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#11

For seven days I roamed the City of Love,  another name for Paris, shopping till almost dropped dead. I should be feeling guilty spending our savings on myself, but I was far too gone to care. I was neither remorseful nor calculating our mortgage payment. I was on me and mone alone trip. After all, who knows what waits for me at home. I might be moving out and finding myself on the singles lane again.

wordle-girlstoys

The thought sent a shock of pain through my heart. Was that what I wanted? Was this pain ever going to go away? But was it all worth it to throw away twelve years of marriage away.

Why was I going agog on this infidelity thing? If it pained me so much, why, don’t I pay JK back in his coin? We could live together and have separate lives. You do your own thing, and I do mine. We could go out with whoever we wanted to.

I dropped the shopping back on the floor of my hotel room. Turned on the tap to run water. I wanted to soak myself in and wash away all the toxic feelings.

I came to Paris on a whim trying to get as far away as possible  from my problem but the whole thing was constantly in my thoughts.

JK sent series of WatsApp message to my phone, and I replied none. He had called me severally, but I did not pick his calls. I still had not confronted him before I left and I was not going to either.

Falling into the soft fresh bed, I reached out for the TV control on the bedside and flipped through channels looking for something interesting to watch but finally settled for an English news channel.

My French was horrible from Bonjour to  Cava bien mercie to Oui. I can’t remember where I was when my mates were taking French in high school. I must have been taking one of the three Nigerian languages.  And later during the one-year compulsory service after university Alliance francaise was the in thing. I  sill was not found on the foreign language zone. I was struggling with professional exams.

Every morning I wake up and hear the bellman’s greerings, I  am not sure if he is cursing beyond his “ Bonjour Madam.” But If I am to go by the smile that lights up his face. Then he must be singing blessings on me.I reached out for my phone and scrolled to my Facebook page. I had posted pictures of myself while I was shopping on the streets of Paris today.

I needed something to distract me, or I would go crazy.I still was not ready to talk about my problems to my friends.

“Oga Ju! We can see JK’s hand,” a friend commented.  People read what they want. Who was to know that the heart of the smiling face they saw was in turmoil.

“I go love o,” another comment. If only they knew.

“Where is JK in the picture?” Another asked.

“Making the money while his Babe spends it,” yet another friend commented.

“If only Ibrahim can do half of what JK does,” moaned Khadijah.

“You sure do not want him to do a pinch of it. Infidelity sucks!” I muttered to myself.

I closed the Facebook page and checked my twitter account; there would be some serious stuff there.

I checked for updates on work related issues and finally gave up switching off the phone to avoid JK’s calls.

I tossed and tossed in the bed trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. I was tired, but sleep eluded me.

 I gave up and went to the balcony of my hotel room,  beholding the beautiful city with all the lights in the night. The midnight sky filled with bright tiny stars bore no similarity to my feelings, and I sighed sadly. There was a time in my life when I believed the stars will always shine. Especially those moments when JK cast his gaze upon me. You could see the feeling of adoration and love in those eyes.

We loved looking at the stars then trying to outdo the other person with how much stars you could count and wishes you could make. JK always said he would give me the stars and more. It was for me to ask. I never did ask because I knew he would do everything to get them. I smiled. That was the kind of person he was. I am yet to comprehend what he has become. It was not in JK to cheat on me. I held his heart securely but maybe not enough. Somewhere along the line, I lost his heart and did not realise it until it was too late.

I sighed and walked back inside. It was like a lifetime away. How was I to know that all our dreams will be snatched away by JK himself? That he would take away the stars that made our lives so beautiful for an intruder who was maybe half his age, his age or twice his age.

I went to the kitchen for a glass of water, when I heard the knock on my door. It could not be room service at this hour. I quickly put on my dressing gown over my negligee and opened the door more curious than afraid.

I stood rooted to the spot with shock JK!

 

 

 

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.

 

wordle-girlstoys

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.

wordle-girlstoys

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.

Omo washe Omo rishe#10

Paris – Dubai

Burj Khalifa

The beginning of a work week could be both exciting and daunting for me depending on my weekend.There are some weeks I look forward to going to work supercharged and motivated and other times there is no stimulation that I often wondered if I would make it to the end of the week. However, I lived through it, survived and even triumphed. And today was one of those days.I was not eager to resume work as I dreaded seeing my boss. Questions of what the working relationship would be like after our Friday dinner date went awry. To complicate issues, it was my week to work on the reports so I would be working closely with him this week without the luxury of staying out of his way.

The worry which induced insomnia leaving me looking drained that my colleagues were quick to ask if I was ill over the weekend. That would have been the perfect excuse to be out of the office and not have to confront the unease I felt. But being one to go over issues headlong I guess I had to face my fears and move on.

We got into the frenzy of meetings, reports and deadlines. I was relieved to note that my boss was his usual self with no indication of being offended. There was no reference to the date other than hope you had a good weekend. I took the easy way out by taking a cue from him. No hard feelings.

Work and my palpitating mind returned to normalcy. I spend most of my day in the office, and I could not afford a tensed working environment, so I was rather overly grateful for Andrew’s magnanimity on the issue.
“Try not to take life so seriously and stop second guessing people,” I chided myself. To think that I had a miserable weekend because I was worrying things might degenerate at work. My admiration for him scaled up. He is a real manager.

“A kobo for you thoughts?” I heard Peju ask.
I rarely get to see her anymore. She is off every day after work and weekends. All my fears and reservations fell on deaf ears. she was completely smitten by the guy. Although I was not keen or excited about the relationship, I buried whatever I felt could go wrong and relished in her happiness that was infectious.
“It is a penny for your thoughts,” I corrected her laughing.
“Yeah,” she said drily.
“But remember we don’t use penny here, its kobo.”
“You are incorrigible,” I say grinning like someone had just won the world lottery.
I was rather taken aback when she informed me that she would be going to Dubai with Phil for the weekend, and would like me to come along.
“You sure are moving faster than the speed of light” I commented.
“Loosen up Lana. I am not like you. I do not weigh, think and analyse everything I do or say before taking any step or make my decisions. I love adventure, and I take risks. Life does not have a well laid out plan. There is no excitement in that,” She said with one on a mission to make me see things her way.
“Are you game or not?” she went ahead to ask me all in one breath.
“I do not know. I am not sure there would be room for me,” I replied noncommittally.
“You’re kidding! That is the only condition I gave. If you are in we are off and if you are not, I call Phil to cancel,” she said with a hint of you would not dare in her eyes.
I was in a tight spot.

My mind flashed to my boss offer to Paris, and my thoughts taunted me on how was this different. I tried to rationalise it in my head wanting to convince myself than the need to convince anyone, how different this one was. I was to accompany a friend who badly wanted to go but not without me. I could not afford to be the clog in the wheel.  Also, she had something going for her with Phil. I should not be a spoil sport here and oblige her.
“Oh say yes,” she pleaded so dolefully, I could hardly believe she was the one who had threatened me earlier.
“Okay, I agreed, giving in to her request.
“I fail to understand why I have to be the condition of your going,” I replied none too happy.
“My chaperone, silly,” she said like I should have been smart to figure that out.
Peju hugged me excitedly. She released me rather too quickly, looking at me in a funny way as she turned to leave with a hurried “see you later.”
I turned to leave in the opposite direction and bumped into no other than my boss.
“I am so sorry,” I apologised harried at how much of our conversation he would have heard.

“You are going to Dubai?” he asked.
At that instant, I wanted to be anywhere but where I was standing before him ashamed at my double stand.
“Yes,” I stammered and angry at myself for being placed at a disadvantage.
“Peju and me,” I explained and wondered why I felt the need to give reasons for my choices. It is not like the circumstance was the same with the Paris offer but why was I feeling guilty and what was the difference, after all, I was hoping on a plane with a client even though he was my friend’s boyfriend.

“It is a beautiful place. You would have fun. Make sure you check the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and when you do try the observation deck on the 124th floor. Near the Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Fountain also the tallest performing fountain in the world. There is also the Dubai aquarium which houses about 140 species of sea life in huge suspended tank, and lastly, the Ski Dubai with the indoor ski slope is a must with the continuous temperature of four-degree Celsius.

You’ll have so much fun there you won’t want to come back this way,” he teased.`
There was no hint of any hard feelings considering I had thrown his offer to his face.
I felt free of my worry and a pulling of my heartstrings. I appreciated the display of selflessness and in one split-second I thought of asking if the offer to Paris was still open, but all I could say was,   “I would note all these places.”
“You come back and tell me your experience. You’ll wish you’d never have to come back here.”
“Nah,” I was too quick to say.
“I’m a Naija girl, born, bred and buttered in Lagos,” I said proudly.
If anyone was proud to a fault of her Nigerian heritage, that was me.
I believed we were the most favoured people on planet Earth. We will laugh through hardship and believe that it would be well. No matter how bleak the situation looked, suicide was never considered an option.

There were several lines of separation in the country such as religion, ethnicity, education, politics and capitalism but held by a thread of unity although so thin yet strong enough to withstand the adversities. “e go better” was only a saying but it characterised who we were.

“You’re more loyal than most of us,” he said smiling and walked away.

“Phew, that’s been sorted out,” I sighed pleased with the outcome of our conversation.
He was such an incredible guy. Others would have been offended and make work difficult, but he was cool about the incidence and respected by thoughts.
I felt free as a bird in the sky with the massive weight of worry lifted off my shoulders.
“Dubai here I come!” I squealed with an unusual excitement for someone who was reluctant to go at the beginning.

*          *           *           *           *          *            *             *              *

As I drove away from Lana on Friday, I felt sorry that she could think I was trying to take advantage of the situation and insult her because of my position. I chuckled as I recalled how she flared up with her eyes wide and spitting fire with a cold yet calm voice as she fought for control.

It was amusing how she sought to control her emotions in all situations around her even when she was angry she exhibited a level of control. I had caught a glimpse of a moment she let loose, but that was a rare and fleeting moment.

I was impressed by her loyalty to her friend. The way she yielded to her friends’ pressure to the Dubai trip even when it was against her principle endeared me to her. To see someone who could put away her comfort for the comfort was refreshing in a world dominated by selfishness. This quality in a person made a strong team player. I was glad to have her on my team. I have also noticed how well she related with her colleagues, although from an arms-length perspective afraid to let people get close.
Had she been hurt before? She had the traits and signs shouting all over her “I am nice, I like you but please don’t get close. I was not going to close, but I was going to help her break the wall she had created around her and hope she let go of whatever fears or hurts plagued her I wanted to help her.

My friends said I took tasks and challenges and thrived with them. I am a people person, and I am at best when I see and take their capabilities to bring out their best. I have realised that some individuals do not know how good they are and the treasures deposited in them naturally. I study them, note and help then discover their capabilities by giving those tasks that build their confidence and strengths. I had never given it a thought as to why I did it but I love the reward of seeing people function at their best. To see beyond the dirt and flaws in people and helping them achieve their full capacity. Lana was my next project. I had rarely failed in the past. She was a colleague with a tremendous potential.

My phone rang, and I picked the call as I moved away towards the direction of my office into the usual frenzy of report and deadlines that got your adrenaline up. While others might dread it, I thrived on the action and challenges of the job. However, the call was from of my friends we hung out with once a month. He was calling to remind me of the meeting for this month.

At the end of the week, I’ll be meeting with the boys at a joint on the Island. It was something we did once every month to catch up on each others lives. We teased those married in our midst while we the single ones relished our freedom and peace. The married guys claimed we were missing on good food, safe and trusted sex and someone to come home to who you love and loves you back. Being married means you are on a team with someone who’s always got your back and a mutual respect for each other

However, while the single men disagreed that sex and food are freely available, there was no argument on mutual love and respect. Nevertheless, they were content with their lifestyle coming back to a quiet home was more appealing than coming home to someone.
I was in the single team and had no issues with joining the married group. I was not a traitor to my present state but agreed with the school of thought of the married guys and looked forward to meeting that special person.  Each day brought me the awareness that my singleness was becoming dull, but I refused to get desperate to settle for just anyone. It had to be that special someone.

I believed in the sanctity of marriage and aimed to spend the rest of my life with that person so however long the wait may be it would be worth.
The myth, “Love happens when you least expected” was a reminder for me that when the right time comes, the right person will come along.
Our meeting in the previous month we had stayed later than planned and not too long Deji’s wife was calling on the phone.
“It is past your bedtime, and you have to go home,” he was teased mercilessly.
Deji did not take kindly to the joke, but he was one of those who had an arsenal full of nasty jokes, and I did not feel sorry for him being at the receiving end of one.
I looked forward to the meetings as they have a way of helping one rewind and refocus. It was something about men bonding and building themselves up, and I valued our time together. The coming week will be more fun than the rest I hoped.

One another occasion Peter had grumbled about the state of his marriage to the delight of the single men and the chagrin of the married camp.
“If you thought marriage is heaven, be warned it comes with its hiccups, wait till the first baby came. It is as if your wife suddenly forgets all about your existence with her whole attention on this new person who has arrived the scene”.
“Do I sense a jealous man here?” Musa asked hitting him on the back playfully.
“You are competing with your baby?” I asked taken aback.
“I am not”, he growled.
“It’s hard to explain. One day you are the center of her world and the next, she’s got this helpless rival whose your blood staring her in the eyes. You watch her cooing at the baby in some secret language you cannot understand and the child giggling with delight as a response.
Sometimes I think the eyes of the child goes weary when he see me like “like hey dude what you are doing here. I cannot share with you tonight.”
We were all reeling with laughter by now. You could hear loud guffaws across enough to block any ones hearing. It was a good thing we were seating outside. Peter was a first class clown.
“Am I the only one feeling that way?” He asked looking round. I thought I saw a slight anguish on his face but in a flash, it was gone, and it could have been a figment of my imagination.
“You are the only one with a baby,” we all chorused and laughed hard.
I hope what you are saying is not true,” Musa sighed. His wife was expecting their first baby in three months.
“Don’t let him scare you,” said Deji, who was still waiting for children in his three-year-old marriage.
“You will get there, and I will be here to remind you that I warned you,” he said with the air of it is given.
“For months I wrestled and could not voice out how I felt. It was crazy. How can I be competing with my child for my wife’s affection and attention?” he asked.
We were clueless as none of us had walked that route before so we could not offer any advice. Peter would have had to figure it out himself.

The discussion moved from family to work, and that was when the group sprang on me
“When are you leaving banking to join your father’s business?” Musa asked.
“I told my father ten years, and I have four more years to go. Although I have started going through the records and learning the ropes gradually, I love what I do now.
“Have you thought of starting a bank or something similar to the financial institutions? Peter asked glancing at the others for input.
“The way you have handled our investment portfolio on the side of your banking has been incredible. You have made us all rich men. You could get like-minded men with resources and start something,” he added.

It was no secret alongside the banking he had delved into investment, and most of the guys in the group had willingly allowed him to make their financial decisions. Fortunately, it had gone well. He had considered taking up a role in investment banking but opted to remain in his current position as its diversity afforded him a mixture of commercial, retail and investment banking providing a platform to build a robust investment portfolio from scratch.

I slipped my club soda mineral water on ice thoughtfully. I had often thought of floating an investment company adding it to the subsidiaries of my father’s business, so I still get to run the family business and do what I love. But he had not been able to get his thoughts together. Peter suggesting it was like a confirmation of what he wanted to do.

“If anyone could do it, that would be you, Andrew,” Musa said slapping me on the back in his usual way.
I winced I had not seen it coming, and the lack of expectation must have heightened the pain.
“Please let us know where we can come in,” Deji offered.

And so over a couple of drinks in a bar, my friends came the idea of owning an investment company. It was time to draw up strategies and put my thoughts together if this was something I want to do.

 

Naija –  A  popular slang used to refer to the country Nigeria