She woke up with a start. Disappointed. She was in the middle of that dream. The recurring one. In it, she had everything she longed for. In it, they were happy, and she felt peace. She felt sure of her purpose. Now awake, was it okay to prefer to live in that dream than her real life? Yes. She would never say that out loud.
Her full bladder stopped her thoughts. She felt her way in the dark to the bathroom. Done, she got back into bed. Then sat back up again. She knew that feeling. She felt it. Something else had woken her up. She picked her phone up from the nightstand and went back into the bathroom. She knew. Tears
streaming down her face, she pulled her underwear down. There. The sign that this would not be the start of her dream coming true.
Pain. Perhaps physical pain would be better.
This pain in her heart. Intense. She wanted to scream. Guttural screams.
Instead, she went to the nightstand. Opened the bottom drawer. Took one of them out.
Mini. Lipstick shaped. Every month she bought another box. Always hoping it would remain unopened.
‘What’s wrong?’ He asked groggily
‘I didn’t mean to wake you. I am sorry.’ She mumbled
‘What are you looking for?’ He asked
‘I just had to get a …..’ She whispered
‘Oh,’ he sat up, ‘come here.’
‘I am coming,’ she ran into the bathroom and locked the door behind her.
She came out and crawled into bed. Composure back in place.
‘Are you okay?’ He asks softly.
‘Of course, my love. I guess it is not meant to be this month. Let’s go back to bed. You have to get up for work in another hour’. She turns away
He knows better than to say anything else.
As he gets dressed, he looks at his wife – pretending to be asleep. He feels helpless.
‘I love you,’ he says and touches her face and leaves.
She does not move.
She drifts off for what feels like a moment. The doorbell is ringing persistently.
She sighs and gets up. Staggers down the stairs and opens the door.
‘My dear’ Her mother-in-law says
‘Good morning mama. Welcome’ She plants a plastic smile on her face and reaches for the basket and cooler the older woman has with her.
‘I did not sleep early so I fell asleep just now.
That is why I did not hear the bell on time. I am sorry ma’
She speaks hastily. She is sure the older woman can see through her lie. She turns around and walks into the kitchen to set the items down.
‘My daughter, it is okay. Why don’t you go and take a bath and come down’ Mama says as she begins to unpack the things she brought.
She rushes upstairs. ‘Do I smell? Why is taking a bath the first thing mama says to me?’
She pulls her nightie off and notices the red stain.
She bursts into tears. Mama saw. How is she supposed to go downstairs now?
After a bath, she realises she cannot hide in the bedroom forever. She plants a smile on her face and goes down the stairs determined to soldier through the visit.
She enters the dining room and sees that mama has been busy. She has unpacked the food she brought with her. She has dished out the still piping hot fresh fish pepper soup in a bowl. There is a small plate with white rice on it.
Mama says ‘Sit down’
She sits. The pepper soup has chunks of boiled yam in it. It smells delicious
‘Thank you ma’ She says
‘Eat. Mama is here. Eat my child’
She closes her eyes as she takes a sip of the soothing broth and thinks of the unwelcome visitor that came earlier.
She opens her eyes and smiles at the visitor in front of her who is exactly what she needs today.
Goat Meat Pepper Soup
You will need:
- 500 grams goat meat
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large onion
- ¼ inch ginger
- 1 yellow habanero pepper
- 1 – 2 tablespoons pepper soup spice
- ½ teaspoon dried Cameroon pepper
- 1 cup fresh African basil (scent leaf)
- Wash goat meat and put in a large pot.
- Put garlic, onions, ginger and habanero pepper in a blender or in a mortar and blend/pound until smooth.
- Add the mixture into the pot with the meat. Add a quarter cup of water and some salt and set on medium heat.
- Stir well and let cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add 6 cups of water and cook on medium heat until the meat is soft.
- Add the smoked Cameroon pepper and pepper soup spice and stir. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary– salt, pepper soup spices and Cameroon pepper.
- Add the African basil (scent leaf), stir, cover the pot and turn off the heat.