Dinner turned out to be a horrible affair.
Molawa had known that there was no way Adewale would continue with the engagement, not after what she had said to him. But, she hadn’t expected him to call it off so soon. Although, her father and her grandmother had not said anything, she knew something was wrong. Dinner with her family was usually pleasant. It helped relieve her stress from the day. They always had something to talk, argue or even laugh about. But that evening, her grandmother had only nodded in response to her greeting and her father who sat at the head of the grand dark mahogany table wouldn’t even look at her. Light from the Chrystal chandelier above the dinner table illuminated the room, expensive ceramic dishware and silverware adorned the table.
“This is ridiculous you know? In this family, we talk about things.” Ademolawa said unable to hold it in anymore. She dropped her fork in annoyance and her grandmother gave her a disapproving look; the only reaction she had gotten from her all evening.
“Really Ademolawa, do we really talk about things in this family?” her father asked angrily dropping his fork, he also got a disapproving look from her grandmother. With all that was going on, Grandma Nini seemed to be only concerned with table manners.
“Why aren’t you answering me Molawa, do we talk about things in this family or do we just pretend everything is okay when it really isn’t?” Her father rarely got angry and even when he did, he didn’t yell. He had never shouted at her, not even five years ago when she had been a foolish little girl.
“I shouldn’t have said that, we have all had a stressful day, we should just finish dinner and go to bed.” She said.
“My day wasn’t stressful, I think all I did was drink tea, read a book, took a nap and I also strolled around the house overseeing the servants. So, speak for yourself darling.” Grandma Nini said and went back to her salad as if she didn’t know that tension was building in the dining area.
“Your granddaughter is behaving like an overgrown child and that’s all you have to say?” Her father’s anger had turned towards her grandmother but as usual, she was unfazed by it, nothing ever shook her. Mo guessed that’s what happened when you live up to eighty years in good health.
“Tell me, why did you break up the engagement without informing anyone?” He asked with his brows furrowed in anger and his grey afro hair seemed to have become greyer because of his anger. “You are a princess; you have a responsibility to yourself, to this family and to the whole country. Marriage to the Oriades is just perfect.” He continued, throwing his hands in the air in confusion.
“Has it ever occurred to you that maybe I don’t want to get married, that maybe I don’t need a man? Why can’t I just be left alone? I didn’t ask to be a princess neither did I ask to be an only child?” Ademolawa was yelling now, all sense of decorum forgotten.
“You wouldn’t be an only child if your mother had not died giving birth to you.” Her father retorted. Grandma Nini shot daggers at him with her eyes but remained silent.
“Now you are saying that mother’s death is my fault? What else do you want to blame me for, go ahead and say it? Tell me how I almost ruined the family name by running off with a man; tell how ruined I am for almost getting raped. Tell me the main reason you want to marry me off to my supposed childhood friend is because you are tired of me, I remind you of a wife you loved and lost, I am a failure, a disappointment. Go ahead, call me an ice queen like the rest of the world does, go ahead tell me my heart is made of ice the way Adewale did.”
“Stop yelling at me child, if I hated you I would have stripped you of your title and disinherited you a long time ago or I would have simply had you drowned the minute you were born. But you are my daughter and I love you. And do you honestly want the truth? If you can’t let go of the past then you have no future.”
“Really dad, you think Adewale is my future? You think he is not an animal because we were childhood friends, you think he will make me happy? He is a man and men are only concerned about their happiness, convenience and satisfaction. I used to think you were an exception but, I can see how wrong I was. You are just like the rest of them. I don’t want to get married; you can take your stupid title and inheritance and throw it into the lagoon because I don’t want it.” And with that Ademolawa stormed out and went up to her room leaving her father speechless.
The last time he lost his temper was when she had disappeared five years ago and even then, he had not yelled at her.
“Well… thank you for giving the servants something to gossip about.” Grandma Nini said glaring at him. She was the only one who had finished her food.
“Oh come on, don’t give me that look Mom. You practically left me hanging, we were supposed to let her know that the past is the past and it will only continue to haunt if she let it.” He said accusingly.
“No, we were supposed to let me handle it. This is a delicate situation and yelling would not make anything better, I am afraid that you may have hardened her heart forever.”
“Now, you are going to blame me?”
“The same way you blamed her for her mother’s death. That is a horrible thing to say to a child.”
“I didn’t… wait… I said too much, didn’t I?”
“Now he gets it,” Nini said without making an effort to hide her sarcasm. “You can be so insensitive sometimes. When you came to me with the situation I told you to let me handle it.”
Adebayo sighed, he had been so angry that he had not realised the extent of the words that had come out of his mouth, how could he have mentioned disowning her, drowning her. She was a woman going through a lot, his daughter needed help, not fights. She needed to open her eyes and see that not all men were monsters. He really wanted to help his daughter feel alive again. He sighed again and reclined on the dining chair. He would choose his mischievous daughter over her bitter self any day.
“You keep saying I should let you handle it, just how do you intend to do so. Ademolawa seems completely lost in herself.”
Grandma Nini cleared her throat, took a sip from her orange juice before answering. “Well since she is fixated on the past and can’t let it go then, it’s time to let the past help her.”
“What are you talking about?” Adebayo asked more confused than he had been before. He didn’t like talking to his mother about serious issues because half of the time he didn’t understand what she said.
“The Ice Queen,” Nini answered and Adebayo could only stare at her open mouthed.
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