There was no rain, no sun on the day events changed. There was a lot of wind rustling the trees, making the grasses dance to its rhythm. The houses in the area were all lavishly constructed, each straining to be better and bigger than the other, as were the cars that occasionally drove up the street. Only the newest and latest models of the biggest brands were seen in that area. No one came out to discuss with their neighbours. They passed each other with their noses in the air, boxed up inside their cars with tinted windows, cold white wind visibly swirling from the blasting AC.
No one noticed the figure that would hurdle in the garden in front of the third house until the gate would creak open around the midnight hour and the figure would quietly sneak in. The figure would be seen again in the early hours of the morning, sneaking off into unknown corners. This occured frequently for a long long time until the day the events changed.
The wind was blowing hard that day and the figure was shivering in the wind but it wasn’t alone this time. There were two others, each tapping their foot in apparent agitation and anger as they banged on the gate repeatedly. The gate opened and a head appeared. Instant recognition and alarm filled the gateman’s eyes as he saw the figure, Grace and her accompainants, her parents. They started talking at once, their voices loud enough to wake up the entire neighbourhood. The gateman gulped in morbidity, as he closed the gate to do their bidding. He had to call the one involved but he didn’t get far. The imposing figure of the house’s owner and his wife Mr and Mrs Obiekwe, in their designer jammies were already looking down at the scenario from the balcony. They hollered his name and gestured to allow them inside.
The three figures outside went inside, one fearful and the other two looking around the elegant compound in awe, despite their anger. They approached the main door which opened as they arrived by a uniformed maid. She led them to a posh living room and offered them water. They sank into the cosiest and softest leather couch, trying not to look too awed by their surroundings. The owner and his wife came out, accompanied by their only son.
Then came the embittered arguments: your daughter is an opportunist, your son is a rapist. So they argued back and forth for fifteen minutes until the son, Prince, who was only twenty four at the time, stopped the arguments and proclaimed, with his haughty attitude that Grace would stay with him until she gave birth. He didn’t mention what would happen after she did. Her parents didn’t ask. They left soon after. They didn’t see Prince pull their daughter up gently and lead her to his room. He didn’t see his mother’s eyes harden in hate. She didn’t see her husband’s eyes troubled with confusion. No one noticed the maid who had been eavesdropping, leave to make a hasty call.
Barely two hours later, an irate and thin figure, dressed in an expensive casual attire stormed into the house with the familiarity of someone who knew her around. She tossed her car keys in the dining table and marched to the Prince’s room. Grace was huddled on the bed, freshly bathed and dressed in Prince’s oversize hoodies and shorts, trying to eat a breakfast of tea and biscuits. The irate figure, named Isioma in her birth certificate but known only as Serene, frowned on seeing Grace and immediately dumped the tea on her head. Grace yelped in surprise. Luckily the tea was not hot and she was not scalded. Serene proceeded to give her two quick slaps and was about to give her a third when Grace held her hands and slapped her so hard, her head shot back. She pushed her back and took a defensive stance. Serene was still in shock when Prince walked in. He immediately noticed the tea on Grace’s hair and the line of a slim hand on her cheeks. Turning to Serene, he grabbed her arms and dragged her outside the room. He led her to the parlour and dumped her unceremoniously on the setee. She immediately stood up and started to shout violently. Prince stood and watched her hysterics, no emotion on his face. His silence annoyed her and the screams increased in tempo, bringing his mother to the room.
Her expression changed from one of pleasure then anxiety as she saw Serene. She held Serene with tenderness, promising her that she would make everything right. Serene cried into Mrs Obiekwe’s arms, seeking the comfort that Prince, who had left as the mother came in, could not giver her.
This only made Mrs Obiekwe resent Grace more. She had always wanted her only son to get married to Serene who, in her estimation, would be the perfect daughter in law. Not only was Serene also from a wealthy and affluent home, she was also well exposed and cultured. She never lifted an arm to help Grace all through her pregnancy. Neither did it bother Grace so much. She did the best she could to win her over but she gave up in time. Whatever hostility Mrs Obiekwe showed towards her, Prince showed her a hundred times more love. She knew she was lucky Prince didn’t reject her and throw her out. It hadn’t been her intention to get pregnant either but she was glad it happened. She loved Prince so much and now she could see he loved her too. This strengthened her, especially when Mrs Obiekwe would invite Serene over and the two of them would taunt her severly when Prince was not around. But she was had a tough skin and didn’t let it affect her.
It didn’t last long though. All the hatred and malice Mrs Obiekwe felt towards Grace dissolved the moment she laid eyes on her newly born grand-son. She looked at him with so much tenderness and tears filled her eyes. Infact, she was the one who hounded her son till he fixed a wedding date. Of course Serene attended the wedding in all her irate and thin elegent splendour. But it didn’t dampen the happiness in Grace’s eyes.