Thursday, 9 October 2014
ON AIR PERSONALITY EPISODE 2
"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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