by Sinmisola Ogúnyinka
Loretta said my Davey was cute.
It had nothing to do with the statement but the body language, the tone of her voice, and just that mother-instinct your mama didn’t teach you. I warned Davey to stay away from unnecessary distraction from girls so many times, I wondered if I should have warned him about women too. Women my age, like Loretta.
I often joked God bypassed me when he was doling out fertility because without any medical issues or otherwise, my son was not born until ten years after I got married. And none came after him, though I never protected myself from childbearing. My Nigerian friend and co-worker consoled me with an ancient African belief that women were like the papaya tree. Some had clustering fruits and some only a couple. Well, I had only Davey.
With a bitter divorce just concluded, Davey spent half his month with Frank, his father and half with me. The first day Loretta set her eyes on him in church, we were new, she said he was cute. Davey smiled and twisted a new ring he just started wearing, arched his eyebrow, and looked away. I’m not into men wearing a lot of jewelry but Frank had developed the flair during the months we were going through the tough separation. And the more Davey spent time with him, the more I could see a rub-off. But that didn’t bother me. Davey knew the Lord.
Did he sense an unusual behavior in my friend Loretta?
“Loretta is hanging out with her daughter and wants me to come with them,” Davey said over lunch, several months after he met my friend.
“As what, darling?”
“An awkwarder! She’s trying to get closer to her sort of.” He shrugged. “She thinks I’ll be an ice-breaker.”
My heart dropped into my stomach. “She told you all this? When?”
I gazed at Davey. He didn’t seem to think anything was out of place in this conversation. Why would Loretta chat with my fifteen-year-old? What did they have in common?
“I told her I can’t. I’m going back to Dad’s and I don’t have any plans of telling Dad about her.”
I heaved a heavy sigh. “That’s a good reason. I don’t think it’s appropriate for her to chat you up about personal things in her life.”
“I don’t think so too.”
I shouldn’t get ideas, but my heart burned in fear and agitation. Loretta could be a Mrs. Robinson and my son couldn’t be lured into her trap. What was I to do? Was I to confront this woman or warn my son to stay away from her? Maybe I was being paranoid for nothing.
I startled. “Yes, dear.”
“I’m not a little kid anymore. I know Loretta doesn’t want you to know she talks to me.”
I covered my face with trembling hands. My divorce was barely a year and I still feel I failed my son. How could I tell him what I feel without coming off as a dirty old woman?
“Did she say anything inappropriate? To you, I mean? In the chat.” I stammered unable to understand myself.
“Like if I’ve kissed before?”
I exclaimed. How dare Loretta! “That’s inappropriate. You don’t have those conversations with me, Davey! Why would she ask you? And recently, she avoids me.”
Davey chuckled. “Maybe that’s because she offered to teach me.”
“Teach you what?” I could collapse.
Davey patted my hands. “Calm down, Mom. I can take care of myself.”
Only one thing came to my mind as I went to bed that night. I needed to pray and pray harder for my son. He couldn’t be lost to Loretta or any other married woman. Besides, in law, it was illegal. Davey had three more years before he could be recognized as an adult.
Loretta was seducing a minor, my son. What was I to do?
About the Author
Sinmisola Ogúnyinka is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer and movie producer, and the published author of Under a Red Delta Sun and Blue Dawn. She has a bachelor’s in Economics, an MFA in Creative Writing and is a Craftsman of Jerry B. Jenkins’ former Christian Writers’ Guild. She lives with her family in Philadelphia, PA. You can connect with Sinmisola on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter.
You can read Sinmisola’s “Flash Fiction” column on the 4th Tuesday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.