A young girl can see the light of match-making in her mother's eyes, even as the star twinkles on the Christmas tree.
It was the light being switched on that did the job. Bolade stretched awake blinking blearily in the harsh fluorescence. The sound of music playing in the background did not help the small headache scrimping away at the back of her skull. She cracked one eye open and groaned. Her mother stood at the open door of her bedroom, wrapped in a colorful apron.
“Bolade, get up. We’re already in the kitchen and I need all the hands I can get. I sent Funmi to come and wake you up about an hour ago.”
Bolade turned over and tried to shut out her mother’s voice. However her mother must have opened the door wider because the music from the living room became louder. Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way…
“Bolade… Bolade… ” her mother was standing right over her head.
Peeping out of a half-shut eye, Bolade saw a ladle tapping against an apron-covered thigh. When she raised her head, the glower in her mother’s eyes made her shrug off her blanket.
“Alright, alright… I’m coming…” Bolade muttered, pushing her legs over the side of the bed.
She had been so much looking forward to Christmas as a time to rest with her family, but now it all felt like an anticlimax. She had arrived from Dallas a week ago and since then had not gotten any breathing space. If she was not being pushed to greet one relative or the other, she was expected to perform a domestic task in the house. And she hated cooking.
She looked beyond her mother to the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree in the living room. The tentative light of dawn filtering in through the drapes gave the outer room a cozy feel which had fled her room since her mum switched on the overhead light in the bid to wake her. She wiped her eyes and stretched again.
“Is it the chat we had last night that is bothering you?” her mother asked, the ladle tapping again.
“Mama, I just didn’t sleep well. I think I have a headache coming on. But I’ll join you in the kitchen soon.”
“Remember what you promised.”
“I never promised anything, but I will see him like I agreed.”
With one final glare, her mother left the room and closed the door. Bolade dropped her head into her hands and sighed. About two days after her arrival, her parents had started a catalogue of men she needed to meet during her time at home. Last night, her mother had called her into an empty bedroom to drive home the point. Bolade was overdue for marriage and her mother had taken things into her own hands. There was a friend, whose son was looking for a wife. He was also in Ilorin for the Christmas celebrations and had agreed to meet Bolade either at the Midnight Eve carol or the Morning church service. Wasn’t it so obviously a sign that both of them lived in the United States and were home at the same time? Her mother had gone on and on to praise the man, listing all his good qualities and how he was perfect for Bolade.