What do you do after your safe secure world has come crashing down?
Well, you get up and keep going. And that was what I had decided to do. Ike’s news was terrible and that first night I had a horrible nightmare that the police came to arrest him. He woke up and we prayed together. Our predicament was made even more real when for the first time in years I realized that Ike would not dress up to go to work.
“I’ve been suspended honey,” he said softly when I asked him why he wasn’t preparing to go out. Of course, silly me, I thought. It still seemed like I was living in a dream.
“Let’s try to look on the bright side of things honey. At least I would be able to spend more time with Anna.” He said trying to smile. Bright side? I thought. There is no bright side to this.
Then I realized this was harder for him than even for me. He was trying to stay positive. I needed to try too. “Yeah, Ok,” I said with a bright smile. “I’m putting you in charge of nappy duty.”
That was a stroke of genius on my part. Bright side for both me and him. What better way for father to bond with child than changing soiled nappies?
I found time to do other things since I didn’t constantly have to worry about the baby. I polished the floors till they shone. I washed my hair. Then I remembered that my flowers needed a little watering and that was when the trouble started.
As soon as I came out with my watering can I noticed that Christy was in front of her house watering her own flowers. For one spilt second I wanted to run inside but she had already spotted me. I could never allow her to find out that Ike wasn’t going to work. The whole neighborhood would hear in minutes.
“Hey,” she called out cheerily. “Looks like we’ve got the same idea.”
Oh why today of all days, I grumbled inwardly but managed a smile. “Sure does.”
“How come Ike’s car is in the driveway?” she said pointing to his Lexus. “Is he at home?”
For a spilt second I considered saying no and then thought better of it.
“Yes he is,” I said shortly. “He needs to rest.”
“Oh ok. Hope all is well,” Christy said with concern on her face.
“Everything is fine,” I replied. That was a declaration of faith.
To my relief, she didn’t press further but launched on to what was for her a more interesting topic.
“So have you seen Titi since that time?” she asked me.
I had all but forgotten about Titi in the wake of Ike’s news.
“No I haven’t,” I replied. Perhaps I should give her a call. Besides it would distract my mind from Ike’s horrors at work. I had managed to pry her number out of her when she came to my house. And it seemed like she still didn’t remember me from our undergraduate days.
“I hope she’s fine though,” Christy said with such warmth that I looked at her with some amazement. Had I been judging this woman too harshly? Was she less shallow than I had originally thought?
“I hope so too,” I said.
Once I got in I picked up my mobile phone and dialed.
“Hello,” I said when she picked the call.
“Please who is this?” The voice sounded groggy somewhat. Perhaps she had been taking a nap.
“It’s me Chinelo,” I said cheerily hoping she wouldn’t be annoyed that I woke her up.
“Oh Chinelo,” she said in recognition and then stopped in midsentence as I heard a loud clang and the sound of something breaking…like glass.
“Stop it, stop it,” Titi shouted then she realized she was still on the phone nwith me. “Sorry Chinelo, I have to go.”
“’Is everything all right?” I was saying when she cut me off.
I tried calling back after a few minutes but she wasn’t answering. Dear God, I hoped she was alright. What could be going on there?
I called several times and an hour later I got a text message that said:
“I am fine Chinelo. One of my boys just broke a set of dishes accidentally. Thanks so much for your call. See you soon.”
I didn’t believe it. It sounded like someone deliberately broke something. Something was definitely going on in her house and now more than ever I was determined to find out what it was. I wouldn’t wait another day.