Tomorrow’s Sunset

The sky blue so vibrant did not mirror Tooni’s feeling of dread as she meandered the drive into her Mother’s residence. There was no admiration for the beautiful cut flowers that surrounded the house or the magnificent trees that walled both sides of the drive. She had designed the house while her mother with her green thumb had done wonders to the driveway and the gardens. In an area mainly covered with cement and concrete, theirs stood out with every kind of trees, shrubs, flowers in different shades of colours that heralded a beauty so pure calling the inner you to a feeling of peace and calm the world no longer experienced freely.

Over the Sunset

Coming home was one of Tooni’s favourite things to do, but recently she was getting weighed down by her mother’s constant barging on her single state.
She has the words from their last conversation in her head for days till she thought she was going crazy. Suddenly it felt the whole world around her was conspiring to push her over the edge to the marriage cliff with little or no regard how she got there. It seemed she could marry a dog for all they care. Just bring a Mr something to change your status and complete who you are.

“Tooni, you are not growing any younger. At your age I was married and had Gbile your brother was 15, Bukky 14, Taiye and Kehinde were already 12, Bola was 11, and you were 7.”
“Mami, your time was different from ours o!” Tooni emphasised. “Did you not tell me your parents were the ones that arranged your marriage with Baami?”

“Not really, your father was a family friend, he proposed, I liked him, and my parents were happy for us to get married.

“If you want me to arrange one for you. I can.”

“Ah, mami koto be,” Tooni was quick to reply in their local language meaning, “It has not come to that. My time will come,” she went on to reassure her mother.

“My time will come, is what you have been telling me for over ten years. Do you want me to go to the grave without cuddling my grandchildren?”

“Mami you have almost twenty-one grandchildren with Bola’s fourth child on the way,” Tooni argued.

“It’s your grandchildren I want. Grandchildren can never be enough.”
Mami folded her hands across her bosom and pushed her chin forward challenging her youngest daughter.

Mami, as her children fondly called her, was the matriarch of the Adesida family. She lost her husband in her early forties and was left to take care of the children alone. A teacher then at the government local primary school in the nineties, there was not much income the profession could bring, but she traded alongside to ensure her children got the best education.

There were nights of endless tears and hunger, but she encouraged her children to be the best they could be, strive to ace their studies and dream big. The season would pass quickly. And true to her words, looking back, the years passed quickly, although it did not seem so while going through the hardship.

Toni had barely gotten to the driveway when her mum ran out of the house retying her wrapper that was threatening to fall. Dressed in navy blue leaf pattened Ankara Buba and Iro attire. She looked warm and elegant. Tooni smiled as she watched the excitement on her mother’s face forgetting every apprehension she felt as she drove into the gates.

Mrs Adesida always welcomed her children home with this same warmth and excitement. She never failed to make homecoming a big affair for her children. Whenever they arrived back from school in their younger days, her welcome always put to shame the welcome ceremony for the visit of Queen of England to Nigeria in 1956.

Mami treated her children and everyone around her with love, dignity and value. She has always been an epitome of kindness and hospitality. She was rarely seen to be offended, and you could not stay angry at her for too long.
Tooni, felt the lift in her spirit as she got out of the car and fell into her mother’s warm embrace. All worries of Mami’s nagging vanished into thin air.

“My beautiful mum. The best mum in the whole world” she eulogised.
Mami, are you growing younger? You are looking more beautiful from the last time I saw you.”

She slapped her daughter gently on the shoulder, “Tooni, you had better start talking with all your patronising, there seems to be something you want from me,” Mami joked with a twinkle in her eyes.
Should it had been possible, you would have seen her blushing through her dark skin.

Mami was a beauty queen in her younger days, not the ones ran by the National beauty pageants but the one acclaimed by her village. There had been many requests for her hand in marriage from the eligible young men at that time. However, she settled for, a friend to her cousin she met at one of the village festivals during his visit for the holidays from the university much to the chagrin of the young men in the village.

The years had not been kind to Mami with the death of her husband and the curve balls thrown her way, but she had aged with grace and beauty.

“No, Mami, I don’t need anything. It is a fact you are beautiful, inside out.”

“Let’s go inside, I have prepared pounded yam with egusi soup, stockfish and bushmeat for you.”

“Mami, my size six figure is on the verge of extinction with all that food,” Tooni protested.

“Who? You? Tooni, should you eat a whale you would remain the size you are,” Mami refuted affectionately at her youngest daughter.

Tooni might not be married the way she wanted, but the girl was a bundle of accomplishment, beauty, grace and humility.

Mami wiped the tears threatening to fall. Losing her husband almost killed her but looking at the five children they had, she knew she had to be alive and healthy for them. The children had been her motivation to move on in the face of adversity, poverty and lack.

Her labour paid off as they were all doing well in their respective fields and home. Mami could not be happier with their achievement. God had wiped away her misery.

Mami resolved not to engage in any husband talk this visit. She would enjoy their time together. Tooni’s patronising was surely working. She chuckled to herself as she linked her hands in her daughters and they walked into her home.

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Omowashe Omorishe#37

I picked the bottle of wine before me, reading the label to be sure the drink was non-alcoholic. I needed my sanity to be intact when the air hostess discovered that she had made a mistake and needed to return me to economy class.

second-chance

I wrinkled my nose at the mere thought filled me with distaste. After experiencing the comfort and luxury of business class, you don’t want to be anywhere else. I poured out the wine into the wine glass by my seat and took a sip. I swirled the drink around my tongue savouring the rich grape taste.

“Hey, stranger!”

I almost dropped my cup with fear. My mind is playing games on me. I hope I do not need to visit a psychiatric doctor. I was not only seeing things, but I have also started hearing things. The next set of people I might begin to see would be Peju and the twins! I tried to make light my present predicament.

“Hey stranger!” came the deep baritone voice, I knew so well.
It took me some few seconds to realise that I was not hallucinating but sitting before me was Drew Akande.
I gasped in unbelief.

“You!” I squealed with delight but lowered my voice looking around but none of the two other people in the far corner of the plane seem to look our way.

“What are you doing here?” I asked as a soft, warm feeling starting up my toes and gradually engulfing the whole of me.

“Travelling,” he answered with a smile and a look of innocence, I could bet my two cents were for the Oscars but had my heart racing with excitement.

“You were the one…..” I mouthed.

It was all coming together. The business class was Drew.

“Yes, that’s me, your royal highness at your service,” Drew said raising his glass of champagne in mock salute.

“To a new world of happiness and possibilities on your adventure.”

“You call a degree an adventure?” I asked rolling my eyes with amusement. Why was I complaining anyway? I was neither coerced nor mandated by anyone. I choose this journey of my own free will.
What was I thinking? Throwing everything I had accomplished for a whim to get out of a reminder of my misfortune.

 

Lately, my heart had decided to betray me. Accusation and counter-accusation were playing back and forth in my mind. I would never be the other woman. I should not interpret his friendship for any romantic gesture. I needed to keep my head and enjoy the camaraderie.

I was amazed at the length he went to schedule his flight with mine. Ahead of his scheduled meeting four days away.

“I might never see you again and want to create memories. You know…..” Drew’s deep baritone voice washed over me.

I nodded even when I did not know. But I was contented to have this time together. Perhaps, I will keep it as part of my memoirs of a great friend and former boss.

I was contented to lie back and bask it in his presence. Stealing looks at him through my half closed eyes.

Drew is the traditional tall, dark and handsome guy. Piercing eyes that could be quite intimidating, a strong chin showing character. Outside the no-nonsense exterior, he was a man with a good heart. Too kind to a fault. He would make that lucky girl a good husband.

I shook my head to reign in my thoughts. I would lose my friend once he’s married.

Why had he not mentioned her to me? I was aware that sometimes ago there was no special someone in the picture, that he did tell me. But I guess time happened for him, and he found her while mine went downhill.

Perhaps the reason he never brought it up.

“A penny for your thoughts?”

“Sorry dude not even a quarter of a million dollar would do,” I teased back.
I would rather die than let a guy know I had fallen for him. Not an already taken guy. I smile sadly and wondered at what point I fell in love with this hunk of a guy with a heart of gold. Love has stolen sweetly on me while I was not looking, the only snag is, it was too late. I could not fight it when I did not even know it was upon me.

A tear fell of my face as I abruptly wiped it away embarrassed at my display of weakness.

“You okay?” Drew asked with deep concern etched on his face.

How I could gaze into those eyes for a zillion years memorising every line, look and expression to take me through the coming days when my heart will hurt and as time passed the pain will slowly ebb away, I hoped. I was drowning in a loss of what I did not have and could never have. I loved Drew. I have always loved him. I do not know when or where or how it all started, but on this flight to England, it became clear as crystal and hurt so bad that I could feel the pain in my heart like a hot iron on my skin.

“Yeah, I got something in my eyes,” I forced a laugh that sounded hollow to my ears.
“You are so bad at lying,” Drew chuckled as he unlatched his seat belt and came over to kneel at my seat.
Luckily, the “fasten off your seat belt” light was off.

“You have not left the shores of Africa and you are missing home already. How do you suppose you ‘ll cope for the next 18 months?”

I smiled with relief. Thank goodness Drew could not read minds. He would be left aghast at my thoughts.
Grateful for the lifeline. I agreed too quickly to the theory of missing friends and family.

“You are such a pathetic liar,” he teased.

With eyes opened wide, I stared at him, hoping whatever psychic ability he had would not do a number on me.
“You are now a mind reader?” I shuddered.

“You could change your mind you know, “he continued like I had not spoken eyes boring into mine.

“No way,” I answered too vehemently in a bid to break up the emotional atmosphere that engulfed us.

“I do not want to be 50 and regret never taking that step.”

“Hmmm, yeah I can agree on that,” he said thoughtfully.

“I do not want to be 70 with a toothless mouth, sitting on a cane chair, looking in the sky and wondering why I ever let that girl go.”

I shifted uncomfortably wincing at the pain I felt cut my heart as a reminder that this debonair of a guy kneeling before me with such expressive handsome eyes was not mine.

“It is about time you told me about her but what do you mean letting her go? From what I can see you both look great together.

“Who?” Drew had this amazed look on his face like I had grown a horn or something scarier.

“Your fiancée, the girl in the picture at your house,” I blurted out.

I was like a rat in a trap, the more I tried to escape the more entangled I became saying the wrong things.

“My fiancée? Oh! You mean Ella! That’s my kid sister.”

I felt hot with shame and embarrassment. Followed by a park of hope and then a huge disappointment. There was still someone else.
So this is the point the guy you love tells you he loves someone else.

LANA! I shouted my name in my head. Get a grip on yourself. Don’t throw away a great friendship. I scolded myself and pushed away the melancholy threatening to engulf me.

“So who is this lucky girl?” I asked too brightly anyone with keen eyes could read through me. It must have been a brilliant act because Drew believed me.
“Yeah, you should meet her soon, if you haven’t already.”

“Is it someone I know?” I continued pestering him acting too excitedly while intense pain punctuated every word and move? I should be declared the winner at the next Oscars for my excellent performance.

“It would be my honour, your majesty,” I mimicked a bow from my seat to hide the tears that threatened to fall.

What is wrong with me? 35,000 feet above sea level was sure messing my emotions.

Drew stood up from his where he knelt beside my seat all the while. He looked like he wanted to say something but decided against it. There was a look in his eyes I could not read. I guess he did not wnat to talk about her. I should respect that.

I feigned a yawn and closed my eyes. Finding it hard to swallor. I wanted to lie on my bed and cry the pain out.

Love perhaps might never be for me after all.

THE END.

Watch out for the sequel Winter 2018

Drew struggles with how to make Lana see she is the most important person to him juggling between his frequent visit to London from Lagos.
Lana is thrown into another season of grief as she loses someone special to her and fails to see love staring at her.
In an effort to solve her problems she further entangles herself in a web of deceit and betrayal.

 

 

 

 

 

Omowashe Omorishe #36

second-chance

It’s so surreal that I am leaving Naija this evening. You know the feeling you get when you are stepping out into the unknown. It’s both trepidation and excitement.

Peju organised a surprised send forth this afternoon. I was surprised to see most of my friends at work. How did they get off work to come?

We shared and laughed off our heads as my friends shared funny moments at work. Peju recalled the visit we made to the Kiri Kiri prisons at the start of our career. How I was dressed to the nines on that fateful day only to meet inmates who cared less how I looked but when they would one day be free like me.

I wiped away the tears that fell freely. I was leaving valuable friendships and family behind. At this moment, it was hard to remember why I was going away.

I received quite some gifts and keepsakes.Peju presented a framed office group picture. It was one of the Bank’s award night where we had won the Branch of the year.

“Wow! Where did you get the picture? It is beautiful. See our Manager looking every inch the business guru.”

“Is that all you see?” Peju asked with a glint of mischief in her eyes.

“Unlike you, I see a guy smitten by you and who is yet to come to terms with what to do, but it is written all over him.”

“I hate to put a snag to your fantasy, Peju. The guy is not available. Please don’t put me in trouble. There is one correct babe around. In these days of jealous girlfriends, jumping around with acid. I don’t want to be a victim.

“You sure Drew is taken?”

“100%, like I know my name.”

Peju looked so comical with the look of disappointment on her face that I lost the battle to stifle my laughter.

“Stop playing cupid Peju. I am fine with or without love. Romance does not define my life. I should not be jumping straight into the arms of any guy who gives me a second of his time. I am not desperate.

Drew and I are good friends who understand each other. We have a great friendship that I would not destroy because I am unable to differentiate between friendship and lust.

“It’s just that the signs are all out there. That guy adores you,” argued Peju.

“He does, I agree but not in the way you are thinking. He adores my work and dedication while we worked together, turned mother hen when I fell ill, and we have fallen into the rhythm of having a platonic friendship.

“Recipe for true love,” remarked Peju.

“I give up,” I muttered, exasperatedly clueless how to make Peju understand her romantic dreams for Andrew and I were never going to happen. The thought alone filled me with sadness, but it was not something I could explain. The logic would be once he gets married, the dynamics of our friendship would change.

“Is Drew aware you are leaving today?” Peju asked undeterred.

“Yes, I went to tell him last night. He was mad. I could not comprehend why he was more upset that the rest of you. You could think he was losing a multi-billion dollar contract. His ranting might be justified, but I do believe it was overboard but all I did was apologise for peace sake rather than aggravate an already bad situation.

But you know what? You all will be okay, and within one week, you would have forgotten whether I am around or not. Moving to the other side of the globe is better than moving to the other side of the universe. A big thanks to technology. We can always communicate with ease.”

“Would my babies be talking to you on the phone?”

“Yep in their gibberish language. I will be cooing blowing the twins kisses. I promise to come in every three months just for them. I do take my Godmother duties seriously,” I assured Peju.

I could see her trying not to tear up, and I did appreciate. I was not sure I could hold off my tears if she started hers.

“I am trying to be strong, and little things like the twins were tearing me apart,” I mumbled incoherently hugging my best friend fiercely.

 

******

 

The day went in a blur. I was finally able to catch my breath when I took my seat on my plane. Six hours of sleep was a luxury I was looking forward to with delight.

I had barely settled down to begin my anticipated sleep when an air hostess came over to inform me of a change in my seat from economy to first class

“There must have been a mistake,” I argued knowing what ticket I booked and how much I paid. It was nothing near a first class.

She checked my seat number and name and reconfirmed if I was Lana of which I affirmed. All my explanations that she must have the wrong Lana seem to fall on deaf ears.

“Please, could you identify your hand luggage? I will help you with that while you follow me. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.”

I chucked. How inconvenient is moving from economy to first class?

I was still trying to figure out what was going on but I guess there would be an explanation. I hope the airline does not come back with another mix-up story as I definitely will not go back to the economy class.

Sinking into the plush cream leather seat, I closed my eyes savouring the luxury that engulfed me and like a lullaby lured me to nap.

I must be dreaming.

Why am I seeing Drew? He is seating opposite me on the plane working on his laptop like he was doing last night at his place. I was on a plane and not in his garden.

Rubbing my eyes, trying to distinguish between dreams and reality. I stretched like a shire cat and observed around me.

Shaking my head, in a bid to wipe out the image before me. How could my subconscious be conjuring Drew? Peju had messed up my head with all that talk. Laughing out loud, I assured myself I would be fine.

I picked the bottle of wine before me, reading it to be sure it was non-alcoholic. I needed my sanity to be intact when the air hostess discovered that she made a mistake. Wrinkling my nose with disgust, the mere thought of going back to economy class filled me with distaste. The airline would hear a thing or two from me if it came to that.

I poured out the wine into the wine glass and took a sip enjoying the taste of the grape. No need to worry about the future.

Hey stranger!

I almost dropped my wine glass with fear.Now I needed to visit a psychiatric doctor.I was not only hallucinating Drew being on the plane with me, but it had gotten worse that I could hear his voice.

 

 

 

 

Omowashe Omorishe#35

Drew……

Today I knew I was in love with Lana. There was no point fighting it. If ever I had no clue to define the emotion. The loss of having her close by only opened my eyes to what I felt. It was love. It had been love all along. And for the first time in my life, I had a situation I was at a loss what to do.

second-chance

For two weeks. I had taken off work and was supervising the setup of the investment company. I had gotten my father to buy into that to add to his conglomerates. I would manage the investment arm while working with him on the rest of the companies till when it was time for me to take over entirely.

The time just flew by with so much to do. Sometimes I remembered Lana and would plan to call or drop a text, but it would be well into midnight, I forgot I had not. I was in and out of the country jetting between five destinations trying to seal a deal. It had indeed been exhausting for me.

Today was a caution to rest and take it slow as I came in last night from New York fatigued.I took my phone to call Lana when another call came in. My attention was needed again at the office. I groaned as I rushed out.

At 4 pm, I quickly placed a call but her line was busy, so I sent a text.
“Howdy stranger. Can I check you up today?”
The chat dropped but remained unread. I got caught in the activities of the day. I tried calling two hours later. This time, she picked the call.

“Hey, stranger!” I called out.
“I could say that for you too,” she responded with an excitement that was contagious.
“Yeah,” I replied dryly. Guilty as charged
“How’s my favourite friend doing? ”
“I am fine better than I have ever been.”
“Wonderful! I am excited to hear that. Would you be free this weekend? We could go somewhere of your choice to catch up.”

I could hear her groan on the other side of the phone. That was Lana with a filled up schedule.

“What about tonight?” she asked.

“Tonight?” I was surprised. Weeknight outings were never her thing to do.

“Yeah if you are free. I have something to tell you, and I want to do it in person.”

A million reasons flew through my mind. But I seem to be getting ahead of myself.
“What time, it’s already half six.”

“8:00 pm is fine.”
“Any specific place?”
“Nah, anywhere, but come to think of it let me come by your place,” she offered.

The red alert was up. Lana rarely came by my place. She had been over to my house just once.

“That’s fine. Since it’s my place, do you want me to cook or order?”
“Cook?” I could hear her scream over the phone.

“Please order.How do I pay for such personal services?” you want to run me bankrupt?”

“Is that your worry? I thought money was never your problem.

I should not use my life savings on engaging a personal chef.” I could hear laugh over the phone.

“Joking! I will buy Chinese on my way. You can provide the drink.”

Perfecto! See you then. I managed the little Spanish I knew.

One more reason why she was a dear friend. She came to you as an equal friend not dropping any burden at your doorstep.

I switched off my phone and concentrated on reviewing the proposal before me. I should be able to leave work half seven and make it home shortly before 8.00pm.

 

**********

 

I made it back home at the same time Lana was driving through my driveway.

Lana came out struggling with the boxes of food and her handbag. She looked gorgeous in a simple white top on blue jeans, big round channel O earrings, cropped hair and light make up.

I drank in her looks, perfection to the T’s.

“Hey, please help me out and stop looking at me that way,” she scolded.
“Taking the boxes,” I laughed to cover my embarrassment.

“What way?”

She replaces a frown on her face with her eyes hitting both inner corners.

“That’s a scary look. I doubt that was what you saw.”

“Nah,” her favourite expression for No.

I took her in a big hug wrapping her with my hands filled with the boxes of food, placing a light kiss on her hair.
“You are good?” I asked searching her face.
“Perfect Drew.”

I felt a tug at my heart the way she called my name.
What was wrong with me? I must be tired.

We walked into the house. I placed the food on the worktable in my open plan kitchen opening the sliding doors so we could seat outside in the garden.

“Beautiful night. Lana exclaimed looking up the dark sky.
“I love looking at the stars and lucky us the weather was just right to stay out.”

“Give me a second,” I requested as I went upstairs to change into a more casual outfit.

I came back watching Lana as she gazed into a recent picture of my sister and me.
“She is lovely,” she said to me turning around with a wistful look on her face.
“How come I never get to see her?”
“She lives abroad but should be home anytime soon.”
“You are lucky to have her.”
“You can say that again. I won’t trade her, for anyone else.”

The wistful look was back in her eyes so fleeting a less observant eye would have missed it.

“You ready?” she asked linking her hand into mine as she dragged me outside to the garden like she owned the house.

I served the drink while Lana busied herself putting the Chinese food in the paper plates the brought along.

We settled in the lounge chairs eating our meal as the silence of the night engulfed us under the bright stars shining from the sky above.
“The meal was wonderful that I am feeling so sleepy. I am ashamed, and I came to visit” Lana stifled a yawn.

“Feel free. You can rest while I catch some work.”
“You sure?” she asked with those large almond eyes gazing at me in the dark in a bid to reassure herself.

“Yeah, I would send some emails quickly and come pour some cold water on you, half an hour later if you are not awake by then,” I offered wickedly.
“Very tempting,” Lana retorted sarcastically.

She stifled another yawn, and I was almost bowling over with laughter with the look of embarrassment she wore so angelically.

“You better take that needed rest, or you might be sleeping over here tonight,” I warned.

I could as well have been talking to myself as she was already fast asleep.

I chuckled only Lana could ask for a visit and fall asleep.

An excellent opportunity for me to go on the conference call I had forgotten.I adjusted her head with a soft pillow and threw a blanket over her feet. She slept so soundly that I doubted if she would wake up should a hurricane hit the area.

 

Lana is a beautiful girl. I watched the smile on her face with was contagious. I found myself smiling too. I wondered what it would be like to wake up each morning beholding her face. I needed to get a grip on myself. Why all these thoughts.

I settled in the seat opposite her putting on a table lamp with light enough for me to work while keeping her other end still in darkness. Whatever, has she done to be that fatigued? I wondered but thankful for the warm weather which made it comfortable to sit out there.

I lost track of time and place while working. Not until Lana stirred did remember I had company.
Sometimes I could be that pathetic, always caught up in work. I was lucky to love what I did or else my life would have been empty and miserable. So where work was concerned it was recreation for me.

“Hey sleeping beauty,” I called out.
“What says the time?” asked Lana, struggling to sit up and doing it gracefully.

I resisted the urge to help her up. I did not trust myself.
Something was messing with my head, and I needed to get my acts together, or I lose the trust and friendship I have built over the time with Lana

I glanced at my watch and winced aghast.
“Half Eleven.”
“Half what!” She screamed scrambling to get her things.

“Oh, Drew, I am so sorry, what sort of person am I. I came to see you and practically slept all through.” she wailed.

“Don’t worry. You seemed quite tired though. Are you sure you are okay? Are you using your medications?” I asked concerned for her health.
“I am perfectly fine, please don’t go Mother Hen on Me.” she raised her hand and rolled those lovely eyes.

“I got to go. My flight is tomorrow.”
“Flight?” I asked perplexed.
“Where are you going?”
“Oh,” she groaned.
“I am such a scatterbrain. That’s what I came to tell you. I am going back to school. Cambridge UK. It is a two-year program. I should be back, but I can not be too sure. I would also have the opportunity of spending time with my mother,” gushed Lana all in one breath.

I swallowed hard. I was angry. It seemed Lana would have left without bothering to inform me, had I not called her today.

“When did you decide this?”
“Oh, two weeks ago. I had the offer last year and deferred it. I had forgotten about it. I was lucky to remember within the time frame, or I would have lost out completely.

Maybe loosing out would not have been a bad idea. I thought to myself. At the same time criticising myself at my selfishness.

“And when were you going to tell me?”
“I am sorry. That’s what I have been doing all week. My friends are so mad at me right now that no amount of explanation or apology is being accepted. Please don’t add to the number,” pleased Lana.

“It’s a lifetime opportunity especially with all the drama happening in my life now. A change would help. I hope.”

I let out a loud breath. Exasperated. Why did I not see this coming? Putting my hands in my pocket, I walked away from her to the end of the garden starring into space.

Lana had become a very integral part of my life. She seeped into my subconscious that it was a routine to reach out to her always. There were times I deliberately did not contact her giving her all the space that she needs, but I do not think I would ever mean anything to her more than a friend.
Her decision to go back to school was a clear indicator that she did not think of me more than a friend.
“Is there anything wrong,” Lana asked coming behind me.
I turned almost bumping into her.
“Nope, why do you ask?”
“I feel like you are upset with me or something.”
“I won’t tell you that I am not. I am so upset I could toss you into the Red sea right now,” I pretended to want to carry her.

She moved back. Laughing. “No, you won’t.”
“I can. I challenged Lana. “What friend comes up to you and tells you, I am going to school in the UK; Cambridge,” I mimicked her.

Lana slapped my arm in protest, laughing so hard that the tensed atmosphere became lighter, protesting I was unfair.

“A friend who values you and would miss you so much,” she said.
Should she ask for the stars at that moment, I would not hesitate to hand them over to her

I took her hands in mine.
“I will miss you is an understatement, Lana.”
I wanted to say more, but I could see the confusion in her eyes.

“Let’s get you back home quickly. Tomorrow is a long day for you,” I kept back my words.

Today I knew I was in love with Lana. There was no point fighting it. If ever I had no clue to define the emotion. The loss of having her close by only opened my eyes to what I felt. It was love. It had been love all along. And for the first time in my life, I had a situation I was at a loss what to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meena’s Diary#21

And MIL paid a visit.

 

wordle-girlstoys

I am struggling to get my problems behind. Some days I am upbeat, and some others days I couldn’t get out of my hole of despair. I am tired of feeling hurt and betrayed. I am tired of whining and complaining. I want to get my life back, but I don’t know how.

Today is one of those days that I could help with a ray of hope and some sprinkle of sunshine. I needed to motivate myself to run my day but alas I shouldn’t have been so quick to make my wishes.

Guess who came calling. My adorable every faultfinding Mother -in – law.

“Finally my son has decided to give me a grandson. Our name won’t die.”

I was speechless. There was no love lost between my Mother – in- law and me, but this blatant display of lack of empathy was the height of it all.

My relationship with the mother in law was not always this bad.  I remember the first day, JK took me to meet his parents.

Mother – in – law was all over me with delight and affection gushing with how I had brought sunshine to her son’s life. I could not have asked for another, but somewhere along the line, the love flew out of the window. I have asked her severally if I had done anything to offend her and every time she kept saying there was nothing. Those were the days when the communication line was still open.

She rarely comes to the house anymore I gathered from JK himself, she visits him in the office or summons him to her home whenever she wanted to see him.

She was superb with her grandkids. You could not fault her in any way. They were her Achilles heel.

JK took them over to her place every weekend. I have long stopped trying to be the ideal daughter-in-law.

I grimaced with every jab she fired at me with her words as sharp as a double-edged knife.

“A woman who can’t bear a son is no woman,”

“Mama!” I gasped.

“Don’t Mama me. I am not your mother!” she shouted.

“Did you think I would sit down with my hands folded while the lineage of my dear husband dies because you are content with baring two children and stopping in the name of fashion and being modern?”

I held myself from retorting that she should remember she only had a child.

“If you want to stop baring kids then you should have been sensible to have a boy.” She hissed the words with contempt.

I felt intense pain in my heart with every word she uttered. I could feel my slender form wilting like a flower in the hot scorching sun.

“I am going to make sure that the new woman comes into my son’s house. No grandchild of mine will be born outside. You might be making JK’s life miserable, but I came to warn you to allow him to be the man he is. If you can’t bear to stay, then leave.”

What made us women our own worst enemy? Could she have a daughter and play this same role? What was the dynamics of the mother – in – law and daughter – in- law relationship that things always had to be very nasty?

To see a wounded man and rather than help him heal, you pull the dagger into him worsening the wound. That was what my mother –in- law was doing.

I sat there not uttering a word. It was not a case of being speechless, I was too tired to argue, and the fight had gone out of me. Mother- in- law said words not worth repeating I am still struggling to forget.

One good thing that came out of the visit was clarity of what I had to do. I was no longer welcome or needed in JK’s life.

In that single moment, my mother helped me make the decision I had not been bold to make. The plan I had tried to form but could not see myself taking action. I gazed at her with awe, mentally hugging her with gratitude.

I was going to disappear from their lives for good. My girls and I. I was walking away from JK, my home and all things I held dear.

After she left, I broke down and cried heartbrokenly, deep wrenching sobs racking my slim body. I vowed this was my last set of tears over my emotional turmoil. JK and I were over for good.

Call me stupid. Call me as many names as you can think. Yeah, half my mates have not gone through what I have and have stayed in their homes. You can argue why I should deprive my girls of their father or why I can’t forgive and move on.  People can voice their opinion, but they are not me. They do not wear the shoes or feel the pain. Others can tell you what to do and how to handle your challenges, but they can never be me.

Different people could go through the same problem and never take the same approach because we are all wired differently. Some are more emotional rugged and stable than others and can make it through stronger while others might fall apart slowing putting their lives together and maybe lucky to come out even stronger.

I do not have the strength you have and perhaps should you find yourself in my shoes, you might have done worse.

I love JK. It is ingrained in the woman I have become. I know without a doubt that JK loves me but the waters that have passed our bridge has destroyed the strength of the relationship we once shared. What is left are fibers too weak to withstand any further test.

Judge me. It’s my life. It is my decision, and I would live with the consequences, not you.

 

Meena’s Diary#20

despair

“The child is not yours,” said Sa’a with confidence so intense that in a fleeting moment I wanted to believe against the odds.

JK

“Barrister Sanda and Hajiya Ibrahim are here to see you, sir,” came voice of the front desk officer on the intercom. My PA was away on one of those antenatal checks.

I suddenly felt the need to use the gents as I made an effort to lose my tie a bit.

These two women had never visited my office. I supposed this might not be a friendly call, although, I would guess it had a lot to do with the present issue with my wife, their dearest friend.

Meena loved her friends and they have been together long before I came into the scene.  I have enjoyed a fabulous friendship with these women and would not have wished for any other group of women as her friends.

They were both her stability and distraction. Her history and a long future ahead. If anything were to happen these women would stick together through thick and thin. However, today’s visit was not a friendly call, and I did not envy myself one bit to spend as little as five minutes in their midst.

“Let them in,” I commanded with false confidence.

The women swept into the room and made for the two seats on the left side of my office.

I stood up with a full smile and my false confidence. I was not afraid of these women. No, I was not. I was scared of what they had come to say or do to protect their friend.

Stretching my hands for a handshake which they refused leaving my hand hanging in the air. That single gesture was a sign they had come not for a social call but war as I had rightly guessed.

“JK, we are not here for a social call,” Hawa’u voiced my thoughts.

“You should know by now that while your wife has refused to tell us the full details. We can understand that there is a child in the picture that belongs to you but not from her.”

Now putting it that way, made mild the situation. They were not accusing me of infidelity which made me think I was still in their good graces. Today will probably not be my doomsday.

To a keen observer, you could see the lift in my shoulders and the relaxing of my face muscles.

They were not absurd, and I blamed myself for a slip that was costing me my home, sanity and future.

I stood there waiting for all the tongue lashing I knew would come no matter how light they were trying to make the situation. I should be man enough to take without having to throw them out of my office knowing whatever slim hope I still had with Meena would be destroyed by not treating her friends’ right.

“I don’t know what or why this happened, but I am sure of one thing. There is no child. “The child is not yours,” said Sa’a with confidence so intense that in a fleeting moment I wanted to believe against the odds.

I opened my mouth to argue. I was not a coward to run away from my responsibilities. The situation was my cross to carry but to be babied and pampered into buying my head in the sand like the ostrich would make me less the man I am. I wanted to do right and make it right by all parties involved. One could say It was folly on my part to think I could but what would it make me not trying?

“The child is not yours,” she repeated herself slowly like she was talking to a little child.

“It’s nice for you guys to come to defend your friend. But I am sorry I won’t be discussing my affairs with you,” I abruptly dismissed them.

“I have a meeting in 5 minutes and need to get going.”

“Thanks for looking out for your friend. I love her, and that has not changed.  I wish this had not happened and there was a way I could undo the deed. I just need you both to look out for her for me. Please take care of her for me while she does not want me around.

I will not give up on us. I hope this problem will not destroy what we share. Our love is real and would stand this test. Although, it looks like our marriage is over for good. I can still hope that we will pull through.”

I picked my jacket from the stand and mobile phones.

“After you ladies,” I ushered them out, so glad for the meeting. I had. “The baby is not yours,” kept ringing in my head. What would I not give to end this nightmare? To wake up and find out it was all a bad dream.

How did I get so low as to be carried away and now having a child out of wedlock?

When I tried to think. It was all hazy. One moment we were having a conversation in my hotel room and the next morning I awake in Dolapo’s hand without my clothes on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.