JOY’S CONTROVERSIAL SUNDAY CUISINE #1 (SHORT STORY)
Joy and Ernest’s otherwise loving marriage boils every Sunday because of a tradition she follows – some cooking that she does. You want to find out what she is cooking and why her husband is so incensed about it. Besides, why does she keep cooking this stuff that’s making her husband mad? I mean, she’s seen how he feels about it. So why doesn’t she just stop for the sake of peace? Read this interesting story and get your answers. Share your thoughts too on the story itself and the accompanying graphics. You are blessed!
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JOY’S CONTROVERSIAL SUNDAY CUISINE #1
“You’re very, very wasteful! Who’s going to eat all this food you’ve cooked?”
Ernest, who had just come back from watching an English Premier League match at a friend’s house, was very angry and he wasn’t done yet. Opening and slamming the pots in the kitchen one by one, he continued, “Jollof rice, melon soup, okro soup, goat meat pepper soup, oil bean salad … Lord, have mercy! What are you planning? A party?”
His wife, Joy, seemed to have been wilting as he fumed. She wanted to say something but she choked on the words. Although she knew her husband’s aversion to much spending, she had hoped he would have learnt the pattern to her supposed extravagance in their two years of marriage.
She was a hospitable person, just like her mum. Before she got married, Sundays were always considered special at their home. She enjoyed helping her mum cook all the delicacies they served throughout the day to friends and relatives who dropped by.
She had carried the tradition over to her matrimonial home but her husband simply refused to come on board. Sometimes, he even needed coaxing before he partook of the treats she prepared. The fact that for over a year, she wasn’t paying for the lavish Sunday menu out of their housekeeping money but from her pocket seemed immaterial to him. Whenever she requested for money for a dress or shoe as she often did, he used it as evidence that she had her priorities all wrong.
After he stormed out of the kitchen, Joy wiped the tears that had escaped her eyes and began to wash up the utensils she’d used while cooking. By the time she was through, it was 1:46 p.m., so she went to freshen up.
A little after 2 p.m., dressed in a green embroidered shift with her hair packed on top of her head, she checked herself in her vanity cabinet mirror. Although she was nearly thirty, she could easily pass for twenty with her flawles fair skin, unlined face and slim build. Liking what she saw, she literally gave herself a thumbs-up and put on a pair of silver-coloured drop earrings. Then she slipped on her brown leather slippers and stepped into the living room.
As she dusted the furniture, the first of her random guests arrived and took over. They were two cousins of Ernest’s (Jimoh and Amene) who had been job hunting since they finished youth service three years back. They often visited on Sundays to have their only decent meals of the week.
All afternoon, their kinsmen, work colleagues and church members from different parts of Lagos came by. Some stayed for about half an hour, others hung around for hours. Each person chose what to eat from fruits Joy had ordered from Ota to the assorted dishes available. Some had had lunch and opted for the oil bean salad or pepper soup and drinks.
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There was much talk and laughter, occasional singing of choruses and prayer. Ernest wasn’t much of a host but he behaved himself by masking his discontent at the number of guests and amount of food consumed. He calculated that what these folks ate here in one afternoon would be enough to sustain his wife and himself for a week or more but she chose to, in his view, “fritter it all away in unsolicited benevolence”.
In his place, Jimoh and Amene assisted Joy to wait on the guests and helped themselves at intervals. Later, they washed up the crockery, pots and cutlery. Joy gave them some soup to use the next day and a little cash for transport. She also prayed with them about some impending interviews and spoke hope into them because they said they’d attended so many in the past without success
After they left, Joy went to clean the guest john. She peeped at herself in the mirror above the sink and noticed she had a glow about her, not just because of the sheen of perspiration on her skin due to her exertions.
She felt fulfilled. The arrival of her guests, what they demanded and their departure always seemed choreographed such that everyone had just enough of what they wanted and there were no leftovers. It must be God, she thought, and waved her hands in praise.
But she also knew that her husband’s concern that she was not saving money for the rainy day or to contribute to capital projects for the family was right. If only she was earning more, if only the cost of living was not so high, she thought and sighed. Then she went to join her husband in the bedroom.
-To be continued-
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2016
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