Thursday, 31 March 2016

BEFORE OUR EYES- EPISODE SEVEN

EPISODE SEVEN



Current

February.






She clutched the transparent clear bag to her chest as she reached for her keys from her hand bag. It was 3.15pm and she had returned from yet another CV-drop. She had resorted to forcefully dropping hard copies of her resume in law firms. Most companies had restricted access. Even the security guards had the bad eye thing going on like they were better than she was.

Yes. It had been about four months already since she lost her job at the law firm where she worked until the eventful encounter with none other than Mrs. Akingbile nee Ajayi- Cresley. A part of her wondered if the woman had connections in all the other places she had applied to because not one of the sixteen firms had even sent her an invite for an interview.

She was beginning to go broke. Expenses were running up but no income was coming in. The rent for her apartment was due by November. She had to get a flat mate so they could split the bill as she couldn’t continue to solely pay six hundred thousand per annum. 

When she left Lanre, she had about two million Naira in her credit balance. He had asked for the car he bought her when she insisted on leaving. He had also asked for the keys to the makeup studio and every other thing she had enjoyed in his name. It was only then that she started to understand what it felt like when her father had chased out her mother. Lolade knew she had relaxed. She had made money from the makeup business but she had been frivolous and spent a large chunk of her funds on very expensive interior d├ęcor in the studio every three months because she wanted it to be classy, have variety and to attract high potential clients. She remembered that she had asked Lanre to buy her a plot of land in her name and he had always given her the excuse of having his funds tied in a lot of businesses. 

After payments for rent, maintenance, bills and a couple of other things, she had to get a job. she finally got the one at the law firm where she was earning a little above eighty thousand Naira. She didn’t have a choice. She had to take it or take the high way. She didn’t even have a car if she chose the high way option.

She sighed as she opened the cap of the bottled water in her fridge. It was lukewarm. The same way she had left it since the night before. There was no electricity to power the refrigerator and her generator was faulty. She missed her old life even if she had walked away with her two eyes wide open. She knew she had to leave Lanre that day she had seen him in bed with the stranger who was supposed to complete the threesome. She knew she had succumbed to all his weird fantasies because she loved him and he was good to her. But there was as much as she could take and she had gotten tired. Her body was spent…at her young age. And he had still not married her. He always avoided talking about marriage with her. At first, she reasoned with him that he had gone through a lot with the divorce and the loss of his kid, but she had gotten to her breaking point. Life was rolling away and she knew she had to break away. If she didn’t leave, she wouldn’t ever be able to. She enjoyed the largeness and the good life quite alright, but she couldn’t do it on a long term basis. If he could turn his back on his wife for her, she knew it was just a matter of time before he did same to her.
He had pleaded with her and asked her to stay with him. He had said he needed her and had nobody else. He said he had issues and he would work on them. He said they could go away on holiday to Mauritius for a month and be with each other. But Lolade had made up her mind. A part of her considered staying with him. She didn’t want all the time she had invested in the relationship to go to waste. She didn’t know how she would start over. When he had threatened her that she was nothing without him and he made her who she was, that was when she decided it was farewell time. She had packed her bags and put them in the CR-V. She had nowhere to go. She didn’t really have any friends. The ones she had weren’t real and she knew they gossiped about her all the time. Lanre had pleaded again but when she wouldn’t listen, he requested for the car keys and every other thing he had given her. She couldn’t believe he would. But he did. And she found herself squatting with her client turned friend, Ada till she was able to get the two bedroom flat where she now lived.






***




Nike signed the document on her table that her personal assistant had brought in. The documents were from Tunde’s lawfirm. He had informed her that he had fired Lolade and had gotten another associate to start working on the brief. She wanted to feel bad for what she had done. She had cost the girl her job. But she did not feel bad. She wondered if this made her bad person. But she felt good. Nothing like a bad person.

“Thank you. Please get the documents together and send them back to the lawyer’s office.” She put the documents together and handed them over to her p.a who nodded and took them.

“Are you okay though?” The p.a asked.

Nike took off her emerald green reading glasses and shook her head.

“No I am not, to be honest.” She said.

“Okay, why don’t you take the day off? You’ve had a really busy day you know. There’s nothing else on your schedule for the day.” She said.

“Naaa. I’m good. I guess I just need to relax a bit. Maybe watch a little television or read a blog or something.” Nike said.

“I insist.” Her p.a said.

Nike laughed and the girl joined in.

“So you’re now the boss of me?”

The p.a shrugged.

“I’ll call Tosan.” She said.

Nike laughed. 

Tosan was a constant k in her office. He dropped in every other day and spoke at the top of his voice. One time Nike had a meeting, she had asked the security men not to let him in. He was Toju’s cousin who had just returned from Germany and was looking for a wife. Nike wondered how on earth Toju would have thought she was interested in the man. He was loud, full of himself literally, and always had to pass through doors with his side because of his obese weight.

“Please don’t! I’ll do whatever you want.” Nike laughed.

Everyone knew Tosan was toasting the boss.

“He’s so not your type.” The p.a said.

Nike rolled her eyes.

“I see you know my type, huh?” She said sarcastically.

She took a mental note of her type again. Tall, light skinned, curly hair, toned body, a nice accent, a good job…

She was not ready for marriage. Not another one. She didn't really know what she wanted. Yes she did feel lonely a lot of the time and she wanted to feel the warmth of a good man's arms and love again. But---

It had just been two years since she split from her ex husband. She knew she had to start going out more, but she wanted nothing in life other than to have her son by her side. Lanre had still not consented to bringing him over to Nigeria so Nike had to travel a lot more times than usual to see him. She had considered relocating once but she had her entire business in Nigeria.

She remembered she had to book a meeting with her business partner, Ronke Phillips, relating to a contract they had gotten from a developer to furnish three blocks of luxury apartments in the Surulere axis.

“You didn’t remind me. I was supposed to meet with Ronke Phillips by four p.m today, right?” Nike said, switching from friend mode to boss mode.

“I’m sorry I forgot to tell you. She had to cancel. She said she will give you a call. I thought she had done that already.”

Nike shook her head.

“I should get these sent to the lawyers now. Excuse me.” Her p.a said. 

"Please call Akpan. Tell him I'm ready to go." Nike said. 

Akpan was her driver. And he was better paid than some of her junior staff. Akpan. He was more than a driver to her. He was a life saver. He had been to the one who had rushed her to the hospital when she had fallen off the staircase from being drunk over her failed marriage. When she had started to put funds together to start her company and businesses again, Akpan had agreed to drive her around without a salary. Her father had offered to give her the funds she needed to start up her career again but she had refused. She had accepted the funds as a loan and within fourteen months of starting business, she had been able to pay him back with interest and appreciation gifts. Her father had told her how proud he was of her.  





***




Her phone continued to ring. It was her mother. She had been calling her repeatedly for two days in a row but Lolade wasn’t answering them. She knew her mother too well. She had probably heard that she had lost her job and was going to rub it in and remind her of how she had preached and warned against Lanre and bla bla bla. She knew it was the truth. Yes. Mama was right. But she didn’t want to hear it. It was bad enough that she had lost her job. She knew she had been foolish and carried away and blinded but she didn’t need her mother’s epistles and sermons at the moment. She ignored the call and hissed.


The phone rang for a fourth time and she grunted in anger. She grabbed it and answered.

“Ki lode?!” She yelled angrily.

There was a little silence for a while.

“Hello?” The voice at the other end said.

It wasn’t her mother’s voice. She took the phone from her ear and looked at the caller I.D. It was Ada. She laughed.

“Ada, hi. What’s up? Sorry I thought it was ….someone else. I didn’t want to speak to the person.” She said.

“Nawa o. Na fight? Is the person owing you money?” Ada teased.

Lolade laughed.

“My dear, I wish somebody was owing me money o. I’m getting so broke.” Lolade said.

She was free with Ada. She had grown to love her as a friend and confide in her as sister. She had told her everything that happened in the relationship with Lanre…down to the details. Ada had been surprised especially because Lanre came across as a soft spoken and easy going man. Ada was a budding artiste. She wanted to sing for a living but her parents were against it so she had moved out of the house and quit her bank job. The first time they had met was when Ada had come to the studio for her promo pictures. She made good music but she was yet to make a good break. 
Perhaps it was because of the kind of music she rendered. 

Gospel.



“How far? What are you doing today?” Ada asked.

“Hmmm…let me see. Sending cv to many more emails.” Lolade said.

“Okay you can take a break from that for about four hours. I want you to come for a programme in my church…” Ada started.

“Oooooohhh Ada, you have started. I told you I’m not down for all those church ish. You know I love my space. I don’t even have any money to spare and drop in your church basket.” Lolade said.

“Come on now. It’s a special programme and guess who is being featured?” Ada said.

“What?....Ada? You?” Lolade said, excitedly.

“Yesss!” Ada screamed. “I’m taking a session in the Worship. And I am doing a solo. I am not back up to anyone. I will send you the poster on Whatsapp now.”

“Awwww I’m happy for you my darling! What time is the programme?”

“It’s in two hours. Go and start getting ready.”

Lolade laughed.

“Yes, boss. Anything for you. Send the poster right now. I’ll come.”




Lolade smiled at the usher who led her to the empty seat in front. She loved the view. She was directly opposite the stage so she could see the performances very clearly without any obstruction. She was stretching out her neck, looking out for Ada. The Worship session was yet to start. The Pastor was still giving the opening prayers.

“Excuse me, that’s my seat.” A male voice said. Lolade turned to look at him. He was standing over her, with his phone in his hand.

“Erm…the usher led me here. I didn’t find any thing on the seat.” Lolade said.

“I went out to take an important call.” He said, showing her his phone.

Lolade shrugged.

“Sorry o. I am not leaving here. Maybe you should find another seat. Be a gentle man, okay.” She said and looked away, hoping he would leave and find somewhere else. By the time she turned to look at where he had been standing, he had left. 

She laughed and continued looking out for her friend as the Pastor urged the congregation to pray.









*fisayotalabi
*Episode 7
*Before our eyes
*please read, enjoy, drop a comment and share

*photocredit askteekay.com



Sunday, 27 March 2016

BEFORE OUR EYES - EPISODE SIX

EPISODE SIX







Retro



Nike looked at the notice again. Toju had brought it in. She had since moved out of the home she had shared with Lanre and was now living with Toju, her bestfriend, pending when she was able to settle into her life again. Her mother had asked her to come stay over but she didn’t want to be reminded of the loss of her son with their constant weeping and continuous expressions of how disappointed they were in Lanre. Toju lived alone. She had moved out of her husband’s house when she had caught him cheating some years ago.

“Who’s it from? No one really knows I’m staying with you except my family.” Nike said.

Toju handed the white envelope over to Nike. It was an official envelope from Mybridge Properties Limited.

“What does he want now?” Nike sighed.

“Who?” Toju asked.

“This is from the company. Our company.”

“Oh I see. Open it then…”

“Yeah…” Nike pulled open the overlap of the envelope which was sealed. She took out the letter and unfolded it.



Special Notice of Extraordinary General Meeting for removal of Mrs. Olanike Akingbile from the Board of Directors of Mybridge Properties Limited.
Notice is hereby given that the company shall hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on the 5th day of November 2014 by 10a.m at its registered address to discuss the following businesses:
1.      Commencement
2.      Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Last meeting
3.      Removal of Mrs. Olanike Akingbile from the Board of Directors
4.      Any other Business
5.      Closing

Signed

Joseph Jidenna
Company Secretary.


Nike read out the content of the letter.

“Removal ke? Why?” Toju asked, looking puzzled. “Your ex is a real idiot, babe. How can he do this? After everything? Can he even do this? You set up that company with him didn’t you?”

Nike stared into space. She was shocked beyond words. Toju took the envelope from her and read through it herself. There was another sheet of letter head inside the envelope. She opened it and read through.

“What’s that?” Nike asked.

“Reasons why they are removing you from the board.”

“And what reason would that be?” She laughed.

“Incompetence. You have been absent from three consecutive board meetings and by the provisions of the articles of the company you can be removed bla bla…” Toju shook her head.

“Isn’t this supposed to be by vote or something? And why are they still referring to you as Mrs. Akingbile?” Toju asked.

Nike shrugged.

“I haven’t changed my name.” 

“And you are a majority shareholder right?”

“I think so…I held 30% and he had 60 leaving 10 unallotted. We were going to allot them to the boys but then he said we shouldn’t. Then his friend and business partner wanted 48% in exchange for services he was rendering to the company. I gave up 27 of mine because Lanre had to still have controlling shares and he is….i mean was…my husband and head of the family.”

Toju looked puzzled.

“Em…so you have 3% now?”

Nike nodded.

“Let me call my lawyer friend to advise us on what we can do.”

Nike stopped her as she reached for her phone.

“What?” Toju eyeballed her. Nike was crying already.

“I am tired. I am tired of fighting. I am tired of everything. I am just exhausted. I don’t think I have the strength to fight him. The only thing I want is for my child to come back to Nigeria. He is refusing to sign the consent forms.” Nike cried.

“Why are you acting like a mumu? This man is cheating you on every side! He cheated in the marriage, practically frustrated you out of your own home…now taking your company from you gradually and he caused Lekan’s death as far as I am concerned….”

Nike raised her hand midway in the air, meaning for Toju to stop.

“I’m sorry.” Toju said. She knew Nike never wanted to mention Lekan’s name or talk about his death. The other evening, she had seen Nike holding an old photo that she had taken with Lekan. Toju remembered that photo. She had taken the shot at Nike’s brother’s wedding.

“Its okay.” She responded.

“Do I call the lawyer?”

“No. They are right. I can’t keep up with any duties as a director. I don’t think I can stand attending meetings and looking at his face. Too many bad feelings right there, you know.”

“But your shares nko?”

“Well…I’ll retain my shares. It’s 3%. I’m fine being a minority.”

Toju smiled, looking at her friend.

“You’re a good woman sha. I wish I was like you but my blood is too hot.” Toju said.

“I know…aren’t you still getting twelve million annually from Sule’s company?” Sule was Toju's ex husband. 

“Yes ofcourse.” Toju said.







Lolade had just finished with the model she was working on. She smiled as the photographer started to take shots. One of the top tier fashion designers; Mimy of Mimmienne’s Couture had hired her to do the makeup for her models for the Lagos Fashion Week. Lanre had helped get the connection though. Mimy was his business partner’s wife.

“Are all the models ready now?” one of Mimy’s workers yelled. Lolade had brought one of her staff to work with her. He was her best hand. They weren’t done yet. They still had one more model to go.

“Almost, please.” Lolade said. 

She had begun wiping off the oil on the last model’s face when she begun to feel the tightening in her stomach. She knew she couldn’t continue so she asked her staff to finish up.

She  hurried to the rest room and threw up in the sink. She felt absolutely uncomfortable. Maybe this was her first sign of morning sickness. She rinsed her mouth and then went into the toilet to urinate. 

Then she saw it.
She hadn’t exactly taken a pregnancy test. She had still not peed on the stick she bought at the pharmacy the other day and she had continued to postpone her visit to the doctor for a proper HCG blood test because she’d been busy with a lot of weddings.
She was not pregnant. She was only late. By a month and two weeks. And now her period had come knocking.






Lanre read through the letter that Joseph, the company secretary had just handed to him. He was reading the letter for the third time. He looked up at Joseph, confused and speechless.

“When did this come in?” Lanre asked.

“This morning.” Joseph responded.

“So what is the implication of this…?”

“Well, it makes everything easier. The better for her though. She decided to resign as a director instead of being removed. We still have two directors which is the minimum so that works fine. If you are bringing in a third person make it someone you can have some level of influence over though. They do not have to hold shares since the articles don’t insist on that.” He said.

Lanre nodded.

“It’s okay. Let me think about it. I’ll get back.”

“Okay. Just hurry up with that so we can do the necessary filing together at the CAC because until that’s done, she is still a director on paper.”

“Thank you, Joseph.” Lanre said.

He looked at the slender and short man as he got off the chair and headed for the door. He wondered at Joseph’s enthusiasm though in getting Nike off the board. He wasn’t sure if he had personal issues against his ex wife or if the man was just doing his job.

As Joseph shut the door, he took the letter and looked at it again. Was Nike up to something? How come she gave in so easily? Was she trying to get back at him in another dimension? A part of him felt the obvious guilt and he felt bad for what he was putting her through. He didn’t mean to be mean to her. But he didn’t want her to bring Lade back to Nigeria and he had to get her to abort the mission because he was afraid.

Lanre was afraid and he admitted this to himself for once.

He couldn’t bear to look at Lade’s face on a daily basis. He knew it would remind him of how he had failed as a father and a husband to Nike. He didn't have to remove her as a director from the company. she hadn't shown up at the board meetings because she had been grieving. 

He knew it would haunt him of how he had reneged on all the promises he had made to her many years ago at the church altar where he had sworn to love her and protect her. Those promises he had made at the hospital bed when she had birthed Lekan through a Caesarian section and she had to be given blood because she had lost so much. He had sworn to never leave her and to always be a role model to their children. She had told him how her father had always been away on business trips and how she didn’t want her children to experience the same kind of childhood. But he hadn’t been able to fulfill that. He had to work…not because he had to but because he wanted to make a name for himself…different from his father’s brand. His father had wanted him to work at their energy company but he had preferred real estate. He had even tried to persuade his father to incorporate a subsidiary that would handle real estate section and he would gladly work within the family that way but his father had disagreed with the idea, called the market saturated, and insisted that Lanre would not be able to sustain for long.

He started to realize after Lekan’s death that he had spent all his time attacking his father and his past while neglecting his son and his future.

Nike did not deserve all he did to her. No, she was not a perfect woman or a perfect wife. She was far from that but he had no reason to hurt her the way he did. Maybe it was revenge and built up resentment.

He remembered the first time he had asked Nike to fulfill one of his strange sexual fantasies. Nike had called him vile and beastly. She had threatened to report him to his family if he ever brought up such disgust in their home again. And Lanre had not been able to understand why his wife would not want to have a three some. It wasn’t as though he shared any feelings with the other woman. It was only fun…and meaningless.

He pulled out his drawer and searched for the last wrap of his stuff. He grabbed his lighter and lit the end of it then he begun to inhale deeply. He shut his eyes as he anticipated the absence from his realities. Temporarily. He smoked some more.

The idea popped in his head. He wanted to have a three some again. He didn’t know how Lolade would feel about it but she was usually open to anything. He remembered she was pregnant. He had promised to marry her, especially as he was no longer married to Nike. But a part of him didn’t want to jump right into another marriage. He wanted a breather…for a while, to get his life back in track. Especially with the tragedy that had befallen him.


He left the office by 5.30pm. He didn’t care if his staff smelt the strength of the weed on him. He got into the car and asked the driver to take him home. They were to stop over at Victoria Island. He had a delivery to pick up.

The delivery was cute. She was tall, light skinned and protruded the right assets in the right places. She smiled and giggled a lot. She was a little younger than Lolade…definitely under twenty one. The girl sat with him in the back seat and he rubbed his palms on her thigh. His phone rang. It was Lolade.

“Hey baby. I was just going to call you. How is the runway thing going?” Lanre said.

“I’m okay. I’m coming home. I have to see you. I’m so sad right now.” Lolade said.

“Oh Sweets. Everything is going to be aaaaaaaalllright! Alright all the time. Okay?” Lanre laughed.

“Baby are you okay?” Lolade said.

“Uh—huh. I am. Come home fast and let me make you happy, okay?”

“Um…okay. I’m on my way.” She replied.

After thirty minutes since they got to the house, Lolade was still not back. He was tired of waiting for her and was thinking to kick off before she came.

“My girlfriend would be joining us. You know that right?” Lanre said to the other girl as he smoked his pot. His eyes were getting glassy and red.

She nodded, giggling. She hardly spoke. Her beauty did all the speaking for her.

“Can I smoke? Do you have gin?” She finally said something.

Lanre laughed and passed his wrap to her then he stood up to get her a drink.







Lolade locked the CR-V and walked to the front door. She opened the door with her key and grabbed a bottle of cold water from the fridge. She reached for the shelf where she kept drugs and took the sachet of pain killers. Her period always came with a special kind of cramps. She swallowed the tablets and climbed the stairs to go to the bedroom.

“Lanny!” She called. She knew he was home. She had seen his car and his driver who had greeted her in a rather odd kind of way. She wondered why he told her to come home quick. What was he up to? Or was he going to propose? Maybe that was why he had been sounding funny.

She opened the door of their bedroom and the gory sight left her mouth and the door ajar.

Lanre saw her and smiled, stretching out his hand and beckoning her to join in the whorism.

“She’s here now. Sorry we started without you. I was….you know…Come over.” He said. She saw the unfinished and burnt remnants of the wraps they had smoked and the bottles of gin and vodka.

The flash back came instantly.

The flash back of when Mrs. Nike Akingbile had been in her position, standing by the door, mouth ajar, seeing the gory details of Lanre’s sexual fantasies with another woman. That woman had been her. And now, she begun to feel what Mrs. Nike Akingbile felt.






*Please read, enjoy, drop a comment and share!

*Episode 6 Before Our Eyes

*fisayotalabi

Friday, 25 March 2016

BEFORE OUR EYES EPISODE 5

EPISODE 5









Retro


Time, they say, heals all wounds. Considerable months had passed since the demise of his son. At first, in the weeks subsequent to the burial, he had been exceptionally touchy and mean to her. But she understood him. Lolade knew she could take it especially because it was temporary. It would pass. He was only grieving.

Another good thing had happened. The divorce process between him and Nike had been finalized and he was now a free man…single and available for her, although she knew that she already had unhindered access to everything about him.


She had driven down to the mainland to buy some supplies for the house. Items were always cheaper in the mainland. Lekki merchants knew how to hike the prices. But she really couldn’t blame them. The rent for shops alone was alarming not to talk about other costs like running on generator and paying overhead. She took off her sun shades as three alabarus approached her to convey her items to her car. The two young women and an older one were almost getting into a fight on who would seal the deal.

She turned around. She knew she had heard her name. Someone had called her. And it was someone familiar going by the name she had been called.

“Ololade!” The female elderly voice called again. That was her full name and the few people who knew her by that were neighbors from her father’s house at Surulere before he had chased her mother away.

A robust woman in her late forties or early fifties was hurrying her steps towards Lolade. She was wearing an Ankara print iro and buba. Lolade recognized her without much effort.

“Mummy Tope?” Lolade said, trying to confirm that her guess was right.

The woman smiled and reached out to hug her. Lolade smiled but stepped back a little. The woman was mosit with sweat.

“Iwo re! Bawo ni? Oko e ati awon omo e nko?” The woman asked. (This is you! How are you? How are your husband and your children?)

Lolade nodded. She was not ready to go into any detailed explanation on how she was semi-married.

“Eyin na wa raja?” Lolade asked. (Did you also come to buy items in the market?)

“Rara o. Shop mi wa lehin. Mo man ta ounje fun awon iya oloja.” (No. My shop is behind. I sell food to the market women.)

Lolade nodded again. She opened her purse and counted five pieces of five hundred Naira notes and handed the sum to Mummy Tope. The woman grinned and thanked her and folded the notes in her bra.

“O tie bere aburo e Tope.” She said. (You didn’t ask about the well-being of your sister Tope.)

Lolade looked at her wrist watch. She had to leave.

“E ba mi ki.” (Send my regards to her.) Lolade said. She knew what was coming. Mummy Tope was going to inform her about all of Tope’s third world problems and how she needed help.

“Iya e nko?” Mummy Tope asked. (How’s your mother?)


The question lingered on her mind as she drove out of the parking lot. She did miss her mother. She was practically the only family she had left since her sister had died. She knew nothing about her father anymore and she wasn’t interested whether he was alive or dead. She decided to make a U-turn and take that one bold step she had been avoiding since she started her love relationship with Lanre.
The area was still the same. Cocks and stray goats walked on the muddy streets and the ugly stench of the blocked gutters filled with decomposing materials and stagnant green liquid choked her. It was amazing how the stench she had been used to before her big break suddenly became repulsive. A few teenage touts obviously high on cheap weed loitered around corners and fences, saying hello to young girls who had begun to manifest their womanly potentials with splurging breasts and round buttocks. She remembered her sister and Goosebumps crawled over her. She had vowed back then to track down the idiots that had raped and killed her. But later on, she realized it was her emotions that had been speaking, especially when she was faced with the realities of Nigeria. No man was willing to help any man without getting something in return. Shortly after her sister’s death, she had gone to the police to report the case and asked them to bring the criminals to justice. The police men had laughed and told her to come back after the elections as they were short of funds. Another officer had told her to leave everything to God.

She touched the knob of the wooden door that led to the two bedroom flat in the old pale green block on Nurudeen street. It was rusty and obviously bacteria infested. She reached for her sanitizer and applied some on her hand. As she walked into the living room, memories flooded her mind. She shut her eyes and swallowed some saliva. She was nervous.

“Ta ni yen?” She heard her mother’s all-too-familiar voice ask. (Who is that?)

Lolade turned around to face her. And for a few seconds, she was speechless. Her mother was frail. That was the word. Fragile. She was naked save for an old wrapper which she tied round her chest. Her hair was grey and braided with wool. She was a little bent.

“Mummy.” Lolade said. There was a variation in her pitch. It was from an emotional place.

The older woman was silent as well. Then she sat on the plastic chair beside her. Lolade noticed the limp. Had it been that long? Her mother had not been that ungoodlooking.

“Ololade.” Her mother said.

Lolade sighed. She didn’t know what to say.

“Sit down.” Her mother said, stretching out her arm towards the old fabric woven sofa.

Lolade dusted the seat first and then sat in it.

“What are you doing here?” Her mother asked.

“I…I wanted to see you. It has been a long time.” She replied.

“Em….Abike!” Her mother called out. A young girl probably around eight or nine years old hurried into the living room from the kitchen.

“Yes ma. Guaftnun ma.” Abike greeted Lolade.

“Who’s she?” Lolade asked her mother.

“The neigbours child. She helps me cook and clean the house sometimes.” Her mother said. 

She turned to Abike. “Go and buy malt for me from Mama Biliki. I will pay her tomorrow. Tell her I said so.”

Lolade shook her head immediately.

“No, no Mummy. I am okay. I--I won’t be staying long.” She said.

Her mother nodded, unready to challenge the decision.

“How is your health? You look sick.” Lolade said.

Her mother shrugged. “The Lord is my strength.” She said.

“He is mine too but how are you feeling?”

“I am healed.”

Lolade rolled her eyes. She opened her purse and counted seven thousand Naira then she handed it to her mother.

“Please manage this. I need your account number. I want to give you more money. You need to take care of yourself.”

Her mother looked at her.

“Do you still work at the law firm? Or you have found a better one? You are looking very healthy and well.”

Lolade smiled, shaking her head in sarcasm.

“You know I don’t work at the firm anymore Mummy. You know I quit my job since two years ago. I asked you to move in with me but you refused. We can take care of you. He can fly you abroad for proper medical attention…”

Her mother laughed this time.

“So you are still playing concubine to that man abi. O ti jawo nbe?” (You have still not stopped.)

“He is a good man. He has really helped me and you should even be grateful. He wants to marry me. But I keep telling him no because I know you won’t approve of him.”

“A married man wants to marry you. Have you not learnt anything from my own experience? Didn’t you see how your father treated us?”

Lolade grabbed her purse and stood up. She dropped the Naira notes on the centre table.

“He is not married. He is divorced. And I am going to marry him. I am not you, Mummy.”

“You are a coward. You are wallowing in sin.”

“I don’t know why I came here. I really thought things would have changed but no! I am going to marry him whether you think I am a whoremonger or not.” Lolade yelled and stormed out of the house where she had called home once.





***




“You must be out of your mind.” Lanre yelled. He shook his head. He was seated in his executive chair in his big office. 

Nike was on the other side, with one leg crossed over the other. She was still wearing black. It had been over nine months since they had lost Lekan but she was still clad in black. Her face had no makeup on and over her head was a vintage scarf. She was a classy woman who still looked good in her grief. 

Lanre noticed she no longer wore her wedding band. The band was off but he could see the ring marks on her finger. The marks had stayed because she never took off her rings.

“Lanre please I am not here to fight with you. All I want is that Lade be withdrawn from the school in Toronto. I want him here in Lagos with me…with us. I don’t ever want him to think for a moment that we don’t love him…” She said in a soft tone.

“Love him? I just forwarded three thousand sh*t to him on Monday. He has everything he wants and lives very well. You know what? I think you are a selfish mother.”

Nike’s eyes pierced his face. She opened her mouth but kept shut. He had started to curse again with swear words.

“You f***cking want to deny him of a proper education just because you want him with you…and because you want to punish me. You want to limit my access to him. Sh*t, woman I will fight you in court. You know me, Nike. We have joint custody of him. He really…”

Nike hit his marble table in anger.

“Shut up! Just shut your mouth filled with curse. Do you think the world revolves around you? Why on earth would I want to spite you with having my son closer to us. Didn’t …” Nike hesitated. 

“Didn’t his case teach you anything?” She said.

“Whose case?” Lanre said sarcastically.

Nike shook her head. She was not going to let him break her.

“Lanre please don’t do this.”

“I need you to talk. If you keep denying the fact that Lekan is dead, you won’t ever move on from this pain. You need to let go.”

“I don’t need a come back advice from you. All I want is to sign the necessary papers and forms and get our son back to us in Lagos! There are great schools here too.”

“Please leave my office.” Lanre said.

“What?” Nike said.

“I asked you to get out of my office.” He said, looking away.

She sighed and stood up, then took her hand bag.

“I wish you died instead of him.” She said. She was shocked at her own words. She almost couldn’t believe she had said those words to him.


He laughed.

“You don’t want to get on my bad side, hun.” He said and walked towards the door. He opened it and asked her to leave.





***




The time was 11.05 pm when Lanre came into the house. She had waited up. She knew he had been drinking and she did not blame him for it. 

He was grieving. 

She knew he had stopped talking about marrying her too.

He was grieving.

And she had the remedy to soothe his grief.


“Welcome baby.” She kissed his lips entirely, rubbing the back of his neck. He smiled.

“That feels good.” He said.

They had been in the bedroom for a few minutes when he had requested for another one of his numerous discoveries. He called it Anal Night. 
  
“Not today, baby.” Lolade said. She had to admit she was getting tired of his demands. She was beginning to feel very uncomfortable in her anus and she had scheduled a doctor’s appointment.
He begged again and when she wouldn’t, he pushed her to the bed and turned her around forcefully.

Then she screamed. “I am pregnant. I am pregnant, Lanre. Please…stop…I am pregnant.”






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*Episode 5 Before Our eyes

*Fisayotalabi

*Please read, enjoy, drop a comment and share