The Way To A Man’s Heart 💌💌
💌💌By Hossana Isaac O.
(Hossy Short Story Series)
Mom entered the kitchen and held the girl’s hand. “come say hi to my son Louisa”
They both walked to me. The girl was wearing an apron.
“hello Mr Mariano” she said. She has Italian accent
“hi” I managed to say despite my confusion. I looked to my mom and she chuckled
“Louisa would be staying here with you as your chef. I know how much you love food and how much you miss Italian food so I brought her to always cook your meals” she said and smiled at the girl who managed to smile back at her. It seemed the girl was a little nervous.
“wow” that was all that came out of my mouth
“are you surprised?” my mother asked
“hell yeah I am”
“but there’s one condition Jesse, she has to go to school. She wants to get educated and you have to take care of that. You have to sponsor her to college”
“college?” I asked looking at my mom
“yes. I know it’s not too big for you. Come on”
“sure, sure that’s not a big deal. I can do that”
“great! I told you he would agree. You don’t have to be nervous anymore” my mother said and stroke her hair down. She smiled brightly. I was right. She was nervous
“thank you so much sir. Thank you”
“yeah. Uhm, what is it that you’re cooking?”
“chicken breasts pizzaiol and tisimura for dessert” she replied in her cool Italian accent. No doubt this lady speaks Italian a lot.
“sounds good to me. I’m gonna go change” I said and my mother winked at me. Crazy woman.
I pecked her cheek and went to the couch, took my suit and laptop and headed upstairs to my room. I had a cool shower and I decided to rest on my bed for few minutes. I was wearing a white vest and white shorts.
I took my phone and browsed through it forgetting all the hunger that followed me home. Or was it the thought of finally eating something palatable that calmed me down?
I shrugged and continued going through Instagram.
I checked the time and found out that half an hour had gone. I was surprised. I looked outside through the large window and it was already dark.
“wow” I muttered and stretched myself. I got down from the bed and wore my slippers then strolled out of the room. I met my mom climbing up the stairs
“ohh pistachio, I was coming up to get you” she said as I started walking towards her
“stop calling me pistachio. It’s embarrassing” I lamented and she laughed
“that’s why I didn’t call you that in the presence of the pretty lady. Come on, dinner is set. Let’s eat” she held out for my hand and I gave her. She then walked me down the stairs like she always does.
When I was much younger, I fell down the stairs and broke my arm. It was a major fracture that didn’t heal till one year and five months. At that time, my dad had been killed in a casino where he gambled, lost and didn’t have any money though he said he had lots of money with him as his wager.
Things were difficult for us, especially my mom who had to go back and stay with her parents since she could not pay our rent.
Her parents house was an ancient house, it was from the 19th century. My cousins and aunts and uncles were staying there too.
Just one week after our arrival, I was trying to run down the concrete stairs when I missed one and fell all the way down.
When my arm was treated, I still needed to use the stairs to go to my room. I had developed a fear for staircases and I refused to use the room upstairs. My grandparents wanted to arrange for a room downstairs so the occupant could go to my room upstairs but my mom refused. She was determined to help me let go of that new found fear.
She truly helped me. Everyday she would hold my good hand and walk me down the stairs gently. She would also walk me up whenever I was going to bed. This way, I felt safer because I knew even if I wanted to fall, mom was holding me.
Time flew, and I braced myself up and said I could use the stairs like everyone else. That’s how I lost that fear after months of living in it.
But till today, if mom and I are using the stairs together, she holds that hand
“we’re eating outside today. It’s really beautiful. I bet you’d feel Italy in the air” she said as we approached my courtyard.
I smiled as the sweet smell of food sanitized the area.
In the middle of the courtyard, a table was there. Two big candles lit up the table and the wine in the glasses sparkled. The sky had beautiful stars and I began to thank God it’s summer or else outside would be freezing to stay.
My mom led me to the table which was already filled up with food. I began to wonder if it was only pizzaiol we were having
Louisa was covering the wine bottle when we arrived.
“sit” mom said and drew a chair for me. I sat down and my eyes met with Louisa’s. She smiled at me and I smiled back
“I’ll say Grace” mom volunteered and we all closed our eyes and put our hands together as mom prayed.
To be honest I didn’t hear a word of that prayer, my nostrils blocked my ears. The smell of good food wouldn’t let me be.
I only knew the prayer was over when I started hearing Amen. I opened my eyes and said Amen too.
We began to eat and I couldn’t stop moaning out loud. This food is the food cooked by angels in heaven.
“this is the best thing I’ve had this year. Gosh!” I said amidst mouthfuls
“you like it?” Louisa asked
“do I like it or do I love it”
Mom nudged me with her elbow as crumbs of chicken fell out of my mouth while I was busy moaning.
“where are your table manners Jesse?” she asked
“I left them standing as I sat down”
Louisa laughed and mom shook her head
I washed the dishes after dinner was over. I was really excited to be in London. I was even more excited that Mr Mariano accepted to sponsor my education. Finally I can go to school, graduate and have a good life. Papa would be so proud of me.
As I washed the dishes and hummed to my local songs, I heard someone clear their throat so I looked back
“Mr Mariano” I said. He was leaning against the wall with his hand resting on the cabinet. Mr Mariano was tall, but I was taller.
“great dinner today” he said and I smiled
“you cook excellently Louisa” he added
“thank you. I’m glad you liked it” I said and he grinned and left.
So he just came to compliment my food? Hmm
I resumed the dishes and soon I was done. I arranged them in the dish rack after drying them with a dish towel and I rinsed my hands and left the kitchen.
Mrs Mariano was watching TV and her son was seated beside her on the wide and long couch. I looked at the television and it was an action movie. I would have loved to watch but I was really tired and I wanted to stretch myself on that huge, soft white bed upstairs. Besides, I was shy of the young man and I couldn’t possibly watch a movie with him.
“come join us Louisa” Mrs Mariano said
“thank you ma’am but I am tired. I want to go to bed” I said
“you’re right. The flight and cooking must have made you tired. You can go to bed my darling”
“thank you” I said and went to the stairs.
Mr Mariano didn’t even look at me. His eyes were glued to the TV and he was taking sips from his orange juice.
I went upstairs and located the room his mother gave me. I entered and closed the door then heaved a sigh of relief. Thank God I’m finally alone.
I undressed and took a shower then laid on the bed and I soon slept off.
I had woken up quite early and I showered and braided my hair into two straight rows. I had long waist length hair and I loved to style it.
I wore a black pair of trousers and a white shirt. I then headed down and began to make some barley bread for breakfast. I also brewed some coffee that Mrs Mariano had brought.
Barley bread goes well with peanuts and thank God I saw a peanut jar in his fridge.
Before 7 am I had finished cooking and I began to set the table. That was when Mr Mariano came down with his office suit.
“good morning sir” I greeted him as I filled a mug with hot coffee
“wait. Breakfast is set? So soon? Wow” he said looking at the table
“cool” he said and sat down. I gave him the mug I had just filled and I covered the remaining food
“you’re not gonna eat yet?” he asked
“I’m waiting for Mrs Mariano”
“why? You’re scared of eating with me?” he asked
“no. I just don’t want Mrs Mariano to eat alone” I replied
“okay, whatever you say”
I then entered the kitchen.
It’s not like I’m really waiting for Mrs Mariano. I’m actually scared of eating with him. I might pour hot coffee on my white shirt.
To Be Continued
Written by Hossy