They all alighted when a gateman opened the gate and their entered a big compound. Auntie Chinyere packed the car in the garage. She pressed the small plastic equipment laced on the ring of the key holder of the car, and the boot opened. There were three bags. They all carried one of the luggages and walked into the apartment.
Nkechi admired the structure from outside. It was a beautiful storied building and the structure looked magnificent. The ground was tiled and the environment sensed serenity. She admired Abuja wind. The wind slithered into the pore of her skin and she gloated at every cool breeze and silent noises it made. It blowing heavily.
They all walked in, and Auntie Chinyere led them to a room. She dropped the luggage and Juliet followed. Nkechi dropped hers and glanced at her Aunt. “This is your room. Welcome to my house. Enjoy yourself,” Auntie Chinyere said, trying to twist her fingers on her laps.
Nkechi smiled and Auntie Chinyere returned the smile back. “You can join us at dinning table for the dinner. It’s about to start soon,” Auntie Chinyere said, looking at the wristwatch on her hand.
She rubbed Nkechi’s shoulder, and walked out of the room and Juliet followed her. Nkechi sat on the bed and admired how glorious the room looked; the shiny chandelier was a beauty to behold. It was beautified in a way she hadn’t seen before except in movies. She thought Mama was rich and they lived the best luxury life, until she came to her aunt’s house now. She picked up the pillow that was on the end of the bed and placed it close to her nose. She closed her eyes, inhaling the sweet strawberry scent and smiled. She cuddled the pillow and her gaze moved to the top of the wardrobe. A big teddy bear with big eyeballs was staring exact opposite at her. It was looking adorable. Her room’s door creaked open and a girl walked in. Her eyebrows furrowed was like that of Juliet’s own and she has a pointed nose like Auntie Chinyere.
Could this be Mary? she wondered. But she does not look taller than Juliet and she should be the older one. They can pass for same height.
“Are you Mary,” she asked.
She nodded and quickened her pace. She got to the bed and sat beside Nkechi, then held her hand tight. “I am glad you finally came. My mum have told me so much about you and showed us your pictures. You are so beautiful” she said, touching Nkechi’s jaw and moving her hand all over her face.
Mary stood up and begged Nkechi to stand too. She did and Mary dragged her towards the mirror and admired her outfit. Nkechi wore a varsity jacket that barely covered her stomach and a knee length short.
Mary fantasized about the outfits and kept touching the shirt with her palm, before stopping. She clasped her palms. “You look absolutely wonderful. I have seen some models in this outfit and I love them but my mum won’t let me experiment them with other beautiful ones,” she said. “Just look at what I’m putting on. So fluffy and ugly,” she said.
Nkechi stared at her disappointedly. She knows that Auntie Chinyere was a fashion enthusiast and her daughter wants to take over from her. She thought maybe Auntie Chinyere wanted her to face her studies first. “You look beautiful too,” Nkechi said.
“Mary, you are taking a whole lot of time!” Auntie Chinyere shouted from the dining room.
Mary bit her finger with her teeth. “Eish, I was told to summon you for dinner,” she said.
She dragged Nkechi and they walked to the dining room. A young man was standing and arranging the plates on the table in front of each chairs. He raised his head up and Nkechi muttered a greeting and he replied. He nodded and Nkechi felt he smirked and ducked down his head. He had a well shaved facial beards abandoning some on the jaw; they were grey. His bald shiny head looked glorious and Nkechi could compare it to a morning star. He gestured at Nkechi to sit and she walked towards the chair and adjusted it forward. She sat down and dragged the chair forward to adjoin with the table.
They began to serve themselves from the big stainless bowls in the middle of the table. The cutleries were clinking as they we’re being moved all over the plates and it sometimes, strike with spoons.
“You are such a good cook,” Nkechi complimented, looking at her Aunt.
Mary dropped her cutleries. “Not my mum. My dad cooks most of the times and he is the best cook. He cooked this,” she said.
“Really? Most of the times? You mean sometimes?” she asked.
Auntie Chinyere interrupted. She was slowly laughing, not allowing herself to choke on food particles in her mouth. She lifted the glass of water beside her, and gulped down half of it, then hit her chest. “Yes, my husband cooks most of the times because his job affords him luxury of staying at home. I work 9:00AM till 6:00PM during the week days and he does most of the chores. I assist when I’m at home,” she said still smiling. “Mary and Juliet had been doing the most recently. He will be relieved when they have perfected it.”
Nkechi was wowed. Her aunt’s husband stared at his wife and they exchanged kisses. Mary scoffed and coughed. She covered her mouth with her palm and Auntie Chinyere said ‘sorry’ while others followed.
Nkechi’s aunt husband cleared his voice and started to speak. His voice was deep and coarse. He reminded Nkechi of her mum’s boyfriend when she was in primary school. She called him, “Uncle.” Aunt Chinyere’s husband lowered his face. “In marriage, we have to be so thoughtful not to burden our spouses. Marriage is sweet when it’s companionship not slavery,” he said.
Nkechi’s spoon clung to the plate. She was still staring at them and her aunt husband was speaking. He stopped and dinning table became quiet. “Wow!” Nkechi screamed. “I guess what matters is understanding and compromise.”
Everybody nodded glancing at themselves.