The Choice (chapter 4)

Mrs. Adeolu, Sarah's mother, put a few wraps of pounded yam into a big food warmer.

She couldn't imagine the pounded yam getting cold before her daughter and her fiancé had their fill. Mrs. Adeolu stirred the melon-vegetable soup garnished with assorted meat and fish before turning down the gas. She opened another pot on the four-gas-burner cooker. She dipped a spoon into the pot, scooped out a few grains of rice, blew air over them, and threw them in her mouth. The texture of the rice was perfect now, but there was still plenty of water in the pot. She took out a colander from the cabinet and strained the rice. She returned the strained rice to the pot and put the pot in the cooker.

While waiting for the rice to completely dry out, she checked the third pot on the gas cooker. Locust-beans-seasoned stew boiled in the pot. The smell of onions and ginger doused by that of crayfish and locust beans and that of chicken stock filled the kitchen. Mrs. Adeolu enjoyed her time cooking. Her goal was a comprehensive menu covering rice, plantain, fish stew, pounded yam and vegetables, and amala and okra soup. There was no way her guests wouldn't be satisfied. If they didn't want one dish, they would enjoy another. It was going to be a beautiful day. Her daughter, Sarah, was bringing home her fiancé. Nothing brought Mrs. Adeolu more joy than the time she was notified. She had prayed endlessly that Sarah would be happily married. Her daughter deserved it after so many disappointments.

Mrs. Adeolu finished cooking. She walked into the bathroom and had a shower. "Mummy. I'm home," Esther, Sarah's younger sister, said as she walked into the living room. Mrs. Adeolu hastened her preparation. She opened the door and stepped out of her room. "My dear, you're welcome," Mrs. Adeolu said as she walked into the living room. Esther knelt on the tiled floor. "Good afternoon, ma." "Good afternoon, my daughter. Where are the kids and your husband? You didn't come along with them?" "Mum, I didn't know exactly why you told me to come over. I thought you probably wanted to discuss something with me," Esther said. Mrs. Adeolu took her seat. "Your elder sister is bringing home her fiancé. I didn't expect you to come here alone." "For real? Mummy, do you mean it? You didn't tell me. You only told me to come." "Yes. I wanted to surprise you. But I remember telling you to inform your husband." "I only told him that I was coming to see you. If I had known, I would have told him to drive the children and me here." "It's alright. Your cousins, Folu and Fola, and their children are joining us too. Go and greet your father in his room," Mrs. Adeolu said. "I will go greet him soon. I'm so excited. This is good news," Esther said." "Mrs. Adeolu smiled. "I'm more than excited."

Someone knocked on the door. "Yes, come in," Mrs. Adeolu said. "I locked the door when I entered. Let me go open it," Esther said. Mrs. Adeolu stood to her feet. "Don't worry. I'll open the door. Go and greet your father. Tell him our guests are around." "Okay, Mummy," Esther said and walked towards her father's room. Mrs. Adeolu opened the door. Sarah and Femi stood at the doorstep. Sarah wound her hands around her mother's waist. "Mummy!" she said. "My darling. I'm so glad to see you. Welcome," Mrs. Adeolu said. Sarah stepped aside. "This is Femi." Femi prostrated. "Good afternoon, ma." Mrs. Adeolu pulled him up. "Welcome, my son. I'm glad to meet you. Welcome." "Thank you, ma," Femi said. "Please come inside," Mrs. Adeolu said and ushered them into the living room. Femi and Sarah walked in. They exchanged pleasantries with Sarah's father and sister.

Four other relatives joined them. Sarah's father asked Femi some questions, including those about his state of origin, place of birth, occupation, address, and educational status."

Femi provided answers to Mr. Adeolu's questions. He assured Sarah's parents that he loved their daughter and wanted to marry her. They talked for a long time and broached the subject of wedding procedures. Mrs. Adeolu couldn't stop admiring her son-in-law-to-be. Her prayer was finally being answered, she thought. She couldn't dream of a better man for her plain daughter. Femi seemed perfect. He answered all questions instantly, and his answers were always pleasing. The patient's dog ate the fattest bone. Indeed, Mrs. Adeolu thought. Mrs. Adeolu showered Femi's obvious affection.

When the discussion got to a point, she didn't hesitate to invite them to the dining table. Mrs. Adeolu took it upon herself to serve them despite dissuasion from her daughters—Sarah and Esther.

They offered to do the serving, but Sarah's mum insisted on doing it. There was so much to eat. And the food was palatable.

Everyone ate to satisfaction. When they were done eating, Sarah and Esther packed the used plates into the kitchen. To Mrs. Adeolu's utmost surprise, Femi insisted on assisting in doing the dishes.

Mrs. Adeolu and her husband were completely bought over. Femi had displayed all Mrs. Adeolu had prayed for in a man for her daughter. He was respectful, patient, friendly, humble, and kind. Not to mention his physical attributes. Shortly after, Femi excused himself and went out. He brought out two baskets of varieties of fruits from his car and took them into the house. Sarah's parents appreciated his kind gesture and did well to pray for him and Sarah before they eventually said their goodbyes." Sarah sat in the car beside Femi. Femi started the car and drove off.

He needed to drop Sarah at her house before returning home. "How're you?" Sarah said, breaking the silence. "I'm fine. Happy," Femi said. He loved the way he was treated by Sarah's family. He felt like a part of them already. Sarah smiled. "My parents like you," she said. Femi smiled. "It was obvious. I like them as well." "Really?" "Yes. They're good people. No reception could be warmer than they gave me. I appreciate that." "I'm glad you saw it that way. My parents are lovely. Very." "Of course. You take after them." Sarah laughed and hit his shoulder playfully. "Thank you on to the next. We're visiting your parents on Saturday. We need to kickstart the wedding process as soon as possible," she said. "Look at you. I'm not even sure they will be around on Saturday.

I need to ask them first." "Don't play me. You'd better inform them we're coming." "I will, madam." "Thank you." Femi drove to Sarah's house. He parked opposite the house. Sarah opened the car door and stepped out. "Take care of yourself," Femi said, smiling. Sarah waved. "You too. Call me when you get home." "Alright, I will." Sarah walked across the road and entered her house. Femi reversed the car and drove home.

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