Simi, you are just lazy!
Simi looked at her mother in-law and smiled. A smile of anger, frustration. A smile of tolerance, irritation. But a smile nonetheless.
“Mama, I’m not lazy. I just do not like to cook.”
What kind of woman does not like to cook? She had heard the question so many times. First from her mother, then her sisters, then her friends and now, her husband’s mother.
“Let me just tell you. This Mafeng girl that you brought from your village will steal your husband. She might be small but look at her bumbum. I know Chukwudi loves you but I know my son. He was raised with good food. And you know men, their stomach is very important and they are not to be trusted.”
Typical ‘men are scum’ story but how many times does a mother tell you that her son cannot be trusted to be faithful?
“Mama, it’s not as if I cannot cook but you know that…”
“I know what? Eh Simi, what do I know? I don’t know anything ooh! You will soon say you are working. And so? Are you the first woman to work? Lekwanum eshishi ooh!*”
Simi sighed. She wanted her mummy. Her mother would understand. She didn’t at first but now that she did, she was a great person to talk to.
Simi thought of Chukwudi. Her husband. The love of her life. While they were courting, she had cooked for him only 5 times. Each time with a warning.
This is just a treat. Don’t expect me to keep it up. I don’t have that time.
Each time he had assured her he understood. Fine Igbo man. Her poor heart didn’t stand a chance when he smiled at her. Would he cheat on her just because of food?
His mother’s voice dragged her back to reality. “…will people say, eh? Gwakenem!*”
“Ma? I didn’t get you.”
“What will our people think if they know that their son not only married a Jos girl but one that cannot cook? Better get pregnant fast. I’m telling you because I like you. If not one day, you will come home with your suit and high heels to meet a pregnant girl tying wrapper.”
Could that happen? Could it? Simi shuddered. Her mother in-law was great when she wasn’t ranting about her cooking. Or lack of it. Was she serious? Could they really bring another wife for Chukwudi?
*Lekwanum eshishi – loosely translates to See me. Used to express surprise. Kinda.
*Gwakenem – Tell me