“We would get through this” Titi was still saying, then she stretched out her hands to take Ezinne’s right palm in between her palms.
We? Ezinne’s heart warmed at the reassuring tone. The realisation that she wasn’t alone in this was bliss.
“Have you had anything to eat?”
“No” her eyes softened and she sat forward, forcing the two officers between whom she had been sandwiched to adjust.
Titi handed her the cooler she had in her hand and rummaged her bag until she found some money to give to the officers.
“Why did you let Chizaram stay with Akunna?” she fumbled with the cover of the cooler until she was able to open it, the handcuffs made it difficult to do anything. She hissed under her breadth, why wouldn’t they just take these things off, where was she going to run to and how on earth was she going to outrun these men with guns. The scent of the rice and bean pudding, what the Nigerians called moi moi, hit her nostrils forcing her mouth to water and producing a downward commotion among the worms that were already biting at her intestine.
“Akunna, wanted her and my husband thought it was best she stayed away from the house so as not to arouse the memories”
“But she didn’t see anything” she said between mouthfuls.
“No, yet we don’t know the extent her mind might have filled in the blanks so I agree with my husband. What’s wrong`? You don’t want your friend to take care of her?”
“Oh, that’s not it. I just wanted her closer to home so she would follow your family to church” that was a part truth anyway, she didn’t trust Akunna not to corrupt her child. Besides she preferred someone with motherhood experience. What time would Akunna have when she was going on set, Akunna had told her at her last visit that she had landed a new role in another movie, and this time Kim was collaborating with Max to produce a movie. She had been told it was a multi-billion Naira movie. That meant more money in Akunna’s pocket and at the same time less attention to Zaram.
She savoured the bean pudding, it was soft and melted like butter once it touched her tongue causing her to momentarily close her eyes. The egg in the moi moi was heavenly. God bless this woman.
“Ok, but she schools in Obalende, that is quite a distance for a nursery school child”
Ezinne took in a deep breathe, she hadn’t expected it to be this difficult, play back to nine months ago, she was satisfied at her new life and today she seemed to have taken hundred steps backwards from her near perfect life.
She swatted a fly that attempted to enter her meal before raising her head to look at Titi. “Please ma, I need you now. You know that if I can help it, I wouldn’t bother you. If you need to enroll her in a school that is closer please do so. I will pay you back as soon as I can make the money.”
“Ok dear. I will take her home but I don’t want you bothering about the money. God will provide.” She embraced her, her day was fast spent and she needed to get back to the office, her table was swarming with loads of work to be done.
“You are truly God sent ma, God bless you” she licked her lip and dipped the spoon into the cooler to scrap the last bits of the food. She had only prayed for food and God gave her a banquet.
Titi smiled, satisfied that she had at least put a smile of Ezinne’s face, even if it was only once in a while, she decided to always bring something to eat for Ezinne then pulled out a .75 litre bottle of water from her bag and handed it over to Ezinne who was busy, devouring the tender chicken that complemented the balanced diet.
Titi watched with Ezinne lift the bottle to her lips with amusement, every gulp made a deep sound and caused her throat to gauge and flatten.
“I am sorry, I am just so thirsty” she gulped in air when she put down the bottle, a look of satisfaction on her face. Her eyes were bright again and colour had returned to her face. She belched, raising her palms to her lips to cushion the effect.
Titi grinned cheerfully, a childlike exuberance settled on her cheek drawing a bow from one ear to the other. “I am more than glad to be of help. Where is your lawyer?”
She shrugged “I don’t know. I lost sight of him in all that paparazzi”
“You know the movie you acted is getting a lot of views these days, its like so many are trooping to watch it just to get a glimpse into your person. You know I went to the cinema with my husband the other day and it was sold out”
“I am not sure any other person will want to see my movies after this”
“Don’t say that. You may never know, this may just be your stepping stone that will nudge you into the limelight. Don’t worry by the time this case is over you will be out there again and this time things will be beautiful.”
Ezinne blew a puff of hair through her mouth, she hoped for her sake and that of her daughter’s that this would be her testimony.
The vehicle started and it was time for Titi to go. She embraced Ezinne, who couldn’t do same because of the cuffs but lifted herself up for the hug.
“See you soon darling”
“Thank you ma” she lifted her hand to employ the use of her arms to wipe off the tears that had clouded her eyes.