Meena’s Diary#15

They say heartbreak is the worst pain, but I think it’s fair play compared to betrayal.

 

wordle-girlstoys

My love, best friend and confident. I could trust JK with my life. I could overlook a casual affair as time goes on, but a constant reminder of his adultery packaged in what I had not been able to give him was a pain akin to no other.

It’s been three days of hell.   Funny how the pain from my thought and speculation that there was someone else dulled to what I felt now.
My brain has not been able to process beyond the fact that JK had a child outside with someone else while we were married.

What game was destiny was playing on me?  Okay, it had never bothered us the sex of our kids. We had two lovely daughters, and nowJK had a son to carry his name that was not borne by me.

Where did I go wrong? How did I get so careless that my husband was now in the league of those who had children outside wedlock?

I stole a look at him beside me on the plane back to Lagos.
We had not spoken since he dropped his bombshell.
Well, that will not be true. I  was the one who has not talked to JK.  He had been doing all the talking, but he could have been speaking to the statue of liberty or the statue of the three wise men in Lagos.

He begged, apologised and asked me to meet out any punishment I wanted, and he would gladly observe. He promised me heaven and earth, but I was far gone to care whatever he said.

There was no using crying over spilt milk. JK did commit a sacrilege to our marriage, and its effect will be in our lives forever.

I  still did not know my next step. I was exhausted and still in shock.

My life and all I had built with JK had come crumbling down like a pack of cards.

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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.

Omowashe Omorishe#13

Slowly but surely

Experience

“Peju you’ve got to choose a gown,” I scolded her.
“We have been to all but one wedding dress shop on both the island and mainland, and you are yet to get a gown of your choice. I suggest you give Vera Wang a call. I am sure you would get something from her, or maybe we should look for Frank Osodi. He is as good as Vera Wang,” I said frustrated that we have been unable to get a design she liked.

We had spent the last two months in and out of all the wedding dress shops that we could find and much to my chagrin she had not been able to spot a style she loved. There was always a- but in the dresses she saw.

She wanted a wedding dress that could show her figure to the nines but appropriate and easy on the eyes. We saw quite a lot of body fitting tube gowns which looked great on her, but she complained she felt exposed in them. If my opinion counted at this point, I wondered how exposed you could get with a wedding gown snug on you, showing all your curves with full sleeves. You are in a long dress for crying out loud not some short skimpy dress.

There are two sides to any wedding gown – just my thoughts. It is either you went with something conservative where all the mothers and church officials are happy or provocative where the men will ogle at the bride. The mothers will eye in disgust, and the younger ladies will look with envy waiting for their time to come and how they would improve or use the same style.

We were yet to find this middle ground Peju was looking for, and here I was facing the herculean task of tagging along on every visit.

Peju suddenly had this look on her face like someone who had caught a divine inspiration. Why did I feel that whatever was coming would not be good?
She pulled out her Louis Vuitton bag and groped in it for about a minute before turning out with a one Dirham coin I supposed she got on our trip to Dubai.

“Heads, Vera Wang and tail, Frank Osodi,” she said tossing the coin into the air, and it landed on tail.

“You decide who would make your dress by flipping a coin?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes, so that settles it, I would describe what I want and hope he creates the magically look I desire,” said on a final note.

“Dress sorted we can move to other things.” she concluded.

The attendants at the shop were watching us like a television sitcom.

Frank Osodi had created an exceptional wedding gown for a bride in one of the issues of Ovation Magazine I got to read at the salon while waiting to make my hair a while ago. The writer said, “He was as good as any international designer.

Sheila my cousin, the nail expert had also worked on that Bride. I put a call through to her for contact details.

“I hope yours comes out exceptional, or I would blame myself,” I grumbled.

Sheila offered to call and book an appointment on our behalf. She told us he ran a busy schedule in and out of the country and would be lucky if he could take up our job.

“For a Nigerian designer?” I asked with disdain.

“Yes for a Nigerian designer,” she mimicked me.

“One whose design will make you will eat humble pie,” Sheila vowed.

“I hope so,” I said with no enthusiasm, still sceptical.

Turning to Peju, “I have gotten his number, but you heard Sheila, she would call on our behalf. Hopefully, that should help.”

“Back to your coin tossing, would you have gone with Vera Wang? I asked with doubt.

“I would have gladly gone with you on that trip,” I said dreamily with the advent of my new hobby in globetrotting, I could not pass up every opportunity to travel.
Peju was back into her bag pulling out God knows what this time around.
I screamed when she sheepishly handed a ticket to London with my name on it as I looked at her for an explanation.

“Phil got tired of listening to my tales of woe on how I had been unable to secure a gown,” Peju said like going to London was an everyday affair for both of us.

“How good could this get. Dubai then London,” I squealed.

“Girl, I might not envy your walk down the aisle to matrimony, but I do envy this trips,” I said pleased with my good luck.

“It was not my idea, trust me.  Phil mentioned it last week, but I brushed it aside. Why do I need to go on an expensive trip to purchase a wedding dress I could as well get here, with proper fittings and adjustment should my weight change just before the wedding,” she said shrugging her shoulders in her peculiar way.

“Another all-expense paid trip. My life is becoming a fairy tale,” I gushed twirling around.

“Did you know London is on my list of places to visit before I turned 30?” I asked giddily with excitement.

“Where is your honeymoon destination? I asked manifesting my Oliver Twist tendencies.

“Why does the work of a maid of honour end at the wedding party?” I moaned as I envisioned her honeymoon destination.

“Oh no yours could continue till the honeymoon,” she said sarcastically pulling my hands as she led me out of the shop.

“You have just confirmed to me the reason I need to get you married within six months of mine,” she said with a look on her face that spoke an indomitable but achievable feat.

“How do you intend to go about that Mrs Peju Philip Idowu? By wagging some more tickets before me? I teased calling her by her future name. Phil was short for Philip so in away Peju gets to retain her name without the “s.”

“By being resourceful and perceptive,” she said picking her words like she was talking to a toddler.

“You don’t recognise love or romance when it stares you in the face, and that would be my starting point,” she looked me straight in the eye willing me to see her point of view.

“You are wrong Peju,” I said smiling confidently. I may not possess Peju’s specialisation in matters of the heart, but I was not so daft not that I would not see one if it stared me in the eye.
“Am I?” she asked daringly like one preview to a piece of information I did not have.

“Yes,” I said challenging her.

“Then it is no news to you that Andrew has eyes for you only,” she whispered with a hint of provocation in her eyes.

“Oh my dear friend now I am certain you are running a little crazy and losing some part of your senses with all this wedding preparation stress,” I said with a grin and taunting her.

“Andrew is our boss and nothing more. Please don’t mess with my mind, try something else,” I chastised her.

Peju laughed. “I told you. You won’t recognise love staring you in the face,” she said gleefully.

“Should we take a bet?” she asked.
“No way, you flipped a coin and your wedding gown and now want to bet on my love life? I am not travelling that road with you.
“A trip to a place you desire all-expense paid? She said throwing a bait at me.
I shrugged I had nothing to lose but my trip.
“I am in, I agreed.
She pulled out her hand for a handshake, and we did like two business partners only we were two young women betting real life issues like juveniles.

Have you given a thought to the dinner, every opportunity to chit chat and the look on his face when he sees you? If that is not some romance brewing, then tell me what it is. I won’t mess with your mind,” she said raising her hand in mock surrender having fun at my expense.

“Deny it all you want like but this is my new project that you recognise the need for romance in your life.

“You don’t toy with people’s life. We must play fair in this bet of yours,” I warned.

“Do you know what you have done? Every time I see Andrew, I would be checking out if what you said is true? I accused her.

“Lana, you won’t, you would start avoiding him from today onwards. I am only asking to give it a chance. Let go of Bode and move on,” she pleaded.

“Peju,” I called her name shaking my head from side to side. Our bet was already forgotten.

“Do you think all these romance stories happen all through marriage? I am not talking about the initial meeting and all the chemistry going on during the dating stage but after marriage does the love continue? The happily ever after story?” I asked.

“My parents’ marriage was a farce. They lived like strangers in the same house. I could not recall a time I saw them laugh together. They had different schedules in and out of the house that was a deliberate ploy not to be at the same place in the house at the same time. In front of the kids, they were civil and polite.

“Please pass the salt, I am sorry, please excuse me were what we heard in most of their conversations.

To their credit, they doted on us kids. We were their world, but it was like they made up in their relationship with us what they lost in theirs.
The politeness was so sickening like you can almost hear them use it before an argument.

“Please, I’m going to be mad at you and use unkind words.

“Excuse me you would not dare.”

“I am sorry, but I have to,” I repeated the words I had heard from my parents bitterly.

“Every word and action were controlled and regulated. I did not lack parental love, but I did not have an example of what an ideal home should be. The Television and books are not real they are a figment of someone’s fantasy and imagination of a perfect world, but life is not always perfect.

I was drawn to my Uncle Sege and his wife not only because I was his favourite niece and he doted on me, but I loved the way they both related to each other. Where they able to keep romance in their marriage because of the absence of children? Perhaps but I may be wrong.”

“Did you ask your mother why this was so?” Peju asked quietly.

“No,” I never did.

“Although when I was younger, I would ask her if she loved Daddy, and she would answer yes, and when I ask my Dad, he would say yes. They thought they fooled us, and we were not able to see through their act. I concluded love and romance must be a pain,” sharing with Peju was like relieving the pain and confusion of my childhood, but I continued nevertheless.

“You can imagine when Bode started talking about marriage. I panicked and pushed him away. I needed that space as I was getting suffocated with his affection. Love and devotion that I felt will turn to tolerance and politeness after marriage.
My mum said that he was a good man but was she a good judge of character? My Dad must have been a nice person but see the kind of marriage they had.
My parents behaved like the idle couple outside. They were not on a public display of affection but went to functions together dressed alike. They put a front so successfully that I can recollect someone commenting on how lucky my mother was to be married to a faithful and attentive man. Love and romance do not exist after marriage,” I concluded my story, opening up for the first time to someone.

“Thanks for sharing Lana. I did not know, but you need to disabuse your mind and open up. There are love and romance before and after marriage, and it depends on how ready the couple is willing to work on it. No two marriages are the same, and it is not always a bed of roses, but if you work hard at it, one can make theirs a heaven on earth.
Phil, and I have vowed to work through ours together tackling all issues as a team and not a person,” she said with a voice filled with love enough for the whole world.

“Your parents were once in love but something happened along the way that drew them apart, and they could not find a way back together again.
They may not have given a good example for marriage, but they stayed together for your sake.”

“Peju was right I never saw it that way. It would have been awful if they had separated and my sister and I had to be shuffling houses or choose which parent we wanted,” I thought to myself.

“Don’t be afraid to find love. Open up to it. Your mother’s experience does not have to be your experience,” Peju encouraged.

“You are older now, why not talk to them, and you might have new information that would help remove your fears. Who knows them opening up to you might be the beginning of a healing process for both of you,” Peju said.

“You sure have not done counselling in your last life?” I teased lightening the mood.

“Our experiences and environment shape us, but we have the power in us to use this to our advantage and achieve our potential,” Peju continued.

“You’ll take your pain and turn to gain. You might have given up in the past, but you will rise from it. Peju said confidently tapping my shoulder and taking one of my hands in a reassuring squeeze.

I gazed at my watch. “Peju we have been here for over two hours! I exclaimed.
We got into the car, and she drove off but not without her reminding me of our bet.
My mind had a lot and foremost was to have a talk with my parents.