The ride back to her blackness was rather short, so as much as she was eager to see her daughter, the anxiety was not enough to overshadow her fear of being alone with that man again. She could almost see the doom that hovered around her, and was certain that Akunna saw it too. Despite Akunna’s disapproval of her decision to return to the house, the woman had offered to drive her, possible to continue her attempt to dissuade her, but Ezinne was past changing her mind. She wasn’t going to allow that man have the final say.
“He is luring you in so that he would take out his vengeance on you and Zaram” Akunna was saying when she got into the compound, Ezinne’s eyes was already frantically searching the compound for her daughter, her mind doing a quick plan to take her away if she was outside but she couldn’t find her, her heart thumped in her chest barely paying attention to anything Akunna said. “Ezinne promise me you would stay alive and that you would take care of Chizaram” Akunna was tugging at her arms, certain that Ezinne wasn’t listening to her, she didn’t let her go until she shook her head in agreement with a weak smile.
It was time to say the goodbyes and it was hard, they embraced each other amidst tears, there were a lot of things Ezinne wanted to say to Akunna, if she hadn’t come along her life would never have experienced that flicker of hope and the times of laughter, the exposure. She faced the house unsure of what the future held or what she was going to meet once she opened that door. She wasn’t ready to open that door but she had no choice. They held each other for longer before Mrs. Akinwande interrupted. She had been informed by her maid that Ezinne was outside.
“Goodness me! Why didn’t you tell me you were coming back?”
Ezinne disentangled from one woman unto the next, hanging on as though for dear life “good evening ma, I am sorry about that it wasn’t planned” she answered increasing the space between them to the length of their bound arms.
“Good evening ma, you must be Mrs. Titi?” Akunna asked stretching forth her hand in greeting. Titi released herself from Ezinne’s embrace to take the red hair’s outstretched palm “yes I am and I am guessing you are the friend Ezinne told me about
“yes ma’am. This is Akunna” Ezinne did the introduction before Akunna cut in.
“Kosiso ma” Akunna cut in, already wearing a plastic smile inspite of herself. Ezinne might trust this woman all she wants, she didn’t and wouldn’t risk exposure for anything, not even with the title ‘pastor’s wife’
“Its nice to finally meet you dear”
“The pleasure is mine ma. I have been meaning to ask though, how did Ezinne’s husband get to know Zaram’s school?” She knew she shouldn’t sound so confrontational but she couldn’t help it. All of these started when Ezinne went to see this woman, before that everything was perfect, and all of a sudden puff their bliss was over, just like the first time she visited Ezinne.
Titi looked from one woman to the next, she saw the distrust on Akunna’s face and the shock on Ezinne’s. “I am sorry dear, I don’t quite follow. Did anything thing happen to Chizaram?” she called the name with an accent that irritated Akunna. Sudden realization that Chizaram was not with Ezinne hit Titi with such force that almost threw her off balance “Oh my God! Where is she?” panic shook her, and she leaned on Akunna’s car for support.
“I am sorry ma, I didn’t realize you didn’t know”
Ezinne threw an apologizing Akunna a ‘why did you say that look’
“I am so sorry” she mouthed in reply.
Akunna lifted her eyes to the veranda of Ezinne’s house and saw the object of her anger, he was seated with his legs crossed, a satisfied grin settled on his lips. ‘I would get you one of these days’ she mumbled and both Ezinne and Titi turned to her before following her gaze.
Ezinne’s heart skipped when she saw him, he looked well and quite handsome in the brown Ralph Lauren polo he wore.
“You should go” Ezinne said quietly, placing one tough palm on Akunna’s supple skin, avoiding her eyes.
Akunna quivered under her touch, the rashness of her friend’s palm as it grazed her skin, reminded her of the feeling of using sack bags to bath back when she was in the village, when her father had just passed and life had been difficult before Ezinne’s father bought her a sponge as he bought for his daughter.
Akunna lowered her hateful gaze, got into her car and without another word drove off, leaving Ezinne and Titi staring after the trail of dust she had left behind her.