Tag Archives: depression

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

One Last Chance

Lekan took one last look round his room. The room had one window opening. A tattered wrapper which was torn in so many places was used as a cover from the prying eyes of neighbours. A kerosene stove stood on the left side of the room but it was obvious that it had not been in use for a long time. A pair of trousers, four shirts and two ties hung on the wall above a flat mattress which looked more like a pieces of foam cut together. He should have returned the ties to Wale by now; he thought. He was sure Wale would come get it later; that is if he decided to. He shrugged.

A brown bucket with a broken handle was placed beside the door. A bar soap lay inside a native sponge in the bucket. The green soap was both a bathing and a washing soap.

He sighed as he looked at the small ziploc bag for medication in his hands. Ten white tablets sat in it, waiting to be consumed. He had borrowed some money from his neighbour and told him he would return it at the end of the month. With the look his neighbour gave him, he knew the man did not believe him; but he did not care because he knew everything was ending today.

 

He had told the man at the chemist that he could not sleep well. He avoided the pharmacy. They would ask too many questions. The chemist gave him the ten tablets and told him to take one every day for the next two weeks.  He opened the medical bag and poured all the  ten tablets into his hand. If only the man knew his intention, he thought as he took a deep breath.

He took out the sachet of whiskey he had kept under his mattress and looked at it. He had never taken alcohol before and he wondered how this would taste. He used his teeth to tear it open, threw all the tablets into his mouth and poured the drink down his throat. He grimaced as he swallowed. He downed a cup of water to help push the contents down.

Now, he only needed to lie down and wait.

******

Wale had this sudden urge to open Lekan’s email account. Lekan had opened it at a business centre after their graduation from the university seven years ago. He used it to send his resume to various organizations but none had called him for a test or an interview. Lekan had given him the email and password to help him check his emails from time to time in case a job offer came up. He had told him he could not afford to waste money that could be used for food at a business centre.

Wale wondered why Lekan was so unlucky. He was one of the best graduating students in the Business Administration department but life had been unfair to him. He was an orphan without siblings. He had lost his mother at birth. An aunt who had decided to take care of him after the loss of his father at the age of twelve had treated him like a slave. He had to hawk everyday to be able to eat. His aunt refused to send him to school; so he used the proceeds from his hawking to get a secondary education.

He secured admission into the University and the struggle continued. Most times, he worked through the nights at various times as a security guard, a bartender and a washman just to get a University education. He had hoped to get a good job immediately after graduation with his good grades but that eluded him as well. He had to continue doing odd jobs just to keep body and soul together. He had asked to borrow a tie from Wale whenever he wanted to write bank tests or attend interviews but Wale had decided to give him two.

Wale felt pity for him. He wasn’t one of the best in the department and he remembered meeting Lekan on so many occasions for tutorials. He had however secured a job with one of the top banks in the country immediately after they completed their National Youth Service. He had also assisted in submitting Lekan’s resume to the bank but he never got called for a test.

He knew his bank was in need of customer service agents and tellers from time to time and he had discussed the opportunity with his boss numerous times. His boss had however, refused to give Lekan a chance. He told Wale that he needed experienced hands. He felt unhappy because he knew his friend was already tending towards depression. He had paid him a visit last weekend and he could see dejection written boldly on his face.

 

He logged into Lekan’s yahoo account and the first email that stared at him was an invitation from a recruitment company asking him to visit Wale’s bank to sign a letter for a contract job as a teller. His monthly package was also stated and he was given a month to either accept or reject the offer. Wale could not believe his eyes. He did not even know that the customer service and teller jobs in his bank had been contracted out. He was so happy that he immediately put a call to Lekan. The phone rang out a number of times without response. He wondered why Lekan wasn’t picking up his calls. He looked at his wrist watch. It read 4:30p.m. In thirty minutes, he should be done for the day.

At 5:15p.m, Wale walked out of the bank. He contemplated whether to go home and change before going to Lekan’s house. He was famished and he needed to rest. He had prepared some jollof rice for himself last night and he was already dreaming about eating it with a cold bottle of coke. He put a call to Lekan again and the phone kept ringing. He eased into his blue Toyota Corolla and drove out of his office. In an hour, he was seated in front of his TV with a plate of jollof rice, chicken and a bottle of coke. He called Lekan’s phone again without success.

At 8:30p.m, Wale woke up with a start. He hadn’t realized that he had dozed off after the meal. He picked up the remote beside him and switched off the TV. He remembered he had been trying to reach Lekan and he put a call to him again. Lekan’s phone was switched off. He hissed as he thought about going to bed. He was about to go to his room when he had a strange feeling. He stopped suddenly in his tracks. He picked up his wallet and car keys, locked his door in a hurry and ran out of the house. He drove for the next forty-five minutes like a mad man as other drivers spewed expletives at him. “Oh God, oh God, let it not be what I am thinking.” He prayed as he drove.

******

Lekan had seen the first call from Wale. He wondered why Wale was calling him and he had ignored the call. When the calls became persistent, he tried to pick it up but he was already dizzy. He decided to let it ring. He didn’t need anyone’s pity right now. He wanted to go peacefully.

 

Wale burst into Lekan’s room at 9:20p.m. Lekan had not made an attempt to lock the door. Wale saw his friend lying on the mattress with a satchet of whiskey beside him. He instantly knew there was trouble as he was aware that Lekan never drank.

“Lekan, Lekan, Lekan.” He shouted shaking his friend. Lekan was still and Wale began to panic. He put his thumb under his friend’s nostrils to check if he was still breathing. He felt a faint wisp of air. He ran out of the room to seek help and bumped into the man that Lekan had borrowed money from.

“Oga, take it easy nau, haba!” The man said.

“Please help me, please.” Wale pleaded.

“Wetin?” The man sneered.

“Help me carry my friend to the car.”

“Your friend? Who be your friend? Wetin do am wey he no fit waka by himself?”

“Please just help me.” Wale begged.

“Abeg comot.” The man said pushing Wale away.

“Oh God, oh God, Lekan, please don’t die.” Wale said almost at the point of tears.

The man turned back and looked at Wale. “That jobless Lekan nah your friend? He borrow money from my hand. I go make sure say I collect my money at the end of the month.”

“He is about to die, please help me.”

“Die ke? Abeg, I need my money oh. Make e no die yet. Where he dey?”

Wale pointed towards Lekan’s room and the man rushed towards the room with Wale at his heels. The man helped Wale drag Lekan into the car. Wale sped to the nearest hospital with prayers on his lips.

******

The doctor came out of Lekan’s room an hour later with a grim face. Wale rushed towards the doctor as he asked about his friend.

“Doctor, how is he? What is wrong?”

The doctor took a deep breath. “The blood sample taken shows a high dose of a sleeping drug. There was also alcohol in his blood which is a deadly combination.”

“What does that mean doctor? Will he be fine?”

“Let’s take it one day at a time.” The doctor replied.

“I don’t understand, doctor. He is alive, right?”

“For now, but he is in a coma. Let us hope he survives it.”

Wale put his hands on his head in lamentation. “Oh God, why didn’t I get there earlier?”

“Don’t punish yourself unnecessarily.” The doctor said as he patted Wale on the back.

“Ah doctor, you won’t understand.”

The doctor gave Wale a sad smile as he walked to his office.

******

Wale kept going to the hospital every day after work. About eight days later, Lekan came out of the coma. He was a bit disoriented and had no idea of where he was or what happened to him. The doctor ran some more tests on him and referred him to see a psychologist.

“Your friend is fine and can go home now.” The doctor told Wale some days later. “He is definitely lucky. Some cases like this don’t end well. Please ensure he sees the psychologist.”

Wale nodded his answer.

 

As Wale drove Lekan to his apartment, he said a silent thanks to God for keeping his friend alive. He was going to keep an eye on him going forward. He had prepared the guest room in his apartment for his friend. Life had given both of them a second chance and he was going to try his best to make sure he did not fail this time.

——–

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

The Plan

His eyes were trained on her face but his mind was faraway. Tears pooled in his eyes and he fought to hold them back. Was this what their relationship had degenerated into? His ego was deflated as his mind swam with different thoughts.

“Ayodeji, are you listening to me?” Olamide asked tapping him.

He looked at her. She only called him “Ayodeji” when she was angry or needed his attention.

“Ayodeji.” She called again.

He nodded. “I have heard you, Olamide.”

“No, I don’t think you heard me.”

“I did. You said you needed to get married to Chief for a better future.”

“I said….” She paused for emphasis. “For a better future for us and our kids. You were not listening to me, Ayodeji.” She said getting angry.

“I’m sorry but I don’t understand how you would be married to Chief and still have a future with me.”

Olamide sighed and stood up. “Ayodeji, I explained everything just now.” She took a deep breath. “Okay, I will explain all over again.”

Deji nodded his response and tried not to drift away into his thoughts this time.

“I said that Chief has asked me to be his fifth wife. He has promised to take care of me and my unborn children. So the plan is; I would get married to Chief but we would continue to see each other. I will carry your kids and have them for Chief. But we both know the kids are yours. When we have made enough money from Chief, we would elope together to maybe the U.S with our kids. Chief would have no idea what hit him.” Olamide said smiling.

“And what happens when Chief finds out about us?”

“How would he find out?” Olamide sneered.

Deji shrugged.

“C’mon Deji, this could be the big break we have been looking forward to. You haven’t been able to secure a job for the past four years since graduation. And this opportunity drops on our laps on a platter of gold. What else do you want?”

Deji sighed. “Hmm….Olamide, I am not so sure about this. You seem to have everything all planned out.”

Olamide laughed. “Of course, ain’t I a combination of beauty and brains?”

********

Deji put his head in his hands. They started dating six years ago while they were still students at the University of Calabar. Four years ago, they both graduated. Deji with First class honours in Chemical Engineering and Olamide with a Second class lower degree in Biochemistry. It had taken Olamide just six months after their National Youth Service to gain employment in one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria. Deji on the other hand had thrown his resume in various organizations but was yet to get a call for an interview. He had been frustrated but Olamide had stood by him and encouraged him to keep his hopes high.

Olamide had met Chief during their last end of year party in the office. Deji had refused to go with her as he got tired of attending the parties when he had no job. Some of Olamide’s colleagues were young graduates and seeing them having fun and partying in their office further dampened his spirit.

Chief was a friend to one of Olamide’s bosses and he had given her his card and asked that she kept in touch. At first, she had been indifferent but when she heard how Chief doled out money to those who stayed close to him, she decided to do same. She had met up with Chief for dinner on a number of occasions but always lied to Deji that she was working late. She traveled out of the country once with Chief and he had lavished her with gifts. She lied to Deji that she was on an official assignment and he had believed her. When Chief proposed marriage to her, she had told him to give her a few days to think about it. She thought hard and long about the offer. She did not want to break Deji’s heart as she still loved him; but right now, their future seemed bleak. She also had no intention of staying married to Chief. She only needed him to boost her financial status. She therefore hatched a plan which she knew could not fail. Chief had no idea she still kept a boyfriend. Even though, she had mentioned Chief to Deji, she never told him she had been having dalliances with him.

 

“Deji, my love.” Olamide said as she knelt in front of him and raised up his head. “This plan would work, trust me.”

Deji sighed deeply.

Olamide slept over at Deji’s apartment that night. She teased his body and whispered into his ears that it was a night of celebration for them. In anger and despair, Deji hardly let her go through out the night and barely allowed her to catch some sleep as he knew in his heart that this was probably the last time he would ever touch her.

******

Three weeks later, Olamide got married to Chief at an elaborate wedding. Pictures of the couple were splashed in newspapers and magazines. Their honeymoon was in Cancun and Olamide broke the internet with pictures of herself and her husband. Deji saw her pictures both in the papers and on social media. The love he and Olamide had proclaimed for six years had been washed down the drain by the love for fame and fortune. Deji became a recluse; hardly stepping out of his apartment. Soon, he began a descent into depression. A few of his friends who were aware of his relationship called him severally on the phone but he refused to pick their calls. His elder sister who was in the U.S also called him as she usually did every weekend but Deji refused to take her calls as well. Life lost meaning to him.

 

After two weeks of honeymoon, Olamide and her husband returned to Nigeria. As soon as they arrived home, Olamide told her husband that she wanted to go visit her parents.

“That’s okay darling. Yusuf will take you.” Chief said.

“Honey, I can drive myself.” Olamide replied.

“I know you can; but no wife of mine will go out without a driver and an escort.”

“Chief?” Olamide exclaimed.

“Yes darling. Now run along and come back quickly so we can continue from where we stopped.” He said winking at her.

“Don’t worry Chief. I will just give them a call to inform them that I am back in town.” Olamide said frowning.

Chief smiled. “Good. Let’s go in and have another one before the other women recover from slumber.” He said as he held her by the waist.

*******

The next day, Olamide woke up and was shocked by the sight before her. She quickly pulled her duvet closer to cover her naked body. A man in a red wrapper and a red cloth tied round his head stood in her bedroom. He was holding a calabash and making some incantations. She was about to scream when Chief walked out of her bathroom. He saw the look on her face and smiled.

“Oh darling, don’t be scared. He just came to do some regular rituals for you.”

“Ri…ri…rituals Chief. I…I don’t understand.” Olamide said stammering.

Chief shrugged. “It’s not difficult or painful. It is just a few incisions on your breasts and vagina.”

“What?” Olamide screamed.

“Stop shouting my darling. The older wives all went through it. They can confirm to you that it is not painful.”

Tears began to stream down Olamide’s cheeks. “Chief, what did I do wrong?”

“No, no, no. You did not do anything wrong. It is for your protection for when another man touches you.”

“My protection? How Chief?” Olamide cried.

“Any man that touches you will die an instant death.” Chief said matter-of-factly.

“Chief?” Olamide screamed as her eyes grew big.

“Relax. Once the man dies, we become richer.”

Olamide put her hands on her head and burst into fresh tears. She was Chief’s pawn. She thought about Deji and his face flashed before her. What would he think of her? Was their plan for a future going down before her like a pack of badly arranged cards? Oh how happy they had been before she met Chief. Even though Deji had no job, his smiles were enough medicine for her when she was down.

She shook her head as she thought about Chief’s four wives. How many men had Chief’s wives slept with for him to become this rich? It all made sense to her now when Chief’s wives had been indifferent towards her when he introduced her to them. She had always heard about troublesome older wives but she had been shocked that they all accepted her without an objection.

As she opened her legs for Chief’s herbalist to make his incisions, she regretted the day she hatched the plan which had now become her undoing.

———-

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

The Wait – Chapter 16

Three weeks later, Ajoke returned to school for her fourth year. She buried herself in her studies with the intention to forget about Kokumo. This proved difficult as Kokumo continued to credit her bank account monthly. Everything around her brought back a memory of him; her phone, her dresses, her shoes and every tangible item that she owned. Many nights, she hugged her pillow and cried herself to sleep as she mourned the loss of the only true love that she ever had. Her children noticed that she no longer smiled and asked her what the problem was. How would they understand? She thought as she looked at them. When she refused to say anything to them, they asked her why her best friend, Uncle Kokumo, no longer visited. Tears began to stream down her cheeks and she stood up abruptly lying that she had a headache and needed to rest. Her kids left her alone and she went into her room and lay down on her bed in tears.

In her second semester, one of her lecturers gave the class a project to work on and paired the students in twos.  She was paired with Enitan and given a tight schedule to deliver on their projects. Ajoke stayed up late many nights reading and researching on their project work. For once, her mind was totally off Kokumo. Enitan also brought his own repertoire of knowledge and they both put their energy into the project. They were asked to do a class presentation and Enitan urged Ajoke to present their findings. Even though she was jittery at first, she put in her best. The lecturer was impressed with Ajoke and Enitan’s project and they were rewarded with the highest score. Ajoke was excited that her sleepless nights had not been in vain. As she put her books into her bag prepared to go home, Enitan walked up to her smiling. “Ajoke, your delivery was fantastic.”

“Thank you.” She replied.

“Can I take you to dinner?”

Ajoke stopped and looked up at him. “Why? For what?”

Enitan shrugged. “Just to say thank you.”

“I don’t think that is necessary. Besides, I did not do this alone. If I remember, we were teamed for the project.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

“Enjoy the rest of your evening.” Ajoke said as she slung her bag over her shoulders and walked away.

 

The next day, Ajoke was reading in class when Enitan slid into the seat beside her. Ajoke looked up and frowned. “What do you want?”

Enitan smiled. “Good morning.”

Ajoke nodded. “Morning. How may I help you?”

“C’mon Ajoke, why are you so uptight? I just want to be friends. I’m not going to bite.”

“You know what? I think I should leave now.” Ajoke said packing up her books.

Enitan held her hand trying to stop her from leaving.

“Will you leave me alone? What do you think you are doing?” Ajoke said raising her voice.

Enitan dropped her hand and stood up. “I’m sorry, I will leave.”

As he started walking away, Ajoke felt sorry and called him back. “Enitan.”

He looked back at her.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you. Please sit down.”

Enitan smiled. “No, it’s okay. I assumed working together could make us friends. I apologize; my assumptions were wrong.”

Ajoke took a deep breath.

“Please go ahead with your reading. I don’t want to be a nuisance.” He said as he walked out of the classroom. For the rest of the semester, Enitan avoided Ajoke.

 

A week to their exams, campus became agog with activities as students began to organize tutorial lectures for themselves while some teamed up to read and burn the midnight candle. Ajoke asked her mother to come over again to stay with the kids, so she could have some time off to read. She stayed up many nights reading but she kept on having difficulty understanding a particular course. The more she read, the more confused she became. She decided to talk to one of her course mates in school the next day.

“Hi Tolani.” Ajoke greeted as she saw her course mate walking towards her.

“Hi Ajoke. How far with your reading? I won’t be surprised if you dust us again this semester.” Tolani sneered.

“Abeg, leave that matter jare.” Ajoke replied smiling. “I need help with Taxation. Anyone handling tutorials on it?”

“Ahn.…ahn, I’m surprised you are asking me.” Tolani looked at her in astonishment.

“What do you mean?”

“Is it not your team mate organizing the tutorials?”

“My team mate?” Ajoke asked.

“Yes nau, Enitan. He is the pro in taxation and he has been doing tutorials for the past three days.”

“Oh right!” Ajoke said surprised.

Tolani eyed her. “Everyone knows both of you are first class materials. I’m sure that is why Mr. Subomi teamed you guys together.” She harrumphed.

“Let me go find him.” Ajoke said ignoring Tolani’s comment.

 

Enitan was seated in class in a corner reading. He was so engrossed in his book that he did not notice that Ajoke was standing before him. Ajoke had to announce her presence by clearing her throat.

“Hi Ajoke.” Enitan said looking up with a smile.

He always has a smile on his face; Ajoke thought. “Hi. I guessed I would find you here.” Ajoke said a bit uneasy. She knew after the last encounter with him, he clearly avoided her.

“Please sit down.” He said tapping the seat beside him.

Ajoke sat down with her palms in her laps. “I am sorry about the last incident. It looks like you have been avoiding me.” She said.

“Avoiding you? No, I haven’t.” Enitan shrugged. “You came to school for a reason and it looked like your intention was to stick to that reason and avoid any fraternities.”

Ajoke wondered how she was going to ask for help considering that she hadn’t been particularly nice to him.

“So how may I help you? I’m sure you did not come here to talk about our last encounter.” Enitan said turning to face her.

“I need help with Taxation.” Ajoke said avoiding his eyes and glad that he had gone straight to the point.

“Okay. When do you want us to start? Right now?”

“Huh….erm….yeah, if you don’t mind.”

Enitan smiled in his trademark way. “I don’t.”

“Thank you.” Ajoke said.

“You are always welcome.”

After two hours, Ajoke was satisfied that the course which had given her sleepless nights will be a walkover for her during the exams. She thanked Enitan again before leaving him alone to continue his reading.

 

Taxation was the last paper on the exam schedule. Ajoke decided to make Enitan her reading partner and they both sat together in class reading, sharing and comparing notes and handouts. Enitan made sure he continued to refresh Ajoke’s memory on all he had taught her anytime they read together. In three weeks, exams were over and students heaved a sigh of relief.

As Ajoke walked out of the hall after her last paper, she met Enitan sitting on a bench opposite the class. He stood up as she approached him. A smile played broadly on his lips. “How was it?” He asked as she fell in line with him.

“Easier than I imagined.” Ajoke said smiling. “I should say thank you again.”

“Oh come on. How many times will you do that?” He asked as they started walking towards the main gate of the campus.

“Well, I don’t know how I would have written that exam without your help; so better get ready to hear another thank you when the results are out.”

Both of them burst out into laughter.

They got to the gate and stood at the bus-stop waiting for buses that will take them to their different destinations.

“Would you mind giving me your number?”

“Not at all.” Ajoke reeled out her mobile number to Enitan who saved it immediately on his phone.

They stood chatting and laughing at the bus-stop until the buses going towards their destinations arrived.

—–
The story continues…

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

The Wait – Chapter 8

Kokumo walked home dejected. The joy and happiness he had initially felt coming home had been stolen from him and he saw no reason to be home. He would have turned back to school if not that all his roommates would have also left the campus by now and locked the room. He just wanted to be alone to lick his wounds. He sauntered into his compound, taking out his own key to the padlock on their door. He opened the main door, dropped his travel bag on the floor in his room and flopped on the mattress. He had suddenly lost his appetite and also lost interest in everything. He knew his mother would still be at the market but he did not even look forward to seeing her. If only she had pushed him a little to take action the day she had the discussion about Ajoke with him. He sighed as he tossed on the mattress. The day took its toll on him and in a few minutes, he was snoring loudly.

 

Iya Kokumo arrived home to meet the padlock to the main door of their house open. Only Kokumo had a key to the door. Did that mean her son was home? She thought. She quickly dropped her basket of left-over fruits by the door and rushed to her son’s room. She saw him sprawled on the bed snoring loudly and smiled. Her son was home. She closed the door to his room quietly and went to the kitchen. He must be tired and hungry. She set to work as her hands moved in quick motions to prepare a meal for her son.

Kokumo woke up at about 7.30pm and heard the melodious voice of his mother as she sang praises to God in the kitchen. He stood up and stretched lazily. His tummy began to rumble announcing the arrival of hunger pangs. He walked to the kitchen to see his mother and to assist her with the food she was preparing.

“Ëkáalé màámi.” (Good evening, my mother). He greeted touching the floor in a half-prostrate.

Iya Kokumo turned round to look at her son as she smiled. “Kòkúmó, ömö mi. Káàbò. Báwò ni ilé-ìwé.” (Kokumo, my son. Welcome. How was school?)

“Daadaa ni mà. Mi ò mò pé ë ti dé lé láti öjà.” (It was good. I did not realize you had arrived from the market.)

Iya Kokumo returned to the amala she was preparing. “Èmi náà mö bê. Mo ri pé ó rè é gan.” (I know. I could see you were very tired.)

“Kínni ki n bá a yín se?” (What can I do for you?) Kokumo asked.

“Má yö ara ë lénu. Ìwö lö jòkó, ko ma wò ní tìë. Óúnjë ti fé jiná.” (Don’t bother yourself. Just go sit and watch. The food is almost ready.)

Kokumo picked up a small stool by a corner of the kitchen and sat down as he watched his mother. He was lost in thought that he did not realize when she finished the food and dished his meal into a bowl.

“Kokumo, Kokumo.” Iya Kokumo called.

Kokumo suddenly jerked up and looked at his mother. “Maami.”

Iya Kokumo dropped the bowl of amala and ewedu she was holding on the kitchen stool which served as her table and touched Kokumo on his forehead to feel for a temperature.

“Kílódé, ömö mi.” (What is wrong, my child?)

“Kò sí ìyönu màámi.” (There’s no problem, my mother).

Iya Kokumo looked at her son unconvinced. Kokumo noticing that his mother was getting worried, stood up from the low stool and picked up his meal.

“Ë jé ka lö jëun.” (Let us eat). He said to his mother. He needed to get himself together, he did not want his mother getting worried unnecessarily; he thought.

 

Kokumo refused to step out of his house for the next one week. His mother had expected him to visit his farm to see to what his workers were doing but he had no pleasure in that. She asked him every day what the problem was, but he continued to state that he was fine.

Two weeks after his arrival at home, he was sitting down with his mother outside the house when an old friend of his from secondary school passed by. His friend spotted him and his mother and walked up to them smiling. “Ah ah Kokumo!” Ajirebi said stressing his name. “Ojú ë rèé.” (Is this you?)

Kokumo stood up to hug his friend. “Ajirebi, long time. Where have you been?”

Ajirebi did a half-prostrate to greet Iya Kokumo. “Ëkú’ròlé mà.” (Good evening ma)

“Kú’ròlé Ajírébi. Àwön òbí rë n kó?” (Good evening Ajirebi. How are your folks?)

“Dáadáa ni wón wà mà.” (They are fine ma).

“Ìwo àti òyìnbó ë yìí.” (You and this your English). Ajirebi said as he looked at Kokumo. “You no dey tire.”

Kokumo laughed as he slapped his friend on the back. “Wetin you wan make I do? Make I no speak am again?”

Ajirebi suddenly pulled his friend by the arm. “Wetin happen to Ajoke? I hear say she don marry.”

Kokumo looked at his mother and noticed she was looking at both of them. Even though, she was not literate, she understood pidgin English.

“Yes, she should be married now.” Kokumo said looking away.

“Ah…ah, no be say both of you dey carry yourself for secondary school as husband and wife. Women!!!” Ajirebi lamented.

“It is not Ajoke’s fault.” Kokumo shouted at his friend.

Ajirebi looked at his friend, shock written on his face. “Wetin I talk?” He asked gesticulating with his hands.

Kokumo took a deep breath as he calmed down. “It is not her fault. Her father married her off against her will.”

“Hmm…” Ajirebi said as he squeezed his face. “I no no. Ah, the thing go pain you gan oh.” He continued as he bit his forefinger.

Iya Kokumo noticed her son was uncomfortable with the discussion with his friend and decided to step in.

“Ëìn Ajírébi, kí àwön òbí rë fún mi o.” (Ajirebi, send my regards to your folks). She turned to her son. “Óyá nínu ílé. Èyí ta se ní ìta ti tó.” (Let us go inside. We have had enough outside).

 

Kokumo obeyed his mother as he walked into the house without looking back to say good bye to his friend. He sat down and there was a look of misery on his face. His mother sat beside him as she walked into the house.

“Kòkúmó, ìdí tí gbogbo nkan ò se wùn é se mó leléyìí, àbí?” (This is the reason why nothing has been of importance to you anymore, right?)

Kokumo sighed as he looked at his mother.

“Sé o féràn ömö yën tó bè?” (Do you love her that much)?

Kokumo nodded his head unable to utter words.

“Mo dè sö fún ë nigba yën o. O ní pé àdéhùn tí èyin méjèjì jö ní nipé ë ma féra tí o bá ti se tán ní ilé-ìwé gíga.” (And I told you then; but you said it was the agreement between you both to get married after your university education).

Kokumo put his head in his palms. He did not want to be reminded about the mistake he had made. It still hurt and his heart was still tender and broken. Iya Kokumo noticed her son’s hurt and pulled him as she rested his head on her bosom. His mother’s action broke him and he groaned as he hid his face in her bosom and shed tears of hurt and pain; his body wracking with each sob. He had tried unsuccessfully to put the matter behind him; and right now, Ajirebi had brought it to the fore and reopened his wounds.

Iya Kokumo prayed for her son that evening that he would find his own wife when it was time. She also admonished him to put the love he had for Ajoke behind him and focus on his studies.

Kokumo went back to school a week later. The love he had for Ajoke could not easily be forgotten but he was going to make an effort. She was now married to another man and wishing things were different was only going to keep him depressed.

——
The story continues

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

The Victim

Hey,

I’m sorry I could not start the new series on Monday. We had some technical glitches.

But not to worry; here’s bringing you a true story for this week.

Do enjoy!

———————————–

She was young and beautiful. She was the darling of everyone around. When she joined the boarding school with her elder sister, she was a boisterous soul.

But everything changed all of a sudden. She became a recluse. Depression set in and she became a shadow of herself.  Night time became a nightmare for her. She mentioned that some forces were oppressing her in the dead of the night but no one believed her. It wasn’t that they did not want to believe her. They were also scared and would rather she did not talk about it.

One night she was praying aloud. Most of the students in the dormitory could hear her because it was not yet lights out. She finished her prayer and expected others to join her in saying “Amen.” But most students were quiet. Her prayers were strange. She prayed not to experience another oppression that night. When she mentioned that if they did not say an “Amen”, they may be subjected to oppression, the whole dormitory immediately chorused an “Amen.”

The lights went out at 10.00pm and the whole hostel went to bed. A student in the same room as the oppressed girl stood up groggily in the dead of the night to use the restroom. She had no idea what time it was. She just wanted to use the restroom and go back to sleep. She sauntered back to her bed and was about dozing off when she heard the door to the dormitory open with force; almost like a wind had blown it open. She felt the hairs on her neck rise. She became scared and lay still in bed unable to look at the direction of the opened door.

Then it happened. She saw the oppressor hopping in on one leg with different little children also hopping behind her. She was an old woman. The student froze and could feel her heart in her mouth. She began to chant prayers in her mind; her lips unmoving so as not to attract attention to herself. The woman dispersed the children to different corners of the room with her hand.

The oppressed girl had not been lying. She was truly a victim of dark forces. The oppressed girl started crying but the student who had witnessed everything was too scared to say a word. The oppression was soon over but this time, there had been a witness.

The student related the experience to the oppressed girl’s elder sister the next morning and that ended their stay in the school.

——

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

Second Chances – Episode 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Nothing”. She shrugs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I am having problems with Ola”.

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

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

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

Kunbi breathes deeply. “I am so confused”.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

2nd Chances 6

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

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

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

The camera in the other car clicks again.

“Thanks, I will”. Kunbi says.

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

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

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

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

The man only smiles.

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

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

Ola sits down. “Where are they?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“My….my balance”. He stammers.

“How much is it?”

“Three thousand naira plus my transport fare”.

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

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

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

————-

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

Second Chances – Episode 4

It is a Saturday afternoon in Ibadan. A centre rug with a mix of brown and black colours adorns Ola’s sparse living room. Soft music plays from a home theatre in the living room. Kunbi and Ola are seated on the centre rug playing a game of cards when Kunbi’s mobile phone rings.

“Hi, Sola. What’s going on?”

“Today is our first date together. I want to impress her. What do you think?”

“You don’t have to. Don’t build your relationship on deceit. Just be yourself and let her accept you for who you are”.

“Okay, thanks. My regards to your boyfriend”.

“Cool. I’ll let him know. Bye”. She says as she places her phone on the floor.

“Who was that?” Ola asks frowning.

“A friend”. She responds as she drops a card. “He’s trying to ask a babe out and does not know how to go about it. Your turn”. She says looking up at him.

“So, how is that supposed to be your business? Are you his lecturer?” He asks in anger.

“What do you mean by that?

Ola suddenly drops the cards he is holding on the floor and grabs her by the arm.

“Better be careful. What kind of guy calls you over the weekend in your boyfriend’s house?”

She is too shocked to speak. She drops her cards on the floor as well and struggles under his grip.

“You’re hurting me, Ola. What’s all this?”

2nd Chances 4

“And I’ll hurt you the more if you don’t tell whoever that guy is to stay away from you”. He says as he drops her arm.

“My goodness. I can’t believe this. First, you think my cousin will attempt to sleep with me and now this. I don’t understand you any longer, Ola. I thought you trusted me. What happened to you after I moved to Lagos?” She asks in alarm massaging her arm.

“Tell him to stay away from you”. He says through clenched teeth.

She stands up and picks up her hand bag.

“I won’t listen to any of this. I’m going home”.

He gets very upset and pulls her by the arm flinging her towards the settee.

“Don’t walk out on me. Don’t you ever do that?”

As Kunbi falls on the settee, she burst into tears. Ola looks at her and immediately feels remorseful. He begins to pace round the room. He stops and kneels down beside her.

“Kunbi, I’m sorry. I did not mean to hurt you. Please forgive me”.

“How could you, Ola? Am I not allowed to have male friends any longer? Do you trust me at all?” She asks in between tears.

“I’m sorry. I don’t……I just……I don’t know”. He stammers rubbing the back of his neck.

“You are just what, Ola? When did you suddenly become so insecure? We have been dating for four years and you still don’t trust me?”

“I do. I just can’t stand the thought of losing you”.

“Is it because I got a job in Lagos? Would you rather I stayed back in Ibadan jobless?”

Ola shakes his head. “No, no. I just don’t want any one hurting you. That’s all”.

“I can take care of myself, Ola. I’m not a baby”.

He stands up and pulls her up into a hug.

“I am sorry. Please forgive me”. He says as he kisses her.

She initially tries to resist his kisses but eventually gives in to him.

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

Kunbi sits alone in her apartment Sunday evening. The TV is off as she has no pleasure in it. She is unhappy and lost in her own world.

What has come over Ola of recent? Have I given him a reason not to trust me? How come he has become insecure all of a sudden or have the signs always been there and I refused to see them? Is there any harm in what I am doing? I am so confused right now.

“Kunbi, Kunbi……..”

She is jolted out of her reverie by Wale’s voice.

“Oh Wales, I did not realize you had come in”.

“What’s wrong?” He asks with concern.

“Nothing”.

“That’s not true. I came in and had been standing here for a while and you did not even realize I was here”.

“Really?” She asks in surprise.

“What is wrong? Is mummy okay?”

Kunbi sighs. “Mum is fine. Wales, I don’t understand Ola any longer”.

Wale sits down beside her. “What do you mean?”

“Sola called me on my phone yesterday while I was with Ola and you won’t believe what happened. Ola was so mad at me that he manhandled me. I could not believe it. I never knew he was so jealous”.

Wale keeps quiet and just stares at her.

“Wales, did you hear what I just said?”

“I heard you. What exactly do you want me to say? If I said I told you so, you’ll get angry and say I want to spite you”.

“I know but……”

“There’s really nothing for me to say. My only advice for you is be careful with him”. He says as he stands up and walks towards his room.

Kunbi watches him as he walks away. She puts her head in her palms and shakes her head. She is more confused than she was before she spoke to her cousin.

2nd Chances 4b
**************************************************************************************

Sola is waiting in his car outside Kunbi’s office. He looks at his wrist watch and wonders what is taking her so long. Two minutes later, she rushes out of her office building and apologizes profusely to Sola as she enters into the car.

“You sure, we would still have lunch today?” He asks faking annoyance.

“Hey c’mon, I said I am sorry. Let’s do somewhere very close. Maybe snacks”.

He nods as he drives off.

In a few minutes, they are seated in an eatery close by with snacks and drinks in front of them.

“Tolu always has this standoffish attitude towards me in the office but she never ceases to call me every night just to say good night”.

Kunbi smiles. “Maybe she is not comfortable with the attention you are giving her in the office, but I guess you have the green light already”.

“Are you sure?” He asks in anxiety.

“Yep! You see each other at work, she poses a standoffish attitude but once she is out of the office, she becomes true to herself”.

“True to herself?”

Kunbi nods and she sips out of her drink. “She calls you every night? It is because she cares about you and probably needs your voice to give her sweet dreams”. She says laughing.

“Wow! That just made my day”. He says smiling. “I thought she wasn’t interested in me all along”.

“Which is not true?” She says shrugging her shoulders. “Are you ready to be committed to her?”

“I hope so”.

“You hope? You are still not sure about this?”

“I think I would take it one step at a time”.

“Okay”. Kunbi says as she dabs at her lips with a napkin.

“Thanks. I owe you one”.

“And I’ll make sure I get it”. She replies laughing.

————

Photo Credit: http://www.gettyimages.com
http://www.eatprayworkout.com