The former Mrs James turned heads everywhere she went, she was that beautiful. As I sat in the booth of the cafe and watched her approach, I wished for the umpteenth time that I had her looks or at least looked more like her. I always felt so ordinary beside her with her smooth, pale complexion, fiery red hair and cool green eyes. Sometimes, most times actually, I wondered why she married my plain, Nigerian dad though he was extremely handsome. If she had married a white man, we would have gotten more features than the structure of her face and her rosebud mouth.
‘Is that your mum?’ Lincoln asked, sounding awestruck.
‘Yeah, ain’t I lucky?’ I was used to the disbelief that showed when people met my mum so I was able to mask my hurt.
I stood up to hug mum who was clad in a short dress that showed off her svelte figure to perfection, I couldn’t see the tag but I knew it was a designer. That was another of the many things that confused me about my parents’ marriage, mum was much more richer than dad and I knew that when they met and married, dad wasn’t as rich as he was before he died.
‘Are you alright, sweetie?’ Mum asked, holding me for some seconds longer. She had this uncanny gift of reading moods and it was obvious that she was getting the residue of my hurt at Lincoln’s reaction to her.
‘I’m fine, mum’, I said a little too brightly.
‘Where’s your sister?’
‘Home. Mum, I want you to meet my boyfriend, Lincoln Marsh’, I said quickly, slightly embarrassed. My eyes pleaded with mum to act nice and save the lecture for later.
‘It’s a huge pleasure to meet you in person, Mrs James. Sharon mentioned you but she skipped the fact that you were this gorgeous’, Lincoln gushed and I grew more mortified.
‘Thank you. You can see where my gorgeous daughter gets her looks from’, mum replied coolly and I thanked her silently.
‘So, since when have you two been together?’ Mum asked when we were all seated and she had ordered.
‘Mum…..’ I began in a warning tone.
‘For a while now, since her dad passed away. I’m really sorry about the death of your ex-husband’, Lincoln said.
‘Thanks. I’m happy that Sharon found an outlet for her grief. She took it hardest because she was very close to her father but I’m sure you know that already’.
‘Mum!’ I exclaimed as I felt Lincoln wince beside me.
‘I really should get going, Shar. I will see you later. Bye, Mrs James’, Lincoln said and rushed out.
Mum moved to the spot he vacated beside me and threw her hand around my shoulder, planting a wet kiss on my cheek.
‘Don’t try to bribe me, Mum. You shouldn’t have done that, you made Lincoln uncomfortable’.
‘Am I such a bad person for wanting to sit beside my dearest daughter? Admit it, we look better together’.
‘Seriously, mum. Lincoln is not an outlet for my grief, I’m serious about him’.
‘Honey, you are too young to be serious about anybody especially someone who shortens your name to Shar. Isn’t that hideous? I mean, Shar could be short for anything, Shar, Sharwarma’.
‘Mum, stop’, I said but I couldn’t help laughing. You couldn’t stay mad at mum for long, she was good with people.
‘You don’t like him, do you?’ I asked solemnly.
She shook her head, ‘I’m sorry, Sharwarma, but I think you can do better. I have a funny feeling about him and he was practically ogling me’.
‘He was just admiring you, mum’.
‘He should be admiring you. You are more beautiful than I am anyway’.
‘That is not true, mum. I don’t even look like you one bit’.
She gasped, ‘Are you insinuating that I did something sinister like adoption or surrogate mum? I will have you know, young lady, that I have stretch marks in certain places and my stomach is only this flat again because of rigorous exercises. I have pictures and doctor’s report and I know those can be forged but try pushing out two babies and see if a vital part of your anatomy will remain as tight as it was before. Wanna see?’
I was doubled over with laughter by the time she finished and I wiped tears from my eyes. I threw up my hand in mock surrender.
‘I believe you, I believe you. Please keep your evidence to yourself ‘.
‘On one condition. You have to stand up and tell everyone that I’m your biological mother and you love me’.
…to be continued