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3 cups

A Loving Heart

3 cups

Healthy Communication

2 tsp.

Fidelity 

1 cup

Compromise

2 tsp.

Purity 

2 tbsp.

Truth &Honesty

1½ cups

Listening Ear

When Parents Seek To Choose Love For You

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Josh picked his Cellphone at the first beep.

It wasn't that there was another beep coming up; He simply hates loud ring tones. In fact, he hates all ringtones, and vibration is also out of the question. He says it startles him anytime the phone vibrates.

He wasn't sure of what to say if he answered the call, and equally unsettling was what would be said to him. It was Sue on the line.

"Hey" he answered lifelessly.

"Hey big kid..." she said in a thick voice oppressed with lust. On another day and under a different set of circumstance, Josh would have had a hard-on. That voice was a call for a hot steamy sex. Things are not the same anymore and Sue knows it.

Josh was the lukewarm type God was getting ready to spew out of his mouth anytime soon. He goes to church, prays in Tongues... or so he believes... He says he has the Holy Ghost in his heart, serves as a chorister and beds his girl as many times as he could find a condom, and strength would permit...

Josh! You bloody bloody hell-bound sinner!

When he hears that voice screaming in his head, he fasts three days until he feels his sins are purged.

Then Sue would call. And Sue would give him 'The Voice'... And like a lamb to the shearer, he follows his lust right into her panties... And sin again.

Bloody Sinful Josh; you helpless ravenous wolf deceiving the Lord's people as a sheep.  The voice in his head would chide. Thou shalt Purge me with Hyssop Oh God, and I shall be clean, thou shalt wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. His soul will cry in agony.

But that was in the summer of their hot steamy relationship. Then Autumn came when he was introduced to her family as 'The Guy'. The reception was not all that heartwarming; it's alright. In fact, it's normal, he lied to himself. Then he discovered, as time went on, that it was not normal.  Sue's family soon realized he was not just passing through. He was 'The Guy' who has pulled for himself a seat and was reading the newspaper; The Guy here to stay.

That ushered them into the winter of their relationship; a place they are still buried, enduring a blistering cold with its ominous miasma surrounding the future. The future became as bleak and uncertain as his options about it were. Sex rapidly started moving a seat back at a time. Now it is at the back row with the spell of her charm totally shattered.

Sue is also fully acquainted with that reality now, but would not give up; really, she has rather stepped up her game. Why would she give up on Josh? Josh is the best thing that ever happened to her; if there was any honour in standing by him in this cold night, then she would have that honour.

"What have you been up to?" She inquired, almost in a whisper.

"Nothing much; home, reading and doing a search online." He answered quietly. "How is tomorrow coming up?"

"hmmm well that is why I called you"

"Ok?"

"What do you mean by that?" She queried, suddenly losing her cool. She was not upset; she was frustrated, not at him.

"Oh, nothing. OK as in, I am listening" He answered calmly.

"Well sweetheart," Sue started after a sigh, "You know my mum is acting up right now. Well she is..."

Josh held his breath waiting for the almost expected news. The news that was to possibly be the final straw that breaks the sorry back of the camel.

"Tell me, Susan, what is she saying" "She does not want you there; at the wedding or the reception. And  because it is strictly by invitation, you can easily be embarrassed if you show up there without an invitation"

Silence

"No problem" Josh responded fatalistically.

"Is that all you can say?"

"What do you want me to say Susan? Josh flared up. "What have I done to make your mum dislike me to this extent?"

"Please Josh, please calm down" Susan attempted to nip the ensuing eruption.

"I won't bloody calm down. I can't take this any more, Sue. It's too much for me. I have endured this for almost two years, holding on to you and hoping she will somehow change when she gets to know me at a personal level. I tried to make myself known, you have tried to make me known, but to what end? She simply doesn't care.

She knows me well enough to like me, love me, treat me with respect, and accept me. But no! She will not. What should I do?  Tell me, Sue, tell me something new! For two years I have fought a losing battle. Sincerely, what do you think I should do differently to make her like me?"

"Josh, Josh! Are you listening to me? you promised not to flare up like this. You promised."

"And you think it is easy to bottle it up? Do you know what this is doing to me, Susan? I have loved you for who you are, pretending all the raging battle around us is some nasty nightmare that will go when we snap out of this slumber. This is two years of my life with no clue what awaits me around the bend. Two years stuck here and there; in the middle of nowhere! I have held on to hope for so long my fingers hurt."

Sue was audibly crying on the line but Josh had got to the tipping point and nothing could curtail his flow.

"What investment have I not done just to make this work? That is not to say I keep records of what I do for your family, but so you know I am not some opportunistic sucker who is only in your family to take from you. I also contribute my quota yet not even a single appreciation from her. I don't need it from her anyway, but when I come to her house, she should be kind and invite me in instead of telling me to wait outside or lie that you are is not at home. Are we some kids hiding behind the barn to steal love? I have my bloody Masters! I work, I earn a decent living. She should show me some respect!

What is it about this guy she wants you to date? What is it about him? How better is he? I have my goddamn Masters in Risk Management! Are you kidding me? Is it because he has his own house and I  rent a place? Is it because I don't have a "Family Name" on my complimentary card, and I hustle to take care of my stuff? Is it because I am an Ewe and he is a Fante? It is because I am a fresh graduate still trying to get my footings and he's already got it all figured out? What is it? Tell me, Susan, what is it at all that your mum wants me to do to make her accept me?"

"Josh, if I knew I would have told you," Sue said with a cracked voice screaming pain. "If this woman had given me a single reason why she so hates your guts so much, I would have told you. And if there was a reason, then our way would have been clearer. If it was something we could do right, we would do it, if it was something we couldn't help, then we would have had a reason to go our separate ways. But how can we break up for no reason? How can we give up like that?"

"That is a question for you to ask her!" Josh retorted angrily. "I mean, it is a conversation for you two to have. To think she is a thought leader; a woman who is respected and seen as fair, discerning and objective. Apparently, when it comes to her children, her views are final and non-negotiable.

When her car crashed, I used my connections to beat the system to get her an insurance cover so she could put in a claim, what did I get in return? A scorn! Josh you know  I do not tolerate that; that is corruption. So why did she not say so before I did it? Didn't she drive herself to the insurance company to collect the cheque? What was she thinking was happening? God raining down insurance claim settlement? But, well, when someone does not like you, they will collect whatever you give them and use it against you.

"Josh!!" Susan screamed.

"What? Is it not true? Were those not her words?"

You know, please, do not hurt me in the process, baby. Josh, I am begging you. Do not. I am equally upset, but she is my mother. I do not approve of her actions, but I respect her, and you should too. God willing, she will become your in-law, and you should never feel guilty when you look at her, because of the things you would have said about her. Please, baby, please. Let's keep hope alive.

"It hurts." Josh said quietly after a brief pause. "It really hurts."

"I know, Josh, I know."

"I am like a handyman to your family. This guy comes and parks his car at your gate, calls you on the phone for you to go out there. It is your mother who comes to beg him to come inside. He will not even sit. After a brief moment, he is out and gone. I have never seen this guy do anything of substance for your family. Unless you keep them from me.

I miss meetings, because of a family need I have to help you guys fix. Everyone in my family knows, when I have to choose between them and your family, I will go for yours. My parents have tried to be cordial with your mother to no avail. It is like a dead end when it comes to your family. Your father acts like has not seen any of this. I guess I have little or no net worth so, yea, I am good for the heavy lifting, while Mr Style and Suave gets to sit in his Ivory Towers and charm everyone with big family name, credentials and expensive facade.

"Hello?" Josh called out when he realised the line was quiet.

"I am here. Just listening." Susan said distantly.

hmm."

"I mean, it is not like I am not aware of any of these, and it is sad because none of this makes sense to me. I have no connection whatsoever with this guy, he doesn't seem like a guy I would want in my life. Heck, I can't stand him or hold a conversation with him. Gosh!" Susan cussed in exasperation.

The confusing part is that we are not poor for you to say, you are making a business decision; that you are giving me off to this guy so we can be redeemed from our socio-economic demography." 

"This guy is not ahen biaa? I honestly don't understand my mother."

"It is not just your mother. It is the entire family." Josh sought to educate Sue on the enormity of the issue confronting them. " Your father has been playing the ostrich with this. You want to tell me he cannot call your mother and have a husband to wife conversation with her?"

"How would you know they have not done that? No, Josh, I will not agree to that." Susan protested. "My mother is a stubborn woman, we all know that. Maybe my father is tired of saying it."

"I don't think so. Josh insisted. "Your home is not a matriarchy. Your father calls the shots. Your mother is a housewife. You cannot convince me that your father's hands are tied. He is just being a gentleman and pretending to be leaving all of this with your mum. He is hiding behind your mum's stubbornness to absolve himself of the responsibility of having to make a stand. I mean, you cannot convince me.

"You don't know that, Josh. You don't!"

"At least I know he is a businessman and this guy's father is a banker. Who knows. Your dad does business with his dad. Let's not pretend