Chapter Three – Rain, Rain
Rain’s mom paid her a visit while she was presiding over a virtual meeting at work. Before her mom’s phone call distracted her, her mind had wandered away from the meeting, triggered by an unsettling discussion with one of her exes earlier in the morning. Having now successfully divorced his wife of sixteen years, the man wanted to get back with Rain.
She was not interested in him anymore, but his phone call dredged up a painful past that resurrected demons she was yet to exorcise. Unable to face the surge of emotions that threatened her peace, Rain’s mind wandered far all morning until her mom called.
She checked to be sure that the microphone on her laptop was muted before she took the call.
“Watermelon, I’m in town,” her mom announced.
Rain shook her head. It was typical of the woman to get up, pick up her passport, and travel to some place, just because she felt like. Dubai was one of her least favorite destinations, but she often visited because of Rain.
“But Mommy, I told you I’d be in Lagos tomorrow.”
“Kofo has this meeting with some Emirati government guys in the morning, and I thought to tag along.”
“Aunty Kofo is here?” Rain asked, straightening up.
“Yeah, and she wants to see you.”
“Why wouldn’t she want to?”
Rain smiled. She didn’t have a lot of aunties because her mom, Dora, had alienated her from their extended family. Besides, they had traveled around a lot, leaving them little time to bond with the relatives that made efforts to connect with them. Kofo wasn’t family, but she was Dora’s closest friend. Although a busy woman, she always made out time to check in; and she would show up with gifts for Rain during each visit. She had done this since Rain was a child. And even as an adult, Rain often looked forward to her visits, not just for the gifts, but because she admired Kofo as a successful woman in tech.
“I’m coming home now-now. Where are you people?” Rain asked Dora.
“In the lobby of your apartment building. The lady at the desk is so nice. She offered us tea.”
Rain got off her chair, taking her purse. “What do you think Aunty Kofo would like to have for lunch? Nigerian food or…?”
“Just come home, watermelon.”
“On my way.”
Rain excused herself from the meeting and dashed out. She got home in a few minutes, bearing a smile for both women. Dora returned the smile with a brighter one, spreading open her arms for a hug. Rain could hardly recall any time in her life when Dora didn’t welcome her with warmth. Even in sickness or low moods, there was always love on her side to give. Rain was aware of her privilege when it came to motherly love, and she never took Dora for granted.
“I’ve missed you so much, baby. Five months fa. Haba!”
Having hugged Dora, Rain looked Kofo’s way, her smile widening.
“Come here, my darling.”
Kofo was that fun Yoruba aunty who loved to throw parties and give everyone around her a good time. There were rumors that she was ruthless at work, but Rain had never seen that side of her. In fact, the Kofo Rain knew was the Kofo that visited them twice or thrice a year. She also knew she was a divorcee who didn’t like to talk about her marriage and past. Every other personal bit of her was hidden from Rain. Not that Rain would blame her for that—Dora and Rain had traveled quite a lot, leaving little room for Rain to have stable relationships.
“Is it me or you’re looking more beautiful as the days go by?” Kofo complimented Rain, rubbing her short hair.
“Aunty Kofo!” Rain laughed. “You and your sweet mouth!”
“Am I lying?” Kofo asked in Yoruba.
“Oya, oya, take us upstairs. I need to rest my feet a little.”
“The flight was that bad?”
“No o,” Dora answered. “We flew private and she slept all the way through. Somebody is getting too old for her age.”
“I will never be old in Jesus’ name!”
Dora smirked. Rain laughed at both women. “Follow me.”
Rain noticed how Dora struggled with getting off the sofa on which she sat. She suspected that her right knee was acting up again, but she said nothing of it.
She led them toward an elevator, nodding a greeting at the Filipino woman at the front desk.
Air conditioners were a blessing to the residents of Dubai at this time of the year. It was the ending of May, and the temperature was beginning to soar. Hotel prices would become cheaper due to a drop in tourism, only to rise again in September. Some residents were jaded during this period, but not Rain. She liked Dubai when it was free of tourists.
This was the current thought running through her mind as Dora and Kofo sat in her tasteful living room, revealing to her the shocking genesis of her life. They had just told her that she was not Dora’s biological daughter. Rather, she belonged to Kofo.
The revelation was too severe to take in, so Rain let her mind wander, as usual. While this happened, she fixed an unbroken stare at Dora. She didn’t realize that she wasn’t blinking until Dora called her attention.
She blinked and tears clouded up her eyes. “I heard you, I heard you. I just… I need to take this all in.”
She got up, picked her purse, and was halfway out of her apartment before Dora hurried after her. She grabbed her hand and turned her around.
“Rain, look at me. Look at me, watermelon.”
Rain stared at her, tears spilling from the sides of her eyes.
“This is not the time for you to find somewhere to escape, hoping that when you get back, all you’ve heard would turn out to be a lie. What Kofo just told you is the truth, baby. You have to believe it. Okay?”
Rain stared at her blankly. Her mind was off again.
“Stop with the zombie face nau, Rain,” Dora pleaded. “Snap out of it. This is real. You’re not going to wake up in the morning and realize that it’s a dream.”
Rain knew that. She just wasn’t ready to accept that her whole life had been a lie. Nonetheless, she nodded at Dora. When Dora tried to wipe her cheeks, she pushed her hand away and returned to where she had previously sat.
“Are you alright?” Kofo asked.
Rain smiled. “Yes.” She got on her feet again. “Wine, anyone?”
“Sounds perfect,” Kofo answered, causing Dora to glare at her disapprovingly. “Well, it does sound like a wine moment. Rain, do you have that French wine you got for me the last time I visited you ladies in Lagos? The dry one?”
Rain walked off to the kitchen. She returned shortly with three glasses and an ice bucket that held two bottles of champagne.
“I chose champagne instead because I figured that we should celebrate, you know?” She placed the items on a coffee table between their sofa and hers, hoping that they did not notice how her hands shook. “I’m supposed to be shocked. I mean, thirty-five years of my life and I was being raised by the wrong mother.”
Kofo didn’t seem remorseful, but Dora was. As Rain tried to uncork the champagne bottle, she fought to make sense of the raging thoughts in her head. Nothing was coherent. So many questions bumped against each other as she tried to process all she had just been told.
She popped the champagne and the sound made Dora jump.
“Relax,” Kofo whispered, resting a hand on Dora’s. Rain stared at their hands and paused from her activity.
“Were you two ever…?” She left the question hanging.
“Ever what?” Dora asked, snatching her hand back from her friend’s.
Kofo looked at Dora and burst out laughing. “You know me, Rain. I was married with four kids. I also had you—”
“No need to be defensive, Aunty Kofo. I’m just asking since we’re all about tossing skeletons out of closets today. I only want to know if you were ever my mom’s girlfriend.”
“But I’m sure you know that she’s—”
“Rain?” Dora scolded.
Rain filled their glasses and sat, joining them in awkward silence. Kofo tried to speak, but a stern gaze from Dora stopped her.
“Watermelon, say something,” Dora pleaded. “Please.”
Kofo’s phone rang and she asked to be excused to take the call. Dora tried to speak to Rain after Kofo walked away, but Rain stopped her.
The silence was long and heavy, and while they waited for Kofo, Rain tried to busy her mind with many things, but nothing worked.
Kofo returned, moving in her usual regal manner, and Rain felt like she was seeing her for the first time. She suddenly became a stranger to her. The famous Kofoworola Aboderin. A ruthless woman of influence and power. The last time Rain Googled her, her net worth was a little over four hundred million dollars. She was the founder and CEO of Hara Telecoms, one of the continent’s leading telecommunication companies.
“I can’t see the resemblance between us,” Rain said to her as she made to sit.
“Are you serious? Where do you think you got your beauty from?” Kofo asked.
“Am I really your daughter?”
“You think I’d keep the truth from you for three decades, just to come and lie to you again?”
“So, who is my dad?” She looked at Dora. “Because the man whose photo is on the wall of our sitting room at home is the man you said is my dad.”
“He’s not. But that was my husband. He died years before you were born.”
“Wow. My whole existence is a lie.”
Kofo sat and said quite casually, “Your dad is Habib Kareem.”
Rain’s eyes narrowed in confusion and they stayed that way until Dora called her name.
“Wait… My uncle, Habib?” She looked at Dora. “Mommy, your brother?”
“Wow!” Rain downed her champagne and looked at the glass. “We should have done beer.”
The doorbell dinged. “I ordered something,” Rain said, getting up. “We should eat.”
“Rain…” Kofo called as Rain began toward the door. “You have to take this seriously, and we really must talk. I have other important things waiting. I don’t have time.”
“You still don’t have time for me after you abandoned me for thirty-five years?” Rain asked with a cold smile.
“Okay, you can go.”
“Rain, it’s not like that.”
Rain continued toward the door.
The true story about Kofo being Rain’s biological mother was stuff made of sad romance novels. But when Kofo told the story to Rain during lunch, she felt neither good nor bad. She observed both women with no expression on her face, speaking up only when she had questions.
At some point, her head began to throb and she asked, “Is that all?”
“That should be all for today.” She got off her chair. “I’m tired and I need to rest before I internally combust.”
“Rain…” Dora muttered.
“Let’s continue tomorrow.”
“Rain, you know I’m a busy woman,” Kofo emphasized. “I have back-to-back meetings—”
“Or maybe you’re just realizing that this existence is useless and you’re trying to clean house before God cashes in your chips?”
Kofo put a hand on Dora’s to calm her.
“Which one is it, Mommy?”
“Rain, I’m truly sorry for abandoning you—”
“Ma’am, this is not the time for apologies. We haven’t gotten there yet. Heck, I don’t even know half of the story. So, please… Please, just go and do your busy, very wealthy life. One more day added to thirty-five years is nothing. When I’m ready to talk, we’ll talk.”
“Rain, I want you to come and work for Hara Telecoms,” Kofo said.
Rain stared into her eyes.
“It’s a family company. You ought to be there.”
Rain laughed. “You’re unbelievable.”
“Also, because your father gave me the money I used to start it up. One way or another, Hara belongs to you. Look, whatever they’re paying you here, I’ll triple it. Name your price. I won’t even negotiate. Just come home.”
“Come home?” Rain shook her head and started out of the room.
“But Rain, we’re not done talking.”
“We will continue tomorrow…Mommy.”
Rain entered her bedroom and let out a long sigh. Her feet ached and her clothes were suddenly uncomfortable. She undressed, filled her bathtub with cold water, sat in it with a bottle of wine she got from her closet, and went over all Dora and Kofo had told her about her birth.
The short version of the tale was that Kofo had an affair with Dora’s brother thirty-six years ago. This happened while Kofo’s husband, Ituah Olumese, was away from the country for an extended period. Rain was the product of that affair, a lovechild from two people who were crazily in love with each other but separated by circumstances they couldn’t control. To keep her marriage and retain custody of her son, Kofo let go of Rain, leaving her in Dora’s care.
Dora, known then as Aisha, was from a wealthy northern family. She had also come into more money after losing her husband and inheriting a bulk sum of his wealth. She was pleased to become Rain’s mother, not just because Kofo was her best friend but also because Habib was her closest sibling and she had supported the affair between him and Kofo from the start.
But Habib had not been aware of the pregnancy or birth of Rain because Kofo had decided it was best that he faced his life in the US as a computer engineering student. Moreover, the affair had been short-lived, as Habib and Kofo had already agreed that there was no future for them as a couple.
She continued to keep the truth from him, even after she left her marriage years later and went to the US where she schooled and picked up her affair with him. At that time, Habib was working for Microsoft and had made a lot of money from his job. He was ready to get married to Kofo, but her plans for the future had no husband in it. She was pursuing her biggest dream, which was to become one of the leading tech women in Africa. Habib believed in that dream and invested in it. Hence, Hara Telecoms was born.
Habib himself moved to Abuja a few years later, and founded a company, much like Kofo’s, but on a smaller scale. They majored in providing internet services to the government and companies.
“Why didn’t you tell him about me?” Rain had asked Kofo earlier.
“Because I was focused on my ambition, and I didn’t want anything or anyone to be the reason I failed.”
“She was still scarred by what her ex-husband did to her,” Dora explained.
“So, she abandoned me, the same way she abandoned her other children?”
“It just felt better to not be burdened by romantic connections and family duties. You, like your siblings, would have slowed me down.”
“So, why now?”
“It’s complicated, Rain, but I’d always wanted the truth to be out, to make myself known to you.”
Rain found it rather funny that Kofo would say this as she had gotten numerous opportunities to reveal who she was to her.
Rain stepped out of her bathtub, having now finished her wine. She left wet footprints on the floor as she entered her bedroom. She picked a folded bathrobe on a chair and wore it. Then, she caught up with some work emails. When she was done with them, she visited Kofo’s Instagram page and stayed there a long time, poring through posts and videos until her eyes began to hurt and her phone’s battery gave up on her.
Rain put the phone to charge and stretched out on her bed, staring up. It was crazy that her biological mother had been the woman she had always wanted to model her life after. She would often brag to her friends that she knew Kofoworola Aboderin. Right now, she wasn’t sure what to make of the whole thing or how she felt about Kofo. She sensed indifference for her crawling in. Was she expected to be angry or sad that the woman had abandoned her and gone ahead to live her life? Was she to be happy that the person she had admired for most of her adult existence was the same person that birthed her?
Rain turned to her side and shut her eyes. It was a few minutes after three, and she longed for sleep. She wished she had the strength to pack a bag and escape to some nearby country, as Dora always did whenever she wanted to run away from her problems.
She reached for her phone and checked her messages. Dora had sent a voice note, seeking forgiveness on Kofo’s behalf. Rain listened to it, switched off her phone, and covered herself with a duvet. She tried to erase all that she had heard today, but warm thoughts of Habib haunted her. She had loved him distantly as a niece could love her uncle. How was she to make the switch to daughter?
Come morning, Rain switched on her phone and checked her messages. Dora had sent another voice note, imploring her to give Kofo a chance to explain herself better.
“Since you’ll be coming to Lagos, just sit with her and talk. Also, consider taking the job at Hara. Nothing you’ll get anywhere in the world will beat that. I know I don’t have the right to ask anything of you right now, and I’m so sorry we lied to you but it was for everyone’s good. Kofo and I are lodged at the Mercure Hotel. Our flight to Lagos leaves at noon today, in case you want to come along with us.”
Rain didn’t hitch the private jet with them. She caught another flight two hours later that arrived Lagos at 4pm. She avoided the family house and took a cab to the four-bedroom home she shared with her fiancé. Her body was desperate for a cuddle and a listening ear into which she would repeat the crazy story her mothers had told her. Asides that, she was horny. Five months was too long a time to be away from a man’s touch.
She hadn’t told her fiancé that she was coming, as she wanted to surprise him. This wasn’t a new habit of hers. In fact, it was part of their love language to surprise each other occasionally. So, when she walked into the house, she expected to see him hunched over his laptop, working, while listening to music. Then, he would take off his headphones at the first sight of her and stare at her like he hadn’t see her in years as she hurried toward him.
But things turned out a little differently this time. Firstly, there was deafening music coming from the sound system, which was not his thing. Secondly, the house was a mess. Again, this was unlike him. He was the type to straighten out the crease on a bed once he got up from it.
However, Rain didn’t bother about these little changes as she made for their bedroom. But she soon slowed in her steps as she approached the door. Noah, her fiancé of two years, was having sex with another woman; and because the music was loud and he was so lost in his business, he didn’t see her when she stood outside the bedroom door for almost two minutes, staring at him.
Rain slowly lowered to the floor and positioned herself at an angle that gave her access to a ceiling-to-floor mirror in the bedroom. It blessed her with a view of the bed, and from where she sat, she recorded a short video of him and his companion. When she felt she had seen enough, she left the house as quietly as she had come in.
Once outside, Rain sat at the entrance of the house, thinking of random things. One of them was her own funeral. She came up with a glowing idea to plan it.
“Madam?” the gateman called. She looked up at him, annoyed that he had dragged her out of her soothing place. She got up and asked him to call the domestic help. When she got their attention, she paid them to keep mum about her visit. She thought to threaten them with their jobs, but she figured that they might snitch on her since they had a better relationship with Noah than they did with her.
Afterward, Rain left the house to a nearby café and put a call across to him. She told him that she had just gotten into town and was on her way home. He claimed that he was out of the house but would soon be back. She pleaded with him to come home with a bottle of her wellness vitamins from a specific pharmacy, a pack of pizza, and four bottles of sweet red wine.
He whined that this would take some time, but he would get the items for her, if she was spread out in the nude on their bed when he returned. After promising that she would do as he required, Rain ended the call. From where she sat at the café, she could see cars moving in and out of the estate where she lived. So, she waited until his car sped by with him behind the wheel and his companion riding shotgun. The companion was his twin sister. The one with whom he had been in bed.
The shock was still too much for Rain to handle. So, she directed her emotions toward getting rid of Noah. When she went back home, she asked the gateman to secure the gate and not let anyone in without her permission. Rain then ordered him and the domestic help to take out everything that belonged to Noah, beginning with the mattress.
As they set about following her instructions, she put on her favorite afrobeats playlist and played it loudly, picking out the most expensive items she had bought for him. In a short while, the gateman and help were done while she was left with the final act of screwing his life over.
Firstly, Rain picked his passport and leafed to the page where he had gotten a 9-month Schengen visa, just the day before. They had planned to travel to Germany to join the world’s most expensive cruise ship on their honeymoon. The trip would be his first to another country, asides his occasional jaunts to Dubai, where she lived and worked.
Rain tore out the visa page and sat in the living room, where she sent the video she had recorded to him. Next, she forwarded it to her closest friends, Jaya and Mide. After that, she went to a WhatsApp group that was created by their friends to plan their upcoming wedding and announced that the wedding was canceled. Then, she sat and waited for the calls to come in.
While she waited, images of her attending her own funeral party made her abandon thoughts of Noah for a moment as she became consumed with the idea. She had read something similar in a book by one Chimeka Garricks, and she had thought the idea macabre. Now, it was beginning to make sense to her. Not that she was thinking of dying. She wasn’t even sad over what her mothers did or what she just saw Noah and his twin doing. It just was wise to plan one’s death as much as one planned life.
Rain imagined that the party would be held while she suffered a protracted illness. But it had to be one of those illnesses in which she would be given six months to a year to live, so that she could throw a killer party.
But what if she were to die suddenly in her sleep or get hit by a car? What if she had made her presence known to Noah and Naomi earlier when she caught them? And to stop her from exposing their utterly abominable act, they decided to kill her? It would leave her mom and friends no opportunity to say goodbye to her.
Wouldn’t it be wise to plan a funeral while all was well and good—just in case?
The first phone call came from her closest friend, Jaya, who spent most of her time on social media.
“Babe! What in the porn video did you just send to me?”
“Noah having sex.”
“Jesus, Rain! I don’t want to believe what I just watched. It has to be unreal!”
Rain, was yet to process it as well. She tried to, but it wasn’t working.
“Noah is a bastard! Ah! No!”
“You’re being dramatic, Jaya.”
“It’s just a little cheating.”
“With his twin sister! Rain Kareem, your fiancé fucks his own twin sister!”
“He had better be.”
Rain could hear someone else calling her line.
“My head is spinning right now,” Jaya continued. “How did you get the video?”
“I recorded them like an hour ago.”
“Wait, you’re in town?”
“Yeah, got in and just headed here. And what do I see?”
“They didn’t know you recorded them?”
“They didn’t even hear me enter the house.”
“God! But I said it. I said those two were hiding something. I thought it was that maybe they killed a sibling or something. But incest? My God!”
Rain wished that she had listened to Jaya in the past. All her friends had liked Noah at first sight and thought that his affection for his sister was cute. Jaya alone was uncomfortable with the pair. She had feared that the sister might be a problem for Rain. However, Naomi had turned out quite the opposite. In retrospect, Rain could see how her sweetness was a smokescreen.
“Jaya, I have to go. Someone is trying to call me.”
“Switch off your phone, abeg. You don’t have any explanation to give anybody. One fool in the group is already saying that he always knew that you and Noah wouldn’t last, that he’s happy he didn’t spend any money on you guys. Should I tell them?”
“Me, I want to go and fight.”
Rain smiled. “Thank you, Jaya.”
“All right, hon. Please, be fine.”
After the call, Rain returned to the WhatsApp group and apologized for the way she dropped her message. She added that she and Noah were no longer an item. Done with that, she exited the group.
Her second closest friend was calling again. She took the call.
“Rain?” the friend said in a soft voice.
“I saw the video.”
“I’m so sorry, baby.”
“No, it’s not fine. It’s disgusting and annoying. You gave this boy everything. Even his stupid sister. You set her up for life. How could they do this to you?”
“Me?” Rain laughed. “Obviously, I’m the outsider here. Who knows how long they’ve been doing it.”
“How did you find out?”
Rain explained how it had happened and Mide hissed. “Thunder fire two of them. They’re both going to hell.”
“They should first leave my life.”
“Throw his things out and don’t…” Her words faded as the voice of a man in the background interrupted her. “Rain?”
“I’ll call you back.”
It wasn’t new for Mide’s master and father of her children would interrupt their phone calls. Whenever he called, she dropped everything else. Heck, she had even dropped her entire life for him.
“Just switch off your phone, abeg.”
“But girl, are you losing your shit right now?”
“No,” Rain said.
“Of course, you’re going to pretend that none of this happened and go about your business like it’s always sunshine and butterflies. But for once, Rain, deal with these men. They’ve used you like a dirty rag for too long. When is enough going to be enough?”
Rain almost laughed at the irony of Mide’s statement. At least, she had been used by different men, all of whom she dumped. But Mide couldn’t dump the one man that had been ruining her life for years.
Another call was coming in for Rain. This was from Noah himself. “Mide, talk to you later.”
Mide hung up. Rain answered Noah’s call.
“I fucked up, baby,” he said. She was silent. “Rain?”
“Let’s talk about this, please. I’m coming home now.”
“Noah, we’re over—”
“Rain, don’t do this. Let’s talk, let me explain myself.”
“There’s nothing to explain—”
“Sweetie, listen to me nau.”
“You know you could have stopped us when you walked in, right?”
“Oh, it’s my fault now that you were cheating on me with your twin sister and I didn’t stop you?”
Rain couldn’t believe her calm. She would have been pulling her hair by now, but maybe she was bald from all the hair-pulling in the past. Maybe she was too old for drama.
“Give me a chance to explain myself—”
“Your things have been thrown out, Noah.”
“YOU CANNOT FUCKING DO THIS TO ME, RAIN!”
“You can keep the car I got for you. I have no use for it. But please, don’t call me again. Bye.”
She cut him off and blocked his number. She blocked him on all her social media accounts. When she was through, she switched off her phone as more calls had begun to drop in. Then, she asked the domestic help to wash her car, which was parked in the garage. After he was done, she fired him and handed over the care of the house to the gateman whom she trusted. She drove to her family home, a large and luxurious house in a quiet estate that boasted of mostly baby boomers with old Nigerian money.
When Rain entered the house, she found Dora setting incense to burn in a fancy glass pot that had Arabic writings on it. The last time Rain was here, the décor had been Japanese-themed. Now, it was Middle-eastern.
She was still mad at Dora over what she and Kofo had hidden from her about her origins, but she temporarily forgot her anger as Dora gave her a sunny smile to welcome her home.
Dora or Pandora, as she preferred to call herself, was not your average mother. During Rain’s childhood, she had been so eccentric that other mothers avoided her; and the ones who associated with her, did so because she was rich and generous toward them. Dora had been judged for her glitzy lifestyle and her liberal parenting manner. People had predicted that Rain would turn out wayward. But Dora, when the world wasn’t watching, had been a great mother. Imperfect in so many ways, but ticking the right boxes where it mattered.
She was an adventurer. She believed she was a student of life, always learning new ways, cultures, and beliefs from the many different countries she visited. She was born Muslim, but her feet had been restless. So, she looked into Christianity and other religions, going away to far countries to seek and worship ancient gods. Still, her thirst wasn’t satiated. Sometimes, she mixed the faiths; other times, she took a break and stayed faithless. But regardless of whatever she believed in or whatever version of herself she was lost in at any given time, Dora’s heart was always overflowing with love and kindness.
“Are we Muslim again?” Rain asked her as she walked into the living room.
Dora looked at her and a guilty smile filled her face. She bore the same remorseful expression she had from her visit to Dubai.
“Am I forgiven?” Dora asked in a quiet voice. Rain shook her head. “Rain, my watermelon, I’m so sorry,” she said, hurrying toward Rain as much as her troubled knee could allow her. “I so badly wanted to tell you, but I was selfish. I didn’t want to lose you to Kofo.”
“Let’s not talk about this now.”
It wasn’t that Rain was keeping a grudge. It was her usual thing of not knowing how to deal with issues that burdened her heart.
“All the same,” Dora said, tapping Rain’s arm, “Kofo and I have no excuse for what we did, and we are sorry. I am sorry.”
“Please, I don’t want to talk about it.”
“That’s fine.” Dora adjusted errant curls in Rain’s wig, sighing. “I love your dress. And your shoes. And your hair. And your lipstick. What shade is that?”
“What do you think of the house? Do you like the new look?”
“It’s very…Arabian. That was why I asked if we’re back to being Muslim.”
“No. I just want something different. Have you eaten?” Dora headed toward the kitchen. “I think the chef made chicken and salad.”
Dora’s chef and housekeeper were chatting when both women entered the kitchen. They stopped to greet Rain.
“Get me that wine I told you to keep for me,” Dora said to the housekeeper. She turned to the chef. “Bring food, please. We’re starving.”
Rain went for a bottle of water.
“So, there’s a wedding on Saturday. Jola’s daughter is getting married—”
Dora was surprised. “That was unexpected. But not to worry. I’ll call my tailor for an express job. Is Noah attending?”
“Speaking of that…”
“Oh, yes! He called and begged me to beg you on his behalf. What happened?”
Rain stared at the chef. Dora caught on and told the man to give them some privacy.
“Did he cheat?” When Rain didn’t respond, Dora snapped her fingers. “I knew it! Who is the girl?”
“Wait, is Noah actually mad? Has he looked at you? No, has he forgotten all that you’ve done for him? Who the hell is that girl and what has she got that you haven’t?”
“She…” Rain burst into an empty laugh. “She has his DNA.”
“Mommy, I caught Noah fucking his twin sister.”
The sound of glass smashing to the floor made both women turn. The housekeeper had just wasted a bottle of wine worth her salary.
Rain loved her mom for many things. Her rebellious nature, her nonstop cheer, her fountain of youth, her fit body, her hedonist ways, her stupendous wealth—and most notably, the fierce way she loved and defended Rain.
Rain liked to think of herself as a mini version of Dora without the sweetness. Her friends would argue that she was equally compassionate. She enjoyed being an explorer as well, seeing new places and forming great connections. Her friendship network was as important as her web of business associates. She was also an erudite, looking for every opportunity to get one more certificate or diploma. People who knew her often wondered how she managed her time between work and play. Being the head of IT in a tech company in a foreign country was a tough job, but Rain was hitting her goals and doing it with elegance—if one didn’t count the frequent drama in which she found herself.
Right now, Dora was on the phone with Noah’s parents, expressing her disgust at their son and daughter’s incestuous relationship. She had never fancied the family, even though she liked Noah, in particular. The reason for her aversion was that the parents were gold-diggers, as they had grabbed every chance to get money from Rain and Dora on many occasions.
“Your son and daughter are trash!” she shouted for the fifth time and ended the call, tossing her phone aside. Then, she looked at Rain and with a sympathetic smile as she filled glasses for them with red wine. “Do you need to cry or something?”
“No. I’m so over him now.”
“You’re definitely hurting.”
“God, no.” Rain walked over to Dora’s couch and took a glass of wine. “The whole thing is still hilarious to me. Of course, I had feelings for him, and I really thought that he would be the one I was looking for.”
“To be honest, I never thought he was. If you had married him, you’d have married down. Remember the first day he came here, wearing that God-awful wannabe Ralph Lauren t-shirt that had the man on the logo looking like he was whacking the poor horse?”
Rain almost spat out her wine as she burst into loud laughter.
“You upgraded him, sweetie. The least he could have done was stop having taboo sex with his twin. Who knows if they even started that nonsense in the womb?”
“Mommy, please nau.” Rain tried to catch her breath but she ended up laughing again.
“But he treated me like I was the best thing that ever happened to him. We didn’t have any issues.”
“Was the sex great?”
“Of course, broke men have nothing to offer but sex.”
“I don’t think that’s always true.”
“Nzamo called,” Dora said from nowhere with a characteristic expression she always used whenever she wanted to toss bombs into a conversation. It came with pressed lips and a head that turned at the same time her eyes rolled.
“Why…? What did he tell you?”
“He and his wife are over. He wants you back.”
“He can go and die a million deaths, Mommy. Please, block his line.”
Dora made a show of taking her phone and doing as Rain requested. “Done.”
The last person Rain wanted to hear from was another ex. When things ended between them, she told everyone that he was dead—and to some extent she believed it, even when she met him at an international function and didn’t recognize him. Now that he was suddenly finding his way back to existence, she couldn’t let him slip in through the cracks. He was to remain dead to her.
“I have to go fishing for a new husband.”
“Not the husband talk again,” Dora whined.
“Mommy, I still want to get married and have children the proper way, okay? The Nzamos and Noahs of this life cannot discourage me from my goals.”
“But have you stopped to think that it’s this your blind ambition to have a husband and a home that is leading you to meet the wrong guys? Just have a baby and live happily like me.”
“I will not be a single mother. If I have to buy a husband, I will.”
“Rain Kareem, that is not how it’s done!” Dora scolded her in Hausa. Then, she mellowed and touched her hand. “You’ll find a good man. The best man for you in this your quest to… Whatever it is.”
“Marriage, Mommy. And a home, and a proper family. Something you and Aunty Kofo denied me. I’ll be a terrible mother all on my own, I know it. I don’t want my children to grow up with an always busy, always traveling mother with restless feet.”
Dora gave up. Rain downed her wine.
“Well, I’m so glad you’re done with Noah. Just make sure that when you get back to Dubai, you will take all things Noah, lock them in a box…”
“And toss that box into the ocean,” Rain completed the sentence.
“Good girl. Now, we have to talk about what style you want the tailor to make for that wedding. God forgive me, I don’t even know the girl’s name.”
“Wasn’t she the one that was wild in Bora Bora and went topless in the lobby of a hotel?”
“I’d have beaten the madness out of that her senseless head,” Dora said in Hausa.
Just then, the chef walked in and announced that lunch was ready.
©Sally Kenneth Dadzie @moskedapages