Bad sign. That’s the name I get when I have disappointed you. People would usually choose this time to call one’s full name but not you. I get pet names especially ‘Nneoma’.
‘What have I done baby?” I ask quietly.
“You know you have done something?”
‘Pet names baby,” It is simply that easy. “Pet names. It’s quite easy to tell with you.”
“OK. Dorothy called. That mean anything to you?” Should it?
“It doesn’t! Should Dorothy calling mean anything? What is it?”
OK. It does and I know. She had called me first. She needed help with a friend who was coming to our side of town and needed a place to stay for a day or two. But you see, that’s the problem. I’ve had a night turn to two months. I’d be damned if I let that happen again.
“It’s just for a day or two.” I don’t get how you don’t have any issues with this.
“What exactly does that mean? Is it a day or is it two days?” I ask because I really want to know. “A day or two is not definite enough.”
“Not the time, Ray. I don’t want to help.”
“Why? Because of what happened all those years ago? Not everybody is going to take advantage of your kindness.”
“Well, can we not find out?”
As I feel you hug me from behind, I know we are letting that young man crash at our place for a night or two. Or ten.
“I love you too babe.” I can hear the smile in your voice even as you hug me tighter.
“I don’t like you very much right now” I say, turning around to kiss you on your nose.
“That’s fine. You love me and that’s all we need.”
I laugh at that. “Can you start caliing my full name when I’m in trouble. Nneoma scares me now.” I’m serious about this.
You respond, very serious too. “I call you that so that even before the scolding you know what I think of you. Regardless of what you may have done. It’s a reminder to you and me that I chose to love you everyday. Regardless. Even when you feel like being mean.”
We laugh at that. After God, you are my standard. In love. In kindness. Now I know why, Nneoma isn’t so bad after all.