How often does a parent get tongued tied in the face of certain situations that demand some form of assertion of moral superiority with her child? Anna couldn’t still believe that after Nkechi had narrated an inconceivable story, she had found it difficult or even impossible to speak. Emeka just sat back and watched. The first thought that crossed her mind was that he was trying to evade his responsibility but there was a certain expression on his face she couldn’t interpret. It was sincere and tender. Aha! She thought to herself. This boy has convinced my daughter to tell a lie. However there was a rising panic within her. Nkechi was no push over and she wouldn’t lie about this. Was this why she kept silent the whole time? Why would they concoct a story as fantastic as this to prove Emeka’s innocence? What if it were true?

“So…that’s what happened.” Nkechi said.

Anna made another attempt to speak but the words wouldn’t come out. After a long and uncomfortable pause. She finally found her tongue.

“What kind of story is this? Was this story Emeka’s idea?” She asked visibly agitated.

Emeka looked shocked at the mention of his name. He wanted to speak but Nkechi cut in.

“Mom, I just told you I was raped!” She said angrily.

“Tufia! Chukwu ekwe kwana ife ojo!! Don’t say that!!!” Anna chided, still thinking it was all a bad dream but the look on her Nkechi’s face told her it was no dream.

“Ewo! Alu!!” She screamed suddenly, gripping her hair when the realization sank in finally. “Are you telling me Emeka is not responsible for your pregnancy?!”

“No, ma! I’m not o.” Emeka said, finally speaking for the first time. “My relationship with Nk has been nothing more than platonic.”

“Hmmmmm!” The loud sound emitted from her closed lips. The tears began to run down her eyes. She bowed her head as the tears became torrential.

“Ah God! Why have you abandoned me?” She cried. “Haven’t I suffered enough? Ah!” She rose and went to join Nkechi where she sat and hugged her tightly.

“And you have been suffering in silence all this while? Why didn’t you tell me?” She said in between sobs.

Nkechi melted into her mother’s arms and her tears came out in the open. Her body shook convulsively as the tears increased and she just let it all out.

Emeka felt pleased to finally see some emotion come out of Nkechi but he felt stuck in an awkward moment. What does a guy do when he caught in this kind of situation?

“But why have you been running away from me?” She asked Emeka, her tears flowing like Niagara falls. It was a rhetorical question so he didn’t bother to answer.

It was a mother-daughter moment where there was that rare and open display of emotion and affection. Emeka silently got to his feet and tip-toed to the door as he felt his usefulness had come to an end. At least, for now.