Mama walked into my house with no prior call to alert me she was on her way in her usual fashion.
So it was a surprise when the bell rang, and the maid ushered her in.
She swept into the living room like she owned the place and commanded me without words to stand and give the traditional courtesy to our elders.
She nodded as she took her seat before I could offer her. Then gave me that mother look which searches through your soul. Searching and seeing what you have tried to hide from the world.
“Meena, are you ready to talk about it?” She asked a little nonchalantly which I knew was a facade to draw me in by not appearing to mount any pressure.
“Talk about what mama,” I feigned ignorance hoping she’ll bite my bait and move on to other issues.
“What’s bothering you? I have been waiting for you to talk about it but it’s taking longer than ever. I know there is something wrong since the day you dropped the kids to go to Paris. A problem shared is half solved.”
Mama could be right; however, if my problem was half solved by sharing, then it should have disappeared or just gone into extinct. I did not voice my sarcastic thoughts but smiled meekly at her.
While I battled how no start my story, my mother settled comfortably into the sofa. I could read from her body language that she had all the time in the world and was not going anywhere soon.
In a further conspiracy, my maid brought a glass of cold water and peppered gizzard, my mom’s favourite delicacy.
“Thank you,” she said graciously to the maid whose face lit up with a smile too broad to hide.
I took a long breath in and exhaled as I shared with my mother my dilemma.
“Do you still love JK?”
I stared at my mum shocked. What had love got to do with all I had told her? JK had gone against our vows and having or has a child out of wedlock. The child had not been born, but it was no news it was a boy from the little chats I had read while the left of the story was to my imagination.
“Mom, I don’t think that’s the issue right now. Loving or not loving JK is inconsequential.”
“What is?” She asked prodding me with those looks.
“What happens to my girls and I. I did not give him a male child, and now he has one from outside.”
“Has he said he no longer wants you?”
“Mama does he have to say so in plain English when it’s glaring by his action. Isn’t it obvious that I am no longer good enough for him?”
I pressed my temple hoping to sooth the already throbbing ache brought about by the conversation I was having with Mama.
“Meena, the question is do you still love him. Do you love him enough to make your marriage work despite the sticky situation?”
I gasped in shock at my mother. She suddenly looked like the devil incarnate with horns on her head. Why did I feel she did not understand the whole issue and was trivialising my problem. The problem was more significant than love.Love could not work this out.
“Love conquers all things. Meena. He has made a mistake, and you both should look at how to work through this rather than let your home and the love you shared be destroyed. This is the time to stand by him and let him know you do not judge him.
“Mama, JK should have thought about that before going out to sleep around,” I sighed angrily.
“Whose side are you on mama?”
“You are both my children. I am not on anyone’s side. I am on the side of my grandchildren who need two loving parents and a loving home to grow.Your case is not a case of domestic violence where I would have wasted no time in whisking you and my grandchildren away from the scene but a marriage test that you both need to work at resolving.
I sat there seething in anger while mother relished the peppered- gizzard like one with no care in the world.
Well, to be candid Mama had no care in the world. My siblings and I were the children you dreamed of in your old age. Papa died while we were still young and unlike other terrible stories you hear. His brothers rallied round mama and helped pay our fees till we graduated from the University.
My uncles filled the gap for our father’s absence and still do. Today, we were all settled with good careers, comfortable lives and beautiful marriages except mine that was falling apart.
I won’t be surprised if I get a call from one of them once mama left my house.
“Meena, make this work. Give it all you have and if it does not then know you did your best. But don’t give up without trying. If you can’t find a reason, please look into the eyes of your girls. Do you want them to grow up without the blessing of having both parents living together harmoniously?
I don’t know what went wrong here. But I know you still love JK. He has been a great husband, father and son-in-law. Don’t give up on him because he messed up this one time. We are all humans. A famous saying, “to air is human but to forgive is divine.” Find it in your heart to forgive.”
“I bought this book it’s called “Love dare”, you might want to use it to rekindle the love you once felt in your marriage.
“Shouldn’t you be giving this to JK? He probably needs it more than me for the mother of his baby.” I asked looking at the book with disdain.
“Meena, enough of all this nonsense and childlike tantrum. A real woman fights to keep and protect her territory. She does not back down and let the enemy take over her home. Now is the time to fight for what is yours. Anger, sulking and self-pity will take you nowhere.”
“I doubt Mama. I don’t have the zeal to start such charade,” I sighed resignedly. I was tired of blocking the thoughts and pain I felt.
“I know you can.”
Mama stood up to shove the book in my hand and was gone like she was never in the room with me except the empty bowl of gizzard and half glass cup of drink on the side stool where she sat. to prove I was not hallucinating and the visit was real.