After Xavier talked to Simeon that morning, he had planned to go get a few household items from the supermarket, come back home, have a lazy day of lying down and seeing a few movies before going to see Ehis in the evening.

However, all that changed after he received a call from one of his relatives, Aunty Uduak. She’d called to remind him of a lunch date they had – an affair Xavier was willing to bet his right eye was another one of her ploys to hook him up with a “responsible Christian girl”, as she liked to say. Even thinking about it made him roll his eyes.

Aunty Uduak was the first daughter of his mother’s oldest sister. She was actually his cousin, but she was much older than him, and because she was already an adult woman when he was just a kid, he had fallen into the habit of calling her “Aunty Uduak.”

Shortly after Xavier’s mother died, Uduak had stayed with them for a few years, taking care of her late aunt’s family and becoming an aunty figure to her little cousins. Her stay however ended abruptly when Xavier’s father began pressuring her to get into a romantic relationship with him.

Xavier had especially been close to her during the time she was a fixture in their house, and the two became very fond of each other. Even after she left the house, they had stayed in touch and were very much a part of each other’s lives.

Aunty Uduak had always considered Xavier to be quite the lady’s man who didn’t have any lady. She had always been interested in his love life, right from his secondary school days to his university days, and the fact that he never seemed to have any girls around him or talk much about girls seemed to make the woman take on his love life as some sort of a challenge. During Xavier’s service year, she had tried to match him up with the daughter of a friend of hers, who she described as very intelligent and capable of giving him strong sons. She’d said she was sure of this because the girl apparently had a narrow waist and wide hips.

Imagine that.

Xavier had always found a way to get himself out of these matches. He loved Aunty Uduak too much to take offense at her meddling, but he got good very quickly at maneuvering himself out of the situations she often set him up with. He had in fact put off going to see her at her place for a very long time, because he didn’t want to be ambushed with some Ibibio girl waiting for him.

And yes, the ladies were always Ibibio. And Catholic.

After not seeing her in over a year, Aunty Uduak finally succeeded in guilting him with her frequent complaints about him abandoning her. She said she did not understand how they could both be in Lagos and he would not be able to spend a few hours in a whole year to see his dear cousin. It was after this that he caved under the pressure and they set a lunch date for a public holiday when he was not on call. It had to be lunch, so he would have enough time to rest from the previous day’s work and also be able to get back early enough to prepare for work the next day.

But Xavier had gone on to totally forget about the date. It was when aunty Uduak called that morning to ask him if he wanted Edikaikong or Afang soup that he remembered the intended visit.

So, he shelved his personal plans and got ready to journey to the Island – Ikoyi precisely. And he knew for certain that there’d be some young woman waiting in that house for him. As much as he dreaded having to pretend to be interested in yet another match made by Aunty Uduak, Xavier was actually looking forward to meeting whoever this new marriageable lady would be.

He got to the house around 11:45 AM and was ushered into the living room by Mister Sylvanus, his cousin’s longtime butler. Aunty Uduak was married to a general in the Nigerian army, and so, she lived a very opulent lifestyle.

As he walked into the house, his olfactory senses were assailed with the sweet scents of expensive potpourri. The marble floors glistened from adequate waxing. The curtains that draped down over the long windows spanning the length of the full blast immaculate white walls were a gold satin, and the black leather exquisitely upholstered sofa felt very comfortable as he settled on it.

“Xavier! Is this your face!” Aunty Uduak exclaimed as she breezed into the room moments later. “So I have finally seen you today. How long has it been? Almost two years now, abi?” Her Dior perfume heralded her elegant slim frame, which was clad in a cashmere boubou outfit, while the crisp clinks the bangles on her wrists made as she gestured with her hands sounded like little tambourines filling the air.

“Aunty Uduak, I have missed you o,” Xavier said as they hugged each other.

They exchanged pleasantries and caught up on old gist while feeling each other out on the parts of their lives that they had missed out on.

She led him toward the dining area as they talked. The dining set was made of glass, ivory and red leather. This was a different set from the one Xavier saw during his last visit to the house. Aunty Uduak must have redecorated.

As they chatted and sipped some of the juice served by the housekeeper, Helen, a beautiful young woman walked in from the direction of the kitchen. The first thing that struck Xavier about her was how tall she was. She looked like she would be the same height as he was. And she was full-figured, wearing a collarless, striped top, and optic white fitted trousers. Her makeup was minimal and her hair was styled in a gel pack manner with a very neat bun atop it. She did not look as hassled as someone who’d apparently been slaving away in the kitchen should be, and she was so obviously not the house cook. Akpan was the cook that Xavier knew.

Aunty Uduak began beaming once she saw her and proceeded with the introductions. “Aha, Xavier, I want you to meet Ima. She is a urologist. She just finished her residency training programme at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. I told her I have this fine cousin that is doing his residency training in LASUTH. That he is a single pringle. Shey that’s what you young people are calling it these days? Well I’m hoping you two will hit it off and, erm, we will see how it goes from there.”

Shaking his head with a self conscious laugh, Xavier took Ima’s proffered hand in a handshake.

“Are you feeling as embarrassed about this introduction as I am?” he said jokingly to her.

An attractive laugh gurgled from her as she nodded. “I feel positively mortified.”

Obviously unabashed, Aunty Uduak plowed on. “Ehen! I forgot to add that she’s also a wonderful cook. She prepared the afang soup that we are going to have for lunch. And Ima, Xavier also likes to cook. So, that’s yet another thing that you both have in common.”

“Kill me now,” Xavier groaned theatrically.

“Not until you’ve finished eating the afang soup I cooked as part of my audition for this date,” Ima rejoined.

The three of them laughed.

The soup was indeed delicious. It was probably the best afang that Xavier had had. The conversation at the table was light hearted, even when it was touching on weighty topics like the sad state of the country, especially the insecurity and the devalued nature of the naira.

As they talked, Aunty Uduak found a way to steer the conversation to the fact that most career-driven young people did not seem as keen on settling down as early as those of a similar age from the previous generation. She blamed in on the increasingly shallower lifestyle of seeking validation from wealth and career achievements at the detriment of having an interest in family and family life in general. She opined that it was a selfish way to live – always putting personal happiness first; that the concept of sacrificing for family seemed to be dead with this generation.

Xavier had wanted to say something diplomatic to counter what she said, but Ima was already taking on his cousin.

“Ma, I think it’s all quite subjective though,” the younger woman was saying. “There is generally a whole lot more pressure on our generation to achieve more these days, as opposed to how things were in times past. Look at me. I’m 28 and I’ve completed my residency training already. As incredible as this may seem, there are younger people, though few, who have achieved similar feats. I love my job and I am passionate about it. My personal drive to further my career may make it seem like I don’t care about giving my mother a grandchild – an issue I’m sure she has complained about to you time and again, thus making me look selfish. But it affords me the opportunity to change lives positively on a daily basis and there is nothing selfish about that. If I can be happy and can help countless people while I’m at it, why would I give that up to be tied down by a marriage that I am not ready for?”

The smile that broke out across Xavier’s face broadened even more when he saw how taken aback Aunty Uduak was by Ima’s lecture.

All through the conversation, Ima showed herself to be an assertive and intelligent woman who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to pursue them. She was very different from the other women his cousin had succeeded in setting him up with. Those other ones simply wanted to be married to a doctor; Ima didn’t even look like she was ready for marriage yet. And from Aunty Uduak’s fleeting expression, he could tell she wasn’t so sure she had made the right choice in picking Ima for this setup.

Xavier thoroughly enjoyed engaging Ima on the subjects of patriarchy and toxic masculinity. He was so engrossed in their conversation that he barely took notice of the fact that Aunty Uduak was no longer actively contributing.

And then, she cleared her throat, drawing their attention, and said, “You two seem to be hitting it off pretty well. I guess I should leave you to get better acquainted with each other.” Her expansive smile showed that she was back to feeling confident about matching the two of them up. “Ima, thanks a lot for the meal. It was nice having you over. Please say me well to your mother. And you, Xavier, don’t be a stranger. Please, we want to see more of you around here, okay?”

After exchanging quick hugs with them, she left the room and they could hear her heels on the marble floor as she retired upstairs.

“This was fun,” Ima said, looking directly into Xavier’s eyes.

“It was,” Xavier said, meaning it.

They strolled out to the patio.

“I would love to continue our conversation,” Ima said, “but during lunch, I got a message from my Senior Registrar that there’s a man with a fractured penis who will need surgery. He said the fracture is bad, so I’m supposed to drop by and check in on them at the theatre.”

“All you urologists and your penises,” Xavier joked.

“I know, right? The penis is such an overrated organ,” she retorted, to which Xavier responded by giving a mock wince. They laughed and she said, “So, we should get together sometime. I’ll call you.”

“Let me give you my number,” Xavier began.

“Don’t worry. Your aunt already gave it to me.”

“First off, she’s my cousin. And secondly, that woman though.”

They were laughing still as he walked her to her car and said their goodbyes before she drove out of the compound.

And then, Xavier took out his phone to call Ehis. Each time, the phone rang and rang, and Ehis didn’t answer. Thinking nothing of it, he proceeded to go on home to get some rest.

A few hours later, he was home and rested, but still in bed, when his phone rang. He checked the screen and saw that it was Ehis.

Written by Bryan Peters

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  1. Mandy
    February 12, 08:49 Reply

    Xavier! Xavier!! Xavier!!! How many times did I call you? I’m here just side-eyeing you o. ?? This one you’re enjoying the company of woman… Better don’t forget your destiny is to fuck nyash and be with man. Don’t goan flip into an MGM on my boy, Ehis.

  2. Lyon
    February 12, 12:35 Reply

    So, finally I read about Akwa Ibom characters and I’m like “What does Bryan not know about us down here?”

    That said, having me wait for some more days just to know what happened when that call came in is a sin I’m still trying to figure out how to forgive.

    • Rexxy
      February 19, 13:06 Reply

      Oh Lyon you are in Akwaibom, that KS goodness… Pinky pls do something

  3. Frillz
    February 12, 14:09 Reply

    Am I the only one who feels that Ima is lesbian and Aunty Uduak is about to get served with this alliance?

    How did I know?

    “I know, right? The penis is such an overrated organ,” she retorted

  4. Kobe
    February 12, 16:05 Reply

    Has he found a beard?

  5. Fizzykareem
    February 13, 12:37 Reply

    Why do I have this feeling that Ima is a lesbian and also a feminist..

  6. Krystal
    February 22, 14:57 Reply

    Penis being overrated!!! Ima might just be a lesbian.. either way… Aunt Uduak is going to get her wish

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