From the moment I walked in through the door of Kanyinsola’s house, I could tell that her mother didn’t like me. I stood there, staring about the house like a little hawk while Kanyinsola hugged her parents and siblings.
“I’ve missed you guys…it’s been like forever since I left for service.” She said breathlessly. Then turning around and marching up to me, she took my hand and pulled me forward. “Meet my best friend during my service year. Her name is Cleopatra.”
Kanyinsola’s father shook my outstretched hand and lingered for quite a while. Kanyinsola’s mother spoke icily.
“What sort of name is that? Do sane people give their kids such names in this day and age?”
If I wasn’t so angry with my parents, I would have rushed to their defence, instead, I said.
“My mother is obsessed with Queen Cleopatra, and yes, people give their daughters, the name Cleopatra, in this day and age.”
If her mother heard my response, she pretended as though I hadn’t spoken, instead she changed the topic.
“Can we have dinner now? We’ve been waiting for you, Kanyinsola, and we’re glad that you’re home safe.”
I almost scoffed at her words, what Nigerian family had dinner together like in the movies? Was Kanyinsola’s mother trying to send me a sort of signal or was she just being plain fake?
“We’ll just go and have our baths first.” Kanyinsola said giddy with excitement.
“Sister Kanyinsola, I like your friend, she’s so pretty and she looks like a model.” My friend’s younger sister expressed.
I smiled at the girl. I stood at an impressive five feet nine inches and I had the body of a model however, I had curves at the right places. I wasn’t really considered beautiful as my cheek bones stood too high and my lips were a bit full and wide. However, I was had very striking facial features.
“Yes ooo…you should have seen the way guys fawned over her in camp but alas, she was engaged to be married so, she turned them down.” Kanyinsola blurted.
I almost lost my composure at her words, I recall strutting off my engagement ring during the first three weeks of camp, showing every guy that I wasn’t available and six months later, flushing the one thousand six hundred dollar engagement ring, down the toilet.
“Really? So you’re engaged.” Kanyinsola’s father asked with eyebrows raised.
“Not anymore.” I replied. “My fiancé and I, broke it off a few months ago.”
“I have been itching to hear the reason they broke off their engagement but Cleopatra has refused to spill.” Kanyinsola said. “Oh well, it’s to my advantage because I want to hook her up with someone special.”
“Stop chitchatting and go and have your bath.” Kanyinsola’s mother said to her.
We both made our way to Kanyinsola’s bedroom to have our bath and change our clothes.
Minutes later, after having our baths and were changing for dinner with the family, we heard a rap at the door.
“Come in…” Kanyinsola called out.
A young girl whom Kanyinsola had earlier introduced to me as Ireti, her mother’s distant relation, walked in.
“Mummy said that I should tell your friend that the guest room is ready.”
“Guest room?” Kanyinsola asked in confusion. “Cleopatra and I are sharing my room.”
“Mummy says that she shouldn’t sleep in the same room with you.” The girl said.
Kanyinsola wanted to protest but I quickly cut in.
“Don’t worry dear, I need privacy. I’m sure your mom sees that.”
“Okay but I don’t like it. When my friends come over, they stay with me in my room and not in the guest room.” She whined.
“Don’t worry about it.” I said
“Ireti, is my brother home yet? My big bro…” Kanyinsola asked.
“Yes, he just arrived.” Ireti said as she left the room.
“Yes!” Kanyinsola said whooping for joy.
“Why are you so excited?” I asked her.
“You’re finally going to meet my brother and guess what? I’m sure you’re going to hit it off.”
I wasn’t too excited but I plastered a stiff smile on my face.
“Kanyinsola.” I said. “Could you do me a favour and desist speaking about my former engagement?”
“Sure…I’m sorry it slipped. I know that whoever gave you that ring must have hurt you so much.” She said in apologies.
I ignored her and quickly wore my shirt then made my way out of the bedroom with Kanyinsola on my heels.
After exchanging pleasantries with Kanyinsola’s brother and enduring another torture of loud laughter by the family, we settled down for dinner.
“So, here she is…” Kanyinsola smiled suggestively to her brother, Timi.
I hated Timi on first sight, he looked like the clingy kind of guy who wanted a mother-figure for a girlfriend. I could see the way he laughed at all his mother’s jokes and made baby-faces when she pointed out that she’d prepared his favourite dish. He smiled at me and nudged his sister playfully on the side. I watched Kayinsola’s mother’s reaction at her daughter’s suggestion and I could see that she was finding it very difficult to swallow her morsel of food. I definitely wasn’t ready for a relationship talk more of the kind where I’d have to share a man with his mother.
“Why don’t we eat in silence or the food might go the wrong way?” Kanyinsola’s mother said aloud.
We all continued eating in silence, I noticed that Kanyinsola’s father was sending some kind of weird glances my way. I was so irritated but I let it slide as I focused on my food.
“Maybe, we could catch a movie sometime.” Timi said, breaking the silence.
I looked up at him as though I had no clue that he was talking to me.
“Cleopatra…I’m talking to you.” He said with a smile. “Since you’re here for…I don’t how long, we could go out some time and see a movie.”
“Cleopatra doesn’t have a family in Lagos so, she’ll be with us for a while.” Kanyinsola chirped.
“Guests are not supposed to stay any longer than one month. Anyone who stays for longer than that is a part of the family and Cleopatra clearly isn’t.” Kanyinsola’s mom said, looking at me with hostile eyes.
‘What’s the woman’s problem, anyway?’
To be continued…..