Naomi 8 months ago

Crucial Decision

My sister hates me so much, and I hate her too, so I guess this makes the feeling mutual. Maybe it's because I am younger or thinner, but whatever the reason was, Jade, my sister, is torn in my flesh."Speak of the devil," I muttered immediately as she stepped into the room we shared. "What did you just say?", She questioned, bringing her ears to my mouth. I knew she heard what I said; she just wanted me to repeat it. "Nothing," I said, choosing to be the mature one. She hissed, using her eyes to survey the room.

"Please remove your laptop from the table; I want to make use of it," She ordered immediately; her eyes landed on my laptop lying on our reading table. Jade doesn't read with tables. In fact, she never reads! I removed my laptop from the table and kept it on my bed. Jade walked slowly towards the reading table, stared at it for a while, and finally sat on it. "Do you want me to give you tips on how to handle the situation tonight?" she asked slowly, trying to be nice. I looked up from my phone but avoided her gaze. If this was a question coming from someone else, I would have been grateful but not from Jade. "No, I am okay," I replied to her after much contemplation. "Joel, have you done what I asked you to do?" my mom shouted from her study room. I looked toward Jade, and her mouth was wide open. 

"Oops, Mummy said you should grind the tomatoes needed to make Turkey stew for dinner," She said, standing up from our reading table. "God, it's been more than 30 minutes; why didn't you tell me immediately you walked in?" I queried. "Don't shout at me, I have told you now, and that's what matters," she said. Why wouldn't she forget when she was always poking her nose in my business. I hurried to the kitchen and met the already-washed tomatoes, ready to grind. I picked it up and stretched my hand towards Jade, who rushed in as well. "Give me the money mummy dropped for the grinding of the tomatoes," I said to Jade.

"You claim you are already a big boy, right? Doing tech and stuff, so I am not giving you this chicken change", she sneered. God, I hate Jade so much, even though she was my twin sister. She always found a way to oppress me just because she was older than me by seven minutes. I wore my Gucci Sandals and walked out of the house to grind the tomatoes. I thought of how the situation at dinner would be. Will the decision be in my favor? What would happen to us after all this? 

So many thoughts raced through my head until I reached the kiosk where the "Aboki" did justice to my tomatoes with so much ease. I was impressed. I gave the "Aboki" a one thousand Naira note, but he didn't have my complete balance, so I had to wait for him in his kiosk while he rallied around for my balance. 

While waiting, I noticed the Little girl sitting at the far end of the shop. She was reciting the thirty-six States and Capitals with so much Alacrity. I admired her. I felt it was maybe a sign. But whether it was a good one or a bad one, I didn't know. A woman beckoned on her probably; the woman was her mom. The Little Girl stood up and ran towards the woman, her Little feet rhyming melodiously to my ears. The "Aboki" came some minutes later and handed me my balance. I thanked him for his service and smiled all the way home.

When I arrived, Jade and Mommy had already prepared the white rice. I dropped the tomato paste on the kitchen slab and was about to leave the kitchen when my mom called me back. "You took so long to grind common tomatoes, so you will be the one to cook the stew," She said and left the kitchen. Jade laughed. "It's been a while since we had Chef Joel display his culinary skills, would there be a disaster in the kitchen today?" Jade said, clapping her hands like a local trader in a bush market.

I have always been a better Cook than her, only that I don't cook in the kitchen as often as she does. "Go away, Jade; allow me to concentrate," I replied. I had just two hours until the big reveal at dinner time. She left after hanging her apron, turning around occasionally to ask if I needed her help to which I replied a blunt *NO*. Making Turkey stew was No big deal, especially if your mother had already prepared the turkey broth.

I first cooked the tomato paste. I went to grind, to reduce the liquid in it. When the tomato paste was well cooked, I added some groundnut oil to it and seasoned it with a reasonable quality of salt, curry powder, Maggie, and rosemary. When the stew was well cooked, I added my Turkey and the turkey broth and cooked it on low heat for another fifteen minutes. It was then I heard the sound of my dad's vehicle. I hurried to open the main gate for him to drive in, leaving the pot of Turkey stew to cook.

Immediately my dad came out of the car, I moved to take his briefcase from him, but he stopped me. "You will have to save your muscles for other tedious work," he said as he looked at me disappointed. I slowly walked into the kitchen at the same time; I saw Jade running out. She chuckled immediately after she saw me. I went ahead to remove the pot of stew from the cooking gas and proceeded to take my bath.*** *** ***

We sat around the dinner table to eat, no one uttering a word except the formal pleasantries we exchanged when the guests walked in. I kept digging into my plate of Rice and Turkey stew without putting the spoon in my mouth. I was nervous. Immediately my father ate the first spoon; he looked at me from the corner of his eyes; At the same time, everyone started coughing, reaching out for their glass of water.

I took a spoon from the plate in front of me and almost choked. The stew was like a hot sauce, garnished with all the hot peppers in Nigeria. I was surprised; this wasn't how I made this stew. But I knew better than utter a word. Everyone continued to enjoy their meal. Just that this time, they avoided eating too much of the turkey stew. "We will be sending Mirabel to live with her grandmother tomorrow, and she will give birth to her baby there," Mirabel's Father said as he picked up a glass of juice.

"It's for their best interests. Mirabel is just Eighteen, and your son Joel is just Twenty. They can not afford to take care of a newborn baby all alone", Mirabel's mother chipped in. This was the part I dreaded most; they were going to take my girlfriend and our unborn child far away from me. My father nodded his head in agreement with the decision. After all, he had already made plans to send me abroad to further my Education. The Family of three stood up and said their good nights as they left. But even in the darkness, I couldn't help but notice the teardrop that slipped out of Mirabel's eyelids. *** ***

"Joel, are you asleep?" Jade called out from her side of the room. I didn't answer her, though. I just kept listening to the slow and low music playing on my Mp. "I was the one that added the extra pepper to your Turkey stew; I am sorry," She said again. Of course, I already knew it was her. Typical Jane. "Are you happy with the decision?", She chipped in again. "It's for the best," I replied, this time using my hands to hinder the little sobs trying to escape. Mirabel and I met on campus a year ago and started dating immediately. On her birthday four months ago, we celebrated with a bottle of wine, but unfortunately got drunk and did the forbidden deed.

A month ago, Mirabel had come with her mother to announce to my parents that she was pregnant. Everyone was disappointed. They felt bad that their only son was going to be weighed down by a pregnancy from a local girl. "Yes, it's for the best. More reason you need to work hard in school so you can come back for your girl and lovely son", Jade said. "Who told you the baby's going to be a boy?" I asked, clearly amused. "I feel it in my spirit because I know you are a sharpshooter," She said, laughing hard. I laughed hard too. The little chat with Jade was helpful and really calmed my spirit. I fell asleep almost immediately, with the hope of seeing Mirabel one last time before she left for her Grandma's place tomorrow.

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