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.
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#10

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meena ‘s Diary#9

The Sa’a saga is all behind us, and our lives returned to normalcy. We found out that our old classmate did start a rumour of the supposed relationship with her sister who worked on one of the teams handling the project. Atiku’s visits to their father were strictly business dealings and connected to the project he was overseeing in Dubai.


On the day Sa’a had tried to commit suicide.  She had wrongly accused Atiku of planning to take a second wife and the trip to Dubai was not purely business.Atiku too angry to dignify her accusation with a response stormed out of the house. Sa’a took that as a sign he was guilty and the rest of the story, we were a part of the drama that ensued.
Her foolishness almost cost her life and yes! as soon she was out of the woods. I gave her a piece of my mind.

Oh dear! The drama we women create out of nothing. But hey!  Our instincts do some overdrive at times, but it is never wrong.

Back to my world. Each day as I struggled to connect with JK. I found the distance in our hearts widening. I did not know how we got there and I certainly was clueless how to get us out.
Try a little conversation here. Did I hear you say? It is not that easy.
Like, hey stranger, let’s connect and automatically the connection comes. Yeah, I wish it was that simple.

Few weeks down the line, it’s his birthday, and I organised a surprise get away for the weekend. Bought him an expensive watch which cost me three months salary.
We had a good time just us, no kids no work. Food, movies, chit chat, sex and more sex.
You can’t put the right words to it, but you feel it when you are lost in a relationship. And mine was a shipwreck.

Tang! Back home and the same distance.

What drove me out of curiosity was what killed me. I picked JK’s phone one morning while he was having his bath and scrolled through his calls and text messages.

There was a recurring name on that phone. Nothing implicating but more reoccurring than my number.
I became both hot and cold at the same time. Fear laced with dread caused tangles in my heart.  No, it’s just a coincidence. It can’t  be. It is not in JK to have an affair. I rationalised and argued. JK worshipped the ground I walked on. That was a lifetime ago, came a voice in my head.

I put the phone down as I heard the shower cease and slipped into the kitchen.  I could not face JK. I needed to know what to do with this new information.

I was still in the kitchen when I heard him behind me.
” Hey, babe! Good morning,”  and he tried to kiss me on the cheek.
I stifled at his touch, subtly avoided his lips as I lifted the kettle to pour a cup of coffee.
“Got to run, call you later,” and he was gone. I did not know I had been holding my breath. I fell on the kitchen floor and wept silently not to wake the kids.

For days I secretly cried in the bathroom wondering where did I go wrong. Was I not beautiful enough? Had I not sacrificed myself for the family? Denials of holidays,  clothes and accessories, so the family budget was not exceeded. And I get paid by infidelity?

There were moments of self-doubt then anger followed by hurt and depression. I looked at the kids and wished we had none. It would have been easy to walk away. Leave it all behind. I recalled my conversation with Hauwau a few weeks back and laughed bitterly at my foolishness.  There were no happily ever afters.

I tried to look normal, act normal but my heart was broken and hurts in-depth and intense. I did not think I could come out. I bought a ticket to Paris on a whim. Called my mum to help with the kids and told JK at the airport I was out. I could imagine his stunned look as he asked in shock what I was going to do in Paris. “To get me a new boyfriend,”  I joked but would not have minded if I could go through with it.

Meena’s Diary#7



“He is taking the first flight out of Dubai,” I informed Hauwau triumphantly.
She rolled her eyes. “It means nothing to me. Let Atiku focus on his wife and family.”
“Isn’t that what we all want from our husbands, the happily ever after, a romance that won’t end with the wedding but continue in the life of the marriage,” I thought out loudly.
“Sadly, we don’t. Romance dies once the wedding gets consummated,” replied Hauwau.

“But you have it all?” I challenged her.
“You think so, my dear? Is it because I show you what you want to see?  A perfect husband and marriage?” She laughed bitterly.”Meena, I have learnt to live with the pain, smile through the hurts and betrayal and be content in the success I get from my career and love from friends and family.”
“What are you trying to tell me?” I asked shocked at what I was hearing but refusing to let the reality sink in.
“I have said it in plain English. You are naïve to the truths and ways of life. In your naivety, you have shielded yourself from harsh reality, so you live in the past because the present is far from what you wish and you have no idea what the future holds.”
The alarm on my phone went off reminding me I had to go and pick the kids from school.
“Don’t move,” I will be right back I commanded. “This heart to heart talk must continue.”

Hauwau’s words kept playing in my head. To think that I felt she had it all together. There she was struggling and hurting on her own. My thoughts moved to my present relationship with JK. We were okay in a sense we neither argued nor had disagreements but no longer connected the way we used to.

He called me at the start of work, lunch and just before leaving the office. Every call ended with the perfunctory “I love you” we talked about our day in the narratives without depth to our feelings. Our sex left me yearning for more than just a physical connection of our bodies but our hearts.

Many times I recollected telling him I sensed I no longer had his heart but he would reassure me of his faithfulness. I am and would be the only woman in his life. The words were what they were, mere words which did not connect to my heart.
I argued with myself severally that I had nothing to worry about and we were in a phase that would pass away with time. How long that would take, I did not know. Sometimes I stare at JK and wonder if we have not become two strangers connected by the kids and the four walls of our apartment.

Hauwau’s words have jolted me into reality. My marriage might even be over, and here I was downplaying a fire that has started slowly, the smokes giving the signs but ignored by me. Would it take an inferno to wake me up to how far I was from the kind of marriage I wanted and wasn’t it possible to have it all – romance and happily ever afters?

Omowashe Omorishe#14

Love stole on me


The days flew by as we got ready for Peju’s big day. We were at work in the day and hitting the road in the evenings for dress fittings, meetings with the wedding planner, makeup artist, and hairstylist for trials interior decorator for the house. There was so much to do. I was surprised at the work that had to go in for a four-hour program.

I shuddered to think what would have happened if we had not involved the services of a wedding planner because we still had so much to do on our part.
I was fatigued weeks before the wedding, and I could only imagine what Peju was going through. I looked forward to that day more with relief that all the craziness of the last couple of weeks will end.

One of the exciting moments of the event was my meeting with Phil’s Mum. I had all but forgotten about our meeting at her birthday party and how drawn I was to her. Mrs Idowu was grace and beauty personified. If getting such a woman was in the marriage package, I would not have minded being in Peju’s shoes with the kind of scary mother in law stories we hear about today. She was a breath of fresh air, and I considered Peju lucky to have her. We had several meetings with her that I had even carried on some without Peju. I did not mind she was one woman you left refreshed and ready to take on the whole world.

If I ever was asked a mentor I wanted to her to be one. She had her business and home worked out to perfection. I was surprised when I found out the companies she managed. Chief and Phil were not the only ones who had businesses in the family. She had a portfolio that rivaled theirs. I made a mental note to come back after the wedding to ask her to sign up with my Bank.

My closeness to the family during this period was a delight to see how they all related to each other with love and adoration. Phil and his father Chief treated her like royalty. She ran the Idowu Empire, but you could also see grace and kindness around her, and there was no doubt as to why the men treated her with respect and devotion.

On one of my visits, there she was in the garden wrapped in the arms of her husband. To see elderly people with love and romance after almost thirty years of marriage was one of the sweetest things I had experienced. It made me begin to reconsider my stance. That my parents’ marriage was not the defining factor of how unions would turn out and theirs was just one of the many failed ones, and there were many other successful ones like what Chief and his wife had.

To go by the saying that you could judge how a son would treat his wife by how his father treats his mother and how he treats his mother then, Peju had hers figured out for good. Love, romance and luxury in the mix.
I did not know when it happened, but I looked forward to getting married someday when I had gathered enough courage to tear down completely my walls of unbelief about marriage. I was a step ahead in the positive direction as hope ignited in my heart.
I hope to meet that special someone who would treat me right till we were old and grey haired.

I let myself in with my key. It was nice to see my mother in the living room watching a soap – Tinsel.
“Mum!” I called after greeting.

“I did not know that you watch this program. I have not been able to follow up the episodes in a long while,” I said dropping into the seat beside hers.

“I stumbled into it last month and got hooked. It is interesting and engaging,” my mum said without taking her eyes off the screen.

“How are you? She asked now looking me over. You know this mother look that pierces into your soul searching for what you are not saying.

“I am good, in between work and Peju’s wedding, I am completely swamped,” I replied.

“You both need to take it slow,” she advised.

“Any news on yours?” she asked hopefully.
Trust my mum not to miss any opportunity to ask what was dearest to her heart right now – getting me married off.

“Remain expectant, mum,” I said squeezing her hands not wanting to dampen her hope. In the past, I had either ignored the questioned or teased her on how she could not wait to get rid of me

“What was it like when you first married?” I asked her as the episode came to an end.

“It was heaven. Your Dad, and I got married in England. We were in the same university and the only Nigerians in the faculty. It was only natural we got together. More so, we were from the same state and had so much in common,” she said with the most beautiful smile I had seen on her.

“I thought yours was an arranged marriage, like one of convenience,” I teased.

“No,” she said with a shudder.

“It was the norm then, but I got lucky and married to someone wanted, and not my parent’s imposition, unlike others who were not so fortunate.

“I want to hear the whole story,” I said settling into my chair gazing at her expectantly.

“There is not much to tell,” my mum said shyly.

“Okay, Mum say the little there is to tell,” I begged.

“I saw your Dad on my first day on campus. He was one of the very few African men on campus so it was easy to notice him.  He came up to me, introduced himself and told me where to find him if I needed any help. He was a year ahead of me. We became friends, and he asked me to marry him.  I did at that time; that was the best thing that could happen to me.

“You were not in love?” I asked surprised.

“I liked him enough to marry him we did and started a family with Nekan, and you came along after that.

“Mum, why don’t you want to say you fell in love with him,” I chastised her? She made it sound so businesslike and obligatory even Ronald Reagan was more passionate in his tear down the wall speech to Gorbachev in West Berlin in 1987.

“I loved your Dad and still do but sometimes love is not enough,” she said sadly.

“What would be enough?” I asked. I wanted to know perhaps it would answer some of my questions.

“Hard work, discipline, sacrifice, keeping in- laws out of your personal issues, communication and understanding,” she reeled out with ease.

“Was that what was missing for you and Dad? You live like strangers and try to hide it, but Nekan and I saw through it,” I told her emboldened by the heart to heart moment.

“We sought to stay together beyond our differences to give you girls a home, but I guess it did not make a difference, she sighed dejectedly.

“Mum,” I called and held her hands compassionately grateful for the sacrifice she made staying in an enduring marriage just for my sister and me.

“You both must have done your best. What I saw in our home, influenced my decision to stay off marriage but in the last few weeks preparing for Peju’s wedding, I saw that not all marriages end up disastrous, and there are lovely marriages to be desired out there. I can hope again that when I find love, I won’t run away this time. And in that hope I wish Dad, and you would find a way back to yourselves again,” I said encouraging and willing her to fight for her marriage.

“We are far too gone apart that love matters less now. A lot has happened with complications that are now too difficult to resolve,” she said wiping away her tears.

I was taken aback by my mum’s tears. My mum might not want to declare her love for my Dad, but you could see it shining through her eyes.
We were both carried away in our discussion that we failed not hear my Father come in. I had no idea how long he had stood there and what he had heard, but he came and stood in front of my mum wiping her eyes as he pulled her up into his arms.

“It has been too long Dupe, but we can work it out together,” my Dad whispered to her.

I slipped out leaving the new lovebirds with a song rising in my heart. Miracles do happen.
All things were going looking up pleasantly for me except I had lost Bode for good. I close my eyes and allow the pain to wash over me one last time as I vowed to move on and hope love will find me again.

Bode’s story did not end with me not calling and giving up. I knew he was back in town from a mutual friend and collected his address to pay him a surprise visit, apologise and remind him of his promise to wait for me rather than call on the phone.

I dressed that day, taking care of my makeup and dress with hints of what he had said he liked when we dated, colour, shoes, dress style. It was a peace offering. I had no doubt we would work out our relationship and make up for the lost years.If only I had an inkling of the drama that awaited me when I arrived at his place.The shock I received when I got to his place and found out he was married was enough to send me to an early grave.

The lady introduced herself to me as his wife. I remember the look of satisfaction on her face at my disbelief and disappointment and how she wagged her ring finger in my face, possibly in a bit to taunt me.

She obviously knew who I was and enjoyed the pain I was going through. I did not blame her. My loss was her gain. She had a fantastic guy, and it was okay to show off especially to an ex who discarded him like a dishcloth.
How I made it back home that day driving was a blur, but I did get home safely to deal my misery.

I cried for weeks, heartbroken and there was no one to confide in. I had made my bed and had to lie on it, but it was not what I wanted. If only I could turn the hands of the clock back to the day, I told Bode I needed a break. If only I could explain to him my fears and how I felt. If only I had called him back that same day that I had not meant all I said as my heart yearned to. If only I had not given into the logical side of my brain and analysed my romance like a science experiment.

The if-only were too many, but they were not going to bring me out of the hole I fell in. I never thought I could get out. It was the feeling of being afraid to breathe. Going through all the motions of life but your heart was not in it. I was a living dead. I lost what mattered most because I was too selfish to recognise the best gift that was handed to me in the person of Bode Coker and now I had lost him forever.

In my grief, I convinced myself that I was okay, my career was enough, and there was no room for romance or family. I had a wall around my heart enforced my beliefs which were gradually crumbling down.
Love and family were okay, and I could pray to open my heart at a second chance if I was lucky to get one.