THE PONMO DEBACLE 1 – 4
The aroma wafting from the plate placed in front of me made me swallow audibly. I am a foodie. An unrepentant and unsalvageable one. Lord please don’t let me embarrass myself here, I prayed silently.
Magnus had brought me to visit and get to know his mother for the first time. Our relationship was made in heaven if I do say so myself. We just clicked. There was no other way to describe it. He was my soulmate. The universe must have been aligned favorably the day I mistakenly spilled my bottle of soda all over his shirt at that wedding.
My friend,Juliet, had dragged me to the wedding of one of our old school mates to get over the funk of yet another short lived romance. I swear, I literally attracted the frogs and not the princes.
This last one had emptied my account with my ATM card while I cooked, blissfully unaware in his kitchen.
It was an embarrassing episode that I just refused to dwell on. The indignity of having the policemen make snide comments about me entrapping men with my money and how they would have probably done exactly the same thing still makes my skin crawl.
Anyway, enough of the frogs. Let us focus on my prince. Magnus was godsend. He saw me as a human first and treated me with so much thoughtfulness and care.
In the relatively short time I have known him, he had quickly rooted himself into my heart and my life with all the kind and generous things he did for me. He worshipped me and I adored him. The fact that he was so easy on the eyes was a big plus too.
“Welcome once again, Leticia” His mother who looked like a retired supermodel greeted me elegantly. I swear I had major body image insecurity on sighting her.
I was a chubby, self assured young woman who was very comfortable in her own skin but seeing his mother made me feel like a frump.
I could visualize our daughter looking like her grandmother and I loved that image immediately.
“Thank you ma” I replied modestly, my eyes riveted on the plate of fried plantain and many pieces of my favorite meat piled high on the plate. I was a sucker for meat. Any kind of meat. But when it comes to a well prepared plate of PONMO meat, I lose all my home training. My village people must have followed me to this place I wailed silently as I swallowed saliva for the umpteenth time.
“Babe, help yourself to the food. I will join you later” Magnus said with joy already following behind his mother to welcome who I supposed was a well liked relative judging by the effusive greetings being exchanged between the three of them.
I couldn’t wait to take another piece. I was in the zone. I developed tunnel vision and everything around me faded to nothing.
“Babe, meet my aunt Maria. She is like a mother to me…..wait, you finished that huge plate of food alone? Leticia!” Magnus’ voice brought me out of my food orgasmic daze and I blinked to find three pairs of eyes staring at me in wonder with the Aunt looking at me with intense dislike.
I stared down at myself in surprise to see the plate of food wiped clean and my fingers deeply coated with the sauce.
What have I done to myself?
THE PONMO DEBACLE.
I stood up quickly looking around for where to wipe my hands. My village people have finally succeeded I thought wildly while trying not to look at the three sets of eyes I could see focused on me.
I looked up as a box of paper handkerchiefs was thrust at me by his mother who had a bland expression on her face. I cleaned my hands quickly and coughed a little to cover the silence that was becoming increasingly awkward.
“Babe, I was waiting for you to return…” I trailed off. What was I to say? That in the short time it had taken the man I love and his mother to greet their visitor, I had devoured a plate of plantain and several pieces of meat. Food that j was sure was meant for Magnus and I . My village people were definitely fanning themselves with my picture.
“ Magnus my son, where did you get this glutton from?” the woman called Maria questioned my boyfriend while his mother took a seat opposite me staring at me with a look in her eye I couldn’t decipher.
I so wanted to tell off the woman. I was not a glutton. I had simply had an accident with the plate of food that’s all. But I loved Magnus and I didn’t want to appear rude to his obviously beloved aunt. So I swallowed the sharp words that came to my mouth and hung my head.
That the woman was already staring at me with dislike and this showed that nothing I said was going to make a difference.
“She is not a glutton, Aunt Maria. She doesn’t eat this way. At least I haven’t seen her eat this way” Magnus was ashamed of me. He could barely look me in the face.
Being someone who started our relationship by looking intently at my face, I knew how deeply ashamed he was and I felt like the earth should open up and swallow me.
When we met at a an old school mate’s wedding, Magnus, who was one of the groomsmen, had come up to me while I waited for Juliet outside to drop off her wedding gift for the couple so we could leave.
Usually in Nigeria, once the couple had danced and then received wedding gifts, it was a signal for most guests to start departing.
“Excuse me” he had said and I had turned around as he had approached from my back “I have been staring at you all through the reception” he said bluntly and I was a bit angered by that being that a son of a devil had wiped my account all in the name of love weeks earlier and I was not in the mood for another sweet tongued one.
“I am not interested” I had answered blandly turning the other way to show him my disinterest even though I loved his suit and his well kept beards. Sue me. I like fine things.
“I haven’t asked you to buy anything from me or sign up for anything” he said coming to my front again. “I simply said I have been staring at you” he was not going to go down easily.
“Should I say thank you? Is that a compliment?” I was not in the mood for a smart ass.
“My name is Magnus…you have the most amazing eyes and I want my only job to be to stare at you for the rest of my life. You think we can swing that?” of course I mellowed after that and the rest they say is history.
“Magnus, I am sorry for eating all the food. I was hungry, love plantains and the food was so well prepared. I apologize again for eating it all but I am not a glutton and I will never be. I also will not stand and let your aunt talk down on me though I love you more than anyone in the world” I picked up my handbag and walked out of the house. The silence following me evidence that I left behind shocked people.