Tag Archives: marriage

A woman’s dream – Part 1

This story was inspired by a colleague. We had a discussion and she imagined that it would make a good story. This two-part story is dedicated to her.

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Adetutu walked out of Energy Communications with her employment letter. She smiled and heaved a sigh of relief. Who would have thought at her age and little experience, she would be considered for employment as a Human Resources Officer? She walked to the car park and eased into the owner’s corner of her car.

“Where are we going ma?” Monday, her driver asked.

“Home.”

She wanted to share the good news with Chief face to face. She believed that a phone call will not suffice. She knew he would be proud of her; even though he had initially kicked against her search for employment.

—–

Adetutu had a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and was serving as a Youth Corp member in a law firm when she met Chief Olatunde Ara. He had come to see her boss who was a partner in the law firm. It was love at first sight for Chief as he spotted her manning the reception desk. He wasted no time in making his intentions known after three visits to her office. Adetutu had initially turned down Chief’s advances until the day she was summoned by her boss into his office.

“Tutu, I will go straight to the point and not mince words. I understand if you want to keep things very professional but Chief has asked me to help him talk to you. Sincerely, since Chief lost his wife three years ago, I have never seen his face light up at the sight of another woman. I think you should reconsider your stance and give him a chance.”

Adetutu took a deep breath.

“You don’t have to give me an answer. This is Chief’s card.” Her boss said handing over a complimentary card to her. “Give him a call once you make up your mind. I only hope your response will be favourable for Chief’s sake.”

Adetutu thanked her boss and left his office. She pondered over their discussion for the rest of the day. She reckoned Chief would be in his forties while she was just twenty-two. Was she ready to have a relationship with a man old enough to be her father?

——

Two days later, Adetutu called Chief and agreed to his proposition but with a condition that she did not want to be rushed. She wanted them to take the relationship at her own pace. Chief had been so excited. The next day, Adetutu met a bouquet of red roses and a box of chocolates on her desk.

Chief sent his driver daily to pick her up for lunch dates with him. She however, made sure she was back in the office before her lunch break was over as she did not want to take her boss or her job for granted. Chief told her about his late wife and how she had died after an ectopic pregnancy. It had been the first time she had been pregnant in their seven years of marriage; she had therefore refused to see a doctor even though she kept having pains. Both mother and child were lost.

 

Less than two years later, Adetutu became Chief’s wife. Exactly nine months after, Omowunmi was born. Less than eighteen months after, Adetutu gave birth to a set of twin boys. Chief convinced Adetutu that there was no point going back to work. She had her hands full already with three young kids and after much persuasion, Adetutu agreed. Chief opened a boutique for his wife and also paid her a monthly salary.

——

One evening, as Adetutu retired to bed in her husband’s arms, she propped herself up and looked at him. “Chief, I want to go back to school.”

Chief looked at her and laughed.

“I’m serious Chief.”

Chief’s countenance changed as he looked at his wife of seventeen years.  “What do you need the certificate for?”

“I want to go back to work.”

“Ahn…ahn, go back to work ke? At what age?”

“I am not yet forty-five. I can still get a job.”

Chief sat up straight. “What exactly do you need the job for?”

Adetutu smiled as she scooted closer to her husband. “The kids are grown and in the University already. I want to do something for myself. I feel unfulfilled.”

“I don’t understand. Your boutique is doing well. You have even expanded your business and have a spa and a salon, so what other fulfillment could you be looking for?” Chief asked in confusion.

“Please Chief, I just need your approval.”

Chief sighed as he nodded his head.

——

The next day, Adetutu registered as a professional student with a Human Resource Institute and began taking lectures almost immediately. In two years, she passed the exams in all the stages and Chief was proud of her as he stood beside her like a rock of Gibraltar during her induction. Adetutu went ahead to register as a professional student of a Management Institute and Chief thought she had lost it.

“You just finished one and you are starting another, Tutu.” Chief looked at her with unbelief.

Adetutu smiled. “Well Chief, I have the time. I can as well make the best use of it.”

“Does your daughter know you are doing all these courses?”

Adetutu shrugged. “Omowunmi is living her life, mummy too can live hers.” She responded.

——

In less than two years, she was done and inducted into the Institute. Omowunmi, who had just graduated from the university, attended her mother’s induction. Both father and daughter beamed with smiles at Adetutu’s achievements.

Adetutu, immediately began her search for a job.  She looked up job websites and purchased the daily newspapers looking out for vacancies. She knew it was not going to be a walk in the park considering her age but she kept her hopes high.

Her prayers were eventually answered with Energy Communications. As the driver took her home, she threw her head back and smiled. She heard the familiar ring tone she used for her daughter and rummaged her bag for her phone.

“Mummy.” Omowunmi spoke on the other end.

“Yes darling. How was your interview?”

Omowunmi sighed.

“What is the problem dear?”

“I wasn’t given the position I wanted. I was told someone else was better qualified.” Omowunmi hissed.

“Oh my! I’m so sorry darling, but you were offered another position?” Adetutu asked.

“Yes, mummy. I was offered the position of a customer relations officer.”

“I think you should take it.”

“But mummy that is not what I applied for?”

“What position did you apply for?” Adetutu asked as she adjusted herself.

“I applied for the position of a human resources officer. That is what I studied in school, mum. Why should I be given the position of a customer relations officer? I refused to accept the offer. They asked me to get back to them if I decided to change my mind but sincerely mum, I doubt I would.”

“Hmm…” Adetutu hummed. “Which organization is this?”

“Energy Communications.”

“What?” Adetutu screamed.

“Mum, are you okay?” Omowunmi panicked.

“Erm…erm…I’m fine. Are you on your way home?”

“Mum? What is wrong?”

“Nothing….nothing. Are you on your way home?” Adetutu stammered.

“Yes, I am just about driving out of the company premises.”

“Okay. Come home, we would talk about it when you get home.”

“Mummy, what is wrong?” Omowunmi asked; unconvinced with her mother’s responses.

“Just come home.” Adetutu said with a tone of finality.

….To be continued.

——–

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

The Choice of Freedom

Bisola looked at her husband of thirteen years with confusion clearly written on her face. “Was he serious about what he just said?” She thought. “Where had she missed it?” “Was this a result of something going on that she had been blind to?” So many questions that begged for answers.

Ikechukwu walked out of the house and slammed the door behind him. Bisola looked on unable to stop him. Her husband’s statements had torn her and she wondered what she was supposed to do.

******

Ten years ago, Ikechukwu and Bisola had a registry wedding followed by a small reception for close family and friends. It was an agreement between both of them to cut out the unnecessary expenses associated with large weddings and save for their future and that of their kids. They had both prevailed on both families to agree to their decision. It had been difficult for Ikechukwu’s family to accept as he was the first son of the family but he had been adamant. His family insinuated that Bisola was the one manipulating  him do a small wedding. He however explained to them that Bisola’s father also wanted a large wedding but after consultations, her father had agreed to what he proposed. He therefore, told them if his proposed father-in-law could agree; they had no choice but to consent as well.

Ikechukwu worked as a top executive in a commercial bank while Bisola was a sales executive in a pharmaceutical company. In four years, Bisola gave birth to three boys in quick succession. Ikechukwu asked her to take a break from work so that she could give their kids undivided attention. He said he did not like the idea of maids taking care of his kids. Bisola agreed and resigned her job to take care of the home.

However, Bisola knew that she couldn’t sit at home and do nothing while tending to her kids. She therefore, wrote professional exams and acquired entrepreneurial skills. She started bead-making from the money she had saved over time and soon, she became sought after by all and sundry because of her penchant for durable products.

 

Everything was going well for the family of five until last year when Ikechukwu lost his job at the bank as a result of a mass restructuring programme. Ikechukwu became depressed. Bisola tried to cheer her husband up by asking him to invest their joint savings in a business. Bisola advised that they invest in a poultry business which would bring steady income but Ikechukwu wanted more. He couldn’t wait for a gradual increase in their profits. This caused a friction between them as Bisola was skeptical about the business he wanted to invest in.

 

After many weeks of friction in their marriage, Bisola agreed reluctantly and signed the cheque authorizing Ikechukwu to withdraw eighty percent of their savings. In four weeks, Ikechukwu realized he had been scammed and their whole savings of about ten years went down the drain. Bisola was devastated. Their last son had just gained admission into the secondary school. Their upkeep at home had been solely from her bead-making business which had expanded over time.

 

Just when everything seemed to be going downhill, Bisola received a call from an old friend. Her friend told her that a marketing manager was needed in her organization. The company was a pharmaceutical company of repute and she asked Bisola to forward her CV to her. Bisola immediately brushed up her CV and sent it to her friend by email. She hoped and prayed for the much needed break.

Two weeks later, Bisola was invited for an interview and in a month, she received a letter of appointment with a decent salary and an official car. She got home to share the good news with her husband. She had intimated him about the call and had carried him along but she noticed he had been indifferent.

 

Bisola looked at the letter of appointment opened on her laptop. Ikechukwu couldn’t be serious about her having to choose between the job and him. She had listened to him when he asked her to resign her job years ago to take care of the kids. The kids were in boarding house and the last one was going to join them in September. “Why was he being selfish?” She thought. She understood that his inability to provide for them like he used to was depressing for him but now that she had an opportunity to assist financially, why was he giving her an option of choosing between him and a job.

Bisola put her hand on her head as she contemplated on what to do. No, she wasn’t going to reject the offer. She would plead with her husband when he returned to listen to the voice of reason. She prayed in her heart that his ego would not stand in the way.

——

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

RUN YOUR RACE

She stared at her reflection in the mirror before her. She hardly recognized herself. The scars on her face were a constant reminder of what she had been through in the last eighteen months. She had been involved in a fatal motor accident which had claimed the lives of everyone except hers. Her survival remained a mystery to the doctors and according to them, it was medically impossible. After a series of surgeries, the doctors had made an attempt to give her a face.

 

At forty-two, she was still unmarried and she wondered if any man would desire her now with the visible scars on her face. The shrill tone of her mobile phone jolted her out of her deep thoughts. She tapped the bluetooth device attached to her left ear.

“Ronke speaking. How may I help you?”

She listened intently to the person on the other end as she nodded her head.

“Thank you very much, sir. I appreciate your patronage.” She said as she ended the call.

Her jewellery business was doing well and she lacked nothing. She had bought a house for herself and her parents from the proceeds of her business. She owned a block of twelve apartments which had been fully occupied by tenants. She also had investments in landed properties.

 

Her mind wandered to her closest friends and she sighed. Amaka had been married for five years with two beautiful kids. Within those five years, she had unsuccessfully searched for a job. She had tried her hands on various businesses but each one failed after six months. Amaka’s daily prayer to God was for a job.

Aisha was yet to have a child. Within ten years of marriage, she had had six miscarriages. Amaka and Ronke were always by her side to give her a shoulder to cry on. Even though she had a loving husband who told her incessantly that he married her for love and companionship and not for children; that did not stop Aisha from getting worried about her inability to carry a child to term. Her daily prayer to God was for a child.

 

 

Ronke took a deep breath as her grandmother’s words resonated within her. “Máa fi ago aláago sárè.” (Don’t run with another’s time). Each one of them had their own race ahead of them. She had every reason to be thankful. This time last year, she would have been dead and long buried. She was however alive and had found fulfillment in putting smiles on the faces of children who needed corrective surgery through her donations to a foundation which supported the cause.

She took one last look at herself in the mirror and smiled. She picked up her handbag from the dresser as she walked out of her house. It was another day and she was going forth to conquer the world.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.lydiamlee.wordpress.com

If Only – Part 2

Tawakalitu groaned and panted every ten minutes. Her contractions were beginning to come in quick succession. The past twenty-four hours had been gruelling and she was already exhausted. Even in her state, she felt disgusted by her environment. She had pleaded with her husband to take her to the primary health care centre but he had refused. His reasons were that he could not afford their services. She had saved up some money from her palm oil sales in the market but her husband would have none of that. How dare she say she would pay to go to the health centre? He was the head of the house and whatever he said was final.

She looked at the traditional birth attendant and fear gripped her as she saw the sharp instrument in her hand. She began to cry as she wondered if she would survive the ordeal. She was already tired from the long hours of labour and she doubted her capability to push out her baby. The attendant asked her to bear down. She did; panting, groaning and screaming. After about forty minutes, she was delivered of her baby. The birth attendant spanked the baby on the bum but he refused to cry. She hit him again but he was still.

The birth attendant looked at Tawa and shook her head. Realization hit Tawa like a stab to her heart and she let out a long piercing cry of agony. Mukaila who had been waiting outside to hear the cry of his baby burst into the room. He looked at his wife who was hysterical and screaming. He moved towards her and tried to touch her but she pushed him with so much force that he fell back on his buttocks.

Tawa bit her forefinger as she looked at him on the floor. “If only she had refused to listen to Mukaila”. “If only she had taken out her savings to go to the primary health care centre”. “If only Mukaila had not been too proud to refuse assistance from her”. Maybe, just maybe, they would have been rejoicing over the birth of their first child.

 

To read the first part of “If Only”, click on the link below;

http://www.olubukolasthoughts.com/2016/04/22/if-only/

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

Mind Your Business!

“Wetin dey happen for dia?” Papa Nkechi called out from the window of his bedroom.

He touched the screen of his phone which lay on the floor beside him and it lit up. The time read 11:30p.m. His peaceful sleep has been cut short by the shrill voice of Mama Kudi. He stood up and tied a wrapper round his waist, leaving his chest bare. He moved quietly, taking care not to wake Mama Nkechi who was snoring loudly.

As he stepped into the main courtyard, a basin of iced cold water hit him straight in the face. He froze for a moment as he tried to understand what had just happened.

Mama Kudi immediately fell on her knees as she began to plead. “Baba Nkechi, no vex oh. Yéè, mo dá ràn. (I am done for). She lamented as she placed her hands on her head.

Papa Nkechi looked to his right and saw Baba Kudi struggling to stand upright. Baba Kudi staggered forward and backward like a pendulum. Papa Nkechi looked at Mama Kudi who was still on her knees and shook his head. He turned back quietly and went into his room without a word to either of them.

 

The next night when Papa Nkechi’s sleep was disturbed again, he turned on his bed as he held his snoring wife. Mama Kudi and her husband were old enough to sort themselves.

Last night, he was lucky. The next basin may not contain cold water, it could be steaming hot water.

——–

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

Wedding Chronicles – Dress code

Preparations for their wedding was in top gear. The venue of the reception had been paid for, the caterers were ready, family and friends were excited. However, one thing was left. The wedding gown had not been shown to the church.

The couple went to the dressmaker who had been contracted to make the wedding gown. She had called the bride earlier to inform her that her gown was ready for pick up. The groom was excited as he looked forward to having a peep of how his bride would look on their most important day. As the dressmaker unveiled the gown, they both gasped. It was beautiful. The bride glided her fingers on the pearls that sparkled brightly on the dress. The dressmaker asked her to put on the gown so that proper fittings could be made. The bride nodded as she went into an inner room with the dressmaker behind her.

As the bride stepped into the room where her fiancé was waiting, a smile played on his lips. He thanked the dressmaker acknowledging the good job she had done. The gown dazzled throwing beams of light on the bride’s face as she smiled. The dressmaker stood before the bride as she used pins to adjust the dress at points which she felt needed to be worked on to give the dress a perfect fit. The bride went back into the changing room, took off the gown and handed it over to the dressmaker.

As the dressmaker got to work on the dress, the couple discussed preparations for the oncoming wedding, as they dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s. They talked about their honeymoon and the groom said he had purchased some pairs of jeans pants and looked forward to seeing his wife in them. His fiancée looked at him with confusion. “You know I don’t wear trousers, so why would you buy them?”

“Your church does not allow you to wear them. Once you are married, you will attend my church. We don’t have anything against women in trousers and I want to see you in them.”

The bride shook her head. “No, I will not wear trousers.”

“Sweetie, you will wear whatever I buy for you.” He responded with a tone of finality.

The bride pouted her mouth in anger as she crossed her arms.

In a few minutes, the dressmaker was done and the dress was put into a garment bag and handed over to them. It was to be shown to the church the next day.

 

The next weekend, the couple was back at the dressmaker’s. A quick glance at the groom’s face and the dressmaker knew something was amiss.

“What is the problem sir?” She asked.

The groom looked at his bride who had an expression of resignation on her face.

“Please can you take off all the pearls and make the gown ankle length?” The bride said.

The dressmaker’s jaw dropped as she stared at the bride and then the groom.

The groom shrugged. “Her church said pearls are not allowed. They are also against flowing wedding gowns.”

The dressmaker sighed deeply as she collected the garment bag containing the wedding gown from them.

If only the church had outlined a dress code for wedding gowns to prospective brides during the marriage counselling sessions, maybe the dressmaker would have been saved the trouble and the couple would have managed their expectations.

 

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

The Wait – Chapter 4

Ajoke picked up the water pot she had hid in the bushes behind her house. She brought out a filled keg of water from the bushes and filled her water pot. She searched the bushes as she retrieved a small wrapper, rolled it into a ball and balanced it on her head. She bent down to carry the water pot as she placed it gingerly on her head.

As she walked the short distance to her house, she smiled as she thought about the kiss she had shared with Kokumo. She had never been kissed before and it made her ecstatic. He had turned back at the junction that led to her house. She had hoped he would kiss her again before leaving but she knew he did not because he had to be careful. Anyone could be watching them and later report her to her father or her elder brothers. She prayed in her heart and hoped he would not get into trouble with his mother when he got home.

 

Ajoke placed the pot of water in the small kitchen and walked to the front of the house to look for her mother. She saw her bent over a basin of garri which had just been fried. “Ëkú’ròlé màámi.” (Good evening, my mother).

“Ibo lo lö lát’àárò?” (Where have you been all day?)

“Mo lo pön omi ló’dò.” (I went to fetch water from the stream). She lied.

“Lo wá pé tótó yën?” (And it took you so long?)

“Ë má bínú. Mo rí àwön òré mi, a wá n sòrò nípa ilé ìwé. A ò mò pé àkókò ti lo.” (Don’t be angry. I saw my friends and we started discussing about school. We did not realize time had been spent).

“Kò burú. Sáré lô gbé óúnjë sóri iná fún bàbá ë àti àwön ègbón ë.” (Okay. Go and prepare food for your father and your brothers and be fast about it).

Ajoke placed her hand on her chest, wiling her heart to be still as she turned to go into the kitchen. She knew she could not afford to do this again but she was glad her journey today had been successful except for her encounter with Kokumo’s mother. She sighed as she thought about her. She hoped the woman would be more receptive to her the next time they met.

 

Kokumo walked into his compound and saw his mother seated outside on a low stool in the veranda. As she saw him walking in, she stood up and entered into the house. Kokumo sighed deeply as he took quick steps into the house. His mother was in the kitchen when he walked in.

“Màámi.” (My mother). He called.

She turned to look at her son. “Kí lo fé?” (What do you want?).

“Ëni tí mo fé fé nìyën.” (That is the person I intend to marry).

Iya Kokumo looked on without a response.

Kokumo closed the space between them and held his mother’s hands. “Màámi, nítorí ömö yën ni mo sé n tiraka ki n lè lö sí ilé ìwé gíga. Ti bá ti se tán, mo ma fë.” (I am doing my best to go to the University because of her. Once I am through, I will marry her).

“Sé baba ömö náà mò é?” (Does the girl’s father know you?) Iya Kokumo asked.

“Rárá mà.” (No ma).

“Kí ló wá fi é lókàn balè pé to bá se tán ní ilé ìwé gíga, o yì ma ba l’ómidan?” (What gives you the assurance that when you graduate from the University, she would still be single?)

“Àdéhùn t’émi àti è jö ní ni.” (That is the agreement between us).

Iya Kokumo took a deep breath as she removed her hands from her son’s grip. “Ölórun á bá ë sé o.” (God will do it for you, I hope). She said as she walked into her room.

 

Kokumo continued to till his father’s farm day and night with a mission. He hoped he would not have to defer his admission beyond one year and he worked towards achieving his objective. God smiled on him and the harvest season was bountiful. His mother had more than enough to sell and Iya Kokumo had to employ a sales girl to man another table of fruits for sale in front of their house. Iya Kokumo was overjoyed and she sang praises to God each day for not putting her to shame. She also praised Kokumo’s hardwork and told him times without number that he had made her a proud and happy mother.

 

Another school year was approaching and Kokumo was elated. He went back to the University of Lagos and he was re-offered his admission to read Accountancy. Since his house was a distance to the school, he knew going home every day would be a herculean task. He employed someone to manage his farm during the week while he went home every weekend to see to the on-goings on the farm. He quickly made friends in school and asked one of his course mates who had a bed space if he could squat with him. His request was accepted and he put his few belongings in a corner of his friend’s room.

Once he was settled in school, he wrote a letter to Ajoke informing her of his admission. He told her it was only a matter of time. In four years, they would be joined together as husband and wife. Ajoke received the letter a month later. She read the letter over and over, smiling each time she read it. She put it under the pillow and kissed it every night. She imagined that as she kissed it, she was kissing Kokumo wherever he was. Since she shared a room with her brothers, she was careful not to allow her brothers see her anytime she read the letter.

 

Just before the second semester exams, Kokumo wrote to Ajoke that he wanted to visit her. He told her he was aware her father may not allow her receive male visitors, so he proposed a date, a place and a time where they could meet. The venue was in-between the two towns, on the way to their secondary school. He figured that picking that venue would give Ajoke a sense of security and douse any fear of anyone seeing her and reporting to her father.

Ajoke wrote back responding in the affirmative. With that agreed, the wait began and both of them looked forward to the date with excitement. Ajoke had a little diary which she guarded jealously. She had written down the day she received her first kiss from Kokumo. Now, she wrote down the date she was to meet the love of her life after many weeks of being away at school.

 

Kokumo finished his exams and packed his few belongings into his travel bag. He had stopped shuttling between home and school just before the exams started so that he could have full concentration on his studies.

As he boarded the bus that would take him home, thoughts of Ajoke filtered into his mind. He smiled as he imagined how she was going to throw herself on him in a hug. He had missed her so much and he couldn’t wait to see her and have her in his arms.

 

Iya Kokumo was still in the market when Kokumo arrived home. He walked to the back of the house to drop his travel bag and then decided to go to the market. He was still a few metres away when the woman in the next stall to his mother’s shouted; “Ìya Kòkúmó, ömö yín kó ló n bò yën ni?” (Kokumo’s mother, isn’t that your son coming?)

Iya Kokumo looked up from the fruits she was arranging and started dancing on seeing her son. “Ömö mi ti dé o.” (My son is back).

Kokumo closed the distance between them and prostrated. “Ë kú ìròlé, màámi.” (Good evening, my mother).

“Kú’ròlé, ömö mi. Báwò ni ilé ìwé?” (Good evening, my son. How is school?) She asked as she pulled up her son from the floor and embraced him.

“Ilé ìwé wà dada.” (School is fine). Kokumo answered smiling.

Other women started to stretch their necks to catch a glimpse of the University student. They gossiped among themselves about Kokumo’s fortune. A university graduate in the making regardless of his father’s demise about a year ago.

Iya Kokumo began to pack up her left over fruits into a basket.

“Se ti ta öjà tán ni?” (Have you finished your sales for the day?) Kokumo asked his mother.

“Öjà wo ni mo tún fé tà, nígbàti ömö mi ti wálé?” (What else am I selling when my son has come home?) Iya Kokumo responded as she opened her palms.

“Ó da nígbà yën. Ë jé ki n bá yin palèmó.” (That is okay then. Let me help you pack up).

Fifteen minutes later, mother and son walked home with Kokumo carrying the basket of left over fruits on his head. They stopped to greet a number of villagers who were excited to see the University student.

 

A week later, Kokumo told his mother he needed to see a friend while Ajoke told her mother that a friend from her secondary school just came back from Lagos and wanted to see her. The two mothers told their children not to stay out too long. Iya Ajoke reminded her daughter that she needed to get back home in time to prepare dinner for her father and her brothers.

 

Kokumo arrived the venue of their meeting ten minutes early. The spot was a woody area off the road and not easily visible. He sat down on a log of wood and waited patiently for Ajoke. She arrived about five minutes later than the scheduled time. As she strolled into the woods, she looked out for Kokumo. He whistled and Ajoke looked in the direction of the sound. She ran towards him and hugged him holding him tightly.

“Ajoke mi.” (My Ajoke). Kokumo said endearingly as he pulled away from her grip. “I have missed you so much.” He said touching her cheeks lightly with his thumb.

“Not as much as I have.”

“You think so?”

“Prove it.” Ajoke said smilingly sheepishly.

Kokumo pulled her close and kissed her. When he eased away from her, Ajoke’s eyes were still closed and there was a smile on her lips.

“Why are you smiling?” Kokumo asked laughing.

“Because you make me have these tingly feelings anytime you do that.” Ajoke said opening her eyes.

“I love you and would love to make you have those tingly feelings all day long.”

Ajoke’s smile grew big.

“Not today.” Kokumo said as he held her hand and sat on the log of wood pulling her close beside him. “How have you been? What has been happening in my absence?”

Ajoke shrugged. “Nothing much.  The same routine as usual.”

“How is your father?”

“Baami is fine. Broda Adisa has been helping him with his palm wine tapping anytime he has no customers to mend shoes for while the others are doing one job or the other. I still help Maami to sell her garri.”

“So have you been reading? You know, just to brush yourself up.” Kokumo asked as he traced his finger on her cornrows.

“I try to but most times, I listen to the radio. Baami has a small radio that he just bought. I listen to the news.” She said smiling. “How long is your holiday?”

“Just two weeks. I should be back in school by the next weekend.”

Ajoke’s smile faded. “So, I won’t see you again before you leave for school?”

Kokumo blew out air from his mouth as he pulled her close. “No. I won’t be able to come back here. I need to monitor the farm and make sure everything is in place before I leave.”

“How long do I still have to wait?”

“Three years.”

“It’s a long time, Kokumo.” Ajoke said as tears gathered at the corner of her eyes.

Kokumo cradled her face in his hands. “Three years and it will all be over. Please wait for me.”

A stray tear traced its way down Ajoke’s cheek. “My friends are beginning to get married.”

“Don’t worry about your friends.” Kokumo said as he wiped the tear with his forefinger.

“I overheard Baami talking about marriage with Maami but she refused. She told him she still needed me at home with her.”

Kokumo nodded. “That’s good. Just try and convince them that you still need to be with your mother to help her.”

“Okay. I will.”

“I love you so much Ajoke.”

“I love you too.”

Kokumo took her lips in his again; this time he kissed her slowly and passionately. He was leaving in a few days and he wanted to have sweet memories of their last time together.

——

The story continues……

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The Wait – Chapter 3

Ajoke sneaked out of her house through the path that led to the stream. She had been restless all day. She had missed Kokumo and wanted to see him today at all costs. She knew there was no way her father or her elder brothers would allow her visit a man but she had to. It had been about four months since she saw Kokumo. The last day being the day they had written their final exams. They had promised each other to keep in touch by writing letters but she had not received any letter from him in over a month. His last letter informed her that he had been given admission into the University of Lagos and that he would be picking up his letter in a few days. She wondered if getting into the University had suddenly erased her from his memory. She had no idea of where his house was located but she was willing to make an attempt.

She took out the sheet of paper on which Kokumo had scribbled his house address. She smiled as she looked at his cursive handwriting. The same handwriting which many of their classmates had fallen in love with.  She quickly folded the sheet of paper carefully and put it in the pocket of her dress. She had saved up a little change by selling the garri processed by her mum a few naira higher. She reckoned that one day, she would need cash. Today happened to be the day and the few cash she had saved up was coming in handy.

 

As she sat in the public bus taking her towards Kokumo’s village, she thought about the good times they spent together reading, walking home and sharing the snacks bought by Kokumo. She hoped those University girls she always heard about in skimpy wears hadn’t diverted Kokumo’s attention away from her.

The bus arrived at the last stop and she disembarked looking around like a lost child. Who could she ask for directions?

“Excuse me, ma.” She said to an elderly lady who was about disembarking from the same bus.

“Yes.” The woman responded looking at her impatiently.

“Ë jò ó mà. Àlejò ni mí ní àdúgbò yìí.” (Please ma, I am a stranger in this town). “Títì Alábéré ni mò n lö.” (I am going to Alabere street).

The woman looked at her and pointed to her left. “Títì Alábéré nì yën bèun.” (That is Alabere street over there).

Ajoke curtsied to indicate her thanks before proceeding to walk towards Alabere street. As she got to the beginning of the street, she took out the sheet of paper again to reconfirm her destination. As she walked down the street, she thought about what she would tell Kokumo’s parents. What would be her mission in his house since he was in school? How would she introduce herself to them? She suddenly realized that she hadn’t thought about all these before leaving her house. Now that she was almost at her destination, she suddenly felt foolish that she had been spontaneous about her decision to visit Kokumo’s house.

She saw the number 23 glowing in red paint from afar and knew that she had arrived her destination. The modest house was built far away from the road. Compared to other houses, it looked modern. She stood on the road and continued to look at the house. She suddenly developed cold feet and wasn’t sure she had made the right decision. She was still contemplating on what to do when she heard someone whistling a song behind her. She would recognize that voice even in her dreams. She turned back and walking towards her was Kokumo. He had a hoe over his shoulders and his brows beaded with sweat. Her jaws dropped as she looked at him.

Kokumo stopped whistling immediately he saw Ajoke standing by the entrance to his compound. He used the sleeve of his buba to wipe his brow as he dropped his hoe on the floor. Was it truly Ajoke? He wondered. He stood still and bowed his head, expecting to be scolded by her for not going ahead to fulfill his dreams but was surprised when he heard her sobbing. He looked up in shock, unable to form words.

“Kokumo, why?”

Kokumo shook his head in confusion.

“You were supposed to go to the university, so we could have a better life together.” Ajoke said sobbing.

Kokumo closed the space between them and hugged her. He had missed her so much but had felt ashamed to write to tell her about the change of plans. “Let’s go inside and talk.” He said.

He picked up his hoe from the floor and held her hand as they walked into his compound.

 

Kokumo entered into the house, kept the hoe in its place and retrieved a low stool. He put the stool on the floor in the front pavement of his house and asked Ajoke to sit down.

Ajoke shook her head. “I can’t afford to stay late. I did not tell anyone where I was going.”

Kokumo sighed. “I would not delay you, Ajoke. I need you to sit down so you can listen to what I have to say.”

Ajoke sat down reluctantly.

“My father is dead, Ajoke. He died on the day I received my admission letter from Unilag.”

Ajoke looked up at Kokumo, tears filling up her eyes again. “I’m sorry. I did not know.”

Kokumo smiled sadly. “Yes, I know. I couldn’t bring myself to write to explain everything to you. I had to defer my admission till some other time so I could earn a living.”

“How naïve I was to have thought you were getting distracted in school.”

“I love you, Ajoke. Nothing and no one can get me distracted from you. I was only ashamed that I had to forget about school in the meantime and go to the farm.”

“There is no reason to be ashamed.” Ajoke said as she smiled despite her tears. “I am proud of you.”

Kokumo moved closer to Ajoke as she pulled her up into a hug. They sobbed on each other’s shoulders as they stood together locked in an embrace.

As Ajoke continued to sob, Kokumo lifted up her face and was about to plant a kiss on her lips when he heard someone cough. He stopped and looked as he noticed his mother watching them. In their grief, they had failed to notice that she had walked into the compound.

 

Iya Kokumo had decided to go home early. She wanted to rest as she noticed she was getting tired easily these days. She put the blame on her sleepless nights thinking about Baba Kokumo. As she trudged home, the only thing on her mind was her bed. She was therefore taken aback when she saw Kokumo in an emotional embrace with a young lady. He had never mentioned having any woman, so the sight before her had been shocking. He was about to kiss her when she knew she had to announce her presence.

 

“Màámi, ë káàbò mà. Ë kú àt’àárò.” (My mother, welcome back). Kokumo said suddenly startled. “Ë mà tètè dé lôní.” (You are back early today?).

“Ëkáàsán mà.” (Good afternoon ma). Ajoke said getting down on her two knees to greet Iya Kokumo.

“Káàsán o.” (Good afternoon). Iya Kokumo said as she looked at Ajoke and ignored Kokumo’s statement. “Ömö tani é o? Látì ibo lo ti wá?” (Whose daughter are you and where are you from?). She asked with sarcasm.

Ajoke looked up but swiftly bent her head again, still on her knees. “Ömö Bàbá Àdìsá ni mí láti ìlu Ìpájà.” (I am the daughter of Baba Adisa from Ipaja village).

“Hmm……” Iya Kokumo grunted.

“Màámi, ë jé ka wölé.” (My mother, let us go in). Kokumo said to his mother, uncomfortable with the way she eyed and questioned Ajoke.

Iya Kokumo looked at her son, her eyes intense. “Sé ìwö ni mò n bá sòrò ni?” (Was I talking to you?).

“Rárá, máámi.” (No, my mother). Kokumo responded uneasily.

“Óyá ní ilé bàbá ë, ki n tó la ojú mi.” (To your father’s house before I open my eyes). Iya Kokumo closed her eyes as she pointed towards the entrance of her compound.

“Màámi!” Kokumo protested but Ajoke was already on the feet and running out of the compound. “Màámi!” Kokumo said again as he looked at his mother in anger.

“Àfara sí inu’lé báyìí.” (Into the house right now). She commanded her son.

But Kokumo stood rooted to the spot refusing to heed his mother’s command.

“Sé ò gbó mi ni?” (Did you not hear me?) Iya Kokumo asked her son.

“Mo gbó yin màámi, sùgbôn mi ò kín s’ömödé mó.” (I heard you clearly my mother, but I am no longer a child).

With that, Kokumo walked away from his mother. He ran towards the direction Ajoke had gone in a bid to catch up with her.

 

Ajoke was at the bus garage already when Kokumo found her. It was obvious that she had been crying as she still sniffed and wiped her eyes intermittently with her hands. A bus going towards her destination had filled up and was about proceeding on its journey. The next bus moved forward to take the space of the previous bus. Ajoke opened the passenger door and was about to board the bus when Kokumo closed the distance between them. As she eased into the bus, Kokumo climbed in after her.

She hadn’t noticed anyone was waiting and she had been surprised. She turned to see Kokumo taking the seat beside her.

“Kokumo?” She looked at him with surprise. “What do you think you are doing?”

“I meant it when I told you that I love you. Do you need me to prove it again?”

Tears gathered around the corner of Ajoke’s eyes as she looked at him.

“I promise that I would make enough money to go back to school. And when I am done, we would get married.” Kokumo said as he cradled her face.

The tears that had been threatening to spill made their way down Ajoke’s cheek as she nodded.

Kokumo looked around him. When he noticed no one paid attention to them, he planted a full kiss on Ajoke’s lips.

Ajoke shivered and Kokumo laid her head on his shoulder.

The bus started to fill up with passengers. Ajoke raised her head and looked at Kokumo. “When are you going back home? The bus is almost full.” She asked as she looked behind them.

“I will return when I know you are safely in your father’s house.”

“You are what?” Ajoke shouted. “You can’t go home with me.”

Kokumo smiled as he held her hand. “Stop shouting. Other passengers may hear us. I have not said I am going home with you. I only said I will return when you are safely in your father’s house.”

Ajoke exhaled as the driver shut the door of the bus. The driver took his seat beside the young lovers as he kicked the engine of the bus.

The journey to Ajoke’s home began as the couple hugged each other. Even though other passengers chatted all through the journey, Ajoke and Kokumo stayed quiet savouring the closeness of their bodies. No words were spoken between them till they arrived their destination.

——–
The story continues…..

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

Wedding Chronicles – The Last Bride

The church hall was filled with various colourful headgears representing various families.

The nine brides stood by their grooms; an expectant look on their faces. Each bride and groom had a chief bridesmaid and a best man standing behind them. The minister looked at them. “This is to the grooms. Please face your bride and repeat after me. I…..”

“I…..” The grooms chorused.

“Mention your names.” The minister continued. “Do take you, please mention your bride’s name – to be my lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, from this day forward, till death do us part and according to God’s law. This I solemnly vow.” The grooms repeated.

The church gave a round of applause as the minister repeated the same vows to the brides.

The tenth bride put her hands under her veil and dabbed her eyes incessantly. She was the only bride still facing the minister while the others faced their grooms. Even though the air-conditioner was blowing at full blast, her palms were wet with sweat. She moved the bouquet of flowers in her hands from the right to the left and turned to look at the door every minute. Her chief bridesmaid fanned her vigorously when she noticed the beads of sweat on her head. She heard only half of what the minister said. Her mind was in turmoil. She was barely listening when she noticed that the grooms were about unveiling their brides. Tears gathered in her eyes and she bit her lip to stop them from spilling.

 

Two of the grooms’ friends stood outside the church gate while another stood just outside the church hall. The men at the gate fidgeted as they strained their necks and scrutinized every motor bike that passed by. Where could he be? They asked each other every minute. There were no mobile phones and they had no idea where or how to look for him. If they decided to make the journey to his house, they were sure not to meet him at home. It was definite he would be on his way but what could have taken him so long to get to the church when he knew what time the church service was meant to start. Their friend who stood outside the hall monitored the church proceedings. He gasped and put his hand on his head. The minister had declared the newest couples and was about to show them to the whole church.

Just then, the groom ran into the church hall with his best man in tow. He hurriedly unveiled his wife and put the ring on her finger. The minister smiled as he asked the ten couples to face the church and declared them the newest couples in town.

——–

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

Second Chances – Episode 15

Ten weeks after Sola’s visit to Wale’s apartment, he walks into Wales Construction Company on a warm Tuesday afternoon. Wale stands up from his desk immediately Sola is ushered into his office and they shake hands. He signals to the couch and they both sit down.

“My guy, where have you been?” Wale asks.

“Port-Harcourt”. Sola says smiling.

Wale laughs. “Port-Harcourt? Doing what?”

“I needed a breather. First, I decided to take a well-deserved vacation and go lick my wounds alone. I was in Calabar for four weeks. I had barely resumed when I was asked to go do some work in Port-Harcourt. I was there for another four weeks. I came back to Lagos last week but it was a very busy week. I would have checked on you”.

Wale smiles.

“You are looking well. How is Kunbi doing?”

“She is keeping up. Her introduction took place some weeks back”.

“I am happy for her”. Sola says.

“Are you sure you are?”

“Of course. I wish her the best”.

Wale stands up from the couch. “Sola, I never knew you to be one who gave up easily. I remember vividly how you refused to give up when you found a particular course difficult in school. At the end, your grade amazed me. I remember putting you through that course. What happened to that guy I knew back then who was ready to give his all till he achieved his desires?”

Sola sighs and shrugs. “Wale, I don’t know. Love is a difficult terrain”.

Wale looks at him. “Commitment issues?”

“I know I have commitment issues but I was ready to be committed to Kunbi”.

“You were but never mentioned it to her. Did you ever discuss the future with her? The only reason why she is getting married to Ola is because she is scared you will never be committed. She doesn’t even know if you have plans of settling down. She wants to be married”. Wale says in exasperation.

“It hurts me to know she is getting married to him but…..”

“But what? Guy, she loves you. I asked you never to hurt her but that’s exactly what you are doing. She cries herself to sleep sometimes. I stand behind her door and I hear her stifling her sobs. Why are you doing this to her? I trusted you but you ended up hurting her”. Wale points at him in accusation.

The expression on Sola’s face is that of surprise and confusion. “Wale, you know this is not intentional”. He says trying to explain himself. “I love her with the whole of my being….”

“If you truly love her, will you allow her spend the rest of her life in love with you but married to someone else? She is getting married in a few weeks. Preparations for the wedding are on-going already”. Wale says interrupting him.

Sola winces as he stands up. He rubs his forehead in confusion. “I am sorry I have hurt her. What do I do?”

“You should be apologizing to her, not me. Kunbi is no longer a stranger to you. If you love her, you should know what to do”.

“Thanks. You have always been a good friend”. Sola says.

“I want the best for Kunbi as well and I can’t stand the hurt she is going through. Her smiles are sad these days”.

 

Sola is seated in his car thinking. If you truly love her, will you allow her spend the rest of her life in love with you but married to someone else? She is getting married in a few weeks. Preparations for the wedding are on-going already. Going to Wale’s office had removed the blindfold covering his eyes. He loved Kunbi and he knew deep down his heart, he would never be happy seeing her married to someone else. Guy, she loves you. I asked you never to hurt her but that’s exactly what you are doing. She cries herself to sleep sometimes. I stand behind her door and I hear her stifling her sobs. Why are you doing this to her? I trusted you but you ended up hurting her”. He smiles sadly as he remembers their conversation. He had been wrong about Kunbi and he was sorry. He had thought she did not love him. How selfish of me to have ignored her feelings all along? He imagined how difficult it would have been for her to decide to have a future with Ola when she was actually in love with him. I made this relationship all about myself. Kunbi, I’m so sorry I hurt you.

2nd Chances 15

He picks up his phone and speed-dials a number. The call is picked after the first ring. “Hi ma”.

“Sola, I was just thinking about you”. She says as she stresses his name.

He smiles. “Are you missing me already? We spoke last week”.

She laughs heartily. “You do know if I could, I would speak to you and your brother everyday”.

Her laughter warms his heart. “I want you to meet someone special”.

“Okay”.

“When can we visit?”

“You know I am always available. Just call me when you are on your way”.

“See you next week”.

“Okay dear”.

He cuts the call and smiles. He closes his eyes and lets out a long sigh before dialing a second number. The call is picked on the second ring. “Hi Kunbi”.

“Hi Sola”.

“I would like to see you this evening”.

“Okay?”

“Can I come over to your apartment?”

“If Wales is fine with it, then it is fine”.

“Thank you. I will be there at 7.00pm”. He says.

Kunbi is uneasy after Sola’s call. Why does he want to see me? Is Wales aware of his visit? Oh Sola, I have missed you so much. Her heart had leapt at the sound of his voice and she had been disoriented for a few seconds. Ten weeks of no form of communication had made her heart tender. She looks at the engagement ring on her hand. In a few weeks, Ola and I will be married. She closes her eyes and remembers vividly the hurt on Sola’s face when he had heard about her engagement. If only you knew I never intended to hurt you. Her heart wills the time to hurry so it can be 7.00pm already.

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

Kunbi sits on her bed waiting anxiously. She looks at her bedside clock for the umpteenth time. Every second ticking looks like forever to her. She stands up and takes a look at herself in the full length mirror. She is suddenly conscious of how she looks. She takes out the ribbon she had used to pack up her hair in a bun when she was leaving for the office in the morning. She rakes her fingers through her hair and brushes it out with a comb allowing it to fall loosely on her shoulders. Just then, she hears a knock on her door. “Yes, come in”.

Wale walks into her room and looks at her with surprise. “Are you expecting someone?”

“I…..yes. Sola says he will be here. I…..I assumed he had sought your permission. I can tell him not to….” She stutters as they hear the doorbell ding.

Wale smiles. “I’ll get the door. That must be your visitor”. He winks as he walks out of her bedroom.

Wale lets Sola in and they both shake hands. Sola walks into the living room while Wale picks up his car key from the dining table. He strolls towards the door smiling. “Kunbi, please don’t keep your visitor waiting”. He calls out to her.

Kunbi takes one last look at herself in the mirror. She closes her eyes, places her right hand on her chest willing her heart to be still.

———–

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