Amanda diverted her gaze from the night sky beautified by the half-smiling moon, and some bright and diminishing star, and what she thought was Venus as it didn't twinkle like the rest of the stars.
She felt and heard a vibration on her right leg. She sat quickly on the bed, and picked up the phone that's lying on the bed, and pressed the power button. She saw an inbox label at the top of the screen, in the middle. Excited, she unlocked the phone by inputting the password, and opened the message. Disappointed, she threw it on the bed, and returned her glare at the night sky through the half-opened window.
Dejectedly, after staring at the sky for some minutes, she slid the movable windowpane down, and latched it. She slid under the sheets, and burried herself in them.
Her mind raced through the possibilities, and finding no definitive answers to the questions she raised in her mind; she let the tears that had clouded her eyes have their way.
She heard the sound of her door being opened.
"Mama," she heard her ten-year old daughter calling her as she neared her bed. She wiped her tears with her hands before emerging from the cover of the sheets.
"Yes, my princess. What is it? You should have been asleep by now."
"Mama, were you crying?"
Amanda nodded her head. She's never good at lying.
"You won't understand. It's complicated. You want to sleep with me!"
"Ok, hop in," she told her; tapping on the bed.
She cocooned her to the neck, and watcher as she drifted to sleep. She brushed her forefinger on her face, and kissed her on the forehead. Her little right hand was resting loosely on her waist while her right foot had penetrated between her legs.
She didn't open her eyes as she struggled with the thoughts that were racing in her mind at neck-breaking speed. She hadn't slept most of the night. She'd kept looking at her phone, praying and wishing he'd respond, but a week had passed, and he hadn't responded to her text. When sleep finally favoured her in the wee hours of the following morning, the honking of a horn, screeches of tires, and voices of people below her room deprived her of the sleep she so craved for.
Lazily, she sat up on the bed. Jilty, her princess, was asleep. She got out of the bed carefully so as not to wake her up. She stretched her hands, and gave a yawn before heading to the kitchen; holding her phone on one hand.
She placed it on a low-lying wooden table, and began preparing the breakfast. Soon, the little girl would complain of starving to death.
She heard the vibration, followed by her favourite MP3 ringtone. Her heart jumped. She rushed to the phone, and checked the screen. Matt. She picked it up, and debated whether to answer it. Fighting against the urge to ignore it, she found herself answering the call.
"Hello," she said.
"Hi. How are you doing on that part of the world?" a tenor voice mixed with some bass asked.
"How about we meet at the Danjose Cafe at five in the evening?" he asked.
"Uh...uhmm...ok... it's alright."
"Good," he said, followed by the disconnection of the call.
Matt. They'd been in a relationship for more than nine years before he broke up with her for some other chick. After three years of having not contacted each other, he appeared out of the blue, and coerced her into reconciling their differences, whatever they were. They owed each other love, so he said. She had snorted at that remark. A year later, they broke up.
She did love him, but her feelings for him had diminished considerably. Every time he came back to her, like a dog that remembers its master, her heart was always receptive despite the wounds that still existed in her heart.
When he contacted her last week, he had purposefully, so she thought, to gaslight her. But, she still loved him. Still had feelings for him.
"Mummy, I'm hungry," Jilt cried.
"Here it is, sweety." She placed on the table a plastic plate containing slices of bed jammed together with peanut butter, and a small plastic cup of porridge; her favourite drink.
Staring at her daughter, she wondered if Matt ever cared about her, and her daughter. Was he after her body? He always said she's good in bed. Was it because he wanted to suppress the wounds from a relationship that had gone sour by running back to her. Was she ready to allow him back to her life? She knew Matt was a womanizer. Terrible at maintaining a relationship.
Her parents had advised her of not getting back with him. How many breakups had she endured from him?
She fidgeted her fingers but released them immediately when Jilt raised her head, and smiled at her.
"Want some more?"
She poured some porridge in her cup, then hers.
After a few minutes of silence, she led her to the bathroom, and helped her to undress.
A half-an-hour later, she had dressed Jilt in her school uniform, and saw her to the waiting school bus.
Back at the house, she went about doing the house chores. At ten, she took a bath, wore a blue jeans, and a blank white t-shirt. She opted for white sports shoes. She counted some notes, and pocketed them. She had some shopping to do. She'd jotted on a piece of paper the items she needed to buy at a nearby supermarket.
There hours later she was back at her house. She unpacked the items, and arranged them at their allocated destination. She'd bought her daughter some clothes, exercise books, crayons, a new bag, a pair of shoes and sandals.
At four, the school bus dropped Jilt a distance from her house. She asked her female neighbour if Jilt could stay with her for two hours at the maximum. She explained to her. The woman didn't object but asked her not to hurry the reunification of the relationship before several things had been cemented.
At the café, she saw Matt seated at the corner opposite the entry. She made herself comfortable on a chair. A waitress appeared. "What can I get you?" she asked.
"Just a cup of coffee," she said.
"Juice, please," he said.
"I have changed, Amanda. I'm no longer the same man you used to know. I have reflected, and am deeply sorry how much I have hurt you, and neglected my parental responsibility to our child..."
"My child," she interjected.
Matt waited for her to continue, but she just stared at him; her angry eyes boring into his.
"That's why I'm trying to say I want to be the best husband for you, and the best dad to Jilt."
"I won't fall into your deceptions, whatever they're. You're full of pride, always running back to me as if I'm your mother to nurse your wounds," she said.
"Please, keep your voice low," Matt whispered at her; avoiding the stares that were being thrown at them.
"Why should I lower my voice when you've always been taking advantage of me? I won't accept to be your doormat again."
Suddenly, she began weeping. "Why Matt? Why are you doing this to me?"
"I have changed," he said, almost in a whisper. "Please, trust me on this one."
Amanda took out a tissue from her purse, and wiped out the tears. She hadn't bothered to change to an attire fit for such an occasion. She'd only considered carrying a purse to complement her womanhood.
"I want to trust you, but find it difficult. You've to show me by actions. I have to see it that you've changed. Changed for the good."
"I promise you," he said.
"I will gladly welcome you to my heart, but I have to be sure. I can't bear the frequent wounds being inflicted in my heart by the neverending breakups."
She stood up, took one look at him, and left the café.