By Nonso Anyanwu
Kosi became engaged on one of the sweetest afternoons in 2014. Mid February, around the same time last year when Obinze had walked out of their marriage to his old girlfriend, Ifemelu, who had come into town from America. Emeka was also Kosi’s old boyfriend. He had disappeared for three years and showed up one evening like a ghost, holding a bouquet of roses.
Your mom gave me your house address, he said at the door. Didn’t she tell you I’m married? Let me in, at least, he pleaded. Kosi locked the door after he had come in. What do you want? she asked, still standing by the door. He came closer, and whispered into her ears: Your husband is in one of those exotic hotels in Abuja.
Stop it! she said. He kissed her lips. She tried to shake him off, but his lips were smart. He pressed her to the wall, then to the sofa, then to the floor. She couldn’t stand his tender touches; she drew him to herself and began to undo his buttons. In her matrimonial bed, everything changed. Kosi felt Emeka’s thrusts with tears running into her pillow.
The next morning, she woke up and did not find him anywhere around the house. Four years later, in December 2018, Emeka ran into Ugochi, Kosi’s mother, at Shoprite. I’m so sorry about everything, he said after Ugochi had told him about Kosi’s divorce last year. Kosi is coping fine, but I think you should visit us anytime soon. I will, mama. Tell Kosi, I will give her a call. She nodded with a warm smile.
On her way home, Ugochi felt hopeful that her daughter would find happiness again. She would never forget the day Kosi had rushed into her office with the divorce papers. She had watched her daughter cry, pulling a handkerchief from her purse and bawling into it, and gasping in her grief.
Mama…I…I can’t… I can’t believe this is where life has dumped me. Ugochi stood up, came around the table, sat down next to her daughter. I… I feel like this whole thing is a dream and when I wake up, we will start all over again.
Even if you start all over, my dear, you can’t make Obinze happy again. Sometimes love is like a bag of rice that you eat from, hoping never to get to the bottom. Kosi took a deep breath and leaned back on the seat. So I’m going to be a divorcee, a single parent?
There was an absolute silent for ten seconds. Ugochi heaved a breath, took Kosi’s hands and squeezed them gently. You think being a single parent is abnormal? she asked in a soft voice. Kosi’s eyes which had dried up a second before were now welled up with tears, but she didn’t cry. She looked towards the windows and blinked her tears.
Ugochi loved Kosi in a certain way, the reason she had used her daughter’s phone to invite Emeka for dinner. Kosi, you’re in my sun, Emeka said out of nowhere. Ugochi cleared her throat and stood up from the dining table. Ehmm… Buchi dear, come…come let’s go upstairs.
They were alone, and Emeka continued: I will do everything I can to make you happy. We will have a good life together. Kosi turned her face away. He tried to pull her into his arms. She resisted. He went down on his knees and held her feet. Please, he said, looking up at her face. I’m sorry for everything you went through during Buchi’s pregnancy. Kosi nodded, convinced in the heart of her hearts that he would take her out of the misery that had become her life. She forgave him. But the healing she had thought she would feel did not come immediately. It did not come when he promised that Buchi would enjoy all the fatherly cares she required, it did not come when he proposed to her two months later and brought wine to her people, it did not come to her when he paid her bride price and fixed a marriage date, knowing that she would cease to be a single mother.
The relief came now, on her wedding reception, as she looked Obinze in the eyes to tell him that Buchi wasn’t his biological daughter. That Buchi happened during one of his numerous meetings in Abuja. The relief came, seeing the waters in Obinze’s eyes brake. How glad she was that her ordeal was over.