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.

Meena’s Diary#8

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

wordle-girlstoys

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

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

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

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

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

Omowashe Omorishe#31

Love comes softly

second-chance

I pulled my shoe off and placed my feet on the grass as I closed my eyes to enjoy the feeling of relief that washed over me. How such a simple gesture we take for granted could be so soothing often left me in awe of the mastermind behind earth’s creation. It could not have been the work of mortal man or an accident as some great scholars presume.It must be that God truly exists.

I poured out the bottle of coke into my glass cup filled with ice cubes on this sunny afternoon enjoying the sheer luxury of sugar and ignoring all the medical doomsday prophesy on its ills especially in my case.

Uncle Segun will not be delighted to see me here. I had left the office with the intention of going to see my birth mum and make things alright between the two of us but mid-way, I changed my mind. I would see her another day. Relaxing into my chair, I closed my eyes and allowed the feeling of contentment to wash over me.

My eyes fluttered open at the sound of the presence of someone, and I lazily smile at the sight of Andrew.

“Hey stranger,” I greet with no effort to change my position.

“Hey stranger,” Andrew replied letting himself on the other chair across from mine.

“How did you know I’ll be here?”

“I took a wild guess after being told by your security at the law firm that you have left for the day. How are you doing he asked eyeing the leftover bottle of coke with disapproval but did not pass a comment.”

“I am doing as great as I can be. I could not be any better. I can’t complain. Got a job where I do nothing and get paid good money which must be every girl’s dream.”

“Except yours?” he chirped.

I laughed. “Well, I did create a job scope for myself. Organising all the files.  I intend to move all the paper files to electronic files. Most of the work in the coming weeks will be scanning and creating a filing system for easy retrieval, next encrypt the sensitive data. I would need the help of an IT person. I should be able to complete that task within three weeks and train the rest of the staff on how to use the new filing system.”

“You sure know how to look for and find work!”
“That’s me any day, any time. Never shy away from work. It does not kill.”
“Some do you know,” Andrew commented. We laughed over it.
“I am sorry. I have not offered you a drink. What would you like to have?”
“Not that your drink,” he eyed my glass of coke like a mortal enemy. ”Water would do.”

I was not excited to have to stand up from my cocooned position in the chair, and as if reading my thoughts he offered to help himself as I gave direction. The kitchen is the first door on the left once you walk into to the living room. The refrigerator is on your left. Andrew came back with three 50cl cascades bottled water.

“The driver would love one. You don’t get these cold ones to buy along the streets. Let me go give this to him.”
“Very thoughtful, kind and thinks of others, not just himself,” came the thought.“Where did that come from?” I asked myself.

He returned to his seat. “Are looking forward to resuming?”
“What do you think?”

“I think you have become so used to this easy life of 8 am to 2 pm that coming back to our 7 am to 7 pm work would no longer be interesting.”
“I do not agree with you, but I have learnt never to say never anymore. I do not have the power to predict or change what will happen next in my life. I only know what I think I want.”
“And you?” I ventured to ask. “A lot has been going on lately, been extremely busy working on some projects and my father’s company. The main reason for my silence but I should have made more time to keep it touch.”
“It’s okay. You have made an effort by stopping by, and I appreciate that. It’s not every day a girl gets her boss to stop by to babysit.”
“Is that what you think I am doing right now? He asked with the crinkles of laughter around his eyes.

“Yep,” I answered playfully.
“Then it is past your bedtime Missi.”
“Bedtime! At 3 p.m.!!” I exclaimed in mock horror.
“Oh sorry Missi, I meant it is your nap time.”

I laughed till tears dropped from my eyes as he mimicked the voice of Kizzy in the film “Roots”.

“Please stop!” I pleaded, afraid I would soon be on the floor rolling with laughter. It felt so good to laugh this way. Whoever said laughter is good medicine for the soul sure knew what he was saying.

“Who would have known you could be this funny? You so much hid behind the suit you wear.”

He stayed with me for a quarter of an hour and took his leave.
“See you around soon.” He patted my hands across the table looking into my eyes. “You’ll be fine just don’t worry and believe the best.” Something happened to me in the seconds he held my hands and our eyes connected. And I could feel he sensed it too as he quickly took his hands away but whatever that was, I don’t think I was ready to confront it. Some things are better left the way they are, don’t rock the boat.

I waved him off still not wanting to give up the comfort of the seat, but he was quick to tell me not to bother and let himself out. I closed my eyes wondering if my treacherous heart was not plotting some sinister scenes against me.

“No way,” I argued. “Don’t you think there could be a possibility?” another part of me argued.“Who would want you with your disease ravaged body?” The other voice taunted. “He is different if he comes give him a chance. A chance for what? Romance, marriage or a relationship that has no future. A relationship that is dead before it started.”

“Lana!” I called out my name willing the battle in my head to stop.
The poor guy made a mistake of being a friend, and here I am planning marriage.I shook my head and walked inside.  Why bring a perfidious twist to an act of kindness? Destroying my serenity and the innocence of a friendly gesture leaving me more troubled.

Continue reading “Omowashe Omorishe#31”

Meena’s Diary#7

Reflections

wordle-girlstoys

“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?

Meena’s Dairy#5

Wake up

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Is Atiku aware?”

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

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

“You wouldn’t dare,” she threatened.

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

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

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

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

omowashe omorishe#24

Healing

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******
Andrew Akande

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How is she?”  he asked apprehensively.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lana looked tired all over.

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

“I feel far worse,” she said weakly.

“Try not to talk,” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Omowashe omorishe#22

Clueless Destination

lagos-at-nightBode

Lana drove off in my car. I did not feel comfortable leaving her alone. But with Lana, it could be difficult sometimes getting her to see reason when her mind is made up.
What was I  thinking? I dashed into the house to get a key to another car. Where could she have gone? I racked my brain. Like a light bulb flicked on, I recalled the tracker fixed to my car.
Who would have thought that purchasing a product to encourage a sales rep would become a life saver?  In fact, I bought two that fateful day with no use for the product but to help someone achieve his sales target.
I swiped open my phone to the application and there the car was still on the mainland.
I made up my mind to follow close by to ensure that she was safe. I could understand the need to be alone and the anger, but I also knew she needed to be careful.
I followed Lana for hours, almost cursing for the needless night drive foiled by her hurt. There was no pattern. It did not look like she was going anywhere. She drove in circles on the mainland and headed off to the Island.

On getting to Victoria Island, she turned in and out of streets sometimes coming back to the same point and driving off again.

At the point when I was beginning to wonder if we were going to spend the rest of our evening driving around Lagos with danger lurking from men of the night, she turned into a lounge.

There was no pattern for Lana tonight. She was tangential from her norm. A lounge? Lana ? If anyone had told me, I would have vehemently argued that It was impossible. I knew how she cringed her nose when her friends mentioned going to a lounge. But hey! Nothing that happened today has been the usual. Today was an unusual day.
In as much as I hated to be anywhere near a lounge with the drinking and heavy smoking going on I considered it my duty to be around her just in case, she needed help. Lana will pull down the roof If she found out I followed her but as long as she did not get into trouble, I did not need to show up.

I sat in my car as she took a moment to get out.  Perhaps reconsidering the wisdom in coming here but just when I was about to heave a sigh of relief that she could be changing her mind, she opened her car and stepped out.
Lana is stunning beautiful although she had no clue what her looks did. I did not feel it was wise to be here alone and hoped the night would be uneventful.
She picked her lace piece and wrapped her head transforming her to about ten years older, but you can’t hide your looks by just a head cover. She would need more than that to draw away attention from her.
Hesitantly, she walked in,  and with each step, the shouting in my head only grew louder to drag her home while I battled with letting her be.

My phone vibrated on the dashboard; it was a strange number but who could be calling me at 11 pm?

I picked the call, and immediately recognised the voice at the other end.
“Hello, Bode.” The voice was laced thick with worry.
“Hello Sir,” I responded feeling sorry for the man.
“Is Lana with you?” he asked with a hint of hope.
“No, she is not,” I answered which was not a lie.
He sighed with anxiety.

“She left home angry, and she is not picking her calls. We do not know where she is.

I was angry with him for keeping such secret from her, but it was not my place to air my opinion. There were family and will sort their problems out.

“You must be angry with me,” he said reading my mind.
I shrugged although he could not see me.
I did not deny it

“I have my regrets, what I thought was the best for her as I watched her grow, happy with my brothers family. I did not want to shatter her sense of family and security at a young age. I had hoped she would understand when she was older. Every year, there was always a reason to push it away. She graduated with honours, not this year. She went for service, not this year, and then she got a good job, not this year and, your breakup then, not that year either, she needed time to heal, time to be fulfilled to receive the news. But I failed to understand that there would never have been a better time.
Imagine the shock today that she could have married her cousin. You could be siblings considering your mothers are twins.”

I let him speak without interrupting. Apparently, the man needed listening ears not judgemental words.

“I underestimated the pain and hurt Lana would go through. I have never seen her so angry like I did today.

“Do you have any idea where she would be?”
It was a father’s plea, and my heart did not give to torture the man. Although, I would not have minded him paying a little if not all for my present dilemma.
He was not thinking of Lana only. He was also thinking of himself. He was waiting for the convenient time for both of them.
But who was I? He was man enough to admit he handled the situation wrongly. The only help I could give was to reassure him. I would not want his death on my head.

“She is at Le Blanco Louge on the Island. I followed her there, but she does not know.

“ Thank you, Bode. Thank you for giving peace to a father’s heart.
I think we should call her friend at work,  the boss. A neutral person might help her see things in a better perspective.

A twinge of jealousy gripped my heart but why? I had never bothered about the closeness I saw between the two of them.
I beat my head why did I not think of that earlier. She apparently needed someone not connected to the drama she was going through.
I had no right to be jealous. Lana is now my cousin and not my fiancee. I must have said that over twenty times to myself like a mantra since Lana blurted it out to me some hours ago.
I need to put it in focus. Lana is my cousin. Tradition forbade us to get married.

It was not up to twenty minutes I spoke to Lana’s Uncle Segun when a car parked beside mine. It was Lana’s Boss. What’s his name again Drew or  Andrew?

I got out of my car to say hello, and from the grim look on his face, he probably knew the whole story.
I stretched my hand to shake him

“ I am so sorry,” he offered genuinely drawing me into a brotherly hug,  A part of me wanted to hate him but I could not. If he meant any harm, I probably would not have had Lana back. It was wrong of me to think badly of him. He has only being a friend, and a friend is what Lana needed now.

“Thanks, man. Now I can go home to sleep if it comes,” I tried at a small joke.

“She is all yours, but please don’t mention you saw me here tonight,” I begged.

“Lana will wring my neck for following her here,” I feigned a look of terror.

“You are the lucky one,” he retorted.
“How do I explain dropping in on her in the middle of the night at a lounge. The girl is full of surprises.Lana at a bar?
He cringed his nose mimicking her, and I  could not but laugh.
As an official Ex, I endorse my blessing on their friendship.
I hope they both see that they could have a future together.
Throwing a mock salute with a bow,  I reiterated my thanks.

We will both get this behind us.
I had been strong all day for Lana since I heard the news.But now that she had someone to help her. My façade of “all is well” faded like smoke and the reality of my loss and the fight for my sanity hugged me breathlessly.