Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)
TITLE: What They Taught Our Kids
By Ifeoma Dennis
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"Daddy!" Amie, our four-year old daughter shrieked before she even opened the door, on hearing her father's voice.
"How's my big girl doing?" Arinze's sonorous voice seeped into my ears all the way from the front door to the kitchen.
"I got hundred percent in our math yesterday," Amie reported, her innocent, sweet voice filling the air. "Our teacher gave me crayons for that."
She jumped down from her father's muscular trunk and flew upstairs on an all-important flight to get the crayons.
Arinze saw me then, still in the process of rolling up my sleeves, my hair scattered, my cosmetic state a mess.
He smiled, and I forced myself to smile back at the chauvnist I made the mistake of marrying. Okay, I did find him tall, dark and attractive then, and even funny, but a chauvnist he was, and still is.
"I'm taking them to Millennium Park. By the way, where's Ody?"
"Still in bed, I guess," though I know it sounded like, go find out yourself.
"They shouldn't be staying up late," I was expecting him to say, but it looked like he was in a pretty "unchauvinist" mood that morning.
He left the balcony where he had been standing since he came and walked through the connecting door into the large living room. He looked at me inquiringly, and I nodded.
He sat down on one of the rose green sofas that adorned the flowery white-curtained living room.
I sat down at the opposite end, glancing at the clock. Twenty more minutes and the cake would be out of the oven and the clothes out of the washing machine.
There was an uncomfortable silence, as it always was whenever we found ourselves alone since our seperation nearly five months ago.
"You were baking?" he asked me.
I nodded and smiled, "and a host of other chores." Realising the implication of my words from the fleeting pitiful look he gave me, I added, "I'll get a nanny soon."
Arinze wanted to reply, but was saved the effort by Amie who burst into the room, heading straight for her father's trunk with a speed that almost equaled that of light.
"See them, daddy," she said, showing him excitedly, "Are they not fine?"
"They are," he agreed, kissing her soft cheeks, "I'm very proud of you."
"Thank you," she said respectfully.
"How does the idea of going to Millennium Park sound?" he asked her.
"Great!" she screamed gleefully, wrapping her small arms around her father's broad shoulders and burying her face into his neck briefly. Then she leapt off and ran over to give me a hug too.
"Someone's missing," Arinze noted presently. "Where's Ody?"
"He peed on his trousers and doesn't want mommy to find out. And yesterday," she continued breathlessly, "he failed his math because he wasn't listening."
The next thing we heard was a loud slap on Amie's back by no one but the erstwhile elusive six-year old Ody. He ran out of the room with Amie tearfully following in hot pursuit.
"Kids," we said simultaneously, shaking our heads.
"Let's go find them if we want to avert a major disaster," Arinze suggested, looking at me expectantly.
After searching the whole house, we found them in the guest room upstairs, building their Air Force set with deep concentration, all trace of enmity or anger or tears lost.
"Wow! I'm impressed," I told our two angels, smiling.
"Ody said he was sorry, and could we please, build our Air Force together? And they told us in Sunday School that Sorry, Thank You and Please buys us everything but costs nothing."
We left them speechlessly. Arinze's left hand found my right as we walked down the stairs.
Was he thinking what I was thinking?
We ended up in the patio.
"I'm sorry, Elsie," Arinze told me, a sincere light in his eyes, "Please can we build our marriage together?"
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