So, not long after meeting Emma’s mom, Emma fell seriously ill. We went from hospital to hospital but all the scans and conclusions said nothing was wrong with Emma. One nurse advised us to seek spiritual assistance because it wasn’t normal. Each day before and after work, I would pass by, ensure he ate and took his prescribed medicines then take my leave. On weekends, we would pray together and ask for healing and protection for him.
For about a month, neither his brother nor his mother stopped by. He became week and was losing weight. I couldn’t handle everything by myself so I asked him if he had informed his family and friends. I didn’t want things to end badly and be blamed so I informed my dad and my mom. They advised me to tread cautiously but I was surprised when one time after church, the whole family followed me to take him to the hospital. My mom placed some fruits on his bedside. That act really touched me. The following day saw his mother and his brother at the hospital. His mother stayed for about 15 mins before leaving that she was expecting some goods. His brother stayed with us the whole day and asked us to permit him to leave, his family was alone in their new home.
I didn’t feel it was right to have to shoulder this burden all alone for this long. I smiled and saw him to the door. Lucky for us, we were released the next weekend, since I was at work, I couldn’t go for him. I went for him the following day. I had to be strong for him. The man I fell in love with was now a shadow of himself. I saw this to be the test of our love, after which we would enjoy a big blessing and days of happiness.
As I helped him to sit down, his mother knocked on the door. I was happy she had come. She didn’t greet me or anything. She asked in a rude voice, “Where’s my son?” I gestured to where he was seated. She flung her bag into a chair, turned and said, go to my car and get my suitcase, there’s a lot to be done” I didn’t want to go. Who treats people like that? She realised I was still standing by the door so she turned, “Evelyn, hurry and get my bag. It’s in the red car outside” Hmm, how I wish I could have said something.
I went outside and for close to twenty minutes, I struggled to get the bag into the compound and into Emma’s veranda. The thing was heavy. I wondered what was in there. When I finally brought it in, she said, “What took you so long dear?” She didn’t let me say anything. She continued. Emma said he would like some pepper soup, please fix him some. In my head, I was like, “Ah wait oooh, mebaa mpenatwee, but it’s like I’m being treated like a maid.” I had asked permission from my parents to spend the day with Emma so I did just that. I went to the market, bought foodstuff and some local herbs to prepare the soup and some herbal concoction for Emma.
After preparing everything, I served Emma. His mother came out of the bedroom and said, Evelyn, Emma can’t sleep in his room. We need to have it cleaned and disinfected. It was getting to 5pmby then and I was tired. I thought that would be all and so I went to do it. When I was carrying out the floor mop and the bucket, she asked me what I prepared for her dinner. I informed her I didn’t, because I thought she would. She looked greatly annoyed but was I to blame? What did do wrong?
Emma’s recovery was long and stressful and his mother dint fail to make the situation worse and unpleasant for me. She would call me even when I was at work that she was busy so I should come and give her son medicine. I would go cook on weekends and the food was never to her standard. She said my tomato stew was too red, my okro stew too dark and my yams and rice too salty. And yet, she fed it to her son and ate some too. I didn’t see what assistance she ever gave. Emma too never stood up for me in anyway.
It hurt so much that I was giving him my all and he couldn’t as much as say a word on my behalf or show any form of gratitude. His friends visited him from time to time. One day, they came with some pineapples and watermelons. I decided to wash them and cut them up. I was placing them in big plastic bowls when the mother entered the small kitchen. She asked why I cut them up and I told her it was better that way. She said the frits would become infected with bacteria.
I was annoyed with her but didn’t know how to vent my anger. She had a way of reducing you to nothing with her words. She would annoy you and be sweet about it. She removed all the fruits from the bowls and was about to throw them out when Emma walked in. I expected him to say something but he just shrugged and walked out. Herh, that day my heart was boiling. The love and affection I had for them was at zero. I walked out and went to sit in the hall. This guy had the guts to ask me what I was making them for lunch.
I told him I was tired and he got annoyed. His mother also came to ask me the same and I told her I was tired. She said, “Oh, is that so?” I just looked at my feet. I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked to leave and she quickly said “goodbye” the same way she had said it the first time we met. I knew then I had wasted my time. Emma just sat there and didn’t say anything. The next day, he called me not to come around. I just cut the line on him.
I told my mom everything that had happened as I cried. She was very annoyed but she told me it was better I had loved and learnt than if I never gave myself that opportunity. For three days, neither Emma nor his mom called to ask of me. I had learnt my lesson. Their silence spoke volumes. After a week, Emma called me. You could hear there was a renewed strength and excitement in his voice. He was talking about how he was doing well and how his mother was taking good care of him. I told him it was good news but he should count me out.
For a few minutes, neither of us spoke until I dropped the call. When people show you something good or bad about then, don’t hold on for too long. Learn and know how to deal with them. Emma’s mother had in numerous ways shown me I wasn’t good enough for her son. She even had a petty misunderstanding with me on how her son liked things. I could never have won against her. My only regret was not seeing the signs early enough.
Emma didn’t fight for us. Not even once. There were a lot of times I felt he should have calmly stepped in and let his mother know he meant what he had told her from the first day we met but instead he sat there, pretending everything was going to sort themselves out. When she doesn’t like you or want you for her son, the odds of her turning around to genuinely like you are low. I wish them well and I hope they are happy wherever they are.