Mmesoma's Dilemma - Episode 9
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Wait. What? How?!
I knew she was come, but this was fast. Only God knows what her plans are for me.
Someone knocked on my door, startling me, I knew it would be Dozie, here to pick me up and deliver me to my doom.
“Open up sis, it is me”, he said and with trembling hands and a fast beating heart, I opened up. His face was expressionless, the headphones hung around his neck, there was no noise from downstairs, everything seemed so calm, in fact if Ezinne had not given me a heads up I would have believed all was well.
Dozie took one look at me and realized that I already knew what’s up.
“I told you this would happen, I just did not think it would happen so soon”, he sounded worried.
“I am scared, are all of them here?” I asked in a hushed whisper.
“Yes . Uncle Paul just took their boxes to the visitors rooms”, he explained and my heart sunk lower. If Uncle Paul, grandma’s full-time driver carried boxes upstairs, then they were not leaving anytime soon.
I am dead.
“Let us go, be calm, don’t let them see your fear, Ezinne and I got you”, he said and waited for me to keep my phone in the room and lock the door, my heart managed to beat faster with each step we took to the parlor.
“Finally she is here. Meso my daughter, did you miss me?” Grandma asked when she saw us.
Despite knowing they were here, seeing them made me feel numb and breathless
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. My parents were seated together and to the left of my grandma and were making an effort not to look at me; my aunts sat to grandma’s right and were starting at me, I could tell they were scheming on how to frustrate my life.
“Deep breaths Meso, deep breaths, they cannot harm you, you would soon resume sef”, I muttered to myself.
“So, what is this I hear about you suddenly becoming HIV positive just when we are about to finalize your wedding plans?” she asks.
Don’t let her see your fear.
I look directly at her, marveling at how her light complexioned skin managed to always look youthful. Grandma was not the conventional Igbo grandmother, she was not the kind who cooked for us or told folktales, she was instead like an imperial queen who ruled in couture outfits, red-soled heels and the best Ankara materials.
Only the very best for my beautiful, polished as possible grandma who would never age.
“I am sure you are not deaf Mmesoma, give me an answer. Why are you trying to ruin this?” she asked.
“Mmesoma, you better speak up if you don’t want me to slap you!” aunty Kainene said and I winced. She had slapped me once, many years back, but I still remembered how it felt, I still remembered hearing siren sounds and seeing stars, and I definitely did not want a repeat performance o.
“Welcome grandma, welcome aunty Kainene, welcome aunty Somebi, I hope your trip was not stressful”, I said calmly as I took a cautious step backwards, ready to bolt to my room if things turned awful.
“Our trip was fine, now answer my question”, she relied. As usual, she was wielding her power and doing all the talking.
“I do not have a particular reason for my action”, I said, making sure to maintain eye contact with her, I was trying to seem bold and I was failing miserably.
“Ehen, so you just really want to disgrace our family? You are a spoiled and ungrateful child, you have an amazing husband, who has been groomed to take good care of you and you intend to reject him?” she asked.
Then she laughed, it was a humourless and mocking laugh. Dear God, I don’t want to go through this interrogation, please send her away already.
“Mmesoma, you are my granddaughter and so long you remain a member of this family, you need to always be responsible and stop being selfish”, she chided, then paused to drink some water.
“Do you think if you reject this proposal, someone else would marry you? no one would marry a girl cut off from her family, no one, no matter how modern they claim to be”, she said with a mocking smile.
“I do not want to marry Afam. I am not even ready for marriage yet, this is being forced down my throat!” I screamed. Everyone in the parlor gasped, apart from her, she looked shocked, but only for a moment, because soon she was smiling and standing up.
“Well then, you better start removing all thoughts of going back to school by next week except of course you accept that you are Mrs. Afam Chibueze”, she said as she left the room, her silk boubou gown fanning around her as she ascended the stairs and went to her room.
Everyone else in the parlor was quiet, as if waiting for someone to say something. My parents looked confused, my aunts were appalled, and my siblings were surprised.
She had suggested that she would cut me off from the family if I rejected that and she would not let me resume anytime soon. The latter scared me more, because I needed to resume early for the semester, else it would be a disaster.
This was not public knowledge, but somehow she knew. Just kill me already
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