Princess shut the door and I started the car. We fell among the first few to get to church on Sundays and the last to leave. It was 1:15pm and we were just driving out of the church premises. Worship service ended an hour earlier.
“I am concerned these children don’t know the difference between testimonies and gist.”
“The children in your class?”
“Yes. I’m sure it’s same in other classes too.” She strapped on her seat belt. “Once I call for testimonies, I just know it’s time for me to know all that is going on in their homes. They will share the gist and close it with, ‘I just want to thank God for everything.’”
I smiled. “Maybe you should explain the difference to them.”
I gave the gateman the car tag and hit the road.
“Olami, please can we make a quick stop at the market just before we get home?” She reduced the volume of the music and snacked on the cake the Champion got from his class.
“No ma. We cannot make a quick stop.”
“I just want to quickly get a few things, please.”
“Those ‘few things’ can wait. I am driving everyone home.”
“Seriously, I won’t stay long.”
“Last time you said that, you spent an hour. In any case, right now, we are all going home to eat and sleep.”
“Olami, I will be very fast, true.”
“Baby, drop it. We are going home.”
She shriveled on the seat. I focused on the road.
“Mummy!” Princess shouted.
“Yes. What’s that?” Wifey turned to see if everything and everyone was well at the back seat.
“I just saw the man you were talking to in church this morning!”
“Hmmmn, which man is that?” I looked left and right and checked the rear view mirror.
“We just drove past him.” Princess replied.
“I can’t see any man.” I wanted more.
“You didn’t look fast enough. He is fair in complexion and very tall.”
“And mummy was talking to him in church this morning?” I snooped for more information.
“For a lonnnnng time.” She literarily emphasized the word long.
“Okay…do you by any chance know what they were talking about?
“No. Remember you told me when two adults are talking, I should always excuse them and not interfere?” And she said that with an attitude. Like, ‘next time when you make rules, know that it will come back to hit you.’
Yeah, I get it Princess. Rub it in.
“Okay, I said that. So you didn’t hear anything at all?”
“No, daddy. I just know they talked for a long time. They kept me waiting for a lonnnnng time. I was just walking up and down the foyer with nothing to do.”
“And this was before your class started?”
“Yes. But, daddy, you know mummy greets and talks with many people…she will just be smiling and greeting…smiling and greeting everybody. I cannot count the number of people we stop to greet every Sunday.”
“And you don’t know the name of the man?” Focus Princess, this conversation is about the fair-complexioned man.
Wifey giggled but I ignored. The sugary cake Princess ate was having its effect on her.
“No, daddy. He only greeted me when they finished and asked for my name.” She paused. She poked her head into the space between my seat and her mum’s. “When you tell people your name, they are supposed to tell you theirs, right?”
“He didn’t tell me his.”
“Not fair at all.”
“It was not fair. And they talked for a long time. He said he knows you and also said I should greet you.”
He has to know me. He was talking to my wife for a very long time, come on, he has to know me.
“And you don’t know his name. Can you describe him?”
“He is tall….very fair…very very fair…he has plenty beard…he wore a dark suit and his shoe was very fine. I like his shoe.”
“Okay.” I turned into Utako.
Wifey kept quiet and just listened.
“I know mummy is always doing that in church, even people that do not greet her, she will go and meet them and greet them and be smiling to everybody. But, I was really tired of waiting today.”
“Hmmn…that means they really talked for a long time.”
“So, this fair-complexioned man, if you see him again, will you recognize him and show me?”
“But, you know your wife talks and greets many people.”
Now you know what your father is going through. You should be praying for him.
“And there’s one man she talks to all the time!”
“Again!” I cast a weird look at my wife. She continued munching her cake and was enjoying the dialogue.
The fact that I was driving and Princess sat behind me denied me the pleasure of seeing the expression on her face. Princess was dramatic when she talked. I wished I could see but I had to keep my eyes on the road.
“And you know this man?”
“Yes now! They will be talking all the time about everything and anything.”
I noticed my wife had stopped giggling. She seemed curious as she turned back to look at Princess. I couldn’t, unfortunately.
“Hmmmn….do you know his name?”
“Yes now! Every morning, they are always talking….I don’t even know what they talk about. They will just be talking and talking and talking, never tired.”
“Every morning? You mean, every Sunday morning?”
“Not just on Sundays, every morning!”
“Is he fair in complexion too?”
“No, this one is dark. He is very dark.”
“Okay…Do you know his name?”
“I am even talking to him now!”
I stepped on the brake. Was this a joke?
“You are talking to him now?”
“His name is Juwon!” She broke into a loud laughter. “You don’t know it’s you!” She guffawed.
“You are very lucky I am driving, if not…”
Princess was the one laughing now. Champion joined her even though he was too young to get the joke. My daughter was having a swell time.
“You think I don’t hear you people! Early in the morning, you will just be talking and talking. I will be knocking and knocking on your door, you will not answer. You won’t even tell someone to come in. And when Champion bangs on the door, you will now say, ‘who is that?’ as if you don’t know it’s your son!”
My wife and I exchanged looks, we were gob-smacked.
“Only God knows what you people even talk about that’s never finished.” Was that a question to answer or was that a lamentation?
I turned into Mabushi. Princess and her brother played at the back as Josephine offered them biscuits. Under the cover of biscuits and drink activities going on in the back seat, I asked wifey, “So what were you and the ‘fair-complexioned man’ talking about?”
“Seriously?!” She laughed. “I just knew you wouldn’t let it pass. You can’t even disappoint one.”
“What were you guys talking about for a lonnnnng time?”
“You know, it’s amazing how your daughter noticed his nice shoes.”
“She is my blood.”
“These children…they pick things easily. As funny as she sounded, it’s remarkable how she could describe Ekene and what he wore and the length of our conversation. I’m surprised.”
“If you think they don’t know or they don’t see, the joke is on you.”
“And she stood very far away from us, who would have known she was looking that closely?”
“Sooooo…what were you two talking about?”
“As in, you really won’t let it pass?” She turned and gave me a piercing stare. “Wait a minute, is that jealousy I smell there?”
“Who is jealous? Why will I be jealous? Because of what? Me? Jealous?”
She broke into a loud laugh. She was uncontrollable. And I wouldn’t know what was funny. Truly. I was driving into the compound and my wife was still laughing.
What has jealousy got to do with it?
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