Don’t marry that man!

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It has been raining for over 40 minutes…Well not actual rain, yet not drizzles. Somewhere in between. Segilola lit a cigarette, what she considered to be her only vice since it was harming her health. She is a doctor and she knows what is good for her but she just would not do it. She took a slow, long drag and inhaled to the bottom of her lungs, held it there for about 6 seconds and then did a slow nose/mouth exhale. She loved the way it made her feel woozy, then dizzy. The sound of her phone ringing brought her out of her reverie.

“Hi dear”, she answered, attempting to sound cheerful.

It was Onome calling… Onome Makinde or was it Akindele, whatever, Onome was a pretty messed up girl and was her kinda ex-friend trying to make a come-back. Her story buttressed Segilola’s resolution never to get married. What exactly is the reason why people get married? What is the point of subjecting oneself to a lifetime of either boredom or regret. The thought of being with one person forever was one Segilola refused to even consider. The only way she would ever agree to marriage is if she finds a man who was okay with an open relationship. You can do your thing. I can do my thing. But please let us not pretend we are faithful to each other. It was not just about the sex, it was the thrill of meeting a new man, fronting for a bit or brazenly seducing him till he gave in. In marriage, all that is lost. You are with the same man, kissing the same lips, shagging the same man forever. She shuddered at the thought.

What irritated her most was the lies. Men lie. These days, the women are worse. Would it not be better if both parties laid their cards on the table: we marry but you can do you and I do me.

“Segi, please are you home?”, Onome asked sounding a bit shaken.

“Where are you and what is the problem?” she quipped, taking 3 quick drags. This time, she exhaled immediately, slightly upset at the disturbance.

She was in no mood to receive any guest or play host in any form. She just wanted to be alone, read a book, smoke her fags. It was either she lied that she was not home or she appeared liked a bad friend by telling Onome she was unable to see her. She frowned, waiting for Onome’s response.

“I am at home. Can I come to yours now? Are you at home?”, she sounded impatient with Segilola’s evasiveness.

“Yeah, I am. You can come but what is the issue?”

“It’s Jide”, she mumbled between sniffles.

“Hmm, okay. Take it easy. I’ll be expecting you”, she said as she threw on some knickers and yesterday’s clothes and dragged herself to the living room to wait for her guest.

***
sad-girl-cry

Source:http://www.gollyfolly.com

It was the exact story she expected to hear. Onome had snooped on Jide’s phone on Saturday and saw a text message from an unsaved number asking what the plan for that evening was. Refusing to accept it was a benign message, she promptly inputed the digits into her True Caller app and lo and behold it was a female name that showed up. At about 4 pm that same day, Jide had a second shower, got dressed to the nines, picked up his briefcase and the keys to his new car and announced that he was off to a business meeting.

With the information she had, she decided to probe. She asked him who he was meeting with and he responded that it was himself, Chinedu, his male colleague and a potential client, one Chief Eruwa. As soon he spoke those words, she confronted him angrily with her proof of a lie and announced that she was fully aware that he was meeting up with a girl whose name is …cant remember what she called her but she definitely mentioned the name to her husband.

Jide was half stunned, half angry and still proceeded to go out without saying a word. He didn’t come back home that Saturday and didn’t pick her calls either. Today, the next day, he showed up at 2pm still not saying a word. She screamed at him and in response, he slapped her and told her never to touch any of his phones or snoop on him again. Somewhere in their fight, he admitted seeing another woman who brings him peace unlike her. It was after that encounter that she picked up her phone to call Segilola.

***

Segilola soliloquised.

Onome has never been happy in her marriage. I am one of the few, if not only friend who told her not to marry Jide. I know, for a fact, that I am the only one who actually told her outrightly. The other two semi-bold girls had, at best, hinted at it. I damned the consequences against the warnings of mutual friends who said to leave her alone and pray for her that God will reveal to her that Jide is not the one for her. What is it with hypocritical Nigerians and prayer? You say to pray for a girl who is about to marry someone we all know is a loser and a cheat. How exactly is God to answer that prayer, pray tell?! To send Angel Gabriel to tell her in a dream not to marry him or to give her the strength to endure an unbearable marriage? Gosh!!!

In my opinion, my telling her was the answer to someone else’s prayers for her. 2 months to her wedding, I sat her down and as kindly as I could, told her right to her face that Jide does not have the ability to make her happy and in fact worst still, he would bring her misery. She screamed at me and promptly dropped me off her bridesmaids list. She refunded the N60,000 I had paid for bridesmaid’s dress, make up and accessories and sent me a text that she believes guests at a wedding should be those who wished the couple well not prophets/prophetesses of doom who believed their marriage will fail and in view of that, she would appreciate if I did not attend.

I was hurt. I was disappointed. I had thought Onome to be a pragmatic and reasonable person who can handle truths, however bitter. I was so wrong. Thankfully, my brother’s son chose that period to make an unexpected and early arrival into the world after 7 months gestation, so I spent that period by his wife’s bedside in faraway Medical Centre Arlington, Texas. That is the only way I was able to avoid too many questions as regards my non-attendance. She took me off her BBM as well but we have loads of mutual friends and Jide is a typical “Lagos bobo” so their engagement and wedding pictures were all over social media and my BBM updates as well. I saw the other bridesmaids looking resplendent in the fabric and style I had chosen. I’m glad she was not childish enough to change it.

Onome looked beautiful in both her traditional Urhobo and Yoruba attires. Everyone looked great but I was sick to my stomach when I saw updates from our friends saying things like “Happy Married Life to the most amazing couple”. “I know your marriage will be awesome”. Even Bisi, a bridesmaid, who the week before had told me Onome was making mistake, wrote a long epistle on her instagram page about how great they are together. Hypocrites!

Two months into their marriage, I bumped into Onome in Balogun market. She looked into my eyes and kept walking. I had neither the strength nor the inclination to go after her in the crazy busy market and anyone who knows me knows I’m too stubborn to apologise for a good deed of mine and I have no tolerance for bad behaviour so I hissed and carried on with my fabric shopping. Just 2 weeks after our Balogun market encounter, we met again, this time, at a spa. I met her there waiting her turn but I had pre-booked so as soon as I walked in, I was attended to and ushered into the room for my spa treatment. She looked upset but the receptionist was quick to tell her that walk-ins generally have less priority in comparison to those who had booked and paid beforehand. We never saw again at the spa but that night, she sent me a WhatsApp message saying it was nice to see me. I didn’t respond immediately and waited about 2 hours after reading and sent her a smiling smiley, the one with no teeth. She wasn’t worth the teeth.

The next day, she called and sensing my coldness, said she was coming to mine. I was tempted to tell her I was unavailable but concluded instead that she was not worth my lie. She showed up 10 minutes after and within a few minutes, opened up to me. She cried and cried, telling me I was right and that her marriage had been hell. According to her, two weeks after they returned from honeymoon at the Maldives, Jide resumed hanging out with the boys and clubbing. She didn’t think much of it until she saw a condom in his wallet. She asked him about it and he claimed his friend put it in there and that he was even more shocked than she was to see it. Thank God he uses condoms, I thought to myself.

I didn’t need all that explanation to be honest. I personally have caught Jide in compromising positions at the club many a Friday night. He was a cheat and didn’t even try hiding it. I don’t even know why Onome accepted his proposal. It takes a lady of little or no self esteem to think its okay to be married to such a man and cry when accepting the ring that should have been flung in his face! Up until the day he proposed (and possibly after), he was in serious relationships with at least 3 other girls, so serious that in the eye of external observers, any of his girls could have been proposed to. When he gave Onome that ring, it was as though she won the race because, trust me, there were other contenders. One of the other competitors is known to be a good girl, a young Ibo girl who was reputed to be a virgin but whose parents were both pastors, slightly tribalistic and just would not accept a Yoruba boy whose parents were both politicians, chiefs and non-church goers (what a lethal combo, they must have thought!). They just would not allow it. So Onome was the next best thing and she got the ring.

I gently patted Onome’s back as the tears rolled down. She had wept and sobbed and now was exhausted. The only advice I have is a divorce! Onome was just 28 and many people in happy marriages today had not even met their spouses at that age. Unfortunately, as crazy as I am, I wouldn’t even dare offer that advice. I decided to follow the crowd and speak those words I absolutely have no belief in: “pray and fast, he will change”. Those were the words she said even her mother had spoken to her. Her mother had reminded her of how she had suffered so much in her marriage too and that no one ever has a problem-free home. Her mother had said that all her friends who appear happy all the time in photos etc are pretenders whose true and unedited stories if she heard would make her thank her God that all Jide was doing was cheating and giving her the occasional slap.

If her own mother can advocate staying in agony who am I to suggest otherwise. Had they been in my kind of idea of marriage, no one would be hurt as there are no such expectations of fidelity. Her mother had agreed with her that they would not tell her dad but would commence on a seven day fasting and prayer session. She asked if I would join my faith with theirs. “No problem”, I responded fully aware that I would be breaking each day’s fast with my 9:30 am breakfast. No time!!!

***

These questions play around in my head:

+ Should you tell your female friend she is about to make a terrible decision by marrying a certain man or do you keep quiet hoping she will either find out through some other means or for her sake, the man will change?

+ As a woman, would you want to be told that your fiancé is a cheat just a few months to the wedding?

+ As a parent, all the vendors have been paid and IVs sent, but you discover your son in law to be is a philanderer. Would you pray it away or face the situation head on and advise your baby girl to move on?

Let’s muse!

Temiville.xoxo

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For the sake of ‘Peace’- Parts 2 and 3

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Hi guys,

Howdy? Hope you’re all well. Job hunting is going good and I’m really excited that something great is around the corner in Jesus’ name! Thank you for all your kind words. God bless you all.x

Here are Parts 2  and 3 of For the sake of Peace. I have had people call my phone asking me to publish the second part. It took a while because I thought it best to publish two parts at once to compensate for the delay. I honestly hope we learn a thing or two from this. It is lengthier than the first one as much of the story unfolds here.

My good friend put this on her status a few days ago, ‘Better to be single and happy than married and miserable’. Ladies (and gentlemen), please keep that in mind whenever you feel a tinge of envy or pain that all your friends are getting married or engaged and you are all alone. Marriage is too important to be messed with or entered into without caution. Get excited, not for that one day, but for the future ahead, the real deal, the Marriage.

Another good friend, Ufoma (CEO, Rubies n Emerald, an event planning company) told me a great wedding can take up to a year planning. That is a 6-10 hour event. How much more should we take in planning a marriage, which we pray will last forever. Go figure!

Please read and learn.

Love lots,

Temiville.xoxo

Marrying you, Dipo was a mistake I knowingly made. It’s like a young girl letting that boy run his hands down her blouse. As his fingers descend, she knows it’s wrong, she knows she should stop him but she lets him go on anyway; not because of any pleasure she feels but because she just wants to go ahead. Now I know it to be self destruct. Oladipo Richard Adeyele, marrying you was an exercise in self destruction.

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Surprisingly, the first 6 months as Mrs. Oladipo R. Adeyele were blissful. I changed my display name to that and our perfect wedding photo was constantly my DP. I felt bliss. Thinking back now, I felt that way because I had no expectations whatsoever. Wrong! I had expectations alright. I expected you to start cheating within the first month. Darn, I even knew one of your exes who had the nerve to show up at our wedding in the tightest, boob baring bandage dress I have ever seen, grinding with one of the groomsmen whilst you, my husband looked on, mesmerized then jealous by her show of shame.

Dipo, you surprised me. You see, dear readers, Dipo was not a great or loving man but he let me be. He would eat whatever I served and say a polite thanks. He would text me ‘I’m running late’ if he would be home after 9pm. He would compliment my homemaking efforts before his friends and family. He would gobble down my ogbono experiment which recipe I got from the Facebook page- So you think you can cook. The sex with him was mechanical, efficient, machine like, ritualistic- kiss, fondle, sex – in that order- nothing like I’d hoped but it was okay and at least, got me pregnant in the 10th month of our marriage.

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My dream had come true! Finally, he would pet me, cuddle me or at least cuddle my bump. I had finally gotten the glue to bind us in love. I was already 3 months pregnant before noticing. I was one of those medical mysteries because I still saw my period during the first 2 months of my pregnancy so though I had gained a bit of weight, I had attributed it to my many trips to Ice-cream Factory. I was slower and easily tired,  but I zeroed my mind that it could never be down to pregnancy. It was my mother in law who practically forced me to get tested. I called Dipo so excitedly as I left the clinic. Oladipo, you were so excited! You screamed. I’d never been the source of so much joy from you and I was so proud of myself. I grinned from ear to ear like a Chesire cat as I drove back to work.

One day, at 4 months gone, you snapped at me as I got ready to go to your office dinner, ‘can you not find something else to wear?! Your folds are all over the place, Sade in my office is 7 months pregnant and rolls are not hanging everywhere, do something about it woman, I don’t do obesity!’  I didn’t know that tears had started rolling down until I tasted the saltiness. Everyone else had said I was looking fit and great in pregnancy. They said I glowed. But I only believed your words. As I grew bigger, I’d get changed in the bathroom before coming out. I’d wear Body Magic. I didn’t want you to see the ‘rolls and folds’.

Nkechi, my friend was also pregnant and spoke of still having sex with her husband and still being just as desirable to him. She made me blush at her tales of their escapades in and out of bed. Dipo, you and I had stopped engaging in anything remotely related to lovemaking at 4 and a half months into my pregnancy. I felt ugly, disgusting, fat. And so I started using slimming products. I looked for the most drastic in result I could find. I read the instructions carefully and there it was- a healthy, herbal, natural slimming aid. It must be safe, I thought to myself. Within the first 2 weeks, I lost weight enough for you, Dipo, to notice and comment on. I was giddy with joy. Yay! I’d be just like Victoria Beckham and look so slim immediately after child birth. I decided to increase the dosage and it worked. The folds reduced, my thighs had that gap between them, my neck had a hollow. I only had vegetables, fruit and the shake that came with the slimming package. After a month of using, in my 6th month, we had sex, at your instance. I was looking great. That night, I gained your attention. That night, I lost our son.

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You wept on the hospital floor. I was numb. The doctor, an elderly family friend, was merciless. I thought it was unprofessional to outrightly blame a woman for her own miscarriage. The doctor threw professionalism to the wind and blamed me for not eating right. My weight was not commensurate with how far along I was given my last statistics when I saw her. I weighed less than I did 3 months before and only had a bump and not as much body to show for my pregnancy. I dared not confess that I was also on drugs to stay slim. She probably would have slapped me there and then. Rightly too. I wanted to kick myself.

On our drive home, you were quiet. I tried to play the victim and would periodically hold on to my belly as though in pain just to get you to touch me and comfort me. Darn! I was the one who had lost her child. But you were having none of it and all you said was, ‘if you need to see the doctor, lemme turn back’. I knew I had lost the battle.

3 months after the miscarriage, on the exact day our son would have turned one week old, I saw the first sign of your infidelity. You received a call, smiled when you saw who was calling and walked out to receive it. You were on the phone for 45 minutes, laughing intermittently.  I knew I was in trouble.

You came back to the house, went straight to our room, had a second bath and got dressed in your best casual native attire, your newest sandals and perfume, took the keys to the new car and mumbled, ‘I’m going out and don’t keep the keys in the lock ’cause I’ll let myself in’. I knew it was over.

I waited for you. My favorite show was on but all I saw were the blurry figures on the screen through my tears. I had finished a whole bottle of white wine. I turn to alcohol when sad. That night, I was worse than sad, I was depressed. It was as though I was waiting for the inevitable sentence of death on my marriage. At 1:15am, you walked in. You were sober and looked happy until you saw me. I brought your straight face out. As much as I wanted and was almost physically itching to, I dared not ask where you had been for two reasons: 1. Early on in our relationship, you had warned me never to inquire as to your whereabouts unless you willingly offered an explanation. 2. I was scared you would be honest and tell me where exactly you had been and the answer would break me. I’d rather not know for sure. So through my post drunken state, I said, ‘welcome, should I bring your food?’.

There was no food but I just wanted to act normal and I was certain you would say no. To my shock, you said yes and proceeded to change the station to watch the replay of your favorite teams’ match screaming at each goal, missed or scored. That confirmed one thing- you had spent the evening and night with someone who didn’t care for football and you sacrificed such a big match for them. You were certainly not with one of the boys, certainly not. I was able to whip up something for you, quickly enough for you not to suspect I’d just started cooking it. You ate it, totally fixated on the tv screen, totally ignoring me. Quietly, I walked to the room and slept off. The time was 2:46 am.

Living a lie is hard. You know your man is cheating, you might even have finally put a face on the bitch’s name. But there you are, playing the dutiful wife. In your mind, it’s better to be an innocent victim, a cheated-on Mrs than have an openly failed marriage. You forget that in both situations, the marriage has failed openly.

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Dipo got bolder and bolder. He would stay away for weekends claiming he was away on business trips to Abuja, Ibadan, Akure, Kaduna. He forgot who I am. Or maybe he just didn’t care anymore. I am a master sleuth, always have been, always will be. I know everything or can at least find out. In Uni, I’d help my girlfriends find out if their men were cheating by just listening to the stories they tell. I knew which boyfriend was outrightly cheating and which was just bored.

Dipo forgot that we put a tracking device on all our 3 cars and with a click, I’d know exactly where the car was located. Through the tracker, I discovered that his mistress was living in Akute, in the outskirts of Lagos. I found out that he would leave his work at 5pm everyday, pick her up and head to hers together. I’m not sure if he would drive behind her or actually pick her up but he was a man of routine and he stuck to this pattern during the week. On Fridays, the car was usually around the Island till 11/12pm before making the journey to Akute where he would sleep. These days, it was on the Island till Saturday which means they thought better of driving in the dangers of the night and just decided to stay in a hotel. Unfailingly, by 12 noon on Saturday, the car would make the journey to Akute. The check out time for most hotels is 12 noon.

My first reaction to Dipo’s cheating was pain, then sadness, then anger. I wished he had a string of girlfriends. That way, I was assured he gave his heart to no one else. But with just one person in his life, it was clear he was in love with her. That was the main problem. It is easier to salvage a marriage where a party gives just their body away. It is very hard where the heart has also been taken away.

My second main reaction was to seek revenge. I called up an ex boyfriend of mine, ‘just to check up’. I even agreed to meet up with him, ready to give in if he made the move. I thought to myself that if I slept with someone too, we would be even and I wouldn’t feel this much hurt and pain. Thank God it was Seun I chose. I had dated Seun in Year 1 in LASU. We broke up and then had a moment during our Masters year. He was eager to rekindle our love and wasn’t detracted by the fact that I had met someone else. His reasoning was that since I wasn’t married, then I could move on. He’d travel from Dundee to Leicester on the Megabus just to see me and hand-deliver now wilting flowers to me. It was exhilarating but I was strong and in order not to succumb, I stopped picking his calls or responding to his messages.

It was hard at first. Those who had met him the two times he came visiting loved his pleasant and fun nature. He once lifted me up in the city centre much to the delight of my friends and the disapproving looks of some stuck up British people. You see, it was so easy to like Seun. For my friends, they preferred him to the so called boyfriend they had never seen and hardly saw me speak to on the phone simply because he made an effort. Whenever Dipo came to the UK, I’d have to leave school and go to wherever he was. He never ever stepped into Leicester. I always defended him by saying since he had come all the way from Nigeria, the least I could do was to get my butt off to London.

I was Suzy the Seductress the day Seun and I met up but Seun had become born again and was now a Pastor, well not really a Pastor but a counsellor in his church. I guess the Holy Spirit does reveal stuff because he saw through it all. ‘Gbekeleoluwa, why are you doing this?’, he asked as I flirtatiously flicked my Peruvian hair away from my eyes.

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Earlier that day, I had tracked Dipo’s car. It was on its way to Akute and had just gone past Ojodu-Berger. I reminisced on how Dipo would complain and complain about the distance whenever I suggested that we visit my parents in Okota. The very same man was now making daily trips to Akute which is pretty much in Ogun state! That was what sealed my resolve to commit attempted cheating. I wore my hottest skinny jeans, a sheer top and my only Louboutins (yeah, I once caught Dipo admiring a girl in Loubs and thought to invest in the N100,000 red soles and nope, he never for once noticed them!). I applied my make up like I was going for a modeling competition, each lid was well mascara-ed, brows shapened and well highlighted, lips as red as scarlet, cheeks tinted with blush. I was well made up yet it was subtle and classy. I admired myself as I got into my car. I took a few selfies and uploaded one on my DP with a message that read, ” Off to have fun *wide grin* *dancing smiley* ” hoping to God Dipo would notice and ask where I was off to. Lord knows any form of love from him right then would have stopped me. Within 10 minutes of the drive from our Nicon Towers home to the restaurant off Bourdillon, I had received 11 BBMs, some admiring me, others asking where was off to. None was from Dipo.

Ibiso

Like I said, Seun saw through it all and refused to encourage or participate in my decision to commit adultery. He paid for the food and told me that for the sake of God and his love for Him, he had to leave. In his words, ‘Gbeke, I’m literally pulling a Joseph here. It’s either I flee now or I fall. I will be praying for you. Your home will be healed and you will laugh again. Don’t call on any man, call on Jesus. All things are possible’. He got up and walked away. There I was with more food than I could consume. I had no a appetite either. I watched as the waiter counted the 18 notes of N1000 asking if all is well. ‘Yes, I’m fine’ I replied. Another date gone bad, he must have thought. Little did he know. I took my bag and walked into my car, turned on the ignition and the AC. Using the Johnson baby wipes that is always in my car, I wiped off every trace of make up from off my face and drove home.

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Today, as I write, I place a curse on everyone, who, knowing full well that a person is married, assists in any way, shape, form, manner, however grand or minute, in defiling the marriage bed and causing them to break their vows. May it never be well with them. May they suffer irreparable loss. May they ask and never receive. May they seek and not find. May they knock and may the door remain firmly shut against them. May their children suffer heartbreak. May the disease of the Egyptians fall on them. May the curses of Deuteronomy 28 from verse 15 to 68 be theirs. I also extend this prayer to everyone aiding and abetting them, to their friends who encourage or even condone such acts, who call you and another woman too ‘our wife’, like Dipo’s friend, Sanmi who hooked him up with his mistress. Sanmi, may you look for peace in your home and not find it. Sanmi, I pray that one day, you will find out that your 2 lovely boys belong to your driver and gateman respectively. Sanmi, as you have put asunder, may God close His ears to your cries and cover His eyes to your pains. Amen.

 *

Nkechi came visiting yesterday. I told her everything. Things I have not been able to voice out, even to myself. I spoke it all. She cried and then prayed with me and invited me to her church. Oh, did I mention that going to church has become a drag? Seeing couples holding hands in prayer of agreement and dancing together, laughing etc just makes me remember the void in my life then sickens me to my stomach. So gradually, I stopped going.

I have now decided to go along with her to her Church to pray for a change. I’m not going to hold my breath but I will try and believe that change will come. I will try to resurrect my dead marriage. I will try to bring back the love. I will return to God and ask that He saves me. I’m only 29 and already going through marital turmoil. It really is not a walk in the park.

I have taken time to report the situation because I was scared of baring it all. But I now know I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I tried my best for my home. I did all in the books. I tried to be sexy for my man. By the way, I’m now a size 8 up and 10 down. I would cook and cook and do all I could. Today, it was lasagne, tomorrow it would be ofada rice and stew? Dinner was going to stay fun and unpredictable, I had vowed. On Sundays and Saturdays, it would be the full English breakfast or ‘akara’ made to perfection or the pancakes in the Roman fashion that Fadeke taught me. I was a perfect Hannah the Homemaker and Catherine the Cook. I was also Sasha the sexy fierce vixen in bed, contorting myself till my neck almost snapped. I did absolutely everything, I did all. All but one. I married the wrong man. I was using the right techniques on the wrong product. I went against all I knew was right. I married someone who valued neither my presence nor my absence. I didn’t marry my friend. I didn’t let God choose, I chose and forced Him to approve. I saw the signs before marriage and went ahead. Even after the marriage, I ‘worked’ at it, I never prayed about it. I thought I could make Dipo love me by the things I did. It never works. It’s never in you to make a person love you, never. I’m sure we ladies all have instances of that ‘pest’ who liked us no matter how much we insulted and ignored him. That just goes to show that love is not earned.

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I have been listening to sermons on restoration. If all these happened during the courtship, I’d have left the relationship, but I am married now. So from all the counsel I have received, I now know God will have to turn my mess around. Marrying Dipo might not have been His perfect will. It might have been His permissive will but I am married and because God hates divorce (see Malachi 2:16), I will do what I can to invite Him into my home to fix my mess.

*

Watch out for the Part 4 and how things end…

MCLA Reader Writes-A Love Rekindled

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Written by Abasiama Obi-Chinedu

Dara couldn’t wait to get to the airport. She had looked forward to this trip for so long and now, the day had finally arrived. The Lagos traffic wasn’t helping her case at all, but she had set out four hours early so there would be no sad tales to tell. Kiishi and Zuwairah had been pinging her all day. They had checked in already. “Oga you go take another road oh, make I no miss my flight”. This cabbie was story for another day. All she could do was sit it out. And curse the demon that normally brought on the kind of traffic nobody prayed to encounter when they had a flight to catch.

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“O’baby!” That was her cue to start screaming as well. One of their classmates had taken to calling her O’baby right from her jambite days because she was always so well dressed and looked nothing like the other freshers, and the name just stuck to her like white on rice. Her friends were waiting for her at the entrance of the arrival lounge. Relief washed over her…seeing familiar faces when one is that frazzled is always such a blessing.  She had missed her friends and was so happy they were finally going to spend time alone eight months after she last saw them at her wedding. They’d all met at the university and had remained close friends even after school. “Pastor Mrs!! Thou art glowing. Marriage becometh thee”. Zuwy couldn’t get over her marrying a pastor and never missed an opportunity to tease her.  And as usual, Dara never missed her own opportunity to go King James on her friend. “Member Mrs! Behold the handmaiden of The Lord”. They had all looked forward to being together again. “This girl, you have started doing the sweet thing abi, see how you are glowing. Pastor must come and pay more dowry oh,  haba! Meanwhile this your bag, I have been trying to afford it, i claim it in Jesus name”.  Kiishi was just a catalyst, she stoked the fire for a living. All Dara could see was the long check-in queue. ” Abeg let me check in first before socials. Thank God I have just my hand luggage. As for this bag, you will buy yours at Michael Kors shop, OLE”.

Checking in had been a breeze, thanks to some divine intervention. There was so much to catch up on and so much had already been shared on the boarding queue. Their laughter was infectious and other passengers couldn’t help but notice them. Few bold ones dared to talk to them.. “Oh, pay us no mind, we’re just happy to be reuniting after eight months”. Few of the other ladies couldn’t help but look at them funny, not that that they cared anyways. When these three got together, hardly anyone or anything else mattered. This was going to be a very long six hours and they intended to use it well. Five days in Dubai would not be enough to play catch up so maximize six hours in-flight, they would.

friendss

Kiishi had no filters. No subject was off-limit. “Oya, start talking..how is married life?” The silly look on her face was an obvious pointer to the fact that all she really wanted to know was how good sex was for her newly married friend. “I will answer when you ask me exactly what you want to know. Amebo” Zuwy could never get over Kiishi’s brazenness, this girl was constantly on a roll. It shocked her the things Kiishi said most times, and just when she thought she had gotten used to this zany female, she always managed to shock her some more. ” IteOluwakiishi Otegbola, kai! You are wasting your father’s money studying Law, you should be a gossip columnist. That’s how you were harassing me when I got married too. Do and marry oh so that you will give us a blow by blow account of your doings. Wallahi, you need Jesus in large doses!”. There was no stopping her though, she would get the information one way or the other.  Not that Dara  minded anyways, she enjoyed talking about her husband. Chimdi was the love of her life. He made her feel all warm and mushy inside. She never believed she would come to love him this much or even marry him, but she thanked God everyday that she had. Everyday before he started getting on her nerves, that is. She had needed someone to talk to for so long and she was glad she had her friends here and she could finally let it all out.

The tiredness kicked in slowly and finally, they all began to slip into their private worlds one after the other. Dara was happy to be left alone with her thoughts for a while. Chimdi…she missed him so much already but she was still so mad at him. The first day she invited her friends to church, he was outside talking to some people while they waited for the first service to end so they could attend the second. He was the kind of man you would never fail to notice. She never stopped wondering how a man so tall,  not-so-dark, and drop-dead-handsome could be a pastor. He was neat, always very well put together, friendly for the most part, and just starring at him would give any female life. “Who’s that fine specimen of protoplasm? Some people can be fine oh”. Kiishi was the first to say anything about him. Dara went on to tell them he was the pastor in charge of the Singles Fellowship, could sing and preach up a storm at the drop of a hat, most of the ladies in church were falling over themselves to get his attention but up until then, he was still very single and if Kiishi was interested she could pick a number and join the queue. She herself had had a crush on him the first moment she set her eyes on him, but the crush lasted for all of twenty seconds. Dara was like that, she didn’t dwell on such things for long. Besides, there was a long line of church workers and other “spiritual sisters” she was sure would make the cut, so that had been that about that. “But this pastor makes sense oh, God created this type on the eighth day, I could just stare at him for days”. Dara couldn’t believe Zuwy too would notice him, she was usually reserved and unaffected by “fine boys”. “Oya oh, you too pick a number and join the queue”.

Chimdi just happened to be at the bank on the same day Dara had gone there to transact. He noticed her first and walked up to her. When she looked up to see who had tapped her shoulder, the only thought that crossed her mind was “Fine boy pastor”. He had noticed her at church a couple of times, and was wondering if she was new in town. He was so pleasant and easy on the eye..the kind of man Dara liked. He was going to wait for her to cash her cheque and would drop her off wherever she was going. They became fast friends. He was more like a big brother, always making sure she was okay and had no issues in school or at her off-campus residence. If she needed a ride back from church, he volunteered to give her one. When he couldn’t drop her off, he always got someone to do that. He would show up in her school for the flimsiest of reasons. “I just came to drop your lunch”, “I just came to take you home”, “it was raining and I thought it would be nice to come take you to school”. They had agreed they just wanted to be friends so Dara never understood why her friends kept telling her that Pastor Fine Boy was loving up on her. “Gosh, you girls amaze me, WE ARE JUST FRIENDS!”. She said that so often, she actually started to believe it.

Of course, some people in church had taken notice as well. Who was this mere mortal that suddenly had this man’s attention? She wasn’t even a worker or one you would consider “spiritual”. Some of his co-pastors would openly make statements to that effect and one day, when Dara had had enough of it, she had to vent. “I am so tired of getting nasty stares or openly rude remarks whenever I am around you. You need to cut me some slack going forward. I will take a cab to and from church, and you don’t need to come to my school either. We are just friends but obviously, your fellow pastors and some workers have an issue with that so please, leave me alone. Even the few people that I talk to in church have suddenly started acting nasty towards me because of you, as though i am snatching their boyfriend. I want to be left alone”. Chimdi could not believe his ears. He had constantly brushed the comments off, hoping that Dee would not notice. He really liked her, cared for her in a special way, enjoyed her company and her Calabar recipes, and was happy to finally have a friend that wasn’t just raving about his looks, but truly cared to relate with the person he was. They spent quite a lot of time together and few of his single friends who liked Dee would always ask him to hook them up with her. They would laugh about it and he told her he would introduce one when a serious one showed up. Life was just easier and sweeter with Dee in it. He missed her sorely whenever her school vacated and she had to go be with her family in Lagos. And of course he always found a reason to be in Lagos during the holidays. Now she wanted to be left alone. Nothing he said could persuade her to just let it go. He decided he would give her some space and time if that was what she needed. He wasn’t going to let his friend go just because some people didn’t think she was “ministry material”.

Zuwy and Kiishi had lots of comforting to do because Dara was inconsolable. And angry. Inconsolable because she missed Chimdi more than words could express, and angry because human beings had a way of minding other people’s business. Church folk…they were the worst kind. Why did she have to be like everyone else to be considered spiritual? She loved the Lord,  she lived for him, valued her growing relationship with him, she thought that was nearly enough. She hadn’t joined the Work Force because she had too many commitments in school and didn’t think it was right to always give excuses as to why she couldn’t always be available. She loved her dresses and her jeans, it was hard having to live by a colour code every Sunday. She wore a toe ring because she loved her beautiful toes and thought the ring made them prettier. Chimdi told her he was in love with her bow legs and full ankles so he bought her an anklet and begged her to wear it. He’d noticed she and stopped wearing one few weeks after she joined the church. She later explained that she had worn one all her adult life but she didn’t like the looks church folk gave her so she stopped. He said there was nothing wrong with wearing one, as long as the Holy Spirit did not convict her otherwise. He had plans to buy his wife a belly chain and that to Dara, was then definition of a deviant pastor. Everything was going well till church folk started talking. Now she missed Chimdi sorely and staying away from church was supposed to help her get him out of her life, but it only fueled the loneliness she felt. “This girl is in luuuuuurve! I thought you guys were just friends oh, according to you”. Kiishi got “The Look ” from Zuwy and that was enough to silence her for the rest of the day.

The separation did not last long. Chimdi was tired of missing her and off to her house he went. She was not there. So he waited. She never took his calls or replied his text messages anymore. She even took him off her BlackBerry. He wanted to slap himself for not having any of her friends’ phone numbers but that wouldn’t solve this, would it? He’d waited for a bit when thankfully,  his Dee walked through the gates. He knew she was going to try and act all cool and unaffected by his presence and he was just going to hug her and tell her how much he missed her, and that he didn’t care what anyone thought, he just wanted to be with her, if she would let him. He went home that night wishing they would quarrel more often just so that they would make up and it would be this sweet all over again. He was going to do all he could to protect her from side talks, he was a full grown man and had made his choice, he would marry his Dee and they would be happy forever. Dee was the kind of woman he wanted; smart, focused, neat, warm hearted, family oriented, friendly, God-loving and all. It didn’t hurt that she was quite the looker too and most importantly, she didn’t drool over his looks,  as a matter of fact, he had laughed his head off the day she told him she preferred to date and marry a guy people would refer to as ugly because she didn’t have time for “fine  boys and their unending drama”. She was just easy to be with, easy to love, she was every woman in one. He was taken aback by the fact that she was attending a Bible School when he met her, she didn’t look the type. She “just wanted to know more about God so she joined the Bible School”.  And those church folk, they would never know that about her, would they? She just wasn’t spiritual enough in their eyes.

married

Two years flew past and they got married in the most intimate ceremony ever. The joy was palpable, one could actually breathe it in. Their love was beautiful, the type most people only dreamt about. They had their ups and downs but that made it more beautiful. Dara had no doubts she would have a happy marriage,  but she also knew there would be down times and she was glad she had a God who would walk her through those times, and she was confident they would come out of every down time better than they had gone in. Married life was blissful. Chimdi was a man and a half. She felt like God’s last child, nothing could be sweeter. Out of the blue, Chimdi  was told he had to go start a new branch if the church in Asaba. He didn’t know how to take that piece of news. He had just gotten married, he was trying to settle in, his wife was about to start a new job and they had to leave all of that behind and just up and leave Abuja  for Asaba! Dee..she was speechless for days. “How on earth do you expect me to leave everything and move to Asaba? Was this our plan? What about my career, my business, everything..we just got married, Chimdi, and why Asaba of all places. I don’t even know where that is on the map. I am not going!” He knew better than to make an issue out of it, if the Lord was sending him there, He would make Dee come around. It was important to him that she supported the move, much as he wasn’t too pleased about moving from Abuja to a seemingly obscure corner of the earth. He knew she wanted to pursue her career as a diplomat and her chances were slim in Asaba, still he trusted God enough to know that He had better plans than he or Dee could ever have for their lives.

She was tired of agonizing over the impending move. She had learnt to trust God even when she didn’t understand where He was taking her through. If God wanted them in Asaba, He would make all things work together for their good.
Chimdi had assured her everything would fall into place. She believed him, just as she believed every other thing he had told her and things always panned out the way he had said they would. She hadn’t seen her friends after the wedding as Zuwy lived in Calabar with her medical doctor husband while Kiishi was away in the UK for her Masters. Her parents had come to say their goodbyes and assured her everything would go well in Asaba.

Asaba turned out to be a sedate town, unlike Abuja in many ways. She was glad Chimdi was  Igbo , so that barrier had been broken to an extent. “Maybe I will finally get to learn Igbo now that I’m in Asaba” , but she knew it would take a miracle. English, French and German were work enough, adding Igbo to it would be an overkill, still she would try, for Chimdi’s sake. Planting a church was no picnic. She found renewed respect for church overseers who were able to plant several branches of their ministries around the country. She would do her best to support Chimdi and she prayed everyday that the city would accept him and his ministry. Some days she was on a high, on other days, all she wanted to do was run away to Abuja, where she had some friends,  knew familiar faces, could start her career, had a church of at least familiar faces….

Weeks turned into months and things began to look up. She was happy. She even started to laugh whenever people referred to her as “Mama”, something she really hated and found absolutely unnecessary. Chimdi told her they would go on their honeymoon as soon as church was settled and she looked forward to that. She had taught it would be as automatic as building a structure on which the church would run, having people in place who would fill in the gaps when they were away and all would be dandy. Chimdi always told her that spiritual things could not always be calculated the same way physical things, but she was sure things would go her way. She hoped they would, for both their sakes.

Everyday brought on new challenges. It was difficult making new friends in church because most of the ladies were older than her and she imagined they wouldn’t take it kindly that such a young girl was the pastor’s wife. Few people had an issue with the fact that she was a fashionista. They would never know that Dara always wanted to study Fashion Designing until her father said “not in this house”, after which she decided to pursue her plan B: a diplomatic career.  Her mother was quite a fashionista too; this apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. When few people began to seek her advise on things she considered were not her business to know, she became scared. “Chimdi…what am I to say to these people? What do I know about a cheating spouse or a twisted sexuality? How do I counsel someone struggling with their sexuality? This is way beyond me, I just want to run away. Why did you bring me here?”. Chimdi let her cry her heart out and he just held her close and let her know it was going to be alright, she would have to rely on the Holy Spirit to help her and she would have to learn to pace herself. If she really wanted to work, he would help her look for a job and she didn’t have to kill herself if she couldn’t get a job, she could start her fashion business which she had always dreamt of having. That sounded comforting a bit but she couldn’t help saying to him: “One day you will just wake up and discover that I have run away to Abuja and you will be in this town all by yourself doing ministry”. He couldn’t help but smile very widely, he knew his Dee was going nowhere, she loved him enough to stay by his side through all of this, and that was one of the few things that made sense to him at that point in his life.

If Chimdi had learnt anything in these few months of planting a church, it was that working with people with all kinds of mindset was one of the hardest hurdles to get through. He was constantly dealing with one issue after the other and Dee always told him he could only do his best and to always remember that this was the Church of Jesus Christ and He would take care of it. That was a hard pill to swallow, but he would try. Trying wasn’t good enough, for he began to get so engrossed in the work of the ministry and he and Dee began to drift apart. All he wanted to talk about was church: the choir, workers’ meeting, auditions, out reaches, church and some more church. He spent more and more time studying and doing the work of ministry, he didn’t even notice his Dee begin to slip away. He would always think “my baby is still angry we are in Asaba…she’ll get over it”. Things began to pick up in the ministry, he was a happy man, he just didn’t notice that Dee had stopped being excited about the growth and all the wonderful things that were beginning to happen. If her marriage was the price she had to pay for the growth and influence the ministry was currently experiencing, then God was a wicked God, period!

He was excited the date for her trip with her friends was fast approaching. Surely, some fresh air, sun and the girls would do her good. Oh, and shopping. Dee loved to shop. The fashionista in her was evident in everything she did and he was always so proud whenever they went places and heads turned to look at his wife. She was stylish beyond her years. The very thought of that made him not mind the hole this trip would bore in his pocket. He just wanted her to have a break. He was tired of hearing her whine about the fact that their honeymoon was nowhere in sight and he needed a break before the stress of ministry rendered her a widow before her time. “Baby, you really need to take a break oh, don’t render me husbandless before my time. Anyway, na you go lose because one sharp man will come and marry me”. He loved to hear her pidgin, it reminded him of how she always said she was his “Sofisticat” outside and his “Mgbeke” indoors. “Babe, leave that thing abeg, Jesus boy no dey die. Who go fit marry this my calabar princess”. That brought a smile to his lips. He loved his Mgbeke so much…much more than words could ever express.

“If you girls don’t wake up now I promise you I will eat your food”. That was vintage Kiishi. Everyone was jealous of how she seemed to eat just about anything she wanted to and miraculously remained skinny. She loved to eat, but hated to cook. “Foodie of life, no try yourself oh, I am wide awake”. She hadn’t slept a wink. She’d been to lost on memory lane and didn’t even notice she had started crying. She was sure that by then, Chimdi would have seen the stinker she left him on his pillow. She had been so upset that he was insisting she stayed in Dubai for twelve days when she and the girls had planned to stay for just five days. Clearly he needed her out of his way so he could do more ministry work and counsel all those girls with their never-ending issues that they refused to talk to her about, but had no issues talking to her Chimdi about. HER CHIMDI..she wasn’t going to share him with all those church girls, those sharp Igbo and Delta  babes that thought she was a “Calabar girl” in name only.

The first few days in Dubai passed quickly. The girls couldn’t help but notice just how distant and uninterested she was in all the activities they had pre-planned. Zuwy knew they had to stage an intervention but knowing Dara, she would become defensive and the goal would be defeated. Left to Kiishi, she would have just asked Dara point blank what the problem was but Zuwy was having none of that. “Marriage is not this one you are always doing fire brand oh, you will approach the matter carefully and with a lot of wisdom”. To this Kiishi rolled her eyes and silently thanked God that she was not yet married and didn’t have to deal with all these married women issues. They had to leave for the Gold Souk any moment though, so Dara had to be woken up. This was their last day together and they had to make the most of it.

Dara was spent. She had cried so much her head hurt. When Kiishi jumped on her bed in her usual wake up call, the reaction she got made her do a double take. “What the hell is wrong with you? Jumping on my bed like an insane person. Are you out of your mind? Get the hell off my bed before I do something very nasty to you”. Zuwy could only stare in shock. They knew she was dealing with stuff but this outburst was just off the chain. “I want to be left alone, please, just go away”. The girls weren’t having any of that . “Lai lai! You have been on your own since we arrived here. You were the one looking forward to this trip, you took the effort to plan it and now we are here, all you have done is shut us out as though we are the enemy. Whatever it is, we will resolve it now. You will not go back to Naija a sober mess. Oya, start talking. You don’t have to tell us the details but at least tell us what the problem is”. Kiishi had had enough of the long faces and stated in clear terms that this was the moment where they would have to talk and cry together before things got out of hand. Dara felt powerless to fight two caring women, she knew the time had come to let it all out. She just pulled the duvet over her head and cried forever. Her friends got on her bed and held her and just let her cry till she was spent and she slept off.

When she woke up, her girls were still there. “What time is it?”, she asked no one in particular. “Time to rise and shine. Go shower, you stink! And your boo has been calling you all day”. Chimdi! She hadn’t even called him since she arrived. Her phone had been on silent mode and that was on purpose. She couldn’t get over the fact that her friends had been so busy pinging all day, everyday, since they arrived. “Lucky them…Chimdi  probably doesn’t even care that I haven’t called him”. Oh well, she would just go shower and go out with the girls. She had seven more days to stay here alone so she would not pressure herself to shop today. The shower did her good, she felt brand new and was quite surprised that none of the girls had started shouting for her to come out already. “Let me have mercy on them and come out now oh”. She toweled her body leisurely and for once, she actually started to look forward to going to the Gold Souk. She was going to buy a new belly chain today “that’s if Chimdi will even notice”.

As she made her way back into the room, she was already teasing her friends “shoppers, no vex oh, I really needed that bath”. Her friends were nowhere in sight. In place of two girls, she saw that fine, six feet three inch specimen of protoplasm, the one that made her heart skip several beats once upon a time. “Baby…I’ve been calling you for days. I’ve missed you so much”. He wasn’t sure how she would react to his presence and reading the stinker she left him had scared the living daylights out of him. She had said she wanted to go back to Abuja when she arrived, she wanted a divorce and he could marry the church, since that was all he had come to care about. What she didn’t know was that he wanted her to stay an extra week in Dubai so he could surprise her by coming over and whisking her away to their honey moon suite. She was weak from all the crying, too weak to be angry, but not too weak for the tears to come rushing down all over again. He didn’t need to be told that she needed him to hold her and tell her everything would be alright from here on. In one single step, they were on each others’ arms and the tears flowed freely…

“So you want to leave me abi? Who do you want to marry your own husband? You want me to die an unhappy man…I though we said we’d be together forever no matter the weather, what changed?” Asaba. That’s what happened. He didn’t need a prophet to tell him that much. “Babes, I’ve told you, you need to stop obsessing, just pace yourself and flow. I’m not pressuring you to be a Pastor’s wife. Can you just take the labels and tags off and just be Chimdi’s wife? Stop obsessing about the pastor’s wife mould that people have created. Be you. I married you for you, I didn’t marry a pastor’s wife. If you hate Asaba so much, maybe we should relocate cos I can’t be doing ministry when my marriage is not working. And I know I’ve been too engrossed in all of that and that’s why I asked you to stay here so I could surprise you with our honeymoon but you have been so angry with me, you didn’t even read my text messages.” Whenever she got that angry, he always had a way of taking her back into a good mood. She felt so small…his love had a way of making her see how irrational she could be. ” I’m sorry” she could barely talk as the tears choked her. “No, I am the one who’s sorry, I should have paid more attention. Forgive me babes”.

He couldn’t stand her crying so much but he knew he had to let her get it all out. He was even more scared she had thought about divorce, especially as he was of the opinion they both agreed their marriage was a house without doors for exit, only windows for ventilation. “Baby..would you really ever just walk out on us  if things got really bad? Divorce…that’s such a strong word, how do you just bandy such a word that easily though?” She knew he would not fail to bring that up. “I’m sorry, I was just trying to get your attention. I really am that overwhelmed by all this ministry thing going on all at once, and those girls always wanting to see you with their tall tales they can tell only you and never me. Especially that Amaka..I swear that girl has got the hots for you”. He couldn’t believe his ears and couldn’t help but laugh his head off. “Daramfon Archibong Chimdi-Uma, shame on you! Amaka of all people? Abeg now, gimme some credit here. Amaka? By how? Kai this woman you are a riot!”. Now she felt really foolish. But you know, with these men, you never know. This  she quickly amended to “this is My Chimdi, not these men”.  She would have to just try and get past this but his riotous laughter wasn’t helping her in any way. “Let me get dressed so we go look for the girls, yeah? What’s the plan…what are we doing today? I’m hungry” The girls were the last thing on Pastor Fine Boy’s mind.  “Err..the girls…i paid them off to go shopping for the next three hours…we’ll all do the dinner cruise tonight so I can hear all the things you told them about me, tomorrow we leave for our honeymoon suite and we’ll take it from there. I know buying you a belly chain is in the works somewhere, but for now, no need to get dressed, you look yummy in your skin and i’m hungry too”. She knew that tone, something delicious was about to go down. “This boy! You’re such a baaaad boy!” His deepest baritone crept up on him, “You know this, babes, you know this..come here…”

happy-black-couple

Written by Abasiama Obi-Chinedu

Abasiama is a graduate of Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Port Harcourt. She’s a bilingual translator/interpreter by profession and runs a fashion retail and merchandising business. She’s married and co-pastors a thriving church with her husband.

Help! Mom and Dad say no!

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Hey people!!!

Hope you’re well. Let’s take a stab at this guys! The abridged version was published on Bella Naija earlier today 😀 This is the original /unedited draft.

Enjoy!

***

Niran and I met a year ago during one of those Nigerian Job forums in England. It was an exhibition featuring some of the best employers in Nigeria and it was a ‘strictly by invitation’ event. So we all pretty much felt honoured to be there and there was this look of respect you had for the next guy because you know immediately that he must be an academic G.

It was at the GTBank stand that I saw him. I was asking the lady at the stand if they would employ a Law Graduate with an MBA but no BL (Nigerian Law School degree) when he stood beside me eagerly waiting for their response.  I looked up at him and could not but smile. I’ve always had a problem with fine guys, they were my  Achilles Heel. He was no exception. Tall, slim built, yet muscular, fine facial structure. He was very clean looking. The lady had started responding but there I was, still admiring God’s work of art. Quickly, I slipped out of my reverie in time to catch the last few sentences. Then I promptly moved on to the next stand, embarrassed at myself.

Hot!

‘You didn’t get what she said, did you?’, a deep voice said behind me. Lo and behold, it was Mr. Hotstuff again.

‘Erm, some of it’, I mumbled.

‘I noticed you were a bit distracted and given her open ended, non-specific response, I would have expected some sort of questions to follow from you’.

He then went on to explain the lady’s response to my question. To be honest, I really didn’t care for what he was saying as much as how he was saying it. He was really hot.

I found out he was doing his Masters at Jesus College, Cambridge after having finished with a First Class and also second best in his year in Ife. It took a while to become friends because I had to first of all get over my infatuation with him. That took a few weeks of totally ignoring his calls and refusing his self invite to Manchester to see me and also refusing to go to Cambridge to see him. I don’t know when exactly or how exactly it happened, but I stopped being so ‘star struck’ and started seeing him in a normal light.

The next time we saw was during the Festival of Life programme in London two months after we first met. He had come with his church bus and my friends and I had driven from Manchester because we could not make the timing of our church bus. We planned to meet up during the Testimony Time and we did. We strolled to the very back to get water and I realised I was nice and easy around him this time. We talked for a few minutes and went back to our different seats.

When he offered to come see me the following weekend, I did not protest. His friend was also in Manchester University and he would use the opportunity to see him too. He came on Saturday afternoon and went first to his friend’s to drop off his little bag and then came to see me. I had such a great time. We went shopping for his dad’s birthday present and got him a Sheaffer pen. His little sister was going home and would deliver it to him. We then went to see a movie and then had dinner at this lovely Asian restaurant at Piccadily Gardens called Rice afterwards. On Sunday, he met up with me and we went to church together, had lunch afterwards and then I saw him off to the train station to get his 5:15pm train back.

As I waited for a bus back to my house, I was reeling with excitement. I could not believe what great time I had had. You see, as someone who likes fine guys, I know very well that most of them are either cocky, stuck up, stupid, unintelligent, proud, taken or all of the above. So you can imagine my feeling of good fortune when I found out that Adeniran Ola-Baker possessed not one of those vices. He was so humble, respectful, kind, intelligent and fun to be with. I also found out he comes from a family of geniuses. His father is an alumnus of Oxford and currently a dean at Unilag. His mom has 2 Bachelors and 2 Masters degrees. His younger  sister was in the final year of her PhD programme at Nottingham at just 26! I felt a bit intimidated but he was quick to credit it all not to their hard work or natural gift but to God’s grace.

We carried on with our friendship for another 3 months till he asked me to be his girlfriend with the hope of one day becoming his wife. I was so excited. I said  a fast yes. I had prayed about him and felt so much peace in the relationship. It was as if God had come to wipe away my tears because I had kissed a few frogs in my 25 years on earth. When thoughts of him would fill my head, this song would spring up in my heart:

Oti mu mi gbagbe o ibanuje igbakan. Ashe were ni ishe Oluwa. Obati a pe toun je

The song translates thus: You have caused me to forget my past sorrows. You work speedily. The God upon whom we call and he answers.

I was indeed in a very happy place.

Our Masters programme ended and it was time to go home. We both decided against getting the Post Study Work visas and went straight home. I had met his sister, ‘Lope. She was not the geek I expected her to be. In fact, she was exceptionally fashion conscious and an ‘it’ girl for a PhD student. I just assumed all PhDers were geek glasses wearing and braces wearing. We became good friends during the  period I was in the UK.

Niran and I were on the same flight back home. My mom and 2 sisters came to pick me up whilst his mom and dad both came to pick him. That was the first introduction of our families and it was short and sweet. Two weeks after arriving Nigeria, he invited me to his parents’ to meet them properly. It was such an ordeal deciding what to wear. My mom had said ‘no English outfit’ but my big sister was the other voice saying, ‘be yourself and wear what you’re comfortable in’. In the end, my mom won and I wore a really nice yet simple Ankara dress and kitten heeled pumps. I had my hair in a bun and wore my favourite earrings.

His parents live in Unilag somewhere along a street called Ozolua. He had come to my house at Shonibare Estate to pick me up that Saturday. We got to his and his mom welcomed me with the biggest hug ever. I felt immediately at home. She was a plump woman with friendly eyes and happy disposition. She was extremely welcoming. She apologised that her husband  was on a call upstairs and would be joining us shortly. It was a very relaxed meeting and it went well. If Niran’s mom is described as friendly. His dad would be described as funny. He told one joke after the other and had me in stitches all afternoon. It was also interesting to watch his mom laugh so hard at his jokes after 32 years of marriage. It was a good afternoon.

On our drive back as Niran dropped me off, I asked,

‘Niran, I saw another girl featuring a lot in your older family albums. I thought ‘Lope was your only sister’. He went quiet for a while and I felt bad thinking maybe she had died and I was scraping at healing wounds.

‘Yes I do. We are three kids. She’s older than I am. She’s 31 this year’.

‘Oh wow! What’s her name? Where does she live? Is she also a genius like you guys?’, I asked smiling, relieved she was alive.

‘Her name is is ‘Lade, Omolade. She lives here in Lagos. She has some problems’, he said dismissively.

‘Oh, what kind of problems’, I probed.

‘She was committed to the mental institution two weeks to her Bar Finals when she was just 20. Last year was her 10th year in the Psychiatric Home. She graduated with a First Class from Ife at 19 but never got called to the Bar’. He said this as a matter-of-factly with zero emotion. I was literally open-mouthed for 5 minutes or so.

‘I’m so sorry’, I gushed, not knowing the appropriate words to speak. He dismissed it and apologised for not telling me all along. We had already gotten to my house by then. He dropped me off and left.

As soon as I got home, Charlie’s Angels were waiting for me in the living room. Charlie’s Angels are my mom (who we’ve given the pet name, Sisi Joke, as all her numerous female friends call her that), my older sister, Sisi Lara and my younger sister by 10 months (we were both born in 1987), Sisi Bisodun ( she is a December 25 baby hence the ‘Bisodun‘ which translates thus-born into festivity. I have no brother so my dad is the only male figure in the family. I should also add that there is a strong influence of my mom’s sisters in our lives. They are all very close and very involved in each other’s family. When we were younger and offended my mom, one of the 6 sisters was sure to come by to give us a good telling off. It’s like we have 6 mothers really. Anyways, back to Charlie’s Angels.

‘It went so well. His parents are so cool. I had a great time. I found out he has an older sister who’s not well’, I said of the meeting at Niran’s.

‘Eh yah, what’s wrong with her?’ Bisodun asked.

‘Erm, she’s ill’, I mumbled. How does one say it? I thought to myself.

‘What kind of illness?’ Impatient Lara quipped.

‘She’s insane. She went mad during her Bar Finals 11 years ago’, I blurted. To hell with the political correctness.

‘Oh my God’, ‘What?’, ‘Damn!’, the three of them said at the same time. We all bemoaned the poor girl’s fate for a while and then changed the topic.

At about 1:30am, my dad and mom strolled into my room, interrupting my Dexter.

My dad was fumbling with his fingers. My mom on the other hand, sat down on my bed and began,

‘My dear, your dad and I have discussed things long and hard and there’s no way we are going to sit back and watch insects crawl into our eyes. You are a young girl and you have your whole life ahead of you. You can’t marry into a family where madness runs. It is hereditary and I won’t have a mad man for a son-in-law nor have mad grandkids. You need to break it off with him and fast too.’ My mom was emotionless. She spoke as if she was a newscaster speaking about some remote girl’s fate and not like she had just shattered my very being.

I sat there mute, looking at my dad as if he should help me and save me from my mom’s unreasonableness. ‘Dad’, I began.

My dad cut me off saying, ‘the earlier you break it off, the faster you will heal. We spoke with Aunty Biola whose husband is a psychiatrist at John Hopkins as you know. He told us unequivocally that madness induced by studying is hereditary meaning your offspring is susceptible to it and in fact, also Niran. I’m sure if we dig deep, we’ll find out about other members of the extended family who also have the problem. I’m sorry dear but I withdraw my blessings on your relationship’.

I was devastated as I watched my dad speak. My mom is known to make decrees and still change her mind. But my dad is soft and so hardly speaks BUT when he does, we all know no Jupiter can make him change his mind.

***

I confided in Lara about it. She’s a non-conformist and I chose her because I knew she would support me. She did but gave me reasons that I myself could not rationalise, insisting that if the worst comes to worst, I should go get myself married at the Ikoyi Registry and tell my parents I’m married. She also blamed me for telling them accusing me of always telling my parents everything and never learning from my past experiences of how badly they handle sensitive information.

I eventually spoke with Bisodun. Bisodun has always been the family oracle, very intelligent and also extremely rational and pragmatic. She is also a lover of God so I knew I would hear the truth from her, even if painful. Here were her words,

‘Sis, this is indeed a toughie. Whilst I believe in the power of prayers regarding these issues of hereditary diseases, the truth is our parents’ faith is not on that level. And you must get parental consent. You absolutely must. I don’t support you going ahead not because of the disease of the mind of his sister but because of dad and mom’s resolve. Hold it off for now and begin to pray hard. I’ll join you and we can even start fasting from tomorrow. Now Sis, our prayer is not for mom and dad to change their minds, no. Instead, it is for God’s will to prevail.

I love Niran and you together and when I place him besides the losers you have been with, I am personally pained at the thought of you guys not being together. However, sometimes, the devil brings a counterfeit of God’s plan for our lives. It looks so good, so perfect, so right but it is not from God and his blessing is not upon it. And consequently, one trouble or the other will keep rearing its head. I will never tell you that being with God’s choice will mean there would not be challenges, NEVER. There still will be but guess what, ‘Ishe Oluwa kole baje-God’s work cannot be hindered. So if it indeed is God’s plan for you, we need to call on God and tell Him, Oh God, you gave me this and the world wants to destroy your gift and take it from me. Arise and show up in my favour. Let your perfect will prevail in this matter. He will definitely show up and defend his handiwork.

You need to quit this starvation you’ve put yourself on and all this weeping. You need to encourage yourself in the Lord and I know God will definitely answer our cry like he answered that of David when the Amelikites invaded Ziklag and took all in 1 Samuel 30. BUT remember, David first of all inquired of the Lord whether or not he would recover his possessions. It was not until God told David that he will surely recover all that he pursued and then overtook. So hun, this is our period of inquiring. Let’s first of all seek God’s will, the rest will follow. The heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord and like a river of water, He can turn it as he so wishes. So babes, forget mom and dad for now, they are not the real matter at issue. When God says yes, they dare not say no so let us hear God say his yes first.

***

As great as Bisodun’s words were, I’m still torn. There’s no way God can say no to a love so true. Why give me someone that brings me so much joy only to snatch him away? Why should I leave Niran because of fear, not even mine, my unbelieving parents’? He is not mad and can never be mad and I know I can not have a mad child.

I still speak with Niran and we still hang out. I have found reasons to give him for him not coming to mine anymore and for dropping me off at the Estate Gate when he does come. How can I tell him my family rejects him because of something that brings his family pain? How?

According to Bisodun, I’m to tell Niran I want to seek God’s face for something for a while and during that period, I’m not to communicate with him. She says I need a severance from him in order to hear God speak clearly. That is easy to say and I know myself, it is just impossible to pull it off. Plus, our relationship has never been that way. We discuss all our problems and pray for each other so this ‘problem’ I have that requires solitary confinement would definitely have him raising an eye brow.

So many questions running through my head: my parents are not such strong believers. Is it not praying parents you obey implicitly? Is his sister’s illness really hereditary? Why did I open my big mouth to tell my mom? Why did I not make my parents find out after the wedding? Should I go crazy and get married without their approval? Should I open up to Niran about my predicament? Would that not make him judge my family? Should I go ahead and have a clean break from him whilst I pray?

What do I do?!

***

Let’s muse guys!

Temiville.xoxo

Help! They hate her!

16 Comments

Hi people,
I’m a 31 year old guy who has been dating Funke for 10 months. I proposed to her 2 months ago. All my siblings live in England and have been there for a while so they have never met her before. Funke finished her Bar Finals in August and was going to be travelling to England to unwind before her NYSC begins. So I told her to go see them in Birmingham were they all live. I have 3 siblings-all girls, Tunmininu and Tunmishe are 28 year old twins and Tamilore is 25. They are all studying for their MSc at Birmingham University and could easily pass for triplets. The twins are not totally identical but it is clear they are siblings. Tamilore and Tunmishe are the ones who actually look like twins thereby making all three look so much alike. They are also extremely close and have always been. I value their opinion as my sisters and I have made decisions based on their views in the past.
***
I was so convinced Funke would get along with them. She is very respectful, well behaved and humble and I had no doubt they would hit it off like a house on fire. So convinced was I that I asked her to spend the weekend with them. I wanted them to get along so much. Funke had met my mom and dad and they love her. To cut a long tale short, Tunmininu and Tunmishe called me on Sunday night complaining bitterly about Funke. They called her lazy and unhelpful. They said they had to do some shopping at the market and she said she was too tired to come along with them and had to rest.
Tunmishe said,
‘Olumide, it was really disgraceful. I mean, she’s meeting us for the first time. She could not even ‘tiju‘ and just accompany us. It’s not like we were walking. We were taking a bus there and a taxi back so I don’t get it. When we got back, there she was-sleeping. When she eventually woke up, shebi she’ll at least have some shame and offer to help us cook or something. She went to the living room and started watching the Kardashians and gisting about them with Tami. It was really a shameful sight. When it was time for dinner, she refused what we offered her and went to the TESCO’s downstairs to get packed salad. What is she trying to say? That her perfect size 8 body would be destroyed and become like our own size 12 bodies abi? Ahn ahn kilode. Omo Yoruba ni wa o (we have a rich culture of respect and hardwork as Yorubas)and it is not done anywhere.’
***
I was weak. Anyone that has sisters knows that when they conspire, there’s nothing you can do but hope God confuses their language because otherwise, that Tower of Babel is going straight up! They told me not to tell her but that they were sorry, she was just too lazy for them and too vain and materialistic with her Gucci bag and Louboutin shoes. I could sense some envy but I dare not say that. You see, Funke is from an extremely wealthy home, the kind where even all her grandparents were trained in England and had serious old money. Her grandparents live in all those old Ikoyi homes and basically, she had never lacked anything. Aside of her parents’ wealth, her older brother ran a good business and she was on his monthly ‘payroll’ though she didn’t particularly work with him. Her combined monthly allowance from parents, grandparents, brother and  the occasional cash gifts from uncles and aunties was more than some people earn in 5 months. Despite this, I saw in her humility, love for those that lacked and a helpful nature. I know of at least 3 kids whose education and upkeep she is responsible for. And she didn’t tell me all these, I just randomly found out.
***
Even her parents are like that. I know of some managing parents who would grill you about how well your parents are doing and if your ‘Akinyele’ is of the Minister’s side. The day I went to theirs and met them, not once did they ask about any irrelevant information. They were loving and nice and genuinely happy to see their daughter in good hands. I drove into a house that looked like they were running a car dealership with my 2006 Camry and yet, every one, I mean every single person treated me as though I was the wealthiest person in the world and I could  see where Funke got her good nature from.
Even when Funke comes to mine, she’d help my mom in the kitchen. Gist with her about any and everything and my parents really like her. So now that the three most important girls to me all find her repulsive, I am really confused.
***
I asked Funke how the weekend went with my sisters and she responded, ‘Great! I really love them. They are so sweet and helpful and let me rest because I was having terrible cramps. I didn’t tell them because I didn’t want to be nursed but they were so kind to me. They made me breakfast. It was so nice.  All my fears about meeting your sister were all unfounded. What a lovely threesome!’
What to do?
***
Guys! This happens all the time. We claim we want to have amazing sisters in law and yet we are beastly to ours. We need to learn to show love to our in-laws and in-laws to be, especially the female ones since they are coming into our homes. We must receive them in genuine love and make them feel welcome. I’m not saying we should be fake and ignore every wrongdoing BUT we must treat them the EXACT same way we want to be treated by our husbands’ families.
Let’s stop being bitchy and quick to notice every wrong. Let’s make excuses for them and understand that backgrounds are very different. Not everyone grew up in a home where you wake up and resume duties in the kitchen. Not everyone is used to the whole saying yes to every offer in order to be polite. Not everyone has learned the politics of handling in laws. Let’s be accommodating. My mom is such an inspiration in this regard. Those girls are just plain lucky. They are on her BB and their pictures go up as her DP randomly with lovely status messages. I saw her chats with them once and they are really cool. That’s seed sowing in my opinion.
***
My prayer now is that God gives our brothers/sons great wives-not the ones that have come to kill, steal and destroy: kill the love they have for you; steal all they have and destroy relationships they have with their family. Because, I would be a liar to say there aren’t some Jezebelic women out there who all they think of is how to use the man dry. Their favourite song is ‘Chop my money!’ and they don’t ever intend to build the man and think up ideas to generate wealth for him. They make the man buy they the most expensive gifts on his relatively meagre salary. I mean, what business does a man earning 160k per month have buying a girlfriend 700 GBP Louboutin shoes? Priorities people. I’m all for being generous but wisdom is the principal thing. These women have no business with Proverbs 31 and some are even fetish. So I think we should pray that God separates our men from such vile women. We really should not be part  of those complaining bitterly that a woman is lazy etc.

Why can’t we all just get along?

God help us mehn!
Any thoughts?
Temiville.xoxo

What to do with the ball?

56 Comments

Yesterday Ola got rude to me. Well, not quite rude but he gave me one of these his famous frank responses that hurt to the marrow. Truth be told, I can’t stand his straightforwardness. He comes off as rude a lot of the time but I’ll keep quiet. No use ruffling feathers and waking the sleeping Rottweiler and to be honest, that’s just one of many issues I have with him. Ola is my boyfriend.

Last week, Enitan got engaged. The man of her dreams finally proposed to her. To be honest, only Enitan was amazed at the news. We all saw it coming. Her boyfriend, Moses (wow Lara, you need to get used to calling him her fiancé) had been the serious type from Day 1. He’s the exact type that seems to elude me, the type who wants to settle down forsaking all others. Enitan is my sister.

Enitan is my only sister but in between us are two boys, Olumide and Olufemi. So you can understand the little tinge of pain I felt when baby Enitan called me screaming/crying/hyperventilating over the phone that her boyfriend of 16 months proposed. I was glad for her but sad for me. Moses was 28 when they met and she was 22. But he was your very mature type of 28 year old male; the type whose maturity extends to his dressing. I hardly saw him in jeans and when I did, they were smart looking jeans. His idea of casual dressing was Chinos and Polos.

Enitan had always been the luckier one with guys. Though there is a 4 year gap between us, I had to admit that she had a way with men, they just couldn’t get over her. Of the two of us, I’m the prettier and more academically inclined but she is more street wise and discerning. All through our growing years till date, it was never unusual to find me, the elder sister, calling up Enitan for advice. Even our dad found in her a buddy. She was the stronger one and whilst I was daddy’s pet, she was daddy’s paddy. She and dad would discuss issues on politics, football, F1 etc. for hours. They would argue, fight, and laugh into the night sipping on Brandy while mom and I retired to bed. We were the girly girls who were more concerned with watching the Kardashians on E! than CNN.

Enitan was very firm with Moses from Day 1, firm but loving and kind. I admired their relationship and it was very clear who the stronger person was in it. After their 16 months together, Moses could now hardly make a decision without dialing Enitan’s number to seek her opinion.

6 months into Enitan and Moses’ relationship, I met Ola. Ola was 29 and was self employed. He was running a catering business. I found this weird at first but that was before seeing the passion with which he handled the business. It was his mom’s business before she passed on 3 years ago and ever since he completed his MBA, he totally immersed himself in the company and has single handedly worked on its expansion. Now, they operate in three states-Lagos, Abuja and Calabar.

I saw Ola as the ideal husband for me and would do all in my powers to make him happy. I took it as my assignment to ensure I keep him happy. My mom has always been the perfect wife to dad and I dreamed of being able to do all that for my own husband someday. I cook, clean, wash and even learned how to make Calabar dishes for him (His dad is Yoruba but his mom, who he was closer to, was from Calabar). Despite my efforts to please him, he ended up cheating on me…

Beeba, my cousin and best friend, thinks what transpired is not cheating. She says guys are really bad out there and I should be grateful for the kind of man I have. Then I ran what happened by Enitan who told me in her ever straight shooter fashion that it didn’t get any worse than that.

I found out Ola was ‘talking to’ another girl. Well, she was actually the one doing the talking but he was not exactly fighting her off. She was one of those extra wealthy girls whose fathers have a hand in almost everything going on in Lagos State. She obviously felt she has something to offer and it was painful to see that he was falling into her trap. I told him I wasn’t comfortable about the frequency of their communication. She calls him almost every day and they would exchange BB messages endlessly. His response to my concern was that she was merely a business contact and he was looking into securing some contracts through her dad and that it was high time I started seeing her as a sales lead and nothing else.

I went through their chats in his presence. Yes, he told her point blank that he is in a relationship. Yes, he told her he was happy in it (the useless girl actually asked). But how happy can you possibly be in your relationship if you always respond to her messages? I saw some chats timed at 1:05 am and he responded by 1:07am! Even if you are awake, it’s only decent to reply in the morning. I think.

It didn’t stop at this. The real thing that got me mad was that she invited him to an event hosted by her father’s friend at his residence. It was painful enough that he went with her as her date but even worse that he lied to me about where he was that day. I just didn’t have peace all through that evening and the next day I drove to his house. I saw a BBM that read thus,

‘Thanks so much for being my ‘date’. You looked really dapper in that suit. I know I kept on telling you but I just have to say it again. Btw, everyone says we’ll make a cute couple. I think so too. Goodnight hun. ‘BBM kissing smiley’

His response made me go red (yes, I literally went red as I’m very light skinned).

‘Lol @ making a good match. You’re very pretty so that cuteness will majorly be contributed by you. I had a great time too. Thanks for inviting me. ‘BBM hug smiley’.

I immediately confronted him and told him that it’s either he deletes her and stopped further communication or it’s over. Ola looked into my eyes and told me that if I’m not mature enough to see the whole thing as mere networking then maybe I’m not mature enough to be in a relationship with him. He said to me that I’m very insecure and the very thing that made him like me was my confident gait,  carriage and demeanor and that I was beginning to lose that and he’s not sure what to say about that because a confident woman is very essential to him.

He told me that at my age I should know that if he was intending to cheat on me, he would do it easily and I would never find out. When I asked him why he felt it right to lie to me about his whereabouts the night before, he claimed that it was because he knew the kind of woman he was with-the type who would never understand and would be unreasonable and ask him not to honour the invitation. I asked him why he didn’t accept and then offer to bring along his girlfriend. He said it was ‘bad for business.’ Bad for business?!!!

***

Enitan has come to her conclusion-let him be. But I guess that’s what would work for her. I love him but would be happier if he were more loving and less mechanical and brash. He says he can’t let go of friendships because of me and now I am being forced to humble myself and accept it when he picks her calls and BBM her in my presence!

Is this not akin to him selling himself? Is this not like some degree of prostitution where you lead someone on with the hope that you gain something from them because they think you are a potential? Is this not wrong? I’m really unhappy about this but I don’t know if it is enough to let go of him for. He says he still loves me and that the ball is in my court.

What do I do with this ball?

Unplayed Symphony…

39 Comments

Two days have gone past since we met. I am not one to fall in love. I am not in love but I think this is it, my final bus-stop. After all the searching and attempts made at finding a wife, I have no doubt in my heart that Kemi is the real thing. We met a wedding reception. As is my (bad) habit, I skipped the actual wedding and strolled into the reception with the rest of the guests. I really did not feel like going out. My mom had called that she was feeling a bit under the weather so I had to go to my parents’ after work on Friday and stay with her. It turned out she was just missing me. Either that or she miraculously received her healing as soon as I walked in.

The wedding was all the way in Festac. My car was overheating and most importantly, I was really in no mood to meet with the people I knew would be in attendance. But my friend, Ofo, would have none of my excuses. He had driven all the way from Magodo to pick me up from my parents’ in Oniru so there was no way I could say no.

You see, I had many reasons not to want to attend the wedding. The major one, however, was because I had dated the bride, Olabisi for 6 years. Yes, 6 years: all the way from my 300 level till two years ago. I had gotten over her but our relationship, though it did not end mutually, had not gone completely sour. However, to be seeing her getting married to another man, especially when I was still very much single was a bit more than I thought I could handle. So I decided not to go. Ofo dragged me there, citing maturity, Christian values as his reasons. As soon as we walked into the hall, I got glances from almost all the tables and those who had not previously stared did so after being whispered to by their table mates.

Everyone knew the Afolabi/Olabisi story. We had had a very public relationship and no one thought we could ever break up. I was already married to her in my mind. We were just waiting for the time to be right for us to do it right. It turned out that Olabisi was unhappy in our relationship. She was from a financially struggling family but had one of the best attitudes a woman could have. She was next to my mother. Hell, I even thought she was better than my mom sometimes.

She was very warm and friendly. She had impeccable manners and could cook well. She was born with a silver spoon which got snatched away when her dad died. She and her sisters had attended the best primary and secondary schools in Lagos. Her dad was killed in an autocrash when she was just in SS1 but despite how difficult things got, her mom made sure she completed her secondary education in Atlantic Hall, just as her sisters had before her. Things had gone from bad to worse but despite all the challenges the family faced, Olabisi had remained focused.

I had no idea how bad things were for them. She and her sisters always looked good. It was only after getting so close to her that she revealed things to me. I took it upon myself to be her provider. It turns out that was my greatest blunder. I have heard that men always try to fix things. I guess it’s true. I tried to fix their financial situation. I gave her a car because I was not comfortable that in my parents’ house were 6 cars just lying there whilst they had not even one. So I took one I knew my parents would not notice whether it was there or not and asked the driver to drive it behind me as I drove to their Ayobo home.

Well, it turned out that was a bad idea. She refused it blatantly and seemed almost insulted by the gesture. ‘Is it because I told you something in confidence that you are embarrassing my family this way?!’ I did not get her. I thought I was doing something good but that car had to go back home with me. I tried giving her money so many times but she always returned it with a smile. She hardly complained about not having money but one day when we at my house, she received a call from her mom about something, she went deathly cold as soon as she hung up and it was then I knew I had to look for a way of forcing the money on her.

I asked her to lend me a thousand naira one day and asked for her account number to pay it back into. When I was returning the money the next day, I paid in a hundred thousand naira. She received notification on her phone and then she called me. I was scared she was going to refuse it again but to my amazement, all she said was a solemn ‘Thank you’ and then she hung up. That was how I started paying for everything for her and even her mom. I was happy because I was helping her. I come from a wealthy home so there was no way I would sit and watch my girlfriend wallow in poverty. Six years down the line, she explained to me that because of all I did for her, even when she was upset and frustrated, she felt the need to keep mute as she was indebted to me.

As a sign of gratitude, she gave me the one thing she vowed to keep untouched for her husband. And slowly, gratitude was all she began to feel for me. We were no longer equals and friends. I became the guy through whose link her mom acquired business deals that helped her run her home. She told me that there were times her mom was upset with me because I had driven into their home really late to see her but she could not speak. She didn’t want a rescuer, she wanted a friend. She could not marry a saviour so she broke up with me.

As devastated as I was, my level of respect for her soared. All my friends were her friends. I knew it must have been hard letting go of obvious abundance which I represented. It was then I knew I had lost a treasure. Not many girls will do that, if any at all.

I watch her throw her bouquet in the air, giggling. I watch as the ladies scramble for the flowers. No matter who it is that catches those roses, they cannot match up to that bride, I think to myself. I’m happy for her husband. He is a lucky man. He is not wealthy but he is not struggling either. I hear they plan on starting a business together. That has always been Olabisi. She always wanted to contribute to the lives around her. I guess with mine, she supposed I was complete, needing nothing thereby making her useless. The only thing she knew she shouldn’t give, she gave. I raise a toast to the life I never had with the most beautiful woman I have ever known.

A lone tear slips down my right eye and thankfully no one notices.

***

It turns out someone did notice. That someone was Kemi. She managed to strike up a conversation and carefully avoided talking about the tear. Wise her.

It has only been two days but in a way I feel like I have reached my destination. I can see me loving Kemi but she will need to be strong for both of us because day and night, I will pine for the love I lost. Day and night, I will compare her to the love I lost-her carriage, her cooking, her dressing, her being. Day I night, I will long to dance to that unplayed symphony with my ex-soulmate. She will need to be patient with me because I will move on and she will turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Eventually.

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