JOY’S CONTROVERSIAL SUNDAY CUISINE #2 (SHORT STORY)
Ernest just wanted a strong ally to persuade Joy to forgo her Sunday food fests. They could buy a new car or a plot of land if she saved some reasonable money from her paycheck every month, he figured.
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Our short story about a young couple who seem to have a permanent disagreement about the wife’s tradition of Sunday “extravagance” stopped where she was about to join her husband in the bedroom at the end of yet another Sunday of the usual. Will the husband who is the more vocal of the two in the matter pick up the quarrel from where he left off earlier or will they find a way to resolve the issue? Let’s see how the matter plays out. Do share your impressions at the end and be abundantly blessed of the Lord.
JOY’S CONTROVERSIAL SUNDAY CUISINE #2
As Joy slipped in in order not to disturb Ernest, he was reporting her, by phone, to his elder brother, Salihu.
“Well, how do you think my Sunday went? Joy had the whole of Lagos over to the house as usual. She refuses to acknowledge that things are hard in the country and that you can’t just open your house constantly for every Tom, Dick and Harry to come and freeload.”
“Really! How about the saying, ‘There’s joy in sharing’? No pun intended.”
Unbelievable! Ernest thought. Why was Salihu, of all people, his Lausanne-domiciled, frugal brother, taking Joy’s side in this matter? He’d complained to his mum once and she’d reminded him in her tartiest tone that she’d warned him against marrying Joy but he’d gone ahead.
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“Why run to me now that she’s practising her rich girl routine on you?” she’d asked and cut the call.
His younger sister, Ake, was more sympathetic. But when he took the matter to his older sister, Cheche, she only seemed to hear that Joy had cooked nsala soup and summoned her to teach “Big Sis” (Joy’s name for her) how to do the same. Altogether, they spent a whole hour of his “hard-earned call credit” swapping recipes. The telecom company that would usually cut one’s call abruptly was on its “best” behaviour that day.
Ernest knew better than to talk to Joy’s family about this. He felt they had more money than sense and would consider him silly for bringing up the subject. He just wanted a strong ally to persuade Joy to forgo her Sunday food fests. They could buy a new car or a plot of land if she saved some reasonable money from her paycheck every month, he figured. Unfortunately, it seemed he wasn’t going to find that ally in Salihu. Perhaps, he could try his mum again.
Meanwhile, he needed to steer the conversation away from his home life and end it as soon as possible.
“Anyway, how was YOUR OWN Sunday?”
“Don’t change the subject, Ernest! Sometimes, I wish you had my wife and I had yours. For sure, we’ll never be able to lay out the buffet of Nigerian cuisine that your wife does, but I know it’s precious to have good company to warm the house once in a while. We never seem to have anyone over. Marge isn’t cut out for that sort of thing and it gets quite depressing sometimes.”
“You could go to a pub or something?”
“It isn’t the same. The atmosphere in the pubs isn’t right for me. You won’t know the value of what your wife is doing until she stops.”
“It appears that there’s really no chance of that happening. This thing has become second nature to her. But the economy is so bad …”
“If it’s the money you’re so concerned about, I’ll supplement.”
“No way! That won’t be necessary.”
Joy’s interest was piqued. “What won’t be necessary?”
“It’s none of your business,” Ernest replied.
“Is that Joy? Ernest, please put her on.”
To Ernest’s mortification, his brother was so starved of decent company that he offered to pay for all the food Joy served on Sunday afternoons, leaving her to supply only the drinks. In return, he was going to send some staff from his company’s Nigerian office to set up video conferencing facilities in their home to enable him join them to meet and chat with folks from back home across the seas every Sunday.
Ernest was shaking his head as the call ended. Joy, giggling, gave him a wink and a tickle on the side before she stepped into the bathroom to clean herself up for bed. Ernest knew the drill. Before long, she’d launch into an ill-advised attempt to mimic Whitney Houston doing, “I will always love you”. Pretty soon she was soaring on the notes of the refrain and then her overstretched voice took the inevitable nosedive. But brave girl that she was, she was going to try again and that, right away! Ernest held the pillows to his ears to save himself from another nerve-wracking listening experience.
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“Whitney, see what you’re putting us through by setting the bar so high?” he mockingly moaned facing the ceiling.
Then he began to laugh ’cause he knew the bottom line: he loved his wife intensely. Much as he hated her “excessive” openhandedness, there really was no dull moment with her. She was “it”, awesome, inventive and, well, kind (a tad too much but it still needed to be acknowledged). He was getting impatient. He wanted her to come out so he could tell her just what had been going through his mind.
“The Salihus of this world, steer clear. This g-i-r-l is MINE!”
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2016
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