were in Lagos with your husband and child”
“Yes, I have.” Was all Ezinne replied, she wasn’t ready to go into details.
“Did you come for break then? Its not Christmas…” Akunna left her words hanging, for years Ezinne had not come to the village, not even after her father’s stroke, so she couldn’t figure out why she would come home at this time when children were to be in school.
“Ehm, no, I er…r. I..I needed to see my father….” She hadn’t thought that one through properly and if Akunna had really not changed, she was sure she would read her and know that she had just lied to her.
Liar! Akunna screamed in her heart but decided to play along “Then why did you bring your daughter?”
“There is no one at home to take care of her”
“No one? You don’t have a maid? And what of your husband? Does he not live with you?”
“He does, anyway enough with me. How are you? What have you been up to? What are you doing in the village?”
Akunna laughed, she knew her cunny friend well. She wasn’t getting off that easily but she would let it go until she could come back to it. “Well I am acting, we have a scene which we are casting in the village tomorrow coincidentally my sister’s Igba nkwu is on Saturday so I am in this village until next week so believe me, you are not escaping me until next week. Infact you are going with me to the set tomorrow.”
Ezinne didn’t protest, she only smiled and assured herself that Akunna would be bored with her and soon let her be.