Meena’s Diary#16

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

wordle-girlstoys

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

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

Me: At home. What’s new?

Hauwau: You are late for our hangout.

Me: Gosh! I totally forgot.

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

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

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

Me: Nah too tired.

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

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

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

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

“You don’t want to hear it.”

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

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

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

“Don’t derail spill.”

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

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

“Does Atiku know you indulge in this?”

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

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

I  also needed that martini and something stronger.

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

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

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

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

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

“JK has a son with someone else.”

The reaction from my friends could have won an Oscar.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two weeks.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Me: At home. What’s new?

Hauwau: You are late for our hangout.

Me: Gosh! I totally forgot.

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

 

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

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

 

Me: Nah too tired.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“You don’t want to hear it.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“Don’t derail spill.”

 

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

 

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

 

“Does Atiku know you indulge in this?”

 

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

 

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

 

I needed that martini and something stronger.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“JK has a son with someone else.”

 

The reaction from my friends could have won an Oscar.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Meena’s Diary#13

Still, in France, I leave the details out, but the least was I let loose to have the fun of my life. I threw my problem to the bottom of my concerns. We will deal with all that when we get back home. One could not deny herself the pleasure of living a carefree attitude even if it was false and fleeting.
wordle-girlstoys
I shopped with JK, and he was the ones choosing most of the outfits. That guy has a sense of fashion that beats me and put mine to shame. He should have been in the fashion industry and not the IT techy world.

I did many crazy things in Paris. Top three were

One, a permanent tattoo lined eyebrow. Yes! I did those perfect arcs. That I no longer had to stay in front of the mirror each morning drawing and my brows.

Two,  I tinted my lips red. I never in my life have to bother about those anymore.  Hubby was rooting for me like a maniac.

“This vengeance on looking young is severe. What else do we need to do?” JK asked tongue in cheek.

“Is it you that we are putting all this on? Calm down. I am going into self-actualisation mode.”

“Ha! It is me o. Don’t you know your body is mine?”

I did my un-lady like snort, rolled my eyes again and managed a “get out” under my breath.

The third almost brought the whole hotel room down. I got a second piercing on my ears and one on my nose!

“Meena biko! He pleaded in the Igbo language.  Is your new look not becoming too much. Do you want to compete with the 18-year-olds?

I stood there staring at JK blankly.

It is bad enough people take you for a teenager, but this one will leave no doubt in their minds.

“You did not discuss this with me before you did it?”

“Is this for real?” I ask myself with sparks flowing out of my head like the ones you see in a cartoon.

“JK, don’t worry, in my momentary transformation, I will try not to disgrace you,” I said sarcastically.

He looked at me with confusion which was more common these days. The bewildered look he gave on some of my comments. I would blow hot where I should be blowing cold. Pass comments not relevant to our discussion but trying to talk about his affair and not going about it directly. I was in a back and front motion. Some days I’ll be moving forward, other days getting stuck and some other times just going back.

“Babe that is not what I meant. It looks good on you, but I don’t think it is something you should be doing? When you do this, then trust the girls will do more.”

“Oh that will be their choice, and I can’t be held responsible for that,” I replied in self-defense knowing he was right but refusing to agree on it with him

“You are their role model. Where you stop is where they will. It is not about whether something is right or wrong. It about the kind of message you are sending out.”

“Where would our sons start?  Please note here we had none. Two wives and a harem of girlfriends?”

I blurted out!

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!

 

 

 

Omowashe Omorishe#33

Peju alias Mummy twins

second-chance

Once I settled Phil, I got back to Lana. Knowing we had hours to catch up.
Was it not nine months we last saw, but the stories were like that of a lifetime. Finding out Bode was her cousin blew my mind. What if they had gotten married? The issue of congenital disabilities might arise, and they would have no clue the cause of the problem.

While I was still feeling sad over the loss of a love so pure and genuine, she told me of diabetes and the drugs she was constantly on.
“It doesn’t show on you.”
“I look better now, and you should have seen me when I came out of the hospital. Gaunt looking, eyes sunken and bones were sticking out at every corner.
“I am glad I was not there to behold the sight.”
“Have you met your birth mum?”
“Oh my God”, she slapped her forehead.
“I was to see her today and gosh here I am.”
“You mean you have not met her all these nine months?”
“No, she answered looking at me with amazement.
“Was I supposed to?”
“Lana who won’t be curious to see and have that talk with their birth mum. Find out why she gave you up and try to see for yourself what she looks like?”
“I don’t need another mother. I have one, and it’s so confusing. Do I stop calling the woman I have known as a mother all my life and start calling my birth mum – mother because she gave birth to me? Even when she did not love me enough to keep me but gave me up so easily and never looked back.”
“What she did was wrong but don’t validate her wrong by ignoring her. Give her the chance to explain herself. You might sympathise with her and not judge her when you hear it all.”
“I just need time to get myself together to see her. I did promise Uncle Segun I would check on her today, but that would be tomorrow.
“Sorry girlfriend. It would be today, and I am shooing you out of my house to her place. Had the kids not being sleeping for a while and would wake up anytime soon, I would have gone with you to make sure you get it done. Once and for all and move on.”
“Did I tell you I did not miss you while you were away?  I was so glad I had no one to boss around.”
“Good thing I am back because you do need the bossing especially when it comes to matters of the heart.”
She threw her tongue out at me.
“He who wears the shoes feels the pain the most. I hear everyone with an opinion on the matter, but they were not the abandoned child. Neither were they the ones lied to all their lives nor the people whose favourite uncle became their Dad overnight, and you were meant to trust as you have always done,” said Lana with tears flowing like a river down her cheeks.

I held her, and we cried together. Cried for the unfairness of the world. Cried why her life and sanity were being threatened and cried because we were both hearts broken.
“You will try and see her,” I pushed Lana away to gaze at her. Pleading with her to push behind her hurt and do the right thing.
“I will try, she tried to laugh amidst the tears that came out like a croak and then bubbled into a wellspring of laughter.

“Did we just do the pity party thing just now?” She asked wiping the tears away from her eyes in a bid not to smear her mascara, although a futile effort.
“Life throws you lemons, but you have to make lemonade out of it. See I know all that motivational talk, but in here, she said pointing to her heart. It hurts so deep that I have lost the peaceful, beautiful life I had were all my worry was how to make senior manager before I was thirty. Now that pales compared to my goal of living a healthy and full life.”
“You would Lana. I have no doubt about that. God will show you mercy. Your strength and determination will see you through.
You will laugh again, love again and wondered if this pain you feel in here, I said touching her chest was ever real or just a nightmare at night.”

“What if I am too tired fighting?”

“You’ll get up and give it your best shot.”

“ On a much lighter note. How is Drew?” I asked. “Do you still see him around?”

“Yeah, I did today, he came by to check on me. It ‘s incredible how he could turn and be a father hen. Always texting and calling to make sure I am okay and have taken my drugs when I first left the hospital.”
“Father hen,” I repeated thoughtfully.

I have always felt there was something between them both although my friend was yet to see beyond what she wanted to see.
Going back to Bode, clouded it all but with the present situation, the coast was clear for Drew, but maybe the timing was not right.
Lana needed to get herself together and sort all the issues that threatened her sanity.
Drew coming in at this time was sure to mess her up and when Lana is messed up, you could not getting anything worthwhile from her.
I smiled like a wise old woman. I knew like I knew my name that this two would one day become an Item, but I was not going to throw it at Lana’s face. I would watch knowingly and do some little pushing, arranging and innocent moves to get them together.
Lana will thank me later.

Omowashe Omorishe#31

Love comes softly

second-chance

I pulled my shoe off and placed my feet on the grass as I closed my eyes to enjoy the feeling of relief that washed over me. How such a simple gesture we take for granted could be so soothing often left me in awe of the mastermind behind earth’s creation. It could not have been the work of mortal man or an accident as some great scholars presume.It must be that God truly exists.

I poured out the bottle of coke into my glass cup filled with ice cubes on this sunny afternoon enjoying the sheer luxury of sugar and ignoring all the medical doomsday prophesy on its ills especially in my case.

Uncle Segun will not be delighted to see me here. I had left the office with the intention of going to see my birth mum and make things alright between the two of us but mid-way, I changed my mind. I would see her another day. Relaxing into my chair, I closed my eyes and allowed the feeling of contentment to wash over me.

My eyes fluttered open at the sound of the presence of someone, and I lazily smile at the sight of Andrew.

“Hey stranger,” I greet with no effort to change my position.

“Hey stranger,” Andrew replied letting himself on the other chair across from mine.

“How did you know I’ll be here?”

“I took a wild guess after being told by your security at the law firm that you have left for the day. How are you doing he asked eyeing the leftover bottle of coke with disapproval but did not pass a comment.”

“I am doing as great as I can be. I could not be any better. I can’t complain. Got a job where I do nothing and get paid good money which must be every girl’s dream.”

“Except yours?” he chirped.

I laughed. “Well, I did create a job scope for myself. Organising all the files.  I intend to move all the paper files to electronic files. Most of the work in the coming weeks will be scanning and creating a filing system for easy retrieval, next encrypt the sensitive data. I would need the help of an IT person. I should be able to complete that task within three weeks and train the rest of the staff on how to use the new filing system.”

“You sure know how to look for and find work!”
“That’s me any day, any time. Never shy away from work. It does not kill.”
“Some do you know,” Andrew commented. We laughed over it.
“I am sorry. I have not offered you a drink. What would you like to have?”
“Not that your drink,” he eyed my glass of coke like a mortal enemy. ”Water would do.”

I was not excited to have to stand up from my cocooned position in the chair, and as if reading my thoughts he offered to help himself as I gave direction. The kitchen is the first door on the left once you walk into to the living room. The refrigerator is on your left. Andrew came back with three 50cl cascades bottled water.

“The driver would love one. You don’t get these cold ones to buy along the streets. Let me go give this to him.”
“Very thoughtful, kind and thinks of others, not just himself,” came the thought.“Where did that come from?” I asked myself.

He returned to his seat. “Are looking forward to resuming?”
“What do you think?”

“I think you have become so used to this easy life of 8 am to 2 pm that coming back to our 7 am to 7 pm work would no longer be interesting.”
“I do not agree with you, but I have learnt never to say never anymore. I do not have the power to predict or change what will happen next in my life. I only know what I think I want.”
“And you?” I ventured to ask. “A lot has been going on lately, been extremely busy working on some projects and my father’s company. The main reason for my silence but I should have made more time to keep it touch.”
“It’s okay. You have made an effort by stopping by, and I appreciate that. It’s not every day a girl gets her boss to stop by to babysit.”
“Is that what you think I am doing right now? He asked with the crinkles of laughter around his eyes.

“Yep,” I answered playfully.
“Then it is past your bedtime Missi.”
“Bedtime! At 3 p.m.!!” I exclaimed in mock horror.
“Oh sorry Missi, I meant it is your nap time.”

I laughed till tears dropped from my eyes as he mimicked the voice of Kizzy in the film “Roots”.

“Please stop!” I pleaded, afraid I would soon be on the floor rolling with laughter. It felt so good to laugh this way. Whoever said laughter is good medicine for the soul sure knew what he was saying.

“Who would have known you could be this funny? You so much hid behind the suit you wear.”

He stayed with me for a quarter of an hour and took his leave.
“See you around soon.” He patted my hands across the table looking into my eyes. “You’ll be fine just don’t worry and believe the best.” Something happened to me in the seconds he held my hands and our eyes connected. And I could feel he sensed it too as he quickly took his hands away but whatever that was, I don’t think I was ready to confront it. Some things are better left the way they are, don’t rock the boat.

I waved him off still not wanting to give up the comfort of the seat, but he was quick to tell me not to bother and let himself out. I closed my eyes wondering if my treacherous heart was not plotting some sinister scenes against me.

“No way,” I argued. “Don’t you think there could be a possibility?” another part of me argued.“Who would want you with your disease ravaged body?” The other voice taunted. “He is different if he comes give him a chance. A chance for what? Romance, marriage or a relationship that has no future. A relationship that is dead before it started.”

“Lana!” I called out my name willing the battle in my head to stop.
The poor guy made a mistake of being a friend, and here I am planning marriage.I shook my head and walked inside.  Why bring a perfidious twist to an act of kindness? Destroying my serenity and the innocence of a friendly gesture leaving me more troubled.

Continue reading “Omowashe Omorishe#31”

Meena’s Diary#6

Survivor

The doctors rushed in as I got a glimpse of Sa’a gasping for breath while the hospital staff shooed us out.An eerie feeling filled the air, I shivered with goose pimples, negotiating with the creator to spare her life. My thoughts went to her little twin girls. Who would take care of them if anything happened to her?

wordle-girlstoys

I was pacing the length and breadth of the reception, too apprehensive to sit down.
” Meena,” Hawau called out to me.
“You should sit down. Let’s hope for the best.”

She looked more scared and subdued than she thought she was letting on but this was not the time or place to hassle her.

“Do you think she’ll make it?”
“I hope she does. If for anything for her girls
“Do you think Atiku would marry this new girl?”

“You might need to ask him that question Meena. I am not him, and for the life of me, I don’t know what he is thinking.”
I closed my eyes as the pain washed over me. I tried to imagine JK marrying someone else or maybe having an affair, and the mere thought was enough to kill me.I shook my head willing the idea out of my head.
“What would you have done if you were Sa’a?” asked Hauwau
“I don’t know. The thought just crossed my mind, and I don’t wish it upon my enemy. It will kill me. Sa’a might not have a choice since her culture allows it. Although we thought with Atiku being an educated man, it will be different, but with JK, polygamy is not an option.
“If polygamy is not an option. You are aware they could have affairs and mistresses outside ko bahaka ba?” said Hauwau emphasising her point in the Hausa language.
“JK would never do that. He loves me and the kids so much to toe that line.”
Hauwau laughed. “Oh my naïve friend. I am with you in your paradise of foolishness.”
I was on the verge of replying when the team of doctors and nurses who were with Sa’a came out.

We rushed out to them with hope in our eyes. The lead Doctor smiled at us and reassuring us “She pulled through but is resting now. She will be all right.”
We both heaved a sigh of relief.
“I have to go and pick the kids from school and would be back. I would spend the night with her. Shouldn’t we call Atiku?”I asked again.
“He should be here with his wife and not on some rendezvous with a God forsaken girl who sees no wrong in going after someone’s husband.”
“You have been itching to call him. Call him,” hissed Hauwau. She has been in a foul mood all day, and I was yet to get around asking her what the problem was.
I pulled my phone and dialled his number which he picked on the first ring.
“Hajia Meena, ya kike?” He greeted me over the phone.
“Kalau  Atiku but there is a problem. We almost lost Sa’a today. Thank God she is out of danger,” And I started crying over the phone.
“When was this?” He asked, and I could hear the trepidation in his voice.
“This morning.”
“Why did you not call me?”
I had to lie to answer the question. “I was called in by Hauwau. Everything was happening so fast that I was so confused not until the doctor just assured us she was going to be alright, did it occur to me to call you. At least the latter part was true. Where are you I ventured to asked?” feigning ignorance
“I am in Dubai, but I will be taking the next available flight back home. “What hospital is she in?”
“Gurara Hospital.”
I whooped for joy. The situation was not that bad. He still cared for Sa’a.

Omowashe Omorishe#28

Sworn to secrecy

second-chance

I settled into my comfortable work life with the additional responsibility of checking on Auntie Bimba more regularly than I should and taking on the role of a PA, from fielding her calls and directing the ones I felt were important to her to arranging her meals

I had seen her throw up three times in one week. I asked her if she had seen her Doctor which she just brushed aside that she was not ready to use drugs hoping the bug will go away.

Auntie Bimba had started locking herself in her office, but I was not put off. Whenever I heard the noise of the flush of a toilet, I guessed she had thrown up again. I started to get worried building theories in my head that perhaps she was suffering from anorexia or bulimia – the eating disorder where you throw up immediately after eating.

I discreetly found out her family doctor and booked an appointment for her on Monday without her knowledge. I would give a fuss if I were the one but no one could change my mind when I am convinced to take action.
Monday morning saw me informing Auntie Bimba doggedly that we were going to Dr Johnson’s office for an appointment I had booked for her.

“Auntie Bimba, it’s either we go now, or I march off to Uncle Segun’s office to inform him,” I threatened.
My threat worked, and we were off to the hospital together.

Mayflower Hospital was a walking distance from the firm, but I offered to drive her there.  I went into the Doctor’s office with her. I still did not trust my Auntie to tell the Doctor what had been happening to her.

“I have never been sick in my life as far as I can remember,” blurted Auntie Bimba nervously.

“Calm down Mrs Adelakun. I can see you are doing well. You have no need to worry,”

“Mild headaches and pains that went without me having to use drugs. The feel of nausea will go, once what caused it in my system is flushed out generally,” Auntie Bimba continued as though she had not heard a word the Doctor said.
Doctor Johnson was a short man with piercing eyes behind glasses that rested above his nose. His angular shaped face had a welcoming look unlike the sharp lines around his mouth that eased up when he smiled.

The man did not have the typically calm, cool and collected look of a regular doctor or the kind that left you swooning with romantic thoughts of “the boy met the girl and lived happily ever after.”

Doctor Johnson had a charisma about him that exuded trust and trust was what we desperately needed now. Someone to genuinely tell us we had nothing to fear but a bug that will pass away and all the medical jargon with pills that will make you better.

The doctor asked questions bordering on if she had recently changed her diet, what new foods she had started taking, when last did she see her menstrual cycle? And dozens of other similar questions.

“I am hitting menopause Doctor; I really can’t remember but I suppose that should be menopause.”

“And who is this charming young lady we have here? Is she your daughter?” he asked referring to me.

“She is not my daughter she is my niece. Dr Johnson, have you forgotten Lana?” she asked.
Wasn’t he supposed to know me? He has been their family doctor for years. He should be aware of their family history. I thought to myself.

But with my birth mum surfacing from nowhere and me becoming Uncle Segun’s daughter, he was not far from the truth.

“You mean the little girl you brought in with a deep gash under her feet needing stitching twenty years ago and her screams were loud enough to pull down the walls of the hospital. How we struggled so hard to give her an injection with a dozen nurses trying their best to calm her down,” he reminisced letting out a chuckle.
“Some energy she had then for a girl of only six years,”

“One and only,” Auntie Bimba smiled at the memory.
I had no memory of what they were talking about, but I could relate with the gash under my left foot representing an ugly scar about half an inch long. I had stepped over a broken glass while on a visit to Uncle Segun’s place.

When I was younger, whenever Uncle Segun came to our house, I would cry to follow him back home, and most days, I had my way. The sleepovers diminished as I grew older, but the bond grew stronger

I was filled with nostalgia and wished I could be that innocent girl climbing into Uncle Segun’s lap at every opportunity. We talked about everything then from dreams to boys, fashion to marriage, and career to parenting.

Maybe Uncle Segun had been trying to tell me in different ways, who he was to me but I never got the message. He showed up for all Fathers’ day events at my school under the guise that my own Dad was busy and asked him to represent him. All my friends in University knew Uncle Segun because he was the one who came to visit me at school most of the time. It was either he was just in the area or my parents asked him to check on me to he wanted to be sure his best girl was doing okay.

It slowly dawned on me Uncle Segun had communicated in every way that I was the most important person to him, and not because I was his favourite niece as I was led to believe. It was because I was his child.
So lost was I in my thoughts that I did not hear the rest of the discussion between Doctor Johnson and my Aunt until she tapped me to get my attention.
“Doctor Johnson was commenting that you have grown into a promising young woman and how your parents must be proud of you,”

“Thank you, Doctor,” I smiled with nothing more to say.

“Now let’s look at you Mrs Adelakun,” boomed Dr Johnson.

“Bring it on Doctor. It is not some terminal disease, is it? ” asked Auntie Bimba visibly relaxed without the trepidation I sensed when we first came in.
Who would have thought a full grown woman to be afraid of the hospital, drugs and injection?

My Aunt’s blood and urine were taken for tests at the lab while we waited in the reception watching a Nollywood movie. The type where the mother – in-law had come to make her daughter-in-laws life miserable.
“Pray, you have a lovely mother-in-law like mine. I find these stories strange because I have not experienced any of that. While your grandma was alive, she was my best friend. I could not have wished for a better mother-in-law, but there are crazy ones out there”, she said with her lips pursed in dismay.
“I would stay out of her way if I were the lady,” I said pointing to the actress on the TV. She should avoid the woman like the plague and stop fighting her husband over his mother. Does she not know she is wedging a wall in her relationship with her husband?”
We should never wish…
Her words were cut short with the lab attendant calling her name for the result
I glanced at my watch. We had spent over three-quarter of an hour waiting.
“You are perfectly fine. Your blood count is superb, and there is no malaria.”
Auntie Bimba beamed at me with an “I told you I am okay look.”
“However, you would need to rest more and not exert yourself. Congratulations you are eight weeks pregnant!”
I could not contain my joy as I leapt from my seat and did a jig of joy.
After all these years my Aunt was finally pregnant with her first child.
She sat stunned and speechless.
Dr Johnson was laughing.
“You are pregnant!” he repeated.

I did not have the words to describe the joy I felt at the realisation of the miracle in our lives.

We left the hospital after picking up the necessary vitamins from the pharmacy. Auntie Bimba was still in a daze and more quiet.

Uncle Segun will be over the moon with this news; I commented as brought out my phone to call him.
“Don’t call him, Lana,  I need to tell him myself, but more importantly I need to figure out what I want to do. Things have changed for us, and I can’t spring a pregnancy on him. Please promise me you would be quiet about this. It is a secret till I am ready to tell or it sells me out.
“You can’t hide a pregnancy can you?”  She chuckled. The closest to a laugh since we found out she was pregnant.

I could not get it around my head how I was going to keep this piece of news to myself.
“Lana, please do not tell anyone about this,” she pleaded.
I hate what she wanted me to do, but I had to give in. It was not my place to break such news. It was for her to tell who she wanted and if she wanted to keep the news to herself, she had a limited time to hide, at most four more months and the secret is out for the whole world.

But what is it with secrets and my family?