I sat on the edge of Noah's bed as I watched him zip up his already packed bag. He looked up and glanced around the room as if searching for anything else he had forgotten to pack.
"Babe, can you pass me my phone?" He pointed to his phone which was beside me.
I picked up the phone and passed it over to him.
It was 5am in the morning and Noah was about leaving for the hospital. He was part of the medical team that was being sent to a small remote village for medical aid.
The village had almost no source of medical services and the free health clinics that were available in the state were miles away from the villagers. The only things that sustained them were small pharmacy/provision stores that rendered off the counter medication.
The medical team were going to be in that village for a week. Noah hadn't left the house yet and I was already missing him.
"I'm set" he said as he lifted up the bag from his bed.
We walked out of his room and down the stairs, side by side.till we got to the front door.
Zozo was still asleep and we decided not to wake her up. It was more easier to tell her about his shirt trip after he had actually left that when he was still present.
"So, I'll see you in a week" he turned to face me.
"Mm hmm" I nodded slowly
He took my hand in his free one and gently caressed it before pulling me into a hug. I held unto him tightly, deeply inhaling his signature cologne.
"I'll be back before you know it" he said against my hair.
It was almost like he could tell how down I was feeling and was trying to lift my spirits.
It's just a week and I'm acting like he would be gone for months.
"One would think you are heading off to war with the way we're acting" I pulled apart from him, trying not to seem weak.
"Go on. You have to meet up with your colleagues at the hospital" I pulled open the front door and plastered a wide smile on my face.
Noah just watched me closely, he could see through my strong front but didn't say anything. I placed a chaste kiss on his lips but as I made to pull back, he cupped the back of my head and deepened the kiss.
Our breaths mixed together, I could taste the mint flavor of his Oral b toothpaste and I knew he could taste mine.
"Take care of yourselves" he whispered as we pulled apart , our heads still touching.
"We will" I whispered back
He placed a soft kiss on my forehead before stepping out into the early morning cold air. I stood by the door, watching him place his bag in the back and get into the driver's seat. As he began to pull out of the driveway, I waved him goodbye till his car vanished from my view before walking back into the house.
I closed the door gently behind me and headed straight for my room. The house suddenly seemed so empty and quiet, not like it was boisterous before but it just had this certain cold feeling to it.
It had been three days since Noah left for that village and I can't say that I haven't missed him. I missed seeing his beautiful face, his cheeky smile, running my hands across his unshaven stubble and basically just being in his presence. There was this joy and peace I felt just knowing he was there.
Zozo wouldn't stop asking when her 'daddy' would be back. I had gotten so used to her calling Noah her dad that I didn't feel foreign hearing her say it anymore. In fact, it was almost like that what was she'd being calling him since forever; it was now natural.
Noah and I talked only twice after he left because he was extremely busy and also, the network over there was terrible. We could spend an entire thirty minutes saying 'hello' and 'can you hear me?' to each other. The line either didn't connect or cracked throughout the entire phone call so it was best not to waste airtime struggling to hear each other.
After Noah left on that day, I tried going to sleep in my room but sleep didn't come so I headed over to Noah's. His room smelt like him and that gave me a certain feeling within. I noticed a grey sweatshirt that was neatly folded on his reading chair.
I picked it up and deeply inhaled, knowing that it would be heavily basked in his scent. Not wasting any second, I pulled it over my head and climbed into his bed. Sleep came soon enough after that.
I repeated the action every night since then, like some type of ritual. It was funny how I enjoyed sleeping in his bed when he wasn't around and sleeping in mine when he was.
I was about to put my hair in a silk slumber cap and get into Noah's bed when my phone rang. I walked over to the bedside table on the left where my phone was charging. I peered into the screen and saw 'Mummy' displayed on it.
"Hello" I said as I picked up the phone. "Good evening, ma"
"Good evening. Kedu" her soft and gentle voice came through. (How are you?)
"I'm fine. What about you guys?"
"We're all fine. Ekene dili chukwu" she replied. (All thanks to God)
"How is Noah and Chizolum? I hope you're all fine" she said
"Yes, we are. Noah travelled for some medical stuff, so it's just Zozo and I"
"Ehnnn, okay. So... How has your apartment searching being going? Have you found a new place?" She inquired.
I inwardly groaned.
"No, ma. I've been really busy these past few days and haven't had time" I replied
She scoffed in disapproval.
Once I told my parents that I had been moved in with Noah as a result of the break-in, they immediately voiced out their disapproval against living with someone I wasn't married to. I assured them that I was on the lookout for a new place and staying with him was a temporary thing.
Which it was at first but as time went on, I gradually began to feel at home in Noah's place, making me reluctant to leave. I also felt that moving in with him and living together like a family kind of influenced Zozo to think of him as her 'dad' and moving out would confuse her. I didn't want any of that but for the sake of peace, I didn't say all of these to my parents.
"Anyways, that wasn't why I called you" she said
I could sense a long conversation coming on, so I turned out the lights and made myself comfortable on the bed.
"You know that no matter what we are your parents-" she paused for a while. "-and as parents, we would always voice out our opinions. You have a daughter now so you should understand what I mean"
Where was she going with this?
"We understand that you're an adult now and e ga-eme ihe diligi n'obi regardless of what we say" she continued. (You would do whatever is in your mind)
Can this woman just get to the point.
"Now that you're about to return to school, it wouldn't be sensible to have a child, that is another baby because-"
Wait. What other baby was she talking about?
"What other baby?" I interjected
"E na jum. You are now living in his house together, I don't suppose that you're just looking at each other's faces over there" she replied. (Are you asking me?)
"Jesus Christ" It immediately dawned on me what she was driving at.
"Leave Jesus out of this, biko (please)" she said with a serious tone. "Look, your father and I only want the best for you and right now, having another child wouldn't be easy on you. I don't need to tell you about all the attention babies require seeing that you've already had one"
I could put an end to this misery by telling her that Noah and I hadn't done anything of that sort but I wouldn't because my sex life wasn't her business. If it meant that I had to listen to all that she had to say then so be it.
"Mummy, I've heard what you had to say and I understand where you guys are coming from" I said trying to appease her.
"Okay oo. It's good that you understand" she replied
"Ehen, that reminds me. Did I tell you that I stumbled into one of your friends from Unilag (University of Lagos)" she said
"No, you did not" I droned out, already getting tired.
"It was Angela. Do you still remember her?" My mother continued not taking the hint.
"Yeah, I do. How is she now?"
Angela was one of my friends back when I was still in the university. She played a very important role during my pregnancy but that was a story for another day.
"She's doing well. She's currently doing her NYSC in Lagos. I met her in the market place when I was doing some shopping. She's even engaged to one tall, fine man who accompanied her" my mother said
A simple 'fine' would've sufficed but okay.
"That's good for her" I replied
"Yes oo. She even asked about you and I told her that you moved to the east and is now living in Anambra" she continued
"Okay. Mummy can we talk later tomorrow, I have an early morning and I need to go to bed" I quickly inputted.
I knew that if I didn't stop her now, she would go on and on, jumping from one subject to another and I was already getting sleepy.
"Ewoo. Sorry, let me leave you. Goodnight, my dear" she said
"Goodnight ma" I replied and waited for the beep sound before placing my phone on the table.
I had lived with this woman for nearly eighteen years of my life and she never ceases to amaze me. I let out a chuckle as my mind wandered back to our conversation, it was embarrassing as it was funny.
I laid down properly on the bed, pulled the covers over me and allowed sleep to take over.
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