Tomorrow’s Sunset

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

Over the Sunset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

Omowashe Omorishe#37

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

second-chance

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

“Hey, stranger!”

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

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

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

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

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

“You were the one…..” I mouthed.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps the reason he never brought it up.

“A penny for your thoughts?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love perhaps might never be for me after all.

THE END.

Watch out for the sequel Winter 2018

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

 

 

 

 

 

Omowashe Omorishe #36

second-chance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You sure Drew is taken?”

“100%, like I know my name.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Recipe for true love,” remarked Peju.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

******

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I must be dreaming.

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

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

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

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

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

Hey stranger!

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

 

 

 

 

Meena’s Diary#21

And MIL paid a visit.

 

wordle-girlstoys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mama!” I gasped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Meena’s Diary#18

Sa’a

wordle-girlstoysI was stunned by Meena’s news. My mouth hung opened and could utter no words.

Our perfect husband was finally tainted. The man we had all held him in high esteem. He was the ideal husband. A man who made us hopeful, that there were good men out there. My dearest Atiku with all his devotion did not compare to JK.

What do I say to Meena? The saying, he who wears the shoes feel the pain the most. What words of comfort do I give her?

The issue was not having a child with someone else, although, that was a significant problem. The crucial matter here is the betrayal of trust. What is happening with Meena pales, in comparison to when I thought Atiku was taking on a second wife and I attempted suicide. Ashamed to admit that now but I did.

The thought was enough to kill me despite the knowledge that my culture allows him to take up a second wife without batting an eyelid and encourages me to welcome the other woman with arms open wide as a co helpmate to our husband.

Did women fall into this world at a disadvantage or did we mould ourselves to fit the defect?

Meena must make her decisions, and we as friends can only support her. We dare not sit on our high horses and issue verdicts of what to or not to do.

We held her and cried with her. We wanted her to know all will be well even if we did not know how.

 

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.

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.