I woke up in a strange but luxurious room. The bed was heavenly. I must be in a dream I concluded.However, the events of yesterday came flashing through my mind and how I got here.
Andrew had offered me his place, and with no other favourable option, I took the offer. He lived with his parents in a twin duplex. His parents were on the other wing.
Staying over at a guy’s place was not my thing but nothing of my life in the last 24 hours has been my thing. I left the lounge at 2.00am in the morning in Andrew’s car while Bode sorted how to get his car back home.
It was silly the way Bode was practically handing me over to Andrew when I insisted I was not going home or to his mother’s place either.
Stretching on the bed like a lazy cat, I reluctantly checked my watch, it was 11.00 am. Aahh! I groaned as I dragged myself out of bed. What a terrible guest, I must be, sleeping the whole morning without any regard for my host.
I took in the environment and the display of wealth in the house. We all knew our boss came from a wealthy home, but this was more than we had imagined.
I got out of bed and tried to find my way downstairs to the living room without getting lost in the massive house. I felt in love with the whole place. I must have been blind not to have noticed this last night.
The coffee brown and teal living room lightly decorated with fabulous pieces intricately used together to give a warm and cosy space. The teal geometric wallpaper used as a focal point and the triple wire mesh ball like chandelier dropping down in the space asymmetrically without the light on was the look that finished off the exquisite décor.
I drank in the beauty of the area like one thirsty for wonder, enjoying the calmness I felt by just being there. Whoever said that the interior design of a house did not matter been proven wrong. The elegance of the place had a soothing balm to my nerves.
My eyes rested on a large picture behind the coffee brown leather sofa. It was Andrew smiling into the camera with another beautiful lady who could put Miss world to shame with her looks. She was fair skinned and looked half-caste, with big cute eyes lined in black kohl pencil, an aristocratic nose, every girl dreamed off and beautiful thin lips in bright red lipstick. Her hair was in long big braids falling over her shoulders.
They did look the perfect couple, and I was happy he had finally found someone. It seemed a lifetime ago we had a discussion on his dating status. How did he miss sharing this bit with me? I frowned wondering where he was so I could accuse him.
I wandered to the dining. There was a large note on the table
“Off to church. Did not want to wake you. Please help yourself with breakfast. I would be back soon.”
My stomach growled with hunger. When was the last time I had a meal? That must have been breakfast yesterday.
I got into the kitchen, which was the same colour as the living room, coffee brown wood for the furniture and touches of teal used in accessories around and cream walls like every other wall in the whole house was in Cornsilk, a variation of cream. Whoever had done the decor of this place had a rich taste. It was both welcoming and captivating. Your eyes moved around harmoniously, not jumping from one item to the other. It was a space you wanted to come to every day. The colour combination was one I had envisioned in my mind to try when I eventually got my place. To see the colour used here was like Deja Vu.
I put the kettle on to boil while I made toast, everything you needed for a simple breakfast had been laid out. I managed a small smile. Who would think that Andrew was one of those domesticated guys? But then, I should not credit him alone, the girl in the picture would have helped out. Wasn’t that obvious I reminded myself.
Not everyone was like me. I rarely visited Bode at his home. But that could be because he shuttled between two homes. His and his mother’s. And when I did go to his place, I never bothered to change anything to establish my presence there. I believed when we did marry. I would have all the time to do his home to my heart content, but a fiancée was no wife, and I was going to enjoy that role while it lasted.
If only I knew the tragedy waiting around the corner for me.
The thought shot a pain through my heart. I should not be visiting the land of misery today. I had to pull myself together and start thinking how to get out of this hole of pain. I had to move forward, settle with my parents, my birth parents and start thinking what I wanted to do with my life. Marriage was out for me. I could not go through this pain again.
I wish I had been true to myself. Karma must be catching up with me.
Had I not shied away from any relationship until I met Bode. Did I not push him away to focus on my career but my heart was not strong enough to follow my head. My life was beautiful with Bode. He completed me in every way. With Bode, I felt so alive that there was never a dull moment. He loved me, and there was no doubt about it. He knew every button to press to make me smile, laugh and not take life too seriously. I could loosen up and be myself without fear of criticism or failure. Bode never felt threatened by my success, and rather he urged me on to push to the highest limit. He was successful in what he did and wanted it for everyone around him.
I wiped the lone tear from my eyes. I did not think I had any more tears to shed. The ache in my heart was killing me.
There was also the issue of Uncle Segun. I wanted him to pay for being the cause of my pain. If only they had been truthful about my heritage. I would have known Bode was my cousin and what existed between us would never have happened.
What do I do about my birth Mother? I was not ready to see her. We had nothing in common. If she could give me up for whatever reason, she did not deserve my time or attention now. She did not love me enough to keep me. Why would she love me now?
Love. Was I ever loved? My parents did. They took me in when they did not have to. I thought Uncle Segun did at a time, but this new revelation threatened everything I knew about my family and myself.
I was nobody! The stark realisation hit me like a cannon ball. I held myself as I sat on the floor of the kitchen and cried. I was nobody! My mother rejected me from birth. She saw nothing desirable in me to make her keep me.
I met Lana balled on the floor in my kitchen when I came back from church. Initially, I was afraid she might have passed out. I called out her name in panic. She stirred and opened her eyes.
Looking at her surroundings, she looked up at me aghast.
“I am so sorry, I must have slept off,” said Lana as she struggled up to stand up only to crumble into a heap.
I called my mother quickly who was a doctor to come over.
My mum set to work immediately she came but not without a look of disapproval.
“Call for an ambulance from the hospital and her family to meet us at the hospital,” she commanded.
“What happened to her?” my mum inquired feeling her pulse.
“She is going through a rough time,” I answered without going into details.
The ambulance came in record time and took Lana to the hospital.
I called her parents on my way to the hospital so they could meet us there.
At the hospital, I was in the reception waiting for any information when her parents rushed in followed by Uncle Segun. I smiled as the word a “father’s heart” came to mind.
“How is she?” he asked apprehensively.
“The doctors have not brought any report yet,” I answered.
“She is taking it harder than we thought,” her father said while her mother took a seat exhausted.
“We can’t have come this far to lose her. She needs to gather herself together. People have gone through worse in life, and they came out triumphantly. She has to do the same,” her father continued.
“We thought Lana was a fighter. She is not one to give up easily on projects because of their level of difficulty. She went headlong until she accomplished the task. Why is this different?” chipped in Lana’s mother.
“They were projects, ma, and she had a strong support system in you, her family. She knew she could do anything because she had your love and affection. But now in her thinking, she has lost all that and so there is no will to fight,” I offered an explanation from my perspective.
“She still has our love and affection,” argued her father.
“She does not know that in her mind. You all have to show her that.”
Turning to Uncle Segun. I felt compelled to brief him since I had picked Lana from the lounge on his request.
“We have not spoken yet. Lana narrowly missed being killed in a crumbled building yesterday at midnight where I picked her up after you called me. She was okay when we got home.
This morning, I met her on the floor. l She passed out when she tried to stand up. We pray she would be okay.
“She would be fine. She has to be,” said Uncle Segun more to convince himself.
We all scrambled up as the doctor came, It was not my mother.
“We have sedated her to rest. She should be better and ready to leave when she wakes up. She was dehydrated but is on a drip.
I could see the relief wash over her parents and uncle and could only imagine what they were going through. The hospital scare was the second for Lana in a year.
One good thing that came out of this would be her going back to her family.
“Thank you, Andrew, for all your help. We would not want to keep you,” said Uncle Segun.
A nurse came out that Lana was asking for me.
I looked at her parents, unsure if I should go. I was not family.
“Go in quickly, we have to abide by her wishes,” said her mother.
Lana looked tired all over.
“You look like someone a train has just hit,” I teased.
“I feel far worse,” she said weakly.
“Try not to talk,” I said.
“Are my parents out there?” she asked suspiciously.
“Of course Lana, they are and Uncle Segun. They care about you so much.”
“My parents and uncle have a funny way of showing it. If only you knew,” she said.
“Family will always be family. No family is perfect. We make mistakes but do not allow those mistakes to define the relationship. Your uncle and parent might have hurt you but they love you deeply, and it was out of love for you, they did what they did although, you feel they could have done better,” I said hoping my words will reach out to her.
“ But it hurts. It hurt so badly. I lose a fiancé, and my family hides my true identity.”
“It is okay to hurt Lana, allow yourself to hurt and start healing.
What you feel is normal and now out of place but if you decide to stay in a rut and enable the hurt to eat at you. You will be destroying yourself. Talk to them. Tell them how you feel and give them the space to tell you why they did it.
I cannot convince you that the pain will go away immediately, but if you allow yourself, healing will come gradually.
Would you promise to give yourself that chance?”
I started into her eyes willing her to be strengthened and opened for healing.
“With that look, do I have a choice?” You could be on your knees begging,” she said with a sad smile and quickly looked away but not before I saw a tear drop on her cheek.
I squeezed her hand.
“You have a friend whenever you need one. And this friend says you’ll be fine.”
“To think I thought the worst of you. I am ashamed,” Lana said with a voice filled with regret.
“Shhhh leave the past where it belongs and look ahead to a bright future of hope and beauty,” I said as I put my index finger to her lips.