Meena’s Diary#15

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

 

wordle-girlstoys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

Meena’s Diary#14

wordle-girlstoys

The silence in the room could break a glass. I was screaming on the inside but uttered no word. Weeping yet no tears. It was one thing to speculate and conclude but another to find out all your fears had come true. Worse still, someone had given your spouse what should have come from you, but you have been unable to provide.

“Say something,” JK whispered.
Why was he whispering anyway we were still the hotel room.
I refused to look into his eyes or acknowledge his request.
It was over between us. I knew that as sure as I knew my name, but I had no clue what my next plan was.

I had lost faith in the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life.I had lost faith in marriage, and it’s promise of forever.
I had lost faith in myself that it was possible to hit rock bottom and still go further down.

I sat and stared at nothing. Then I felt JK’s hands like a scotch of fire. I withdrew mine instantly. I could no longer bear any close contact with him.I did not need some days to work this out.I knew it was over for us.

I take a mental stock of what we shared and still can’t understand how we got here.
We sat there saying nothing. JK was speaking, but the hurt would not let me hear the words or make sense of his pleas.
Yes JK was in tears, but I was beyond any emotion.
I had returned to who I was before we met –  “The ice queen.”
The girl with a wall built around her heart to shield off possible hurt by friends.

I had my close group who could never match the ice queen to the hot, fun living girl they knew but that was my defence mechanism.

And today that girl had returned. I would never place myself in the position to be hurt again.

Meena’s Diary#10

I loved the thrill I got from the shock in JK’s voice. The one-minute silence before the barrage of questions. When did I plan the trip? What was I going to Paris to do? Who was with the kids? Why did I not discuss this with him? What is happening here? When are you coming back? To we need to talk when you come back. As the questions flew like gunshots, I was fuming and daring him in my head to forbid me from making the trip. I had thrown caution to the wind and wanted to hurt him in every possible way, so he felt the same pain I felt at finding out, I was no longer at the top of his priority list. I had been displaced by someone else.

 

wordle-girlstoys

Was I curious? Yes. I wondered who she was. What she looked like and what attracted him to her. Am I going paranoid? My daily browsing through his phone convinced me he was about to or into an affair. Although, I still had not confronted him with on what I knew. Somehow I wanted it to be a lie, hoping that by not talking or acknowledging, it would all go away. I was hurting and lashing out. There was no rational or logical approach to my recent actions.

I ended the call entirely satisfied. It was just the beginning. I was going to make JK pay and go through the same hell I was living in now.

I settled into my seat with the hope that I might be able to sleep during the flight but alas I had this woman beside me who was too chatty for my liking.

I tried answering all her questions with monosyllables and nods with smiles that said I want to be alone but either she chose to deliberately ignore or was just psychologically stupid not to pick up my innuendos. The former I later found out was the case. I gave up on sleep and chatted with the dimwit woman, or so I thought and found I had met a soul mate even though I was reluctant at first.

She brought out a book “Love Dare” which piqued my curiosity. “What book is that?”

“It’s a 40 days devotion on saving your marriage. They also have the film and the novel – Fireproof.  You might be able to watch the movie on the flight.”

“No, give me a book on how to wreck a marriage. I am done with saving. It’s just too tiresome and yields no result.”

“Why don’t you watch the film? It’s a long flight, and you can tell me your thoughts on it.”

I reluctantly watched the film and had a thing or two to say. It looked like where my marriage was, but it was not in us women to wander. The unfaithful partner here was unbelievable the woman.

“It’s not for us to be unfaithful,” I commented to my new friend.

“But that is not to say we are saints. Can I let you into a secret? I have almost been there before sanity snatched me from the highway of destruction I was willingly walking.

It felt so right that it started as an innocent, genuine friendship. The man was having issues with his wife at home, and my husband was battling to save his business. Our lives were too busy and at varying tangents. I could do with a friend who genuinely cared.

We crossed boundaries with every red light shining, but I always rationalised it. Until the day we found ourselves in a hotel kissing and groping at each other. Like a flash of lighting, I was fortunate to come back to my senses. I knew it was wrong.  I could not do it. I picked my clothes and ran out of the room.

My ears tingled as I looked at the woman before me. Infidelity is never written on faces and if it were, certainly not this lady sitting beside me. She looked noble, respected and contented. I wondered why she was telling me. She did not have a clue of what I was going through but was hitting deeply at the issues of my heart.

Why did you run? What came to your mind? I asked curiously wondering all the while if I had it me to be unfaithful. However doing it to hurt JK seemed a good excuse.

“Marriage is a covenant. Some say it’s a contract you do your part I do mine. When a marriage goes through stuff, it might be one person tirelessly doing the right thing without expecting a reward till the partner comes around. Therein, is the test of all marriages.

“I buy the contract school of thought. I am not stupid. We both come half way to the table. No one is superior to the other. You can’t go about misbehaving and expect the second party to keep doing it all to keep the home. I am at a place in my life where I am wondering if I should walk out or stay put,”

“I won’t be able to tell you which. I have not walked your road, but deep in your heart, you know what to do. You might want to try this before throwing the towel and walking away.

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.

Omowashe Omorishe#29

Auntie Bimba

second-chance

Me! Abimbade Folashade  Adelakun is pregnant!! The joke of the century.

Ever since the Doctor broke the news, I have been like one in a trance.A dream I had long given up on after twenty years of marriage. Days of crying, depression, shame, guilt, questions and tears of why me?I shook my head sadly.I am pregnant at a time when I had given up all hope of ever carrying my child.

The nights, Segun would comfort and reassure me with words of encouragement and how I was worth more than ten children to him, but it was enough to make the longing go away.  And now I was in a place where I despised him. I felt betrayed when I found out he had a child who was part of our lives and he never told me. I was still stewing in this hurt and pain, and now this one news we had both been looking forward to since we got married could not be shared.

My hands subconsciously went over my belly, as I tried to feel the new life I carried although there was nothing to show I was pregnant but the Doctors confirmation.

For a brief second it crossed my mind, what if the doctor was wrong? A dozen of gynaecologists had told me in my quest that they could not find any reason why I could not conceive.   There was no gynaecologist within the radius of the country that did not have my file with some others in the United States and the United Kingdom. Always with the same result. “There is nothing wrong with you.”

In those early days, it was if the words sentenced me further down into a dungeon of doom. It could have been better if I had an ailment like a blocked fallopian tube or some diagnosis that we could find a solution, but with none, I had to wait for something close to a miracle I never knew what it was that could happen.

I tried the IVF severally to the point I was advised by the gynaecologist to stop concluding that my body kept rejecting it.

“Allow your body rest, and in its own time, you will conceive.” I scoffed at the Doctor, I needed a child and would do a many IVF’s as possible.IVF had to stop after several failed implants that did not yield my dream and millions of naira gone down the drain.

Oh, places my feet trod in the search for a child. I once visited a spiritualist recommended by a friend but took to my heels when he requested I had to have sex with him seven times as my anecdote to wash away the evil spell that had been cast on me, preventing me from conceiving a child.

I looked at the old greyed man with a brown set of broken teeth coloured by constant eating of kola nuts. My first impression of the man wrapped in a white cloth around his loins and red beads hanging on his neck and left wrist was a disaster waiting to happen. A blind man leading another blind man.

He sat there in his filthy hut, located in a deserted bush in one of the villages on the road to Abeokuta from Lagos. How my friend, a fellow learned colleague heard about this man is still a mystery.  My friend told me I would not first or the last as people from all works of life with all kinds of problems streaming to him for a solution. He was so powerful that they all got their request granted.

I was desperate for a child but not so desperate to have sex with this creature.   How could I possibly live with the thought?  Seven days of such a horrible encounter was as good as a lifetime of torture and misery.I imagined that every time I had to have sex with Segun, It would be relieving the madness I had with him.

Sitting in the shamble of a makeshift shelter made of leaves and supported by wood dug into the ground, so filthy I had to hold my breath throughout my stay if that was possible but I think I did.I politely informed him, I needed to go home and prepare and would be back. Of course, I never went back.This experience ended my search ten years ago. I neither visited a gynaecologist nor the miracle baby providers. I long gave up.

There were times I thought of adoption, but I wanted kids out of my womb. I could not get the issue of adoption around my head. I settled as an avid giver to motherless babies homes and was responsible for the education of five children.They were all in different stages of secondary school now, and I started from their primary school.It was rewarding to hear of their excellent performance in school and know I was contributing to society by giving them an education that would make them better citizens.

I tried to think what it would be like having Lana in our lives but there was no point crying over spilt milk. Segun’s betrayal stung like the bite of a bee and stayed like a fish bone in your throat. The pain won’t go away, and the bone won’t go away, and you are as miserable as can be until you seek help.Like a snap, I had a light bulb moment! I needed help to get past the betrayal and not keep musing expecting it to go away naturally.

“Where have my favourite girls been?” was what I heard to bring me out of my reverie. The hiss died in my mouth. I had kept a professional attitude between Segun and me at work, and no one could have suspected that we were living apart except the news from the grapevine which you can’t do without in the office gossips.

I fumbled for my phone in my bag pretending to be so busy searching for the phone. Luckily a call came through, and I did not have to fake one.I signalled, I have to take this call and took a brisk walk to my office, closing my door and turning the lock. A good thing we did not operate the open glass office. There would have been no place to escape.

I have been avoiding any discussion with Segun that was not related to work. He knew it but was not giving up either. Sometimes I did feel like putting a knife through his heart so he could feel the pain he caused me. But on second thought that would be first-degree murder and after that, my surgeon in jail or the gallows. It was not worth it. No man was worth killing no matter the crime he committed.

How could I be angry with him and still be drawn to him? I wanted to harm him and wanted his arms around me. I wanted to be far away from him but still behold his face and bask in his presence. Hate won over love, and I was yet to figure out what to do.

He had a right to hear about our baby, but I could not give him the luxury of a happy feeling. No, I shook my head vehemently. Until I figured out what to do, I would not mention the child.I dropped on the sofa at work, tired of my mental battles and took a deep breath in and exhaled, hoping to let go the negative feelings and thoughts.

What next?

Omowashe Omorishe#27

To be or not to be

Leave of absence!  What would I be doing? The last couple of weeks I had almost died from boredom. What  would happen now? I might become boredom personified. My parents have put their feet down that I must take the much-needed rest to recover before going back to work. Their argument being that the stress from work could induce a relapse.

second-chanceUncle Segun offered to pay my salary for that period if that was why I wanted to go back to work, or I could resume a role in his law firm working two hours a day.
My reasons fell on deaf ears, and I ended up abiding by my family’s wishes. What does it take for a family to stop meddling in ones’ affairs? Why is it so difficult for them to realise I am no longer a child but an adult capable of taking care of myself?

I agreed to work at Uncle’s Segun’s Law firm but insisted on four hours a day which I was obliged.

Adelakun & Adelakun Partners was an ideal law firm with about ten staff – six Lawyers, an administrative officer and office assistant. My coming on board was of no relevance to the company or so I thought. However, getting into the organisation, I could see a lot needed to be done to reorganise the office. And the myriad of paper and documents stashed in one corner of the entrance required emergency attention.

I was ecstatic to see Auntie Bimba in the office on resumption. The last I heard, she still had not returned home. Seeing her in the firm she co-owned with Uncle Segun was a good sign to me.

“Hello Auntie,” I greeted courtesying in the traditional way.

“Hi Lana, it is great to see you looking so well. One can hardly believe you were the one I came visiting looking so emaciated some few weeks back. Your eyes sparkle,” commented Auntie Bimba.
I glowed at her words. I knew I looked better than the first week I came out of the hospital but not as good as the picture Auntie Bimba painted.

“Thank you, auntie. And how are you doing?” I asked with more concern than I could hide.

“I am hanging in there, my dear,” she sighed.

“It is a lot to take in. But I see you have adjusted well,” said Auntie Bimba. It was more of a comment than the sarcastic feel of the words.

“Oops!, that sounded mean. I did not mean it that way,” apologised Auntie Bimba.

“I know auntie. You have a heart of gold. I am proud of the way you are handling it, and I know things will sort itself out,” I offered my unsolicited words of encouragement boldly.
Auntie Bimba smiled, and my heart broke at how sad she looked.
“I hope so,” she answered.

“It was disheartening to see she had lost the spunk she had for life.
Why was she walking away and not putting up a fight for her home?

“I hope you don’t find this place boring. I hear you are off work till you get much better.But the Lana I know it must have taken a whole lot to get you to give into this idea.”

“Your husband has his ways,” I said laughing as I stepped out of her office.

Questions were being asked by family members if Uncle Segun would be getting back with my birth mum.
I hoped not. How could Uncle Segun throw the years of history with Auntie Bimba to follow someone who left him in the cold with a child and now wants the whole family package back?
I know he has been meeting with my birth mum and the rumours going around by family members was that if Auntie Bimba insists on staying out. Uncle Segun was justified to bring her back after all the family was complete with, mother-child and father even if the cords that bound us together was brittle.
I was barely out when I heard the scrape of her chair on the ground, and suddenly I could hear the noise from feet rushing.
I turned back into her office and saw her kneeling on the floor of the opened toilet throwing up.

“Auntie, do you need help?” I asked worriedly.

“I’ll be okay. I must have taken something that upset my stomach.”

She washed her face and cleaned up and sat on the guest sofa.

“I will be fine, don’t worry about me. See the look of on your face,” teased Auntie Bimba.

“How did you cope in the hospital if you can’t bear to see anyone in pain?” she asked.
I smiled and quietly left the room after making sure, she was okay and had dozed off on the seat.

Was Auntie Bimba, taking the issue between her and Uncle Segun more than she was letting on. I needed to keep an eye on her and let Uncle Segun know if there was anything.

*******

“You would need to have a meeting with her. Hear her out and talk things over with her. I do not think she is asking to come into our lives. She is just asking to make peace with her child,” said Uncle Segun trying to convince me.

“You think so?” I asked.

I did not want to have that meeting. I do not know if it was out of fear of finding out that I never meant anything to my birth mum. Perhaps she was here because her conscience won’t let her live with it. It was not that she loved me.

For two whole weeks, Uncle Segun kept barging me with the question of if I was ready. I could not understand the urgency of his persuasion, but I stubbornly refused to give in. He could barge me into taking six weeks leave of absence from work without pay, start work in his law firm, but he could not get me to have a meeting with my birth mother when I was not ready.

“When do you think, you’ll be ready?” Andrew asked as we talked over the phone which had become our daily routine. We talked every day over the phone and met up during weekends when none of us was busy.

“I don’t know. I don’t think I would ever be ready. I just want to have my life the way it has always been. I don’t want the confusion of my birth mum and my adopted mum or whatever. She gave me away years ago, and I want it to remain that way. She does not owe me any explanation. Period,” I argued and upset we were having this conversation.

“Do you feel anything for her?” Andrew prodded.

“No,” I answered.

“Then why are you upset with her?”

“I am not!” I raised my voice over reacting.

“You would need to make the decision on your own. One that you would not regret some years down the line. If I were to give you a candid advice, I’d suggest you hear what your birth mum has to say and make peace.

“Make what peace?” I lashed out.

“Make peace to someone who until some few weeks back I did not know existed? Make peace with a stranger who is called my mother because she gave birth to me? Make peace to a woman who was not woman enough to sacrifice for her child?
She is but a stranger to me. I owe her nothing. I had made my peace even before she came along. She should make her peace with her maker, not me. She owes me nothing.
The silence as a result of my outburst was deafening.
I was heaving and breathing over the phone, as I held onto it tightly.
I could hear Andrew’s breath on the other side of the phone but he said nothing.
We must have held on for more than fifteen minutes, and I broke the silence.

“Okay, I’ll try and hear her out,” I said grudgingly.

“It will all work out,” he said confidently over the phone.

“You don’t owe her anything, but you owe yourself to hear her out and make your decision.”

I knew Andrew was telling the truth, so I half-promised to hear her out in my own time but not right now.

Omowashe Omorishe#26

I dare to hope

second-chanceAfter four weeks in the hospital, I was finally allowed to go home. I had lost a lot of weight, my eyes and cheeks sunken. I gasped as I gazed at my reflection in the mirror while trying to apply a little makeup to my face.  A good sign that I was doing much better. Three weeks ago I was too sick to be bothered about my looks. I would spend my energy getting better.

Diabetes type 2! I thought I heard the doctor say that was the kind of diabetes I had. I was asking what were the chances of cure from my doctor when he looked at me quizzically.
“Who told you it’s a type 2?” He asked.

“One of the doctors I guess,” I replied.
I doubt I could have made that up or it the disease affecting my memory too.

“type 1, not 2,” said the doctor correcting me.

“Type 1 or 2 what are my chances of getting better and living a healthy life,” I asked getting infuriated not even the counselling had given me the answers I want. They have all been politically correct in their responses.

“I wish I could tell you what you want to hear but if you keep to your medication, you will be okay.”

What he was saying was what I already knew, but I was hoping there would have been a change after all the weeks in the hospital.I was feeling more like my old self.

“Your drugs and medication would be given to you before you leave. Make sure you adhere strictly to them or else you might be back here again, and it may be more grievous.You need to do all you can to take care of yourself if you want to stay alive,” said Dr Kola gravely.

I wanted to stay alive but not with diabetes. There must be a cure. Science was too advanced for there not to be a cure. There should be a breakthrough in diabetes research. I have to believe I will overcome. The diseases will not waste my body.

I was glad to be out of the hospital. I wished I had not listened to my mother and had rented an apartment of my own. I would have to get a place in the coming weeks.  I went home with mum and Uncle Segun. He would not listen to my feeble protest of he did not need to bother with me.

“Auntie, can I come in for dinner? I am tired of eating at my usual restaurant,” asked Uncle Segun.

I looked at him puzzled and forgot my resolve not to talk to him and only answer his questions in monosyllables. I was still upset with him.
However, it was easier said to forgive and let go than done. I thought I had let go, but I was far from it. It did look like I had a long way to go.

“What about Auntie Bimba?” I asked.

“She moved out after I told her you were my daughter. She was shocked I could have hidden such a secret from her all these years, not that I blame her,” he answered sadly.

I was not the only one dealing with Uncle’s Segun’s betrayal. I should be glad he is getting paid back in his coin. Rather I was sad that the two people who made my fantasy of marriage a reality now had cracks in their home, threatening to destroy the fabric of their union.
No secret is worth keeping. There is always a gestation period, and the truth out for everyone. Why does it take people so long to realise that secrets  were only a matter of time?

I was speechless and since I did not know what to say. I did the best thing by keeping my mouth shut. Uncle Segun and Auntie Bimba had the wisdom to sort whatever problem they encountered. It was not for me to start giving counsel I did not have.

Uncle Segun came in for a meal of Amala and ewedu soup quickly whipped together by my mum. She asked if I wanted some and apologised when it dawned on her that it was carbohydrate and should not be part of my meal. My lifestyle has become a list of rules and diet that must be abided.

I walked into my old room. The last time I was in the room was the day of the introduction. That day looked like a million years away. I was no longer that girl whose life was a filled with promise and hope of happily ever after. It was a reality of pain, sickness and dream cut short if I allow it.

I dragged myself to the bed and laid down hugging the teddy bear Bode had given me. Drawing comfort that being here today is a sign that although my life would be different from now on, I would live every day to the fullest.

* * * * *
My phone vibrated, and I picked it up to read the message.

Andrew: Are you home?
Me: Yes I am.
Andrew:  Up for a visit.
Me: Yes.
Andrew: Will check on you shortly. I am on my way home.

The constant in my life have been my friends and family. They have all found time amidst their busy schedule to check on me more regularly than I would have given credit.
The other day Auntie Bimba had come around to visit. I was excited to see her and hoped I would be able to convince her to go back to Uncle Segun.
I could understand her hurt although it was deeper than mine. I was the child. She was his wife.  I wondered if their marriage could ever be the same again. Trust, although broken could be restored with time.

She did not say much to me, although I did ask when she was going back to Uncle Segun. I am yet to come to terms with calling him, father.

My parents were discussing the other day of a possibility of divorce, but I did not think she would. It might take her a longer time to come around forgiving my uncle, but Auntie Bimba did not look like one who would ask for a divorce.

The visits were brief but filled with messages of hope and encouragement except for some tactless people who had gory tales of individuals with diabetes. How do you come to encourage someone and fill them with stories of fear? I have learnt not to dwell on those terrible stories, and I can tell you it’s been hard wiping them out of my memory.

One of my aunts came the other day and was wailing of my inability to get pregnant due to the disease. I had not explored that angle, but my mother was quick to shut her up that the doctor had said I had a chance to live a normal life. Secretly, I wondered if my mum was not being protective and had just made that up, but since I was neither looking for romance nor marriage, they need not bother.

Bode visited me every day that I felt so sorry for the guy.
“You need a break. You have not been able to process what has happened to us and what you want to do. You should take time off work and make plans. Find a nice girl to marry,” I said almost choking on my words.

“Someone like you, cousin,” said Bode always using that endearment for me. Although I felt like it was more a reminder to him that I was his cousin and no longer the girl who held his heart than he was letting us believe.

“I could help you. We could go through a list of my friends,” I offered.

“I am not that desperate,” said Bode crisply.
I took the cue to drop the subject.

“Have you thought of seeing your birth mum?” asked Bode.

“I don’t think of her as my mother,” I answered tonelessly.

I still did not want to have anything to do with her. She and I were strangers, and that was what we would always be. Not asking for more, especially with the circumstance she abandoned me.

“Does she know me?” I asked, for a moment fantasising that she was pining for her abandoned daughter.

“No, I have not told my family that you are her daughter.  She still thinks there is a girl somewhere with Uncle Segun.

“Good. Please don’t tell your family,” I begged, and I don’t know why I wanted him to hide the fact that he nearly married his first cousin.

The truth was I could not deal with anyone asking for forgiveness or expecting more from me. I was not hurt just indifferent. I was neither curious nor interested. I preferred not to rock my boat.

****

A soft knock rapped on my door.
Without checking, I knew who it was. It was the way he knocked so gentle that you could barely hear it.

“Come in,” I said softly but loud enough to be heard by the person on the other side of the door.

Andrew came in his presence filling the space as he took his seat on the chair by my bedside.

“How are you doing today, I hope you are not getting lazier by the day? So much work is waiting for you at the office,” he teased in his usual banter that I forget many times he is still my boss at work.

“I can’t wait to be back, up and running.”

My mother came in overhearing my response.

“You need to make sure Lana takes it slowly at work. She will forget all about herself and focus on the job. We cannot afford that right now,” said my mum to Andrew placing a glass cup of orange juice on the table beside his chair and handing me a tray of spicy fish pepper soup.

I adjusted my pillows sitting up properly to take the soup from her.

“Ma, do you think she still needs to be babied? She must be enjoying all the pampering so much that the thought of work must be nonexistence in her plans,” Andrew said to my mother with a grave look on his face yet eyes crinkling with laughter.

“You wish!” I retorted rolling my eyes.

“If it were possible, I would gladly exchange with you. You can have all the pepper soup in the world you want,” I teased back.

I loved Andrew’s visits. They were lively and filled with the usual banter Bode, and I used to share.  He was able to look beyond my situation and still see me. It was easy to be my old self and not get weighed down with my present condition.

I would laugh and beg him to stop. I hated when his visits ended, and I had only my thoughts of fear to entertain me. Would I beat this disease? Would I be able to live a normal life?