Category Archives: Omoshalewa

Omoshalewa – Episode 9

Funke walked into her daughter’s room and saw her lying on the bed. Her eyes were red and puffy and she sniffed loudly. Funke immediately sat on the bed as she pulled her daughter into a hug. She rocked her daughter back and forth like a baby. When Shalewa’s sobs subsided, Funke placed her hands on her daughter’s cheeks and looked straight into her eyes. “You love Akin?”

Shalewa dropped her gaze.

Funke smiled. “You always did. I remember when you came crying to me not to allow his parents send him abroad.”

Shalewa smiled despite her tears.

“I realized you were in love and it is obvious he loves you too.”

Shalewa looked at her mum, tears filling her eyes again. “Then why does daddy want me to get married to Tunde at all cost?”

“He asked me to find out from you what Akin’s intentions are.”

Shalewa looked at her mum confused. “I don’t understand. His intentions?”

“Yes. Both of you are in love with each other. What are his plans?”

Shalewa’s face lighted up immediately. “He is waiting for me to make a decision.”

“I think you should.” Funke said as she stood up from the bed.

As Funke walked towards the door, Shalewa called her. “Mum?”

Her mother looked back at her.

“Thank you.” Shalewa said.

“You are welcome darling.”

********

The next day, Shalewa walked into Tunde’s office at a few minutes to 1.00pm. The office was tastefully furnished and it was obvious that Tunde had a good eye for aesthetics. A lady was seated behind a glass table typing away on her laptop. She looked up as the sliding doors opened. Shalewa had not called to book an appointment but Tunde’s personal assistant recognized her immediately.

“Good afternoon ma.” The lady said as she stood up from her seat.

Shalewa smiled. “Good afternoon. I will like to see Tunde. I don’t have an appointment.”

The lady returned the smile. “I will let him know you are here. Please seat down ma.” She said as she walked out of the main office.

Shalewa picked up a finance magazine from the centre table and flipped through the pages. “Please come in, ma.” The lady said walking back into the main office a few minutes later. She led Shalewa in and tapped on a door. The name plate on the door read; “Tunde Richards – Barristers and Solicitors.” Shalewa smiled as she looked at the plate.

Tunde stood up from his desk as Shalewa walked in. He took her in his arms and planted a kiss on her lips. “You did not tell me you were coming.” He said with a curious look.

Shalewa shrugged. “I just decided to come here at the last minute. I initially thought about meeting you at home but I wasn’t sure what time you would get home.” Shalewa looked round his office. “You have a nice place here.” She said admiring the expansive office. A floor to ceiling bookshelf lay on the right while a comfortable sitting area with leather sofas lay to the left of the office.

“Thank you.” Tunde said. “Please feel free.” He pointed towards the refrigerator beside the sitting area in his office.

“I’m fine.” Shalewa said. “I just had an early lunch.”

“So to what do I owe this visit?” He asked as he led her towards the sitting area. He sat down while Shalewa took the cue.

“I came so we could have a heart-to-heart talk.” Shalewa said; her tone serious.

“Okay. What is this about?” Tunde asked; sitting up.

“It’s about the wedding.”

“Our wedding?”

“Yes. I am calling it off.”

“You are what?” Tunde shouted.

“You are raising your voice, Tunde.” Shalewa said calmly.

Tunde took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “Why Shalewa?”

Shalewa was quiet as she looked at Tunde. Even though his eyes were closed, she could see he was hurting. She reckoned it would not be easy but there was no way to make it less painful.

Tunde opened his eyes and looked at Shalewa straight in the face. “Are you calling it quits because of Akin?”

There was no point lying; Shalewa nodded her head.

“You never loved me?” Tunde asked.

Shalewa blew air out of her mouth. “I said it so many times that I got tired of saying it. I’m sorry Tunde. I wish we did not have to go this far.”

Tunde looked at her and smiled sadly. “I wish I did not have to be so in love.”

Shalewa stood and walked to where he was seated. She sat beside him and removed the engagement ring from her finger, placing it in his palm. “Someone else would need this. Someone who would relish in your love and return it wholeheartedly.”

Tunde caressed her face with his thumb. “Shalewa!” He said as he stressed her name. “How can I ever forget you?”

“Please don’t make this more difficult.” Shalewa said as she looked away.

Tunde turned her face towards him and planted a gentle kiss on her lips. Shalewa stood up abruptly. “I would take my leave now.”

Tunde looked up at her and nodded.

“Thank you, Tunde.”

Even though he is heartbroken, he still managed to smile back a response.

Shalewa picked up her handbag from the couch where she was seated initially and walked out of Tunde’s office.

Tunde watched Shalewa till she walked out of his office. As the door closed behind her, he took a deep breath, laid his head on the couch and used his hands to cover his face. The pain he felt was unbearable.

“Oh Shalewa!” He soliloquized. “God knows I love you so much.”

********

As Shalewa eased into her car, she took a tissue out of the box on the passenger seat to dab her eyes. She reckoned Tunde loved her but there was no point getting married to him out of pity. Her heart belonged to Akin and she did not want to regret marrying Tunde later on.

She dropped the car visor in front of her and took a look at herself in the mirror before driving out of the car park. She was almost in her office when her phone rang. She took a look at her music screen on her dashboard and saw that it was Akin calling. She smiled as she tapped a button on the screen to receive the call.

“Shally babe.” Akin said; his voice filling her air-conditioned car.

“Hey baby.” Shalewa replied.

“Can I pick you up for lunch today?”

“Nah, not today. I had an early lunch.”

“Without me?” Akin asked.

“I’m sorry darling. I had some personal errands to run so I decided to do an early one.”

Akin was quiet.

“Hey, we can do dinner.” Shalewa said.

“That means you would get home a little late. Are you sure your parents won’t begin to complain about it soon?

Shalewa laughed heartily. “They have already.”

“Wow. They did?” Akin asked.

“Yeah, yesterday. But let’s do dinner, pleaseeee.”

“Dinner it is then.”

Four hours later, Akin and Shalewa were seated at a corner in their favourite restaurant. Their order for finger foods was taken and they continued to chat away while they awaited their order. Akin was talking about his day with a troublesome client and Shalewa was laughing hard as Akin gesticulated.

Suddenly Akin stopped talking; his face serious. Shalewa was still laughing and did not notice. She was about to raise her left hand to her face when Akin stopped her hand mid-air. “What happened?” Akin asked.

Shalewa looked at him still smiling. “Happened? You are killing me with laughter here, Akin.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Akin said.

Shalewa looked at him confused.

“Your engagement ring?”

“I gave it back to the owner.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes. I did some hours ago. That was the personal stuff I needed to attend to earlier on.”

“So? Are you free now?” Akin asked; giving her a curious look.

“Free?”

“Yes, free to date again.”

Shalewa laughed. “Definitely.”

Akin smiled as he stretched out his hand to her. “Hi, I am Akin Savage. Do you remember me?”

Shalewa took his hand as she continued laughing. “Yes, I remember you.”

“We fell in love fifteen years ago. Can we continue from where we stopped?”

As Shalewa laughed heartily, Akin closed the space between them and kissed her passionately. Shalewa returned his kiss holding on to him.

“Hey, get a room!” Someone shouted from a corner of the restaurant.

Akin looked in the direction of the voice and shouted back. “We ain’t getting a room. We are getting married.”

Shalewa looked at Akin and slapped him on his arm. “Not without a proposal.”

They both burst out into laughter as Akin planted another kiss on her lips.

——–

THE END

********
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Thank you.
——–

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

Omoshalewa – Episode 8

The next day, Tunde called Shalewa while she was in the office. She decided to pick up his call this time.

“Hi Shalewa, what’s going on? I was worried sick yesterday when you did not pick up your calls.” Tunde said.

“I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong.” She said then paused. “In actual fact, there is.”

“Oh my! What’s wrong?” Tunde asked with concern.

“We need to talk.”

“Dinner at 7?” Tunde asked.

Shalewa quickly scanned through her calendar. “Fine. Pick me up, I’ll send the driver home.”

“Okay then. See you at 7.” Tunde said.

Shalewa cut the call and took a deep breath. She closed her eyes as she mentally calculated how to break the news to Tunde. She could not continue to live this lie.

At 7.00pm, Tunde drove into the office premises where Shalewa’s office was situated. As he parked his car, he dialed her number from his phone which was attached to a cell phone holder on the dashboard. She picked up on the first ring and responded that she would be with him in five minutes.

About three minutes later, Shalewa walked out of the office complex. She was wearing a grey pant suit and Tunde smiled as he saw her. She is beautiful; he said to no one. He quickly took out a mouth spray from his glove box and freshened his breath.

As Shalewa eased into the car, Tunde planted a kiss on her cheeks. He engaged the gear and drove out of the car park. “So what’s wrong?” He said looking at her.

“Hey, I just got here. Can we talk over dinner?”

Tunde shrugged as he stretched his hand to hold hers. He noticed she was not receptive to his gesture but he refused to comment.

They arrived at their destination in fifteen minutes. They took a seat at a table for two and placed their orders. Tunde tried to make light conversations with Shalewa but she seemed distracted.

Their orders arrived and they began to eat. Tunde was almost done with his meal when he spoke up. “Shalewa, why are you keeping me in suspense? What’s the problem?”

Shalewa dropped her fork and looked at him. “Well, I had no intention of spoiling your dinner; that’s why I decided to hold on till you were done.”

“I’m all ears.” He said; looking at his plate as he tried to cut a piece of chicken.

“I need a break.”

Tunde put the piece of chicken in his mouth as he nodded, looking up at Shalewa. “A break? Why don’t you discuss with your dad. He may give you some time off.”

“That’s not what I mean, Tunde. I wasn’t referring to work. I mean a break from this relationship.”

Tunde’s eyes widened. He dropped his cutlery gently and took a sip of his drink. “A break from me?”

“Well, if you would rather put it that way.”

“Our wedding is in a few weeks.”

“I am aware of that. The more reason why I need a break.” Shalewa said as she looked at him straight-faced.

“But…but Shalewa, what went wrong?”

“I just need to sort out my feelings.”

“I thought we were past this.”

“No, we weren’t. We never were.”

Tunde was confused. “But you agreed to marry me?”

“To satisfy you and my dad. Have you forgotten so soon?”

Tunde pushed his half-eaten plate of chicken aside and held Shalewa’s hands on the table. “Please don’t do this to us. I love you.”

Shalewa pulled her hands from his grip. “Tunde, don’t make this more difficult than it already is. I can’t continue to live a lie.

Tunde took a deep breath.

“I would like to go home now. I can call a cab if you don’t mind.”

“I brought you here; the least I can do is drop you at home.” Tunde said as he stood up and signaled to the waiter to bring the bill. The waiter arrived with the bill and Tunde took out some notes from his wallet and slid it into the bill pouch.

Once the waiter turned away, Shalewa stood up, picked up her handbag and walked ahead while Tunde sauntered behind her.

********

Five days later, Tunde walked into Shalewa’s office to have a business meeting with her father. As the elevator doors opened, he saw Shalewa and a guy laughing in front of the elevator. He was surprised at the ease with which Shalewa chatted with him and he noticed there was a sparkle in her eyes.

“Hi Shalewa.” He said; trying to catch her attention.

Shalewa looked at him and the smile on her face faded. “Hi Tunde.”

Tunde waited expecting an introduction. When he noticed Shalewa was not going to do the honours, he decided to go ahead. “Hi.” He said as he stretched out his hand. “I’m Tunde, Shalewa’s fiancé.”

“Akin.” He said as he smiled and accepted Tunde’s hand shake. “So I get to meet you Tunde. You are the one who swept my best friend off her feet.”

Shalewa eyed Akin.

“So where are you guys off too?” Tunde asked; ignoring Akin’s comments and looking at Shalewa.

“Lunch.” Shalewa said as she looked at Akin. “Are we still going, Akin?”

“Of course.” Akin replied. “Bye Tunde. It’s a pleasure meeting you.” He continued as he did a mock bow.

Tunde watched as Shalewa and Akin stepped into the elevator. The elevator doors closed and Tunde stood transfixed to the spot. Akin, Shalewa’s best friend? How come I have never heard about him? Was he the reason Shalewa had asked for a break? She looked so happy chatting with him and there was a sparkle in her eyes when she looked at him. I have to find out who this new best friend is.

As Shalewa eased into Akin’s car, she looked at him in anger. “What was that for?”

Akin faked ignorance. “What? I don’t understand.”

“Oh come off it, Akin. You know what I am talking about; the charade with Tunde.”

“Oh that.” Akin said laughing. “Did I say something wrong there?”

“Akin?”

“Yes, Shally babe.” Akin said as he leaned forward and planted a kiss on her cheeks. “You are still engaged to him. Don’t forget that and as far as I know” – He said tapping his fingers on his nose – “Your wedding is in a few weeks.”

“Please don’t remind me.”

“So can I drive off now or are we having Tunde for lunch?”

Shalewa gave him a scornful look as Akin burst out laughing.

******

Later that evening, Mr. Samuel was seated in the living room with his wife watching the evening news. There was a glass of juice on the side stool beside each of them. Shalewa walked in at about 9.30pm. She knelt down to greet her parents and headed straight for her room.

“Shalewa, please sit down.” Her father said.

Shalewa walked back and took a seat opposite her parents.

Bayo retrieved the remote control from the side stool and switched off the TV. He looked at Shalewa; his face grim. “Your mum and I felt it was important we spoke to you this night.”

Funke nodded.

“You usually don’t come in this late and we have been wondering what has changed. Of recent, you have been coming in later than usual. And I know you have been leaving the office same time as you usually did. Is there something we should know?”

“Nothing dad.” Shalewa answered as she looked straight at her dad.

Mr. Samuel nodded. “Tunde came for a business meeting today and he was asking about Akin. He was wondering how come you suddenly had a best friend he wasn’t aware of. I had to explain the friendship between you and Akin. He also said you asked for a break some days ago. Is that right, Shalewa?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Okay, so I am assuming this break is for a few days, then you can go back to your wedding preparations.”

“No dad. It is not for a few days. I am breaking up with Tunde.” She said; the muscles of her face taut as she refused to break eye contact with her father.

“I want to assume that because you are tired and stressed, you are probably not thinking right. So I would let you go to bed now, then we can talk about this tomorrow.” Bayo said.

“There is nothing to talk about, dad. I am not getting married to Tunde.”

“Will you shut up your mouth there?” Bayo said getting angry.

Funke patted her husband’s hands. “Please darling, not this way.” She pleaded.

“What do you mean? Did you hear what your daughter is spewing out of her mouth?” He said; looking at his wife in irritation.

“Shalewa, you can go to bed. We would talk about this tomorrow when everyone is calmer.” Funke said to her daughter.

“Good night mum, good night dad.”

“Good night Shalewa.” Funke said as Bayo ignored his daughter.

After Shalewa left the living room, Funke looked at her husband. “Darling, I think we need to be careful with the way we handle this matter.”

Bayo looked at his wife, shock clearly written on his face. “You can’t be serious. Are you also in support of her behaviour?

“I am not. I just feel we should tread carefully.”

“What exactly are you saying Funke?” Bayo asked infuriated.

“What I am saying is this. Haven’t you noticed that she seems happier than she was before? Since Akin’s arrival, her behaviour has changed. She has dropped the look of gloom that was always on her face and she is back to how she was before we forced this relationship with Tunde on her.” Funke said; trying to make her husband understand.

“Are you saying she is in love with Akin?” Bayo looked at his wife perplexed.

Funke sighed. “I am saying she never stopped loving him.”

Bayo laughed. “You can’t be serious Funke. What do you mean she never stopped loving him? They were friends as kids and they have both moved on.”

“They were not just friends fifteen years ago, Bayo. They loved each other and they obviously never stopped.”

“What are you saying? They were kids. What did they know about love?”

“Well, they knew enough to keep them in love with each other fifteen years after.”

Bayo was surprised. “But how do you know they loved each other?”

Funke smiled as she placed her hand on her husband’s. “Do you remember when Akin’s parents told us they were moving their son out of the country to continue his education?”

Bayo nodded. “Yes, I do.”

“Your daughter was heartbroken. She cried out to me and asked that I tell Akin’s parents not to send him away. She thought Akin’s parents were intentionally trying to separate them.”

Bayo’s eyes grew big as his jaw dropped.

“Yes darling.” Funke nodded. “That was when I realized all their time together wasn’t for a lack of siblings. It was because they loved each other. I guess her heart had always been with Akin.”

Bayo let out his breath.

“Akin’s arrival has changed her completely. She is happier and you can’t miss the glint in her eyes anytime she sees him.”

Bayo rubbed his temples. “Has he said anything to her? I mean, has he proposed to her?”

“I don’t think so. With another man’s ring on her finger, I doubt it.”

“Will you talk to her then? She should let you know what Akin’s intentions are. Her wedding is supposed to be in a few weeks.” Bayo breathed hard. “I never imagined I would have to do this.” – He looked at his wife as he continued – “Cancelling the wedding of my only daughter.”

“I know you long for her happiness, you don’t have a choice.”

——-

Photo credit: http://lightninglegal.biz/

Omoshalewa – Episode 7

Shalewa drove home with Akin tailing behind. All through the journey home, she smiled as she kept her eyes on the rear mirror. She still could not believe that Akin, her first love was back in town. Oh Akin, how much I longed for you all these years. And now, you waltz back into my life at this time; when all hope is lost. She shook her head as she sighed. Why did you have to wait this long? She soliloquized.

She drove into her residence and asked the gateman to allow Akin in as well. As she eased out of her car, she waited for Akin. Akin got out of his car and strolled towards her. As he got to her, he held her hand and kissed it with a smile on his face. They both proceeded to walk towards the main door hand in hand. As they were about stepping into the main house, Akin whispered something into Shalewa’s ears and she burst out into laughter.

Funke looked up from the fashion magazine she was browsing through when she heard Shalewa’s laughter. Shalewa walked up to her mum and bent halfway to kiss her on the cheeks. She dropped her handbag on the couch as Funke picked up her glasses from the side stool. She put it on to have a good look at the person walking in behind Shalewa. As she recognized him, Akin smiled as he touched the floor in a half prostrate.

“Good evening ma.” He said.

Funke stood up to give him a hug. “Ah..ah, Akin!!!” She exclaimed.

“Yes ma.”

“Wow! It’s been how many years?”

“Fifteen years ma.” He replied grinning.

“How are your parents?”

“They are fine thank you, ma. I spoke to them on the drive down here and they asked me to send their greetings.”

Shalewa beamed with smiles as she looked at her mum and Akin.

“When did you arrive? It is so nice seeing you again.”

Akin smiled. “I arrived a few weeks ago.”

“Ah…ah, Akin!” Funke said stressing his name. “You have grown into a fine young man. Please sit down, my dear. What do we offer you?”

“I am okay ma. Shalewa and I had some drinks before coming. I just wanted to stop by to say hi after a long time. I have missed you and daddy a lot.”

“Oh, thank you. That is nice of you but he is not home yet.” Funke said.

“No worries ma. Since I have seen you, I have seen daddy.” Akin said as they all burst into laughter. “I should take my leave now. Thank you for taking very good care of Shalewa.”

Shalewa blushed as she looked at her mum. “Ah, do I have a choice?” Funke asked as she raised her palms heavenwards.

“Let me walk you out.” Shalewa said to Akin.

Akin did another bow towards Shalewa’s mother as he stretched forth his hand towards Shalewa. Shalewa immediately took his hand and they walked out of the living room smiling.

Akin eased into his car still holding Shalewa’s hand. He started the ignition and looked lovingly into her eyes.

“I almost feel like you shouldn’t leave.” Shalewa said.

Akin smiled. “I don’t want to as well but you know I have to go.”

“Yeah, I know.” Shalewa said looking downcast.

Akin pulled her closer as he raised up her chin and planted a kiss on her forehead. He caressed her face with his thumb and smiled.

Shalewa smiled back. The unspoken feelings between them saying a thousand words with their eyes.

“Give me your phone.”

“It’s in my handbag. I dropped it in the living room.” Shalewa replied.

Akin picked up his phone from the passenger seat and handed it over to her. She typed in her number immediately.

“Expect my call.” Akin said as he saved the number.

“Definitely.”

Akin engaged the gear and drove towards the gate. The gateman opened up and he drove out of the Samuel’s residence.

Shalewa walked into the house smiling to herself. She met her mum shutting the window blinds as she sauntered into the living room. Funke sighed as Shalewa walked in.

“Mum?” Shalewa said as she gave her mother a curious look.

Funke sat down and tapped the couch. “Please sit down.”

Shalewa obeyed as she sat beside her mum. “Is anything the matter?”

“Yes. I watched the display between you and Akin.” Shalewa’s smile faded immediately. “I don’t think it is right considering that you are getting married very soon.”

“Is that all you have to say, mum?” Shalewa asked beginning to get upset.

“Omoshalewa, listen to me. Tunde loves you….”

“And Akin doesn’t?” Shalewa asked cutting her mother short.

“Shalewa!!! You should concentrate on your wedding preparations.” Her mother said scolding her.

“I have had enough of this, mum. Can I leave now?” Shalewa asked as she picked up her bag from the couch and stood up in anger.

Funke looked at her daughter as she sighed deeply.

Without another word from her mother, Shalewa stormed to her bedroom slamming the door shut.

Shalewa’s phone began to ring. She had been lying down on her bed fully clothed the last one hour. She stood up and walked towards her mini-library where she had dropped her handbag in anger. She took out her phone, looked at the caller ID, hissed and flung the phone on her bed. The phone rang three more times but she refused to pick up the call.

Ten minutes later, her mum tapped on her door once and walked in. Shalewa’s back was turned to the door. “Yes mum.”

“Tunde has been trying to reach you. He says your phone keeps ringing out. He was worried and called me to ask if you were okay.”

“I’m okay.” Shalewa said; not turning back to look at her mum.

“Don’t you think you should pick up his call or at least return the call to let him know that?”

“I’m not interested. If he calls back, you can tell him I am fine.”

“But not interested in picking his call?”

Shalewa turned to look at her mum. “Mum, I really want to be alone. Please can you do that?”

Funke shrugged and sighed as she walked out of her daughter’s room.

*******

Shalewa was beginning to doze off when her phone began to ring again. “Oh goodness.” She said as she picked up the phone in anger. She was about to switch off the phone when the Truecaller app on it brought up a name. She rose up immediately and picked the call.

“Hey.”

“Sounds like you were not expecting my call.”

“I was.”

“Maybe your heart was but your body wasn’t.”

Shalewa smiled. Even though they were apart, he still noticed the seemingly minute details. “I did not realize I had dozed off.”

“I should allow you rest then. You are probably tired.”

“No, no, please.” Shalewa said with a tone of urgency. “I really want to talk to you.”

“How are you doing?”

Shalewa sighed. “Akin, I really can’t say I am doing fine.”

“So what happened between when I left your place and now?”

“It’s mummy. She won’t let me rest.”

Akin laughed. “Let you rest? I don’t understand.”

“It’s about my wedding to Tunde.”

“Okay, so what about it? I remember you said you were not in love with him?” Akin asked chuckling.

“Akin, this ain’t funny. I’m not in love with him but why is it so difficult for everyone to understand?” Shalewa asked irritated.

“Everyone except me.”

“I don’t know what to do, Akin. I am confused.”

“That is because you haven’t told them what you want.”

“But I have, they just won’t listen.”

“Then make them listen.” Akin said matter-of-factly.

Shalewa was quiet for a few seconds. She nodded her head and said; “Right? I think I know what to do.”

“That’s my Shally babe.” Akin said laughing.

Shalewa smiled as she closed her eyes and listened to the sound of Akin’s laughter. Fifteen years had not changed anything between them.

They chatted for another two hours moving from one topic of discussion to another until they both began to yawn continuously into each other’s ears. They laughed over that as well before they bade each other good night.

——-

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

Omoshalewa – Episode 6

The next day, one of the major soft-sell magazines in the country had the blazing headlines; “Billionaire Samuel’s daughter rejects engagement proposal from business magnate.” Bayo was furious when he saw the magazine. He brought the magazine home and dumped it in front of Funke. “What is the meaning of this?”

Funke looked at him wondering what had gotten him so upset. She picked up the magazine and saw the caption. “Oh my goodness!” She lamented.

“She can’t continue doing this. This has to stop. Let her know that I give her 3 months to make up her mind or else…..” Bayo said in anger as he allowed his sentence to trail off.

Funke asked her husband to sit down in a bid to calm him down. “Please seat down, Olowo ori mi (my crown).”

Bayo sat down still upset. Funke scooted close to him and took his hands in hers. “I know you love Shalewa so much and you want the best for her but don’t you think, we should give her a chance to decide who she wants to get married to.”

Bayo looked at his wife, shock written all over his face. “Funke, you did not just say that, did you?”

Funke gesticulated as she tried to explain. “She says she is not in love with Tunde and that we are forcing her to get married to him against her will.”

“Okay? So tell me. Who is she in love with?” Bayo said as he stood up and put his hands on his waist. “I want to know.”

Funke was quiet and unable to look at her husband’s face.

“I thought as much.” He said. “She is only in love with herself.”

“But you know that is not true.” She said looking up. “She has had relationships in the past but they were all after wealth.”

“And Tunde?” Bayo asked as he searched his wife’s face for an answer.

Funke stood up with a deep sigh.

“Go and talk to her.” Bayo said with finality as he pointed towards the bedrooms.

******

Funke tapped the door to her daughter’s bedroom once and let herself in. Shalewa was already in her night wear and about to get into bed. She smiled as her mum walked in. “Hello mum.”

“Omoshalewa, why are you doing this to me?”

Shalewa looked at her mum with a confused look. “I don’t understand what you are saying.”

“I am tired of this back and forth between you and your dad. Did you see the headlines of that wretched soft-sell magazine?”

Shalewa sighed. “Yes mum, I did. I wonder who is feeding those lousy reporters with tales about me.”

“That is not the point right now, Shalewa.”

“I have heard you mum. I will do what you and dad want. I will accept Tunde’s proposal.”

Funke was shocked. “You will?”

“Isn’t that what both of you want?”

“It is not about what we want. It is about your happiness. That is what your father and I are after.”

“I know mum. I know.”

Funke hugged her daughter. “I know you will be happy with Tunde and make us proud grandparents.”

Shalewa rolled her eyes behind her mum’s back as she left her hands hanging by her side.

Funke stood up from her daughter’s bed excited. “Your father will be happy to hear this.” She said as she kissed her daughter on the forehead.

 

Preparations began in earnest for an introduction of the two families. Two weeks later, Tunde’s grandmother and a few of his family members were welcomed in the home of the Samuel’s. A date was fixed for the engagement four weeks away. The engagement ceremony was done with pomp and pageantry. The pictures of the couple and their families were splayed in newspapers and soft-sell magazines for weeks; each one in a bid to outdo the other with details of the ceremony. It became the most talked about engagement party of the year and no expense was spared.

Shalewa, even though looking beautiful and expensively adorned; knew that she was getting married to fulfill her parents desire. Friends and family congratulated her and told her she was very lucky to have a handsome young man. She smiled back a response to each one refusing to utter words.

Bayo Samuel informed his family that the wedding ceremony of his only daughter would be a destination wedding. He asked Shalewa to pick a destination of her choice and began to make preparations towards it. It was agreed that the wedding would hold six weeks after the engagement.

*******

Three weeks to the wedding, Shalewa went to her neighbourhood shopping mall one evening to get some groceries. As she walked down the aisle of the departmental store, she noticed someone staring at her. She was used to stares especially from admirers by now and with her recent highly publicized engagement, she knew her popularity had been moved one notch up.

“Hi, you are Shalewa Samuel, right?” She heard someone behind her ask. Of course, I am. Who does not know me in town? She looked up to give a nasty answer and suddenly gasped; her hand flying to her mouth.

“Akin Savage?” She asked; not believing her eyes. He nodded and they both embraced each other in a tight hug refusing to let go.

“Where have you been? I waited for your letters but got none.” Shalewa asked.

Akin took a step back, held Shalewa at arm’s length as he admired her.

I did not know what to think. I assumed you forgot about me.” Shalewa said pouting her lips in mock anger.

“How could I forget about you, Shalewa? I thought about you day and night.” Akin said.

“I asked my parents if they could reach you but they were also at a loss and could not give me an answer. I was heartbroken, Akin.”

Akin held Shalewa’s hand and kissed it. “I know, my love. I was too. Let us go to a café so we can talk.”

Akin walked out of the departmental store with Shalewa’s hands in his. There was a café in the shopping mall and they took a table for two in a private corner. A waiter took their orders and returned shortly with two glasses of chapman.

Akin smiled as he looked at Shalewa. “You are still as beautiful as you were fifteen years ago.”

Shalewa blushed as she hit Akin on his arms playfully. “C’mon, you have not changed. Still teasing me like you used to then.”

Akin sighed as he held her hands on the table. “Shally babe, I never forgot about you.”

Shalewa smiled as she remembered the name Akin called her when they were younger. No one had called her that in the last fifteen years.

Akin continued. “How could I? You were my first love.” He caressed her hands with his fingers as he looked into her eyes. “I wrote maybe a thousand letters but they were never delivered. Do you remember that my parents and I left for the U.S together?”

Shalewa nodded as she listened intently.

“They wanted to help me settle down before returning to Nigeria. According to my mum, on their return six months after, your family had moved out of the neighbourhood and left no forwarding address. I asked my mum to do everything she could to help me find you but all her efforts were futile. Two years after, my parents relocated to the U.S.  I only come to Nigeria on visits. So what have you been doing with yourself the last fifteen years?” Akin asked.

Shalewa shrugged. “We moved out of the neighbourhood. My dad’s businesses started doing very well and he made sure he sent me to a good university. I concluded my postgraduate program a few months back.” She said smiling.

“Wow, congratulations! You definitely did well for yourself. So, you married now?” Akin asked looking at her fingers.

Shalewa’s smile faded immediately. “Engaged. The wedding is in a few weeks.”

“You don’t sound excited.”

“I’m not.”

“Why? You love him, don’t you?”

Shalewa took a deep breath. “No, I don’t.”

Akin was surprised. “So why are you getting married to him?”

“Because I have been unlucky with men. Every guy in my past has been after dad’s wealth. Tunde has proved not to be one of such and dad feels he should marry me off before I lose him.”

“I’m sorry about that.”

“What about you?” Shalewa asked. “Are you married now?”

“Well, I wouldn’t say I have been unlucky. I have had my fair share of ladies but none has been able to strike the right chord in my heart.”

“Why? Have you been so hard on yourself?”

“I don’t think so. I just haven’t been able to get you out of my mind even after fifteen years.”

Shalewa blushed as she looked away. “Akin, it is complicated.” She said sighing.

“I don’t understand. What is complicated?”

Shalewa looked at him. “You know, I never forgot about you as well. I kept on hoping this day would come. I even went as far as searching for you on Facebook but the search was always fruitless.”

Akin caressed Shalewa’s face with his fingers. “I’m sorry you went through all that. I don’t do social media. Never been a fan of any of the platforms. So, you getting married to him?” Akin looked at her curiously.

“I don’t love him. I never had but no one seems to understand. They all say I would grow in love for him but I haven’t been able to. Akin, you were my first love. We were young but I loved you and sincerely, I think I still do.”

“You think? That means you aren’t sure.” Akin teased.

“Oh, come off it, Akin.” Shalewa hit him playfully.

“I love you Shalewa. I have always done and will do forever”.

“So what do we do?”

Akin answered getting serious. “I think we should just take this one day at a time. First, I would like to see your parents again. I have missed them.” He said smiling. “Just maybe, we would be able to tell them about the future we discussed together many years ago.”

Shalewa raised her eyebrows. “No, not today.”

Akin burst out into laughter as he pointed in her direction. “I got you there.”

“Oh Akin, will you ever be serious for once?”

“Nope, remember that was one of the reasons you fell in love with me fifteen years ago?”

Akin signaled to the waiter, paid the bill and dropped a generous tip. Shalewa stood up as Akin put his hand on the small of her back. They walked out of the café together smiling.

——-

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

Omoshalewa – Episode 5

Two days later, Tunde decided to call Shalewa. She picked up on the second ring. “Hi dear.”

“Hi Tunde. How are you doing?”

“I’m good. And you?”

“I’m doing well.”

“I wanted to apologize about the other day. Introducing you to my grandma when you were not ready was not the right thing to do. I don’t want you to feel rushed. Please, I’m sorry.”

Does he really understand that it wasn’t about the introduction? I am never going to be ready. “It’s fine Tunde.” She said as she exhaled. “I’m glad I met her. She is still very strong and agile at her age.”

Tunde relaxed letting out a hearty laugh. “Yes, you are right. Do you know she arranges and rearranges her home by herself? She says she does it to keep her busy.”

Shalewa smiled. “I hope you call her from time to time. I’m sure she would love to talk to you every day if she could.”

“I try my bit. I know I don’t call her as often as I should.” Tunde was quiet for a few seconds. “Is my apology accepted?”

“Yes.”

“Thanks Shalewa. I appreciate this.”

“You are welcome.”

They talked about other random issues before putting an end to their call thirty minutes later.

********

The next four weeks went by smoothly; with Shalewa and Tunde visiting each other’s homes and having private dinners.

One night, Tunde decided to hang out with his friends in a night club. They took a table of four and threw banters at each other.

“Guy, wetin dey happen with your chic nau?” Segun said facing Tunde. He was sipping from a champagne flute and it was obvious he was beginning to get tipsy.

“Abeg leave Tunde with im chic oh. Billionaire daughter. I can imagine the headlines when they marry. Tunde, the business magnate gets married to billionaire Samuel’s daughter.” Chibuzor said as he raised up his right hand to dramatize.

“C’mon guys. But you know I love Shalewa. This is not about her father’s money.” Tunde said.

“Oh yeah! You really do?” Momoh said as he burst out in laughter.

“You guys should get serious for once.” Tunde said scolding his friends.

Chibuzor looked at the faces of his friends before bursting into laughter. “Serious? You think we are unserious?”

“That’s not what I mean. I need your support, that’s all I am asking for. I want to propose to her soon.”

“Hey congrats man. You caught a big fish.” Segun said as she stretched out his hand to shake Tunde.

Tunde shook his head. “Segun, I think you should slow down on the drinks. You have never been good with alcohol.”

“Who says?” Segun asked; his words beginning to get slurred.

“Anyway, let’s toast to Tunde’s proposal to billionaire daughter.” Chibuzor said as the other two raised their glasses.

Tunde refused to raise his glass but Momoh nudged him. “C’mon it’s your day. Let’s celebrate.”

********

It was a Saturday and Tunde’s thirty-fifth birthday. He had planned a small birthday party for himself; intending to celebrate the day with a few friends. His grandmother had woken him up with heartfelt prayers as she had gone on and on with blessings for his life, his fiancée and his business.

He stepped out of bed after her prayers and took a look at himself in the bedside mirror. At thirty-five, he had not done badly. His business was doing well, he lived in his own house and his relationship with Shalewa had been smooth the past few weeks. He took a quick shower before going downstairs to monitor the caterers who had started trooping in. They had been allowed in by his house-keeper and his dining table already looked busy with various chafing dishes. He smiled as he sauntered towards his music system and slotted in a jazz CD putting it on auto-repeat.

His friends arrived at about 1.00p.m and immediately made themselves comfortable with drinks. He warned them that there would be no alcohol as he did not want anyone to ruin his day. Even though, they kicked against the idea, they realized they had no choice and decided to make do with the mocktails served by the waiters.

Shalewa arrived 30 minutes later with her driver carrying a massive cake behind her. Tunde’s friends became green with envy as Shalewa gave Tunde a birthday kiss on his cheeks. Tunde had invited about two of Shalewa’s close friends and they also arrived a few minutes later.

With all guests present, the party got lively and everyone chatted, laughed, ate and drank. After about two hours into the party, Tunde strolled towards the music system and decided to change the CD playing to another. KC and Jojo’s “All my life” began to play, filling the house with their sonorous voices. He walked towards Shalewa where she sat chatting with her friends and asked for a dance. Shalewa was caught unawares and wondered what was going on but her friends urged her.

Tunde held Shalewa by the waist as he sang along to the music playing. As the music drew to a close, Tunde went down on one knee and brought out a small box from his jeans pocket. Shalewa was shocked and began to shake her head. Tunde opened the box to reveal a sparkling diamond ring. “Please marry me, Shalewa.” He said.

Shalewa was stunned as she looked at Tunde who was grinning from ear to ear; still on his knees awaiting her answer. Her friends cheered her on while Tunde’s friends were whistling. Shalewa closed the box in Tunde’s hands and his smile faded off immediately.

“Can we talk about this in your room?” Shalewa asked.

Everyone was shocked at the drama that has just happened. Tunde got up and he led Shalewa by the hand up the stairs to his room. He looked at his friends and signaled to them to continue the party.

 

Tunde shut the door to his room and rested his head on it. “What have I done to deserve this, Shalewa?”

Shalewa paced round the room unable to utter a word.

“Shalewa?” Tunde called; his voice more like a guttural sound.

She stopped pacing and stood before him. “I wasn’t expecting it. At least, not in front of everyone downstairs.”

Tunde raised his head to look at her. “They are my closest friends and two of your friends. There are no strangers down there.”

“You don’t get it, do you? I’m not ready for this.” Shalewa said in frustration.

“Shalewa, when would you be ready? When? I have never loved any woman the way I love you and I have never been hurt so much by any woman except you.”

“I’m sorry, Tunde. Please understand.” Shalewa said as she moved closer to Tunde.

Tunde shook his head in pity as he walked towards the massive bed in his room. “I am out of ideas of how to make you fall in love with me. We have been on this for about six months now and there has been no headway.”

Shalewa walked to the bed and knelt before Tunde. “I know my dad is behind the rush for our wedding. Why don’t we give it some time? Would you prefer I get married to you without loving you?”

Tunde took a deep breath as he held Shalewa’s hand. He cradled her face lovingly with his right hand and traced her lips with his fingers. Shalewa closed her eyes savouring the feel of his fingers on her lips. Tunde moved closer as he took her lips in his kissing her slowly but passionately. He pulled her up from her kneeling position as he continued to kiss her; the fire of passion steadily burning in him. Shalewa suddenly put her hands on his chest and pushed him back gently.

“I think I should leave now.” She said as she stood up and adjusted her dress.

Tunde closed his eyes and nodded his head. “I think so too. You can leave.”

“Are you sure you will be okay?” Shalewa asked.

“I’m fine.” Tunde answered; his eyes still closed.

Shalewa stretched her hand to touch him but changed her mind and dropped it immediately. She looked at herself in the mirror in his room, straightened out her hair and walked out.

 

As she walked down the stairs, her friends were smiling and winking at her. She sauntered towards them and informed them that she needed to leave. They were surprised but she lied that something came up in the office that needed her attention urgently.

After Shalewa’s unceremonious exit, Tunde’s friends waited expecting to see him return downstairs. After about ten minutes, his friends urged Momoh to go check on him in his room. Tunde was still seated at the same spot he was when Shalewa left the room. He had his head in his hands and did not hear Momoh walk in.

“Guy, it’s your birthday. What are you doing here alone?”

Tunde looked up at his friend and sighed. “I don’t know what to do to get her to love me.”

“Abeg leave mata for Martha. Don’t let that dampen your spirit.” “Who knows you may meet someone else tomorrow who will fall hopelessly in love with you?” Momoh said shrugging.

Tunde gave his friend a confused look.

“C’mon, you should not keep your guests waiting. Let’s get back to the party.” Momoh said as he pulled up his friend from the bed and patted his back.

********

As Shalewa eased into the back seat of her car, she asked the driver to take her straight to the office. She had nothing to do in the office but she needed to be alone. She threw her head backwards and closed her eyes. She hadn’t expected the kiss from Tunde but she had also not stopped him. He was good looking, caring and enterprising. He had proved to be better than all her previous boyfriends. Maybe she was being too hard on him. Maybe she could learn to love him.

As different thoughts filtered through her mind, she made a conscious decision to give him a chance.

——–

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

Omoshalewa – Episode 4

Tunde became a constant feature in the home of the Samuels’ walking in and out of their residence at will. Bayo Samuel took his daughter to his office and introduced her to the staff as the new Executive Director. The news made headlines the next day. “Shalewa Samuel becomes Executive Director at Samuel Group of Companies.”

With a business deal sealed between Tunde and Bayo Samuel, the prospects of Tunde getting married to Shalewa were raised. Business meetings in the Samuel Group of Companies became a regular feature in Tunde’s calendar. Bayo Samuel began to relate with him as he would a son-in-law.

One afternoon after a business meeting together, Bayo called Tunde aside. “What’s happening between you and Shalewa? When would I see an engagement ring on her finger?”

Tunde laughed. “Very soon sir. I don’t want her to feel rushed.”

Bayo looked at him with surprise. “Rushed? Her mother and I have accepted you as family already. You should get it done as soon as possible.”

“I will, sir.” Tunde answered.

Bayo looked around as if watching out for eavesdroppers, moved closer to Tunde before whispering in his ears. “You know she isn’t getting any younger. The earlier, the better. Hmm…you get my drift.” He said as he winked at Tunde.

“Yes sir.”

******

 

“Hey darling. How was your day?” Tunde asked later that evening, as Shalewa picked up on the second ring.

“It was okay.”

“Can I pick you up for dinner tonight? Maybe 7.00p.m.”

“Okay. I would still be in the office, though.”

“Works perfectly for me. Just tell the driver to take your car home. I would drop you off after dinner.”

“Okay then.”

 

Three hours later, Tunde and Shalewa were seated in a classy restaurant making small talk over dinner. As they were served dessert, Tunde held Shalewa’s hands on the table and looked lovingly into her eyes.

“Shalewa, I love you with the whole of my heart.”

Shalewa looked away without uttering a word.

“My grandma is eager to meet you. She raised me after I lost my mum and with my dad also gone, she is one person I would love you to meet.”

Shalewa took a deep breath.

“Tunde, I have no issues meeting with your grandma. I would also love to meet the woman who raised a fine young man; but how else do you want me to explain to you that I don’t love you the way you love me. I love our relationship the way it is but I don’t think I am meant for you.”

Tunde smiled as he looked at Shalewa. “I know you love me, maybe not like I do. With time, you would get there.”

“Time? Tunde, we have been seeing each other for some months now and I am yet to fall in love with you. I doubt time will sort this out.”

“Let’s not spoil the evening, okay. We can talk about this some other time.” Tunde concluded.

******

 

Two weeks later, Tunde took Shalewa to see his grandmother. She was delighted to see Shalewa as she began to sing and dance, rejoicing that her eyes had seen her beautiful wife.

Even though Shalewa was happy to see the elderly woman, she was not comfortable with the innuendos from her. She wished she could stop the woman but she felt she would be rude to tamper with the woman’s joy.

 

On the drive back, Shalewa was very quiet as she looked out of the window by her side. Tunde noticed and placed his right hand on hers. “What is the problem, Shalewa?”

“Nothing.”

“You weren’t so quiet when we were going to my grandma’s place.”

“That’s because I had no idea what you had told your grandmother.”

Tunde stopped the car and engaged the gear in park.

“Shalewa, I love you. Don’t you understand?”

“And I don’t.” Shalewa said in exasperation.

“What would you have me do?”

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I just want to be left alone.”

Tunde began to drive again without saying a word. He could not understand why Shalewa was blind to the love he had for her. He loved her with the whole of his heart and he looked forward to living the rest of his life with her. He sighed as he slotted a CD into the music player to fill in the silence between himself and Shalewa.

Some minutes later, Tunde drove into the Samuel’s residence. Shalewa said a quiet “thank you” and walked into her house without looking back to say “good bye.”

******

 

The next day, Bayo Samuel was about retiring to bed when he called his wife for a heart to heart discussion. “Funke, I think you need to talk to your daughter. Do you know that she was upset that Tunde took her to see his grandma?”

“His grandma?”

“Yes, I have given him a go-ahead to propose to Shalewa. So, he took her to see his grandma and he mentioned it to me yesterday after our business meeting that she got upset.”

“Ah ah….what is wrong with her nau? Doesn’t she realize that she is no longer a child and needs to get married?”

“Well, I thought the same. You better talk some sense into her. Tunde is a good man, well brought up and enterprising. What else is she looking for?”

Funke exhaled. “I will talk to her.”

 

Shalewa was seated at her mini-library in her room going through some documents she had brought from the office when her mum knocked on the door. Before she could answer, her mum opened the door and peeped in. “Busy?” She asked.

Shalewa looked at her mum and smiled. “Not too busy to talk to my mum.”

Funke walked in and sat on her daughter’s bed. “I hope you are not overworking yourself. You need to take it easy.”

“I know mum. I am not overworking myself. Besides, there was no time to go through all these documents in the office, that is why I decided to bring them home.”

Shalewa turned to face her mum. “So what’s up? Any gist for me?”

Funke sighed.

“Mum? Is there a problem?” Shalewa asked as she stood up from the chair and sat beside her mum on the bed.

“Yes, Omoshalewa mi.”

Shalewa knew what was coming next. Her mum only called her full name when she had something very important to discuss and of recent, the only important issue had been her marital status.

“He told dad, right?”

“Yes, he did.”

“Why would he? What exactly is his problem?” Shalewa asked getting upset.

“Omoshalewa mi, you have no reason to be upset. Tunde loves you and he has proved it over and over again. Do you intend to remain single the rest of your life?”

“No mum. I will get married when I find the right person.”

“The right person? Who else could be more right than Tunde? All your relationships in the past have been based on your father’s wealth. Now, you find someone who loves you for you and you are still looking for the right person. Omoshalewa mi, open your eyes. I am your mother and I will not push you into a pit. God forbid!” Funke lamented as she snapped her fingers over her head.

Shalewa looked away.

“Accept his proposal please and make me and your father happy.”

“He hasn’t proposed, mum.”

“He is about to. Your dad has given him a go-ahead.”

Shalewa stood up in annoyance. “Why is dad interfering with my love-life?”

Funke stood up and held her daughter’s hands. “Because he loves you and he wants the best for you. Tunde is a good man.”

“Okay mum. I have heard you. Can I go back to work now?”

Funke shrugged. “Àbò òrò ni à sö fún ömölúàbí, tó bá dé inú è, á di odindin.” (A word is enough for the wise).

 

After Funke left the room, Shalewa went back to her mini-library but was unable to concentrate. She was upset and angry. Upset at her father’s interference in her love-life and angry that Tunde had suddenly become gold in the eyes of her parents. They were refusing to understand that she wasn’t in love with him. What mattered to them was that he loved her.

She slammed the documents on her table in annoyance. It was no use. The will to go through the documents she had brought home had left her. She decided to go to bed. She laid down and in a few minutes, she drifted off to sleep in anger.

———

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

Omoshalewa – Episode 3

Shalewa opened the door and standing before her was a handsome young man who was probably in his mid-thirties. He held a bouquet of red roses and a bottle of wine in his hands. “Hi Shalewa, it’s a pleasure meeting you again after a long while. You still look as pretty as you did years ago.”

“Thanks for the compliment.” Shalewa said.

“This is for you.” Tunde said as he stretched out his hands to handover the bouquet of flowers.

“Thank you. Please come in.” Shalewa said as she stepped aside to usher him in.

“Oh….Tunde, welcome. You were right on time. I love that.” Bayo Samuel said walking into the living room and stretching out his hands to shake the young man. Tunde shook Bayo’s hands with a little bow of the head and also greeted Funke as well.

“Hmm….still very cultured, I must say. Please sit down.” Bayo noted, obviously impressed.

While the women left to the kitchen to organize lunch on the dining table, the men took their time to talk about issues.

“So, do you recognize him?” Funke whispered to her daughter in the kitchen.

“The face does look familiar but no, I still can’t place it.” Shalewa answered, peering into the living room. “He’s handsome, though.”

“So, you like him?” Funke smiled looking at her daughter’s face.

Shalewa gave her mum a puzzled look. “Mum? I never said that. I just said he’s handsome. Please can we go set up the table before the men start to wonder what happened to lunch?” She said stepping out of the kitchen before her mum could utter another word.

 

One hour later

“Thanks for the lunch, ma. It was nice.” Tunde said as they all stood up from the dining table and moved to the living room.

“You are welcome, my dear and I hope you visit more often.” Funke answered smiling.

“On Shalewa’s request, I would.”

“You do not have to wait for Shalewa’s consent to come over.” Bayo Samuel said matter-of-factly.  “This is like your second home. Remember, your late dad and I were buddies way back in the university. You are free to visit anytime.”

Tunde nodded his head.

“Shalewa, your mum and I would be in the study so you can have some time to catch up on old gists with Tunde.” Bayo smiled as he led his wife out of the living room.

“Okay daddy.” Shalewa answered, not appreciating the gesture. What gist did she have to catch up with Tunde? There was no history between them, so what was there to talk about?

They both sat down on opposite ends of the room watching the television. Since there was no history between them and they had nothing to talk about, they discussed about the issues on the television. Shalewa tried to be a good host but wondered if her parents knew that she wasn’t enthusiastic about their match making efforts.

 

Over the next six weeks, Tunde tried as much as possible to impress Shalewa. He would buy her gifts, send her roses and cards and take her out on dinner dates. She liked him, no doubt; but she did not love him. She told him anytime she had the opportunity to but he was adamant that she would grow to love him. “It’s only a matter of time.” He would say.

******

One evening, Shalewa and her mum were seated in the living room watching a late night sitcom on the television. When the commercials began to run, Funke looked at her daughter. “How is your relationship with Tunde going?”

“Relationship?” Shalewa asked, looking at her mum with a confused look on her face.

“Yes, your relationship.”

“Mum, we are just friends. Nothing more.” Shalewa said as she turned back to face the television.

“Tunde does not take you as a friend. It is obvious he loves you very much with the way he dotes over you.”

“Oh mum!!!” Shalewa protested. The commercials were through and she was not ready to have this discussion.

Funke picked up the remote control and switched off the television.

Shalewa groaned, looking at her mother. “What is it, mum?”

“Do I have your full attention now?” Her mother asked.

Shalewa sighed. “Yes mum.”

“Why don’t you give Tunde a chance?”

“I have tried but it’s just not working.”

“What do you mean?”

“He’s a very nice and caring guy but I don’t see him beyond being a friend. I have no feelings for him.”

“Don’t worry darling. You would grow to love him.”

Shalewa’s jaw dropped as she looked at her mum with shock. “You also believe that?”

“Of course. Just give it some time.”

“It is almost two months since we met and I still can’t bring myself to love him. Don’t you think maybe, we are just destined to be friends and nothing more?”

“Your father would be disappointed, Omoshalewa. He’s already making plans for both of you to be together forever.”

“Together forever? Dad is making plans for us to get married without my consent?” Shalewa asked with shock.

“But you haven’t had any relationship that was even close to the altar. Now that you have one, your dad is not letting it slip off your hands and in case you want to know, I’m in total support of it. All the men you previously dated were after your father’s wealth. Tunde is a fine young man who is established and building a good name for himself.”

“So, am I supposed to take it that I do not have a choice?”

Funke sighed as she took her daughter’s hands in hers. “Omoshalewa mi, you are no longer a child. You do have choices but life has given you a golden opportunity to be happy for the rest of your life. What else do you want?”

Episode 3

“I need to love him to get married to him, mum? Is that so difficult for everyone to understand?” Shalewa asked in frustration. “He says I would grow to love him. I am yet to find the root of the love and you want to send me on eternal misery living with a man I do not love?”

“I would leave you to think about it.” Funke said resigning. She stood up as she switched the television on and left her daughter alone in the living room.

*****

Tunde parked his grey Toyota Landcruiser in front of an apartment. He pulled down the visor in front of him and took a look at himself in the mirror. Picking out a small comb from the glove box, he brushed his hair. When he is satisfied with his look, he stepped out of the car, opened the back door and took out a plastic bag. He touched the lock button on the car remote as he walked towards the apartment. The close is quiet as usual.

He tapped the door gently and waited a few seconds before tapping it again. The door is opened to reveal an elderly woman. She is wearing a flowing boubou and her face and hands are wrinkled. She smiled as she hugged Tunde who was already going downwards to prostrate. “Ömö mi, káàbò.” (My son, welcome).

The elderly woman allowed Tunde in as he took a look round the apartment. She never ceased to amaze him with the way she organized things. She had a habit of arranging and rearranging things to keep herself busy. He placed the plastic bag on the dining table which is sparkling as if it had just been polished.

“Öjó wo lo dé láti South Africa?” (When did you come back from South Africa?) She asked as she sat down on a single leather couch.

“Ó ti se díè mà.” (A little while ago, ma).

“Ah….ah, o wá n sèsè n bò wá kí mi.” (And you are just coming to see me?)

“Ë má bínú mà. Bí mo se dé ni isé ti bèrè.” (Please don’t be angry, ma. As soon as I came in, work started).

“Hmm. So how is your business faring?” She asked.

“Adúpé l’ówö Ölórun.” (We thank God).

Tunde moved closer and knelt before her. “You are the only one I have left and I have something very important to tell you.”

She smiled without saying a word.

“I have found a wife.”

“Olúwa o sé o.” (Thank you God). She said as she lifted up her hands to the heavens. “So when are you bringing her here?”

“Very soon, very soon.” Tunde said. “I wanted to inform you first before bringing her.”

“Ìyén náà da.” (That is good).

“Hmm…..” She exhaled. “If only your parents were here, if only Aduke did not have to die at child birth…..” Tears began to make their way down her cheeks.

“Màámi, ë má se báyìí.” (My mother, don’t do this). Tunde pleaded. “Sèbí èyin lë tó mi dàgbà?” (Were you not the one who took care of me?). I never felt motherless because of you.

“Ah, kíni ì bá se?” (What would I have done?) Nígbàtí Àdùké fi é sílè tó lö s’órun (When Aduke left you and departed to the heavens). I had no choice my son.

“Grandma, please it is enough. Today is supposed to be a joyful day not a day of mourning.”

She took a deep breath and touched Tunde gingerly on the cheeks. “Yes, my son. Today is not a day of mourning.”

Tunde walked out of his grandmother’s apartment two hours later after she ensured he had had a meal of amala and ewedu.

——-

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

Omoshalewa – Episode 2

“An important visitor! Well, let’s go see who this important visitor is.” Shalewa said to herself as she walked towards her bathroom suite.

As warm water from the shower coursed down her back, she remembered how she had fallen in love with one of her neighbours when she was fifteen. He was just a year older than her. They were both young and naïve but they had loved each other. The park opposite their houses was their favourite spot. They would take walks round it holding hands and gisting. They would sit in the park and talk for hours loosing track of time. They talked about school, their parents, movies and their dreams of the future. They never ran out of what to talk about. They were in different secondary schools as boarding students but that did not deter their friendship. They exchanged letters while they were in school and looked forward to every break in the school session. Everyone in the neighborhood knew where one was, the other had to be there.

Episode 2

One afternoon during the mid-term break of their second year in the senior class, Akin Savage had come running to the park in tears. He looked flustered and was struggling to speak. Shalewa had been sitting down waiting for him. She grabbed him, shaking him as if he were a child that had been caught misbehaving. “What is it? Why are you crying?”

“My…my…my mum says I have to continue my education abroad.” He stammered as he choked on his words.

“Abroad? But why? Your school is one of the best in the country. Why do they want you to go abroad?” Shalewa had asked.

“She says that’s what my dad wants. I don’t know why. I have tried to explain to her that I don’t want to go but she would not listen. She says it has been concluded and that I am leaving in two days.”

“Does that mean I won’t see you again?” Shalewa asked; tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I don’t know.” He answered fidgeting. “Why does my dad want to separate us? Do you think he doesn’t want us to be together?”

Shalewa who was already sobbing could not utter a word. Could it be true that Akin’s dad was trying to separate them? His dad had seen them together on many occasions. Both families were friends and there had never been a complaint from Akin’s father. The two families were regarded as the closest in the neighbourhood. Akin’s father was very wealthy and had sent his son to one of the best schools in the country while Shalewa’s father on the other hand, even though not as wealthy as Akin’s father had prospects of being so. He was a hardworking man with very sharp business instincts.

For a while, both of them sat down locked in each other’s embrace as they sobbed. They could not understand the reason for the sudden movement and it looked like no one was going to give an explanation for it. They tried to talk about what they would do in each other’s absence but it only kept the tears flowing. Sitting right there in the park, they were oblivious to their environment. They just wanted to spend this moment together and cherish it. They promised each other that day to do everything they could to keep in touch and in that moment of sadness; they shared their first kiss. It had been magical even though grief hovered around them. Shalewa had laid her head on Akin’s shoulders and they sat there in silence till the sun went down.

For the next two days, as if on cue, they both avoided the park. Funke had asked her daughter on one occasion. “Shalewa, are you okay? You have not been eating well. Are you worried about something?”

Shalewa had not been sure whether to tell her mum. On second thoughts, she felt she should; maybe her mum could help her convince the Savages not to send their son abroad.

“Mum, could you and dad discuss something with Akin’s dad?” She asked fidgeting with her fingers.

“Okay, and what would that be?” Funke asked.

Shalewa was quiet and unable to look at her mother in the face. She had no idea how to present the issue to her mother.

Funke sensing that her daughter was a little uneasy, pulled her daughter into her arms. “Omoshalewa mi. I’m your mother and you can talk to me. What do you want us to discuss with Akin’s father?”

Shalewa gulped, trying hard to control the tears that were already spilling down her cheeks. “They are sending him away, mum.”

“Sending him away? What do you mean?” Funke asked searching her daughter’s face.

“Mummy, Akin is going abroad. His father doesn’t want him to see me again.” She cried.

All of a sudden, reality hit Funke. The Savages had told them about their intention to send their son to the United States to continue his education but both parents had obviously underestimated the friendship between their kids. Being the only children of both parents, they had assumed that the lack of siblings had attracted them to each other and believed that was the basis for their friendship. They never thought there was more to the walks in the park and the long hours of chatting.

“Hmm…Omoshalewa mi.” Funke said; thinking of how best to explain to her daughter without hurting her feelings. “Akin’s father loves you like his own so it is not possible that he would hurt you intentionally. It’s just that he wants Akin to continue his education abroad so that when he returns to the country, he has better prospects of getting an excellent job.”

“But won’t he get a good job here if he studies in the country?” Shalewa asked trying to figure out what her mother was saying. All she wanted was for her mother to tell Akin’s father not to send his son abroad.

“Omoshalewa…” Funke stressed. “Akin’s parents have made a decision for their only child, who am I to question it?”

“Mum…I…I…” She burst out in uncontrollable tears before she could tell her mum she loved him. Did they realize what they were doing to her? They were tearing her heart apart. She knew she liked Akin a lot but right now she realized she didn’t just like him. She loved him with every piece of her heart.

Shalewa wasn’t the only one having a difficult time; Akin was as well. However, he refused to discuss anything with his parents. They had told him their decision was final so there was no point flogging the issue. He wondered what Shalewa must be going through. He knew she wasn’t strong enough to handle the emotional trauma. He wished he could change the situation but there was nothing he could do. Tomorrow, he would leave the country for the United States.

********

As Shalewa stepped out of the shower, she said, “It’s been 15 years, Akin and I still haven’t found someone to replace the love I had for you.” She sighed as she took out a gown from her closet, wore it and went downstairs to meet her mum.

“Our guest would be coming in at 1.00p.m. I have everything all set for an early lunch. Your dad is in the study as usual.” Funke said looking up from the fashion magazine she was flipping through.

Shalewa looked towards the dining table and gasped. “Mum, who is this guest we are expecting? I can see your finest dishes all set on the table.”

“A very important guest.” She answered without looking up from the magazine.

“He or she must have a name, right? So will you tell me who this person is?” She asked flopping on the couch beside her mum.

“Omoshalewa, you don’t flop on a couch. You take a seat like a lady.” Funke scolded as she dropped the magazine on the side stool next to her.

“Mum…..” Shalewa started to say but Funke raised her hand as if to warn her daughter.

“Okay, I’m sorry.” She said sitting up.

“It is meant to be a surprise but I’ll tell you as long as you don’t squeal to your dad.”

Shalewa put her fingers to her lips making a zipped sign. She had learnt over the years to trust her mum with any issue. Her mum was her confidant and they had stayed close for years sharing secrets and emotional upheavals.

“Do you remember Tunde Williams, the first son of Mr. Williams, your father’s old time friend?”

Shalewa thought for a while. “Tunde Williams? The name rings a bell but I don’t think I remember.”

“I’m sure you would when you meet him. He arrived from South Africa two weeks ago after he lost his father. A business deal took him to your dad’s office and your dad was delighted to see him again after so many years.”

“Hmm…and now he’s coming over for lunch with dad?” Shalewa asked looking disinterested as she picked up the magazine her mum had initially dropped on the side stool.

“No, darling. He’s coming to have lunch with you; well, with us all.”

“With me?” Shalewa questioned as she dropped the magazine. “I don’t even think I remember who this Tunde guy is; so why would he want to have lunch with me?”

“I think he likes you.” Her mum said smiling and pulling her cheeks.

“Mum!” Shalewa looked at her mother curiously. “How can he like me when he hasn’t even met me?”

“Who says he hasn’t met you. He and his dad visited our home regularly years ago. He asked after you from your dad and he was invited to come over for lunch.”

“On my behalf when….” The chime from the doorbell broke their conversation.

Funke checked her watch and gasped. “It’s 1.00pm already. Wow, just right on time. He must be the one at the door. Could you get the door, darling while I go in to inform your dad? And remember to be at your best behaviour.” She said smiling and winking at her daughter.

“Yes, mum.” Shalewa said as she stood up and straightened her gown. Whoever this guy was, must have made an impression on her parents. The name did ring a bell but she couldn’t remember who he was. Her parents were obviously trying to match-make her from all indications. With the amount of broken relationships in her kitty, it did not come as a surprise to her.

Would he end up as all the others? Well, she was going to find out.

——-

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

Omoshalewa – Episode 1

Funke Samuel pulled apart the curtains of her daughter’s room letting in streams of sunlight. As they splashed across the room, Shalewa groaned. “Oh mum, I’m still sleeping.”

“Sleeping and talking?”

“Mum!!! I still want to sleep. I’m not yet through.” Shalewa murmured.

“Yes, you are darling.” her mother replied. “You need to get up right now, take a bath and get dressed.”

“What’s the occasion?” Shalewa mumbled; buried under her pillow as she tried to guard her eyes from the sun beams now hitting her in the face.

“Someone very important is coming to see your dad today and your dad wants to introduce you to him. So will you take that pillow off your head and get up?” Her mother ordered standing akimbo obviously waiting for her to do as she had bided.

“But mum….” Shalewa began to protest as she threw away the pillow in annoyance.

“Don’t mum me dear, just do what I ask, okay?” She interrupted; kissing her daughter on the forehead. “I need to get dressed as well.”

******

Shalewa was an epitome of beauty and brains. She had just concluded her doctorate degree two months ago and her father, Bayo Samuel had been so proud of her that he had invited guests to their home to celebrate her graduation. Even though Shalewa had kicked against it, her father had told her; “As my only child, I have the right to celebrate you whenever I desire.”

“Dad, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a graduation party. I just feel that in another six months, I would be thirty. Don’t you think we should wait till then so that I can have a two-in-one party?” She had asked.

“You are free to organize your birthday party as you wish. The graduation party is my call and I would have it.” Her dad had concluded.

She knew she could never win an argument with her dad so she decided to let it go. Besides, she was tired of being reminded of how they had tried to have more children and the trauma that ensued before they were advised by the family doctor to stop because of the health risks.

As a result of her sole child status to the Samuels, she always got anything she wanted. She attended the best schools and was never denied anything. She was labeled a spoilt child in her university days but deep down in her heart, she knew she wasn’t.

Even though Shalewa had everything she wanted, one thing eluded her – A truthful relationship. She had been unfortunate in her relationships with men as they all seemed to desire her for one thing; her father’s wealth. It was a known fact that Bayo Samuel was one of the wealthiest men in the country. He had started his business from scratch and had grown it into an empire. All Bayo Samuel’s investments were registered in Shalewa’s name. He owed it to his only child and he made up his mind that she would never suffer or lack anything.

Shalewa stood up from her bed as she stretched lazily. She walked towards the bedside window and looked at the birds flying in the sky without any care in the world. How she wished she could also be without worries. It had become a norm for her mother, Funke Samuel to remind her of her age. “Omoshalewa mi (my Omoshalewa), you know how much I love and adore you. You are my sunshine. Anytime I look at you, I am reminded that I am truly blessed by God. Omoshalewa mi, when would you give me more joy? The years are counting and your biological clock is ticking daily. You are all I have got. When would I carry my grand-children and rock them in my arms?” She would lament.

Shalewa had gotten tired of her mother’s lamentation. “But I try, don’t I?” She spoke to no one. But she hadn’t tried enough according to her parents. There had been Ayodeji and Ibrahim before she met Emeka. Emeka was the last guy she dated. He had left no stone unturned in warming himself towards her father.

Episode 1

“Hmm…Emeka.” She soliloquized. Emeka was tall, handsome and had a great body. He had a caramel coloured skin and it was obvious he paid attention to caring for his body. His smile could lighten any heart and he had his ways with the ladies. A lot of them wilted at his presence and everywhere he went, he never failed to garner admiring stares. The paparazzi could not have enough of Emeka and Shalewa. They fell over each other to take shots of them. They were the perfect couple. Their pictures were always splashed on the pages of soft-sell magazines and everything they did was captured. They had met during a mutual friend’s house party and they had hit it immediately. He was soft-spoken and her friends had envied her relationship with him. Emeka could have been any lady’s dream man.

“Emeka, why weren’t you just what I desired in a man.” Shalewa said as she pulled the curtains back and leaned on the wall. It had taken just three months for their relationship to crash like a pack of badly arranged cards. Emeka could not help being obsessed with her father’s businesses. The questions regarding his businesses were never-ending. At first, Shalewa had thought Emeka was only being caring by wanting to know all the details. After a while, he would get grumpy anytime she refused to give him more information about the businesses. He would tell her that she was hiding details from him because she did not love him. Shalewa was confused at first about his behaviour. She had never given him any reason to doubt her love for him. She then wondered how her refusal to divulge information concerning her father’s businesses could amount to a non-love relationship.

The final straw with Emeka’s theatrics had happened on one of their numerous dinner dates. She had been lazing at home, after a long night of studying when Emeka called her to have dinner with him. She was tired but Emeka had convinced her that she needed to give herself some time off studies and loosen up. She grudgingly got dressed and Emeka picked her up at 7.00pm.

They drove to one of the classy restaurants which was a few minutes’ drive from her house. Their dinner had been going on well until Emeka mentioned that he was meant to be a co-signatory to all her father’s accounts. She looked at him like he had suddenly grown horns on his head.

“Is this supposed to be some kind of joke, Emeka?” Shalewa had asked him.

“Do I look like one to make jokes? As your fiancé and husband-to-be, I think I have a right to be a co-signatory to all his accounts.” Emeka had answered confidently with a hand on his chest.

“Don’t you think we should even get married first before you start asking for all these privileges?”

“Why? We are engaged, aren’t we?” Emeka asked as he searched her face for an answer.

“I can’t remember you proposing. Or does three months of dating automatically amount to an engagement?” Shalewa retorted irritably. It was too much for her to bear. She had had enough of his manipulative gimmicks and she wasn’t ready to fall for any today. If they had to call it quits, then so be it.

“But…but, I thought we were engaged?” Emeka stammered trying to regain his confident posture. She should understand they were engaged. Or what else was he meant to do? They had both met each other’s parents and had gotten the blessings to all parties concerned. His parents were professors lecturing in two different universities in the country and Shalewa’s love for education had endeared her to them. They had hoped their first son would tow their path but Emeka had other plans. Immediately after his first degree, he had worked for a few years before setting up his haulage business. His business wasn’t doing badly and he could boast of a few employees.

Emeka knew he should have proposed to Shalewa with an engagement ring but there hadn’t been any time to go shop for one. Besides, she probably would have said it is not up to her taste considering the expensive jewelries she adorns daily. I know I have never bought her a gift throughout our three month dating period. But how could I? She is an expensive lady and I don’t think I can afford her taste right now. That’s the reason why I want to know all about her father’s businesses and be a co-signatory so that I could at least add a little from her father’s to whatever I have to get her good gifts. Why is she being difficult? He thought still waiting for an answer to his question.

“What would I call Emeka? A gold digger? I still can’t believe he asked to be a co-signatory to my father’s accounts. Who does he think I am? His ticket to wealth? Shalewa looked at him with anger. “I’m so pissed right now. I have never received a gift from him, not even a scarf. Or is that also beyond his pocket? When we go out for dinners which are by the way always his idea, he would smile sheepishly and ask; “Would you pay for our meal, honey. I’m out of cash at the moment”. Gosh, he’s forever out of cash but never runs out of a desire for a dinner. I thought I had met my heartbeat but right now…no…I think I made a mistake meeting him. Just very typical of the rest. They are only after my father’s wealth.

When would I meet my own man? She lamented internally. A man who would not be bothered about my name or my father’s. A man who would love me for me and not my father’s wealth. A man who would not see me as his ticket to wealth. Hmmm…I hope I do find that man. “What was his question again?” She thought. I can’t even remember right now and I don’t think I want to. I’m through with him. Without saying a word, Shalewa picked up her handbag and stood up to leave.

“Where are you going? We are still talking.” Emeka whispered trying not to attract the attention of the other diners.

“I am done talking and I’m going home. Does that answer your question?” She said not minding the stares she was beginning to attract.

“Keep your voice down. You are causing a scene.” Emeka struggled to say, holding her hand and trying to make her sit down.

“Don’t touch me. Don’t call me and I don’t ever want to see you.” She said, snatching her hand from him and choking as she tried to fight back the tears that were threatening to spill. She did not want him to see her cry. No, not for him. She left the restaurant hurriedly, leaving a lot of diners who were watching spell bound.

Emeka looked round and saw so many people looking in his direction. He faked a smile and struggled to give an explanation; “She sometimes gets very emotional.” He said rising up and thinking of how best to leave without creating further confusion. On sighting the waiter coming towards him, he cursed under his breath. Shalewa had left without paying. He paused for the waiter to get to him, checked the payment sheet and pulled out some notes from his wallet. “Keep the change.” He said trying to feel confident. Right now, he just wanted to get out and get some fresh air.

Emeka walked out of the restaurant with his head high but deep down, he was deflated.

——–
The story continues……

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