The following excerpt is from Chapter 2. Emeka and Modupe have given birth and Emeka’s mother has come to stay a while with the couple and help take care of the baby. The following conversation takes place a few days into Mrs. Eluigwe’s stay between Emeka and his wife:
Excerpt Begins Here.
Mother-in-laws are not perfect but who is? Mrs. Eluigwe was soft spoken and appeared nice but Roseline certainly took after her choleric nature. She had a subtle and firm way of making her children , and others, do what she wanted. Some people simply couldn’t take it.
“I don’t understand! Every time she comes around, she always finds something I am not doing right” Dupe complained, “It’s either the diapers are not done right, or the soup is tasteless or the fridge is dirty or this and that … I am the only one here…I can’t …”
“Hey, Dupe, Dupe, take it easy. Ah-Ah. When did it come to this?”
Modupe was visibly upset and trying hard not to talk too loud. Her mother-in-law was in the living room playing with and singing to the baby.
“Emeka…”, she said calmly trying to control herself. They sat next to each other on the bed facing the bedroom door, left ajar on purpose. Closing the door would have aroused more suspicion on Mrs. Eluigwe’s part. Why would they close the bedroom door so early in the evening? Were they talking about her?
Emeka held his wife and raised her head gently using the force of one curled finger against her chin.
“Listen. You have to learn how to get along with her. I am not saying the problem is from you. I understand what you are going through…”
“Emeka, I don’t think you understand!” Dupe interrupted “Taking care of this baby is hard work and what I need is a helping hand not another boss”
“Dupe! That’s my mother we are talking about”
“And I am your wife! You might have to choose who is more important. You are always defending her!”
“I am not. I am just saying: find a way to get along.”
“My own mother does not give this much stress.”
“Modupe, stop being unreasonable. That conclusion does not make sense”
Dupe pulled away from him and walked out of the room leaving the door wide open.
“What is this? “ Emeka asked himself. He was still wearing his black suit, sweating from the day’s work and this night’s argument. His mother had been around just five days and there had been complaints every other day, incidentally from his wife. He hadn’t spoken to his mother about the situation and as far as she was concerned, everything was alright. She was setting things right in her son’s house. She had nothing to complain to her son about; she simply had to groom his wife. Dupe always avoided showing any kind of resentment when her mother-in-law made her ‘corrections’. She knew how to be nice. Her years as fellowship sister’s coordinator had paid off pretty well. She had dealt with all sorts of difficult people and managed to keep her emotions in check. However, when her husband returned from work, she poured it all over him.
The phone rang.
“Hello Emeka, how you dey?”
“Richard, how far?”
I’m good o”
“That agency I told you about…they have a lady who can work for you”
“OK. That’s fine. How much did they say it was again?”
“Twenty K monthly”
“But Nneka told me your Mom is around”
“Yes O. Hmm”
“No be laughing matter o. It’s really getting to Dupe this time”
“Guy, but talk to your Mom, now…”
“Richard, how do I start? You want me to tell her my wife reported her to me?”
“There are ways, Emeka. Ask her how things are going. Ask her what she thinks of your wife. Engage her.”
“See, whenever I do that, she just says everything is fine. To her, she has everything under control.”
Emeka began undoing his tie while he talked on the phone. He stood up and paced a bit then he took of his suit one sleeve at a time and dumped it on the bed.
“Emeka” Dupe called. She was at the door again.
“Yes” he whispered giving her a look and pointing to his mobile phone. She rolled her eyes and went back to the kitchen.
“What happened this time?” Richard asked.
“Imagine, my Mom told her Bobby was not getting enough breast milk. That, in her words ‘hope you are not trying to keep your breasts young’. Dupe told me she almost answered ‘Yes, for your son’”
Richard roared with laughter.
“It’s funny but it’s not a laughing matter o”
Excerpt Ends Here.
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