Meena’s Diary#19

Mama walked into my house with no prior call to alert me she was on her way in her usual fashion.

 

wordle-girlstoys
So it was a surprise when the bell rang, and the maid ushered her in.
She swept into the living room like she owned the place and commanded me without words to stand and give the traditional courtesy to our elders.
She nodded as she took her seat before I could offer her. Then gave me that mother look which searches through your soul. Searching and seeing what you have tried to hide from the world.

“Meena, are you ready to talk about it?” She asked a little nonchalantly which I knew was a facade to draw me in by not appearing to mount any pressure.

“Talk about what mama,” I feigned ignorance hoping she’ll bite my bait and move on to other issues.

“What’s bothering you? I have been waiting for you to talk about it but it’s taking longer than ever. I know there is something wrong since the day you dropped the kids to go to Paris. A problem shared is half solved.”

Mama could be right; however, if my problem was half solved by sharing, then it should have disappeared or just gone into extinct. I did not voice my sarcastic thoughts but smiled meekly at her.

While I battled how no start my story, my mother settled comfortably into the sofa. I could read from her body language that she had all the time in the world and was not going anywhere soon.

In a further conspiracy, my maid brought a glass of cold water and peppered gizzard, my mom’s favourite delicacy.

“Thank you,” she said graciously to the maid whose face lit up with a smile too broad to hide.
I took a long breath in and exhaled as I shared with my mother my dilemma.

“Do you still love JK?”

I stared at my mum shocked. What had love got to do with all I had told her? JK had gone against our vows and having or has a child out of wedlock. The child had not been born, but it was no news it was a boy from the little chats I had read while the left of the story was to my imagination.

“Mom, I don’t think that’s the issue right now. Loving or not loving JK is inconsequential.”

“What is?” She asked prodding me with those looks.

“What happens to my girls and I. I did not give him a male child, and now he has one from outside.”

“Has he said he no longer wants you?”

“Mama does he have to say so in plain English when it’s glaring by his action. Isn’t it obvious that I am no longer good enough for him?”

I pressed my temple hoping to sooth the already throbbing ache brought about by the conversation I was having with Mama.

“Meena, the question is do you still love him. Do you love him enough to make your marriage work despite the sticky situation?”

I gasped in shock at my mother. She suddenly looked like the devil incarnate with horns on her head. Why did I feel she did not understand the whole issue and was trivialising my problem. The problem was more significant than love.Love could not work this out.

“Love conquers all things. Meena. He has made a mistake, and you both should look at how to work through this rather than let your home and the love you shared be destroyed. This is the time to stand by him and let him know you do not judge him.

“Mama, JK should have thought about that before going out to sleep around,” I sighed angrily.

“Whose side are you on mama?”

“You are both my children. I am not on anyone’s side. I am on the side of my grandchildren who need two loving parents and a loving home to grow.Your case is not a case of domestic violence where I would have wasted no time in whisking you and my grandchildren away from the scene but a marriage test that you both need to work at resolving.
I sat there seething in anger while mother relished the peppered- gizzard like one with no care in the world.

Well, to be candid Mama had no care in the world. My siblings and I were the children you dreamed of in your old age. Papa died while we were still young and unlike other terrible stories you hear. His brothers rallied round mama and helped pay our fees till we graduated from the University.

My uncles filled the gap for our father’s absence and still do. Today, we were all settled with good careers, comfortable lives and beautiful marriages except mine that was falling apart.

I won’t be surprised if I get a call from one of them once mama left my house.

“Meena, make this work. Give it all you have and if it does not then know you did your best. But don’t give up without trying. If you can’t find a reason, please look into the eyes of your girls. Do you want them to grow up without the blessing of having both parents living together harmoniously?

I don’t know what went wrong here. But I know you still love JK. He has been a great husband, father and son-in-law. Don’t give up on him because he messed up this one time. We are all humans. A famous saying, “to air is human but to forgive is divine.” Find it in your heart to forgive.”

“I bought this book it’s called “Love dare”, you might want to use it to rekindle the love you once felt in your marriage.

“Shouldn’t you be giving this to JK? He probably needs it more than me for the mother of his baby.” I asked looking at the book with disdain.

“Meena, enough of all this nonsense and childlike tantrum. A real woman fights to keep and protect her territory. She does not back down and let the enemy take over her home. Now is the time to fight for what is yours. Anger, sulking and self-pity will take you nowhere.”

“I doubt Mama. I don’t have the zeal to start such charade,” I sighed resignedly. I was tired of blocking the thoughts and pain I felt.

“I know you can.”

Mama stood up to shove the book in my hand and was gone like she was never in the room with me except the empty bowl of gizzard and half glass cup of drink on the side stool where she sat. to prove I was not hallucinating and the visit was real.

 

 

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Meena’s Diary#18

Sa’a

wordle-girlstoysI was stunned by Meena’s news. My mouth hung opened and could utter no words.

Our perfect husband was finally tainted. The man we had all held him in high esteem. He was the ideal husband. A man who made us hopeful, that there were good men out there. My dearest Atiku with all his devotion did not compare to JK.

What do I say to Meena? The saying, he who wears the shoes feel the pain the most. What words of comfort do I give her?

The issue was not having a child with someone else, although, that was a significant problem. The crucial matter here is the betrayal of trust. What is happening with Meena pales, in comparison to when I thought Atiku was taking on a second wife and I attempted suicide. Ashamed to admit that now but I did.

The thought was enough to kill me despite the knowledge that my culture allows him to take up a second wife without batting an eyelid and encourages me to welcome the other woman with arms open wide as a co helpmate to our husband.

Did women fall into this world at a disadvantage or did we mould ourselves to fit the defect?

Meena must make her decisions, and we as friends can only support her. We dare not sit on our high horses and issue verdicts of what to or not to do.

We held her and cried with her. We wanted her to know all will be well even if we did not know how.

 

Omowashe Omorishe#34

I was pressing the bell a second time today filled with anxiety as I stood at the entrance of the cream coloured well designed Victorian – contemporary house. It was not my first time here, but today the character flaw its design screamed out dissatisfaction. At face value, it did not look out of place but judging with a critical eye; the architect should have stuck to either a period house or a contemporary one or look for a way to harmonise both seamlessly.

 

second-chance

The door was opened by a young girl I had not seen before.
“Please, I would like to see Mrs Coker and her sister”. I could not remember my birth mum but could get to her through her sister.
I tried to think what I had seen on my birth certificate, My Father handed over to me on the day of the engagement, but my mind was blank.
“Mummy is in, but her Auntie is not,” replied the petite young girl who answered the door.
Thinking of either leaving on learning my main reason for coming was not available or going in to say hello to Bode’s mum. I did try to reach my birth mum. I could defend myself when accused of not making any effort to see her.
I was not left with a choice as I heard Bode’s mum’s voice and there she was before me.

A look of recognition shone in her eyes as she warmly embraced me. Had things gone to plan, she should be my mother-in-law. I felt the pain slowly stealing back into me. When would I be free? Would I ever be able to get past this hurt and loss?

“She waited so long for you to come. She left this afternoon but not without leaving a box for you,” she said pulling me away to take a look at my face.

“I am hanging in there,” I assured her although far from it. I was a basket case of many emotions.

I tried, I said to myself trying to still the feeling of despair threatening to sweep over me like a hurricane, the sense of losing something so precious. I did not know her, why was I feeling this way?

Mrs Coker took my hands and led me in.
“Sit, let me get the box.”

I have not seen her since the failed introduction. Her warm reception was almost making me cry as tears pooled in my eyes and I willed them not to fall.
She went in and came back dragging a suitcase which filled me with curiosity about its content.

I stood up to leave once she handed over the box to me.
“Thank you Ma, I have to go,” I gushed. I had nothing to say to my almost mother-in-law and now Aunt.

I fled with the speed a dragging suitcase will allow afraid I could no longer hold the tears.

 

Back in my room. I sat on my bed battling whether to ignore or open the suitcase to check its content. Eventually curiosity won. I opened a small envelope addressed to me, and there were letters penned to me with several dated photos of me as a baby till about two years old.

How did she have access to these pictures? Was she in touch with my parents?
There were letters for each year of my life. Every month of the year and the last was written last night.

I spent the whole night reading my birth mum’s letters. She never wanted to give me away, but she knew she could not give me the kind of life I deserved. She would have had to drop out to take care of me. Going back to my Dad was out of it she did not want him to think she had tricked him into marriage by getting pregnant. They had always used protection. She knew Segun would not have minded, but she felt playing the marriage card would not have worked for their relationship.

Time would come when resentment would set in. She never wanted the day Segun will look at her and hold her responsible for not fulfilling his dreams because of a forced marriage.

It was bad enough she had gotten pregnant. Her parents back in Nigeria would hear none of it. She took the easy way out by giving up the child. She was delighted when Segun’s brother and sister in law decided to take the child and help raise pending when Segun decided what he wanted to do.

She wrote of nights she longed to hold me. Nights she cried that she had made the wrong decision. However, she needed to complete her medical program, become the surgeon she had always dreamt of being.

She stumbled one day at the park where Mum brought my sister and me to play and kept coming to observe from a distance. She could tell I was happy and began to feel she might disrupt my life should she want me back

Not too long they stopped coming to the park. She made up her mind on my fifth birthday to come and pick me up. She now had a good job, and she could juggle her life and mine together. She was shocked when she located the house and they were no longer living there.

It was later she got to know that the family had moved back to Africa. She was devasted. She did not know how to contact them. She had been so silly to think they would always be in the United Kingdom.

The letter on my 16th birthday was about boys. How to keep away from them and keep your head in your books. I smiled at that one.

My 21st was how I must have become a lovely woman. I had her eyes while the rest of my features favoured my Dad.

It was the early hours of the morning, and I forced myself to go to bed not before sending a text message to uncle Segun that she won’t be able to make it in for work today.

Uncle Segun replied the text immediately.
Does the man ever sleep? I wondered to myself.

Uncle Segun: Are you okay?
Me: Yes. I did not want to go into details.

I laid on my bed, too much on my mind.
My birth mum loves me. She did not give me away because she did not want me.
I wondered what it would be like to get to know her.
With that thought, I bolted out of bed to pick my laptop.
There was an admission offer from Cambridge I was to respond to, but with all happening around myself I had forgotten.
I opened the email. Today was the deadline for the offer.

I applied over a year ago when I was considering going away for my masters before Bode and I came back together.
I deferred and now was not a perfect time. I could do with a distraction and change of environment. Something to take my time and energy.
I accepted the offer then realised I had two weeks to resumption!

I groaned. What was I thinking? I could send an email to defer, or I could get ready in two weeks. My thoughts went back and forth. Reasons why I should and should not but I knew that going away for the program was what I needed now.
I chose to go.
I had to tell my parents, friends, stop work at the firm and a long to-do list to clear in 14 days.

 

Meena’s Diary#17

Hauwau….

 

wordle-girlstoys

Sitting in Meena’s house in the bar surrounded by beauty and splendour, the drink suddenly lost its sweet taste replaced with the taste of vinegar as several thoughts raced through my mind.

In a million years. I could never have thought what I just heard could ever be possible. JK our perfect gentlemen and secret crush.
The joke we shared with Meena. If ever she wanted to drop him we were there for grasps.

All because we had placed him on a pedestal.He was the doting, caring and affectionate husband.They were married for years, and the love that radiated around them was infectious.I could not for the life of me begin to think what went wrong.

I wanted to hear the story, but it was not the time to ask. Our friend needed us here. It was clear that Meena was heart broken.

She was distantly composed which gave us a clue to how distraught she was. She was still in shock, denial and confusion.
What was I to say?
I could be blunt with words and give my analysis, but today I had none to give at this moment.
I dared not say I told you. I still found it hard to come to terms with the news. JK did not fit the bill. Although, I often said no man was without sin, we all got used to the perfect JK.

 

Olowogbogboro

hope

 

There is no God you say, and I believe you.
The earth is just atoms formed on their own but who controls the sun to shine and the moon to slip out at night?

There is no God you say; we are just humans come to be by accident. But how does the miracle of bones and tissues in the inside of a woman come together intricately to release a life, so tiny so helpless but against all the odds thrive to be you who now give theories that God does not exist?

God does not exist I believe you. The chaos and madness the world has evolved into are in the hands of the one who created it from the beginning.Should He exist, would we not want to be safe than sorry?

God does not exist. You say that religion is bigotry for the simple minds, an excuse for mediocrity by the lazy and there is a higher way of using our brains to think. He created us and gave us the will and choice.

I choose to believe He exists. The one who created heaven and earth, Who holds the sun, moon and stars, breathes life into our nostrils.

For at the end of it all, on the other side. I want to be safe that God exists, risk it here at the ridicule of men than be sorry that while I fantasised in my philosophies of his non-existence on this other side.
Alas, he existed from the beginning, and none of my argument nor idiosyncrasies changed who He is. What changed is where I fall to at the end of it all.Strolling on Heaven’s pavement of gold or racing away from the gates of Hell.

God does not exist. I believe you but what if all your theories come out wrong and it’s too late to cry out to all you have misled.
Take a risk, take a chance, be safe than sorry. Eternity is a long walk. A journey embarked by you alone, not with family, not with race, not with religion, not as a nation, political party or intellectual group. It’s just you and Him.

You say He does not exist. I believe you, but I know God exists because he said so and we are here because He does.

Meena’s Diary#16

I am a dead woman on two feet going through the motions of life without emotions. I knew the right time to smile, offer a laugh at a joke, and give a hug to the kids. The right words and encouragement to friends and co-workers.

wordle-girlstoys

I was living each day with a happy and confident front fooling the world that all is well.

Babes where are you?  A message from one of the girls flashed on my phone.

Me: At home. What’s new?

Hauwau: You are late for our hangout.

Me: Gosh! I totally forgot.

Hauwau: We are waiting. You can still make it.

I missed the hangout last week and did not even remember this week. I have been avoiding my friends. I did not know what to tell them when I was still trying to process the whole situation.

It has been two weeks but I still did not know what I wanted to do or go from here.

Me: Nah too tired.

Hauwau: Thought you’ll say that. We are at your gate.

I laughed. It sounded hollow to me. Only my crazy friends would not take no for an answer.

It was less than two minutes that the girls came in and launched their Mission Attack.

“Spill. Something is eating you up. We have given you all the time to talk. Before and after Paris.”

“You don’t want to hear it.”

“We do want to hear it. The good, the bad and the ugly but leave the sex out. We don’t want our ears to cringe. We are innocent girls here.”

“Blah! Say that to the gods. The things you do behind closed doors. Your grandma will be rolling in her grave.

“If she was not worse than us,” retorted Hauwau through her teeth but turned on me with a vengeance.

“Don’t derail spill.”

“You girls care for a drink?”  I asked playing the role of a perfect hostess.

“Martini on ice for me,” Sa’a answered speaking for the first time since the girls came in.

“Does Atiku know you indulge in this?”

“Let’s just say it’s my little secret.  A little alcohol now and then is good for the body. Kobahakaba?”

I went through the motion of laughing which was the normal reaction.

I  also needed that martini and something stronger.

We moved towards the bar to make our drinks.JK never drank but had the bar full of every stocked wine you can imagine. Luckily he had friends who made good use of the drinks.

“What are you doing with that?” My two friends asked eyes round with surprise as  I mixed mine.

“Whatever is going on must be bad,” concluded Hauwau.

“In all the years we have known you. You never have as much sipped on alcohol.”

“There is always a first time,” I answered sadly and blurted out before I lost the courage.

“JK has a son with someone else.”

The reaction from my friends could have won an Oscar.

I could not have imagined any scenarios that would shut the mouths of these women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two weeks.

 

I was a dead woman on two feet going through the motions of life without emotions. I knew the right time to smile, offer a laugh at a joke, give a hug to the kids. The right words and encouragement to friends and co-workers.

 

I was living each day with a happy and confident front fooling the world that all is well.

 

Babes where are you?  A message from one of the girls flashed on my phone.

 

Me: At home. What’s new?

Hauwau: You are late for our hangout.

Me: Gosh! I totally forgot.

Hauwau: we are waiting. You can still make it.

 

I missed the hangout last week and did not even remember this week. I have been avoiding my friends. I did not know what to tell them when I was still trying to process the whole situation.

It has been two weeks but I still did not know what I wanted to do or go from here.

 

Me: Nah too tired.

 

Hauwau: Thought you’ll say that. We are at your gate.

 

I laughed. It sounded hollow to me. Only my crazy friends would not take no for an answer.

 

It was less than 2 minutes that the girls came in and Mission Attack began.

 

“Spill. Something is eating you up. We have given you all the time to talk. Before and after Paris.”

 

“You don’t want to hear it.”

 

“We do want to hear it. The good, the bad and the ugly but leave the sex out. We don’t want our ears to cringe. We are innocent girls here.”

 

“Blah! Say that to the gods. The things you do behind closed doors. Your grandma will be rolling in her grave.

 

“If she was not worse than us,” retorted Hauwau through her teeth but turned on me with a vengeance.

 

“Don’t derail spill.”

 

“You girls care for a drink?”  I asked playing the role of a perfect hostess.

 

“Martini on ice for me,” Sa’a answered speaking for the first time since the girls came in.

 

“Does Atiku know you indulge in this?”

 

“Let’s just say it’s my little secret.  A little alcohol now and then is good for the body. Kobahakaba?”

 

I went through the motion of laughing which was the normal reaction.

 

I needed that martini and something stronger.

 

“What are you doing with that?” My two friends asked eyes round with surprise.

 

“Whatever is going on must be bad,” concluded Hauwau.

 

“In all the years we have known you. You never have as much sipped on alcohol.”

 

“There is always a first time,” I answered sadly and blurted out before I lost the courage.

 

“JK has a son with someone else.”

 

The reaction from my friends could have won an Oscar.

 

I could not have imagined any scenarios that would shut the mouths of these women.

 

 

 

 

Meena’s Diary#15

They say heartbreak is the worst pain, but I think it’s fair play compared to betrayal.

 

wordle-girlstoys

My love, best friend and confident. I could trust JK with my life. I could overlook a casual affair as time goes on, but a constant reminder of his adultery packaged in what I had not been able to give him was a pain akin to no other.

It’s been three days of hell.   Funny how the pain from my thought and speculation that there was someone else dulled to what I felt now.
My brain has not been able to process beyond the fact that JK had a child outside with someone else while we were married.

What game was destiny was playing on me?  Okay, it had never bothered us the sex of our kids. We had two lovely daughters, and nowJK had a son to carry his name that was not borne by me.

Where did I go wrong? How did I get so careless that my husband was now in the league of those who had children outside wedlock?

I stole a look at him beside me on the plane back to Lagos.
We had not spoken since he dropped his bombshell.
Well, that will not be true. I  was the one who has not talked to JK.  He had been doing all the talking, but he could have been speaking to the statue of liberty or the statue of the three wise men in Lagos.

He begged, apologised and asked me to meet out any punishment I wanted, and he would gladly observe. He promised me heaven and earth, but I was far gone to care whatever he said.

There was no using crying over spilt milk. JK did commit a sacrilege to our marriage, and its effect will be in our lives forever.

I  still did not know my next step. I was exhausted and still in shock.

My life and all I had built with JK had come crumbling down like a pack of cards.