The weekend had been the worst in Tehilah’s life. She had never gone through such, not even when she hit rock bottom. How could people sit comfortably in their houses and cast judgment on a person they barely knew? She was angry as she switched on her phone for the first time in days. Haliru had advised that she switched off her phones, but she just couldn’t resist the urge to know what strangers were saying about her.
After switching on her phone, the first place she went to was twitter, it had become troll central in Nigeria and she knew if she wanted to find out what everyone was saying, it was on twitter. The first mention was bad.
“She talked about powerful women who wanted to change her world, when all she wanted to ever be, was a baby mama. @TehilahWrites”
“You don’t know my life, what gives you the right to talk about it. Is it because you bought a novel, you probably didn’t even buy any. Looking at you, you are just a ratchet looking to quell her frustrations with another’s story” Tehilah typed, but before she could send that tweet, her phone buzzed and the momentary rage she was in, dissipated.
She picked up the phone and received the call. “Hello, Tehilah here”. The baritone voice that spoke was one she would never forget, even if she wanted. The memories she had succeeded in steeling herself against, came rushing back. Those nights under the stars in deserted beaches, making love and dancing with the stars. The promises of love and whisperings from the heart… even the tattoo of cupid’s bow she had made in the spot he loved to kiss her most…her tailbone.
“How dare you call me?” Tehilah’s voice was deep and hoarse with anger, pain and frustration. “How dare you, you bastard”. “Answer me!”
“Tehilah, can you calm yourself down?” Wale said in a perfectly calm voice. Tehilah could not understand while he was so calm, whereas she was going nuts and was just inches from going over the edge.
“It is all because, he was the hunter and I was the prey. I had no idea” she thought as she tried to take calming breaths.
“I don’t know why you called, but I would be so much happier, if I never heard your voice again” she said it in a voice as cool as ice. “It is over Wale” she erupted into laughter that sounded like she was steeling herself from crying. “It never even started Wale. You were married and I was just the fucking side chick!”
“Don’t do this Tehilah, we need to talk this over. I was not honest, but” he heard the dial tone and knew she had hung up on him.
“Damn you all to hell!” she flung the phone and it connected with the plasma tv on the wall, shattering the screen into a thousand glass pieces.
“Just like the pieces of my shattered life” she said looking at her handiwork, as the tears did a free fall. Sobs raked her body as the pain she had been trying to rein in, burst open and overtook her. Sobs turned into groans and then into heart rending cries.
The door opened suddenly and Haliru walked in, eyeing the employees who had followed him to the door to have a peep at Tehilah. Her screams could be heard from their offices.
Haliru walked over to her, crumpled on the floor like a rag doll and he gathered her into his arms and rocked her like a baby. “Cry if you want, let the pain out, and let joy flood your life again. Let it out, baby”
Tehilah pushed herself away from his arms and pushed him hard, until he staggered backward. “Leave me alone. I don’t need your pity, I am not some pet project. I am capable of handling this on my own”
Tehilah walked away from the office, leaving Haliru standing and wondering what was going on. He was about to leave the office also, when the door opened. “Tehilah?”
“Not Tehilah, me” a tall woman, with creamy skin and cat eyes that Haliru did not know until today, if they were her real eyes, or contact lenses, and a pockmark that added beauty and an air of wickedness to the creamy beauty.
“Adara, what brings you to her office?” Haliru asked, with suspicious eyes.
“I saw you come in here and also saw her leave. Have you been to twitter lately?” Adara sat in Tehilah’s seat and gazed at Haliru with unreadable eyes.
“She is a sinking ship and you have to find a way to pull out of the deal the company made with her”
“You don’t tell me how to run my company. You are only here because of the mistake my father did, so know your limits” Haliru had become hostile, as he looked down on her with contempt. “Besides, sinking or not, that woman has made more millions for this company, than you would ever make, lying on your back”
“How dare you, Haliru?” Adara bolted up from the chair and made o hit Haliru across the face, but the latter caught her hand.
“Not on your life. Don’t think you can push Tehilah out of this company, because not only is she a gold mine, she is also the woman of my life”
“What?” Adara was taken aback.
“Yes Adara. She is carrying my child and we are getting married soon”
Adara plopped back on the seat in shock.
When Tehilah reached home, her friend Bimpe was waiting for her. She took one look at Tehilah’s face as she alighted from the car and knew that she had switched on her phone.
“Hold it Bim. I am really not in the mood and stop handling me. I am not a baby and I am totally capable of cleaning up my mess”
“What are you talking about?” Bimpe was taken aback.
“Everybody seems to be so interested in my life like it has become a reality show. Can you all give me a breather?”
“I know you don’t mean that” Bimple replied.
“I mean every word. Just leave me alone, please, thank you!” she entered the house and banged the door after her.
When she got in, she broke down in tears. “What am I doing? Bimpe is my best friend and here I am trying to push her away. Please Bimpe don’t leave me”
The door opened and Tehilah turned to see Bimpe standing there. “I know how you are feeling because I know you and I am not going to leave, just because you said so. We are in this together, whether you like it or not”
Standing up, Tehilah rushed to Bimpe and hugged her like her life depended on it. “I am so sorry Bimpe, I didn’t mean any of that”
“I know. Now we have to manage this situation and the only way to do this is to pull on the heart strings of the public” Bimpe had gone into work mode.
Bimpe had worked for the government as a crisis manager, before going to start her own business. Therefore, managing difficult situations that involved the public was her forte.
As instructed by Bimpe, Tehilah decided to call a press conference in front of Bamanga publishing. She was going to give the public half truths and then pull their heart strings to love her instead of hate her, but Haliru beat her to it.
As she drove into Bamanga that morning, she saw a host of reporters with their cameras and microphones, and Haliru was in their midst talking. She stepped out of the car and walked towards them, to hear what Haliru was saying.
Was he going to sever her ties with the company in public, without even talking to her? She pondered on this as she got closer. Then she heard it.
“I am the father of Tehilah’s baby and we would have been married, if Tehilah had said yes to me. So stop your remarks and allow us deal with our issues. Tehilah is the most wonderful person I ever met and she does not deserve all this. I respect her and you should too. Obviously, she is not leaving the company, not even if she wants to. So, the reports you heard of the board of directors trying to sever ties with her, is not true. Thank you.”
“What did you just do, Haliru?” Tehilah thought as she stood motionless.