The drive from Ilupeju where I lived, to Goldyn Land Estate of Ikoyi took a toll on me. The journey wasn't long and I expected it to take longer, but I couldn't explain why I felt exhausted driving there. Maybe it was because I was emotionally exhausted too. The anxiety of possibly seeing mom again made me feel tense. Would I disappoint her? Would she even care? I was never really good with disapprovals and a part of me worried about facing that.
Entering into the highly acclaimed estate was a true sight for sore years. I hadn't been here in almost ten years and it hadn't really changed, but I found my eyes still glued in awe at the beauty of the place like it was my first time being there. Rows of identical houses are arranged in soft neon colors, the street were paved with interlocking tiles as smiling faces of people adorned the streets. From afar, I could see men hanging the Christmas light round the poles and women dropping snowmen sculptures in front of houses. It never snowed in Nigeria but it was still beautiful to see artistic representation of snowmen around the place.
Pulling my gaze away from the busy people of the town and its bubbling demeanor, I finally looked around for mom's house. It didn't take long to find her house and within minutes, I was parked in the compound.
As I took out my suitcases, I could spot my mom coming out her house and towards me, from the corner of my eyes. One thing I could admit, Linda Duke was a beautiful woman. She was stunning for a lady in her early fifties and her light skin my sister and I had inherited, glistened in the sun. She wore a loose fitting long dress and had a somber expression on her face. I noticed she looked frail, like really frail. As if she had lost a significant amount of weight. Was she ill? Even her face looked pale and drawn. I quickly shook off my thoughts. I reminded myself that I didn't need to worry about her. She had herself to worry about.
Her speaking voice was still as melodic as ever. "Abigail."
She just said my name. Just my name. Not adding anything, as if she was contemplating on what to say. "Good afternoon, ma'am"
I couldn't help sounding so formal but she didn't look unhinged. "I'm glad you came. I was afraid you wouldn't."
"I wasn't going to." I had no intentions of lying, even if it did hurt her.
She winced, but the look in her eyes were clear enough to tell that she was expecting me to say that.
I ran my hands down my wavy brown hair. I really hated awkward moments. "I should get my things inside."
"Let me help you with it."
I gave a humourless smirk. "I'm sure I can handle it. I don't need you. I never really did before."
She blinked at me. I had passed the message across. I didn't need her to pretend to be a good mother after spending so many years abandoning me.
I had settled right into my old room quite comfortably. It looked exactly the same. Nothing had changed. Even some of my old clothes from a decade ago were still hung in my cupboard. The room was spotless and everything that an 18 year old would have liked in a room was there. The room's lavender color still looked as bright as ever and I closed my eyes pretending it was ten years ago when everything was slightly better.
I opened my eyes, bringing myself to reality and dreading to walk out that door to see mom again. She had informed me it was time for lunch but I couldn't bring myself to open the door. I eventually mustered up courage and went out of the room.
My gaze trailed across the living room, letting my eyes sink into the pictures of Sarayah that surrounded the house. I could only find two pictures of myself and they were pictures that had Sarayah in them. Blinking back tears, I realized how little time mom had been in my life and it made my blood boil with anger.
I found myself staring at a particular picture of a much younger version of myself. Sarayah and I clutched each other tightly and had toothy grins on our faces. Sarayah, even as a little child looked flawless and I had childish innocence in my eyes back then. Those were the good times. There was no bad blood or insecurities or distance. Just two sisters living in the moment.
Mom's voice broke me away from my thoughts. "That picture was from your fifth birthday. You wanted a horse as a gift so instead I got you a toy horse and you cried for hours. I was surprised you were able to smile through this picture."
Seeing her smile, I straightened up and gave a poker face. "What's for lunch?"
Her smile slipped off as I followed her to the dining table.
* * * * *
After eating a mouth watering meal of jellof rice and chicken, we both sat in silence. I had already made up my mind to stand up and go to my room, when she asked "Carole told me you're doing a write-up on this town. What's it going to be about?"
"It's going to capture the beauty of Christmas town's festive season. Giving Nigerians a preview of a different kind of Christmas celebration, even in Nigeria."
"That's lovely. You should know that it starts officially this evening at the town hall. We could go there together."
My monotone voice lacked any emotion. "No problem."
But mom continued to talk. I found it hard to believe she didn't notice how disinterested I sounded. "The Christmas celebration is nothing like how it was over ten years ago when you were still here. It has gotten more fun. It has more activities. More people are getting involved in the festivities. Even I'm heading and overseeing the Christmas pageantry that's happening this month."
I rolled my eyes. "Why am I not surprised?"
Mom's eyes drooped slightly as she pursed her lips. "Abigail, I know I've been a terrible mo—"
I stood up abruptly, I didn't need her apology. She made her choice and nothing could change it. She was a decade too late. "I'm going to my room now." and went away as swiftly as I could.
What do you think of Abbie and her mom's relationship so far? Do you think she's overreacting or is her anger justified?
I'd love to hear what you have to say.
Note: A lot of people have been asking me when I update my chapters and I've already made it known that I do so on Mondays and Fridays...
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28 days in Christmas Town✔ChickLit
*Completed* Abigail "Abbie" Duke learnt to depend on only one person. Herself. Growing up to always being second choice to her older sister, Abbie watched her mom give up her marriage to focus only on her sister's eventual rise to stardom. As a gro...