Life for what it is; not what I want it to be,
And then not losing hope
With words like these I cope
Leaving lessons all over time
Christ’s words I quote
Moving from what life is to what I want it to be
See it before I live it
Talk it and then I walk it
Do what I love to do – for fun
And then profit
Sadness I forfeit; as I let go of all I was
Remade in His image; perfection
In two years the young Adeyemis were blessed with a beautiful girl who had her mother’s exotic looks but, after a time, began to exhibit her father’s sensitivities and attitudes.
Three years after that, they welcomed a boy who couldn’t have been his father more had Segun spat him out. Brave, quiet and opinionated, he was the one that finally broke the barrier of silence between Tiwa and her mother in law. And for a while, Segun was a happy man.
And so seven years passed. Good things come to an end; however.
Yorubas have a saying; ‘If a lie goes on for twenty years, one day the truth will catch up with it’. The day Tiwa’s truth finally came knocking was just another day.
No one knows what happened. Maybe she forgot to do something she had done every day for the past seven years. Maybe her mother-in-law’s prayers were finally answered. Maybe God decided it was enough. Whatever it was happened.
The day started well enough. Segun spent some time with his kids, arguing with Yanju over Ben 10 and then guiding her through the most of Temple Run. After a while of her repeatedly falling and blaming it on him, he left her alone and went to walk with Damola through the house – guiding the loquacious baby past a few obstacles.
After a while the older man’s hand began to weary the younger man’s so Damola yanked his hand away from his father’s. And then, grinning happily the boy retraced his father’s steps, looking at the man as though to say You’ve been dulling me – you’re old and slow jo!
I’m proud of you; Segun said and then winced, touching tentative fingers to the left side of his head.
Are you okay darling? Tiwa asked, nuzzling his neck as she enveloped him in her arms and scent. Segun silenced her.
Sure I’m fine. I suddenly want to drive around for a bit –
A vague expression – similar to the one stuck on Keanu Reeves’ face settled on Segun’s features as he closed his eyes as though he was trying to bring something on the edge of his consciousness to the front of it. But the thought slipped away and he looked at Tiwa with clear eyes.
Do you need anything? He asked, before thoroughly kissing her again.
It was a ten-minute drive from their apartment in Shoprite. Within moments he was wandering up and down the aisles, checking a list covered in Tiwa’s flowery handwriting.
He got to the last item, and as he checked to see he’d bought it a small note caught his eye.
I don’t deserve you, Segun.
Thank you for loving me.
The opposite of a smile creased Segun’s features almost the same time a pounding migraine announced its presence forcefully. The list fluttered down from nerveless fingers as Segun clutched his head and bent over.
Suddenly he was jostled out of his pain as someone bumped into him heavily from behind.
Straightening with the wrath of Sango in his heart, Segun spun and opened his mouth to address the unfortunate ‘bumper’. But four random pieces of information leaped at him as he took his first good look at the object of his vex.
One, she was a woman.
Two, she was a very attractive woman.
Three, she was a heavily pregnant very attractive woman.
Four, she was a familiar heavily pregnant very attractive woman.
Hauwa…? Segun began but couldn’t finish before what he thought was a migraine became a hailstorm as Sango beat down the walls barricading his subconscious mind.
And then he stopped with the abruptness of power failure. And Segun looked at Hauwa as though seeing her for the first time in a long time.
Hauwa…? What are you doing in Abuja? And when did I plant that in there? He asked, pointing to her tummy, all traces of his migraine gone.
Hauwa stopped herself from speaking words expected of anyone – any woman who had ever been in her position. Instead she eyed Segun with disdain, noting how the smile dried up on his face – and then she suddenly registered the first part of his query. Abuja.
Yes na, Segun answered, smirk lighting up his face. Abuja –
Suddenly he shook himself and wiped his face like a man waking up from a bad dream. What am I doing in Shoprite?
Silently Hauwa pointed to the trolley standing at Segun’s elbow. He looked into it and flinched at the sight of all the children’s things stacked inside it. That baby’s too small to use stuff like these, he blurted.
Hauwa slowly bent over and picked up the list Segun had dropped earlier. You’re not shopping for this baby, Segun. You’re shopping for your kids – all two of them.
The hand Segun had been extending for the note recoiled. What?
Your kids. She said firmly, slamming the note unceremoniously against his chest as she walked past. Automatically he held it against his chest, eyes following her. And then he looked down at the note, blinking as the gleam of a gold band across the fourth finger of his left hand flashed across his vision.
Hauwa, hurrying quickly, scrubbing her eyes and hoping Segun did not follow her froze as she heard her name. It wasn’t as much as the call as the way it was called. It was a voice she knew yet one she did not recognize.
It was heavy with fear.
She turned on her heel and faced him.
Hauwa; the ‘old-man-croak’ came from his throat again. Hauwa, who did I marry?
Maami you look older were the first words Segun uttered when the senior Mrs. Adeyemi opened the door almost an hour later. The older woman froze, and then with a mother’s instinct understood the implication of those words. She hugged her son, tears started from her eyes. Hauwa beamed.
The senior Engineer Adeyemi’s mouth worked as hard as the Shoprite double doors in rush hour, opening and closing at will. At some point he laughed, at some point he cried, at yet some other point he just sat there as his son shamefacedly admitted that the last thing he remembered was sex with Tiwa, one lonely night during their training in Abuja.
Seven years ago.
Seven years ago! Engineer swore fire and brimstone. He called down the wrath of his twice-gone ancestors and asked Mujin the gateman to bring him his ‘pana’.
His ‘cutlass’ in English.
Mrs. Adeyemi Snr grabbed his arm and held on for dear life, tears streaming down her face. My dear, violence is not the solution now o. We have to be careful. Are you not a deacon?
Hauwa had told Segun to call Tiwa and make up a story about a home emergency, so she wouldn’t be worried no matter how late he returned. Now Segun sat in his parents’ home, looking at his children’s pictures on his phone and feeling as though he was looking at someone he was meeting for the first time.
His mother sat beside him, looking at his face like she was afraid he was going to vanish again. She talked to him about his children; how amazing and loving they were, she spoke about his wife; grudgingly admitting that she was a good wife.
But mama – I cannot remember getting married to her! Seven years of my life are gone from my memory – just like that!
In emphasis he snapped his fingers.
I knew there was something not right about the whole thing. I always assumed you were going to marry Hauwa or somebody else – so when you showed up with her I was shocked.
I took you to my room and pleaded with you not to go ahead. Next thing I know, you were in front of a car bleeding from the head. His mother sighed. I nearly died that afternoon.
Segun rubbed Hauwa’s hand gently. Who’s the lucky guy who got you?
Her lower lip trembled and she bit it deeply. His name is Maurice and he’s a great guy. It’s just been three years – this is our first; she finished, rubbing her belly gently. Segun looked away.
What do you plan to do now my son? Adeyemi Senior asked.
Tiwa was a light sleeper so she was therefore surprised when she opened her eyes and found Segun sitting on the side table looking at her. You scared me, she said. Is everything okay with mum and dad? What time is –
She broke off as a gleam from Segun’s left hand caught her eye.
It is time for the truth, Tiwa. Segun said grimly.
What did you do to me? Why am I married to you?
Daddy Had An Abortion
Such a story of dejection; one well known
A tale of woe
A web of destruction, tangled and old
An open secret; we hope no one knows
Mummy got pregnant; the whole neighborhood cooed;
Mummy had a baby, man! How cool,
Couldn’t wait for baby to grow, begin school
Till baby grew and didn’t know who was who
See the problem was daddy wasn’t really ready
Married mum and got her pregnant – what a tragedy
Liked the idea of ‘husband’, uncomfortable with ‘daddy’
So he skipped town, leaving behind a family
What do you think happened to baby?
Grew up without guidance, quickly became a screw up
Misbehaving, gambling messing the neighborhood up
Came home drunk one night; started a fight
But the mai guard’s arrow didn’t miss it’s flight
Sisi got pregnant – this was a tragedy
Cos Sisi and the coming father weren’t married
He wanted to pay for the abortion; she turned down the offer
He wasn’t ready to be daddy; so he did the job for her,
Beat the baby out of her
Daddy had an abortion – oh how ridiculous
Listen while I spin a tale of loss
Sure they were married; sure he wanted a baby
But he couldn’t ignore when the streets came calling
At least he could have put the phone on silent,
Waited a bit to play the role of proud parent
But he hurried out – couldn’t wait to play
Left his daughter amongst wolves at bay
She grew up beautiful without, all ugly inside;
Learnt of love from men who couldn’t see past her thighs
Should have had a father to open her eyes
But daddy’s abortion was effective; she was dead.
Daddy had an abortion; this is the last
Listen while I spill the tale of lives long past
Daddy wasn’t there – didn’t really like kids
Only time he was – it was through his belt and fists
Made his kids hate each other; made them compete,
Mother tried so hard to make them complete
Daddy had a twin in one of his kids
The one most like him, the one he liked the least
Took another wife to spite his wife
Mummy ignored that, took it in stride
Imagine that, as a man with pride! Frustrating, right?
Guess what daddy did? He robbed mummy of her life
Daddy’s twin was angry and hurt silently waiting
Promised to avenge mummy; such hating
Mummy prayed from the grave; God gave ear
He said ‘what I give I take; do not fear’
You need to be better than your father; listen here
If you really loved your mother you would learn to care.”
So thus ends the story; dry your tears
I hope it’s not for nothing; hope you learnt something
Hope you understand the truth; no lies
Daddies have abortions too; but God can give life.
You’ve probably seen that picture before.
If you haven’t, I hope it makes you laugh as loudly as it did me. I mean, the first thing that struck me about it was the ‘mistake’ whoever who wrote it made.
But then, I took a second and third look. And then a fourth one.
A problem popped into my mind at the fifth look.
“What if the person who wrote it did not make a mistake? What if what you’re reading is EXACTLY what he wants you to see?”
That’s ridiculous, I think. But forget common sense.
What if that is exactly what that place is – a feeling station?
Another problem pops up. “What is a feeling station?”
What if I told you it is a place where you come to get refilled?
What if I said to you – it is a place where you can buy whatever sensation…whatever feeling you’re convinced you’re running short on?
Imagine you could just walk up to the counter and say ‘Uh, I’d like three liters of joy and five of peace, please?”
Or you could say ‘My hormones are acting up again. I’d like fifteen liters of sexy and a gallon of vulnerability to go with it”?
Or even ‘My head’s been hurting funny – and I can’t even feel my heart anymore. I’m so full of guilt.” And the good-looking attendant says to you “Sure, step right here sir/madam, let me run a quick check.” And then “oh, it’s not a problem. Your mind misfired a bit – but that’s easily resolved. We’ll just wash you up with love, give your cylinders a charge of kindness and patience and then wrap it all up with happiness…and you’re good to go.”
How would that feel to you?
I know how I would feel. I would be excited at first – then years of conditioning would kick in and I would start to think; “If something is too good to be true it usually is.” And then, I would carefully ask for the price, hoping I have enough on my ATM card for it.
But what if the attendant said, “it’s all on the house”?
Would you go running for the hills in fright – or would you go ahead with the treatment?
There are times when we feel emotionally drained – we feel used, dirty, worthless, stupid, afraid – as though all those things are not mere concepts we learned from movies and books and music. We feel as though we cannot go on, we feel as if we cannot love again or trust again. And even though ‘time heals all wounds’ and we eventually get away from all those feelings, things are never quite the same again. We’re a bit afraid to trust again, to love again, to try again…because we remember the sharp pain that came with the last phone call, the final text, the last interview, the sack letter – pain that felt like we were swallowing glass.
And all sorts of people use all sorts of things to get better; just to be able to get to the next point. Most of it is just a temporal fix – to get from point A to B.
What if we had someone who promises to get us from A all the way down to Z? Someone who promises to always be there – most especially when it seems as though He isn’t? And He did not promise to be there some of the time, He promises always and forever?
What do you think? Really? Just another boring concept, or could there be some truth to it?
Do you think we could use a ‘feeling station’? Who/what is yours?
Have a great week – on God!
DRAMA III: EXODUS
He was a cousin to one of the dignitaries we partied with regularly. Obi wasn’t particularly handsome, but he had a nice body and an insane sense of humour I liked him the moment I met him – but it wasn’t with any strings.
He had just come back from the States – to come and take up a job with his uncle. He was very comfortable, earning a fat salary on the government’s bill doing nothing.
Well, nothing I could see sha.
But like me, Obi was smart. He knew that things like that were not meant to last. He knew his uncle would not always be a government official – and even if he was he; Obi was not even the uncle’s child. Manna did not last till the second day. Not usually.
He made sure he salted away a huge percentage of his earnings plus the freebies that came in somewhat regularly. He lived in his uncle’s house, had a car to himself and so, hardly needed any maintenance money. So Obi also got to party with us – but there was an unwritten law; he brought his own girls. Which was fine by him; but I had caught him staring at Yewande, at her small waist and ‘Agege bread’ hips several times. She however considered him ‘Geisha’ at a feast of sardines and treated him as such. For somebody who looked so sweet and innocent, ‘Wande had a core of steel.
More on that later.
We always talked sha, that is Obi and me. I would tell him about school and my parents, he would tell me about his side of life in the US and how disillusioned he was with the Nigerian government. I thought that was hypocritical of him, but of course I did not say so. It got to the point where he would take me along with him on errands – we would just hang out, chilling…talking like two friends. The other girls started to look at me funny but I would assure them it was nothing between us. And for a while, I bought my own bullshit too.
Then came the day he kissed me.
It was one of those days he came to pick me. He had to go to Akure which wasn’t too far away from Ekiti, and he could use some company. I was too willing to oblige because it was one of those slow periods. We had not gone anywhere in a while, and even I was feeling a bit listless. So I jumped at the chance. We went to Akure, and delivered whatever it was he was supposed to deliver – and then we were on our way back. We ran into some traffic on the outskirts of Ado-Ekiti and we sat there, talking about stuff while the deck played that song; I never knew the title but it still plays in my head every now and then. One of the lines in song says ‘every time I take two steps forward you take two steps back/every time I go right you go left/’ and so on. We were talking – and the next moment we were kissing. It wasn’t like they say in those books; everything slows down and becomes quiet and we look into each other’s…no. It was nothing like that.
But it was the sweetest kiss I had ever had – or maybe the second sweetest…I don’t even know anymore. I don kiss plenty na.
But I remembered Obi’s kiss long after. And so, that evening when he took me back home, I kissed him again. I remember feeling as though he soaked his lips in honey or some other sticky-sweet substance every morning. I remember walking back into the house with a ridiculous smile on my face.
I guess the morning came with some sort of reality check. What was I doing?
What exactly did this boy want with me? And more importantly, what did I want with him?
I had stopped burying my nose in Mills & Boons since I could handle Danielle Steele and I had lost my virginity quite early. My point? I was not some wide-eyed little girl who just had her first kiss. Sure I liked kissing Obi, but there was a place for such kisses and then there was a place for reality. Reality was he was the cousin of a high-ranking government official. And no matter how I tried to color it, I was a prostitute. It couldn’t be any clearer than that.
So I began to avoid Obi. And I think that was the end of Ekiti for me.
The partying started to annoy me. The pot-bellied men, their clammy groping hands and saliva-slobbering thick lips looked like the maws of a pig. Everything started to disgust me. I kept thinking about ending my service and getting out of there. For me, November couldn’t come too soon.
I think Obi noticed and tried to reach me a couple of times, but I was so rude to him he backed off in a hurry. Oh baby, I remember thinking the last time I saw him, its better this way.
Bleeding heart hookers are a cliché. I know. But isn’t the whole of life a cliché?
And so it was, we left Ekiti after a ‘successful’ service year, the other girls feeling on top of the world, me feeling at the bottom of it.
To read the first part of Drama, please click here!
I met Obi during my service year.
I served in Ekiti State, and thanks to Dupe, one of my friends who had an understanding with the governor’s PA I got a job in the governor’s office. What was our job there?
They called us the PA’s aides. Till this day I wonder why someone who was someone else’s aide would need his own aides. But I didn’t care. Asides from the fact that it paid exceptionally well for a corper, there were also other fringe benefits – like the almost-weekly weekend parties, the opportunities to play escort to some of the country’s most powerful men…the out-of-the-country trips.
But we were careful. I was the eldest of us four, so I was indirectly responsible for the others. They always came to me for advice and I supported them in any way I could. I remember going to church one Sunday after one of our trips out of the country and Yewande, the youngest and easily the most beautiful asked me; “Does God hear the prayers of people like us?”
I smiled at her and answered, “Darling, we’re no different from anybody else. If there really is a hell, and we’re headed there, we’ll definitely have lots and lots of company.”
Maybe not the best thing to say.
I also was very firm with the girls. They were young and making lots of money, and in that situation it was easy to get carried away. I was there to make sure they were not.
Of course, it was just a movie. Of course Funke Akindele is a fantastic actress. That did not make the story any less true-to-life. In the hustle we got ourselves into we heard stories like that daily. I was determined neither me nor any of my wards would go down like that.
Therefore, no excessive shopping except on the tab of one of our men. And even then, no excessive shopping. We did not go around wearing expensive dresses and jewelry. We were not loud and about town. No cars. No wild partying, except we were handling business. That was mostly why we were easily the governor’s favorites.
Another advice I gave my girls was no relationships – at least not for the one year we were here for. Boyfriends had a way of messing up a girl’s mojo, and that was bad for business. So we kept it professional – or at least I insisted we did. And for the most part of our time there, we were successful with that part of our lives.
I hope you don’t start to think I was pimping those girls or something. No. Though I was usually the one the offers came through, I never took any money off their earnings. I never made them do something they were not interested in, and I never took them to a party they did not want to go to. We were friends, and we always looked out for each other. If one of us was not feeling a parole, all of us were not feeling it. Somehow, that kept us safe through the most of it.
I looked over the whole thing one night; we weren’t the worse for wear after a year of partying and…other less-innocent things. We…or at least I was looking forward to taking some time off once I finished service and just resting – no sex, no parties whatever. Just chilling.
But fate has a way of messing people and their plans up. For me, this ‘mess up’ came in form of a man.