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 imposed but 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.

 

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Meena’s Diary#11

For seven days I roamed the City of Love,  another name for Paris, shopping till almost dropped dead. I should be feeling guilty spending our savings on myself, but I was far too gone to care. I was neither remorseful nor calculating our mortgage payment. I was on me and mone alone trip. After all, who knows what waits for me at home. I might be moving out and finding myself on the singles lane again.

wordle-girlstoys

The thought sent a shock of pain through my heart. Was that what I wanted? Was this pain ever going to go away? But was it all worth it to throw away twelve years of marriage away.

Why was I going agog on this infidelity thing? If it pained me so much, why, don’t I pay JK back in his coin? We could live together and have separate lives. You do your own thing, and I do mine. We could go out with whoever we wanted to.

I dropped the shopping back on the floor of my hotel room. Turned on the tap to run water. I wanted to soak myself in and wash away all the toxic feelings.

I came to Paris on a whim trying to get as far away as possible  from my problem but the whole thing was constantly in my thoughts.

JK sent series of WatsApp message to my phone, and I replied none. He had called me severally, but I did not pick his calls. I still had not confronted him before I left and I was not going to either.

Falling into the soft fresh bed, I reached out for the TV control on the bedside and flipped through channels looking for something interesting to watch but finally settled for an English news channel.

My French was horrible from Bonjour to  Cava bien mercie to Oui. I can’t remember where I was when my mates were taking French in high school. I must have been taking one of the three Nigerian languages.  And later during the one-year compulsory service after university Alliance francaise was the in thing. I  sill was not found on the foreign language zone. I was struggling with professional exams.

Every morning I wake up and hear the bellman’s greerings, I  am not sure if he is cursing beyond his “ Bonjour Madam.” But If I am to go by the smile that lights up his face. Then he must be singing blessings on me.I reached out for my phone and scrolled to my Facebook page. I had posted pictures of myself while I was shopping on the streets of Paris today.

I needed something to distract me, or I would go crazy.I still was not ready to talk about my problems to my friends.

“Oga Ju! We can see JK’s hand,” a friend commented.  People read what they want. Who was to know that the heart of the smiling face they saw was in turmoil.

“I go love o,” another comment. If only they knew.

“Where is JK in the picture?” Another asked.

“Making the money while his Babe spends it,” yet another friend commented.

“If only Ibrahim can do half of what JK does,” moaned Khadijah.

“You sure do not want him to do a pinch of it. Infidelity sucks!” I muttered to myself.

I closed the Facebook page and checked my twitter account; there would be some serious stuff there.

I checked for updates on work related issues and finally gave up switching off the phone to avoid JK’s calls.

I tossed and tossed in the bed trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. I was tired, but sleep eluded me.

 I gave up and went to the balcony of my hotel room,  beholding the beautiful city with all the lights in the night. The midnight sky filled with bright tiny stars bore no similarity to my feelings, and I sighed sadly. There was a time in my life when I believed the stars will always shine. Especially those moments when JK cast his gaze upon me. You could see the feeling of adoration and love in those eyes.

We loved looking at the stars then trying to outdo the other person with how much stars you could count and wishes you could make. JK always said he would give me the stars and more. It was for me to ask. I never did ask because I knew he would do everything to get them. I smiled. That was the kind of person he was. I am yet to comprehend what he has become. It was not in JK to cheat on me. I held his heart securely but maybe not enough. Somewhere along the line, I lost his heart and did not realise it until it was too late.

I sighed and walked back inside. It was like a lifetime away. How was I to know that all our dreams will be snatched away by JK himself? That he would take away the stars that made our lives so beautiful for an intruder who was maybe half his age, his age or twice his age.

I went to the kitchen for a glass of water, when I heard the knock on my door. It could not be room service at this hour. I quickly put on my dressing gown over my negligee and opened the door more curious than afraid.

I stood rooted to the spot with shock JK!

 

 

 

Meena ‘s Diary#9

The Sa’a saga is all behind us, and our lives returned to normalcy. We found out that our old classmate did start a rumour of the supposed relationship with her sister who worked on one of the teams handling the project. Atiku’s visits to their father were strictly business dealings and connected to the project he was overseeing in Dubai.

wordle-girlstoys

On the day Sa’a had tried to commit suicide.  She had wrongly accused Atiku of planning to take a second wife and the trip to Dubai was not purely business.Atiku too angry to dignify her accusation with a response stormed out of the house. Sa’a took that as a sign he was guilty and the rest of the story, we were a part of the drama that ensued.
Her foolishness almost cost her life and yes! as soon she was out of the woods. I gave her a piece of my mind.

Oh dear! The drama we women create out of nothing. But hey!  Our instincts do some overdrive at times, but it is never wrong.

Back to my world. Each day as I struggled to connect with JK. I found the distance in our hearts widening. I did not know how we got there and I certainly was clueless how to get us out.
Try a little conversation here. Did I hear you say? It is not that easy.
Like, hey stranger, let’s connect and automatically the connection comes. Yeah, I wish it was that simple.

Few weeks down the line, it’s his birthday, and I organised a surprise get away for the weekend. Bought him an expensive watch which cost me three months salary.
We had a good time just us, no kids no work. Food, movies, chit chat, sex and more sex.
You can’t put the right words to it, but you feel it when you are lost in a relationship. And mine was a shipwreck.

Tang! Back home and the same distance.

What drove me out of curiosity was what killed me. I picked JK’s phone one morning while he was having his bath and scrolled through his calls and text messages.

There was a recurring name on that phone. Nothing implicating but more reoccurring than my number.
I became both hot and cold at the same time. Fear laced with dread caused tangles in my heart.  No, it’s just a coincidence. It can’t  be. It is not in JK to have an affair. I rationalised and argued. JK worshipped the ground I walked on. That was a lifetime ago, came a voice in my head.

I put the phone down as I heard the shower cease and slipped into the kitchen.  I could not face JK. I needed to know what to do with this new information.

I was still in the kitchen when I heard him behind me.
” Hey, babe! Good morning,”  and he tried to kiss me on the cheek.
I stifled at his touch, subtly avoided his lips as I lifted the kettle to pour a cup of coffee.
“Got to run, call you later,” and he was gone. I did not know I had been holding my breath. I fell on the kitchen floor and wept silently not to wake the kids.

For days I secretly cried in the bathroom wondering where did I go wrong. Was I not beautiful enough? Had I not sacrificed myself for the family? Denials of holidays,  clothes and accessories, so the family budget was not exceeded. And I get paid by infidelity?

There were moments of self-doubt then anger followed by hurt and depression. I looked at the kids and wished we had none. It would have been easy to walk away. Leave it all behind. I recalled my conversation with Hauwau a few weeks back and laughed bitterly at my foolishness.  There were no happily ever afters.

I tried to look normal, act normal but my heart was broken and hurts in-depth and intense. I did not think I could come out. I bought a ticket to Paris on a whim. Called my mum to help with the kids and told JK at the airport I was out. I could imagine his stunned look as he asked in shock what I was going to do in Paris. “To get me a new boyfriend,”  I joked but would not have minded if I could go through with it.

Omowashe Omorishe#30

Uncle Segun

second-chance

Watching the two most important women in my life walk in through the door was the best picture to behold.
One young and beautiful with the whole world ahead of her to take on while the other who has been by my side through thick and thin. I was on the thin verge of losing them both, but I was not going to give up. I was going to fight to get their affection back. To once again see the look of adoration in their eyes that spoke volumes of how important I was to them.

I mustered enough courage and faked a vibrancy I did not feel “Here come my girls!!!!”
I could sense Bimba seeking an escape as she fumbled in her bag until I heard her phone ring and she signalled to take the call which was a good excuse. However, without the call, she would have looked for another reason to get out of my presence.
Ever since she found out Lana was my biological daughter, she had moved out of our home but came to the office every day.
She had been civil and only discussed official matters.  I wanted to give her the time and space she needed but now I needed to woo her back, or I might lose her forever.

Turning to Lana. “You should be home by now. It’s past your 6 hours of work.”
“Oh please Uncle Segun,” she said rolling her eyes. “I am as healthy as a horse. I do not need all the convalescence moves you have been pulling for the past couple of weeks.”
“Where were you coming from?”
“From the ………
She started to say but stopped midway.
My curiosity was piqued as I raised my eyebrows “when did you start keeping secrets from me?”
She shrugged and threw a barb at me “it starts one day, doesn’t it? You did keep who you were from me all my life.”

“If I could turn the hands of the clock backwards. I will Lana. I will say sorry a thousand times if it makes you feel better, or make the pain go away. I tried so many times to tell you, but there just was never the ideal time.

The period you moved to boarding school. I feared you would not take the news well, then you finished and passed with all distinctions. I wanted to shout it out to you, but it sounded selfish when all the hard work had been put in by others not me. You got admission to the university, and it did not look ideal to tell you at that time when you were testing the waters of freedom away from home. What if you reacted wrongly and flipped to the other side in rebellion. So I held on and kept postponing the day I would tell you.

Lana, I am sorry.” I had not realised the tears were trickling down my face as I pleaded with my daughter to forgive me.
I held out my arms hoping against hope that she would come for a hug just like the old times.
I could have leapt for joy as she ran into my arms crying a nerve racking sobs all over my crisp white shirt but what did it matter. She had found a place to forgive me, and that was what mattered the most.

*******

“Are you ready to see your birth mum?” I ventured to ask Lana.
I had taken it very slow with Lana not wanting to push her.  She had not shown any interest in meeting up with her birth mum, and I had given up hoping that she would have other opportunities.

“I guess yes,” she smiled amidst the tears that laced her eyes. “I am tired of fighting. What harm would there be to hear what she has to say and make peace with her? We can’t take back the years we have lost, but we can build on the ones before us.”

I was happy at the wisdom of her words and could not be more proud she was my daughter and the opportunity I had to invest in her upbringing. I had Agnes to thank. If she had not given up Lana from birth, I would never have been this blessed to be a part of the great woman she has become. It was this gratitude I had that propelled me to help to bridge the relationship between mother and daughter. “Lana you are one smart and intelligent woman who I am happy to have known.”
“You are always filled with praise. I should have known long ago there was something beyond the uncle – niece relationship,” she smiled her eyes twinkling. Wiping her eyes and smoothening her dress, she stood up. I got to go.
“Would you try and call her today?” I can give you her number.” I got out my phone and sent the contact to her.
“I will call her now. There is no need to wait. I have waited too long to mend this relationship.”
“Come here,” I commanded and engulfed her in a fierce hug as tears threatened to drop. “My sunshine,” I murmured.
“Hmm, Uncle Segun, whatever happened to Auntie Bimba?”
“That is my number one sunshine, and you are the second.”
“Not the first huh?” Lana feigned hurt.
“No not the first. You will get married and be someone else first let my wife be my first,” I teased.
It was no hidden secret that I would choose Lana any day above Bimba after all that’s what I had always done in the past, but it never bothered her. Knowing Lana was my daughter might change all that, but I hope she could see that she was the most important person to me next to my child.
“Then you had better go there and let her know,” she challenged me.
“Since you have taken a bold step to see your birth Mum. I should take a cue from you and go declare my undying love for your aunt contrary to the rumours peddled by family members.”
“You heard?”
“I heard every word of it, and it was preposterous. Agnes is your mother and what we had has become history. She remains a friend but nothing more. I cannot love another person than your aunt. I breathe and live for her even if she is mad at me now.I intend to fight for what we have and get her back.
“I got to run, thank you, uncle. You got unfinished business here,” Lana said looking behind me.
I turned and was more surprised to see Bimba in my office.

Bimba
I strolled into Segun’s office to pick a document on a case we were working on when I heard his open declaration of affection for me. I know Segun has always loved me. There were no doubts about that fact but what I could not get around my head was his betrayal. How could he have kept such information from me all these years was my concern and how many more secrets has he kept from me?

Lana had a look I told you so with a twist of cheekiness to it as she hurriedly gave me a hug whispering, “Auntie let it go and let him love”, and glided out of the office.

Her words stunned me. The girl has grown wise over the years. Segun was not the only one who doted on her. I did not unashamedly. We both poured out our love for a child into Lana. I argued it was because she was the only niece who spent time at our place with many sleepovers and outings. Her parents were never afraid to send her over to our place unlike the rest of the family who was over protective of their children. Not that I blame them. Knowing the truth behind Lana’s parentage gave credence to the reason her parents were free to release her. After all, she was going to her father’s house.

Lana and I shared a bond fostered by her visits and time spent together talking and shopping.  None of my other nieces and nephews could have bolstered the courage to book a doctor’s appointment without my prior consent and drive me there. The thought put a smile on my face which I was not aware was plastered on my face until I heard Segun clear his throat the way he did when he was nervous.

I focused my eyes on him, and I got lost with love I saw in those eyes. I felt the butterflies in my stomach and laughed inwardly at my foolishness. Why this feeling of giddiness like a love-struck teenager? My hormones must be having a joke at my expense.

Shifting my gaze way towards the file on Segun’s table, I walked past him to retrieve the document.”I came for this,” I picked the file and made my way to squeeze through the closed up space to escape as he moved towards me.
“What do I need to do to make you forgive me?” he asked brokenly touching a cord in my heart. I was not going to do this. I was not ready for a reconciliation till I had figured out what I wanted for my baby.
“You’ll go back,” a voice said to my head. As I argued with the voices in my head. I don’t know about that. I’m not sure if I wanted to go back. I could remain civil with the father of my child but to work on broken trust was a hard bit for me.
“I would work at gaining back your trust,”  he said as if he could read my thoughts, his eyes darkening with a resolution I know he would fulfil
“I want to believe we can have what we had before. But I can’t work past the hurt lodged in my heart. There are days I honestly could pick a gun if given one and shoot you without remorse. There are other days I try to understand that you had a good reason but what I can’t comprehend is how you lied to me for twenty years with the reason for your lies within our reach. Every day you looked at her, and every time you made a big deal of the milestones in her life was an opportunity to tell me, but you did not and that I find it hard to forgive. You know why? Because you willfully and knowingly lied to me for all the years of our marriage.  Our home was fabricated on lies.What we had is over Segun.”

My heart broke, but I knew it was the best for us. May be somewhere in the future we might find a place to work our way back to what we once shared. I was too hurt to see a way out right now and being truthful to myself was what I owed myself, and the child I carried.

I saw the pain flash through his eyes so fleeting and quickly replaced with an expressionless face.
“Do you want a divorce?”
My no was so quick and vehement, and I did not realise it until I saw the smug look on his face as he closed the gap and kissed my lips ever so lightly that I was not sure if the kiss did happen except for the feelings it evoked. I could never consider a divorce I just needed the space from him till I was able to work out my hurt. But in my quick answer and his smug look, it was easy to see his conclusion that there was still hope.

Meena’s Diary

November 11, 2016

Today is my debut for Meena’s diary. Here I was, wishing for an extraordinary day to share. Something like dining in the white house with Obama and Trump while having a Tete- a- Tete with Michelle and Melania or somewhere in the Bahamas lazing alone leaving leboo and my brood back at home. Instead, I was booked to see my Doctor for a pap smear appointment.

It was my first time using this hospital. I asked my friend Sa’a who had informed me that it is the nurses who would carry out the exercise.

I walked into the GP’s office for my appointment.  I met a male doctor, and that was okay after all, it was a nurse and a female one who would perform the procedure. No hard feelings here and sorry to my Doctor friends. It’s a personal preference. I feel freer with my kindred – women.

I enter still dey form level –  finest big babe. The Doc asked me questions; age, last pap smear and medical history questions which I answered. See my phonetics. I still had no clue that he was the one to perform the pap smear.

That was how the Doc said they would give me some time to change into the hospital gown and he would come around to carry out the pap smear procedure.

I ate humble pie as to say the Doc don see me finish. All my “fine girl sophisticated babe posing.”

So we got on the table, and he kept saying open up, open wider. The more he said, the more I wanted the ground to swallow me.

As soon as the procedure was over, I was dressed back in power dressing but without my full kitted confidence. I had never been so eager to see the exit of an office like I was today.

I made a mental note always to request for a female doctor in such matters.  Although it was male doctors who took delivery of my three children but you all know, there is no shakara in the birth room.

Omowashe omorishe #18

The story begins…….

A message came on my phone.
Happy introduction. I wish you a life filled with love, laughter and luxury. AA

It was such a sweet line I must have had this goofy grin on my face as the girls demanded I read the text out and I did.

“That is so cute,” Patience said with a dreamy look in her eyes wishing for a romantic guy to cross her path.

Patience and the rest of the girls here were among my closest circle of friends. Work and marriage have hindered the frequency of our hangouts, but family programs were a must, and our chat room was as potent as any physical meeting.

“Who is AA?” queried Deola. Deola has been my friend way back as teenagers. We never had those familiar girl friendship fights. We were comfortable with the times and seasons of our lives and adjusted with a sense of maturity that bonded us.
“AA is not Bode, but I will read his text so you won’t be disappointed,” I answered.
“AA?” Peju questioned.
“I thought I knew the names of most of your friends even if I can’t put faces to their names.”
“Andrew,” our boss I answered without a thought to it.
“Andrew?” Hadiza asked with a raised eyebrow.
“You naughty girl and I thought you were our perfect example. Getting engaged to one and stringing another,” said Hadiza with a triumphant look like one who had caught a thief.
The look on my face must have been tragic. Filled with shock and unbelief, I exclaimed, “My boss and I!

You are crazy Hadiza! I uttered, the whole time thinking how she could interpret a thoughtful text could in such a mean way.
She shrugged and was about to say something but changed her mind.

“If you decide to ditch Bode at the last minute,” Tope from my office chipped in, “I will be willing to take him off you.”
We all busted with laughter as this doused whatever tension was brewing.
Tope is a married woman with two sets of twins and a husband most girls only dreamed off in their fantasy land.
Telepathically, Tunde knocked on our door. He could not have chosen a right time to seek his wife.
“Who is there shouted out the girls?  My room had to be sworn a no go area as we waited to be called out to the introduction meeting going on between Bode’s family and mine.
“I need my wife?”  Came Tunde’s voice through the closed door.

“You had better take her now because she is queuing for someone else’s husband,” Hadiza shouted which resulted in another round of laughter.

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Tunde started singing.
“Olomi,  onitemi, oremi,  ololufe, oju kan, sha lada ni Lola oluwa ko si oun ti o  yawa,” a Yoruba love song by Tosin Martins.

We all clapped when he finished and pushed his wife out to him. His singing could earn him a seat on American Idols season 8.

“Can you read Bode’s text?” Hadiza asked not one to be easily distracted.
I snap open my phone to read the one he sent this morning.

“PJ, you are a fulfilment of my dreams. From the first day, I met you. You carved a special place in my heart without knowing it.  Etched in the inside of me, that I saw you awake and in my dreams. I love you then, love you more now and will spend the rest of my life loving you. B.”

“I was there when they first met!  Exclaimed Patience, with excitement like that of a little girl. The other girls shouted her down. She shrugged them off and continued. Contrary to her name, she was one of the very impatient people I had met, but I loved her to pieces as there was no pretence with her.

“I meant I was there when it was just about to start. The eyes Bode had then was all on Lana. They were friends with this his three other friends. What are their names again? Ayo, Gbenga and Dotun, but the fireworks between these two were visible to the blind except them,” she continued her story undaunted.

Now she had all the girls eating from her hand as they heard another bit of the Bode and Lana’s story they already knew in part but were still carried away with Patience compelling storytelling skill.

Lana has her walls and how she was out of the league of dating but when Bode asked it was a tough one to say no as she had always done in the past.
So she said the Yes that transformed Bode from an ordinary guy to a knight in shining armour blazing his sword to destroy anyone and anything that threatened Lana. Sadly, when the real threat came, it was from Lana herself, he had to surrender his sword in defeat and hope against all the odds that their love will win.

Their tragedy began when Lana started working and got this crazy idea of becoming a senior manager before thirty. She wanted to move her career faster than anyone she knew. Throwing herself and shelving everything else. Bode was caught in this battle and callously against her heart pleadings she focused on her career without turning back banishing him out of the Lana Kingdom.

Her heart betrayed her time and time again. And she found out that being closer to her goal without love was empty, and here we are today to celebrate the beginning of series of parties and get together in honour of Mr and Mrs Bode Coker.”

The girls were applauding her.
“We are all suckers for romance, sometimes we are lucky and other times maybe not, but love will find us, and that is life. Our romance might not be the storybook kind, but it does have a way of finding us,” I said with a conviction of one who saw the future.

“Why did you first walk away Lana?” Deola asked.

The one million dollar question I have tried to answer. In the beginning, I was sure I was doing the right thing but in the last six months of walking with my head in the clouds and my heart filled with so much love that I am afraid it would burst, I could not have been so wrong as to have thought I could live without Bode. These were my thoughts but to answer Deola, I would say my selfishness.

“Selfishness. I felt I knew what I wanted for my life then, and it did not include relationships even with love. My head spoke for my heart. I try not to live in regrets. I’ m almost where I want to be in my career.

I have seen marriages do work. Thanks to Peju here I throw a smile towards her direction. I have also witnessed a  restored marriage, which planted a seed of hope in my heart. I had my fears and still do but I am ready to love without reservation,” I said leaving out the details of the restored marriage being that of my parent.

How many of us develop our perception and expectations of marriage from the marriages we see around, especially from our immediate families. I prayed in my heart that mine would be a good example for our children and not put a clog in the wheels for them or tarnish something meant to be beautiful but spoilt by two imperfect and lost people.

“Your marriage will be heaven on earth,” Deola said with a knowing and my heart leapt in agreement. It was my desire, and I was ready to give it my all to have just that.
Time must have passed. We talk just about just anything under the sun.
“What is taking them so long to call us out?” Peju asked.

“I hope your family is not asking for Airbus 380 as bride price,” joked Patience.

“If they did, Bode should be able to foot the bill with his developing IT solutions business,” replied Peju.

Bode had done well for himself in the years we were apart. He still worked with the bank but on negotiated hours. How Bode was able to secure such a deal was still beyond me. But it gave him time to nurture his business, and he had solutions and software developed for banking operations in and outside Nigeria. He was in money now, but that mattered less to me. It was his heart that I wanted sealed and delivered a hundred percent for the rest of our lives.

His money made no difference to me. I had mine and my career. I was comfortable and contented. Okay, I’ll be honest I could get the trips I wanted now without batting an eyelid or worrying about the immediate cost and long term effect on my bank account. However, one thing I am displeased about is moving to Banana Island where all the big boys live. I see too many people with fake lives on that axis. Living on the mainland is my desire, but hey! A girl has to go where the guy has a house so I get ready to live and adjust with my new neighbours and not have to turn up my nose or roll my eyes when I come across them.

Let me go and see what is happening outside, said Peju as she went out but met her husband, Phil by the door.

“No guys in here,” shouted the girls.

Please, he raised his hands in mock surrender. I could at least talk to my wife.
He took round Peju who was six months pregnant with a warm hug, how his hands were able to go round her still amazed me. Peju had tripled in size. My slim petite friend was as round as a hippo although she claimed she was more on looking like an elephant. If I was still analysing the hug, then he gave her a full kiss on her mouth!

“You guys should please go home,” teased Deola.

“That is my request to you ladies,” he said still holding his wife.
Peju here has been on her feet all day, and on Doctor’s orders has to take plenty of rest in her last trimester. She is not cooperative, but I think she has had enough for today,” said Phil gazing into Peju’s eyes with liquid love.

“I am very okay,” she argued lamely as her body gave her away as she struggled to stifle a yawn that betrayed her.

“Being pregnant does not make you an invalid,” she argued lamely as another yawn escaped from her.
We all laughed.

“Superwoman go home and rest. You have been yawning since Phil came. I wonder how we all missed it here,” I said.

“You have to go. I will give you the rest of the story tomorrow over the phone,” I urged Peju as Phil pleaded with his eyes knowing she will feel less guilty if I insisted she left.

Peju gave in, and I could see the relief on Phil’s face. He looked up to thank me, and I saw a bit of apprehension in his eyes as he smiled not those his confident ones.

I wondered if truly Peju was in danger with this pregnancy and he was trying to hide it from her. I made a mental note to call him tomorrow and discuss strategies to ensure she got the required rest. The baby meant a lot to Peju, I have figured.

Right from the moment, she found out she was pregnant. She had blossomed with an inner joy. The pregnancy was the next best thing in her life after marrying Phil. The scan revealed twins and you could have seen Peju that day. She was over the moon with joy as she called me to give me the Idowu breaking news as she called it.

She and Phil had no record of twins in their immediate families. It was not a dream they nurtured. The scan revealed they were same sexes, but Peju did not want to be disappointed as she pointed out that some scans could be wrong so she was having an open mind till they arrived.
Peju has also been in the best of health except for her cravings for isi- ewu,  a goat head meat delicacy from the eastern part of the country that must not be prepared in her house because of the smell when boiling the meat.

“God, please keep Peju and the baby safe,” I whispered a prayer.

**********

Bode
“ Have they taken the gifts to the car?” My mother yelled in Yoruba to Risi one of her younger cousins who lived with us.
“Yes, Auntie,” she replied.

“What about Baba Bisola? Have you called him? Is he on his way?” she asked as she came out of her room tieing her headgear along the way.
The buzz around the house was an eight using a scale of 1- 10.
Baba Bisola is my mother’s only surviving sibling that I knew. He was her immediate elder brother. She had a twin sister I had never seen who lived abroad and had been coming home for as long as I could remember but never did.

Mother mentioned, she probably would be coming back this year. It was for me the usual hope and aspiration the family had a child who went to the white land and never came back. The only proof we had that she was alive were the birthday cards she sent to my mother every year with a gift.
The door bell rang

“Risi, get the door,” my mother yelled as I cringed my ears. She was jittery today checking everything over and over as if something might go wrong.
I went over to hug her.
“Mami,” as I fondly called her.

“You need to calm down.  It is just the introduction, and we need you fit for the wedding.”

“Ha oko mi,” her favourite name for me.
It is not every day. I get to go to the introduction of my only son.
The first impression matters. The family we are going to has to know that you came from a well brought up family so everything must be done right.

“Mum,” I reverted to the way I called her in public

You are a judge and a respectable one. We don’t have to worry about the first impression. The perception in the community is one to be desired by many,  I said.

My mum is a judge with a good heart, and the community knew if you had a problem, Mama Bode would have a solution. She was a woman filled with kindness that she would go without food to ensure the people under her care had food to eat.

When my father died, it almost killed my mother, but somewhere along the line, she found the strength to pick her life together. Finished law school and started practicing alongside the Ankara business, the sale of local fabrics. The trading paid her bills, but law gave her an outlet to live her life and find fulfilment.

My mother is a strict woman with a heart of gold. The discipline I went through as an only child raised suspicion to me then that I was not her child but adopted. The fear of Mami was the beginning of my wisdom. In my moment of fleeting juvenile delinquency,  she was equal to the task.

I recollect a day. She caught me smoking with a group of boys around the corner of our street. She drove past like she did not see me. I rushed home not without putting tom-tom, the minty sweet in my mouth to dispel the smell.
I prostrated to greet her in the usual fashion I had been trained and offered to help with the bags she was carrying which she declined.

Olabode was the name she used when I had done something wrong
I was filled with trepidation almost peeing on myself with fear that she had found me out
“Olabode, you are reeling with the smell of smoke. Where did you go?”

“Nowhere Mami, maybe it is from Iya Kemi’s shop where  I went to buy tom – tom,” I opened my mouth to reveal the sweet. The only truth to the story.

“Okay o! if you say so,” she said emphasising the o.
She took some change from her bag and handed it to me. Please buy a packet of that cigarette you and your friends were smoking with just now.
I stood there transfixed. Mami had found me out, and I had no clue why she was asking me to go and buy it. I did what any child would do I started crying how sorry I was and won’t do it again

“Odabe,” she said in Yoruba meaning, Itis all good that way
“But still go and buy the packet for me,” she ordered.
I left to buy it praying that God would send a helper in the person of a visitor or relation who would plead my case.
I came back with the pack of cigarette, and no one had arrived.

There was my mum, seated on a local stool, outside the house with a whip I had never seen in her hand.

“Go and get matches from the kitchen,” she instructed me.

I went in still wondering what she had in store for me. And back with the matchbox,

She handed cigarette box to me.
“Take one, light and start smoking,” she commanded.

My mother must have gone mad but the fear to voice my thoughts in the light of what was happening prevented me from saying a word.

What was so exciting back there with my group of friends held no attraction.

“Ogbeni,” she called out to me, meaning Mr. when she calls me that I knew it was in deeper trouble than Olabode. She walked over to close our gate. My prayer for helper dashed to pieces before my feet.
That gate would remain closed till she was through with me.

I had to clue whether she was going to use the whip on me or not. She had never beaten me before, but I had taken a few slaps and corporal punishment.

My imagination of the effect of the whip on my body left me bowling.
I had seen it used on my peers at school. I had never been a recipient either because getting punished in school was tantamount to getting punished two days in a row at home or I was lucky not to get into any trouble.

I could not put the cigarette to my mouth. I was shaking.

“You will smoke the whole park today,” she threatened.
“You want to smoke? you will smoke today,” she asked and answered the question while I gazed at her hoping I was in a bad dream.

The first cigarette was with fits of coughing, the second I was gasping for breath still, Mami did not stop or bat an eyelid she meant I was to finish the pack.

I did not go beyond the third when I must have slumped or so I thought.
Mami just poured water on me, woke, me up in my state and offered me to continue where we stopped.
I cried and begged and promised never to go near it.

I never touched a cigarette in my life after that incidence, and I could not stand the smell.
Suffice to say I learnt my lesson that day.

That was Mami for you. You can only imagine what she was like in the courtroom. Stories that filtered had it that Mami was a man and not a woman. Her strength, resilience and discipline were worth emulating You could never give her a bribe. Her colleagues would advise you not to try.

Risi got to the door, opened it, but she was standing there with no one coming in although we could hear a voice.

“Risi who is there? Let the person come in. We were still expecting Baba Bisola,” said Mami.
I saw Risi moved to the side of the door to allow the person walk in.
The woman before me was a replica of my mother.! She was a little hesitant at first but continued to where we sat.
Mami was transfixed for a few seconds then what followed next was like something from a movie. They were crying and hugging wiping their tears and crying all over again.

I don t know if we would have ever left the house for my introduction if my Uncle, Baba Bisola had not shown up.
He took a look at my aunt with disgust and spoke to my mum,

“Mama Bode, we have to start going what is before us is bigger than a prodigal daughter coming home,” he hissed the words with disgust.
Right now was not the moment to get all the story out but they had days to catch up, and we all moved out of the house.
My mother asked her sister to come along if she was not tired. She declined that she would rest. It had been a stressful journey.

“ What is she coming to do? To spread her bad luck to others?” asked Baba Bisola visibly annoyed.

“Egbon!” my mother exclaimed
“We do not throw the baby and the water away, At least you will hear her out she must have a story,” she said.

“Don’t we all, 28 long years? How many deaths did she come home? She thinks we need her money. Thank God we have enough of our own,” if you don’t want to go for your son’s introduction but sit here and waste your time with her. I can be going to my house.
“Oti o  – meaning no. Egbon, please give us thirty minutes to prepare. We will be out soon,” my mum persuaded him.

He grumbled of how wrong it was for her to go with them. Someone they had not seen in twenty-eight years and she was off to a family function.

My mother and Aunt came out dressed alike. I could not tell the difference until I looked into their eyes. There was a spark in my mothers that wasn’t in that of my Aunts.I was glad to be able to tell the difference.

Mami has been buying two of every wear she had for years. It was her usual fashion that when her twin came back home finally she would need them.
She was often scoffed at by my uncle – Baba Bisola why she even bothered.
Today, her dreams finally came true.

We got into the cars. My mum and her twin sister in one. Baba Bisola, Risi and I in the other while I drove.

I was glad when we got to Lana’s house as Baba Bisola fumed all through the journey as to why they were allowing a total stranger to a family gathering.

I did not know what happened in the past, but whatever it was, it must have been bad to get Baba Bisola riled up that way.
They would sort it out when they talked. They were adults.
My family issues were all forgotten as we got into the house for the introduction. I could not wait to see Lana.

I had booked a restaurant later this evening to celebrate this milestone alone with her.

Having her back in my life was a dream I refused to give up. How I survived the last five years without her is still a mystery to me because now I can’t get enough of just catching a glimpse of her and getting lost in those eyes filled with love and a promise of a thousand better tomorrows.

Messi & Argentina: A Silent Parting of Ways — Discover

“No slamming doors, no blaming anyone. Just a mature grown up telling the other party that he is no longer willing to bend over backwards for the shirt that weighs so much on his shoulders, yet gives him so little in return.” Lionel Messi walks away from soccer.

via Messi & Argentina: A Silent Parting of Ways — Discover