It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #15
Here’s an announcement to new readers!
It’s Another Novociane Saturday is a combination of two separate stories. One of them voted as the best series on Moskedapages by my fans. You would enjoy this sequel better if you start the stories from the beginning.
Catch up with It’s Another Saturday here
God bless you!
Honey’s call meets me in the middle of a birth. My colleague holds my phone to my ear while I’m severing an umbilical cord. Honey wants to know if I can do dinner at theirs. I reply that I’m up to it. She tells me to wear a nice dress. There would be guests. Okay, I reply, thinking about the little red dress I bought off a colleague last week just to butter up to her and her gang of bitchy nurses. They still hate me for being close to Jide.
Honey hangs up, I go back to my patient. Hours pass, darkness comes and I am still at work. I have totally forgotten that I have to do dinner at the Onuoras. Honey calls again. This time my hand holds the phone. The first thing I say to her is “shit!”
“You totally forgot.”
“I am so sorry.”
“Please hurry over. Our guests just arrived.”
After she’s off the line, I dash out of the hospital like the mad woman I am. I don’t even have time to change from my scrubs. Thank God it’s a Sunday or I would have encountered some bad traffic on the way.
I smell my armpits. Not so fresh. I have been at the hospital since last night and haven’t had time for a shower today. I wonder if I can dash home, do a quick one, change and meet up on time.
I hiss, suddenly annoyed for agreeing to the dinner. Knowing how tired I am, I should have declined Honey’s invitation. But you see the thing about Honey is that she is so sweet that you can’t say no to her. I can understand why Jide is constantly smitten. She has charm, even over the phone.
“Olodo!” My head is sticking out of a window to insult a keke driver who thinks this is a good time to try to scratch my car. “You wan die, abi?!”
The guy rains abuses on me in Yoruba as he squeezes between my car and a trailer, barely missing my side mirror. I shake my head and ask myself for the zillionth time why I made this bold move to relocate to Lagos.
I blame my mom.
“Go to Lagos,” she said. “Plenty of men there. You’ll find a husband.”
As if there is a large sea of husbands here just waiting to be fished out and married. To her – and everybody else in my family who is married, finding a life partner is as easy as breathing and yet when I ask them to give me a husband they keep bringing me trash.
My dad believes my standards are too high, and that one day I will come down to earth. But I am already at that point where I don’t need love again. Let me just marry and get everyone off my back. I know the danger in this. My friend did it and she is now stuck in an impossible situation in the name of marriage. But I know there are men out there who are mature enough to stay civil in a marriage that is not built on emotions and unnecessary romance. The problem is that such men are an endangered species. Everyone else is a dick these days.
I hiss again. To drown disturbing thoughts, I turn on the radio to Cool FM. I don’t know what is playing but it sounds nice and makes me start to bump my head. I love music. I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I don’t know who sings half of the songs on my playlist but I just love music. In fact, if I hear a song I like for the first time, I will sing along to it, chopping my mouth and shouting when I get the lyrics right – just like I’m doing right now and drawing the attention of people in a yellow, rickety bus.
Whatever. They can stare on. Who gives a rat’s ass? My house is just around the corner, anyways. I keep singing and thumping on my steering wheel until I make the turn to my street. I drive past the Onuoras’ residence on my way home. When I arrive at mine, I rush into the shower and step out five minutes later. And this is not because I am in a hurry. I have never understood why people spend forever in the bathroom. Once my body parts are thoroughly washed and rinsed, what else is there to do?
After drying my body, I slip into a thong. No time to rub any type of cream. I brush my hair up in a bun, put on minimal makeup, a pair of diamond studded earrings and matching necklace…and oh, before I forget, I douse my armpits with some deodorant.
I stare in the mirror. I look good to go. A pair of flats compliments the look and finally some spurts of my favorite Victoria’s Secret perfume.
By now Honey is calling. I choose to ignore the call. When I leave the house, I hop on a commercial bike that takes me to theirs. A feeling of relief washes over me the moment I knock on the front door. Honey is there in a flash. When she opens the door, her face lights up in an approving smile.
“Hauwa, you look dashing. Where on earth do you get your dresses from?”
We hug and I walk in.
“Well, I shop here and there,” I answer, my ears picking voices coming from the dining area. “How many people?” I whisper in her ear.
“Just three,” she answers. “Come.”
As I follow her, it occurs to me that I have no idea what this dinner is about. I shrug. I’m hungry, so whatever.
“Look who the cat dragged in,” Honey announces the moment we get to the dining area. I quickly pick out the faces of Jide, Genesis and her husband. There’s a third guy there and I have no idea who he is, although I think I recall seeing him at the appreciation party Honey dragged me to on Friday.
“Huawei,” Jide greets, calling me a name that sounds nothing like mine. I forgive him for it like the million other times I forgave him.
“Good evening,” I greet. Genesis and her husband respond but the guy doesn’t. He simply keeps his stare on me and it is rather uncomfortable. Honey makes things bumpier by placing me directly opposite him.
“Everyone, I want to introduce you to one of my closest friends,” Jide says. “She took care of me like a sister would her brother at a point in my life when I was kind of discovering myself.”
I snort. I don’t mean to but Jide is quite an idiot. Discovering himself? Who is he kidding? He was a dog on heat, and he could have easily smashed me if I gave him as much as a wayward wink. Discovering himself, my ass.
I notice everyone is watching me. Am I supposed to be saying something?
“Nice to meet you all,” I mutter.
Genesis smiles and that beautiful dimple of hers gets my eye. A fancy plate is put before me flanked by impressive stainless steel cutlery and I am asked to feel free to serve myself. There are three dishes and all of them look mouthwatering. I am at a loss on what to choose.
“Try the pasta,” the strange man facing me says. Jide had mentioned his name but I hadn’t caught it. “Everything is awesome but the pasta is a hit.”
Only I hear him speak. Jide is saying something which they are all laughing to.
“Or you could do a buffet of everything,” the guy goes on. I am forced to look at him now. On his face I find a thin, pointed nose that is just like his thin frame. His eyes are like black seeds – dark and cryptic, like the well-groomed beard that stands out from the beards of the other men at the table. These days, men are going full on their stubbles but this particular man keeps it simple, giving him a much younger look. I easily conclude that he is in his forties. There’s a certain poise and calm that come with men his age, just like Genesis’ husband who is seated beside me.
“You want me to help?” he asks.
“Sure.” I smile and watch him begin to bless my plate with pasta, a potato meal that is unfamiliar to me and some rice that is rich with vegetables and bits of beef.
“Thank you,” I smile at him.
He smiles back. My eyes settle on his lips. They seem to belong to someone else and not him. Someone more rascally.
“So Hauwa, Jide tells us you’re a midwife as well,” Genesis’ husband, whose name I just remember as Dominic, speaks. His voice is raspy.
“Yeah, we work in the same hospital,” I reply.
“So where are you from?” Genesis asks as she rests her hand on her chin.
“I’m from Gombe state.”
“You’re a Muslim?”
“Forgive my ignorance but I just automatically assumed you were a Muslim because of the name.”
I tell her that I understand. People from the south naturally conclude that everyone who comes from the north is a Muslim especially when they bear the same type of names the Muslims bear.
“So you’re Hausa?”
I excuse her ignorance again with a patient smile. “No, I’m not.”
“Oh. Seyi’s half-Fulani, half- Yoruba,” she informs me. I store the name in my head. Seyi. He doesn’t look like a Seyi to me. He looks more like someone who would fit in nicely at my hometown.
“You’re from Kwara state?” I ask him.
“Yeah.” I see a little surprise on his face. “How did you guess?”
“I think you should eat. You haven’t touched your food.”
I lower my eyes to my meal and begin eating. Everything is delicious, I say to Honey. She grins in appreciation.
“I can’t believe you only started cooking recently,” Genesis comments. “I might soon come to you for lessons.”
“Me too,” I add.
Honey is blushing. Jide is proud. Dinner goes on. There’s small talk and big talk and small talk again as we move on to dessert. Honey doesn’t let me leave the table to clear the dishes. She and Jide gladly do the job and return with chocolate cake and ice-cream.
By its name and appearance, the taste is orgasmic. When it comes to food, especially sweet things, I am quite expressive. And it is no wonder I let out a moan at the first taste of the ice-cream. There is silence and then laughter follows. I open my eyes which have been shut and stare at everyone shyly.
“I’m so sorry but I can’t help it. This is good,” I compliment.
“Thank you,” Honey responds. Dominic mentions something about ice-creams and they fall back into conversation once more. Seyi joins them this time. For the rest of the dinner, I am ignored by him. Maybe the way I moaned over that ice-cream turned him off. I know his type – the proper gentleman who likes well-behaved women that are about decorum and comportment and all those dainty things stuck-up rich people do.
But why should I even care what he thinks about me? I don’t know anything about him, not even his surname. So, I pretend he is not there as I direct remarks to everyone else but him. Anytime Honey tries to lump us together in a comment or question, I subtly remove him from it. And in that manner the night wears on until they announce that they are ready to leave. I also make known that it’s way past my bedtime.
“You’re leaving too?” Honey links her arm in mine. I am seated in-between her and Jide.
“It’s past ten, Honey.”
“It is, isn’t it? Well, you guys, thank you for coming over,” she says, rising up, after her guests stand to their feet. Hugs and handshakes are shared. I insist that I have to leave as we all walk outside.
“Genesis, do me a favor and take Hauwa home,” Honey requests. “You do remember her house, don’t you?”
“I do. But Seyi came with his car. Maybe she can join him and she’ll give him directions?”
My stare passes from Honey to Genesis and my dumb brain finally registers that the whole dinner has been about getting Seyi and I together. Why didn’t anyone pre-inform me?
“It’ll be my pleasure to take you home, Hauwa,” Seyi states. “If it’s okay with you?”
“It’s fine.” I smile.
He leads the way to his car, and as I predict, it’s a luxurious beast of metal, manly and fitting for his person. His perfume is stimulating but not in an intrusive manner. The way it blends with the leather smell of the car’s interior reminds me of a warm night in a deluxe hotel suite in some European country during winter, where one is lost in the arms of a lover, binging on kisses and sparkling red wine.
“So, which way?”
He has just driven out of the Onuora compound. The direction to my house is on our right but I have every intention of derailing him just to soak up the posh scent of him. The man already has my weakness.
“Turn left,” I direct. The car swerves to the left and goes on a slow cruise. No intruding vehicles or unnecessary pedestrians in our way. I breathe in and get in more of Seyi who remains quiet all through the ride. This time, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable. In fact, if he speaks, it will ruin the perfectness of the moment. And it’s as if he knows this. He turns on some music that sounds like a mix of soul and jazz. I don’t ask him who is singing; I just let the moment take me.
“Which way?” he asks again. We are at a junction. To connect back to my house, we can either take left or right but neither of them seem like an option I want to consider.
Just take me away already, Seyi.
He doesn’t say a word. The only time he speaks is when a call comes in and he has to respond to it. After that, he continues on until we get to yet another junction.
“Are you sure we’re not going off your route? I thought you lived near Honey.”
“Um…you can make a U-turn now.”
He gives me a questioning frown that doesn’t last on his face. But again, he is silent. On, we drive, all the way back to my street. We finally come to my house and I ask him to stop.
“You live here?” His head is angled to have a good look at my house which bears a large, black gate and high fence. I live with just one other tenant, who is residing in the apartment upstairs.
“Yes. This is where I live.”
“Cool. So, can I walk you in, just to be sure you get in safely?”
I think of the mess that is my living room and the junk I have in my verandah which I haven’t had time to stash away in its proper place. I will not disgrace my ancestors this night.
“No, it’s fine. Thank you for the ride.”
“Do you mind if I get your number, call you tomorrow or next or maybe when I get home?”
Oh, wow. Call me tonight? Dude wants to get laid badly.
“If you wouldn’t mind, of course.”
I mind. I actually do. In fact, when a guy I meet for the first time asks for my number on that same day, I never pick his calls. They only want one thing from me and I stopped giving it a long time ago, hoping to find the one right man that truly deserves it. So far, no man has been worthy. I am not surprised that Seyi is no different. But curiously, I give him every single digit of my cell phone number. I get a call from him immediately while we both sit there, listening to who I don’t know is singing.
“Have a lovely night, Hauwa.”
The way he pronounces my name is beautiful. Not the way they all do it here, ignoring that it has a ‘U’.
I step down from the car and walk home, forcing myself not to look back. But when I make it through the gate, I find a crack between the wall and peep out to see him driving away. I continue to my front door, insert my key in and only then do I realize that I had actually forgotten to wear a bra.
Who the hell forgets to wear a bra?!
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“I can’t believe she left her house without a bra.”
My laughter is loud at Jide’s statement. I have seen all sorts of crazy but Hauwa tonight, with her affronting nipples, takes the cake.
“Is she always that crazy?” I ask him as I walk around our bedroom with Jiney resting on my shoulder. She is having a restless night.
“Huawa has always been like that. She’s stylish and gorgeous from afar but when you get to know her, she’s a walking disaster. She sometimes reminds me of that Susan character in Desperate Housewives.”
“You used to watch Desperate Housewives?”
“And Telemundo. When you’re with a woman for hours who is in labor, you have to do everything to entertain her.”
“And Zee World?”
“Nah! I drew the line there.”
I laugh again. Marriage is sometimes beautiful. You discover new things about your partner every day. Last week I found out that Jide eats only the hard core of pineapples and never the juicier parts. Before then, I had never noticed it. Two days ago, he discovered that I have a birthmark behind my right ear.
“So about Didi…” he says, walking towards me. My light mood dies and I exhale heavily. A short while ago, after our guests left, Jide shared with me details of the conversation he had with Oba about Didi and the auctioning of her virginity.
And disheartening. I had high hopes for her. And I still do. I don’t intend to leave this matter as is.
“Let’s talk to her,” I suggest.
“Same thought here.”
We put Jiney to sleep.
Didi is in the living room, watching E! and having a bowl of my chocolate ice-cream.
“I took what’s left. It was little,” she tells me.
“It’s fine. I’ve had too much. My boobs will leak if I take more. Enjoy.”
We watch TV with her for a while and then I tell her we want to have a talk. She doesn’t object. Jide speaks, asking her is she registered online to have her virginity auctioned. She darts her eyes around before admitting that she had plans to give herself to the highest bidder. But only for fun.
“I was curious. I just wanted to know if it was for real. I promise you, nothing to it.” She says this, giggling and bouncing her chubby body on the sofa.
“You’re sure it was just for the kicks?” Jide probes.
“Ha-ahn, Uncle Jide, I’m not that stupid.”
“But what if one day, this gets exposed online?” I ask. “What will you do? It’s the same thing as prostitution. You are selling your body.”
“I was only kidding, Aunty Honey. I didn’t mean anything by it. If I did, I wouldn’t have done it with Oba’s knowledge. Think about it.”
I do. I think about it and maybe, she is telling the truth. The set jawline of my husband’s face, however, believes differently.
“Well, it’s a good thing you were just goofing around,” he states. “We can’t imagine you doing something so utterly stupid. Popsi would be highly disappointed if he hears about this.”
“I know, and I’m sorry. I didn’t think it through.”
“Please ask them to delete your account from their database.”
“I will. Thank you.”
Jide walks back to our bedroom while I decide to stop at Yazmin’s. But when I get to her door, I change my mind. I should let her sleep. It’s late, anyway. I join Jide in bed, ready to make love, but he is as tired as I am. We spoon, say a prayer and fall asleep.
When morning comes, I am awoken by the sensation of being filled. I open my eyes and see him on top of me. I respond with an agreeable sigh as my walls slowly stretch to accommodate him. He goes in hard and deep. My body quivers as he begins to grind his body into mine. His movements are fluid and measured, and it’s sweetly torturous. But it’s the sweetest things that don’t last long. Jide soon lets go, just at the moment when I feel like I’m about to have an orgasm.
“Noooo!” I cry, slapping his arms for being a sloppy one-minute man this morning.
“I’m sorry,” he splutters in laughter.
“So not fair.”
He lowers and gives me kisses all over my face until I forgive him. He then tells me the sweetest things every wife should hear each morning.
“I’ll make it up to you, sugams. I promise. Right now, I have to rush to work.”
“Me too. But just one more…” I beg. I can feel him already growing hard again.
He shakes his head. “Not now.”
Wicked man. I push him away. When he leaves to the bathroom, I throw a bathrobe on and go to Yazmin’s bedroom. I knock on the door. She doesn’t respond. I knock again and wait. Still no response. I turn the key and walk in.
The room is empty. The bed is made, blanket folded, floor spotless. But Yazmin is gone.
“Yaz?” I push the bathroom door in. She is not there. I leave the room back to mine and pick up my phone to call her. The line rings on the other end. She answers.
“Yaz, where are you?” I ask like a worried mother.
“Honey…” She sighs. “I’m on my way to Abuja.”
“Abuja? To do what there?”
“I have a plane to catch to Texas. I’m going home, Honey.”
My eyes fill with tears. I slowly sit on the bed and listen to her cry on the phone. It’s depressing.
“Are you coming back?”
“I don’t know. He doesn’t love me, Hon. He never did.”
My face is soaking wet now. “And the baby? What will you do?”
“I’m keeping it.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“Honey, I gotta go. I have to check in.”
“Okay. Will you call me when you get to Abuja?”
“I love you, Yaz.”
She is mute. I know she’s still crying.
“Give a big kiss to Tobe for me.”
She hangs up. I rub my palms over my cheeks to dry my tears. What a sad way to start the day. I so hate Emeka right now and I have to let him know how much. I scroll through my contact list and tap on his name. The line begins to ring.
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I am happy today. After one week of being miserable and talking to a therapist, I wake up on the sunny side this morning. Maybe it’s because my husband is lying beside me and we’re back to our old selves, all fight gone, and a resolution reached on how to handle our marital situation with Yazmin.
Last night, Emeka and I had a talk we had both been avoiding for over a year. After he showed up at Mary’s place drunk and calling me Nicole, I gave him a nasty slap, a cold shower and some time to cool off. Afterwards, we spoke and he was open about his feelings for Yazmin.
“I love her, Tola. Maybe not the same way I love you. You’re my best friend but I have deep feelings for Yaz.”
“I’m finding it hard to let her go. She means that much to me.”
My heart broke a million times hearing him say that but since he was only being honest, I took the revelation in bravely.
“But I will let her go if you just say the word, Tols. I can’t lose you for anything.”
“I don’t want you to let her go. Yazmin loves you, Mex, and she’s human and has a heart that you keep on breaking. Asides that, what will you do with Tobe if you ask her to leave?”
He was quiet. We were sitting out in the dark, just outside Mary’s kitchen. There was a table before us with dinner we both hadn’t touched.
“But this triangle isn’t working, Omotola.”
“It isn’t working because you keep treating Yazmin less than she deserves. Mex, I’m not in competition with her. I’m holding my place in your life. She should feel secure in hers. If she doesn’t, it’s your fault.”
“Can I love you both equally?”
“No one is asking you to. But neither of us should know how you feel about the other. Just make her happy. Is it that hard?”
“No. I’ve just been intentionally indifferent.”
“Please, go and make up with her because we’re all in this together. If one side hurts, the whole body hurts.”
“You’re okay with me spending quality time with her?”
“Haven’t we been doing this already, Mex? And it was going smoothly until you screwed it up. Me, I have a hospital to run and very little time to perform any wifely duties. You and Yaz have all the time in the world. Just make sure you’re not exhausted when I want you.”
I could see relief on his face. Dude was actually scared to have this talk. I had avoided it too but my therapist suggested it and I’m glad I listened to her.
He left his chair and came over to mine. Leaning over from behind, he rubbed my belly and was lucky enough to feel the baby kick.
“Please, eat. I made the food just for you,” I told him. He kissed me. It was a beautiful night that stretched into this beautiful morning.
And now, while he still sleeps, I leave the bed for my daily exercise. I’m a fit mama. I work out every dawn and dusk. Add that to eating the right meals and staying off anything fatty. I intend to have a healthy baby so that the pain of losing Majekodunmi is totally forgotten. Sometimes I remember him and cry. I wish I hadn’t held his underdeveloped body after I birthed him. The image still haunts me. To know that he was part of me and lived in me and yet died in me is not something I can put in words. I used to be an advocate for abortion until Jide handed me his lifeless, little form, wrapped in a blanket on which friends and family wrote out heartfelt messages. It had been hard for me to lay him to rest. I mourned him for a long time without anyone knowing. It was at that time I sought God and begged him to bring him back to me if he still loved me despite all my sins. God answered my prayers, and today I’m carrying another boy. His name is Akintunde, meaning the warrior has come again. It’s also my late father’s name who was born under similar circumstances.
Nobody knows how much this baby means to me and that is why I won’t let anyone, not even Emeka, give me negative aura during this pregnancy.
I pick out the sound of Emeka’s phone ringing. He is still asleep and doesn’t hear it. I go for it and see that it’s Honey calling. I pick the call; before I can say a word, she goes into a tirade, calling Emeka out for being unfeeling towards Yazmin. I tap Emeka awake. He opens an eye and I put Honey on speakerphone.
“You better not let her leave the shores of Nigeria or you’ll lose her!” Honey warns. “Just go and bring her back, abeg!”
“Honey?” Emeka is confused. Still sleepy. “What’s going on?”
“Yazmin is on her way to Abuja. She’s leaving you. Go and bring her back. She’s at the airport. She’s hurting deeply, Mex. Please, go and bring her.”
“Shit.” Emeka springs up. “Honey, let me call you back.”
He ends the call and immediately dials Yazmin’s number. It rings and stops without her answering. Emeka doesn’t wait. He picks his t-shirt, my car key and his phone. I get a kiss before he leaves. I go back to my exercise, mulling over the whole thing. My youngest sister who is in the States is a hardcore feminist and is not talking to me right now because she feels I am being oppressed over my decision to stay married to a man who has another wife. I told her, during our last conversation, that I was okay with the status quo.
“Polygamy is patriarchal and it is all about oppressing women!” she had shouted. “Will your husband allow you have another husband if the tables were turned?!”
“I have no intention of having another husband.”
“What if you fall in love with another man? Will Emeka let you marry him or have sex with him?”
Her question hit me hard. But the truth was that I was capable of being physical without putting my emotions to it. That was why it was easy to sleep with Jide. Emeka, however, is not that type of person. That is how I know that he loves Yazmin. And it is something I have come to accept. As for how he is able to love two people at the same time, I discovered human beings are capable of doing so, when as a teenager, I found out that my mom was having an emotional affair with our pastor.
My parting word to my sister was that human relationships were complex and Emeka and I were doing fine with our arrangement. Her response to me was, “You’re oppressed, and I am ashamed that you’re my elder sister. Don’t ever call me unless you divorce his ass!”
We haven’t spoken to each other since. I don’t care.
I leave the room to the kitchen for breakfast and to also tell Mary that I have long overstayed my welcome and I’m ready to leave.
I find her and Ekene in the kitchen. They are having a huge fight. I give them some privacy but stay within eye and earshot. Their fight has to do with Ekene’s insistence on not wanting to have a child at this time and Mary doing everything to get pregnant. Unkind words are thrown from both sides. Mary can’t stand the heat and so she leaves the kitchen. Ekene takes a chair. He fiddles with his phone for a while, thumbing over the screen, putting it down, lifting it up and repeating the process a few times. When he stops, he slants his head in my direction.
“Mrs. Onuora, you can come out now.”
Embarrassed, I step away from the darkness and stroll towards him.
“Guess you heard everything.”
“Just a little.”
He stands up. He is all dressed to leave the house. His light blue on dark blue attire, complemented by a dark brown tie and matching shoes remind me of how much of the outside world I have missed. I can’t wait to go back to work.
“Breakfast?” he offers.
“No, I’m good. I’ll do it myself.”
“You’re my guest. Please, sit.” He rolls up his sleeves. “Oats? Pap? Rice pudding? Madam made moi-moi.”
Ekene puts a pot on fire and pours some oat into it, according to my specifications. He adds water and returns to me.
“Can you help me talk to your friend?”
“What’s going on?”
He takes his seat. “Before we got married, I had badly wanted a baby, just to make my mom happy. But she died and Tomiwa and I sat down and decided we would wait two years before we start planning for one. However, three months in, she begins to tell me that she wants to take out her IUD. She wants a baby. I get angry because this is not what we agreed. I scold her, she apologizes and doesn’t bring up the topic for a while but just last month, I stumble across a pregnancy kit she had discarded outside. I ask her about it and she confesses that she had the IUD taken out. I am mad at her. We have a fight and don’t talk to each other for days. Later on, she comes to me and apologizes and tells me how badly she wants a child. But I still don’t want one. Tola, a child changes everything. It changes us, and I’m in this amazing stage with her right now where I’m deeply falling for her.
“You know how our marriage went. It wasn’t really about love. We were both ready and desperate to be married and we did it. Soon after, I really started to fall in love. But all Tomiwa wants from me is a baby. Do you know how that hurts, Tola?”
“I feel like your friend may never really fall for me.”
“Don’t say that. These things take time for some people.”
“I’m crazy about Mary. You guys have no idea.”
“So if you love her that much, give her what she wants.”
“So that she’ll push me away? No, thanks. I know how fathers are quickly replaced by their babies. Especially with first time moms. But that’s not what bothers me. I’m afraid that Tomiwa is simply living out a blueprint of how she feels her life ought to go. Find a man, get married and have kids. I don’t think I fit into her grand plan.”
I tell him I think otherwise. Mary doesn’t always talk about him but her feelings are strong. She doesn’t seem like the expressive type.
“She needs time, Kene. And maybe…just maybe a baby will bring you guys together.”
“I doubt that it would.”
He stands up to check my oatmeal. Like Tomiwa, Ekene is stubborn.
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My activities for the day:
>Fight with a bus conductor over fifty naira.
>Insult a man’s entire generation on an ATM line when he tries to jump in front of me from nowhere.
>Get to work and generally ignore everybody. When they try to talk to me, snap at them.
>Get scolded by Wura for my nastiness.
>Enter the bathroom to have a good cry.
>Come back to the office go on Facebook to troll and give all my haters a piece of my mind.
>Return to the bathroom to have another weepy moment when one of them calls me a fat pig and adds a meme to it.
>Sit outside the office in rebellion and decide to do nothing until closing hours.
>Pick up my phone and finally dial the person who is responsible for my anger.
“Can you come over to see me at home?”
“Jide’s place or…?”
“No, the Ditorusin mansion.”
“Okay. I’ll be there in a bit.”
I hear him saying something else but I cut the line. I walk back into the office, pick my handbag and close for the day. I avoid the irritating buses I find outside the building for the sake of world peace. I have decided to use an Uber instead. As I wait for one, I rehearse the words I would tell my dumbass younger brother who feels like he has a say in my life and what happens to my vagina. He is so dead today.
My phone rings. I look up and see my Uber waiting. I hurry towards it. When I get in, I go back on Facebook to finish what I started. I can’t overemphasize how angry I am.
The Uber driver, like the million others out there, doesn’t even as much as blink an eye. I keep cussing and hissing until I arrive home. I enter my room and find stupid Oba waiting.
I’ve always considered him the cutest amongst my brothers. It’s about the swag. He reminds me of DJ Kasbi who for reasons known to him abandoned me when the chemistry between us was peaking. I’ll still take him with open arms if he finds his way back to me. He can gladly pop my cherry for no fee at all.
And why on earth do my moralistic brothers find the idea of me auctioning my virginity such a disgusting thing? The average dumb girl will give it freely to a lost soul who would break her heart. If she can make a lot of cash from it, why not?
“Hey, Di,” Oba greets. I ignore him as I loosen the knot that holds my hair and take off my jacket.
“You won’t talk to me?”
I flash angry eyes at him. He stares back like an innocent child.
“Get off my bed!” I hit him with my jacket.
He stands. My hand knocks off his cap.
“I told you something in confidence, Obasi. Only you! I even remember telling you not to tell anybody! But you go and run your mouth to Jide and his wife because you feel you have a say over my sex life!”
“I have not finished talking! Shut up!”
“Please, don’t shout.”
“I can shout as much as I want, Obasi because you’re a Judas! I trusted you with my secret but you betrayed me!”
“Didi, calm down.” He comes towards me. I move back, repulsed by him. “Please, listen to me…”
I don’t know how it happens but I respond to an instant, thoughtless urge to slap him. My palm meets his face and I feel the sting, even more than he does. There is a fleeting moment of silence between us and then he charges at me, grabs the hand that has hit him, swivel me around like I’m some doll and slams me to the wall.
“If you ever try the nonsense you just did, Ndidi, I will beat you without giving a fuck that you’re a girl.”
“Obasi! Have you gone mad?! Let me go!”
“I’ve endured enough of your nonsense – you ordering me around, using me as a driver, spending my money anyhow and on top of that, having the guts to slap me. If you try it again, you’ll regret what I’ll do to you.”
I am shocked. Oba again? My own baby brother manhandling me? Is this spoilt brat out of his mind or what?
I push back. “Leave me alone, Obasi!”
“Apologize? Oba, what has gotten into you?”
“Apologize or I’ll not let you go.”
I can’t believe this. Somebody tell me this boy is joking.
“Oba, let me go!”
“Apologize. It’s simple,” he says into my ear. “Say, ‘I am sorry for how I’ve been treating you.”
I feel hot, painful tears baking my eyes. This boy has gone loco.
I hesitate for a long time but when I see that he is not budging, I give in.
“I’m sorry,” I murmur, just to get him off my back – literally.
He releases me. I turn around and slap him again. This assault packs more punch than the first. Oba takes the same hand, pins it above my head on the wall and pushes my back to it. I open my mouth to speak and he covers it with his.
Revulsion hits me as I use all my strength to push him away.
“You did not just kiss me, Oba!” I scream. “What is wrong with you?!”
We are both heaving as we glare at each other. I’m reeling over what just happened.
“I am your sister, Obasi!”
“You’re not my sister,” he replies before I can finish speaking.
“What is wrong with you?!”
“You are not my sister, Didi! Your mother is not my mother! Your father is not my father! They both lied to you! We, all of us, lied to you!”
I keep breathing like an ox that has just been chased around by a pride of lion. I refuse to believe what I just heard.
“My dad had an affair with your mom in 1995. You were already born then. There was no way he could have been your father.”
“They lied to you, Didi. Your real father is probably alive somewhere.”
“No,” I croak.
“No. I’m going to call Jide and ask.”
Oba doesn’t stop me, and the fact that he doesn’t, scares me. I reach for my phone and call Jide. He answers immediately.
I bite my lips before I speak. A sniffle escapes.
“Didi, are you okay?”
“No, Uncle Jide.”
“What’s going on? Talk to me.”
I pause. Jide is the sweetest brother on earth. How can he not be related to me?
“Oba… Oba just told me that daddy is not my biological father. Is it true?”
Jide is silent.
“Uncle Jide?” my voice breaks.
“Where is that Oba that told you that nonsense?”
“Is it true, Uncle Jide? Please, tell me.”
“Didi, when you come home, we’ll talk about it. Please, pass the phone to Oba if he’s there.”
I give Oba my phone. He taps the speaker button.
“Obasi,” Jide calls. “Leave where you are to a quiet place so I can insult you right now.”
Oba doesn’t leave. Jide goes ahead with the promised insult but he serves it in Yoruba. I don’t catch a thing he says; however, his reaction to what I told him only confirms what Oba revealed to me. I fall on my bed, my back hitting it hard. As I look up at the ceiling, I begin to cry. My mom, the only person I loved and trusted, lied to me. The man whom I thought was my dad lied to me. My real father must be some scum of the earth, living a terrible life somewhere. What did I do to deserve this, Lord Jesus?
I cover my face with a pillow, praying it chokes me to death. Oba lets me cry for some time but soon I feel him climbing the bed. He kneels astride me and forces the pillow off my face.
“Please, stop crying, Di.”
His voice is gentle, nothing like the Oba who was just rough with me. But his gentleness can’t take away my pain. When his palm tenderly wipes my tears, he finds it a waste of time as his efforts only make me cry more. He keeps begging me to stop but I can’t. The pain is overwhelming. He gives up and lies beside me.
“There’s a silver lining in all of this, though,” he says.
“What silver lining?” I snivel.
“I can make moves on you now that you know we’re not related. We can actually have a thing.”
I lose what little sanity I have left as I let out a miserable wail. This is so not happening to me.
“I hate you, Oba!”