The Monochrome Man

“I regard black and white as the lords of colours, they were here first. There was black, and then He said; “Let there be white“…”- Realwan Olanrewaju. From this part of the world, following your dreams might look like a very dumb thing to do, because we were mostly raised to understand that we needed to go to school, get good jobs and make money to earn a living, your dreams do not come into play at any point. But, at some point in our lives we realise we have something, a kind of fire burns within us and we feel the need to let what we have inside play out its purpose, so we can become extraordinary. For some, it makes them immortal, for others its just another silly mistake! Most people just kill that fire…

I met Realwan in 2016, through a friend Jerry in school (Federal University of Technology, Minna). Jerry and I were rounding up in school while Realwan was serving in Osun state or he was done and was working there, not exactly sure. All I knew about him on our first meeting, was that he read computer science, and he was into photography. I did a photoshoot with him shortly after, along with a friend of mine and it was off the hook. He specifically requested that it be a Village setting. We had to search through the interiors of an area they call New York, opposite our school’s Mini Campus till we found what we were looking for. From that, I gathered that he had something for the African roots!

Fast forward to last week when he called me and said he would be coming to Osogbo on Friday, 6th of April. Oh I forgot to mention, I now serve in Osun state too! I was happy and expecting to see him; Hanging out with an old friend would gimme a relief in this boring town anyways. I didn’t ask what he was coming to town for, I just figured he had old friends or clients he wanted to see, or something like that. Not until he came into town and I started seeing adverts of the launching of a new arts gallery in Osogbo, with Realwan as one of the artists exhibiting their works. I realised, my friend wasn’t just a photographer, he was also an artist, and many other things I might not even know yet!

I figured it was time to showcase my talent as an Ebira version of Owambe woman! Lol… There was a dress I just made and hadn’t launched yet, plus I was yet to showcase my talent as an upcoming make up artist, and gosh it had been a while since I actually dressed up like a model I used to be!

Saturday morning I got ready, slowly… I took my time just to make sure I looked exactly how I wanted to, my mission was to let them know that Realwan had People in this town, and I was representing a large number of them, the whole of FutMinna Alumni to be precise. When I got to the venue, they had already started, nice. The idea was to arrive late, as you all know na, Queen of the par-tay! Anyway I found my way to the front so I could witness everything first hand! Kings were present, cultural dancers, it was elite! The time came for the official launching and we all went in to see all the paintings, they were all amazing, but one thing was different; Every monochrome painting there, showed the depth of different Nigerian cultures or history, and those paintings belonged to my friend Realwan. You could see the uniqueness his works had, and in truth, back in the days, there were no colours, all we had was black and white and Realwan knew just how to mix them up to show how rich the Nigerian culture is.

This one below is the Ooni of Ife

Below is the Eyo

Below is an Edo Chief

The next one shows the a Hausa man playing their popular musical instrument

Below is Olori with the famous Yoruba hairstyle that we now refer to as Bantu Knots

Below is a painting of another Yoruba woman with the the hairstyle Shuku

These are just some of the pictures of Realwan’s paintings, you would have yo come to the Art gallery yourself to either see the rest or purchase any one you like. Trust me, visiting the Art Gallery will be worth it…

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The Push

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I recently took down all my instagram posts, I felt my page had no specific purpose or message; hence, it was constituting a nuisance.

From my perspective though.
There comes a point in your life when you sit down, think and ask yourself; “what do I really want to do?” “What do I stand for?” “When I look at myself, in the mirror who do I see?” ”What do I want people to see when they look at me?”… When such questions loom before you, what are your answers? Are your answers firm? Do you have a definite path? How far have you gone?
Sometimes we believe showing everyone love and making them feel welcome in our lives regardless of the past, and making peace with the present is the best thing to do. On the contrary, it makes them believe that you are at that same point they left you, especially when you discuss old things with them, things that you were once comfortable with. But that is a big mistake, as we grow, we should let it show, right? That way, even though there are old people back in our lives they will have a level of respect for us.
Now at this point, I have come far, so far that I’m ready to take on anything life brings. Being a graduate is one thing, being a graduate with a skill is another thing, but being a graduate with a skill and a talent is mind-blowing. I believe I am well equipped to be wherever I want to be. I don’t know why it took me this long to realize that I was ready. Maybe I needed a push, or maybe I needed to be faced with a big challenge that would make me realize that I have so many abilities than I’m letting myself believe. Maybe that is the push! Whichever way, I am ready to take on life’s challenges; no matter how big it is because I am certain that God is ready for me!

My Love Story…

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We all have this untold story hidden somewhere… Out of reach… Sometimes, forgotten! After so many experiences related to love and relationships, I have decided to share this… My love story… Here goes…

 

Let’s go back to the year 2005, where I held my WAEC and NECO results in my hand, shaking in front of my dad; I had failed chemistry in both and I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. Lol. My dad is a retired Army officer, makes decisions like a jagaban! Lol. His next words were cold but fair; “You will repeat SS3, there’s a school across the road, I will register you there so you can get home in time to study everyday.” And so that was the final decision o, only I had to resume in second term because the school fees na die, but that wasn’t an excuse because one; I was repeating and two; some days after that day I offended o, and my dad told me that if I didn’t make all my papers this time, he would marry me out! Lol! I was 16!!! Thinking about it now I know it was just an empty threat, my dad wouldn’t do that to me, but back then, mehn, I sit up ooo!

So I resumed at this school and the first few weeks were one kind… I felt out of place, something kept telling me; “Abeg you don’t belong here, you’ve finished secondary school na, kai, these people are your juniors!” But truth be told,I was small, in size, mind and even age. A couple of the students in my class were older than I was, so who was I deceiving? I decided to let myself blend in…

I had three female friends, they lived three streets away from me so…

So on this faithful day, I was handed agric science test scripts to share by our class teacher, so I started calling out names and handing over scripts to their owners. I shared everything except one; the owner wasn’t in class at the time. So I sat down to read the content; apart from the fact that the owner seemed to be writing as if he was scared of holding the pen too tight, I loved the way he answered the questions. I took note of one word he used; “Predispose”… I think the answer was talking about livestock and diseases, I can’t remember but I wrote the word down, hoping to look up the meaning later. Several minutes later, he came to me; ” Victoria said you shared the scripts, is mine with you?” While he talked I noticed he had a broken tooth in front, I nodded and handed it to him, he smiled as he collected it, and I thought his smile was cute.

From there o, we became friends, we would sit down and gist, laugh and sometimes, read together. Reading became fun, chemistry became interesting self. Like seriously, it was either chemistry or marriage na, so it had to be! Come and see me in chemistry class, especially practicals! I would just be answering questions; “DENSE WHITE LIQUID!” “PUNGENT SMELL!” “TURNS BLUE LITMUS PAPER RED!” Even further maths that I hated like mad, I was competing with one other guy like that; Kolade, also new then… Where is Kolade self….?
Anyways back to my story….

So after like a month, I was at home one evening, preparing dinner when my neighbour came in, she was more like a younger sister, also a junior at school, she came to the kitchen and told me she had a message for me. Message? From who? She said her class mate who also stays in the hostel told her that Senior Ehis said to give me. Okay oo! I collected the paper, Lo and Behold it was a love letter o, my very first love letter! That’s how tomato tin cut my finger as if no ooo we were fighting before! I still have that scar o, like its going to be there till God asks me what happened to the perfect skin I gave to you? Lol! I didn’t want to read the letter in the kitchen so I folded it, and went to drop it in my school bag, then I treated my hand and went back to the kitchen.

I later settled down to read it and it was the most amazing words I had read… And in the end, he wrote the last lines of Daniel Bedingfield’s song; “If you’re not the one.” You know that line na;

” ‘Cause I miss you, body and soul so strong that it takes my breath away. And I breathe you into my heart and pray for the strength to stand today ‘Cause I love you, whether it’s wrong or right, And though I can’t be with you tonight, You know my heart is by your side..”

I was blown away! Lol. Believe it or not that’s how our friendship scattered o. Lmao! Since that day me and Ehis could not stand and talk again, or even sit together self. We were SHY! We stuck to letters instead, it’s in letter we’ll say; “I saw you in school today! You didn’t even say hi to me…” Kai! At some point we had to get it together and just talk, we didn’t talk much face to face anymore but we talked. Most times all we did was smile at each other and wave, our waving self, sometimes it was like we were waving at the ground! It was during WAEC we actually started talking almost like before again, maybe because the end of school was near. I remember then I was always reading, I used to read so much that I wouldn’t have time to go make my hair, so I would just pack it into a bun and go to school, and my hair was long, so some of the girls love to comb it out and play with it at school. I became a book worm that year sha…

The last time I saw Ehis was on our graduation day, I think I came out as the best student and he came to say congrats, it was brief, and he disappeared, I looked for him everywhere but he had left, I guess he had to leave on time; his house was quite far…
After school we kept it going, strictly calls and texts. After a few years we lost contact, I couldn’t reach him anymore, I was in school, he was in school, we used to talk through his mum’s or dad’s phone so….

I think in 2009 I found his brother on Facebook, asked him for his brothers number and then we started talking again, then I made him join Facebook. Now at this point we both were having our share of youthful exuberance, and to my surprise, Ehis was an all round explorer while I was still so naïve… He even started writing songs at a point. Lol. Wrote some lines for me back then.

After a while we got back to our lives again, then in 2014, we started talking again. We actually planned to hang out but things didn’t go as planned so we had to cancel. Then on and off we continued talking, years passed, we kept growing up till date…

Now the thing is, I have fallen in love a couple of times, but these days, love comes with expectations abeg! And its so overwhelming at times that we just want to leave it all behind and run away…

But that time, that one time, love was free of charge, love was giving, love was true, love was pure and untouched, love was shy, love was sweet, love was thrilling, and even though we didn’t really know if it was love we felt back then, the truth is that’s what has kept us as friends till date, even if we haven’t seen each other for 12years!
Now I’m just thinking of how we used to share gala, how I used to sit and gist with him till he was ready to break his fast at 3pm and then we would go buy snacks together, I would watch him put his palms together, close his eyes and pray then cut half of his gala and drink half of his coke! Lol.

We were kids, but till tomorrow, I cherish those times o! My first love…

This is my own version o, and I wrote it after I received his version from him, anyway, my hand is paining me, I’ll post his own another day. Thanks for your cooperation!

PTSD

Walking down the road I think about all that has happened to me, I keep wondering when all this would end. I’d had to move out of my former crib because I couldn’t afford the rent anymore, and more so, everyone I knew was acting weird around me, saying I needed to see a doctor, I was acting all strange and shit! I stop for a brief moment to stare at some children jumping around happily down the other street, I smile ironically; life is a bitch anyways, one minute you’re up and the next you’re struggling to be on your feet. A chilly air slices through my hair, I pull on my hood, shove my hands in my pockets and walk on, kicking a small stone along the way. My stomach rumbles, damn I am hungry! I pull out a naira note from my pocket, its a hundred, lucky me, must’ve been the left over from the money some nice man gave me some days ago… Great! I have been subjected to alms too. I get to the bend, ahhh nice… “Buns!” I call out; “Bunsss! Ah! If you dey sell market you no go put ear down?” The guy turns around and walks towards me, drops the mini showglass and opens it; “How much own you want?” I look down at him, his face all sweaty and blackened from the heat of the scotching sun, his forehead had thick, deep undulating lines that looked like those from the bars of a WiFi network. Anyhow, in a corner of my mind, I wish I could trade places with him, at least he had a source of income; “Gimme fifty naira own, abeg look for soft one o!” He obliges, I pay him, get my balance and walk past him, digging into my brunch. I sit on a bench outside a locked up shop nearby, finish up my snack and mope for a while and then I lie down and dose off.
I wake up on the side of the road, all tied up, quite a number of people staring down at me. They start mumbling as I blink, stuffs I cant make out; “Whats going on?” I ask; “Why am I tied up?

They exchange curious looks for some seconds and mumble some more;

Can someone explain to me what I have done to deserve this? Or better still untie me? What’s all this nonsense about?” I raise my voice as I get impatient. A car parks beside the scene and a young man alights and walks towards us;

Whats going on here?” he demands as he reaches us.

Who be you?” An old man in the crowd retorts.

Sir, my name is Doctor David Ike, I was driving by and saw the crowd and thought to stop and see if its something I can help with.” 

The old man pushes through the crowd and walks towards him, leaning heavily on his walking stick.

Na this girl wey we see just dey do somehow this afternoon, small time she enter road just dey talk dey shout like say she dey follow person fight, na me tell boys for area make them go catch am come before she go enter market, because that one na final!” he explains.

What? What did he just say? Thats not true!” I explain; “Last I remember was trying to take a short nap on a bench in front of a shop! How can you say that? Do I look or sound like a mad person to you?

“Na by that one?” a lady shouts from the crowd; “them no dey write madness for face o! na small small e dey start!”

I close my eyes so tight I could feel my eye balls bulging from the back of my lids, hot tears run down my face, God, what is happening to me? The young man speaks up; “If you all would allow me, I would like to take her to my hospital to run a few checkups and know what to do next.”

The old man assesses him for a while before answering; “Na which kind doctor you be self?” he asks.

The young man smiles as he draws out his card from his jacket; “I’m a psychiatrist.” He replies.

Backslash!” the old man calls out;

Sir!” A boy answers and walks forward, he appears to be a teenager. The old man collects the card and hands it to the boy; “Na wetin dey this card my pikin? tell me.

The boy reads through and hands it back to the old man; “Na doctor wey dey treat mad people him be papa!” he replies.

The old man collects the card; “Okay. You fit carry her go, but me go keep this one with me incase anything happen, we go know where to come find you, abi how you see am?”

The young man smiles again; “Oh thats okay sir, no problem at all.” He gestures towards the boys; “Please help me untie her, thank you.”

I watch with wet eyes as they untie me; “Thank you, thank you.” I keep saying with a shaky voice, I get up and walk with Doctor David, once inside the car, I burst into tears, harsh racking sobs, he gets in behind the wheels, hands me a handkerchief and starts driving while I just cry.

Wow! This hospital is mighty. Under different circumstances, I would love to apply here. We walk past the reception as nurses greet; Good afternoon sir! Good afternoon sir! then look at me strangely, I pull on my hood and shove my hands in my pockets again and look straight ahead; what an irony indeed! I used to work in a hospital some time ago! Finally, we get to his office, he gestures to a chair and I pull it out and sit; “Thank you sir.” I mutter, I try to straighten my clothes and dust them, then re-straighten them again, anything to occupy my idle hands.

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“So, what can I call you miss?” his question jolts me out of my meaningless chore;

“Errr, my name is Simi.” I answer as I look up at him slowly.

He smiles once our eyes meet; “Okay miss Simi, tell me about yourself.”

I pause a little and then I start talking, I tell him everything, from my first job to the flight and to the point he saw me all tied up. He takes down notes as I talk, when I’m done, he looks up at me for a while, the he asks; “Earlier today, before you woke up where I met you, can you remember hearing voices? Anything like that at all?”

There’s a pang of pain in my head as the question hits me, but I show no sign of feeling it; “Yes I did, I heard voices, I’ve been hearing voices for a while now, but I always think they’re all dreams.”

He nods as he takes down notes; “I’m going to keep you hear for a while miss Simi, do you have any family you would like to contact?” I shake my head slowly; “Okay, come with me then.” He gets up and gestures for me to follow, I get up and walk with him. We go up the stairs and into an empty room, theres a bed in one corner, cameras around, a window on one end  and all other stuffs that I take in in one glance. “Make yourself comfortable please, I’ll be back shortly, I need to make my rounds, I hope you understand.”

I nod as he explains; “Of course, take your time.” He walks out and shuts the door.

I walk to the bed and lie down, I feel my muscles relax as I close my eyes and breathe slowly, eventually, I’ll be fine, I have to be fine! I try to encourage myself. “Really?” I jerk up and open my eyes, breathing heavily, I look around, I could’ve sworn I heard someone speak. Anyway, there’s no one here with me, and this is a really safe place, I think I should take a good nap now, oh my, I really need it after all that went down earlier.
“You’re so pathetic Simi!” I stir in my sleep; “No I’m not.”

“Ha really? And who are you to judge? Look at you, just think dear, you had a life, at least for a while, now what do you do? You shouldve died in that flight!”

I stir again; “Noooooo…” I mumble; “Go awaayyyy.” I sit up on the bed.

” You really think anybody wants to help you? No one will help you! Your landlord and the people who knew you, what did they do to help you? Nothing. Yes! Absolutely nothing! And this man, who claims to be a doctor, after hearing your story, instead of helping you with a job, he put you in a ward! Every one treats you like a mad person! Nobody understands you like I do! Don’t you see?” 

My head seems to be floating now; “But who are you?” I ask dreamily.

There’s no need for that now, the most important thing is that I have a great plan, you need to get out of here and go to a place where nobody knows you and start your life afresh!”

I look around the room; “Great, it’s not like I can leave here without anyone noticing!”

Trust me, I have it all planned out, just walk to that window, and jump down, dont be scared, you’ll be safe, just do as I say and we’ll continue from there. Hurry before someone comes up!”

I get up and stagger to the window, get on the seal and look down, fear grips me and I hesitate;

Trust me, I gat this, I gat you.”

I close my eyes and lean forward, as my feet get ready to leave the seal, strong hands grab me from behind and in a split second I find myself looking into Doctor David’s eyes, and then I pass out.

Raw Pain


I pulled up in front of the asylum, got out of the car and took a deep breath, wanting to feel and inhale the cool breeze but all I got was… Brains. I don’t know if it was for real or just my imaginations. But nontheless, I walked in, climbed up the stairs to fill in the visitors’ form. I haven’t been here in two years but I could still remember how she was when I brought her in, how shattering the whole experience had been. The nurse smiled at me, I didn’t smile back, couldn’t smile back, I just stared on and followed her to the room where she was… I opened the door slowly, and there she was, sitted on the bed, her back to us, her shoulders thin and slumped. My heart went out to her as I watched her, taking note of every little movement, every breath she took, I sighed with regret. I had run away, from everything, I had wanted to disappear if possible! But still, this was my life, she was all I had. I wish mum was here, but we can’t always have what we want now can we? She died of cancer six years back, she used to say that whatever happened to you was caused by you! Never blame anything on anyone. I think about it and laugh ironically sometimes; mum was a heavy smoker and drinker! Always got high and told us how our father dumped her at the alter, at other times she was loving and caring, the best mother we could ever ask for. She was also very glad that instead of one child, she ended up with twins, but honestly, I didn’t want to be here… Mum had kidney failure once and needed a transplant, I gladly donated one of mine hoping to die in the process but no, fate wouldn’t have that. At some point I wanted to meet our father, I don’t know what I would’ve done but what I do know is that whatever I had on my mind, wasn’t gon be pretty. I finally got some useful information about him, he was the branch manager at a cocacola bottling company in Lagos, fantastic. I decided to go there a few days later, of course I didn’t tell mum or my twin about it. I had my speech prepared, I was going to give him a big piece of my mind. But again, fate was ahead of me… From the main entrance I saw his Obituary, I walked into the main compound and it was everywhere. With a disappointed heart, I asked one of the workers what had happened to him, and he said the deceased, my father had been monitoring the supply of new stock when a crate of coke fell on his head, sending him to his death at the spot! Lucky bastard! Shortly after that was when mum had cancer of the lungs, we thought she would survive this too as she did the kidney failure but once again, fate was there and as usual, she was never on our side. At a point it looked like mum was mutating as her chest and one side of her neck became so black. She was in so much pain and Tanya, my twin would always break down and cry each time we went to see her in the hospital, but I would just stand and stare, wondering why we had to be so unfortunate. Why we always had to be the ones… One day mum said to me between coughs as she lay on her bed; “Tonia, you’re like me, you’re strong and witty. But you need to cry… Let go even if for once…” I had no answer for that, I just looked out the window as if I was supposed to find a reason out there… After her burial, I decided that our lives had to take a new turn, only for Tanya to fall in love with a man… Jeez seriously? As if that wasn’t the beginning of our woes… Love! Mum had made that crazy mistake once and see where it led her… See where it led us! I just watched it play out before me, she got married after some months and had a baby girl. Her husband, Maxwell loved her so much, I decided at a point that nothing could go wrong. My sister’s life was getting better so I could now blink and turn away… Or so I thought. I should have known fate would always come hungry for more… Maxwell had slumped, at the tennis court while playing with his friends. He had heart failure, died barely two hours later… No last words… Tanya was shattered, I did all I could, absolutely everything I could, to help her get her life back together. I became a nanny, for her and her baby Patricia, I hardly ever left her side. I gave her all the attention she needed, I lived my life for her… When ‘Tricia was two, Tanya decided to find a job, in no time she got one, as a waiter in a fastfood, there was no problem about who would take of Tricia, I was there. Within 3 months, Tanya learnt how to drive so she could start using the jeep maxwell left behind. I always told her, that the jeep didn’t match her kind of job, and we would both laugh at the joke! She wasn’t broke or anything of the sort, she just needed somewhere to go to everyday, meet people, talk, laugh and I understood perfectly. But I was fine the way I was, alone. The only person that complained about that was Tanya, but that’s how I wanted it to be… I was in the kitchen making breakfast that morning when she came to drop Tricia off. She’d left in a hurry because she was late, forgetting to give Tricia a goodbye kiss the little girl had grown used to. I was frying some chips so I couldn’t leave it at that moment, I walked over to the sink to do the dishes and looked out the window… And what I saw sent sparks of pain to my heart, Tracia had obviously run after her mum for her kiss, and Tanya was unaware of that. The little girl had dropped her teddy and squatted to pick it up and just then the jeep reversed, knocked her down, and smashed her pretty little head, I couldn’t scream, I ran out of my apartment and after Tanya as she drove off in a hurry. I started shouting and waving my hands until she saw me through the side mirror and slowed down till she stopped, I couldn’t talk, I just stood there, looking so lost and confused, my eyes wide open. Tanya got down and ran towards me, curious; “Tonia what is it? Why were you running like that?” She’d asked. I couldn’t speak, I just pointed and she looked, confused. Then she started walking back to the spot, to her baby, she started running and screaming… She knelt down and held her head as she screamed and cried, the little bump and gallop she’d felt while driving off was her baby’s skull… I walked back to where she was, following the wet trail Tricia’s smashed brain had made on the road till I was behind Tanya, listening to her racking sobs, watching as her shoulders shook violently, people had started to gather, I was grateful for that because I needed help holding Tanya down when she started acting funny. I had brought her here, checked on her everyday after that but each visit killed me inside. 

My sister was insane, all she did was hit her head repeatedly on the walls of her room, chew her blouse or scream. I couldn’t take it so I stopped coming, for the next two years I was a loner, I thought it was my turn, I thought fate would come for me, but the bitch never came back… Maybe I didn’t have what she wanted, or maybe she got bored. Yesterday, I was taking one of my long, aimless walks when I bumped into an old friend of ours, who travelled out and had us thinking he would never return. He’d wanted to know all that had happened in his absence and so I told him… And now we are here, in this place I so didn’t want to be in, for the first time in a long time I felt hot tears burning my eye lids as I watched Tanya. She was still, for what seemed like forever, didn’t move a muscle. I sniffed and let the tears roll down my cheek as I turned back to look at him; “That’s Tanya…”

The wait is over!

Hi everyone! So after a long while, I decided to get my blog up and running again. One reason is because I have ample time on my hands now, another is that I learnt a few things as time passed and I would love to explore with everybody,and then I missed you guys. Yeah true that! The comments and all…

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Well I recently became a certified fashion designer! How does that sound? Still new to me though. I can’t wait to explore all I’ve learnt so far, and I’ll be posting about my journey, every step of the way… Watch this space.

 

Before I go, lemme say I really do appreciate every one of you, some of you were devoted readers and I’m really grateful for that.
Till next time… Stay blessed!

Diary Of a Lagos Virgin Episode Ten

Seyi called me on the phone to ask if I was ready for lunch same way she called everyday before lunch break. I was starving as I didn’t have dinner the night before. I asked her to give me 20 minutes to clear up my table.

I was putting together some papers when Isaac walked into my office. He really hadn’t said much to me since the incident with Seyi. Occasionally when he spoke to me it was just for official reasons and so I assumed he had come in this afternoon to speak to me about an official matter.

“Can I talk to you for a few minutes?” he said as he walked into my office

“Have a seat” I said as I pointed to the seat in front of me

“It’s being a journey working with you Temi, it hasn’t been easy but it has been an experience for me”

“I see”; I replied uninterestedly

“In a couple of weeks, we would be rounding up and I just thought I should come over and thank you properly for putting aside our differences and working with me”

I sat there hoping this was not the reason he had come to disturb me this afternoon despite the hunger I was feeling.

“I was only doing my job, atleast that’s what I get paid for, to put aside my differences and earn my salary” I said sarcastically

“If I am not asking for too much I would like you to join me and the rest of team for dinner next week”; he said

“what dinner and who is organizing it?”

“Í just want to thank everyone for their hardwork and thought it nice to take everyone out as we round off this project”

“Oh I see, well I would think about it”

“For what it’s worth I would like to apologise once again for what I did to you, you deserve better and I am glad you are getting what you deserve, and all I can do is wish you the best”

I wasn’t exactly sure of what he meant but for some reason felt relieved at what he just said. He sounded sincere and looked remorseful. It was the first time I had seen him look this apologetic since the incidence.

As he walked to the door, he turned to me and said “Andrew is a wonderful young man , you couldn’t have made a better choice and I am happy for the two of you”

Seyi walked in as he was about to walk out. They bumped into each other. She shoved him aside before hissing out loud as he stepped out.

“wetin the goat dey find for your office” She said as she walked towards me

“Abeg just leave that one alone make we go chop before hunger kill me”

We were already at the car park when Seyi said she wasn’t in the mood to eat at the regular place we normally ate. She said she was looking for something new and different to eat as she was tired of experiencing the same taste.  She however suggested we drive all the way to the other side to have lunch at one of my favourite restaurants. I was shocked she wanted to eat there, although she had commended the food especially their seafood the first time I took her there to eat she however had complained that we had to travel to get something this nice to eat and wasn’t ready to endure all that traffic just to eat.

“This is weird, why do you want us to eat there?”  I asked her

“I am just in the mood for some seafood today”

I thought you said the place was too far the last time

“Well its not that far jor, its just 10 mins but I guess the traffic from that day must have just irked me, today is Friday the road should be free”

“Far or no far I hope you know you are the one driving”  I said as we walked towards my car

We got to the restaurant a few minutes later and had barely taken our seat when I noticed 3 young men walking towards us. They stopped by our table and started to sing Asa’s “Baby Gone”. I wondered if this was how they now operated in the restaurant . And just as they started to end the song they stepped aside and there was the biggest sign that had my name on it with an inscription that said

“Temi would you do me the honour and marry me”

I thought this was a prank, I looked around for the camera, I looked at the 3 men who by now where just standing aside and then Seyi said “babes look behind you”

I turned to see Andrew on his knee, he had tears in his eyes ,

“I know it’s just being a year since we met but I feel like I have known you my whole life. I have never felt this happy with a human being. Babe I want to do right by you, and even if I do wrong I want my wrongs to please you. I would have asked you to be my girlfriend but I feel like it would be an insult to follow the normal protocols since I feel like we have been dating all this while. And so I want to ask if you would be less busy and take out time to get married to me, I am not saying you should marry me right now but I would rather we started our relationship on the ground of you being my fiancée rather than a girlfriend , so what do you say”

I was speechless. I wasn’t exactly sure of what to say , not because I had nothing to say but because in a million years I would never have imagined this. But who was I deceiving in the last one year me and Andrew had being something of an item. The only difference was the fact that we hadn’t officially sealed it with him asking me to be his girl and me saying yes.

Seyi had her phone out, she was recording the whole scenario and had the biggest smile on her face, I knew she had something to do with this. I wanted to say yes but I was too shocked to say anything. I started to cry all of a sudden. Then I heard Seyi say “Temi what are you waiting for,do you want the boy’s knee to peel? Answer him jor!”

I looked at Andrew who was still kneeling down with the opened box of ring in his hand. He looked more handsome than ever, he looked like a small boy seeking for the support of his mother, he looked naïve, he looked like he needed me now than ever, it made me remember the way he looked the night I had gone to visit him, how scared I was after seeing how pale he looked, how despite my anger I had gone home so worried that something bad might happen to him in his sleep. I knew it right and then that I was never going to find another man I was going to love effortlessly the same way I loved Andrew and so I looked at him and said

“You didn’t for a second think I was going to say no to this gorgeous ring”

I saw the tears rolled down his eyes as he smiled and removed the ring from the box to slip it into finger. He stood up and pulled me close to him as he planted a kiss on my lips. For a minute I couldn’t hear the cheers and clapping of the people in the room, all I could hear was the his heart beating against mine as we kissed. I could smell him, I could even taste him this time, my eyes were still closed as he pulled away from me, I opened my eyes to see him smiling, I was looking at my future, I was looking at my new life and it looked beautiful, I leaned forward to kiss him again. The kiss felt like the best ever, it felt like what I needed to survive. As he kissed me back I thought to myself I could get use to a great kisser like this. It felt unrealistic that this had happened, I wanted to pinch myself, I wanted to snap back to reality.

Seyi Hugged me. A couple of people in the restaurant walked over to congratulate us.

When I arrived at Andrew’s home that evening I was still in awe of what had happened in the afternoon. Like he knew what I was thinking he turned to me and said “today was the scariest day of my life, I bought this ring the night after you slept at my apartment and I somewhat knew we were going to end up together and so I was hoping we would kick off somehow even though I didn’t know how we were going to start”

“So what made you ask me now”

I sat at home during out fight and thought of how you avoided me after I told you I needed time to think, it felt like my life stopped functioning after you left, I felt like my life was woven around your existence. That’s why my ex left me. She said she had come to try to make things work, but only felt like a side chic with you in my life. I couldn’t imagine loosing you after our fight, I couldn’t even imagine you not being in my life for a second and so I made up my mind to ask you to marry me the moment we ended our fight”

We visited his parents a month later. I knew his parents were wealthy, what I didn’t know was that they were wealth gods if there was anything like that. As we drove into what seemed like a small estate that served as his parent’s home I was forced to ask if the place was for only his parents or their entire lineage. He laughed and said nothing

The home looked like one of the many houses Nigerian artistes used in their videos to depict how wealthy they are, for a second I felt like I had even seen the house in a song before. His mum was already at the entrance as we stepped out of the car. I was still greeting her when she pulled me in for a hug. One would have thought she knew me from somewhere looking at the way she pulled me in for a hug. She held my hand as she ushered us into their home. Andrew’s dad was seated in the what looked like a lounge, I greeted him, he stood up and said

“My dear how are you, you look prettier than he described you”

I said  “fine” with a shaky voice. I was still in great awe of the house. From the chairs to the fittings on the wall it spoke class. They had pictures of family members on the wall. It was arranged properly, you could tell it was arranged in the order of their ages or better still position in the family.

Andrew’s mum was a fair skinned woman with an athletic body. Although she was in her mid 50s she however looked like someone in her early 30s, I guess it had to do with her money and maybe the short hairstyle she had on. Andrew’s dad was a tall lanky man with a punk hairstyle, I didn’t even know that style was still in vogue. He had a decent sense of dressing. I guess Andrew must have picked up his sense of dressing from him.

Andrew’s mum was a bit of a chatter box, she had a zillion questions to ask, it made me feel like I was being interviewed for a job or being interrogated for a murder case.

Andrew’s dad didn’t ask much question, he simply just spoke about his family and about how lucky they were to welcome me into their family.

Lunch went well and as we were about to leave when I remembered I hadn’t given them the gifts I got them. I wanted to take back the gifts as I felt it was too small for them, if only I had been properly briefed about their wealth. I told Andrew but he just laughed and said “My parents are the most humble and appreciative people on earth”

I hoped he was right as I presented the gift to his parents. His mum immediately brought out the gift, it was a “his and hers” wristwatch I picked up from the swatch shop around my office. Her face glowed as she showed it to her husband

“Darling look at what this lovely young lady got us”

“Wow, this is lovely”  his dad said

For a minute, I felt like they were trying to mock me for buying them such a tiny gift looking at how wealthy they are. His mum hugged me once again before bringing out the wristwatch from the pack.

“This is really beautiful my dear, thanks a lot”

His dad also thanked me as we got into the car.

Andrew met my parents a week later. My father gave him a bit of a tough time with all the interrogative questions he asked. Andrew seemed a bit a shaky at a point I had to turn to my father and say “Dad why are you drilling him like this? All the man is asking from you is the right to marry me and make me happy” my dad laughed and said “I am just doing my job”

We agreed on a date 6 months away from the day he proposed, it seemed like enough time for us to get some marriage counseling and for us to prepare for the wedding itself.

I was so intrigued at the thought of marrying Andrew, I couldn’t wait, it felt like fairytale to me, like a dream I never wanted to wake up from.

Andrew’s mum employed herself as our wedding planner even though we already hired one. She was keen on details and a serious headache to our planner. A few times she and my mother argued over the planning, over a colour to use or the kind of glassware to serve with on the day.

We had our wedding on the island and it was the simplest wedding ever just like Andrew and I wanted it to be. The theme was athletic and musical just like we had envisioned it. My cousin was my maid of honour. Andrew made his junior brother his best man. He didn’t even bother asking his cousin who by the way asked Seyi to Marry him a month ago only for the girl to say “she loved him but wasn’t ready for marriage”. Crazy child

Nkechi was at the wedding with her husband and their lovely daughter, I had invited Isaac personally even though Seyi thought it was unnecessary, Andrew had however agreed with me on the invite and to my surprise he showed up for the wedding. Although I knew he didn’t come to the wedding solely because I invited him but because Bola was going to be at the wedding. They had somewhat become an item even though she denied it a few times when I asked her about it.

When it was time for my husband to thank our guest , he took the microphone turned to me and said “my life you know I always love to surprise you, permit me to surprise you one more time today”

And then I heard her voice as she said “based on special request I did like to sing baby gone for the couple”. I started to scream at my own wedding. I literally almost jumped out of my chair as she walked to the stage with a guitar.

My husband asked that we dance. As we danced I asked him how he had gotten her but he only smiled and said “let’s just say I know a couple of correct people”

I hugged her at the end of her performance. As we took pictures I joked about her autographing my wedding gown.

My in-laws alongside my parents and friends walked us to the car as we headed for the airport.  I hugged my friends and as I hugged Nkechi she repeated what she told me in Ghana during my visit “ no man is perfect we all learn to manage them with their flaws eventually, make sure you manage yours”.  I smiled and thanked her

I hugged my mother before getting into the car, she was crying and holding me tight. I freed myself from her embrace before y saying “mum he is not kidnapping me you no I am only getting married to him” she laughed and said “I know, you have really grown”

We got into the car and as the car started to drive away it dawned on me that my new life was about to start, it scared me a little . Andrew turned to me and said “I promise you my life and my blood to live and breathe for you everyday, I would never ever let you go” I started to cry as he kissed me. I couldn’t believe this was happening.

My father in-law’s gift to us was a trip to Austria for our honey moon. We had barely spent 5 minutes in the air when one of the air hostess walked up to us with a gift bag courtesy of the airline. I wondered how they knew we just got married as we were no longer wearing our wedding attires, as we already changed before leaving the wedding venue. As if he knew what I was thinking he said “you know my dad and the owner of this airline are best friends” after which I replied “I guess that explains this gift”

I must have slept off for a few hours. When I opened my eyes I saw Andrew looking at me. I smiled at him and then he said

“You know I love you right”

“Yes, I know”

“You know I would never ever do anything intentionally to hurt you”

“Yes, I know”

“You mean this world to me, you are everything that I want in life”

I smiled as he spoke

“I was going to tell you earlier but I didn’t want to lose you”

“What are you talking about” I asked as I tried to sit up properly

“Remember how you saw me talking to Lanre’s sister at the memorial?”

“Yes , what about that?”

“Well, I kind of know her”

“Okay, so what is she?”

“The thing is the driver that hit Lanre was one of my drivers”

“What are you talking about?” I asked frantically

“Well the truck that hit Lanre was my company truck as a matter of fact I was driving behind the truck when it happened, it was in my car we carried him to the hospital”

I was sweating already as he said this.

“I didn’t know your Lanre was same as the man my driver mistakenly killed up until that memorial service”

My hands were already shaking by now. “Were you at the burial?” I asked

“Yes I was although I stood far away, but I never saw you though.”

Then it occurred to me that I must have seen him at the burial. This is why I thought he was familiar all this while

“Temi,  I swear to you I wanted to tell you after that day, but I didn’t want to loose you, besides I had no idea on how to tell you that my driver killed your lanre”

I had tears rolling down my cheeks as he spoke, I unbuckled my seat belt and walked towards the rest room, which luckily was empty. Why did he have to wait till now to tell me this? I felt hurt and betrayed. I just married a deceitful bastard I thought to myself. I wish I could call someone, I wish I could get off the plane.

On a second thought he really hadn’t done anything wrong other than keep a secret, although the driver was serving his jail term for man slaughter. I still felt angry. Then I remembered what Nkechi had told me in Ghana and at the wedding. This was my flaw. I understood why he had kept it a secret, I knew he loved me it was obvious I would have done the same. But I wasn’t sure of how to live with this. I heard a knock on the door I knew it was him.

“Temi,  please open the door”  he said

I opened it for him

“Temi, I swear on my life I wanted to tell you, I tried to tell you but I just didn’t know how to”

I wanted to hit him, I wanted to push him hard. I hit him on his chest but he just stood there as I hit him even more and then I stopped and said

“If you ever ever keep anything away from me again, I would kill you”

I was still crying , he tried to hug me but I shoved him aside. I loved him, I didn’t want to hurt him, I knew he didn’t mean to hurt me, I saw the look on his face , he looked remorseful, he got on his knee and started to beg. I asked him to stand up. I couldn’t be angry with him. He was my flaw and I was going to live with him

Our plane landed in Austria an hour later. We said nothing to each other as we walked out of the plane. We hired a cab that had a driver that could barely speak English we literally had to use sign language to explain ourselves to him. As we drove through the beautiful city of Vienna, I knew I hadn’t come all the way to waste all this. I was ready to start all over. I was ready to let go.

I put my hands into his hands, he looked at me with so much shock. I hadn’t forgiven him totally but I was ready to start afresh. He leaned over and kissed me after which I said “you are my flaw, I would manage you”

He looked confused at my statement “as he pulled me closer, I felt his heart beat, it felt exactly the same way it felt the day he proposed to me” then he said “I did rather be dead than be alive and not be with you, I love you temi”

And that was a fact I knew was true, somehow I was glad Lanre didn’t see the fact in me being a virgin else I won’t be here today sitting beside my major source of happiness and biggest flaw.

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