Sunday, 9 November 2014
At 3, Ogunwale street, somewhere in one of the numerous residential Estates in Lagos Island, Vivian was getting a face slap, getting anxious and giddy to see Gabriel again. It wasn't exactly seeing him again that made her giddy...perhaps it was what she wanted to find out from him.
It had been about a year since he had left Nigeria. His job had transferred him to Dubai. She had been worried...really worried. Especially because they had been courting for a long time, and up until he left, he didn't say a word or give any hint about proposing to her. She decided to give him time. Maybe he needed to settle in the foreign land where he found himself. So she waited a week, two weeks, three months...and there was nothing forthcoming from him. Yes, it crossed her mind several times to break off the relationship and find someone else who was ready to get married. The constant pressure from her mother and her married friends didn't make matters any simpler.
But she loved him too much to cheat on him or to end the relationship.
Then one day, Gabriel told her he was coming to Nigeria for two weeks and he wanted her to hurriedly apply for her Leave period at work so that they could spend time together. Ordinarily, being who she was, she would have started to guess that maybe he had a Proposal planned up. But she was tired of the anxiety that always yielded nothing. So she decided to let herself breathe. Maybe it was better she asked him about his plans for her. That's what her Pastor had said in church on Sunday. ...That any man who wasn't interested in taking a woman to the altar was probably only interested in Not taking her to the altar. She decided she would ask. What was the worst that could happen?
By 7.30 pm, he was already at her gate, waiting. They were supposed to have dinner at the Four points at Lekki. She had to admit he looked hot! Lord, would she be able to focus and pass across her message to him with all seriousness? Looking at him, all she wanted to do was stay in his arms forever...regardless of if he took her down, along, or away from the altar.
At a hotel room at the Bluechord hotel, Yetunde was anxious as well, as she washed away the make-up from her face. Her make-up artist had done a really good job at the face slapping. She had looked absolutely fabulous at her wedding earlier that morning. She knew for sure that the bellas were going to be posting her wedding photos online. She couldn't wait for the comments. But most importantly, she couldn't wait for what was coming...
She was twenty eight years old and had just gotten married to Tunde, the man she had courted for six years and had kept her virginity for. She had looked forward to this day...her wedding night, for such a long time. Now it was finally here. She opened her hand luggage and pulled out the darn sexy lingerie her friends had packed up for her at the bridal shower. She more polarized to the conservative line of life, and she doubted if she would be comfortable wearing what she was holding in her hands. But then again, this was going to be her first time and she wanted it to be excitingly special with the man of her dreams.
The man of her dreams was in the hotel room, eager for her to join him. He had always told her every day before they got married, that he couldn't wait to make her a woman. She found it weird though...that the basis of being a woman was sex. What happened to poise, beauty, brains....and every other ingredient that made a female a woman in the actual sense of it?
She finally found the courage to wear the lacy black thin strap nighty. She smiled, looking at her self in the mirror, as all her feminine features became more pronounced. Perhaps indeed, she was actually going to be made a woman.
"This is it." She sighed, shaking her head so that her weave fell to the other side of her neck. She opened the door of the bathroom and stepped into the bedroom, facing her new husband who was grinning from ear to ear like a giddy school boy.
Chike couldn't believe this. He had to park his Toyota at one side of the road to read the text message properly. Was this real?! He had just been granted a contract to supply all the branches of a bank with security cameras. He had only just started the CCTV business and had only done one job in two years. He had already started to get frustrated. First, after school, and with a very strong Second class upper division degree, he hadn't been able to find a decent job. He had found a bank job in the marketing department but when he couldn't deal with targets and pressure, he resigned and decided he was going to start his own business. He started quite alright, getting loans and gifts from family members and friends. And after his first contract, he hadn't been able to lift his head above waters anymore. Then the depression came back, and he started to wish he never left the banking job, especially when he saw his colleagues who now had houses and cars to their names.
He hadn't submitted a proposal to any bank in particular. He couldn't understand this. It had to be a miracle...or was it a scam? He read the text message again. He wanted to see if the sender left any number to contact them on, since the sender was a No-response one. As though God was hearing him speak, his phone started to ring. It was an unknown number.
"Good afternoon..." Chike said, anxiously.
"Hello, Mr Chike Azuka. I'm Kenneth from ABCD Bank. I'm the Head of the Shared Services Unit and we have looked through your proposal..."
"But I ..."
Shut up Chike...Don't tell him you didn't send a proposal!
"We would like for you to show up at our head office tomorrow at 10 am if that's fine by you." Mr. Kenneth said.
"Thank you very much! I will! I definitely will. Thanks a lot." He said.
Firstly, I don't even know where to start.
I have been unable to write a single line of anything because I have had a change in schedules which takes the bulk of my time. Most days, I get home past 9Pm, and have to leave the house before 6am. Keeping up with writing has been .....almost impossible!
But hey, writing is what I love to do, and a change in schedule just means I have to find a way to work around things....
So um...I may not be able to do the everyday or two-day interval posting of episodes. It just won't work...except I choose to deceive myself. I hope it's fine by you all if I pick just weekends to write because that's practically the only time I have to do this!
I have missed writing sha!
I'm working on a short story now (not series) soon to be posted...
And for those who called and text and asked how far, I really appreciate this.
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
"Get out, Tobi! Get out of my house!" Lolade had ranted.
Those had been her sister's words. Tobi was definitely surprised. There was something wrong with Lolade. How could Lolade be quiet about all that was going on? It just...wasn't right. But what hurt her the most above everything else, was that her own sister had told her that it was her fault that everything had happened. How could Lolade even think it!
For one of the very few times that this happened, tears actually streamed down her face as she drove home. She needed to pour out her heart to someone. She just needed to talk to someone. Her best friend was Lolade, and now Lolade didn't want to have anything to do with her. She couldn't call their parents. She already could predict what they would say.
The traffic had started to build up as usual from Third mainland bridge. She sighed. She wanted badly to head to a bar and drown herself in something that could tune her mind off what was going on.
Her radio was on. It was on a pidgin English station. She got bored with the jokes they were cracking so she tuned it somewhere else. She remembered Flourish FM. Maybe she would hear TMac's voice. Maybe she would someone new on his show. Maybe she would just find some meaning with her life...
She was wrong. TMac was not on. She didn't know the name of the programme that was on but she knew they were talking about sharing life issues. She needed badly to pour out everything she had bottled up inside of her to the host. He seemed like an intelligent person to talk to. As soon as the last caller was done speaking, they decided to go on a commercial break but before they did, they called out the numbers to call once again.
She kept on dialing and dialing. But no one picked up. She normally would have given up but she decided not to. There was something in her that was more than determined to get all the drama off her chest. She loved the idea that she could talk to this man who had absolutely no idea who she was. At least, there would be no judging and sarcasm.
"Hello, good evening, this is Life issues shared with Donald D..." The voice at the other end of the line said.
It took her a few seconds before she realized she was on air.
"Oh my God! I'm sorry I thought I was still trying to get through...I didn't know..." She stuttered.
The host laughed.
"Please turn down the volume of your radio, Ma'am." He said.
"Okay." She replied, turning it low.
"So, can we know your name and where you are calling from?"
She sighed. She hesitated at first but she decided to go with it.
"I'm...Anonymous. Anonymous calling from Lagos." She said.
"Okay Anonymous, what do you have to share with us today?"
She sighed again.
"Donald D, I'm going crazy here. If I don't let everything out, I'm afraid I might run mad! I...I am going on thirty three years of age and I'm not even in a relationship with anyone. I have a job. I write on feminism and women rights. And a lot of people associate with this. But at the same time, some people think I'm getting my nose in other peoples' business and I haven't handled my own business. And it's so frustrating! The other day a woman embarrassed me right on a date with someone I was getting to know.
I know I'm not exactly social so that might be to blame for my singleness and all that. But I'm opening up gradually. I'm just not really given to dressing up and make up and high heels. My sister thinks I need to do this, but I feel a man should love me for who I am.
My parents are driving me nuts, especially my mother. Every chance she gets, she seizes the opportunity to humiliate me and tell me how old I'm getting and how I need to find a man.
Then, I need to talk about my sister. She's a victim of domestic violence. And I found out too that my father hit my mother. So when my sister talks to my mother, my mom tells her to count it as part of the sacrifices of womanhood. I think that's very stupid. My brother-in-law hits her all the time. And she is pregnant with their second baby! I saw her today and he hit her so bad because she confronted him about impregnating their maid..."
"Oh my God! That's something else!" Donald D said.
"The man is crazy. And I love my sister so much. He told her to resign her oil company job. She got another job he told her to decline the offer again! She stayed at my place for a long time and it was during that period that he got their maid pregnant. And now she blames me for it. She said if I had let her go back, the idiot wouldn't have slept with the maid! I just left her house now. She is bruised all over! And the maid is still in their house! I tried to interfere and she told me to get out of her house that I am the cause! I don't know what else to do. I don't want this man to kill her. I just want to prevent it before it happens because the way things are going, I'm very afraid that it's just a matter of time. And this Nigeria and the laws...I don't think there's any protection for her or the kids. I don't know why she is so blinded!"
"Hmmmm...dear Anonymous this is so much!"
"Donald D I'm sorry but I am not even done. I feel this void in my life. I don't know what can fill it. I have a job I love and I am passionate about but it seems like everyone is walking out of my life! My sister, my parents, and even the man I was beginning to like...He said he couldn't deal with all my drama...I know I was a little harsh on him to say the least. I'm thinking of going to a bar right now to get drunk on something. I'm just so frustrated and depressed and empty!" Tobi started to cry.
"I need something to hold on to before I go totally berserk. I'm at the end of it all. I can't carry on much longer..."
"It's alright my dear, please don't cry." Donald D said.
"Thank you." She sobbed.
"I want you to give me a call or send me a text. We might need to do some talking personally. Can you send me a text with your name so I can arrange and schedule a meeting?"
"It's fine, but I need some sort of magic right now." She said.
"First things first, there's only one person who can fill the void in your life. And I'm sure you know who I am talking about. Without him, everything else will be empty. That's what Genesis even teaches us. The earth was void and without form. But the Holy spirit came and filled the void. You always always need something to fill the emptiness in your heart. Now it's a choice...you either let the things of this world...temporary things, fill that void. Or you pave way for God to do just that for you. And trust me with God comes peace! Everlasting peace. He will sort you out like it's magic! Because He loves you."
Tobi nodded. She wasn't really given to preachers and all but this kind of made sense to her. She just needed something.
"Give me a scripture to read or something. Please." She said.
"Very well then, dear Anonymous. Please jot these down somewhere...."
Tobi typed the scriptures he called out on her other phone.
She didn't exactly feel better at the end of the conversation, but she felt lighter, like a burden had been lifted in a way. Talking sure did help!
"Father Dominic, please I need to talk to you before I go crazy." Lolade said. She was holding her yellow purse in her left hand. Yemi had gone to work and she was home by herself. She had resigned from her new job. He had forced her to.
She wanted to tell the Priest everything about what had been going on in her marriage. She couldn't hide it any longer. She felt like she was living a lie. She was confused. Very confused. On the oone hand, her mother wanted her to take things easy. On the other hand, she just wanted to run out of the marriage. Yes, her conscience weighed on her heavily. But she just wanted to run far away and never look back. Maybe if the Priest could talk to Yemi, perhaps things would get better. She knew he was very particular about his reputation in the church.
"Hi Lolade. How are you today." Father Dominic said, joining her in the living room at the Parish quarters where she was waiting for him. The seminarian there had brought her a glass of orange juice.
"Father, I'm not fine. I need to talk to you desperately." She said.
"Before you do, I must say I am rather disappointed. Your husband told me you sent Maria away because she didn't obey you..." The Priest said.
Lolade didn't know what to say. She just shook her head and laughed.
"That's why I am here. I want to tell you that my husband is a liar from the pit of hell."
The Priest was shocked.
"That's a very grave thing to say about your husband."
"But he is! He is a hypocrite!"
"What do you mean? I have known Brother Yemi for a very long time..."
Lolade shook her head again.
"He slept with Maria. And Maria is pregnant. That's why I sent her away." She blurted out.
His mouth went ajar.
"What?!" He exclaimed.
"Yes Father. He slept with the girl!"
"You mean Brother Yemi put Maria in the family way?"
"He hits me every time. He is a liar and a total opposite of the impression you had."
The Priest shook his head.
"I will make my investigation, okay. I cannot believe this. I also need to hear his side of the story. this is unbelievable."
"Please don't tell him I came to you. He will only beat me the more. Please my life is at stake here."
He nodded and then escorted her to the main road where she called a cab to take her back home.
"Father, please don't listen to her. She is just a woman and all she has said are mere suspicion. Maria is not pregnant. I have spoken with the girl myself." Lolade's mother replied the Priest just before the evening Mass that Sunday.
The Priest had told her everything that Lolade had come to tell him. The woman had told him that Lolade was just being delusional.
"I knew Brother Yemi can't be guilty of everything she accused him of. Your daughter needs to watch her tongue. She has probably been listening to bad friends. In fact I will preach about it at the sermon today." He said.
Lolade's mother nodded and then, as she walked away, she refelcted on everything that had happened the day before.
She had picked up Maria at the market. She had planned with Lolade to send her to the market to buy food stuff. Then at the Market, she picked up Maria and told her that she knew about the pregnancy. She told her she was in total support of it because children were blessings from God. Then she told her she wanted to take her to the hospital for medical check up since she had never gone for any.
At the hospital, Mama had already made her prior arrangements. She had signed as Maria's guardian, majorly because she knew the doctor was a good one.
And the baby was out.
Then Mama told Maria that she had a place where she could keep her so she could recover fully from the procedure. She told her that the procedure was part of the ante-natal processes.
The recovery place was at Enugu. Mama's old friend lived there alone. And Mama had already discussed the details of everything with the Enugu woman. Maria would be gone from Lolade's life in no time. At the same time, she considered it charity....so it wasn't really a sin because she would ensure Maria went to school.
Tobi was concerned. Maybe it wasn't exactly concern...She was lonely and bored too. Jibola had left her. And her sister had gone back to her husband's house with her son. She missed Lolade. She realized they hadn't spoken in a long time. The few times they had, Lolade had been cold to her, but she hadn't really paid attention or given her remarks the light of day because she had been caught up in work too.
It was about 7 PM and she had just gotten home. All she could hear was the silence in her apartment...the very loud silence.
Lolade's caller tune replaced the silence. She smiled, Her sister was a die-hard fan of Timi Dakolo. She kept calling but Lolade wasn't picking up. Then the bizarre thoughts started to come. Had Brother Yemi done something to her?! What if he had hurt her or worse, killed her and dumped her somewhere? She punched her mother's numbers. Her mother also didn't pick up the phone. Her father's phone on the other hand was switched off. Then she began to get extremely worried.
She looked at the clock. It was just 7.30 PM. She could still make it to Lolade's house. She grabbed her car keys and dashed into her car.
Lolade was still in surprise. She couldn't still wrap her head around what was going on. She had just left her mother's house. She had gone there in tears, hoping somehow, she wouldn't have to go back home with wet cheeks. But leaving had turned out worse.
Earlier in the day, she had gotten into a fight with her husband. Lolade had sent Maria away the day before. Yemi had travelled so it was easier to do. She had actually never told him that she overheard their conversation in the kitchen the other night. She couldn't tell him that she knew he was responsible for Maria's pregnancy. Maybe she was afraid that he would hit her again. So she decided she would deal with the situation in her own way and get rid of Maria. She had gotten some money together and sent Maria to her people at Akwa-Ibom. She didn't want to send her back to the Priest at the church. The Priest would get to know about the pregnancy and who was responsible for it, and when the responsible person got to find out, she would suffer the consequences in the form of hits and punches.
Yemi had asked for Maria when he came back and hadn't seen her in hours. Lolade had told him that Maria ran away that morning. Then Yemi had asked if she left behind a phone number or anything to contact her with. Lolade said no. Then the Priest called Yemi's phone thirty minutes after.
"Brother Yemi, what is going on?" Father Dominic had asked him.
"Good morning, Father Dominic. I don't understand...what do you mean sir?" Yemi had replied. Lolade's heart started to thump loud. What if...just what if Maria had gone to the church instead of Akwa-Ibom? But how possible was that? She had put her in the taxi to Akwa-Ibom herself!
"I have Maria here with me. She says you sent her away. Has she done anything wrong? Did she offend you? Even if she did, I expect that you and your wife should have brought this to my notice instead of sending out this helpless innocent child." Fr. Dominic said.
Yemi sighed, flashing his wife a deadly look. Lolade knew what was coming. She knew he was going to hit her again, not minding that he knew she was pregnant.
"Father I'm so sorry. I'm not aware of this. I just came back from Port Harcourt this morning and I was told she ran away. I'll come straight away to pick her up, please." He said.
He didn't say a word to Lolade after he ended the call. He simply grabbed his car keys and headed for the door.
"Where are you going to, Yemi?" Lolade raised her voice. She couldn't take this anymore. Was he actually going back to get her? To bring her back into their matrimonial home?
"Don't push me, Lolade. I'm going to get her..."
"Are you crazy?" Lolade couldn't believe those words escaped her mouth. Yemi turned to look at her in anger and fury.
"Am I crazy? Me?" He yelled, coming towards her.
"Yes you." She took steps backwards. "I know about everything. You slept with her and impregnated her! Don't you have any shame? You slept with that small girl!"
Yemi stood still. He seemed lost for words.
"Answer me, you shameless man!" Lolade ranted.
"So now you have two pregnant women. You deserve a world record, you know." She said.
"I'm bringing her back." He said.
"What? You're not going anywhere! Can you hear yourself speak? Don't you have any respect for me? Am I not a woman? Yemi..."
"No you are not! A woman is supposed to be submissive! And you are not. Maria obeys me. She listens to me. I asked you not to work but no! You went ahead and took the job. Well, your job is your new husband! Sleep with him. And if you must know, she's better than you as small as she is, in that department."
Lolade couldn't take the insult anymore. She grabbed the collar of his shirt and shook him.
"You're evil! You're a beast, Yemi!" She wept in anger.
"Leave my shirt alone, Lolade." He said.
"I won't! Do your worst. I won't leave it alone. I'll tell everyone what you did. Father Dominic doesn't even know you're sleeping with her. She's a child! That's child abuse! She's not old enough to even give consent!"
"Lolade, I won't ask you a second time. Leave my shirt alone." He warned.
She held the collar with one hand and grabbed her phone with the other. She searched for Father Dominic's contact on her phone and started to dial him. Yemi saw the screen of her phone.
"What do you think you're doing?" Yemi said.
"What does it look like? Let's come out clean and tell him everything."
That was it. Yemi grabbed her phone and pushed her to the floor. And when she struggled to get away from him, he placed his foot on her head and kicked her. After a couple of other forms of violence, the man she called husband, walked out of the house.
She got on the next taxi and headed for her mother's house. She knew her father wouldn't be home. She wanted to call Tobi but she hated her that minute! Yes, she blamed Tobi for everything. It was while she was at Tobi's house that her husband had been busy getting another lady pregnant.
"Stop crying, my dear." Her mother had said, as soon as she told her everything. She got to work on wrapping ice blocks in a towel and pressing against her daughter's swollen face.
"Mummy, I'm never going back. I'm fed up. He cheated on me with Maria! And he still has the guts to tell me she's better than me. That man is a beast Mummy." She cried.
The woman massaged Lolade's swollen face amidst her wimping and jolting in pain.
"Let me tell you something," Her mother started.
"Your father cheated on me. I swore I would never tell either you or your sister but I have to. He cheated with my friend's younger sister. Yes she got pregnant."
Lolade was surprised. She couldn't believe this.
"Does that mean...." Lolade was about to ask the obvious.
Her mother shook her head.
"I took care of it. I made sure she terminated the pregnancy."
Lolade stared again in shock. Her mother was capable of such?!
"Before you judge me, that was the only choice I had. I have slaved with your father to get to where we are presently and I won't let his quest for a male child interrupt anything. It was his mistake, it was his mess, and I had to clean it up."
"What are you saying, Mummy?" Lolade flinched at the pressure of the ice on her mouth.
"I'm saying, we are African women. We are strong women. It is our duty to clean up our husband's mess. Men are babies and we have to clean up after them. You just have to forgive him."
"Babies don't beat you up! Babies don't sleep with your maid!"
The older woman laughed.
"My dear, you don't worry. Let the girl come back. Be nice to her. It's part of the strategy. I'll handle the pregnancy. It's still weeks old, isn't it?"
"Then go back home to your husband. Don't let a teenage girl take him from you."
Lolade nodded again, holding her aching jaw and arm. At that point, she really didn't mind if Maria took her husband.
"I have been worried! I have been...oh my God!" Tobi reached out to hug her sister. She was standing by the door. Lolade had come to get it.
Lolade didn't return the hug. She just stared at her sister.
"What's wrong, oh my?" She saw Lolade's swollen face.
Lolade hissed and shook her head.
"Talk to me, sis. What's going on?"
"It's you now. Clap for yourself, Tobi. You will have a story to write on your blog and papers. A Victim of domestic violence whom you tried to help."
Tobi gave her a puzzled look.
"I'm lost here..."
"I should never have listened to you. It's your fault. It's all your fault. You asked me to stay at your house and my husband was busy sleeping with Maria!" Lolade laughed sarcastically, shaking her head.
"Oh no!" Tobi gasped.
Then someone walked towards the door. It was Maria. She wanted to go outside. She didn't say a word to either Tobi or Lolade. She even shoved Lolade a little. Lolade didn't say a word.
"Is this not the girl you just told me...." Tobi started, almost running after Maria to hit her.
Lolade closed her eyes. She remembered what her Mom had said. She had asked her to be nice to Maria. It was afterall, part of the strategy.
"Tobi please just leave. I don't want Yemi to see you here." She said.
"Are you kidding me? I can still see the bruises on your face! What is wrong with you!"
Then Maria came back again, strolling. She had clothes in her arms. Clothes she had gone to fetch from the line downstairs. They were Yemi's clothes. Tobi sighted his boxer shorts too. She couldn't hold it anymore. So she reached for the girl and grabbed her by the collar of her dress.
"Are you mad? You Idiot! And you have the guts to pass this place without opening your mouth to greet, eh!" Tobi yelled.
"Tobi, please I don't have your time today. I have to go and iron Yemi's clothes."
Tobi wasn't thinking. She didn't know when she raised her hand and gave the girl a ridiculous slap in the face.
*Please read enjoy comment and share ....and don;t be angry I haven't updated in a while.
*Photo credit www.eurweb.com
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Good evening everyone,
Thanks for your patience and loyalty to this series and basically, this blog.
This is to give notice that I'll be posting and concluding the story tomorrow. So please expect all the episodes at one sitting 😁😉
And big thanks to you all that reached out. I appreciate you.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
She liked him, and he liked her. It had been about two weeks since the surprise date powered by her mischievous sister, Lolade. Tobi knew it had been just two weeks but somehow, she felt like she had known him for ages. They got along soooo well. And above all, she had come out clean about her occupation and passion, and he wasn't against her. Those had been his words; I am not against what you do. Well, she might have preferred an I support what you do. But didn't both sentences mean the same thing? She liked what he did too. He wanted to make women beautiful. But she felt the real beauty of a woman was in the natural. Perhaps it was because she wasn't crazy and fanatic about artificial addendum.
He had bought her a gift on their last date; a chiffon sequined maxi dress, and Fiore heels, and Cambodian human hair, and Black Up Make up. She had smiled and accepted them, but she knew she was going to eventually hand them over to Lolade. She didn't quite get it though...he had said he loved that she preferred to be natural in her looks...but why was he buying her these things? She had wanted to raise the issue with him, but Lolade had told her not to pour sand in her own garri.
Jibola nodded as he parked the car at her gate and waited for her to get down.
"I understand." He said.
"I'm really sorry, Jibola. I know it's hard on you but I really have to be at this event. Plus, it could be an opportunity for the sponsors to make me an ambassador of their brand, you know. This means so much to me and I have been looking forward to it for a long time. I have my speech prepared and I'm ready to address this missing girls issue that no one is saying anything about. There's also the childnotbride issue as well..." She went on.
"It's fine, girl." Jibola said.
Tobi shook her head.
"Excuse me? Girl?" She said.
"I should be asking you. What do you mean by Girl?"
Jibola let out a sound and ran his hand over his head.
"Tobi, it's a word of endearment. It's something I call a woman I'm fond of. I called my ex that all the tiime..."
She laughed in sarcasm.
"Yeah, I guess you're still hung up on your ex."
Jibola let out a heavy breath.
"Please leave. Just leave and get into your house." He said, unlocking the door.
She opened her mouth ajar.
"Seriously? Look, Mr Dauda, you can't tell me what or what not to do." She said, staring at him.
"Tobi are you serious here? Mr Dauda? My God. I'm trying to be the mature one here, so I'll just save you the embarrassment and let you get out yourself." He said.
She hissed, grabbed her purse, and stormed out. Jibola zoomed off.
Lolade was still awake. She had seen them from the window. Then when Tobi stormed into the house, muttering a lot of gibberish, she knew there was a problem.
"What's up?" Lolade asked.
"Can you imagine the man! He had the guts to ask me to get out of his car?"
"Huh? Why?! You guys had a fight?"
"I don't even care. Let him go to hell."
"Hell is a really bad place. I'm sure you don't want that gorgeous man burning in hell."
Tobi laughed, taking a seat.
"Babe, I'm sure what he did wasn't that bad. You need to relax and breathe. The women you fight for, you do know some of them are married, right? You need to...I'm sorry, but you need to get a life." Lolade said.
Tobi looked at her sister, very shocked.
"Good. Call me a lesbian too." She said.
"You must be on your period. That's why your angry hormones are so high." Lolade said.
"I wanted to tell you that I'm going back home tomorrow."
Tobi opened her mouth, surprised.
Lolade nodded, looking away.
"It's for the best. I can't run away from my problems. It's been almost a month I've been putting up with you. Me and baby. And I miss him. I'm pregnant and I need him sometimes, you know."
Tobi shook her head.
"So it's until that man kills you, abi?"
"No, it won't get to that stage. We will work it out."
"Do you realize it's almost a month and he didn't come looking for you?" Tobi said.
"It was my fault. I was the one who left. I was the one who broke our vows by walking out. Besides, he...he calls." She stuttered. Tobi knew she was lying.
"My God, I see Mom is brainwashing you. This is so typical of her. How is it your fault? It's your fault he beats you up?! And by violating you he is taking your vows rightly?"
Lolade shook her head, biting her lower lip.
"I...You can't understand. That's why you need to get married or something." Lolade said and walked out.
Tobi was still staring at the door, after her sister had jammed it. Her heart suddenly started to beat faster. She was suddenly feeling all alone again. She had to admit that since her sister moved in, she had been less cranky than her usual self.
But what if Brother Yemi did something drastic? What if...
She remembered the story of the Titilayo banker that died some years ago. Her husband had killed and mutilated her. Even if he had been arraigned in court and judgement had been served, it never brought the woman back. What if her brother-in-law did something similar? She was afraid, very afraid.
But by the next morning, Lolade had gathered her things and had called a Taxi. Then Tobi realized that she was very serious. How on earth could she go back to that beast of a man?
Lolade hugged her, then she put her son safely at the back seat, and joined him. In the twinkle of an eye, they left.
Tobi shook her head. It was about a week since their small fight in his car. And now, they were having lunch at a restaurant in Ikoyi. She had gone out of her way to look good for him. She finally fixed her hair with the weave he had given her, and she wore pretty clothes, but maintained her ballerina pumps. She just couldn't make her self uncomfortable in heels.
She missed him, she had to admit. Staring into his perfectly chiseled face was enough lunch for her. The waitress interrupted her lunch.
"Can I take your order Sir?" The waitress said, facing Jibola alone.
This was why Tobi shook her head.
"Don't you have manners to know you serve a lady first?" She blurted out.
Jibola looked around, unconsciously. He didn't want her to cause a scene. He knew his date was a very vocal woman.
"Please do serve her first." Jibola said, looking away.
When the waitress left, Tobi held his hand.
"You think I'm a crazy and difficult woman, right?" She said.
Jibola smiled. His answer was yes, but he couldn't say it. She would get upset and get more vocal.
"No. No way." He said.
"I'm sorry, I just don't like it when people don't act right...If we all did, the country would be a better place." She said.
"I totally agree."
They were having their meals and a conversation when this suddenly happened...
A young woman, possibly in her mid twenties, walked up to their table, directly at Tobi. She grabbed the glass of water on the table on poured it on Tobi's shirt. The woman was extremely furious.
"You hypocrite! You idiot!" The woman yelled.
Jibola stood up to hold her back from hurting Tobi. She was creating a scene already; the scene he had badly tried to avoid.
"What is wrong with you?" Tobi yelled back. She recognized the woman. She was Ireti Daniels, one of the women who had sent her an email and had taken counselling sessions with her. Ireti's husband had maltreated her and always insulted her. Ireti had been at the pit of her existence, so she had run to Tobi to help her get her sanity back. Tobi had told her to stand up for herself and confront her husband. Ireti did exactly that and her husband told her to leave. He sent her away and took her three kids from her.
"You misled me! My husband has thrown me out of the house. I'm more miserable than I was! And you are here having a nice time with your own man, right?!" Ireti ranted.
Nothing Jibola said stopped the woman. She was at the verge of tearing Tobi's blouse, but for security who came and bundled her away.
The ride home was weird. Jibola didn't know what to say. He was embarrassed, but also embarrassed for her. When he dropped her, he knew he had something to say. He couldn't continue this way. Things just didn't seem to flow between them. It had started with her giving him a false name as Tayo, and one drama or the other kept spinning off.
Tobi got the message though. The next couple of days, he had avoided her calls. Then when he finally picked up, he came out straight with it.
Social media had made matters worse. News had captured her ordeal at the restaurant with Ireti. She was reading comments online, but when they got too much to handle, she shut down her computer.
Monday, 13 October 2014
I said I would post tonight. But I got home really late and exhausted! Still tried to write but I just had to respect nature.
Any attempt to write another episode now might just twist the story. So I don't go writing about how Lolade snatches Tobi's new man, Jibola, which isn't even part of the plot of the series.
I appreciate every single comment and every single page view. I really do!
But it's best I write with a refreshed and rested mind so my imagination can expand. Lol.
Nevertheless, great people, I will write and post quickly and promptly even if it means typing with my phone. The plan is to finish the series sharply.
Have a great night! And to our readers in other parts of the globe, have a great afternoon, or morning.
Saturday, 11 October 2014
He was nervous. Well, nervous wasn't exactly the word to describe his feeling. Perhaps it was anxiety. Yes, Jibola Dauda was anxious. And anxious was one feeling that he usually never had.
He had closed from the office quite late that Friday. He didn't really have any need for the rush home. He and his ex had recently just broken up. Just, meaning about two months ago. He convinced himself that he had moved on. He had moved on with work, by burying himself more into his job. Maybe with time, he would also be able to bury memories of her. She had been his girlfriend for about six years. They had issues. His mother hadn't liked her. But he had decided to hold on to her because he loved her. However, out of the blues one day, she told him she couldn't marry him and live the rest of her life on egg shells with a mother-in-law who disapproved of their relationship. And in two weeks time after the break-up speech, she had tied the knot at Our Lady of Assumption, Falomo, Ikoyi, with a new man. Jibola couldn't wrap his head around the whole drama. But somehow, he had to come to terms with the reality that she must have been cheating on him with her new husband while they were still together.
His friends had tried to hook him up on very many occasions. The ladies were never his type. Some were okay, but they seemed desperate. He knew he was a good looking man. He stood at 6.3 feet, and his ebony complexion flunked by well architecturally shaped muscles and edges, made him have a magnetic effect on ladies. Yes, he was also a successful young man; the CEO of his own company. The kind of business he was into was also a contributing factor. And it made other guys hate him because their girlfriends and wives couldn't stop mentioning his name. Jibola Dauda was the CEO of JD Hair extensions.
When he had launched the idea of selling female weaves in the whole sale and retail market, his father had thought he was nuts especially because he quit his job at a bank. His mother had begged him not to embarrass the family and even their village in Ijebu-Igbo. And his friends had thought he had gone gay. But two years after, he was the largest distributor of human hair which was a very fast moving commodity in the Nigerian market. His trade had expanded beyond the shores of even Nigeria. He got demands on a daily basis from ladies who lived abroad for different textures and kinds of weaves. He had started a hair, nails and spa outlet and in a year, he had opened branches out of necessity. Jibola was now a rich man.
He had been driving home and had been listening to local radio. He stumbled on Flourish FM and left it there as a result of nothing better to listen to. The show was Cupid hour where the host helped people find soulmates. Then he started to laugh at the phone calls from people, mostly ladies, who wanted a life partner. He wanted to call. Perhaps he could get lucky. But then, he didn't need to. The second to the last caller...the one whose sister had called her Margaret Thatcher. She seemed interesting and strong-willed. He liked strong-willed women, and that's why he had been disappointed when his ex had told him she couldn't keep up with the relationship because she was afraid of his mother. He wanted someone whom his mother could respect because of her self-confidence. This caller seemed very confident in her self. Especially the part where the presenter had told her that her order was quite scarce, and she had told him that she had a right to her choice.
He wanted to call the station so he could get her number. He tried calling for about a week but he just couldn't get through. He finally got through the following week, but the presenter had told him he had called on another show. He decided to go to the radio station personally to ask for her number. And he had gotten it!
This was three days after he had gotten Anita's number from Flourish FM. He wanted to give her a call, but different thoughts ran through his mind. What if she didn't like him? What if she wasn't interested anymore? Or what if she had met somebody. Too bad if he had been slow...
He decided to send an SMS. He realized that there was something called Whatsapp. He hurried to the App on his phone and tried to check her profile picture. He tried to enlarge the thumbnail but he couldn't. He hissed and finally decided to be the thirty five year old man that he was by giving the young lady a decent call.
Tobi had just stepped out of the shower. She had just finished preparing lunch, and wanted to go back to the unfinished article about the Chibok girls. She heard her phone ring. She ignored it the first time. She didn't want to be disturbed. When the call came through the second time, she decided to answer it. Maybe it was someone who needed her help...probably one of the many helpless women who called and emailed her to assist them.
"Hello, good afternoon." She said, dapping the towel on her wet hair.
"Good...good afternoon, Anita." A man's voice said.
"I'm sorry I think you have the wrong number."
"Um...I don't think so. Isn't this 080111333555?"
"Well, yes it is...but I'm not Anita."
"Oh okay. I'm sorry for the mix up. Thanks a lot and take care." He said. Then he hung up.
She was almost at the computer when it suddenly hit her. She was Anita! She had called on TMac's radio station some weeks ago as Anita. Maybe this was a potential....man. She dashed back to pick up her phone but he beat her to it. He was dialing again. She laughed.
"Hi." She said.
"I'm sorry, but did you call on Flourish..."
"Yes, yes I did." She said, catching her breath. "I'm sorry. I am Anita. Well I'm not Anita really but I am Anita...um..." She hit her palm on her forehead. "I'm not making any sense, am I?" She laughed.
He laughed too.
"Well, I think I understand you." He said.
"I called as Anita. I didn't want to give my real name." She said.
"Oh. Okay. So, do you mind telling me your real name?"
"I don't know yours either." She said, shrugging. The towel fell from her head.
"I'm Ajibola. Jibola Dauda." He said.
He knew the name wouldn't ring a bell. He liked to keep his privacy. Not too many people knew his name as the man who owned JD hair except those whom he dealt directly with.
"Okay." She said.
"Okay? Aren't you going to tell me yours?"
"It's Tayo..." She said. She didn't want to give her real name still. She feared he would know her name, and maybe when he knew who she was, he would become uninterested in her. But nevertheless, he would still eventually get to see her if they got serious with their relationship... Wasn't it best she just came out clean? She decided to go with Tayo, till she was sure enough that she was comfortable on meeting him physically.
Their conversations had started like that, spanning from day to hour to minute. They spoke all the time, and even Lolade knew that something was different about her sister.
Lolade and her son still lived at Tobi's place. She still hadn't made up her mind on if she was going to go back to her matrimonial home. She didn't even miss him, and she was beginning to get scared that maybe she didn't love her husband anymore...
She had resumed at the new job. Tobi had urged her to take the offer. Lolade herself could see that there was a difference in her countenance and appearance. The first day of work, she had stared at herself in the mirror from head to toe. She wasn't the same woman she was before she resigned her job and got married...there were now some folds of fat around her curves and edges, but she still looked good for a woman who had birthed a child, and was carrying another. Looking at her reflection brought tears to her eyes. She was beautiful. And she couldn't understand how she had let herself become a man's punching bag. But it wasn't as though she could stop him physically. He was overly stronger than she was. Her only strength was in raising her voice and yelling at him.
Her conscience pricked her, she had to admit. She never would have ever imagined in her wildest dreams that she would end up as a house wife; an abused one at that. And that she would eventually have to live apart from her husband.
"Babe, I'm suspecting you these days o. What's going on? You're always chatting with someone. And I know it's a man because you're always blushing..." Lolade said, frying eggs that Saturday morning.
"Blush? You should know me, sis. I don't blush. I'm just not wired like that." Tobi responded.
"So you're indeed a lesbian ehn? Nawa o!" Lolade laughed.
Tobi hissed and walked out of the kitchen. Lolade noticed that she forgot her phone but she didn't mention it. As soon as Tobi stepped out of the kitchen, she locked the door and started to scroll through the chats. She burst out laughing. She couldn't believe this! Her stuck up sister was typing mooshy words to this new stranger. She scrolled up to read further. The man was requesting that he wanted them to see each other face to face, but Tobi had told him that she didn't think it was a good idea just yet, and that she still wanted to get to know him.
Lolade shook her head. She went through Tobi's contacts and searched for Jibola. Typical Tobi. Lolade already knew she would save his name as Jibola plainly. No love or pet words.
She heard the call connect, and she also heard Tobi's footsteps.
"Pick up, pick up, you idi..." Lolade muttered.
"Hey sweetie?" He said.
Wow! His voice was....ecstatic!
"Hello, I'm not her. I'm her sister." She said. She walked away from the door towards the window.
"Oh...ermm I guess this is Lolade?" He said.
"Yeah. I see she has talked about me already." Lolade said.
"Pleased to meet you."
"Look, she doesn't know that I'm calling you. I just wanted to give you the address to the house. I want you to come over for dinner tonight so you guys can eventually meet each other."
Tobi was knocking furiously.
"Lolade, what the...! Open this door! What are you doing?" Tobi yelled.
"I can't talk. My number is 081113745335. Get that down quick. I have to go, Call me for the description. Don't fall my hand!" Lolade said and hung up.
She sighed. She hurriedly dialed their mother's number and her own number so that Tobi wouldn't really suspect when she checked her call log.
"What are you doing with my phone, Lolade?" Tobi hissed, as Lolade opened the door.
Lolade rolled her eyes.
"I called mom. I'm out of airtime." She said.
"And you locked the door because?"
Lolade's phone started to ring. Good timing. She didn't have to answer her sister's question.
She guessed it was Jibola. She cut the call then she sent him a text asking if he was the one. He replied in the affirmative. Then she text him the address and description to Tobi's house.
The time was 4.30 PM. Lolade glanced at Tobi who was sitting on the floor and wearing a hideous red blouse and old torn pants. Her hair was a mess as usual. She didn't want Jibola meeting her this way.
"Babe," Lolade said.
"Yea?" Tobi replied.
"I have a party with an old friend tonight. I want you to come with me, please."
Tobi sighed and shook her head.
"Lolade I'm not going anywhere with you, okay. Just free me, abeg."
"But you're not doing anything at home."
"Mind your business. Leave my life."
"But you are the one always talking about finding a man...you need to go out..."
"And where did finding a man leave you?" Tobi retorted.
Lolade didn't say anything else. She couldn't believe that her sister had just insulted her with that sensitive issue. She nodded and grabbed her phone, then walked out of the living room.
Tobi felt bad. She knew she shouldn't have said what she said. She sighed again, then went into the room to join Lolade.
"I'm sorry, okay. I didn't mean it that way." She said.
"Ok." Lolade said, looking away.
Tobi knew her sister. She knew she was hurt.
"I'm sorry naaaa" She went over to the bed and pulled Lolade's hand playfully. Lolade didn't budge. Then she started to tickle her. Tickling Lolade was the easiest way to get her to do something. Tobi had been leveraging on that trick for about twenty years.
Lolade was laughing so hard with tears falling down each cheek.
"Okay! I've heard! I'm not upset anymore." She said, laughing.
"So, even if I come with you, I don't have any nice things to wear." She said.
"Leave that to me."
Jibola knew this area very well. He passed there very often on his way to the office everyday. He couldn't believe that Tayo lived so close. The time was 6.15 PM. Lolade had asked him to come for 7 PM. He didn't want to appear too eager or too early so he decided to stop at a store first to buy something for Tayo, and also for Lolade. By the time he was through, it was 6.35 PM. He got into his car and grabbed the pack of mint in his pigeon hole. He checked out his face in the mirror. He knew he looked good in his white Polo shirt and grey jeans. He didn't want to look too dressy. After all, it was a house- date.
"Lolade hurry up now! You said 7! It's almost 7! And you know there's always traffic." Tobi raised her voice.
"A minute please!" Lolade responded from the bathroom. She was buying time, waiting for Jibola to get to their house.
Then Tobi spoilt the plan. Lolade wanted Tobi to be the one to get the door when Jibola knocked. But then, Tobi remembered she had to quickly pick up something from the bedroom. Jibola was already at the door so Lolade had to get it herself.
The man was handsome! Lolade was almost tripping over herself. Jibola laughed. He always got that reaction from women.
"Hello..." He said, smiling.
"Hi, Jibola. Don't worry I'm not her. I'm Lolade." She said, letting him in.
Tobi joined them in a few minutes.
"Oh my God!" Tobi said, as she saw him. She couldn't really place the reason for her expression. Maybe it was the surprise of seeing him, or just the shock from how incredibly handsome he was. How did he find her house? How on earth? She couldn't believe he was in her living room! She had just sent him a message that she was going out with Lolade, and he had replied and said he trusted she would be in for a big surprise. She had been typing back, asking what he meant, when she walked in on him in the living room.
"Hi, Tayo." He laughed, going forward to give her a hug. He had a gift bag in one hand. Lolade was also holding a gift bag. Tobi already had her answers. Lolade had everything to do with this.
Jibola stared at her, taking a fill. She looked beautiful. She wasn't show-stopper, but she was adorable. She was wearing a white tunic and flat gold sandals. Her hair was flat tonged and her face was touched up with minimal make up. So that was the face behind the voice he had been getting incredibly fond of in the last couple of weeks.
"Tayo? Who's Tayo?" She said.
"Um..." Tobi stuttered.
*Please read, enjoy, comment and share
"Tayo? Who's Tayo?" She said.
"Um..." Tobi stuttered.
*Please read, enjoy, comment and share
Thursday, 9 October 2014
"Hurry up, Lolade. I have to get to the office." Brother Yemi raised his voice. The time was 7.35 AM. He usually had to resume at his office by 8.00 AM. Their house was not that far from the office building though.
Lolade had to go for her antenatal sessions at the hospital. Brother Yemi hadn't been too particularly happy when he heard news about the pregnancy. He had blamed her for it and called her wicked for getting pregnant, knowing well that he wasn't ready for a second child. She had spoken back at him and it had ended in his assaulting her over and over again. Now, the couple had come to the terms of the reality that they were having another child.
She was ready in about ten minutes. He had to drop her off at the hospital first, then go to work. She would take a cab back home afterwards. They had a help that stayed with them. Well, she wasn't exactly a maid. She was someone from the church that the Priest had sent to live with them. It was the church's way of helping the orphaned girl.
"Get down now?" Brother Yemi said, as he parked at the parking lot of the hospital. It was about fifty seconds and Lolade had not gotten out of the vehicle.
"Yemi I told you the money you gave me is not enough. And you know I don't have any money." She said.
He sighed, resting his head on the seat of the car.
"I told you I am broke, this woman." He said.
"And I told you to let me get a job!" She retorted.
She saw the reaction in his eyes. If she didn't get down any minute from then, he was probably going to hit her face. She nodded and grabbed her bag then walked out.
As she sat at the reception of the hospital, waiting to see the doctor assigned to her, memories of her past flashed in her mind. She'd had it all going good for her. She had been young and very successful as an International Oil company employee. She'd had many suitors too. She used to be more beautiful than she now looked. But she had singled out Brother Yemi. She didn't really know why. It wasn't as though there was particularly anything special about him, but she had just singled him out. Maybe it was because she wanted that ideal God-fearing spiritual man. Maybe it was his charisma. Every body knew he was God-fearing and spiritual...but being married to him now, she knew there was nothing about the fear of God in him.
The doctor had said the usual. He had asked her to keep fit and avoid stress, and he gave her a few drugs to take home. Her pregnancy was about three months and some weeks old now. The doctor had seen the bruise on her arm and on her cheek. He had asked her what happened. She couldn't tell him that they were the autographs from her husband's manhandling. So she lied that she had fallen and he had told her to be extra-careful because of the baby.
She was waiting for a taxi when she heard her phone beep. It was an email. She wanted to ignore it. Her emails these days were mostly from the bank, or some junk from marketers who were trying to digitally sell products. But this email; it was from a company. It was a construction company. The email was acknowledging receipt of her CV and was asking her to come in for an Interview at their office. She didn't really know what to make of it. She hadn't sent her CV anywhere. She checked the date that they asked her to come for the Interview. Lo, it was that day's date! And the time was for 10.30 AM. She sighed. She was probably going to have to pass on this one. The time was 8.40 and she was dressed in an annoyingly loud orange colored blouse and stone colored shorts. Her hair wasn't even done.
She finally got a taxi home. As she opened her wallet to pay the driver, she found her old office card. She brought it out and stared at it for a while. Her position had read Deputy Head Drilling Services.
There had to be more than this.
"Madam pay my money na!" The taxi driver hurled out.
"Please hold on. Can you give me ten minutes, I will pay you. I want you to take me to this address." She called out the address in the email.
The time was 9.00 AM.
Tobi couldn't believe what she was reading on the blog. It was Friday evening and she didn't really have anything planned up so she decided to work on her blog. She was thinking of putting together an article about The Girl child. She was searching for something on Google when she stumbled on the post.
WOMEN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND BLOGGER, TOBI SANDER A LESBIAN???
The comments were rolling in already. 265 of them. Two hundred and sixty five. She wasn't really one who was bothered about public impression of her. She prided herself in the thickness of her skin. But these comments were harsh. Even some of the women whose cause she was fighting for, were asking her to go get a life! The same thing had happened at the radio show the other time. Someone had called and asked if she was a lesbian. Why would people think that?!
She shut down her computer. She needed to think.
She was thirty two and her last relationship had started and ended when she was twenty six. That was about six years ago. She didn't really have any men wanting a relationship with her. The only men she knew were in her contacts just for official purposes. The only other person who wanted her was a married man in his fifties. And that was a No no for her.
Her phone rang out loud. It was Lolade. Just the person she needed to speak with. She knew Lolade had lots of friends. Maybe she would have single guys, or friends who had brothers or cousins or step brothers...
"What's up?" Tobi said, answering the call.
Lolade was crying.
"Tobi I'm in a taxi on my way to your place. I can't live here anymore with Yemi. I'm coming with my son..."
Tobi didn't really hear the rest of what her sister was saying. They were mumbled words.
"Okay...I'm home. I'll be waiting." She replied.
Lolade was still in tears when she arrived her sister's place. Tobi had brought her a pack of tissues and a bowl of Ice cream. That's what worked for her whenever she felt miserable or in a bad place.
"If you aren't really ready to talk about it yet, you can talk about it at your own time..." Tobi said. The little boy was asleep already and Tobi had put him to bed in the bedroom.
"I mean...how shallow can a man be? I got a job offer. They are willing to pay me 250 K. Shouldn't that be good news? I don't know...shouldn't he be happy that there will be another stream of income in the home? He hit me when I told him. He called me disobedient and not submissive. I'm tired of this marriage." She cried.
Tobi held her sister's hand.
"Maybe he feels intimidated by you." She said.
"I can't even remember sending my CV there..."
Lolade stared at her, then she burst out laughing.
"Thank you love." She said.
"But I also got you in trouble with him."
Lolade rolled her eyes.
"Let's talk about something else please..." She opened the lid of the Ice cream bowl and dug her spoon in.
"What's up with you these days?" Lolade asked.
"I'm being labelled a Lesbian." Tobi smiled and switched on the TV.
"What? That's crazy! Why?"
"Why else? She don't got a maaann..." Tobi tried to make a joke. But Lolade could see between her sister's words.
"You know what? Let's hit the club or something. It's Friday."
"Good girl gone bad. You're supposed to be Brother Yemi's holy wife o."
"Shut up. Babe, let's just go out tonight. I need it too."
"And where do we keep the baby?"
"I have someone I can call to babysit him. Don't worry about that. We will be gone for just a few hours."
Lolade picked her phone and called one of her younger friends who didn't live too far off. While they waited for the babysitter to come over, Lolade pulled Tobi into the bedroom to get her dressed up.
"I know I look like a mess but Tobi, you look like a dejected starved nun! Please tell me you have a dress you can wear and some make up."
"You know I don't. I'm not interested..."
In about thirty minutes, after the babysitter had arrived, the sisters were on the road. Tobi drove as Lolade gave the directions. She had succeeded in getting Tobi dressed up in a green top and a black short skirt. She tonged her hair and put some make up on her. Tobi had laughed when she saw herself in the mirror. She had to admit she did look prettier, but she was uncomfortable.
The traffic on the express way was a grid lock. There was no way they could get to the club. They had been in one spot for about twenty minutes. Tobi was getting frustrated.
"I told you I wanted to stay home. But no, you just had to bring us into this traffic. Even if I turn back, the turning is still very far off!" Tobi whined.
Lolade shook her head. She was getting tired of her sister's mumbling. She put on the radio and reclined her seat. Tobi hissed.
"95.4 Flourish FM, this is Cupid hour. Call our numbers on 080111111, 0801111112 and 0801111113. We bring you Tiwa Savage and Patoranking's Girlie O. Stay tuned...
Go tell my friends dem go tell my friends dem that you will die for me
go tell my mama go tell my papa dat you will die for me
For so long I've been waiting o....
"Tell that to Yemi. He will rather kill me than die for me." She said.
In a few minutes, the song was over and the radio host was back on air.
"This is TMac on the air. Please feel free to call in. You never can tell, you just might find your life partner on the show. Hello, TMac speaking you're on to Cupid hour, Flourish FM..."
Tobi was about to tell Lolade that she knew TMac but she was surprised when she turned to face her. She was speaking on the phone and her voice was echoing in the radio.
"Please turn down the volume of your radio, darling..." TMac said.
Lolade reduced the volume of the radio a little bit but Tobi could still hear.
"My name is Lolade...I'm calling from Lekki. Can you find a man for my sister?"
Tobi was almost screaming.
"Oh I can see you're your sister's keeper. Nice. So tell me about your sister, Lolade." TMac said.
Tobi was waving her hands for Lolade to shut up.
"Her name is Margaret as in Margaret Thatcher. Iron Lady. She's a little over thirty and is..."
Tobi grabbed Lolade's phone.
"Hello TMac. This is her sister..em...my name is Anita." She lied.
"Okay Miss Anita..."
"Anita. No Miss." Tobi said.
TMac was silent for a few seconds.
"You just reminded me of someone." He chuckled.
Tobi's heart skipped a bit.
"So what kind of man do you want?"
"Well," Tobi laughed. "Tall, dark, cute, employed, a good christian, caring, loving, and over thirty three years of age. And please, someone who doesn't live with his mom."
Lolade burst out laughing. Tobi's ex had been a momma's boy.
"That's a ...a tall order and I must tell you, a scarce commodity." TMac said.
"Well, scarce or not, tall or not, it's my order and I have a right to my choices." She said.
Lolade shook her head.
"Alright then. Please tell me about yourself, Anita."
"I'm a woman who has a mind of her own, simply put. And I want a man who knows how to respect a woman." She added.
"Mummy, I am not going back to Yemi's house!" Lolade talked back at her mother. It was after Sunday Mass. Neither Lolade nor Tobi had showed up at Mass so their mother went over to Tobi's place.
"Yemi told me you walked out on him." Their mother said.
"Oh. Did he tell you he hits her all the time?" Tobi said. She was upset.
"Madam, I didn't ask for your opinion. You can't understand this. You are not married." The older woman said angrily.
Tobi shook her head and walked out on them.
"Mom, my life is at risk." Lolade said.
Her mother pulled her close and hugged her.
"Please go back to your husband's house. I know it's Tobi that's brainwashing you with this women liberation thing. My dear, this is Africa. Face reality. Think of yourself and your parents. Think of your son. Do you want to bring shame to your dad in the church? You just have to go back."
Lolade couldn't believe this.
"And let him kill me?"
"He won't kill you. We will talk to him. Please. It's a normal thing for a man to hit a woman. You must have done something wrong...He's just correcting you..."
Tobi overheard what their mother had just said. And now, she remembered where the passion for women rights and campaigning against domestic violence had sprung from.
She had watched their dad beat their mom several times, growing up.
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Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Lord Make us instruments of your peace,
where there is hatred
Let your love increase...
Tobi watched Brother Yemi play the Piano as the Legion of Mary Choir of St. Paul's Catholic church sung in melody and harmony. He was good at what he did; Brother Yemi. He was the leader of the choir. And he had charisma. He had class. He was the kind of man every sister who struggled to be at the front pew wanted in a man. He was the kind of man that Father Benjamin always encouraged the ladies in the youth group to pray for. Yes, Brother Yemi had style and finesse. He even received his holy communion with class. He always walked the aisle with a steady bounce, and he just had this behd way of receiving the broken bread and wine.
Tobi almost laughed as she watched her brother-in-law. Brother Yemi was actually her brother in law. He was married to her sister; her one and only sister, Lolade. Lolade had been one of the many girls in church that adored Brother Yemi, and she had done everything she could to get his attention. She had gone to him with spiritual problems and for career counselling, to mention a few. Tobi wondered how Brother Yemi, who had studied History, and worked with a bank, could rightly counsel Lolade who was a civil engineer. However, Tobi hadn't been the one wondering any more when Brother Yemi declared his intention to marry Lolade. The whole church had been so happy about it especially because their dad was a big member of the church and belonged to and headed many of their church societies . Lolade hadn't gone past the wedding without gathering enemies from the female congregation however, who only smiled at her for the sake of eye service.
It was about three years since their marriage and Lolade now had a baby. Things had changed. She had to quit her job with an oil company because Brother Yemi had just thought it wasn't exactly traditional of a good woman to work, especially a woman who had a husband and a son to take care of. So she'd had to give up the job that paid her 4.6 Million Naira per annum. The family now lived on Brother Yemi's 2.8 Million per annum. Brother Yemi's mother had been a stay at home wife...so it was only the right thing to do that Lolade also became a stay at home mom...
As the Legion of Mary Choir begun singing the Benediction hymn Thank you, for giving me the morning...with Brother Yemi's powerful talent working on the big Piano, Tobi felt her sister grip her hand. They were sitting together at Mass. The baby was with their mother.
"Are you okay?" Tobi asked, looking at Lolade.
She nodded, but Tobi could tell that there was something wrong.
"What is it?" Tobi asked again.
Lolade looked at the choir as they filed out after the Priests. Then her gaze went to her husband who was ending the notes of the final chorus of the hymn. The Mass was almost over, and it meant that they would be going back home soon.
"Is there a problem, Lola?" Tobi said, trying to follow her sister's gaze.
Lolade's eyes begun to fill up with tears. She looked away and hurried out of the building. Tobi ran after her.
"What is it?! You're scaring me!" She said.
"I don't want to go home, Tobi. I'm scared..."
"Scared of what? What are you talking about?"
Lolade shook her head.
"I can't...I know you're a journalist and you write about things like this...and I don't want to get him into any trouble..."
Tobi couldn't believe this.
"Oh my God! He hits you! Since when? What...how...when did this start?"
Tobi was shocked.
She was a journalist, columnist cum blogger on Feminism and Women Rights, and she had a strong social media campaign against Domestic Violence and Verbal Violence against women. Her campaign, #thestrongweakervessel was gaining heavy ground on facebook, twitter and Instagram. Her movement had even won the support of the United Nations and celebrities from the United States. She had been a strong partaker of the once upon a time #bringbackourgirls campaign, and even if it was fizzling out, she was determined to go on with fighting for the cause, even if the hashtag would change to #bringbackourwomen should incase the victimed girls were eventually rescued a million years after.
She was hurt. She was hurt that she was such an active personality against violence, and the very thing was happening to her own sister.
"It's been for some months now. Tobi I'm tired. He threatened me with a knife last night!" Lolade said, her voice shaky.
"Why? What was the fight about? Have you told anyone?"
Lolade shook her head.
"I told him I wanted to go back to work. I'm pregnant again, and we can't keep living on just his income. Our son is due to start school soon...and we have rent to pay and so many things lined up. It's not easy. I tried to ask daddy but he won't let me. And then he hit me for disrespecting him and from no where, he brought out a knife. I ran to the toilet when I saw the knife...he was almost going to stab me, Tobi!" She cried.
"This is..." Tobi said.
"Hi, Tobi. Hello, my dear wife..." They heard him say. It was Brother Yemi. He was now standing beside them. Tobi was irritated by his wolf-in-sheep-clothing smile.
Lolade looked from Tobi to her husband. She was scared.
"Let's go home. Where's the baby?" He said.
"He's with my mother." Tobi spoke for her sister.
Brother Yemi smiled again, then he held Lolade's arm, and pulled her lovingly away from that area so that they could get going.
"She's not going with you..." Tobi raised her voice.
"Because?" He said.
"It's fine...I'll go..." Lolade said. Tobi tried to argue but she calmed her down and started to follow her husband. Lolade looked back at Tobi, and Tobi didn't know what to do to save her sister...and all the other women who were out there in the cold grip of violence.
"Hello?" She said, picking the call. This was why she knew it was hightime she got herself a manager. She was no longer just anybody. She was fast becoming a reckonable force and celebrity...
Frequently, she had been receiving calls and emails to grant interviews and speak on issues relating to violence and women abuse.
"Good morning, this is Steven Alege from 95.4 Flourish FM." The person at the other end of the line said. She wasn't a frequent radio listener. Most times when she drove, she was calculating a thousand thoughts in her head.
"Oh, good morning..." She replied. It was 8.45 AM. She had a meeting for 9.30 AM at an African Women Association support fundraiser. She was already getting dressed in her usuals; a white shirt, black skirt, and a blazer, with black flat ballet pumps. Lolade always told her that one thing she needed to work on to get herself a husband, was her dress sense. Tobi didn't care. She just didn't think there was any point in going through all the trouble of wearing uncomfortable high heels and make up just to please a man who was most likely going to end up being violent or unfaithful.
"We tried to get your manager's number but..."
"I don't have one." She cut him short.
"Yeah, we figured..."
"Okay..." She was hurrying him up. She didn't want to be late for her meeting.
"Um...we want to know if you can make an appearance at the radio station for 10.30 AM on Thursday. It's our Real Issues segment and we would like for you to speak on domestic violence and your social media campaign..."
She paused. She was doing a brain check of her itinerary.
"Hello?" Mr. Stephen Alege said.
"I was trying to see my schedule. It's fine. Book me for it." She replied, then she ended the call.
The Real Issues segment at Flourish FM was usually hosted by Tonia but just that Thursday morning, she had called in sick. And the management had given the job to him to host. He knew Tonia too well. She had called in sick because she didn't want to face the guest that was coming. When Oga Stephen had told them it was Tobi Sander that was coming, the atmosphere changed. Everyone knew she was a rigid and overly serious person...not the kind that they usually had at the studio. Tonia always liked to crack jokes and flirt a little with the guests if they were male. If they were female, she just joked. But Tobi Sander. She wasn't the type to even giggle at the slightest tease.
"Oga Steve, this is just unfair...why me? Call Tonia to do this, please. I don't even take this segment! I take sports and song requests!" He complained.
Stephen Alege shrugged.
"She's going to be here any time from..."
She was wearing her signature white cotton shirt, an A-line black skirt, and a jacket. She walked in on them, looking at her wrist watch. It was 9.50 AM.
"Hello, good morning. I'm here for the Real Issues Talk today...it's already 9.50 AM. I guess the presenter is waiting for me already...I hope I'm not late..." She started, looking from Stephen to the guy.
He shrugged and sighed as Oga Stephen started to make conversation with the guest.
"I'm the presenter for the segment today. We should start in about thirty minutes." He said.
"Oh. Good. What's your name?" She asked.
"Tobi. But every one knows me as TMac." He replied.
She nodded. At least he was her name sake.
The show started in a few minutes.
"Good morning Lagos, Good morning Nigeria. The time is 10.30 AM from your ever representing radio station, 95.4 Flourish FM. My name is TMac. I'm sure you are all expecting Tonia to be here, but do not mind that pretty lass! She had to be somewhere very very urgently. I hope your morning is rolling out fine quite aaalright....No traffic stress, no horrible boss-stress at work...
So today on the Real Issues segment, we will be discussing a very important topic; Domestic Violence against women. I know this is a very sensitive and touchy issue and I really wish Tonia was here, but I believe I should be able to do some justice to this.
We hear about Domestic violence everyday. We see it happen all the time, under our very own noses sometimes. Even on the streets...we see someone drive a car drive slowly and we assume it's a woman. This issue had always been, and will always be. So we have decided to talk about it today. Share your thoughts, and share your comments.
With us in the studio is a woman who is making a name for herself on social media and on the global platform. She is a journalist, columnist, and a feminist blogger, and she's also a speaker...She's the strong and unique Miss Tobi Sander..."
Tobi smiled. She wondered why he had to include Miss. Did he mean to show the entire city and stress it that she was an unmarried feminist?
"Goodmorning Lagos! Thank you very much, TMac. For corrective purposes, I'm addressed plainly as Tobi Sander. There's no Miss or Mrs." She said.
TMac nodded, trying to think of what next to say.
"I'm very sorry. You see, that's why I call her unique! She is a living picture of her trade." He laughed.
She started to speak and talk, and then the calls started to come through. They were mostly women. They called in to tell stories of how their husbands molested and abused and disrespected them, and how they only stuck in the marriage for the sake of their kids.
Then the final caller came through.
"Hello, Flourish FM, good morning, what's your name and where are you calling from?" TMac said.
"Good morning. I'm Justin. I'm calling from Ikoyi."
"Hi Justin..." Tobi said in unison with TMac.
"I have a question for Miss Tobi." He said.
"Go ahead please..." Tobi replied, trying not to take offence at the Miss.
"Okay. First, you're not married. I see your photos. I read your articles. You're thirty two years old. Is this all there is to your life? When you give all your speeches and talks about women liberation, what happens next? Do you hook them up with the good and ideal man that ladies like you have in their heads? You don't know anything about marriage. You don't know how crazy it is when a woman nags you and provokes you..."
"I'm sorry we're going to have to go on a commercial break now. We will be right back. Stay tuned to your number one radio station!" TMac said and ended the call immediately. He knew that was unethical to do as an OAP, but he had to. He could tell how embarrassed Tobi Sander was getting.
"I'm really sorry about that, Tobi. You know how people are..." He apologized. Stephen also came to her in a few, apologizing and blaming himself for it.
"It's...It's fine. It comes with the job." She laughed.
That was the first time TMac saw her laugh. And that was the first time he noticed her perfect dentition and attractive dimple.
"You should laugh more often. You're beautiful." He said, shortly before they came back on air. She was going to reply him...of course negatively, but they were now back on air.
"Hello, this is going to be our last caller as the show is coming to an end now and we can only take one more call. We are still talking about domestic violence with Tobi Sander with me in the studio. Hello, this is Flourish FM, Real Issues segment, my name is TMac, who are you and where are you calling from?"
"Hello! Hi TMac, Hi Tobi. I'm Ginika." The caller said.
"Hello Ginika" Tobi and TMac replied.
"I want to ask Tobi. I hope you won't be offended...but are you a lesbian?"
They were only just back from a commercial break. Stephen didn't know what to do, as he listened and tried to think on his feet. Obviously, she was embarrassed. She was trying to think of something to say... TMac was also trying to be spontaneous. He didn't want to end the call.
"I'm sorry Ginika but we don't entertain questions of such nature on Flourish FM," He started, but Tobi cut him short.
"No, no it's fine. She wants to know if I like women." Tobi laughed.
"Yes, I love women, because I am a woman, and I believe in the rights of women as individuals. However, unfortunately, I am not sexually attracted to women. I hope you're not offended at that?"
Ginika ended the call.
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