SEVEN
‘If you don’t stop laughing Osaz, you will
spill the remaining of the icecream on
that designers shirt.’ Hester smiled as
they strolled to the car park.
‘How …how can I? ‘ Osaz chuckled. ‘How
can I when you are so funny.
‘Mister, your girlfriend is cute.’
‘Sorry, I didn’t get you.’ He stopped
instantly and they turned in the direction
of the voice.
‘I said, Sir, your girlfriend is beautiful. ‘He
repeated comprehensively looking up at
them.
Osaz stooped and touched him on the
shoulder. He was about eleven. ‘Did you
hear that darling, he said you are
beautiful? ‘ He looked up at his
companion.
‘Wonderful compliment dear, thank you.’
Hester beamed. ‘What is your lovely
name? ‘
He smiled. ‘My name is Favor. ‘
‘I said it, didn’t I? Your name is lovely
indeed. Lord may we be divinely favored
today.’.She touched his cheek.
Favor lowered his eyes and blushed.
‘Thank you Auntie. ‘
‘Tell me Favor, are we sharing this? ‘ He
gestured to the nylon he was holding.
‘It is for my Mum and I .’ Favor replied.
‘Oh …you are a considerate guy too. I
suppose they are hamburgers, how come
you are not making them complete with
icecream or drinks? ‘
‘I’ll love to because I love icecream but I
wanted to surprise and make my Mummy
happy. ‘ He smiled. ‘I have been saving
most of my bus fare and her favorite
snack is how far I can get. ‘
Osaz stood impressed. ‘I am offering to
buy icecream for you and your Mum. ‘
‘No, Thank you Sir.’
‘Come on Favour, I wouldn’t mind helping
you complete your surprise. ‘ He fetched
his wallet.
‘Mum will know there is no way I could
afford all that with just my bus fare.
Besides I don’t know you.’ Favor stated
simply.

Hester watched in awe, she decided not
to interrupt but allow Osaz handle it all.
‘I understand now. We are no longer
strangers, despite that, I won’t force you
to do what you don’t want to. It is a good
thing your Mum taught you.’ He patted
him on the back.
‘Dear let me see your teeth.’ She tipped
his face upward gently.
Favor obeyed.
She observed them closely.
‘Auntie, I know what you are going to say,
the students in my school haven’t
stopped telling me my braces are now
bad.’
‘That is true Sweetie, you should have
seen your orthodontist. ‘
Favor looked at his feet. ‘We can’t afford
him anymore. ‘
‘It is okay if you can’t afford him
anymore, it is nothing to the ashamed of.
‘ Hester bent to be in same level with
him. ‘Do you consider us to be people
you want your Mum to meet someday ?’
‘You want to meet my Mum? ‘ His eyes
sparkled.
‘Yes. ‘
‘I … I don’t know how …’
‘Can you give me your address? ‘
‘Yes.’ She handed her icecream to Osaz
who had been watching them. She
brought her phone and gave it to Favor
who typed the address.
He handed it back to her. ‘I like your
phone. ‘
‘Thanks Fave . When is your Mum
normally home? ‘
‘Sunday, after service, from one pm. ‘
‘Thanks darling. ‘
‘Can I come with her? ‘ Osagie pouted
with a face like a child who has been
forgotten.
‘Yes you can.’ He chuckled
‘Tell your Mum about us and that we will
visit next week.’ Hester finalized.
‘Take care of your Mum. ‘ Osaz said.
‘I will, I want to be responsible. ‘ He said
proudly. ‘Bye.’
‘Bye.’ They chorused
He turned and began running.
They head for his car.
‘He is intelligent. ‘Hester took her
icecream back and gave her phone to
him. ‘Check that out.’
‘Yes darling. ‘ He looked back at her. He
opened the door for her when they got to
the car. ‘That got me wondering. ‘
She slide into the car, he had read her
mind.
+++++

****
‘At least I have learnt two.’ Hester began
putting away the plastic can for
ingredients.
‘Two.’ Mwihaki, the housekeeper said and
laughed. ‘Like the movie people say, “this
is just the beginning! ” She placed the pot
on the gas cooker and turned it on.
‘Are you saying it is just the beginning for
me? She glanced at her with a smile. She
was twice her age.
‘Yes.’
‘Ha! That straight. ‘ Hester gave her a
daring look. ‘Are you trying to tell me
your country has more dishes than mine?

‘Load of them. ‘Mwihaki sat on a stool.
Hester closed the cabinet . ‘Uh-hmmm.’
‘Do you want to know more? ‘
‘I will love to, so we can compare and
contrast at length. ‘ she closed the lid of
the jug and transferred the freshly
squashed pineapple juice to the fridge.
Mwihaki waited for her to pull a stool
close before proceeding. ‘Dishes are
peculiar to countries. In Kenya, we have
varieties, we have those peculiar to urban
centres, the rural areas and Kenya as a
whole.’ She paused momentarily. ‘Ugani,
corn meal porridge is Kenya’s national
dish.’
‘Really? ‘ Hester encouraged wondering
which could be Nigeria national dish.
‘We have staple food, Ugani, rice, bread,
chedadi -fried paste of wheat powder. We
have steak and irio, kukunazi -chicken
with coconut milk, maharagwe -fried spice
red beans with coconut milk.’ She
continued emphatically.
‘Hmmmm …’ Hester resolved
imaginatively.
‘There is fukumawiki- Collard grains.’
‘Fukumawiki …Mwihaki …that sounds like
an extract of your name. Is it that you
discovered the recipes and gave the
result a name. ‘ Hester analysed jokingly.
‘Oh my dear girl, you’re fun to be with.’
She laughed.
Hester stood to take a peep at the
content of the pot before sitting once more.

‘We also have dishes peculiar to tribes. In
maasai, a tribe found in southern Kenya,
they rear cattle. So ,they have a meal of a
mixture of cow blood and meat. There is
also sambury related to maasai, they are
semi nomadic pastoral farmers. ‘
‘They rear cows, sheep, camel, goat.’
‘Yes dear. ‘ She smiled. ‘They have a dish
consisting of the mixture of milk and
meat. That’s taken on special occasion.
They have soups made of vegetables, root
and bark. In Kikuyu, another …’
‘Good afternoon ladies. ‘ He was at the
door with a wide smile.
‘Welcome Sir.’ Mwihaki told him.
‘How are you Mwihaki ?’
‘Splendid Sir.’
‘Hi dear, how was your day? ‘ Hester
beamed.
‘Excellent and how are you? ‘
‘Great. ‘
‘I see.’ He winked.
‘Where is your briefcase?’ She stood.
‘In the car, there is somebody I will like
you to meet.’
‘Me? ‘ She went wide eyed.
‘Yes your eminence. ‘ He said soothingly.
‘Duh!’ Her expression became blank.
‘That’s old fashioned, try something new
school. ‘
Mwihaki started laughing.
‘She is the person you wanted to meet at
the site.’ He managed between bouts of
laughter.
‘Ha.’ Hester walked over to Osagie side.
‘I’ll be right back.’ She looked back at the
housekeeper as Osaz led her away by the hand.

****
‘God.’ Hannah exhaled. ‘He loved me
very much and I …love him dearly. His
death was a bombshell, it was …Oh this
life has deprived me.’ She muttered. ‘I
can never find the right words, the right
adjectives to qualify that moment of my
life, I … I lost me. Divine Favor was only
a baby, he was 5 months old. I was
devastated. I didn’t know how to go
about moving on. He had a career that
could support us, he never approved me
working. ‘
Hester watched and listened intently,
though there were no tears, little
shakiness in the voice, based on her
experience, she saw the long time
wound, she saw the scar.
He ensured when he was alive that he
made provision for insurance, life
assurance, investment …’ Hannah nodded
slowly. ‘It was okay, it was fine until the
crisis, the opposition, the bomb, the fire,
it ended it all in a swift.
Hester looked up at the largest portrait in
the room, it was taken on their wedding
day. The background, their appearances,
their smile gave her much information of
their happiness. It flashed back her
memories which she shut out.
Osaz closed his eyes briefly.
‘Every heart has a memory of that event.
Ours is kind of better. I have seen a lot
and that is my assurance. ‘
‘You are strong woman, for you to go
through all those and still have faith. ‘
Osagie commented.
‘I admire you a lot, your resolution in
spite all. You ensured your son have the
best. His manners can’t be pass up, he is
intelligent and brilliant. ‘ Hester added.
‘Hannah beamed. ‘I will do anything for
him, thank you very much.’
Hester nudged Favor close. ‘After his
exceptional qualities, the second thing
that attracted me to him was his braces.’
‘Yes.’ She became sad. ‘I am working
myself to my bones to save for that.
Things are pretty difficult, after meeting
our basic needs, there are hardly anything
left to save. I am very worried …’ She
exhaled. ‘ Before Favor used to tell me of
how the kids in school make jest and
insult him based on that, it breaks my
heart everytime. Knowing the extent of
our helplessness, he now keep those to
himself and bares responsibility.
Osaz smiled remembering Favor ‘s
responsibility statement.
Favor looked at his mother taken aback
by her statement of truth.
‘I am here to help. After everything we
have shared, I am more willing to help
Favor and relief you of your worries. ‘
Hester opened her her hand bag and
fetched a cheque.
Osaz looked at her with little of
expectation mixed with bewilderment.
She had in no way made her intentions
known to him.
‘No way, I won’t accept it, no way.’
Hannah shook her head, giving them no
iota of unbelief.
Hester shifted to the edge of the sofa.

Hester shifted to the edge of the sofa.
‘Don’t try to say any convincing words, it
won’t work. ‘ Her voice was calm but
emphatic. ‘I have been praying to God
and I believe soon and very soon, things
will change for good, isn’t it Sweetie? ‘
‘Yes Mummy. ‘
‘I join my faith with Favor ‘s, can i at least
talk based on that? ‘ Her smile was
charming.
Hannah was resolute but she nodded an
approval.
‘I once read a book that displayed a
personal diary, I got a point that says,
most times, we do not realise we already
have answers to our prayers, we just keep
hoping and praying when all we need to
do is to claim them. Another says -Most
incident that happen to us is for a
purpose, they are not mere occurrence. ‘
Osaz nodded thoughtfully while Favor
listened raptly.
‘If Favor has just walked past us, we will
would have only seen him… ‘ She glanced
at her companion. ‘He gave the first
compliment, hence we got talking then I
noticed his braces. If the answered
prayers are not claimed, it would have no
recipient, eventually, there is
disappointment. We will Never be here if
we were not attracted to him. ‘ Her
expression became imploring. ‘I am a
medical doctor, amidst cases Where I see
the need to help, if I have the needed
finance I help.’

‘I am a medical doctor, when I see cases,
I possess the resources to help, I do.
Accept the money Hannah, it is
freewilled, it is for the safety of your son,
to help improve his physical appearance,
his happiness and your contentment parri
passu …please Hannah. ‘
Perfect speech! Left to him,he would
have needed three minutes to brace up.
Hannah was quiet,.after few seconds,
lowered her head.
They watched and waited for her.
She eventually looked up and they saw
tears. ‘When my husband died, my heart
beat stopped but he gave me the pulse
…’ Her tears flowed. ‘I will do anything to
keep that pulse going. ‘ Her voice cracked
and she burst into tears. ‘Thank you Miss
Hester …my God …God will surely reward
you and grant all your heart desires. ‘
‘Amen.’ Hester stood and went to sit
beside her and handed her the cheque.
She gasped when she saw the figures and
her tears flowed.
Hester hugged her.’His promises are Yea
and Amen. ‘
Tears formed in Favor eyes. He stood
hastily to meet Osaz who encircled him
with his arms.
Favor sobbed.
‘Hush darling… hush …it is alright. ‘ Osas
soothed.
‘I will come with you two to see the
orthodontist. ‘ Hester gave her a
complementary card.’Contact me when
you have fixed a date.’
‘I am grateful. ‘ Hester beamed and
wiped her tears with a handkerchief.
He wrote the amount and tore out the
cheque. ‘This is my own token.’
Hannah stared at him bewildered.
‘Favor you know she accepted Aunty
Hester own, now she want to reject my
own. You know …’ He held his ears
dramatising and speaking like a
child.’when …when you met us, we were
together and we …we came together. ‘
He wiped an imaginary tear from his
eyes. ‘Now she is rejecting my own. Is it
fair?’ He frowned.
Favor regarded him thoughtfully.
Hester was on the verge of laughter.
Hannah became bemused.
‘I think it is unfair Mum. ‘ Favor said
candidly.
Hannah looked at Hester for help and she
nodded. Then she accepted.
Hannah fought back her tears as she look
up to the sky.’I couldn’t have imagined
my blessing could have descended
bountifully. I am grateful Sir. More of
God’s blessing. ‘
Osaz grinned. ‘Thank you.’
The money was a total of 150 thousand in
naira, Hester had given hundred thousand
naira while he had given half of it.
Since they visited with few fruits and had
brought nothing for Favor personally,
Osaz had given him an opportunity to
chose one of all the tourist attractions.
He jumped all excited, he choose the
Nairobi national park which had over four
hundred species of bird.
They all entered the car after Favor
rushed in to get a notepad and pen.
+++++

****
HESTER glanced at him and directed her
eyes back to the large plasma screen TV.
‘Fine. ‘ He resolved. ‘Will you like to go
back to Nigeria with or without me? ‘
She glanced once more at him and
remained mute.
While he anticipated an answer, his
breath hung.
‘Now? ‘ She said eventually.
‘No, let us say …ummmm …let’s say in
two weeks time.’

‘No.’ She replied her tone flat.

‘No? ‘ He went wide eyed but managed to
keep his voice in check. ‘Why? ‘
‘I don’t want to leave Kenya, at least not
yet.’ She looked at him hoping to find
something from his expression. ‘Osagie,
when you are through with your contract
and you want to return to Nigeria or
better still,when your invitation expires,
let me know. ‘
‘I don’t like that statement, I gave the
invitation willingly. ‘ He was disappointed.
‘I am being meaningful Osaz. ‘Her voice
was calm.’My greatest dream is never to
be considered as an inconvenience. ‘
‘You are making me feel like my question
was more of an insult.’ His look was
searching.
‘No Osaz, you asked a question and I was
giving you all the answer I think you
need. ‘ She smiled.
‘Hmmm …okay. ‘ He smiled too. ‘Can we
play the scramble game today? ‘
‘No dear, I will like to check my mails.’
Hester stood and head for her privacy.
He watched her leave and then exhaled.
Her answer had mattered to him more
than he thought. He sat back, stretched
out both legs, placed both palms behind
his head and closed his eyes. His last
question had been to change the subject
and ease the tension between them. He
was glad she choose to walk away
because his mind was in turmoil, he
wouldn’t have played well and she would
have noticed.
If she asked him, what would he have
said? And to think she had a way of
reading people. Mmmmh …would he be
able to mouth his feelings? Feelings … his
eyes fluttered opened. He had finally
admitted to himself.
+++++

*****
OSAZ looked at the headline bearing his
name in capital letters briefly.
‘The portrait, it’s display, dynamism in
construction , the face behind, Osagie
Osahon. ‘Hester read and gave him a
warm smile.
‘It has been my passion, the very driving
force right from the onset, it made go the
extra mile not considering what others
thought, not caring if anyone else join the
queue. Despite the opposition I have
received, it kept me going. It attracted all
the prizes, award and recognition I have
nationally and globally. It gave my fans
more to talk about, it gave my admirers
more to cherish, it left my critics with
more of positive than negative. It gave
me an edge and treatment everytime an
invitation comes around. ‘ He paused to
look at her. ‘Hester, it means the
greatest display of God’s embedded gift in
me. My dream. ‘
‘I believe you, everything you have said
wholeheartedly. Give me an insight Osaz,
I’m dying already. ‘ She raised both arms
emphatically.
‘My dream is to construct a bridge that
will join the countries of the world.’ He
met her gaze.
She held his gaze. ‘Goodness gracious!
Osagie that is one of the greatest dream I
have ever heard!’ Her eyes sparkled in
ecstasy.
Taken aback by her reaction, he felt the
need to share his mind. ‘I thought you
will say it is impossible. ‘
‘Impossible?’She narrowed her brows
momentarily. ‘Oh please, give me a clean
break! This is oneness, togetherness,
bonding, linking, yoking, uniting, joining
and what have you? ‘ She itemized using
her fingers thoughtfully. ‘I don’t think it
is impossible at all, everything considered
possible should be used in every possible
to make this dream a possible reality. ‘
He covered the distance between them
in a flash, he hugged and pecked her.
‘Thank you. It means a lot to me.’ He
looked into her eyes.
‘Woah! ‘ Hester almost lost balance and
then she laughed ‘My pleasure. ‘
‘Seriously Hess,’ He went back to earlier
seat in his study . ‘The first thing I get
when people hear that is impossible! ‘
‘That means you haven’t been telling the
right people. ‘
Osaz winked at her.
Hester chuckled. ‘I wouldn’t be surprise,
I get that a lot too.’
‘Do we have something in common? ‘
Hester shrugged. ‘Probably. ‘
‘Tell me about it.’
‘I think you will tell me it is impossible. ‘
‘Seriously? ‘
‘Yes.’
‘Wow! ‘
‘Are you going to tell me, it is impossible?

‘Hmmm …ummm, I wouldn’t know until
you tell me.’
‘I see.’
‘What did you see? ‘
‘I see that you are so charmingly
handsome that my heart does a flip flop
every time I see you.’
‘You said what? Come again? ‘ He advanced towards her.
‘You heard me.’
‘No I didn’t. ‘
‘Forget it then.’
‘If you don’t repeat yourself, you will be
my business for the eveni… ‘
She fled.
He pursued laughing.
++++

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