So, finally, We Know Them, the sequel to We Knew Them is available for sale! I apologize for the delay and trust that you will enjoy this sequel. Here’s a sneak peak.
in the meantime, please be reminded about my online writing course for beginners and intermediate writers, StoryCrafting, beginning on January 9, 2017. There are still spaces available. You can see more details here.
“Do you think she’ll like me?” Jumoke asked Derick yet again as he pulled into his parent’s compound in Benin.
“She will, she’s a nice woman. You have nothing to worry about.”
Jumoke sighed. “I hope so.”
Derick squeezed her hand reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I’ve told her about Hope.”
“Yeah, you said so.”
Derick kissed her forehead and whispered. “Don’t worry!”
A few minutes later, they were seated in a spacious living room. Jumoke could see Derick’s childhood pictures hanging on the wall. His mother was a stout woman, she looked stern. His father was lanky, with a tired smile.
A door opened and out came Derick’s mother. Jumoke promptly got on her feet.
“Mum.” Derick said, going over to her and kissing her cheeks.
“Hello son, I’ve been waiting for you people.”
“Sorry. Our flight was delayed. This is Jumoke…” he held out his hand to her.
“Good afternoon ma.”
“Good afternoon. Hmm…” the woman said surveying her. “I can see why you’re so taken with her, she’s beautiful.”
“Yes she is.” Derick smiled.
“Where’s your daughter?” Mrs Dede asked.
“We didn’t bring Hope with us, I thought she should meet you first.”
“But you should have brought her!” Mrs Dede countered. “If she’s going to be my granddaughter, I should meet her!”
“I apologize, you’ll meet her later.” Derick said pacifyingly.
Jumoke felt awkward, not knowing how to feel about Mrs Dede’s request.
“Well, sit down! I have prepared something delicious for you. It’s his favorite dish, Gbagbafofo.” She said to Jumoke.
“You made Gbagbafofo? Oh wow!” Derick said excitedly.
Jumoke smiled politely, she had no idea what they were talking about.
“I can’t wait to eat it but why don’t we sit down and talk for a while?”
“But the soup will get cold! You have to eat it now!” Mrs Dede insisted. “Or, are you people not hungry?” she asked facing Jumoke.
“We’ll eat now ma, I’m sure you have taken a lot of time to prepare the meal. Derick, let’s eat now.” Jumoke urged.
“You people should sit down,” Mrs Dede said walking away towards the kitchen. “I will tell Patience to call your father.”
As soon as she was gone, Jumoke faced Derick. “Do you think she likes me? What is Gbagbafofo?”
Derick laughed. “It’s like pepper soup, you’ll like it. And yes, I think she likes you.”
An elderly man came into the room and Derick stood up. “Dad, good afternoon.”
“Mo dokpe sir.”
“And this must be the lady I’ve heard so much about?” the elderly man said.
“Good afternoon sir.” Jumoke greeted.
“Hmm… she’s beautiful.”
Derick smiled and was about to respond to his father when Mrs Dede retuned with Patience, the maid.
“Uncle, good afternoon.” The girl greeted enthusiastically.
“Patience, how now?”
“Fine sir,” the girl replied, setting the tray on the table.
When Jumoke saw the soup, she felt her heart drop. Derick hadn’t told her that there would be large slices of okro in this meal. She ate okro soup on a few occasions, but it was always grated into the tiniest pieces.
“I made it with starch.” Mrs Dede said enthusiastically, signaling to Patience to dish the food.
Derick rubbed his palms together, his mouth already salivating at the sight of the fresh fish, periwinkles and ponmo, he hadn’t had this soup for so long. Jumoke’s discomfiture increased, she had never eaten starch or liked the idea of it. She wondered why a neutral meal of pounded yam and egusi soup hadn’t been prepared instead.
Derick was already digging into his food, reluctantly, she cut out a small morsel of starch and dipped it into her soup and tasted it.
“Do you like it?” Derick asked happily.
Jumoke could only nod.
“I will teach you how to prepare it later, it is your husband’s favorite meal.” Mrs Dede said matter-of-factly.
Husband? Jumoke wondered, swallowing the food with great effort.
“So I heard that you own a company…” Mr Dede said, trying to make small talk.
”Yes sir, I’m a part owner.”
“Hmm…” Mr Dede thought about this for a while.
“So what will happen when you get married? Will you be able to monitor…?”
Derick shook his head and frowned disapprovingly. “Mummy, please! Can we just enjoy this meal?”
Mrs Dede shrugged and said nothing.
Jumoke was in turmoil, she wasn’t enjoying the meal very much and it was becoming apparent to her that Derick’s parents had misgivings about her. The combination of these made her slow down her eating, she drank more water to wash down the taste of the food and hoped that no one would notice that she had barely touched it.
“My dear,” Mrs Dede said with a forced smile. “You’re not eating. Don’t you like the food?”
“I like it ma.” Jumoke replied without thinking.
“So why are you not eating?”
Derick looked at Jumoke, he saw she was greatly uncomfortable.
“Babe, are you all right? Are you still feeling that headache?”
Jumoke had no idea what he was talking about but she saw the look in his eyes. “Yeah, yeah… My head feels so heavy.”
“Your head is aching you?” Mrs Dede said. “And you’re not eating? Don’t you know that it’s because you’re hungry? Eat and then use some paracetamol, you’ll feel better.”
Derick almost gasped, his way out for Jumoke had turned out to be even more entangling. How could he tell his mother that his fiancée wasn’t enjoying the food?
Jumoke smiled and cut out another morsel of starch. “Yes ma.”
“Eat this thing very well! Derick, is this how she eats? Take plenty soup…!”
“Mum! She knows how to eat now!” Derick forced a laugh, wondering what else he could say to extricate Jumoke.
Jumoke forced herself to swallow the starch in her hand and reached for the fish, thinking that she would feel better if she ate some of it. In scooping some of the fish however, she unknowingly picked a slice of okro.
“Ehn ehn, that is how to eat Gbagbafofo!” Mrs Dede said pleased.
Mr Dede watched the exchange from his seat, he could tell that the fair skinned Yoruba girl didn’t like the food. How could his wife not see this?”
Jumoke bit into the okro and stilled.
Just swallow it, swallow it. You’ll wash it down with some water. She told herself.
Jumoke had the best of intentions but her throat wouldn’t cooperate, she retched and threw up into her hands. Rising quickly out of her chair, she ran to the toilet that Derick had shown her earlier.
Mrs Dede stared at the departing woman in utter shock, Derick lost his appetite, and Mr Dede began to chuckle softly.
You can buy this here.