Monthly Archives: July 2016

Never Forgotten

The white Volkswagen beetle moved steadily in front of the Peugeot 504 on the expansive tarred road. A couple sat in the front seats of the Peugeot; the husband behind the wheel while their kids sat behind. It was a bright day and everything seemed to go smoothly until the still morning was shattered by tragedy.

Three little girls stood on the right hand side of the road; the eldest holding the hands of the other two on each side. The Volkswagen beetle swerved of the road and in an instant, the oldest girl was rolling on the bonnet of the car, her head hitting the windscreen. The occupants of the Peugeot 504 watched in horror and wondered if the scene was actually happening. The piercing scream of their mother made them realize this was no dream.

The beetle moved forward a few metres before halting and a man eased out of the driver’s side in confusion. He put his two hands on his head in shock and regret looking at the ground as the girls lay there unmoving. Screams and shouts rent the air breaking the serenity of the once still atmosphere.

Meanwhile, a woman was sleeping in the backseat of the beetle. Maybe it was the screams that rent the air, maybe it was instinct; but she woke up and looked around her. She pushed the passenger seat forward and opened the door. She assessed the situation around her, removed her head scarf and started crying. She looked at the girls and ran helter-skelter. Onlookers realized she was in shock and held her; before she decided to run into oncoming vehicles.

Never forgotten

The mother in the Peugeot car was frantically telling her husband to park the car. She ran out of the vehicle immediately it stopped and rushed to the scene. The three girls lay on the ground. Rescuers carried two of the girls while the mother in the Peugeot carried another girl. A hospital was just across the road from the scene of the accident and people flagged down cars so the three girls could be rushed into the hospital.

The children seated in the back seat of the Peugeot were shaken from witnessing the accident first-hand. They waited for their mum who was still in the hospital across the road. She came back some minutes later and told her husband that the victims were twin girls and the eldest girl presumably a maid. The car brushed one of the twin girls to the side, hit the eldest girl making her somersault on the car and rode over the second twin with its tyres twice.

She confirmed from her position as a medical personnel that the eldest girl and one of the twins would survive the accident. Chances of the other twin surviving was very slim. The accident scene and the resulting tragedy will leave an indelible impression on the hearts of not just the unknown parents of the girls but also the kids in the Peugeot car who had witnessed it.

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Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com

To Love and to Hold – Episode 23

“Fadekemi”.

“Hello mum”. She answered cradling her phone between her left ear and her shoulder. She had been preparing amala (yam flour paste) when her phone rang. The delicacy was one of Kemi’s best. Kemi had offered to assist but she had declined the offer. She felt she owed her friend as she had helped a great deal during the exam period.

“Your school is on vacation, right?”

“Yes mum”.

“Aren’t you coming home?”

She did miss home but she wasn’t ready to face her father. “Should I?”

“Fadekemi…..”

“Okay mum. When do you want me to come home?” She gave up knowing this was an argument she wasn’t going to win.

“I want you home today. I’m sending the driver right away. He should be in your school in the next hour and half or two”.

She sighed. “Okay mum”. She scooped the amala she had prepared into a bowl, poured a quarter of ewedu (Jews mallow puree) into another bowl and added a spoonful of stew. She had prepared the stew earlier and it contained all the needed body parts of a cow; shaki (stomach), abodi (intestine), pomo (skin) and ese eran (cow leg).

Kemi felt overfed. She had not eaten this well and this much in a very long while. She downed a cup of cold water and smiled. “Was this what Fadeke enjoyed alone?” She thought. She was more surprised that she was a good cook. She had assumed that as a result of her pedigree, she would be one to shy away from the kitchen.

“My mum is sending the driver to pick me up soon”. Fadeke said breaking into her thoughts.

“Are you serious? I thought you said you weren’t going home”.

“I said I wasn’t sure. She called me when I was preparing the meal”.

“I should start packing my things then”. She said standing up.

“Where are you going?”

“Home”.

“You mean your uncle’s house?” She had said it before she realized that it came out rude.

“That’s where I call home”.

“I didn’t mean to sound rude”.

She smiled. “I understand. Besides, like you rightly said, it’s my uncle’s house”.

Fadeke felt uncomfortable but was at a loss of what to do. Going home or to her uncle’s house; whichever it was called, was definitely not a pleasant experience for Kemi. She couldn’t take her home with her. She did not feel she knew her that well; besides, she had not pre-informed her parents that she was bringing a friend home. She could leave the keys to her room with her; that is if she was willing to spend the rest of the three weeks holiday alone. She looked at her as she moved from one corner of the room to the other packing the few dresses she had brought with her when she moved to her room. She put them in a worn travel bag and Fadeke swallowed looking at it. She hadn’t noticed the travel bag the day she had brought it in as she had moved all her things at night.

“Why are you taking all your clothes home? Are they dirty?”

Kemi laughed. “Dirty? Not at all”.

“Then why are you taking them all?” Fadeke asked again looking confused.

“I’m going to wear them at home”.

“Excuse me”.

“I said I’m going to wear them at home”.

Fadeke looked more confused. “What….I….”

“They are the only clothes I have, so I wear them at home as well”. She said matter-of-factly.

“Was she having it this bad?” Fadeke thought. She wouldn’t have imagined that to be the reason why she was taking all her clothes home. She thought about all the fancy clothes she had in her wardrobe at home that she hadn’t worn for about a year; just because she had newer ones. Kemi needed clothes and that was what she was going to get.

 

As Fadeke was about to retire to her room, Mr. Peters tapped on the door. She had arrived home two hours earlier; had dinner with her family and told them she needed to rest. Her father had noticed that she was unusually quiet at the dining table but had decided it was best to talk to her later.

“Yes, come in. It’s open”. She called from inside.

He entered into the room and sat on the bean bag opposite the bed. “We need to talk”.

“Okay dad”. She said sitting down on the bed and looking at her feet.

“Why have you been avoiding me?”

“Avoiding you?”

“Fadekemi….”

“Yes dad”.

“I want the best for you”. He paused. “And dating an Igbo boy isn’t part of the plans I have for you”.

She raised her head to look at him. “Have you thought about how I feel, dad?”

“You’ll get over it”.

She looked stunned. “I’ll get over it?”

“Yes, I’ll help you. Once you are through with your graduation, you are going abroad to do your masters”.

She couldn’t believe what she had just heard. Her father was bent on tearing them apart. He wasn’t even bothered one bit about how she felt. Anger began to rise within her and she squinted at her dad. “Okay daddy”.

“I promise you that you would be glad you took this decision”.

She said nothing.

Her dad rose up and kissed her goodnight.

As he walked out of her room, she paced round her room upset. “What right did her parents have to interfere with her life and her feelings?” They obviously had this planned. “Did they think they could take control of her life?” She had thought her father would reason with her but she hadn’t even been given an opportunity to voice her feelings. She picked up her phone to call Chinedu. It had been three days since she last spoke to him. And right now what she needed was his soothing words to calm her soul.

************

The three weeks holidays were over and Fadeke was back in school for her final semester. Kemi had arrived a day earlier and she had to squat with someone on campus since she did not have a key to Fadeke’s room. Getting and maintaining a mobile phone was luxury; so she couldn’t call her to find out when she would be back in school. Fadeke was just about unpacking when Kemi walked in.

“Hey you!”

“Hi. How was your break?” Kemi asked.

“Just okay”.

“And yours?”

“The usual”.

Fadeke understood what she meant but thought it best to keep quiet about it. This wasn’t the time. “Did you come back with your clothes?”

Kemi laughed. “Of course I did. You want me going around school naked?”

“Not really. Could you put everything outside the door?”

Kemi looked confused. “Outside the door? Are you…..”

“No, I am not sending you out”. Fadeke interrupted suddenly understanding her confusion.

“I brought you a new set of clothes. They are in that bag”. She said pointing to a travel bag she had put on the spare bed.

“You did what?”

She ignored the question. “You can try them on. I’m sure they would fit nicely”.

“But you didn’t have to”.

“Yeah, I know but I did. So can you please quit the pity party and try them on?”

Kemi was at a loss of what to say. How could she say thank you for this gesture? “Fadeke, you are a true friend. Thank you so much”. She said blinking back the tears that were beginning to gather at the corner of her eyes.

 

Kemi and Fadeke got closer over the next few weeks and soon they were both writing their final exams. Fadeke tried as much possible to tell her only a bit about her relationship with Chinedu. Even though, Kemi had become a good friend, she would rather keep her private life to herself. When their call up letters arrived, Kemi was posted to Plateau state while Fadeke was to stay in Lagos. Her father wasn’t ready to let her go to some unknown town, so he had gotten a friend in the NYSC office to effect his daughter’s posting to Lagos. Kemi graduated with a first class degree; and this was not lost on her other course mates. They knew she earned it. Fadeke came out with a second class upper degree and was glad she did not disappoint her parents. Her parents in turn decided to throw her a graduation party. She invited a few friends as she wasn’t interested in having a large crowd. Kemi was also at the party and her friends who knew her were amazed at how close she and Fadeke had become. One thing however kept her unhappy throughout the party; Chinedu’s inability to attend. He couldn’t take time off work; he had said.

By the time her friends were about to leave, the doorman brought her a wrapped box about three feet high and said it had just been delivered by a courier. She wondered what it was about. She took it from him and placed it on the dining table. Her friends however did not want to miss the moment and asked her to open it. She reluctantly opened it after much pressure and found a massive teddy bear holding a heart shaped pillow close to its heart. She noticed there were inscriptions on the pillow and she moved closer to read what was written on it. “I love you so much, baby”. Tears gathered around the corner of her eyes as her friends hugged her. Even though, he hadn’t been able to make it, he had put a smile on her face.

 

“So when would you like to leave the country?” Mr. Peters asked. Her friends had all left about an hour earlier and she was tired and wanted to go to bed.

“It’s too early to decide, dad”.

“Why? Don’t you want to do your masters immediately?”

“When I am through with my youth service, I’d decide”.

He shrugged. “Okay, if you say so”.  He looked towards the teddy bear still sitting on the couch. “Where did that come from?”

“Chinedu sent it”.

“Chinedu?”

“Yes dad. Chinedu, my boyfriend”.

He pulled her by the cheeks smiling. “You can keep it if you want to but I’m sure you know that you aren’t going to marry him”.

She walked towards the couch, picked up the teddy bear and put it on her hip like she would a baby. “I’m going to bed, dad. I’m really tired and I’m beginning to have a headache”.

“Okay darling. Have a good night rest”. As she walked past him, he held her by the hand. “I love you. You know that, don’t you?”

She looked up at him and smiled. “Yes dad. I do”.

 

She put the teddy bear on her bed with a sad smile. “Why did things have to be this way”. She loved her father and did not want to go against him but she also loved Chinedu, even more. Her father’s refusal to accept him was tearing her apart. A tear slid down her cheek and she lay down on her bed hugging the bear. As she sobbed quietly, the day took its toll on her and she was soon fast asleep.

To Love & to Hold 36

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The National Youth Service Camp was over in three weeks and Mr. Peters pulled enough strings to ensure his daughter was posted to one of the foremost banks in the country. Fadeke put her all into her job as she knew her prospects of getting retained were quite high. Kemi, on the other hand was posted to a telecommunications company. She kept in touch with Fadeke and both of them grew closer even though they were miles away. Chinedu came home on a few occasions when the company he worked for sent him on assignments in Lagos and on such occasions, he made his visit worthwhile. He made another attempt at visiting the Peter’s home.

Even though Mrs. Peters welcomed him, she told him she was at a loss of what to do as her husband had refused to listen to her entreaties to let them be. Chinedu became more confused than ever. There was no way he could get married to Fadeke without her father’s consent. He thought about coming to visit when he was home so they could discuss man to man but Mrs. Peters advised against it. She was okay with him dating her daughter but coming to talk to her husband was recognizing trouble and walking into it head-on. “He needed to give her husband time”. She had said.

Chinedu decided to listen to the voice of reason and give Mr. Peters time. If that was what his wife said he needed; so be it. Even though, he felt time was against him as he was settled and ready to make Fadeke his wife, he knew there was no point pushing it. He would wait till he was accepted by Mr. Peters.

 

The one year youth service rolled to a finish and Fadeke got retained in the bank. She was transferred to the head office. Kemi was also retained but was moved from Plateau state to Abuja; where she was meant to understudy the job for a few months before being made a team lead. She was overjoyed and Fadeke also shared in her joy. She couldn’t believe what she was offered. God had finally put a smile on her face and she cried tears of joy when she received her letter.

Fadeke had worked for a few months in the bank when she was asked to go with three of her colleagues to Abuja to commence a project. The project was to be handled by the Abuja team but they needed assistance from the head office to get the project going. The head office team was meant to be in Abuja for a week before handing over the project to the Abuja team. Fadeke was overjoyed that she had been picked. It was an opportunity given her to become skilled at her job and most importantly; it was an opportunity to be with Chinedu for a whole week.

She put a call to Chinedu informing him of what was going on. “So, that’s it”.

“Cool. But I’m sure your office would have booked a hotel for everyone, right?”

“Yeah, they did”.

“Write down my address. It is Flat 4, number 202, Babatunde Fashola way, Wuse”.

“Okay”.

“Which hotel are you guys staying in?”

“The Falcon hotel”.

“Oh, that’s at Wuse as well. It’s about a stone throw from my place”.

“Really?”

“Yeah”.

“That’s cool then. We would be in Abuja next Friday”.

“I’d expect you then”.

After the call ended, Fadeke couldn’t contain the joy she felt. Even though Friday was just 7 days away, she felt like it was forever. She went home that night with renewed energy. In a week, she would be with Chinedu and that was all that mattered right now.

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Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com
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Second Chances – Episode 10

Kunbi and Sola walk into Wale’s apartment. Kunbi slumps into the settee while Sola sits gently by her side.

“Home sweet home. I couldn’t wait to get home from that maddening crowd at the airport. Oh God! I’m so tired and tomorrow starts another working week”. She says yawning. “I wish the weekend could go on and on”. She notices Sola is quiet and looks at him with surprise. “Helloooooo”. She stresses. “What’s wrong? Why are you so quiet?” She says nudging him.

“I’ve been thinking”.

“About what?”

“It’s nice to know someone cares so much about you”.

“Are you talking about Wales and I?” Kunbi asks smiling.

Sola turns to look at her. “Of course and frankly speaking, I’m getting jealous”.

“Oh dear. Jealous? Why?”

“You won’t understand”. Sola says as he takes a deep breath.

“I know you are finding it difficult to fathom what happened between you and your girlfriend but you have to get over it. Life has to go on”.

“Yeah, I know. I guess I was expecting too much”. He says looking morose.

“No, you weren’t”.

“Love sure hurts”.

Kunbi smiles as she holds his right hand and pats it. “It does sometimes. Take heart, you’ll meet your heartbeat at the right time”.

“I wish it were that easy”.

“It will be if you take things easily”.

Sola looks straight into her eyes. “Kunbi, I need you”.

She removes her hands from his and looks away. “Sola, we have talked about this before”.

“Yes, we have. But I never stopped loving you”.

Kunbi’s heart begins to beat faster. He just said he loves me. Oh Lord! My heart is already broken. I can’t handle this. “We can’t go through this again”. She says stalling her thoughts. “Besides, I don’t think this is the right time. We are both hurting”.

He turns her face to look at him. “I am ready to wait till you are ready”. He stands up and shrugs. “I should go home now”.

Kunbi keeps her head bowed and is unable to look at him. She cannot deny her love for him but she is confused. Deep down her heart, she still loves Ola, regardless of all he has done. She knows she should move on but her heart has refused to do so.

As Sola walks out of the house closing the door behind him, hot tears roll down Kunbi’s cheeks. “Why is love so complicated? I love Sola but I am scared of his non-commitment. And I still can’t get Ola out of my mind”. She decides to retire to bed and does so dreaming about Sola and what could have been between them.

2nd Chances 10

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Sola picks up Kunbi from work every day and drops her home as promised. He also takes her for lunch as usual. He, however, keeps their conversations very simple and avoids getting intimate. Kunbi misses their intimate conversations but refuses to say anything about it. She knows Sola is still hurt but she is helpless.

Wale arrives from his trip a week later as planned and decides to take a taxi home from the airport. He expects to see Sola in his apartment but is surprised that Kunbi is home alone. He drops his luggage in his room and has a quick bath.

“I was expecting to meet Sola here”. He says walking into the living room and eyeing Kunbi as she hands him a glass of juice.

“Why?”

He shrugs. “He ain’t dating any longer, so I just felt you guys would keep each other company”.

“He obviously told you about the incident between himself and Tolu”.

“Yeah, we talked on the phone while I was in Abuja. I wanted to check up on you, so I called him”.

She looks at him with surprise. “You wanted to check up on me and decided to call Sola?”

“Yeah, you would have told me you were fine. But Sola, would have told me if there were any issues. It only made sense to call him”.

She sighs. “Wales, can I ask you something?”

“Shoot”.

“Erm….I don’t know how to ask this”. She breathes deeply. “Are you aware of Sola’s non-commitment to relationships?”

“Hmmm….no, I am not aware but I don’t think he has such intentions with you”.

“Why do I feel like I am the only one in the dark?”

“How do you mean?”

“Did Sola discuss me with you?”

Wale smiles. “Sola had made his intentions known to me from the beginning but you were too preoccupied with Ola to notice that he likes you”.

“I still love Ola”. Kunbi says looking away.

“Obviously”. He says wrinkling his nose. “I can’t help but wonder what hold the guy has over you. C’mon, when are you going to open your eyes and see?”

Kunbi moves towards him and picks up the empty glass. She goes to the kitchen refusing to respond to Wale.

********************************************************************************

During one of Sola and Kunbi’s lunch breaks together the following week, she is chatting with Sola when she receives a text message. She looks at the sender and instantly hides her phone. Sola notices but feigns ignorance. On the drive back to the office, she decides to open the message. “Hello darling, I hope you are fine. I am sorry about the last incident. I still love you and will always do”.

She breathes in and out before typing back a response. “How could you? Your intention was to kill me”.

She receives a response immediately. “I would never do anything to hurt you again. Please come to Ibadan this weekend and let’s talk”.

She puts her phone away without responding to the last message.

 

As Wale and Kunbi drive home from work on Friday evening, Kunbi thinks of how best to discuss her trip to Ibadan. “Wales, I have missed mummy and I want to see her this weekend”.

“Okay. I would like to see her as well. It’s been a while. We can do the trip together”.

“You want to go this weekend?” She asks.

“Yeah, do you have a problem with that?”

“No, no. I just thought you might be busy”.

He looks at her curiously. “Busy doing what?”

“I don’t know”. She shrugs.

“Kunbi, is there something I should know?”

“No, why do you ask?”

“Cos, you have never been good at lying. Why are you going to Ibadan this weekend?”

“I told you already. I want to see my mum”.

“And?” He asks expectant.

“And what?”

“Are you going to see Ola?”

Kunbi refuses to answer.

Wale looks at her and shakes his head. “Would you be satisfied when Ola kills or maims you?”

Kunbi opens her mouth to say something but decides against it. It was no use as she knew she could never convince Wale as far as Ola was concerned.

———-
Photo credit: http://www.123rf.com

Second Chances – Episode 9

As Sola drives to Tolu’s apartment, he rethinks his decision to see her while Kunbi lies critically injured in the hospital. The doctor had said she needed to rest but he still felt obligated to be by her side in her time of need. She was the reason why his relationship with Tolu was going smoothly. The visit to Tolu could wait. He is about to make a U-turn when he remembers that Wale would have left the hospital as well. He shrugs and decides to continue with his visit.

30 minutes later, Sola parks his car a few metres away from Tolu’s apartment. He walks to the door carrying a shopping bag and a bouquet in his hands. He attempts to knock on the door but then hesitates. On second thoughts, he places his hand on the door handle and the door opens. His surprise visit is working better than he planned and he goes in smiling.

The TV in the living room is switched on but no one is there. There is an opened bottle of wine and two glasses half-filled with wine in the living room. A shiver runs down his spine and he feels cold and hot at the same time. Sweat beads at his forehead and he pulls out a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe it. He drops the shopping bag and the bouquet on the floor as he hears laughter. He recognizes that laughter which has become distinguishable. He moves towards the direction from where he has heard the laughter. It gets louder as he moves closer to a room. It is obvious there are two people in there as he can hear a man talking.

As he gets to the door, he shuts his eyes afraid to imagine what is going on behind it. He breathes deeply as he places his hands on the door handle and opens it. He gasps at the sight before him. Tolu is shocked when she sees him. She stands up from the bed immediately and struggles to tie a wrapper over her chest. She runs to meet Sola but he turns back and leaves in anger.

Spying

“I don’t know how I got home. I still can’t believe it. I almost feel like this is a bad dream that I would wake up from. She has called me severally today but I have refused to pick her calls”. Sola says shaking his head.

“I’m at a loss for what to say. I guess I should say I’m sorry but I think you should have picked up her call at least to hear her out”.

Sola looks at Kunbi in shock. “What? How can you say that? What could she possibly have to say?”

“I mean, just maybe….”

“Just maybe what, Kunbi. Maybe what? Am I to listen to an explanation for being in bed with a man old enough to be her father or will she explain why I was fooled and led on all along? Please give me a break”. Sola says in anger.
“I’m sorry, Sola. I know you are hurt. I have no intentions of rubbing it in”.

Sola sighs as he moves towards Kunbi. “You don’t have to be. I’m sorry I yelled at you”.

“It’s okay”.

He looks at his wrist watch. “It is late. I should leave now so you can rest.” He says as he lifts her up to re-adjust the pillow. “I won’t be able to come here with Wale tomorrow morning but I’ll definitely come home to see you. Is that okay?”

“That’s fine. Thank you”. Kunbi answers smiling.

“Take care of you”. He says as he touches her lightly on the cheeks.

Kunbi looks at him and is scared of what she sees in his eyes. She looks away as she replies; “I will, thanks”.

She refuses to look his way again until she hears the door shut firmly. She breathes deeply as she shakes her head and turns to look at the door through which Sola has just stepped out.

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A week later, Wale is sitting in the living room reading a newspaper. The TV is switched on and a music video plays on mute. He suddenly remembers something and drops the newspaper on the settee.

“Kunbi, Kunbi”. He calls.

“Yes dear”. Kunbi answers from her room.

“Please come to the living room”.

She walks into the living room wearing a white tank top and lounge pants. “Yes, what’s wrong?” She asks as she sits down on the couch facing him.

“I’ll be traveling to Abuja to supervise one of our sites. I leave tomorrow evening”.

“Home alone again?” Kunbi asks.

“I can’t help it”. He shrugs. “I have informed Sola and he will pick you up from work in the evenings”.

“Thanks. That’s thoughtful of you”.

“Anything for my baby cuz”. He says smiling. “I would have asked him to pick you up in the mornings as well but I don’t want to push the favour”.

“No, that will be too much. I can take a taxi to work”.

“Sola is just a call away in case you need anything”.

“Okay, how long will you gone?”

“About a week. I pray it doesn’t take longer than that to conclude”.

“Okay”. She says nodding.

“So are you going to tell me who beat you up last week?” He asks; his tone serious.

“Wales, I thought you’ve forgotten about the issue. I’ve put it behind me”.

Wale looks at her with surprise. “What do you mean by forgotten? Someone barges into my house, beats up my sister and you say I should forget and put it behind me? Really?”

“Wales, please we have talked about this….” She is saying as Wale interrupts.

“Don’t patronize me. I have only given you time to recuperate. I need to know the culprit”.

“Please promise me you won’t go out this night”. Kunbi pleads.

“I can’t. Is it meant to be a trade by barter?”

“Why can’t you? Okay, I’m taking the car key”. She stands up to pick up the key.

“Do whatever you like, I’m not bothered. What I need to know is this person you have refused to name. Is it Ola?”

“Erm….” Kunbi stammers.

Wale looks at her as he searches her face. “Yes….”

“Actually….erm….”

“Speak up, Kunbi. You’re wasting my time”. He says with irritation.

“It’s….it’s Ola but he didn’t mean to….”

Wale stands up in anger. “Give me the key”.

“I’m not giving you the key. Wale, please listen to me”. She pleads trying to calm him down as she holds him by the hand.

Wale snatches his hand. “Leave me alone. If you are not giving me the key, then just leave me alone”.

He paces the room biting his finger in regret. Suddenly, the doorbell rings and startles Kunbi. She runs to the door, fidgeting as she opens it.

“Thank God, it’s you”. She says.

“What’s the problem?” Sola asks walking into the living room.

“Please could you talk to your friend? He wants to go to Ibadan this night”. She says shaking.

“Hey, take it easy. I’ll handle the situation”. He says patting her on the back. “My guy, what has come over you?” Sola asks as he sees Wale shaking his head in anger and regret.

“I told you Ola was responsible. Didn’t I? I was so sure about it”.

“Yes, you were right and I was wrong to underestimate him”. Sola says matter-of-factly.

“So, if the same was done to your sister, you would fold your arms and congratulate her, right? Tell her to hand over my car key”.

“Take it easy, man. You won’t be helping matters by beating up the guy”.

Wale laughs with mockery. “You think so”.

“Right now, you’re not thinking straight. What if something happens on the way to Ibadan at this time of the night? C’mon, no one is happy with this issue, but we have to let it go. Besides, we do not want you in prison with a murder charge hanging over your head”.

Wale sits down in anger and Sola jerks his head to signal to Kunbi to take over. Immediately, Kunbi kneels in front of Wale.

“Wales, I know how much you care about me and want the best for me. I couldn’t have asked God for a better and more loving big brother, but you should understand that I still need you”. She holds his hands. “Please forgive Ola and let it go. I’ve forgiven him already”.

“Please stand up. I have heard you. So easy for you to forgive the bastard”. He hisses.

“Please….” Kunbi stresses still on her knees.

“Get up please. You can reserve the kneeling down for your husband”. Wale says as Sola and Kunbi burst into laughter.

————–
Photo Credit: http://www.pinkroma.it

To Love and to Hold – Episode 22

Chinedu stood in front of the Peters’ residence. He was dressed in a white tailored shirt and navy blue pants. He knew Fadeke came from a wealthy family but it had never crossed his mind that the wealth of the Peters’ family spoke in volumes. He was standing in front of a marbled fence with gates that looked like they led to a fortress. There were well-kept lawns on each side of the gate and it was obvious that a skilled gardener was being paid to do a good job. If the outside looked this way, he wondered what was behind the gates. Standing right there, he suddenly developed cold feet and wondered what he was doing in front of the expansive building. He pulled himself together and forced a smile. Fadeke was expecting him and he couldn’t let her down; not when he had gotten this far into their relationship.

He had discussed his intended visit with his mother last night but he had been careful not to let her know that he faced a possible rejection. Besides, she had also been skeptical about Fadeke before meeting her. He did not want to leave for Abuja without sealing his relationship because very soon he was going to propose to her. As he pressed the door bell, he prayed a silent prayer in his heart that everything would go on well with his visit today.

 

Fadeke and Chinedu walked out of the house an hour later. The meeting with her mother had gone better than she had expected. Even though, she was yet to get a feedback from her, she noticed her mother had been impressed. She had however, shown an indifferent attitude but Fadeke knew her mother better. It was clear that Chinedu had won her heart. She linked her fingers with Chinedu’s and smiled. “I think she likes you”.

To Love & to Hold 34

“You think so?”

“I know so”.

“And your dad?”

“She would do the talking”.

He rubbed the thumb of his free hand on her cheek. “I pray everything goes well”.

“I pray so too”.

*******

“Mum?” Fadeke called the third time. She had come back in and met her mother watching one of her favourite sitcoms. She wanted to know what she felt about Chinedu but her mother was so engrossed in the programme that she refused to look her way. The programme went into a commercial break forcing her mother to give her the attention she desired.

“What do you think?”

She looked at her daughter; her right forefinger tapping the tip of her nose.

The commercials were running to a close soon and if she did not get a response from her mum now….

“Come and sit here”. She tapped the couch she was sitting on.

Fadeke did as she was bided.

The commercial break was over and the programme went on. Mrs. Peters picked up the remote and switched off the TV. She faced her daughter and held her hands.

“Fadekemi”.

Fadeke swallowed the lump in her throat. “Yes mum”.

“You have put me in a very difficult situation”.

She looked up at her mum; confusion clearly written on her face.

“It’s obvious the young man loves you but how am I meant to convince your father that you have considered an Igbo boy”.

“Mum, can I ask a question?” She asked finally finding her voice.

“Yes, dear”.

“When you fell in love with daddy, would his tribe have been an issue if he wasn’t Yoruba?”

She sighed. “No, it wouldn’t have been. I am not against tribes Fadekemi, your father is”.

“Then, you have to help me convince him”.

“It is not as easy as you think”.

“Please mum, for my sake. I love Chinedu and you have also admitted that he loves me. Talk to daddy, please”.

“I’d try my best”.

“Thanks. I love you, mum”.

She hugged her daughter. “I love you too darling”.

Mr. Peters looked at his wife as if she had just hit him on the face. He couldn’t believe what he had just heard. They had both retired to bed after having his favourite meal for dinner. She had dimmed the lights of the room and had burned scented candles. The room smelled like strawberry and he had been enticed by his wife’s body. She still looked very sexy after their years of marriage and he had never stopped desiring her.

“Did I hear you right?”

“Honey, I….”

He shook his head. “I don’t believe you”.

“She loves him”. She cried.

“And you allowed her to love an Igbo boy?”

She opened her mouth looking aghast.

“You should have guided her on who to love. You should have warned her ahead”.

How was she supposed to control her daughter’s heart?” She thought.

“I expect you to go and undo what you and your daughter have done”. He said turning his back on her.

What was he saying? She tried to understand but couldn’t. “How was she going to undo her daughter’s love for Chinedu?”

She took one last look at her husband and sighed. It was obvious Fadeke and Chinedu loved each other. She was torn between her daughter and her husband. As she heard her husband gently go into a snore, she prayed silently that he would change his mind; for her daughter’s mind had been made up long before now.

*****************************************************************************************

Three weeks passed and Fadeke was back in school for her final year session. She had avoided her father after getting his response from her mum. Mr. Peters had noticed but had chosen to be indifferent. “She’s just a little girl and would get over it”. “Besides, he had asked Dupe to handle it, so he did not expect to hear anything further about the Igbo boy”. As far as he was concerned, the matter had been closed.

As expected, Fadeke had been adamant when her mother had discussed with her. She was going ahead with her relationship, her father’s warning notwithstanding. Mrs. Peters had tried to make her see reasons with her father but deep down her heart, she knew her husband’s reasons held no water. He said the Igbos were slimy and not truthful. He said they were not good husbands to their wives. He said they were too stubborn. “What had all these got to do with the boy her daughter loved?” Her daughter had gone back to school unhappy and she felt bad about it.

To Love & to Hold 34b

Fadeke slumped on her bed in her room. The journey back to school had been tiring and what she needed now was sleep. She was about to tune off into sleep mode when she heard a tap on her door.

“Ohh…..who could that be?” She groaned.

She stood up to open the door and smiling before her was her old time friend; or enemy depending on which side she wanted to stay on.

“Let me in. Will you?” Tochukwu said pushing her aside.

She was too tired for a fight. “What do you want?”

She shrugged. “I was posted to Lagos for my youth service”.

“Congrats”. She said dryly.

“Won’t you at least give me a hug?”

“Oh God. What the heck?” She gave her a hug wondering what was next.

“Anyway, I came to clear up my apartment and decided to check on you”.

“So nice of you”. She forced a smile.

“I’d call you when I get to camp”.

“Thanks”. She tapped her feet impatiently.

Tochukwu walked towards the door still talking. “Make sure you keep in touch”.

She walked behind her ready to lock the door. “I will. Enjoy yourself”.

“Thanks”.

She locked the door and turned round to rest her back on it. “When will she let me be?”

She walked towards her bed and sat down. “Chinedu, I miss you so much”. She soliloquized. She lay on her bed and tried to get some sleep; making a mental note to call him when she woke up.

**********

The semester moved faster than expected and exams were soon around the corner. Fadeke and her course mates milled round the faculty offices visiting their project supervisors from time to time. She shared her project supervisor with Kemi Salvador, who had made a habit of coming to visit her in her room. Kemi had stayed on campus all through her first three years in school. She was one of the very brilliant students in the class but was also known to be a glutton. She came from an average family and always got people to buy her food. Since she discovered that she shared the same supervisor with Fadeke, she made it a custom to always end her day in Fadeke’s room. Fadeke did not mind as she actually needed the company; mentally and emotionally. Kemi was a good study partner even if she had to sacrifice her food.

To Love & to Hold 35

In three weeks, exams were over and for the first time, Fadeke did not look forward to going home. Kemi had practically become her roommate as she had moved all her belongings into her room. She noticed Fadeke hadn’t packed anything three days after their exams were over and decided to ask.

“Aren’t you going home?”

“I can’t say yet”.

“Why? You were always one of the first students to go home”.

Fadeke shrugged.

“Is it about Chinedu?”

Fadeke looked at her with surprise.

“I see and hear a lot but ignore them because firstly, they are not my business and secondly, I came to school to study”.

“Was that the reason why you kept away from everybody all these while?”

Kemi smiled. “Kind of. You all had your cliques and I didn’t fit into any”.

“That’s because you always looked aloof and I don’t mean to be rude or pry into your affairs; your dress sense is wacky”.

To Love & to Hold 35b

She laughed. “I don’t need anyone’s approval”. She continued; getting serious “I noticed Chinedu hasn’t been coming to visit you like he did last semester. Is everything okay between you guys?”

“Yes. He got retained in his job in Abuja, so he can’t visit like he used to”.

“Congrats. I’m happy for both of you”.

“Thanks”.

“You don’t seem happy. Is there something wrong?”

Fadeke looked at her. Over the past few weeks, they had become quite close. She had found out that Kemi was an orphan and was sponsored in school by a paternal uncle whose wife resented her. Her uncle and his wife had two kids of their own. She lived more like a servant in her uncle’s house; doing the dishes, cleaning the house, washing the children’s dresses and doing everything she was bided by her uncle’s wife. To allow her concentrate on her studies, her uncle had told her to get a place to stay on campus; he had however, left her to sort out the financing herself.  This had meant squatting throughout her first three years on campus. She had moved from room to room sleeping where she was accommodated for the night. She also did some menial jobs after school hours in order to earn some money to pay for her handouts and the few textbooks she could afford. She was only entitled to school fees; her uncle had told her and she was grateful for that.

Fadeke wondered how much she could tell her. Since Tochukwu’s change in behavior, she had learnt not to trust anyone, including her so called “clique” like Kemi called them. Kemi was looking at her still expecting a response to her question.

“No, there’s nothing wrong”.

She shrugged. “When you need a listening ear, I’ll be right here”.

She smiled at her new friend. There was something about her that she admired. The fact that even in the midst of all her misfortunes, she seemed unperturbed. She knew she would learn to trust again someday and maybe then, Kemi would be the one to trust.

———-
Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

Second Chances – Episode 8

Wale paces round the reception of the hospital restlessly. Many thoughts run through his mind. “Who could have done this?” “I shouldn’t have left her alone at home”. “Why didn’t I get home earlier?” Worry lines are etched deeply into his face as he punches his left palm in anger. Sola who is seated isn’t any better. He checks his wrist watch intermittently and looks towards the door where Kunbi was wheeled through some minutes ago. Time seems to tick slowly and he shifts in his seat uncomfortably.

After a long wait, the doctor walks into the reception and asks them to follow him into his office. Sola jumps to his feet as Wale takes long strides after the doctor. The doctor offers both of them seats in his office but they both decline.

“How is she?” Wale asks anxiously.

“Is she okay? Can we see her?” Sola asks.

“Take it easy, gentlemen. There is no reason to be worried. She’s okay”.

“Can we see her now then?” Sola asks again.

“She has been moderately sedated as she’s traumatized and needs to rest”. The doctor answers.

“How bad are the injuries?” Wale asks with a frown on his face.

“Nothing life threatening. She has been placed on pain killers”.

Sola sighs.

“She would be fine. I assure you”. The doctor says smiling. “If you don’t mind, please excuse me”. The doctor walks out of his office as Wale and Sola share a look of resignation. As they both walk back to the reception, Wale asks; “Any ideas on the culprit?”

“None”. Sola responds lost in thought. “I am still baffled, though”.

“How do you mean?”

“This is premeditated. I had just left the house probably fifteen minutes before when I realized I had forgotten my phone and turned back”.

“I swear if I get my hands on whoever it is, I’ll design his face worse than he did hers”. Wale says fuming.

“Could the person have been hanging around and waiting for me to leave? So much damage in just about fifteen to twenty minutes?” Sola says talking to himself.

“I have a bad feeling about this”.

Sola looks at Wale confused.

“My instincts tell me it could have been Ola”.

“Wale! How can you say that? You’re taking your dislike for this guy too far”. Sola says in amazement.

“I know what I’m saying”. Wale insists.

“C’mon. How can Ola do this to Kunbi? You had better not let her hear this. She’s going to be really mad at you this time”.

“You don’t know this guy. He’s such a jealous and insecure animal. He manhandled her once simply because you called her while she was with him”.

“But that was some time ago”. Sola says.

“This is not out of place for him to do. And be certain, if I find out from Kunbi that he’s responsible, hmmmm…..he’s a dead man”. Wale says in anger.

Sola pats his friend on the back. “Take it easy, man. Let’s just pray she is okay”.

Wale nods as he relaxes. “Yeah, that’s most important right now. Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it”.

“Hey, what are we friends for?” Sola says as he nudges him.

“I think you should go on to your girlfriend’s. Since the doctor says she needs to rest, there’s really nothing to be done here”.

“True”.

“I’ll get here early tomorrow to be with her in case she needs anything. Hopefully, she should be discharged soon”.

“I’ll meet you here tomorrow then. Please take care of her”.

“Thanks a lot. I appreciate your concern”.

 

Sola walks into the hospital premises at 5.00pm the next day. His shirt has been rolled up while the knot of his tie has been loosened. He stops at the reception to ask for Kunbi’s room and he is directed. As he gets to her room, he taps on the door gently, opens it slightly and peeps in. “Can I come in?” He asks when he sees Wale sitting on the bed and talking earnestly with Kunbi.

2nd Chances 8

“Of course, you can”. Wale answers.

“How are you beauty?” Sola says as he walks to the other side of the bed and gives her a light kiss on the cheek.

“I’m better, thanks”. Kunbi responds as she uses her hands to cover her face.

Wale gives Sola a cursory glance as he raises his brow.

Sola shrugs as he also wonders.

“I am sorry you are seeing me this way”. Kunbi says hiding behind her hands.

“Okay?” Wale acknowledges. “This is definitely for Sola”.

“I carried you in my arms while you were unconscious, so you don’t need to hide behind your hands”. Sola says smiling as he removes her hands from her face. “So, who did this to you?”

“Good question. Maybe she’ll tell you. She has refused to tell me the bastard who did this”.

“Wales, take it easy. I’ll tell you at the right time”. Kunbi says with pleading eyes.

“Right time? What other time is right besides now? Ehn, tell me. What other time?” He asks standing up from the bed in anger.

“Wale, I think you should listen to her. She’s probably right”. Sola says.

“I know I’m right”.

“Kunbi, you can take as long as you want. Whether now or later, be rest assured that whoever did this will pay for it”.

Kunbi tries to sit up but winces as she feels pain. “Wales, I think you should go home and rest. You need it. You are stressed already”. She strains as she tries to lie back.

Wale and Sola both rush to assist her in laying back.

“Okay, Kunbi. I will let go for now”. Wale says. “I need you to get better and come home. That is most important”.

“Thanks Wales”.

“I’m really tired. Sola will keep you company. I need to go home now”. He says yawning.

“When am I leaving here? I’m missing home already”. Kunbi asks.

“The doctor said you’ll be discharged tomorrow; so I’ll pick you up at about noon”. He hugs her gently so as not to cause her any more pain. “Take care darling”.

“Goodnight”. She says smiling.

“You are free to take over from here”. Wale says to Sola.

Sola smiles and shrugs. “You bet I will”.

As Wale walks out of the room, Sola sits down on the lone chair beside Kunbi. He holds her hand and asks; “Don’t tell me he did this to you?”

Kunbi looks at him with surprise. “Who did?”

“C’mon Kunbi. Why did you refuse to tell him if it wasn’t Ola?”

“You’re right. It’s Ola”. She says sighing.

“My goodness”. Sola gasps.

“Wales would not mind travelling to Ibadan this night and he won’t leave Ola until he’s probably confirmed dead. I am not ready to turn my cousin into a murderer”.

“Yeah. I feel you. I know Wale cares about you but he will still get to know one way or the other”.

“Not if you don’t tell him”.

“Why would I? It won’t be long for him to figure it out, though. He mentioned that his instincts told him Ola was responsible”.

“You see why he should not get to know yet. Besides, Ola would be nursing his wounds as well”. She says smiling.

“His wounds?” Sola asks confused.

“Yes, didn’t you guys notice the broken flower vase?”

“We did but we thought it was a victim of the struggle”.

“Well, it was a victim but I used it on Ola’s head when it seemed he was going to kill me”.

“Really? You are a strong woman and you thought very fast even in that situation”. Sola says smiling.

“Yeah, I had to. If I hadn’t, you would have found me dead”.

“God forbid. I can’t stand loosing you”.

Kunbi gently removes her hands from Sola’s hands and looks away. “So, how is your girlfriend?” She asks changing the topic.

“She’s fine”. Sola says frowning.

Kunbi notices the excitement in his voice is gone and turns back to look at him. “When do I get to meet her or are you still hiding her from our prying eyes?” She asks smiling.

“No, I’m not hiding her. The doctor is discharging you tomorrow, right? He asks.

“Are you intentionally changing the topic?” She looks at him curiously.

“No, I am not”.

“What are you hiding, Sola?”

“I am not hiding anything”. He says as he stands up and turns his back to Kunbi.

“Then why are you avoiding my questions”.

“It is rather unfortunate that you may never get to meet her”.

“Why? What happened? What did you do to her?” Kunbi asks anxious.

Sola shrugs. “Nothing”.

“What do you mean by nothing? Sola, look at me. What happened? Please tell me”. Kunbi says as she winces in pain trying to lift herself up.

Sola takes a deep breath as he rushes to her side and props her up with a pillow. “I don’t know where I went wrong. I told you I wanted to give her a surprise visit, right?” He says looking at her.

“Yes, I remember you said so”.

“Well, I got to her apartment and got the shock of my life”. Sola says as he replays the event of the previous day in his mind.

———-

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

When the sun shines

The sun beat hard and we felt the heat in the air-conditioned vehicle. It seemed the sun was intent on unleashing on the occupants of the earth. The air-conditioner had little effect even though it was working at the lowest temperature. I wiped my brow and looked at my kids. I felt sorry for them but we were better off this way than with the air-conditioner switched off and the windows rolled down. The heat outside could be better imagined than felt.

As we were about to descend a slope, the car in front of me danced backwards trying to maneuver the edge of the slope. It was a red saloon car. I am very poor at brand of cars, so I would leave the brand to your imagination. Three men were seated at the back while the driver and a passenger sat in front. The car got stuck and its tyres rolled in the sand whipping up dust. I backed up a bit as I realized the car would need to do same and re-maneuver its way.

Why don’t the guys at the back just get out of the car so it makes it easier for the driver to maneuver the edge of the slope; I thought.

I stood still as there was no other way around unless I faced oncoming vehicles. I decided to wait it out till they got their act together. Besides, I wasn’t in a hurry. I moved back again to free up more space for the car. The car started to reverse and I waited for the driver to re-maneuver his tyres. Instead, the driver kept on reversing without looking backwards. I pressed on the horn continuously until it happened like lightning.

When the sun shines

I thought I was watching a movie where I happened to be the main actor. My jaw dropped as I saw glass shatter. The car had backed up till it hit my car. I was driving a four runner which had protective metal guard rails. The heat of the sun coupled with the force with which the car hit the metal guard rails caused the rear windshield to shatter into little pieces. The three men seated at the back seat looked at me. They got down from the car and it had a free ride down the slope. So what were they thinking before? I thought as I rolled my eyes.

I drove down the slope and the three guys were by my side in a jiffy. “Where do you think you are going?” One of them asked. “Excuse me!” I responded.

“Can’t you see what you have done to our car?”

“What I did to your car?” I asked in astonishment. “I am sure everyone who witnessed the accident is aware that you reversed into my car”.

“You can’t go away. You have to pay for it”. Another said.

I looked at them like they are speaking in another language. “Pay for what?” I asked. “I should be asking you to pay if my lights are broken”.

At this point, other drivers who witnessed the accident, got down from their vehicles to talk to the guys harassing me. “Leave her alone”. One shouted. “She kept on pressing her horn”. Another said. “How person go dey reverse and he no go look back?” “And all of you siddon for back, una no fit get down”. “Why all of you comot when the glass don break?” “Which driving school una go sef”. Different voices scolding the men.

The driver who was all along checking the extent of the damage to his car came to meet me. I waited expecting him to join his friends in the blame game. “I’m sorry madam for the harassment. You can go”. He said. “I am sorry about your vehicle”. I responded and drove off.

——–
Photo Credit: http://www.jaguar-swansea.co.uk

To Love and to Hold – Episode 21

VOLUME 2:

After Kike had been put to bed that Saturday night and the domestic workers had retired to bed, Fadeke walked round her two bed room flat like one in a trance. She had tried not to think about the past but the more she pushed it away, the more her heart willed her to go back six years in time. The past six years had been filled with pain and heartache. At a point, she started having heart palpitations and panic attacks. The pain was too much for her to bear and she felt like she was losing it. Ma Win had come into her life then and became a source of strength to her. She had cried enough tears to last a lifetime and she needed to stop being selfish and give her young daughter a life; Ma Win had told her.

She went into the shower to take a warm bath. As the water coursed down her back, she remembered how she had been so much in love with Chinedu. Nothing and no one had mattered to her. They had both promised to be together till death did them part. The five years they spent together had been blissful. Even though, Tochukwu had tried to be a stumbling block, she hadn’t succeeded but how wrong she had been. She had been so naïve to trust everyone. She had trusted Chinedu, Kunle and Tochukwu. Her heartthrob and her friends. But they had turned round to stab her in the back. She was such a fool to have believed Chinedu had loved her sincerely.

To Love & to Hold 33

She stepped out of the shower and slipped into her night gown. She had loved with her heart, her soul and her body. She shook her head as she walked to her room. She did not deserve this. She hadn’t only lost Chinedu; she also lost a relationship with her father which they were just trying to find again, courtesy of Ma Win. She felt her chest tighten and she became scared. She became dizzy and struggled to keep herself from falling. Was she having another attack? She coughed and tried to stay calm. She started breathing in and out gently as she pushed herself to her room. As she lay on her bed, she felt her body calm down. She had promised Ma Win she was never going to let anything get to her again but she was doing it again. She was letting the event of last night take its toll on her health.

She closed her eyes and her heart took her back in time to the year Chinedu had gone to Abuja for his youth service. She had fulfilled her promise to visit him once more before he left.  She had gone to his house a day before his Abuja trip and that day had been so emotional for her. He had promised to try to visit once a month but deep down her heart, she knew that would be asking too much from him. Whatever allowances he received would be used to take care of his accommodation and feeding. She had felt her heart ripping apart. She hoped she wasn’t going to lose him.

A man of his words; Chinedu had kept his promise. It hadn’t been easy coming home once every month but he had made a promise to Fadeke and he was bent on keeping it. He had been posted to a foremost auditing firm in the country and was paid fairly. Coupled with the allowance he was receiving from the National Scheme, he tried his best to manage his living costs. The National Scheme had built Youth Corper lodges round the city and he was lucky to get a room in one of them. The room had been bare with just his mattress, a bucket and a stove with which he cooked his meals. If he had to save money, he would have to do away with other luxuries.

Fadeke always looked forward to the end of the month when Chinedu would come home. He would take a night bus on a Friday evening after work and leave for Abuja on Sunday afternoon. He visited her in school most of the time and she admitted that it was a sacrifice on his part. The journey from Abuja to Ibadan and sometimes to Lagos on periods when she was on vacation hadn’t been easy; but he had kept at it. Even his mother had complained on more than one occasion about the frequency of his visits, but he had waved it aside. Fadeke meant the whole world to him and no sacrifice was too great to take for her.

The one year national youth service rolled to a finish and Chinedu was eager to come back home. The organization had been impressed with his job and offered him a permanent placement. He had been overjoyed. Most of his mates were not retained at their places of assignment. But there was a snag. Staying in Abuja meant being away from Fadeke for longer than he had anticipated. There was also no guarantee that he would get a job soon in Lagos; if he decided to come home. The unemployment rate in the country was high and denying an offer when thousands roamed the streets without one would be a silly decision. He was torn; unsure of what to do.

He asked that the organization give him a few weeks off work. He needed time to think as the next decision he took was going to alter the course of their lives; his and Fadeke’s.

“Are you serious? That’s good news”.

“Yes, it is. But it may not sound so good when you hear the other part”.

“Okay. So what’s the other part of the story?”

He sighed unsure of how to break the news. “I have to stay in Abuja”.

“Abuja?”

Fadeke shook her head vigorously. She now understood the reason why Chinedu had asked that she come over. He couldn’t break the news to her over the phone. He had arrived home late last night. He called her that he had something very important to tell her and that it couldn’t be discussed on phone. For a moment, she had kept quiet on the phone; her mind playing tricks on her. “Had he found someone else?” “Was he breaking off their relationship?” They were on vacation and she had been home for about a week lazing around as usual. When she hadn’t responded, Chinedu had thought the line had cut.

“Hello, are you still there?”

She stammered. “Yes, I am”.

“Are you okay?”

She wasn’t sure what her answer was meant to be. She didn’t think she could stand a break up.

She had agreed to meet him at home the next day. She hadn’t been able to sleep that night. She had tossed and turned counting the hours as they clocked.

 

When she got to his house, every doubt on her mind about him breaking off their relationship had been erased. He had swooped her off her feet and kissed her with a passion she hadn’t noticed before. She clung tightly to him savouring the moment of bliss.

“I’m confused”. Chinedu admitted.

“And if you come back to Lagos…..” She let her statement trail off. She was also aware that there were very few job opportunities. How could she deny him of this? It would be very selfish of her.

“Go ahead and take the job”. She concluded.

Chinedu opened his mouth but was at a loss for what to say.

She blinked back the tears that were beginning to gather and smiled. “You have shown me how to love. This is the least I can do to return it”.

He pulled her into an embrace. “I love you, Fadeke and I promise to do everything to make you happy”.

As she stayed in his embrace, she prayed in her heart hoping that she had made the right decision.

To Love & to Hold 33b

A week before he was meant to leave for Abuja, Chinedu called. He wanted to meet her parents; he had said.

“Are you sure about that?”

“Absolutely sure. We can’t continue hiding forever, can we?”

“I understand. I’m just not sure if I am ready to do this now”.

“Well, I am”.

“Okay. I’d rather you meet my mum first. When would you be coming over?”

“The day after tomorrow”.

“I’d talk to her this night then”.

*********

“I thought we had talked about this sometime ago”. Mrs. Peters said frowning at her daughter.

“Mum, please”.

“Fadeke, your father must not hear about this. I’m surprised you still went ahead with your relationship with the so called Chinedu”.

The so called Chinedu?” She thought. “Was that how her mum felt about him?” She was about to say something but stopped. This wasn’t the time to argue with her mum.

She knelt down and held her mother’s hands. “Mum, if you love me like you say you do; meet Chinedu and after that make your conclusions about him”.

“That’s blackmail. Do you realize that?”

“Why would I want to do that? She cried. “I just want you to give him a chance”.

“And your father?”

“Chinedu wants to meet you day after tomorrow”. She said ignoring her mother’s last question.

She sighed. “Stand up. I hope you know what you are getting yourself into?”

“I do and I am going into it with my eyes wide open”. She said standing up and kissing her mother on the cheek. “Thanks mum”.

———-
Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com

Second Chances – Episode 7

Kunbi is lying on the settee in the living room watching the TV on Saturday afternoon. Wale comes out of his room wearing his wristwatch. He is dressed in black corduroy pants and a blue striped short sleeved shirt. He picks up his car keys from the glass centre table in front of Kunbi.

“I need to get to the mechanic workshop. I won’t be long”. He says to her.

“Okay”.

As he is about stepping out, Kunbi calls after him; “Wales hold on. Please could you get me some toiletries on your way back?”

Wale turns back and responds, “Okay. Will do”.

“Thanks dear”.

Kunbi goes back to the TV programme she is watching. About twenty minutes later, the doorbell rings and she stands up to open the door. She smiles as she sees Sola looking very handsome as always. She notices that he is wearing a different perfume as the smell wafts up her nostrils but decides not to comment about it.

“Hi. You did not mention you would be coming. Please come in”. She says as she lets him in.

“I needed to see you and be sure you’re doing well”. He answers as he walks into the living room.

“Thanks. I’m okay”.

Sola sits down as he asks, “Where’s Wale?”

“He went to the mechanic’s”.

“You should not be home alone”. Sola says with concern.

“C’mon Sola, what do you mean? I’m not a baby. I can take care of myself”. Kunbi laughs as she sits down.

“Are you sure?” Sola asks as he holds her hands.

“Yes. I am”.

“You know I am a call away if you ever need me”.

Kunbi smiles. “I know. I would get everything sorted out when I go to Ibadan next weekend”.

“Please be careful over there”.

Kunbi is embarrassed by the show of affection and stands up as she removes her hands from Sola’s.

“Ola and I will settle things amicably. What should I get you?” She says as she turns to walk towards the kitchen.

“Nothing. I’m okay. I was actually on my way to see Tolu. I want to give her a surprise visit”. He says smiling.

Kunbi feels a sudden pang of jealousy but pushes it aside immediately. “That’s very thoughtful of you. I hope to meet this babe that makes you really happy soon”. She says smiling.

“Of course. You will. I’ll introduce her to you at the right time”. He responds.

“Now get up and get going”. She says shooing him out.

Sola stands up as he laughs and does a mock salute. “Yes ma”.

“My regards to her and don’t forget to pick up some goodies for her on the way”. Kunbi says as she walks him to the door.

“I won’t forget that. Catch ya later”. He says as he walks out.

Kunbi smiles as she goes to the kitchen. If only Ola could remain the man of her dreams. She sighs as she gets a glass tumbler and retrieves a pack of juice from the refrigerator. Ola is not the man for you. She remembers Wale’s statement. I warned you about Ola. I could see traces of pride, arrogance and jealousy in him. Her mum had said. But I still love him. She says to herself.

She walks back to the living room with her glass of juice and is about to sit down to continue watching the TV when the doorbell rings. She drops the glass tumbler on the dining table and walks towards the door to open it. Could Sola have forgotten something?

As she opens the door, she asks, “Did you forget……”

The expression on her face changes to shock as the stranger at the door asks “I guess you are expecting someone”.

“What are you doing here?” She asks in annoyance.

She is suddenly pushed roughly into the sitting room as Ola holds her tight by the arm.

“Who were you expecting? Answer me”. He growls.

Kunbi grimaces under his grip. “What’s all this, Ola? Why are you here?”

“I’m here because of this”. He flings a brown envelope to her face.

Kunbi picks up the envelope as she asks, “What’s this?”

“Look at it before I pounce on you”. Ola shouts at her.

Kunbi opens the envelope, brings out some photographs and gasps. “What! Ola, how could you? You sent someone to monitor my movements with Sola? I can’t believe this”.

Ola claps his hands in mockery. “Good. Now I see. The same Sola, right?” He screams. “Answer me”.

Kunbi is startled. “I won’t answer you. Wale and my mum were right after all. You are just as jealous and insecure as my father was”.

Ola shouts as he moves towards her in anger. “You still have the guts to talk to me, you slut”.

Kunbi retreats. “Don’t come near me”.

“Don’t do what”. He reaches her in two steps and slaps her twice.

2nd Chances 7

“Ola, you’ve started again. Get out of this place”. Kunbi screams in tears and anger.

“Not until I’m through with you”. He says holding her as she struggles under his grip.

She falls back on the settee and he pounces on her beating her mercilessly. Kunbi struggles with him in vain. Ola overpowers her and she begins to loose her strength. She screams but no one comes to her rescue. Her vision begins to blur and she knows that if she doesn’t do something, Wale will probably come back to meet her dead. She looks to her side as Ola puts his hand on her neck in a bid to strangle her. A ceramic flower vase is on the side stool to her right and she picks it up and hits it hard on Ola’s head with the whole of her strength.

Ola screams in pain as blood gushes out of his head. “You bitch”. He gives her a hard punch on the face and she faints. Ola places his right hand on his head which is already dripping with blood onto his white shirt. “Shit”. He curses as he grimaces with pain and staggers out of the house.

******

Sola is parking his car outside Wale’s apartment. As he steps out of the car to walk towards the house, Wale parks beside him.

“You’re back right on time”. Sola says.

Wale steps out of his car and walks towards the boot which he had opened automatically. “Have you been here earlier?”

“Yes. I came to see you guys but met only Kunbi at home”.

“Okay”.

“You know you shouldn’t leave her alone at home. She needs you by her side now”.

“Yeah. I know”. Wale says as he picks out two shopping bags from the opened boot. “I needed to get to the mechanic and would have been back earlier but she asked me to pick up some toiletries at the supermarket”.

“She said so”.

“So why are you back or did you see me coming?” Wale says as he touches the lock button of the car remote.

“No, I must have dropped my phone in your apartment so I had to come back for it. I am going to see my babe”. He says grinning from ear to ear.

“Na wa. I go love oh. This babe of yours is really doing something to you”.

“You bet she is”. Sola answers laughing.

They walk towards the apartment together. Wale pulls out his key to open the door. Sola walks in first while Wale tries to close the door behind him. As Sola walks in, he assumes Kunbi is still watching the TV which is still switched on. “Kunbi, I forgot…..Oh my God”. He screams and rushes towards Kunbi who is unconscious on the floor and bleeding from the nose. He leans down and places his a finger over her nostrils to check if she is still breathing.

Wale drops the bag of toiletries on the floor and rushes to the living room on hearing Sola’s yell.

“What’s wrong?…. What! Who could have done this?” Wale asks no one.

Sola carries Kunbi fully in his arms and says “Wale, get the keys. She’s unconscious. We need to get her to the hospital quickly”.

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Second Chances – Episode 6

Kunbi leaves Ibadan for Lagos early Sunday morning. The discussion with her mum had been an eye-opener. It suddenly occurred to her that she had been blinded by love. Her mum and Wale could not be wrong after all. She wondered why it took her so long to see it. Ola had kicked against her having male friends in the University but she never saw it as jealousy. She had broken all ties and friendships with her male course mates and friends. According to him, other guys were a distraction to her. She had not seen anything wrong with it. To her, it was Ola’s way of showing that he loved her.

As she sat in the bus taking her back to Lagos, she thought about their relationship the past four years. She had been so much in love, she had refused to see the handwriting on the wall. She was fifteen when she lost her father and she remembered vividly how much she had detested his jealous attitude. Her mother had lived in hurt and pain while he was alive and she had vowed never to marry someone like him.

She sighed as she looked out of the moving vehicle. As her distance away from Ibadan increased, she felt like she was leaving a part of her heart behind. Maybe it is time to move on. This realization however broke her heart.

*********************

Monday afternoon, Sola picks Kunbi up for lunch as before. After ditching her for two weeks, he wants to make it up to her. Things are going on smoothly between himself and Tolu and he is thankful to her for it. As they sit at the table with their food, Sola notices that she is not as chatty as she usually is. He thought she just wanted to be quiet during the drive to the restaurant but now, he is sure something is wrong as she has hardly touched her food.

“Kunbi, you’ve been quiet. What’s on your mind?”

“Nothing”. She shrugs.

“You can’t tell me that. You’ve been picking at your food”.

She looks up at him. “Sola, I’m serious. There’s nothing wrong. I’m not really hungry today”.

Sola drops his cutlery and stretches his hands to hold hers on the table. “Kunbi, you can talk to me or don’t you trust me any longer”.

Meanwhile, an unknown person sitting some tables away from them raises up a mobile phone pretending to be chatting on it and takes a picture of him and Kunbi.

Kunbi bows her head as she responds; “I wish I could give myself a dose of my own medication”.

“I don’t understand what you’re saying”. Sola answers looking confused.

“I am having problems with Ola”.

Sola gasps. “Oh my goodness! What’s wrong? Is it because I called you the other day while you were with him?”

“Well, it’s part of it but it started long before then”. She looks up at him all of a sudden and removes her hands from his. “How did you know about that day? Wales told you obviously”. She hisses.

“Kunbi, he meant no harm. He was worried about you and he asked me never to call you while you were out of Lagos”.

Kunbi breathes deeply. “I am so confused”.

Sola looks anxiously at her with worry. “I’m so sorry, Kunbi. What have I done? I did not mean to destabilize your relationship. What can I do to help?”

Kunbi hold his hands and smiles as she looks into his eyes. “Sola, calm down. It’s not your fault. I told you the problem is not recent. Besides, it did not start with you. I’ll try to get myself out of this mess”.

The mobile phone is raised again and their picture is taken.

He forces a smile. “When you need my help, will you call me?”

“I will”. She responds as she bows her head and Sola stares at her.

 

Sola drives her back to her office and they are oblivious to the car trailing them behind. Sola switches off the engine of the car and looks at Kunbi. “Are you sure you would be fine?”

“Of course”. She answers as she removes her seat belt and gives him a hug. “Thank you again for the lunch”.

The car trailing them is parked a few metres behind. The unknown person lifts up a camera, adjusts the lenses to view them and takes a picture just as Kunbi is hugging Sola.

2nd Chances 6

“Do you want me to pick you up after work? I could tell Wale not to bother”. Sola asks ignoring her thanks.

“No. Wales would get worried and I don’t want to put him under unnecessary psychological pressure”.

“Okay. I’ll see you at home, then. Take care of you”. He says as he squeezes her left shoulder.

The camera in the other car clicks again.

“Thanks, I will”. Kunbi says.

She steps out of the car and walks towards her office complex while Sola starts the engine and drives off.

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A young man is seated in Ola’s living room in Ibadan. He is dressed in blue faded jeans and a white Tee-shirt. He nods his head as he enjoys a music video played on TV.

Ola walks in from the kitchen as he wipes his hands on an apron he is wearing. “Sorry, I wanted to get what I was cooking off the fire”.

The man only smiles.

“So how far? Did you accomplish the task?”

“Of course. I told you to trust me”. The man answers.

Ola sits down. “Where are they?”

The man smiles as he brings out a brown envelope from his knapsack. “Here they are. Sharp and captivating”. He says as he hands over the envelope to Ola.

Ola opens the envelope, pulls out the contents and laughs mockingly. “I should have known better”.

The man rubs his palms together and smiles. “I told you I would do a good job. Didn’t I?”

Ola is upset as he hits his right palm on his forehead. “I can’t believe this”. He says shaking unable to control his anger.

Ola drops the envelope on the settee and begins to pace round the living room.

“My balance, Oga Ola”. The man says seeing that he seems to have been forgotten.

Ola looks at him in anger and shouts. “What?”

“My….my balance”. He stammers.

“How much is it?”

“Three thousand naira plus my transport fare”.

Ola looks at him, dips his hands in his jeans pocket and counts six five hundred naira notes. He throws it at him and orders him to get out.

“My transport fare, Oga Ola”. The man says as he scrambles to pick up the notes from the floor.

Ola walks towards him seething with anger and the man immediately picks his knapsack and rushes to the door.

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