pissed that she reeked of urine. Again, that was not Christy like. I went back to my room where Chineye was still sleeping on the bed. Chineye was my gist partner and I needed to wake her up to inform her of Aunty Christys presence.

” Chineye, wake up, ” three deft blows to her thigh and she was still not burging. I reached for the glass of water on our bedside table and sprinkled the water on her. She frayed her arms and legs like she was about to swim. I stiffled the urge to laugh.

” Whos that, ” she said as she jumped out of the bed.

” Aunty Christy is here. ” She was still trying to make her eyes focus so her blurry vision can be clear.

” Aunty Christy is here, ” I said again.

She hissed. ” Is that why you woke me up? Monique, whats wrong with you? ” Her nostrils were already flaring up.

” Im sor… ”

” Wait, did you say Aunty Christy is here? ” Chineye sounded so surprised herself. It seemed like she just processed what I said. ” Shes supposed to be away on her honeymoon. Whats she doing again in our house. Has it not occured to her that shes married and is supposed to be in her husbands house. Emphasy on huuuusbaaand houuuuse. ”

” Don be mean, Chineye. I think there is something really going on with her. You need to see the way she looks. ”

” What? Where is she? ”

” Shes in the sittingroom. ”

Chineye dashed out of the room and come back later after some minutes.

” Why does Christy look like shes mourning? Thats so unlike her. ”

” I don know, ” I shrugged.

My mother voice echoed from the kitchen calling us to come for our food. Shed already served the pap in cups and put some Akara in paper plates. Akara and pap was what we usually eat on Saturdays. Mary walked to the kitchen. Her prococious mind was enough to tell her that food was ready. She demanded for her food but my mother said, ” let Chineye carry it for you. ”

” No, ” she protested already carrying the paper plate in a hand and the cup of pap in another.

My mother issued a serious warning. ” Don let it fall. I won give you another one. Carry them one at a time. ” Hardly as she finished speaking when Mary tripped just at the threshold of the kitchen door. The pap splashed all over and the balls of akara went flying in different directions. Mary sucked on her teeth almost at the verge of crying. Chinese was already up against her and delivered a knock on her head which triggered the tears and Mary started wailing.

” Why did you do that Chineye? ” Said my mother. ” You want her to start running temperature when you know I have no money to spend at the hospital. I do not give you the permission to beat your sister up. ” She served another pap in a cup and some balls of Akara in another paper plate and instructed Chineye to carry them for Mary to our room. She asked me to clean up the mess in the kitchen. I checked behind the kitchen door and picked the mop and dustpan. I mopped the splotches of pap on the tiled kitchen floor and swept the balls of akara into the dustpan before emptying them into the bin. My mother had already dished Christys food and asked me to take it to her. Marys father always had his meal last. My mother didn bother to dish his portion so she left it in the pot and

he came for it whenever he was ready. My step brother Khalid was out of the house to play with the neighbors.He was already in his teen years and had begun to grow more obnoxious and recalcitrant. Many a time, he and my mother usually got involved in some altercations which usually end in physical combats. My mother turned anything to missiles which she launched at him starting with her slippers, nearby plates,cups to mention but a few. But Khalid was deft in dunking and dodging things. And my mother would swear bitterly and accused him of talking after her ex- husband, his father.

When I got to the sittingroom, Christy was already sitting up on the couch. She no longer stared at emptiness but seemed to be aware of her environment now.

” Aunty Christy, your food. ” I drew the stool from beside the couches to her front and set the cup and paper plate on it.

” Thank you Monique. ” She said. I thought whatever iwasbwrong with her was already wearing off and her real self had begun to resurface. ” How are you? ” She asked.

” I am very well fine. ” I replied. I wanted to ask her why she was not on her honeymoon. I wanted to know what was troubling her but I dare not. It would be like I was meddling in her affairs. But I really wanted to know what was going on with her. So, I went back to the kitchen to get my food and proceeded to sit on a chair at the big dinningtable. The dinningroom was the most inconspicuous part of the house. The shafts of light sieving through the mesh on the window cast shadows beside them. I sat lurching in the shadows.The kitchens door which was wedged open with a stool slammed shut and I heard the flip-flap of my mother slippers on the cold tiled floor of the sittingroom.

” Iyawo, our wife. What are you doing here on a Saturday morning when you are supposed to be snuggle up against your husband chest? ”

Aunty Christy turned to face her. ” Goodmorning Bimbo. ”

” Why do you look like this? ” My mother gasped.

” Bimbo, the way I look, is the least of my problem right now. ”

” Whats wrong? ” My mother plopped into a couch beside her. ” First of all, how is your husband? is he fine? I hope there is nothing wrong with him. ”

Then Aunty Christy went silent.

Her silence was already communicating a lot to the still room. I knew this is all about Kay. The Kay she adored a lot. If Kay could make the lively Christy went dead and taciturn, I thought he was not actually worth it. When I saw growups crying over their men, I wanted to flog them badly. It pissed me off to see them behave like children. Now, the almighty Christy was acting dump and weak because of a guy. Chineye told me I would never understand because I didn know what it meant to be in love. Whether I was in love or not, I would never be a simp for a guy. I would always say that to Chineye. I didn even think I wanted to be in love because it was not worth it.

” Christy, all of this is about your husband right? ” My mum broke the silence.

She nodded.

” Tell me everything that happened without mincing words. ”

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