Brenda looked around as she walked into the courtyard. Nothing had really changed since she left the house. Everywhere was still bright and beautiful, and the environment was still cool.

As she walked into the living room, she noticed that her mother had made some changes there. New sofas and curtains and there was a brand new carpet on the floor. Well, her mother liked to change the furniture after a few years, so that didn’t surprise her.

She walked straight to her mother’s bedroom and knocked on the door. Then she opened the door and entered the room.

“Good evening, Mum. How are you?”

“I am well.” Felicia smiled, happy to see her. ” Come here and sit beside me. You look very lovely in that dress. How are you yourself?”

“I am well and I thank God.” Brenda smiled back at her.

It had taken her years to forgive her mother, but she had done so now and every day she was learning to appreciate her again. They were both working to rebuild their relationship as mother and daughter.

“This one you are still on your bed, are you sure you are all right?” She asked as she sat down on the bed.

“I am fine. In fact, I am better than fine now that you are here.” Felicia pushed her body to sitting position. “Should I ring for the maid to bring you something to eat or drink?”

“No, Mum. I’m all right.” Brenda shook her head. “I actually stopped at Bryan’s house before coming here and ate lunch with them. They sent their greetings to you.”

“Oh, how are they? I am planning to visit them this Sunday.”

“They will be happy to see you.”

“I will be happier to see them.” Felicia smiled and then placed her hand over Brenda’s. “I am so proud of both of you. You have done so well for yourselves. I know I always tried to push you all into politics, but you are doing great in your chosen careers. It is clear that parents don’t know everything. Thank you for forgiving me, dear.”

“Thank you for changing, Mum. It makes me happy to hear you talk like this.” Brenda said.

“I wish your sister was here, so I could tell her how sorry I am.” Felicia said with a sad look. “I miss her so much. She was my little girl and I made a big mistake with her.”

“I miss her too. But I know she will come back home one day. I put posts about her regularly on Facebook, because I know in my heart that she checks up on us online.”

“Maybe I should do the same. Maybe I should write her a letter there. Maybe I should explain everything to her through that means.”

“No, don’t do that. It’s a public forum and we don’t want to wash our dirty linens in public.” Brenda shook her head. “Be patient. She will come home one day and then, you can explain to her about what she overheard you saying.”

“I hope she will understand and forgive me when that day comes.” Felicia murmured.

“Of course, she will. Relax, Mum.” Brenda said and hugged her.

***

Ryan didn’t know why he came back to see her. Maybe because he has been thinking about her. He wanted to see if she was really Trisha, Laura’s old friend, and at the same time, he just wanted to see her face again and hear her voice.

When the receptionist went into her studio to announce his presence, he wondered if she would see him. He hadn’t called that he was coming, and he didn’t because he wanted to take her by surprise.

“You can go in, sir.” The receptionist said as she came out.

“Thank you.” Ryan smiled and got up to walk into the studio.

She was sitting at her desk and gave him a smile as he came in.

“Good day, Mr Dada. I wasn’t expecting you.”

“Please, it’s Ryan. And I’m sorry I didn’t call before coming. May I sit, please?”

“Of course, have a seat.”

Ryan sat down and stared at her. She didn’t have much makeup on her face today and on her head was a simple straight weave-on. She looked like Trisha Ogbonna would have looked like as an adult, Ryan thought.

“Did your mother like the painting?” Trisha asked since he was quiet.

She had been surprised when her receptionist told her that he was here to see her. She had wanted to refuse to see him because she feared he might recognise her, but she had changed her mind. It was time she stopped hiding. If he recognised her, then so be it.

“Oh yes, she did.” Ryan nodded, smiling. “She said the painter did a great job.”

“I am glad she liked it.” Trisha smiled. “So, how is she and your sister? You said you have a sister, right?”

“Yes, I do. And Laura and my mum are doing great.” Ryan wondered if he should ask her who she really was. But he decided to take it one step at a time. “You are an amazing painter, Vivian. I was just admiring your paintings out in the reception hall. They are all really great.”

“Thank you.” Trisha said and added in a murmur. “I wish she can hear you say that.”

“You wish who can hear me say that?” Ryan asked.

“Em, nobody important.” Trisha replied, shaking her head.

“I see.” It has to be her, Ryan thought, and she must have been referring to her mum. “You know, I didn’t get your surname last time. And you sign your paintings with Vivian T.”

“Oh, my surname is Mezie.” Trisha said smoothly.

“Mezie? Okay. So, what does the T stand for?”

“Thelma.”

“Thelma. That’s a nice name.” Ryan smiled. “And do you live here in town with your family?”

“You are asking a lot of questions, Ryan. Is there any reason for that?”

“Well, no big reason. I am just interested in you.”

“Why?” Trisha asked bluntly.

“I think I like you.” Ryan confessed. “I have been thinking of you. It’s like my mind doesn’t want to forget your face.”

“Your mind doesn’t want to forget my face?” Trisha laughed. “Why not? I’m no one important.”

“Well, I don’t know. But I like your face and I like it better now without so much makeup.” Ryan smiled. “You must know that you are a beautiful woman and don’t need so much makeup on your face.”

“I see. Thank you then.” The compliment made her shy, so Trisha lowered her eyes to her table. “Anyway, did you want another painting done? Is that why you are here?”

“Actually, I’m just here to see you. I think I would like us to be friends, Vivian.”

Trisha looked at him. “You want us to be friends?”

“To begin with.” Ryan nodded. “Like I said, I like you and my mind doesn’t want to forget your face.”

“Okay.” Trisha didn’t know what else to say. His request surprised her. “I guess we can be friends. But you don’t live here, do you?”

“No, I don’t. But I come here often for medical appointments. I’m a doctor.”

“I know. I mean, I checked your name online and saw you were a medical doctor.” Trisha hastily covered up her mistake.

“Ah, okay.” Ryan smiled. “In that case, if you checked me online it means your mind couldn’t forget me too.”

“I usually check out my clients.” Trisha said and tried not to roll her eyes. “Anyway, I have work to do, so if there’s nothing more, maybe we can see later.”

“No problem. But may I have your personal number, please?”

“Of course.” Trisha wrote it out on a sheet of paper and gave it to him. “Thank you for coming over, Ryan.”

“Thank you for seeing me and agreeing to be my friend.” Ryan smiled. “I will call you. Take care for now.”

“Take care too.”

Ryan nodded and left her office. She was definitely Trisha Ogbonna and he was going to get to know her better, and maybe help to bring her back home.

***

©Marie-Antoinette Otobo

***

I’m sorry. Yesterday I was very busy.