Tomorrow’s sunset

Tooni smiled out of her reverie as she was tugged at by one of her young charges. It was hilarious to see her mum struggling with trying so hard not to mention the issue of marriage. Mrs Adesida had received a call from one of their distant cousins to inform her he was getting married and would be bringing his fiancée to see her. As soon as she dropped the phone, she sighed. “That was Moji’s son he is twenty-six and is getting married.” Over the Sunset
Tooni scowled ready to put up as much resistance she could muster should her mother go into her usual “marriage talk” again. However, she shrugged noncommittally. “Good for him.”

“ Is that all you are going to say?” Mrs Adesida asked with a huge disappointment evident on her face.
“Mother what do you want me to say?” Tooni asked exasperatedly.
Mrs Adesida sighed again, heaved and broke into a song and dance as she gave Tooni a hug. “Your visit means a lot to me. I won’t overshadow our time with a quarrel. However, do know that not talking about it does not make it go away.”

Another tug and this time she could hear from a far away distance “Auntie Tooni Auntie Tooni, see my drawing” the young child announced proudly.

Tooni gathered her thoughts together and chided herself was woolgathering while working.

Tooni Adesida volunteered with a young achiever club in the city where she took the ages 7-10 drawing lessons for one hour every Wednesday.
The time with the children was one of the things she looked forward to every week. They were all a delight to work. She never seemed to be more amazed at the kind of work they turned it. Raw talents that need direction and guidance and the world would not know what hit them when the next Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci resurfaces.

Once all the kids had left, Tooni spent the few minutes she had to arrange the room used and out away all the pencils, paintbrushes used .she was so engrossed that she did not hear when her colleague came behind her.
She squealed in fright. ” I did not hear you come in.”
“Sorry I scared you,” Amanda apologised and went on in one breath.
“I came by to let you know that little Tooni lost her mum to cancer .”
Little Tooni as the name stuck was a seven-year-old girl in her class who was also her namesake.
“Aww, that is so sad,” said Tooni trying to imagine what her life would have been should she had lost her mother. But she had lost her father at a tender age. She remembered the heaviness and loss that hung around the family like a cloak. She could not wish a loss of a loved one on her enemies, but this was one of the harsh realities of life that even children could not be shielded.

“I never noticed. Little Tooni has carried on with the same demeanour as she always has. Very excited and enthusiastic about her drawings and the class. She is so friendly with all the other children,” Tooni shared her observation with her colleague.

However, Amanda had a different reason for sharing the loss of the girl’s mother.
“what I am trying to say to you is that you might need to speak a few words of condolence to her dad.”

“ Why?” asked Tooni puzzled. “I rarely see the parents when they come to pick children. You should inform them at the reception.”

“I was thinking it would be a good avenue for you to meet the man. He is a widower, and this might be an opportunity.”
Tooni’s eyes went round as this bizarre scene playing before her. She closed her eyes and shook her head from side to side.  Trying to Calm the seething anger welling inside of her

“How callous can you be. Should I be dumb enough to go with your advice, would it to a man who is mourning the loss of his dear wife? Or do I look like someone on a manhunt, husband hunt or whatever hunt you all think I should embark?”

“No Tooni, you do not look like it, but your life oozes it even if you think you hide it well.”

Tooni did not think she heard Amanda well.
“Amanda, what you have said is not only mean, but it shows that you have never been and cannot be my friend. I am on no manhunt, that I am not married is not a design of mine, that I hope to be married someday might be my mothers wish, but mine is to live my life and enjoy it married or not. So if you think my life oozes manhunt. You have better check again as you sure are receiving wrong signals which might be a reflection of what you are feeling. I thought you were my friend. But now I know better”

“I am your friend Tooni, which is the reason I am concerned. I might be approaching it in a wrong manner and that I apologise”

“I have not asked for your help and please stay away from me,” Tooni whispered agngrily.
“I am sorry,” Amanda raised her hand in defence. As Tooni walked away from her without a backward glance.

*****
The birds were chirping away a lovely soprano on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. Tooni sat out in the garden enjoying the morning sunshine just lazing with a book. How to meet date and marry a guy in 21 days. She bought the book out of curiosity and found the book not only hilarious but crazy.

She still would not accept she was on a manhunt, but sometimes she could not deny the thought of what her life would be like if she were married and had a family.

“I was not going to push any buttons like go look for any man, but there might be some information that could be helpful in this book,” she reasoned.

“Good morning Madam,” Sule the security man cum gardener called out.

Sule has been with Tooni ever since she moved into the area. He joined her as a single man, got married and went on to have five children that often left Tooni in wonder how he coped with living expenses on his meagre salary.

Good morning Sule,” Tooni responded, curious about the smile on his face.
“Sule you look so happy today. what can I do for you?”

“Ha Madam, I been happy wai! I get Amarya coming to me. He responded in his poor English mixed with his local Hausa language.
‘Amarya,” Tooni called out, with a questioning look and a frown on her brows and eyes mirroring her confusion.
“Yes Oga Madam, Amarya. My second wife.”
The book Toke was holding felt from her hands as she gazed at the man in bewilderment.
“Sule, you are getting married again?” she croaked in disbelief.

“Yes, Oga madam. My Amarya is a beautiful young girl and from my village. She would come and help Uwargida with all the housework and children.”

“But Sule, you have five children, and you are barely coping financially. Another wife means more children. How do you intend to take care of them?”

Sule smiled so stupidly, Tooni felt like slapping the smile off his face. What illiteracy could do to a man transcends beyond his generation? He was building a village without any means of giving those children a means to prepare for the future

“Allah will take care of the children. Oga madam. Do not worry.”

Too dumbfounded for words, Tooni went back to reading her book but the sanctity of the moment had been broken. She found herself on the same page for ten minutes as her mind kept processing what Sule had told her.

She was shocked when she looked up, and he was still there.
“Sule?”
“Oga Madam I’d been wan tell you that our neighbour,” he paused pointing to the walled house on her right.

Tooni recalled the walls were not always this high when she first moved in ten years ago. You could literally have a conversation with your number over the fence but as the years when by, the walls got taller and taller. You had neighbours, you had no clue what they looked like even if you met in the shopping mall.
Lowering his voice as if he was aware someone one on the other side was listening to their conversation.
“His wife have died.
“His wife died,” Tooni corrected wondering why she bothered.
“His wife died,” he repeated proudly.

She shook her head. The man never ceases to amaze her. Somedays, he would speak impeccable English, and some other days she would cringe as he mixed both present and past tenses interjecting the wrong verbs or adjectives.
“I been say you suppose to greet him. As his wife died, if he wants to marry, he go marry you.”
She cursed on her breath with the little Hausa words she had been able to garner from her security “shege danbanza dan buro uba,”

Oga” Madam,” Tooni was shocked he still dared to stand there like he had dementia.
If it was in the office, the man was as good as fired. She fumed under her breath.
“Sule, Please leave now before I do what both of us would regret,” she gritted her teeth as she picked her glass cup of orange juice, book and walked back to the house leaving behind a shattered serenity.  Her world is being thrown into a tupsy-turvy.

The one moment her mother was struggling to stop the pressure, her friends and gardener took over the baton. She did not know which was worse but that of the gardener sucked more.

 

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Omowashe Omorishe#37

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

second-chance

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

“Hey, stranger!”

I almost dropped my cup with fear. My mind is playing games on me. I hope I do not need to visit a psychiatric doctor. I was not only seeing things, but I have also started hearing things. The next set of people I might begin to see would be Peju and the twins! I tried to make light of 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 seems 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,”  said Drew 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, with 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 smiled 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 off my eyes 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 seatbelt and came over to kneel at my seat.
Luckily, the “fasten on 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 spark 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 guessed he did not want to talk about her. I should respect that.

I feigned a yawn and closed my eyes. Finding it hard to swallow. 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.
To solve her problems she further entangles herself in a web of deceit and betrayal.

 

 

 

 

 

Omowashe Omorishe #36

second-chance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You sure Drew is taken?”

“100%, like I know my name.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Recipe for true love,” remarked Peju.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

******

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I must be dreaming.

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

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

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

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

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

Hey stranger!

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

 

 

 

 

Omowashe Omorishe#35

Drew……

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

second-chance

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What about tonight?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

**********

 

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

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

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

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

“What way?”

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

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

“Nah,” her favourite expression for No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meena’s Diary#21

And MIL paid a visit.

 

wordle-girlstoys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mama!” I gasped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was going to disappear from their lives for good. My girls and I. I was walking away from JK, my home and all the 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#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!