December 26th, 2009
Gosh! Where do I start?! These last five days have been amazing! In all the years I have been coming here, this has been, by far, the best Christmas ever!
First of all, the house actually looks festive! For once, it has been decorated with some thought, thanks to Ezioma’s kids. You see, as the only daughters-in-law, neither Ezioma nor myself dared decorate on our own accord before, make e no be like say na we know Christmas pass. So, year after year, both of us have just been respecting ourselves jeje, and ‘enjoying’ the scanty tree, and decade old garlands. But this year, her teenage children were having none of that, and went all out with all sorts of lights and props. After all, na their grandpapa house! I never could have imagined how much of a difference some colourful rice lights would make.
And speaking of these grandchildren who have now come of age, this also translated positively in the kitchen, as they were now enlisted to join the troops! With more hands, there was a lot less sufferhead work for myself and Ezioma…who herself delegated even her own tasks to her children. But the beauty of it all was that these kids were happy to do it. They even made the younger ones beg for a chance to help out in the kitchen. Even though I could tell their that Grandma and the village women who occasionally stopped by to help, were not too amused by the loud music bumping from their iPod speakers, as for me, I was only too happy to shake my rump to Dbanj and P-Square as I cooked.
As for the food…oh my gosh! The fooood! Let’s just say that from the very morning after we arrived, I knew my diet was dead in the water. My Mother-in-law bakes the tastiest bread ever, and the smell of fresh-out-of-the-oven loaves wafted into our bedroom that first morning. When I got to the kitchen, I stared at the fruit platter I had asked the housemaid to prepare, before opting for Mama’s delicious bread, with a generous helping of creamy butter.
“Ihunna!!!!” Ezioma exclaimed, walking into the kitchen and seeing me chew into my first bite of bread, with butter smearing my cheek.
I had raised my hand to silence her. Abeg, I’m on holiday! When I get back to Lagos, we will undo the undoables. At 87.5kg, I’m sure I can afford to add an additional 5kg. By the time I go hard in the gym, I should lose it all, easy peasy!
Tomorrow, we will be going to Enugu…to see my Dad. It used to be our tradition to see him the first Sunday after Christmas, but for the past 4 Christmases, I have made up excuses to keep away. But JJ told me, even when we were still in Lagos, that there will be no excuses this year.
So, off to see him, we’ll go.
December 27th, 2009
We drove into my Dad’s bungalow, a little after noon. The usual 90-minute drive seemed so exhausting today…and longer. On getting there, I was surprised to see the house looking a bit dilapidated. Grass was overgrown, and there was even a window shutter missing.
Walking inside, I was surprised by how old my father now looks! At 70, he’s no longer a spring chicken, but I didn’t expect to see him looking so aged. Even his wife, his omalicha nwa, looked like age had also caught up with her. Her waistline was considerable thicker, and I almost passed out seeing that her arms had assumed a ‘Christian Mother’ nature. Wow! How the mighty have fallen!
Even Legachi, my half sister, didn’t look as slim and perky as I remembered, and Marizu, my half brother, also had an unkempt look to him. This was a far cry from what I remembered from my last visit.
For the first time since I could recall, my Dad called out my name, and had then come to hug me. But instead of responding to him, I could only manage to flinch. I couldn’t help but wonder if his change in attitude was a result of my weight loss. So he loved me now, abi?!
As they prepared for the meal, I was surprised when my stepmother called me into the kitchen.
“Ihunna, please take it easy with your Dad this year,” she pleaded. “We know you would rather be anywhere but here…but please, try to make your Dad feel happy and comfortable.”
Suddenly my heart jumped into my mouth. “Is he sick?” I exclaimed.
“Not anymore. In the past year, he had a few mild strokes, but nothing debilitating, we thank God!”
By this time, I was enraged. “Why wasn’t I told? Why weren’t my sisters and I told?!”
She shook her head and laughed. “Ihunna, please don’t behave as if you are talking to someone else! You are talking to me! Let’s not pretend!” she shook her head again “Your own half sister tried to communicate with you, but you wouldn’t even give her time of day! What would have been your honest reaction if we had told you of his ailment?!”
She was right. I would have ignored such a message, and maybe even have insulted the bearer.
“Well, I guess that’s what a man gets when he chooses to leave his family for a girlfriend!” I retorted.
Mama Legachi shook her head again. “Ihunna, I wasn’t the cause of your parents’ separation! He met me long after your Mom asked him to leave!”
Asked him to leave?! What was she on about? That was not how I remembered it.
“Just be gentle with him, biko! He might not mean much to you, but he is everything to me!” the older woman remarked, before walking out.
Hmm! I had the feeling today’s meal would not be our typical post-Christmas day lunch!
Catch up on Ihunna’s story here:
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 1: Grubbido
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 2: Fragile
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 3: Defiant
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 4: Progress
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 5: The Gym
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 6: Killjoy
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 7: Pain
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 8: Frenemies
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 9: Exhilarated
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 10: Popcorn
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 11: Free-fall
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 12: Sunday Morning
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 13: Mission Reactivated
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 14: New Things
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 15: Bad Business
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 16: Luxury Items
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 17: The Solution
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 18: Magic Formula
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 19: Date Night
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 20: Quinoa
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 21: Perfect Fit
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 22: Keeping In Touch
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 23: Delete
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 24: Philosophical
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 25: Keep it Moving
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 26: My Co-Wife
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 27: Old Jeans & Old Friends
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 28: Prawn Stir Fry
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 29: Facebook Tagging
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 30: Detox Part 2
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 31: Abs & Crunches
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 32: Making Notes
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 33: Christmas Party
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 34: Ashiedu
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 35: Willpower
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 36: Packing…and TV
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 37: Last Minute
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 38: Body Image
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 39: Christmas Trip