CHAPTER THREE – THE SPEAKING SMILE PT1
Jeff is a simple young man, who always state without ambiguity, the intentions of his words and deeds, having been raised alone by a doting single mother, he never had any need for deception because all he needed he got, except for his longing for siblings.
When he was younger he wanted a lot of things, the most constant of which was for a bigger family, and he was delighted when his mother met his step-father. It was a bonus to Jeff that the man made his mother into a whole different woman.
She smiled more, hummed while doing chores and the most radical of it all, she started telling jokes so frequently. It was almost as if he exchanged her melancholy for a cheerful sanguine.
But that ended too quickly when his step-father died in a ghastly motor accident. His mother cried for months and after the crying stopped, the moodiness began, and once again, she was gloomy as usual.
From her first romantic encounter, where the person she thought to be the love of her life turned out to be a filthy finagler, to the abrupt death of her husband only after two years of her marriage, to her infertility; Jeff’s mother had had quite a hard life.
And it was all too apparent on her speaking-smile which never failed to tell anyone who saw it that behind the smile, there is a broken woman with sad memories enough for two lifetimes.
She’s found a sad way of personifying it all, that it now practically lives with her every single moment such that you can’t look at her without noticing her infinite pain.
Jeff’s mother was kind, sweet and generous and all these were disheartening for Jeff as he hasn’t yet been able to erase all the pain of her sordid past.
For the past week he had battled with the thought of seeing his biological father, he had contemplated on going to see him and it had kept him down.
There was a time when he thought a lot of his father, then he was seventeen, he talked to his mother about it and the woman adamantly refused, he was rebellious and bent on getting his way and so was his mother.
It was put to rest a year later when they both came to an agreeable compromise; his mother promised to let him go see his biological father when he turns twenty and he found that reasonable.
She explained to him how the man jilted her out of her savings and ran away; leaving her pregnant and alone, the subject always made her sad, and, it was devastating for her that Jeff was longing for the same man who did all those dreadful things to her and Jeff saw how that made her feel like she had failed as a mother.
It was difficult for Jeff to give up the desire, though, it never really went away; but as he grew up, he gradually confiscated those thoughts and replaced it with how caring, providing and perfect his other father was while he was alive and that cropped out his desires for the man who was never there for him or treated his mother with any dignity.
All he had to give back for his step-father’s unconditional love and kindness was officially swapping his last name which was actually his mother’s maiden name for that of his step-father’s when the time for his senior WAEC came and that made his mother abundantly happy.
He was already the man’s son through marriage but he didn’t have to take his name, if him or his mother didn’t wanted to but Jeff deemed it considerate; if not for anything, at least because he made his mother happy when he was alive.
And now, with the thought that his biological father might die and he finally has the freedom to choose whether or not to see him, just resurrected all his teenage feelings about the issue. But he had finally decided not to open that can of worms.
He convinced himself that it might be best if he never finds out. And it will be better if he just moved on with his life, with the conclusion that he lost his father when he was seventeen years old. But the decision is easier made than kept.
“How is the job hunt going?” Jeff asked Siri who is now sitting opposite him in a restaurant.
Getting her to come out with him has been like getting an appointment with the president but luckily for him she finally accepted to have lunch with him this afternoon.
“It’s been very stressful, still waiting on a call from RISE FM… I think they are playing hard to get” She said with a twinkle in her eyes.
“Just like you are doing with me” He redirected.
Siri smiled, she really liked the guy and was trying so hard to play it cool without chasing him off with her apparentness. According to Kate, her best friend, men like to be the ones doing the chasing. It’s an ego thing, says Kate.
Siri made sure she stuffed her tummy with enough food before she joined Jeff for lunch, so she can eat slowly and pretend that she doesn’t eat much, it was a trick Kate taught her and it worked like magic.
They talked for a long time, even after they finished their meal; it made her warm and fuzzy inside when he turned down the volume of his phone and kept it in his pocket as his office kept calling.
It was exciting being with someone who was that attentive to her and in her head, they were already together, though, she insisted that they were still getting to know each other when he asked her to be his girlfriend…
Did you know that girls stuff their tummies with food before going out with guys and then pretend like they don’t eat much? Lol. We got tricks… see ya tomorrow.