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#12

wordle-girlstoysI opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out. I was not one to be short for words.  I had a rich vocabulary for My vocabulary was whatever situation. However,  for the first time in a long while, I found myself speechless!
“You should be excited to see me,” accused JK standing at the door with an overnight bag hanging over his right shoulder.
His words brought my senses back.

“How did you know I was here?” I asked eyeing his bag with disbelief. JK was the only person I knew who would pack so light to travel anywhere in the world.

Yes, my friends knew I was in Paris, but no one knew the hotel I stayed. There were several hotels in the city.A wild guess could not have been this precise.

“You left a trail of everywhere you have been with your debit card. I rushed down here to join you in spending our money so that when we get back, we can move to a one bedroom rented apartment in Mushin area or Agege.”
I scowled and turned back in. “I am exhausted and trying to catch some sleep. I am not in the mood for one of your jokes.”

“I am surprised you were awake. I thought I would have had to sleep at the door till morning, your knight in shining armour or personal bodyguard on duty,” he chuckled at his joke choosing to be oblivious to the annoyance displayed in my face like a shield.
I let out a small smile, trying hard to stay angry.
“I have to go back to bed.  I have an early day tomorrow.”
I refused to look at JK as I could see his eyes searching mine with questions in them.
The old me would have been too excited, jumping, hugging and chattering none stop of all I had seen and done.
“That’s okay, I should grab some sleep too, and we hit the road together in the morning.
“What! You have never loved shopping with me. ”
“A guy can change, can’t he? I did not come all the way to Paris to sleep. I came to spend time with you.”

Some weeks back, that would have been the sweetest words he could have uttered, but today they made no meaning to me.He broke my trust and love has flown out of the window. Our lives could never go back to what it used to be, or so I thought.

I still struggled to sleep but kept my eyes shut and rolled as far away to the end of the king size bed.

I smiled when he got on the bed and stayed on the other end. Message sent out and received. That was communication, but somehow I would have loved him to make an effort to come closer. But I still would have insisted I needed the rest and did not want to be disturbed. Did I know what I want? I wanted the old JK who was true to me. I wanted our old relationship filled with love, honesty and transparency not where I was now. There were hurt, doubt and mixed feelings.

In the morning, I woke up with a start as confusion clouded my mind. Who was in my bed?  I have played with the thoughts of infidelity but was not planning on carrying it out. I was about to scream when I realised it was JK who had his arms wrapped around me.
“Hey gorgeous, you look like you had a nightmare.”
I was about to reply he was my nightmare but kept my mouth clamped shut. Pressed my temple and fell back on the bed. Just a few more minutes to recollect my thoughts and I will be ready to start the day.
The events of the night before came flooding back. The knock and JK in my room. So it was not a dream.It was real, and I had no clue how I wanted to deal with the situation.

I rolled out of bed and dragged my fatigued body to the bathroom shutting myself in. I still had not said a word to JK this morning. I was angry with myself and angry with him. How do people deal with infidelity? I have had to advise a friend or two, but that was many years ago when they were dating and not married. My stand was if a guy cheats on you with another woman take a walk. If he raises his hand at you, not even hitting you, take a fast walk and never look back. If he hits you, married or not take a flight out of that relationship.
So the advice was given to others, and here I was. “Take a walk.” Every day I hear that in my head. Take a walk but is that what I wanted. I hear other advice like go out with someone to hurt him.   Would that not be in the extreme? I could not do that even to my enemy. Others were, make life miserable for him. But how long will he put up with such and not be driven entirely into the hands of the other woman?
I remember the book the woman on my fight gave me, and I wondered if I had it in me to do all that. Can I sweep it under the carpet, forgive and move on like nothing happened. At what point do I confront him? Would he deny or confess? Was this the first, second or the last?
I must have been in that toilet for a while because JK came to knock on the door and asked if I was alright.

I am touched by the concern in his voice but quickly reminded myself of what he was doing to our relationship. I had to be strong and not get carried away with whatever love and devotion he threw my way.

I cleaned up and came out to dress. Ordered breakfast for two after asking JK if he wanted anything special.
“My ice queen wife has decided to grace me with some words.Today must be a beautiful day.”
“I am not much for talking today. I got a lot on my mind.”
“That you have refused to share.”
“I can’t share with you because I have lost you along the way and  I am now alone. I peeked to look at his face watching intently to see his reaction.
There was a moment of hesitation like a self-check. I think, but there was something in those eyes that was gone before I could put a word to it.
He came close to me and took my hands placing them on over his heart.
“You got my heart babe! Every piece of it.  You have the whole of me. I might not be the perfect husband, but I love you with all I have got.”

Should I mention that the words were so genuine and, I wanted to believe it and wish whatever it was I think I had found out will go away or was just my imagination or something similar to my friend Sa’a s situation.
Can the man before me declaring his undying love still be the same person exchanging text messages? To be honest, nothing was incriminating from his messages sent out, but the words from the other end left little for one’s imagination.
As much as I was torn as to what to believe, and wish the problem away, I could not go past my hurt. I was also not sure I wanted to spend the rest of myself without JK. I did not know what to do.
Love him through this. The words came slowly to my head! What! I blurted out.
JK looked at me confused.
“What is what?”
“Nothing,” I shrugged.
He prodded me, and  I had to think of something to say
“What if you stopped loving me and start loving someone else?” I choked the words out.
“There could never be another you. I can never love another person like the way I love you.”

But you could love someone else like the way you love them. I finished sadly in my head. The guy was smart. I can give him credit for that.
I hope I could love him the way I should because to love JK from now onward would be thoughtful and hard work. It was not the natural love where your emotions were involved, with chemistry, hot and sizzling enough to melt ice. I was a long haul to loving him and that book, “Love Dare” might be worth trying. If it does not work, then I might have to take my advice to take a walk. No need staying in a loveless marriage.

Meena’s Diary#8

My eyes flew open while I slowly stretched on the hard seat in the waiting reception of the hospital careful not to wake Hauwau.
The things I heard still rang in my head. To think that I had always thought my friend had her life on a platter of gold and was going through a difficult marriage deeply hid in the false exterior of a fulfilled life. She had opened up to me in the hours that flew while we waited for Sa’a to wake up.

wordle-girlstoys

I gasped when I saw Atiku standing before me. I knew I was not dreaming for my eyes were well wide awake although my addled brain was still trying to process the information.
“You came,” I exclaimed with joy like a little girl who had just received a gift from Santa Claus.
“Where was I supposed to be, when my dear wife is on admission at the hospital? Stay and be working? Oh no! You do not think work is more important than Sa’a?”

I am both confused and shocked simultaneously. What in the first place brought Sa’a to the hospital? I rubbed my eyes tiredly stifling a yawn, and thinking that perhaps I must be dreaming. This was not the attitude of one willing to take on a second wife.
“Atiku, I don’t know what to think.” He did look tired, but this was my chance to broach the subject. Maybe he would have a rethink and the looming calamity over my friends’ home will be averted.
I took a glance where Hauwau lay and was happy she was fast asleep. She would have reprimanded me to let sleeping dogs lie but me in my character of saying what I thought neither paid attention nor gave heed to the warning but for the intervention of providence.

There was no love lost between Hawau and Atiku. How she managed to remain in Sa’as life is still a mystery. One thing Sa’a had not been able to oblige Atiku is forfeiting her friendship with Hawau.
Atiku followed my gaze and his tired face now replaced with a scowl. I could not help but chuckle, and he scowled harder.
“You should get used to her,” I walked ahead to leading the way  Sa’as room.

Sa’a was fast asleep. Atiku rushed to her side holding her hand with so much tenderness that tears rolled down my cheek. I hoped what I heard were lies or a misunderstanding. The picture before me did not portray a man planning to bring in a second wife. There definitely must be a mistake. The look of love and anguish that filled his eyes as he watched Sa’a lying almost lifeless on the bed except her slow but laboured breathing.
“What did the Doctor say?” He asked hoarsely, and I felt so sorry for him.
“She tried to commit suicide.”
“What!” He exclaimed shutting his eyes in anguish.
“Why would she do that?”
I could see the look of confusion on his face.
“Why would she want to kill herself?”
“You have no idea?”
He was looking at me like I had a growth or something not in place on my head.
“Meena, please do not torture me further by going in circles. Tell me what I need to know to rectify why she felt the need to try to kill herself.”

A few minutes ago I was ready to give him my opinion and beg him to see reason, but common sense told me to keep shut and let this two work out whatever the issue was.
There was hope for Sa’a. A man heartbroken like what I just saw could not have been the mean guy portrayed in the story Hauwau narrated. Something was not right in the story, but the scene here was looking good.

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”

Omowashe Omorishe#30

Uncle Segun

second-chance

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meena’s Dairy#5

Wake up

 

wordle-girlstoys I ran into the reception of Gurara hospital looking around for Hauwau, and there she was sitting calmly like she was not the one who had raised the alarm sending me scurrying off to the hospital like a frightened rat.

“Hey! What’s the problem, spill it out,” I commanded irritably.

“You need not be in a hurry.  Only brace yourself for what you are about to see.”

“What kind of suspense is this?” My heart was beating at 70, above the normal healthy heart rate per minute and my friend was all cool and dilly-dallying on the main issue

“Follow me,” she said gravely.
I was filled with trepidation as I walked behind her trying not to second guess what I was to behold.
Once we entered the room, I almost blacked out with shock as I saw Sa’a my dear friend lying lifeless on the bed.

My knees buckled as my mind screamed. She could not be dead. No, it was not possible.
I spoke to her over the weekend, and we had planned to go to the Garki city mall to watch a movie on Friday Night.
I gripped Hauwau and asked “What is this? Is she sleeping?” I wanted to believe Sa’a was sleeping.

“She was brought in here unconscious; her house help called me after raising the alarm and a kind neighbour brought her here last night.

Last night, and I was lying on my bed being cuddled by JK while my best friend was being snatched by the cold hands of death.
“What about Atiku?” I asked. “He should be here.”

Hauwau hissed and rolled her eyes. “Atiku is away in Dubai. He left yesterday night.”
She handed me a letter, and I took it from her. Something was terribly wrong, and I could feel it.

Atiku and Hauwa were two inseparable lovebirds. We were both in the same class in secondary and went on to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Their love had span teenage-hood to adulthood. Atiku was just a year older than Hauwau, but they had weathered the storm through thick and thin that threatened their love.

Their love story would make you never feel enamoured by Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet.
In her second year at the University, Sa’as father had gotten her a respectable husband. He was a dear friend of her father, a business mogul and she was to be his fourth wife. Sa’a fought tooth and nail with her father and faced almost being disowned but for the intervention of the Emir of the town who she ran to for help.

The intervention brought a twist to her destiny of being a fourth wife to marrying her teenage sweetheart in pomp and pageantry as the two families were Arewa socialites.
What I read in the note brought tears to my eyes.

Sa’a had contemplated suicide on discovering Atiku was having an affair with a girl ten years their junior and was planning to marry her. She was a daughter of a governor. I recognised the name when I saw it. We had one of the girls in our class in secondary school. I also remember she was a sworn enemy of Sa’a over Atiku. What one sister could not get the other has gotten it. Was it Sa’as destiny to be traumatised by this family?

I sat in the nearest available chair dejectedly.
“Is she going to make it?” I asked with an apprehension that had come to seat within my breast since I walked into the room.
The Doctors are doing all they can, but they can’t give us any assurance.

“Oh, Atiku! What have you done?” I whispered to myself.

“Is Atiku aware?”

“No, he is not. Like I told you he was off to Dubai. That I know because the house help said that much to me.”
I pulled my phone out to call him; he would most likely be roaming his number.
“What are you doing?” Hauwa asked making an effort to snatch my phone from my hand.

“Calling Atiku,” I answered what else did it look like I was doing. I fumed below my breath.

“You wouldn’t dare,” she threatened.

“Why?” I asked more baffled by the way Hauwau was handling the situation. Why so much anger and poison oozing out of her.

“You think he cares? The man is on the verge of taking another wife, and you are calling him?” she hissed.

“Taking another wife or not he would want to know about his wife near suicide attempt,” I argued stubbornly.
Hauwau laughed at my foolishness.

“You still think life is like all the – Mills and Boons you read in school. How many did you read? 100, 200 300, because I believe you have been brainwashed. What part of – there is no happily ever after in marriage are you finding it hard to believe?”
“My story,” I retorted upset with her and how callous she was being.
Tsk! Tsk!! Tsk!!! she smirked. “My dear Meena, wake up from dreamland before you find out that the carpet has been pulled from under your feet.
A groan from the bed where Sa’a lay got me rushing off to her side while Hauwau picked the phone to call the Nurses.

omowashe omorishe#24

Healing

 

familyI woke up in a strange but luxurious room. The bed was heavenly. I must be in a dream I concluded.However,  the events of yesterday came flashing through my mind and how I got here.

Andrew had offered me his place, and with no other favourable option, I took the offer. He lived with his parents in a twin duplex. His parents were on the other wing.

Staying over at a guy’s place was not my thing but nothing of my life in the last 24 hours has been my thing. I left the lounge at 2.00am in the morning in Andrew’s car while Bode sorted how to get his car back home.

It was silly the way Bode was practically handing me over to Andrew when I  insisted I was not going home or to his mother’s  place either.

Stretching on the bed like a lazy cat, I reluctantly checked my watch, it was 11.00 am. Aahh! I groaned as I dragged myself out of bed. What a terrible guest, I must be, sleeping the whole morning without any regard for my host.
I took in the environment and the display of wealth in the house. We all knew our boss came from a wealthy home, but this was more than we had imagined.

I got out of bed and tried to find my way downstairs to the living room without getting lost in the massive house. I felt in love with the whole place. I must have been blind not to have noticed this last night.

The coffee brown and teal living room lightly decorated with fabulous pieces intricately used together to give a warm and cosy space. The teal geometric wallpaper used as a focal point and the triple wire mesh ball like chandelier dropping down in the space asymmetrically without the light on was the look that finished off the exquisite décor.

I  drank in the beauty of the area like one thirsty for wonder, enjoying the calmness I felt by just being there. Whoever said that the interior design of a house did not matter been proven wrong. The elegance of the place had a soothing balm to my nerves.

My eyes rested on a large picture behind the coffee brown leather sofa. It was Andrew smiling into the camera with another beautiful lady who could put Miss world to shame with her looks. She was fair skinned and looked half-caste, with big cute eyes lined in black kohl pencil, an aristocratic nose, every girl dreamed off and beautiful thin lips in bright red lipstick. Her hair was in long big braids falling over her shoulders.
They did look the perfect couple, and I was happy he had finally found someone. It seemed a lifetime ago we had a discussion on his dating status. How did he miss sharing this bit with me? I frowned wondering where he was so I could accuse him.

I wandered to the dining. There was a large note on the table
“Off to church. Did not want to wake you. Please help yourself with breakfast. I would be back soon.”

My stomach growled with hunger. When was the last time I had a meal? That must have been breakfast yesterday.

I got into the kitchen, which was the same colour as the living room, coffee brown wood for the furniture and touches of teal used in accessories around and cream walls like every other wall in the whole house was in Cornsilk, a variation of cream. Whoever had done the decor of this place had a rich taste. It was both welcoming and captivating. Your eyes moved around harmoniously, not jumping from one item to the other. It was a space you wanted to come to every day. The colour combination was one I had envisioned in my mind to try when I eventually got my place. To see the colour used here was like Deja Vu.

I put the kettle on to boil while I made toast, everything you needed for a simple breakfast had been laid out. I managed a small smile. Who would think that Andrew was one of those domesticated guys? But then, I should not credit him alone, the girl in the picture would have helped out. Wasn’t that obvious I reminded myself.

Not everyone was like me. I rarely visited Bode at his home. But that could be because he shuttled between two homes. His and his mother’s. And when I did go to his place, I never bothered to change anything to establish my presence there. I believed when we did marry. I would have all the time to do his home to my heart content, but a fiancée was no wife, and I was going to enjoy that role while it lasted.
If only I knew the tragedy waiting around the corner for me.

The thought shot a pain through my heart. I should not be visiting the land of misery today. I had to pull myself together and start thinking how to get out of this hole of pain. I had to move forward, settle with my parents, my birth parents and start thinking what I wanted to do with my life. Marriage was out for me. I could not go through this pain again.

I wish I had been true to myself. Karma must be catching up with me.
Had I not shied away from any relationship until I met Bode. Did I not push him away to focus on my career but my heart was not strong enough to follow my head. My life was beautiful with Bode. He completed me in every way. With Bode, I felt so alive that there was never a dull moment. He loved me, and there was no doubt about it. He knew every button to press to make me smile, laugh and not take life too seriously. I could loosen up and be myself without fear of criticism or failure. Bode never felt threatened by my success, and rather he urged me on to push to the highest limit. He was successful in what he did and wanted it for everyone around him.

I wiped the lone tear from my eyes. I did not think I had any more tears to shed. The ache in my heart was killing me.

There was also the issue of Uncle Segun. I wanted him to pay for being the cause of my pain. If only they had been truthful about my heritage. I would have known Bode was my cousin and what existed between us would never have happened.
What do I do about my birth Mother? I was not ready to see her. We had nothing in common. If she could give me up for whatever reason, she did not deserve my time or attention now. She did not love me enough to keep me. Why would she love me now?
Love. Was I ever loved? My parents did. They took me in when they did not have to. I thought Uncle Segun did at a time, but this new revelation threatened everything I knew about my family and myself.
I was nobody! The stark realisation hit me like a cannon ball. I held myself as I sat on the floor of the kitchen and cried. I was nobody! My mother rejected me from birth. She saw nothing desirable in me to make her keep me.

*******
Andrew Akande

I met Lana balled on the floor in my kitchen when I came back from church. Initially, I was afraid she might have passed out. I called out her name in panic. She stirred and opened her eyes.
Looking at her surroundings, she looked up at me aghast.

“I am so sorry, I must have slept off,” said Lana as she struggled up to stand up only to crumble into a heap.

I  called my mother quickly who was a doctor to come over.
My mum set to work immediately she came but not without a look of disapproval.

“Call for an ambulance from the hospital and her family to meet us at the hospital,” she commanded.

“What happened to her?” my mum inquired feeling her pulse.

“She is going through a rough time,” I answered without going into details.

The ambulance came in record time and took Lana to the hospital.

I called her parents on my way to the hospital so they could meet us there.

At the hospital, I was in the reception waiting for any information when her parents rushed in followed by Uncle Segun. I smiled as the word a “father’s heart” came to mind.

“How is she?”  he asked apprehensively.

“The doctors have not brought any report yet,” I answered.

“She is taking it harder than we thought,” her father said while her mother took a seat exhausted.

“We can’t have come this far to lose her. She needs to gather herself together. People have gone through worse in life, and they came out triumphantly. She has to do the same,” her father continued.

“We thought Lana was a fighter. She is not one to give up easily on projects because of their level of difficulty. She went headlong until she accomplished the task. Why is this different?” chipped in Lana’s mother.

“They were projects, ma, and she had a strong support system in you, her family. She knew she could do anything because she had your love and affection. But now in her thinking, she has lost all that and so there is no will to fight,” I offered an explanation from my perspective.

“She still has our love and affection,” argued her father.

“She does not know that in her mind. You all have to show her that.”

Turning to Uncle Segun. I felt compelled to brief him since I had picked Lana from the lounge on his request.
“We have not spoken yet. Lana narrowly missed being killed in a crumbled building yesterday at midnight where I picked her up after you called me. She was okay when we got home.

This morning, I met her on the floor. l She passed out when she tried to stand up. We pray she would be okay.

“She would be fine. She has to be,” said Uncle Segun more to convince himself.

We all scrambled up as the doctor came, It was not my mother.

“We have sedated her to rest. She should be better and ready to leave when she wakes up. She was dehydrated but is on a drip.

I could see the relief wash over her parents and uncle and could only imagine what they were going through. The hospital scare was the second for Lana in a year.

One good thing that came out of this would be her going back to her family.

“Thank you, Andrew, for all your help. We would not want to keep you,” said Uncle Segun.

A nurse came out that Lana was asking for me.
I looked at her parents, unsure if I should go. I was not family.

“Go in quickly, we have to abide by her wishes,” said her mother.

Lana looked tired all over.

“You look like someone a train has just hit,” I teased.

“I feel far worse,” she said weakly.

“Try not to talk,” I said.

“Are my parents out there?” she asked suspiciously.

“Of course Lana, they are and Uncle Segun. They care about you so much.”

“My parents and uncle have a funny way of showing it. If only you knew,” she said.

“Family will always be family. No family is perfect. We make mistakes but do not allow those mistakes to define the relationship. Your uncle and parent might have hurt you but they love you deeply, and it was out of love for you, they did what they did although, you feel they could have done better,” I said hoping my words will reach out to her.

“ But it hurts. It hurt so badly. I lose a fiancé, and my family hides my true identity.”

“It is okay to hurt Lana, allow yourself to hurt and start healing.
What you feel is normal and now out of place but if you decide to stay in a rut and enable the hurt to eat at you. You will be destroying yourself. Talk to them. Tell them how you feel and give them the space to tell you why they did it.
I cannot convince you that the pain will go away immediately, but if you allow yourself, healing will come gradually.
Would you promise to give yourself that chance?”

I started into her eyes willing her to be strengthened and opened for healing.
“With that look, do I have a choice?” You could be on your knees begging,” she said with a sad smile and quickly looked away but not before I saw a tear drop on her cheek.
I squeezed her hand.
“You have a friend whenever you need one. And this friend says you’ll be fine.”
“To think I thought the worst of you. I am ashamed,” Lana said with a voice filled with regret.
“Shhhh leave the past where it belongs and look ahead to a bright future of hope and beauty,” I said as I put my index finger to her lips.