By AMAH’S HEART.
I registered in one of the best catering school. Resumed class which will take me almost a year. Upto six months and more.
We have both international chefs taking us on different intercontinental ride.
I was enjoying every bit of it.
Living my best life already like I have never tasted poverty.
Everything was happening so fast. It feels too good to be true.
By tomorrow I will be going over to meet Phil’s parents.
This time not as a domestic staff in their mansion but as a girlfriend to their son.
I have goose bumb anytime I think of it.
Questions like, what if they don’t like me? What if they don’t approve of our relationship.
I’m of a different tribe. What if my tribe is a total turn off for them and wouldn’t want me close to their only son.
What if…? Just what if this or that?
How will I cope or start all over again in my love journey.
Maybe I should calm my nerves down and be positive. Let me be hopeful that everything will work out for my good.
Phil said he will be coming over to pick me but if he can’t make it down he will send his driver.
It was his driver that came and took me to the house.
I met with his parents and they were nice.
No discrimination or rejection in their tone and action.
They did not see me as a nobody or their former cook or even as one below the class and league of their son.
They saw me differently, taking all my fears and worries away.
I felt at home, very relaxed.
Mr Kanu wanted to see me in his library alone.
I went and we had a long chat.
He spoke to me for more than thirty minutes
“I heard what happened to you Keji, lossing a huge amount of money to a fraudster who pretended to be in love with you is disheartening. I’m sorry to say but I actually felt disappointed with you. It means you didn’t read the book I recommended and gave you to read. You probably dumped it somewhere after leaving my library. Because, if you read that empty Promises by our dear Amah, you wouldn’t have made such a huge life threatening mistake. Many women takes their lives after realizing that the man they gave all to… their heart, money and time was playing them all the while. Some falls into depression. Listen Keji, I’m glad you pulled through all of that but is obviously the life lessons you needed to sit up and be wise. You will probably come across someone in the future that you will use your life experience to counsel. My heart gladdens up when I see vibrant youths, both sex doing well, refusing to lay low for some morons to take advantage off. But that aside, Phil is my son… only son to be precise. I try as much as possible to give him the best and to guide him as a father should. Even when he is away from me I still try to foresee his performance from a distance. and I have always been proud of the good behavioral fine man he turned out to be. You should be proud to have him as much as he is also proud to have you. He will be turning thirty two by April 11th and I can tell you categorically that Philip Enyinnaya Kanu has made me a proud father. Now, the next thing I’m expecting from him is to start his family soon but theres no rush in that…he should take his time and be sure of the woman he wants to settle with. One of the best decision I have made in my life is marrying my wife. This satisfaction, peace of mind, supportive and undying love me and my wife have for each other is what I want for my son too. Culture, color, tribe is not a problem… the most important is upbringing, fear of God, good morals cumed with fine attitude is what we’re after in a lady. When he traveled to London some months back he told me about a biracial girl he was interested in dating, I asked him to go ahead but after two weeks he told me that she wasn’t ready to be committed and doesn’t have a good attitude. That’s my son for you, he immediately let go without being told and later traveled down. So if Philip chose you it means he has observed you for a while and seen the good in you despite the flaws. You won’t regret having him. Be open, straight forward and focus Keji. I’m glad he chose you…
Finally the whole talk was over.
He asked me to go and read the book he gave me and whenever I feel like browsing through his library I should do so freely.
I thanked him very much before leaving.
I didn’t tell him that I have read the empty Promises.
If I told him that I have read it, he will think that I lack a retentive memory or clear understanding to apply the storyline to my life.
There will be more talk again so all I did was to be quiet, listen and thank him for his great counsel.
I later joined Phil in his private sitting room.
“What did my Dad say…?
He asked as he draw me close to his warm body.
“Alot…a whole lot but in nutshell a wise man builds his house on the rock while a foolish man builds on sand…. wisdom is a principal thing Phil. That’s all..
“Hmmm… you are speaking in riddles now. I still don’t understand but is fine.
Phil said smiling.
“I never really had a father figure in my life. My Dad is late but when he was alive we weren’t so close. He had two wives, my mum is the first. My Mum didn’t conceive on time and with pressure on my dad’s shoulder he impregnated another woman who gave birth to a son for him. This woman becomes his favorite and so was her children. After few more years later my Mum had me and later had my brother. We’re just two from my Mum side. Having your Dad speak to me like a father makes me wish for many things. I enjoyed every of his words. I can’t explain it all but he spoke like a man filled with wisdom. He scolded me like he should and still pat me on the back… that means everything. I love my mother and I don’t joke with her…I set aside money that I send every month to her, sometimes twice in a month. Me and my brother is all she has. And I do want to make her proud…it took me so long to arrive here, I won’t misuse any of this beautiful chances life has thrown at my feet…
Phil kissed my hand and said.
“I feel blessed already having you Keji. Are you hungry, let’s go down to the dining and have something for lunch.
I asked him to hold on let me say hello to my former colleagues. Stella and Ijeoma.
I haven’t seen them ever since I left here, which is almost four months.
I decided to go and say hello to my old kitchen colleagues.
Ijeoma was steaming something on fire when I entered.
“Hello Ije…Ije. how have you been and how’s work. Is really being a while…long time no see. I’m happy to see you… aren’t you happy to see me…
She looked at me from head to toe and curved a smile before saying.
“My ofe mmanu sister, should I start jumping around the whole kitchen because of you, nga eyeri gi akwa? (should I fry egg for you?) beside, you don’t really look different to me…I thought dating the boss will transform you but here you are still looking old and shrink.
I laughed at the joke.
“Don’t worry Ijeoma, you can’t see the change because is inwardly not physical appearance. I’m glad you are doing great…is good to see you too. My dearest ofe mmanu sister. What of Stella?
“I’m not Stella’s keeper…
And just then somebody grabbed me tight from behind, laughing so loud, her laughter echos in the kitchen.
It was Stella, very joyful in seeing me.
She almost hijacked me up out of excitement.
“Oh Keji, look at you… I’m so happy to see you. You are really looking good. You have added extra hips… please come and bless me with some hips…
I burst out laughing.
We were both laughing like besties.
“My cousin Emeka has missed oo. How I wish he saw you first before our boss did. Keji, I have really miss you. we all missed all , everyone has been asking about you..
Ijeoma sighed and said outlouldly
“Minus me oo. I didn’t miss anybody. The truth remains what it is, she went to cook herself in their coven so that she will trap everyone in her web. The boss fell wooefully and his parents too. The juju is obviously working on them all. But I’m a daughter of grace, I can’t be influence no matter what. The boss will still dump her when he realize himself. His eyes will clear and the truth will come out in the open. Let’s watch and see. Is just a matter of time. Mind you…I never mention anybody’s name. If you are guilty with what I said then let your conscience continue judging you until the truth is finally revealed.
She went back to what she was doing.
Stella turned to me and said.
“Don’t mind Ijeoma. I thought by now she would have loosen up on the hate. Don’t pay attention to her. Guess what, We have added more recipe to the menu. The boss said we should include some Yoruba delicacy. Like, ewedu leaf which he said is one of your favorite and is actually very good and medicinal too…I googled it and saw the health benefits. We include ifo riro and locust bean too. Ifo Is part of vegetables. The first day I made it, some people were finding it difficult to eat the iru (locust beans) they separated it from the main food. But I also checked it out on google and saw that is very rich, it clears the eyes giving you a perfect vision. I told those finding it difficult how rich it was and they are gradually adapting. But what we do is to make two meals, like okro or ewedu. On vegetables day we will make ogu leaf and ifo. So they can choose whichever they want. Nobody is forcing anybody to eat what they don’t like or understand. We just introduced it last month gradually they will be used to it. The boss said we should make ewedu, some Yoruba stew with egufe. that’s goat meat right… for today’s lunch. He said that you were coming and we should make you feel at home…
I was grinning as Stella fills me in happily.
She suddenly pause and covered her mouth.
“Oh my God, I have allowed my mouth to run me into trouble. I think the boss wanted to surprise you with that and now I have revealed it all. I’m sorry…I was just too excited to see you again.
I hugged her tight and said.
“I’m glad you told me Stella. You have nothing to be worried about. I will just pretend to be surprised if Phil mentions it.
We both started laughing again.
“Stella, you supposed to be helping me finish up with this stuff. I don’t understand the laughing jackass that both of you are doing there. You are making that ofe mmanu juju daughter to feel too important. I didn’t mention anybody’s name oo aside Stella.
I saw Phil coming and hugged Stella one more time before joining him.
Phil wanted to surprise me with the new menu addition and the lunch too.
I acted all surprised all through the period and never mention that Stella has already told me.
I thanked him for everything and we had a sumptuous meal.
Ijeoma was the one that Stella sent to serve me and Philip.
She has no choice than to do so.
Her face was squizzed up all through the time she was serving us.
I almost laughed out
I wish she will understand that I’m not her enemy but I can’t force her to like me. I have already tried doing that on several occasions but it never works.
Philip later went to drop me off in the evening.
He Pampers me too much, loves me to the bone. Like I have never in my life be loved this way.
I visited Dammi and poured it all out. I was just too happy and withhold nothing.
Dammi was very happy. Her daughter Ugo was growing beautifully.
I spent time with them before leaving.
I also went to Uzo and shared the good news.
Uzo was equally happy and wished to meet Philip some day.
Philip called me one day that he was coming to take me out for dinner, that I should get ready.
I carefully picked out my dress, lay it on the bed.. selected one of the shoes he got for me out.
I tied my towel and was about entering the bathroom when I had a knock.
I was happy that Phil was already around. He will watch me get dressed. He may even pick a better dress from the one I picked.
I rushed to the door excitedly to open for him.
Immediately I opened the door my face changed into a big frown.
” What in God’s name are you doing here Bayo?
I screamed out to the scary face staring at me.
“I’m here to speak to you Keji, please let me in…I have allot I want to explain.
“Let you in to which house? Please leave… leave here immediately.
“Keji, please…see, I was sacked from my job. I don’t even have anything right now. I traveled all the way down to see you and to ask for your forgiveness. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that I was married initially because I didn’t want to lose you but I’m not married again. We have separated. She left me and took the kids too because I was sacked and wasn’t bringing money like before. Now, I’m broke. Please, let me in and give me some food to eat first. I remember I spent three days here with you but locating this place was very difficult for me. I couldn’t even reach you but finally I’m here. Keji, please hear me out… I’m ready to start a fresh family with you. You are the only woman that loves and understand me. I never loved my wife, she is just an opportunist… real queen Jezebel herself, very wicked. Keji, please let me in so that I can explain everything to you…I still love you. Ife mi(my love)
My phone was ringing continuesly.
I rushed in to pick it and it was Philip calling.
“… I’m driving into your street now Keji. This your street is filled with potholes, how do you even cope? What do you think of changing your apartment? I can speak to one of my friends who’s into real estate. He can get you something far better… hello Keji, are you there?
“Yea…yeah. I’m here Phil.
I replied with a shaking voice.
Somebody suddenly spoke behind my ear.
I turned and it was Bayo
“Keji I’m tasty, please I want to go and take water from your fridge… maybe some food too if you don’t mind..
I quickly covered the phone speaker so that Philip will not hear.
I didn’t know that Bayo followed me behind.
“… hello… hello Keji. Is there someone with you in your apartment…I thought I had another’s voice. A man’s voice…
Philip said. I quickly replied.
…no…no is..the.. television.
“Oh okay. Are you dressed, few houses away and I will get to yours…
I began to act like I couldn’t hear him clear before ending the call.
My heart was beating, my hands and legs shaking seriously
Any moment from now Philip will be here.
I hope my world is not about to collapse because of Bayo again?
I rushed to the kitchen where Bayo has gone and he was already stuffing himself with my food and drink.