Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Compatible Opposites


Compatible Opposites. I came across this term for the very first time yesterday evening. Even saying it sounds odd. How can opposites be compatible, right? I know but do read on and I bet you will have the same ‘aha’ moment I had. It just makes sense and best of all; it is supported by the word of God. 

Dear Sister, the ‘good thing’ waiting to be ‘found’. Dear Brother still looking to find your ‘good thing’. Are you both still wondering why you are still waiting? Permit me to put it to you that perhaps you are still waiting because you are looking for someone that is ‘just like you’. You need to change that mindset because thanks to Jimmy Evans, I now see that when you are dating or courting someone, you actually should be trying to find your compatible opposite

What on earth does that mean?  Let me explain.

Apparently, while we think we should marry someone the most like us, God did not wire us that way. According to Jimmy Evans, God wired you to pursue your opposite, even subconsciously. No wonder I ended up with my MGM! We are so different and many times I have wondered how come we have lasted this long…but now I get it. Yes, we do love ourselves (and by the way, the love has only gotten hotter because it has been refined by fire) but we have lasted because our strength lies in our differences. We complement each other. I cannot lie; this was a light bulb moment for me.

Mgm and Salt: Compatible Opposites lati 1993.
Glory be to God!

And this is what Genesis 2:18 means, when God says of Adam, "I will make him a helper comparable to him." The word "helper" is translated from the word “ezer”. It means "to supply what is lacking." Wow! Can you see? God didn't create another Adam. He created someone to supply what Adam lacked. He made Eve to complete Adam.  God created me, Salt to supply the administrative and organisational skills that my MGM lacks. Ask him today about our children's birthdays or where our passports are or to complete visa application forms online…you are on your own. I am the Executive in charge of all such matters in our home. But then again, my MGM can smell a con a mile off. I am so trusting when it comes to people. So God placed him in my life to protect me from my own naivete. Lol! I could go on but I am sure you get the picture. 

The question then is how come my MGM and I are compatible then if we are different? We are compatible because in marriage, being compatible is not based on being the same. Being compatible is based on having matching beliefs, values, and character. My MGM and I are compatible because we both look to Christ as our Personal Lord and Saviour; we both are trying daily to live and love like Christ and because we both have agreed to always let God have the final say in our lives and marriage. Oh and yes, we both have also agreed not to ‘craze’ at the same time. Lol! Apart from that, with my hand on my chest, I have to say that we are 80 to 85% opposites.

You see, dear Single in waiting, the last thing you need is another version of yourself.  Stop looking for that. You need someone that will complement you. You need someone that will be strong in the places where you are weak. You need someone that will be the yin to your yang.

Yes, you need to find and marry your compatible opposite.


P. S. For those who are already married, I pray this helps us. No need to wonder if you entered one chance. You did not. Understanding this should enable us harness the power of the differences between us and our spouses. Abi? Yes o!


P. S. 1 This is an old photo but one of my favourites.....and even in our dressing we are demonstrating how compatibly opposite we are. Red is the opposite of white is it not? Lol! 

Friday, 2 December 2016

Looking for a miracle?


Look in the mirror. You are one.

Because you are still here; still alive; still standing. It is not a given.

Think back over this year, I am sure you know of or have heard about people, young people that have passed on. Men, women, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles.....all gone...all dead. So sad.

Yet you and I, we are still here. How are we better? We are not. We are just blessed beneficiaries of God's mercies.

As I sat thinking about all of this and wondering how it could be December already, something struck me.

I share about it in my first Salt Talk ushering in Season 2 of my Talks. I invite you to listen here and I pray you are encouraged and your spirits are lifted even if everything on your 2016 'To Do' list is not ticked off yet.

It does not matter.....I believe that in these things, only one thing really matters and if you click the link above, you will find out what that is......

Shalom and of course, welcome to December 2016!


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Preparing your Teenager for life away from home in this BIG BAD World!


Dear Christian Parents

Is your child getting ready to leave home for college anywhere in the western world? This post is for you. See, even if your child has already gone off to school out there in the wild wild West, you should still read this please. And you know what, even if your child is still far from this milestone, I encourage you to still read it.

As some of you know, my FBS went to college in the US. My Only Princess is now at college there as we speak. They are both different children but at some point or the other, they went through the same thing I am about to prepare you for. I did not prepare to be honest and just weathered the storms with each of them as they happened. Not the best way to do it. This should help make sure you do better.

To make this easy to read, I shall share my thoughts in a 'Rules' format. Here goes:

Rule 1: Do not be blindsided.  If your children are close to leaving home for college/university and they will be going outside Nigeria, specifically to the Western part of the world? Do not and I repeat do not fail to prepare them for the reality that not everyone believes in God like you do. You MUST prepare them well for the onslaught on their minds. For it will surely come and the sad truth is that we really have sheltered our children.

Rule 2: You must begin to prepare your child BEFORE they are ready to leave home. Thriving in college out there begins at home. You see, because Nigeria is mainly Christian and Moslem, we are not faced with the very real issues of atheism that lives in the West. Talk to your children about it so they are not rudely shocked. Don't assume they know and/or fully understand. 
Be close to and talk to your children
(courtesy: Googlei mages)

Rule 3: Expose them to the whole 'Science verses God' magana. Yes, if they go to college in the West, it is waiting for them there. Prepare them. Encourage them to read Christian Science books. Let them watch those National Geographic shows that bring Scientists who believe in God to show how the Bible and the Big Bang theory align not negate each other. If you are a Sunday School teacher and you are reading this, please encourage your Teen Church colleagues to deal with these subjects. As God will help us, our Only Princess goes to a Catholic-sponsored University so she went to her Biology Prof for explanations. And this leads me to Rule 4.

Rule 4: Do not assume that because your child is going to a faith-based college that there will be no unbelievers there. Not true. There are atheists everywhere. And some of them are not nice and will make your child feel foolish for standing up for what  s/he believes in. But if we prepare them well, they will fail.

Rule 5: Talk to your children yourself about how God loves the sinner but hates the sin. Again, I call on Sunday School teachers here. People of God, what are you teaching our teens in church now? We need to let our children understand that while it is true that the Old Testament is full of scary stories of people being punished for their sins by a just God, they have to read ALL of the Bible, all the way up to the New Testament to see the full picture of God who is both Consuming Fire AND Love itself. Why? Because there are people out there ready to tell your child that a God that mean; a God that killed men, women and children cannot be a loving God. They will try to sow these seeds of doubt into your child's mind so we need to makes sure that we have done our best to lay a solid foundation that cannot be messed with.

Rule 6: 
I am not sure how we or our parents before us survived but I suspect it is because the world today is a totally different kettle of fish. Especially in the western cultures, Christians who refuse to read their Bibles are using the scripture to foment hate against people who are different. I mean, Gays and Lesbians. You need to have that talk. Because guess what? Your children are very likely to meet some nice ones out there in school. In fact, some Christian ones. In their classes and then because we failed to explain that we are not called to hate anyone and while, as Christians, we cannot agree with that lifestyle, it does not mean you will be anti-social or rude or mean to anyone. You must tell them it is not in their place to judge anyone. We must used Jesus Christ as the template for how to treat people. All people, the good, the bad and the ugly.


Rule 7: You have to, from now, begin to realize that a time will come when your children will have to do their own faith walk. You cannot legislate their faith. It cannot be by force. Anger is not your friend in this matter. As panicked as you will feel; yelling at or getting upset with your child is the worse thing you can do when they come to you with their doubts. Listen to them, encourage them, live out your faith walk for them to see, empathize with them, LOVE them and then or course, you must PRAY for them always. Remember that even you, you have had your faith struggles, have you not?

As Christian parents, we must believe that if we have done right as God helps us, EVEN if our children stray off the path, the seeds we have sown into their lives will 'call their heads back home' in God's own time. That is why this final rule is key.

Rule 8: I know I talked about praying already but this is so vital, it needs a rule all by itself. My dear Co-Parents, we have got to PRAY! The devil is out there in the world on a rampage. If all you do is look at what is going on in the US, you can see how bad it is. And that is just one slice of the world. And at some point or the other, our children will have to go out and do life in the midst of all that. Are you a spirit? Can you be with them 24/7? Can you know what is going on in them 24/7? No, you cannot. But, we have a God that can so every single day, we must bring our children before him trusting that....

As the Lord lives! Satan will not have our children!!!

I rest my case praying you have heard me. Praying you will act.

I also invite any other parent who has anything to share with us all to please do so.

Have you been through this with your college child? How did you cope? What did you do? Do share please. Thanks!

The pursuit of  degrees will not rob our children of their faith
in Jesus Christ name. Amen!
(image courtesy Google images)





Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Sexual Perversion will not come near our homes!

Dear Moms and Dads,

It is time to pray. Evil things are happening all around us. 

Sister @Shade Femi Lawal contacted me last night and our chat left me floored and totally sick to my stomach. What she shared with me literally broke my heart. I mean it. I wept sad, angry tears. How can this be? Who are these people?! 

It took a while but I only felt better after I had put together some prayer points for her FB group, Praying Moms and prayed them myself. With her permission, I'm sharing them here too with you. Please, PLEASE pray them with all your heart.

None of the evil going on in the world must come near our dwelling in Jesus Christ name. Amen!

************************************* 

Sexual Perversion will not come near our homes!

Praise and Worship (10 to 20 minutes)

Heavenly Father
Lord, I just want to thank you because I know your angels are doing battle for me, and I know that all I am about to ask you is in your Will for me and mine. Thank you for the assurance I have about this. 

Today, Lord, I come to ask that you foil all attacks and traps of the enemy and keep me and mine from the nets of the enemy while we walk by safely. PapaGod, I ask that you go before us and make crooked places straight and shatter the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron.

Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I come especially for my children today. Please do not let them fall prey to those who hunt their souls or seek to harm them. Keep my children from hidden dangers and let no weapon formed against them prosper.

Father, today, I come especially to pray for your protection against the people with evil intentions, perversions and sexual immorality.

PapaGod, do not let my children (name them) or any member of my family or bloodline fall prey to sexually perverse people.

Father! Today, wherever the boundary or the hedge has been broken for the snake to come and bite,  for the devourer to plunder let this prayer be the protection for us. I ask for mercy, forgive me my sins (name them, confess and renounce them) and plead the blood of Jesus Christ to seal upon the broken hedge. 

Father, I bind, block, break and render inoperative, null and void and of no effect any and all legal rights of access of the sexually perverse spirits in and over my household right now in Jesus Name. Amen!

I call upon the power of the blood of Jesus Christ to bring death, devastation and destruction to abuse in all its forms in my home, our schools and churches in Jesus Christ name. Amen!

Father, take up battle against the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. In the name of Jesus Christ, I call upon the power of The Blood Covenant and plead the blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ over every inch of my child’s (name each child) body, over every inch of their soul, and over every inch of their spirit. Lord, let the blood of Your Son Jesus Christ fully protect them from any kind of harm that the enemy has in mind. Amen!

Father, in the name of Jesus, I plead the blood of Jesus Christ specifically against all predators and every single demon that is attached to these predators. Stop these man/women, and stop these demons dead in their tracks right now so they will not be able to come nigh our dwelling places. In Jesus Christ name. Amen!

Father! Today! Expose every man or woman in my home, our schools, churches doing this evil. Stop them dead in their tracks, in the name of Jesus Christ. Bring them down so that they are not able to rise. 

Father! Please increase a Holy Spirit alarm in me as a mother so that I will be able to spot perpetrators in Jesus Christ name. Amen! My Lord and my God, today, right now, rub your divine salve over my eyes so I can see and over my ears so I can hear your guidance about any enemy lurking in my space. I command a removal of any blindness that the enemy uses to keep me and my children from seeing these wicked men and women. In Jesus Christ name.  Amen! 

Finally, Father, in the name of Jesus, I now ask that you perfectly protect my children as they journey through this life so they can fully accomplish everything that You would like for them to do for You. Thank you Lord for hearing me.

Thank you Lord for hearing me even before I was done praying.  Thank you for releasing your angels to guard our children, our family and property and make a hedge to guard all that is going in and coming out and that in the air above and ground below. 

Thank you for fighting those who would fight against us and for contending with those who contend with us. Thank you because I know that the wicked, both spirit and flesh, have fallen into their own nets and I and everyone I love and care for are walking by safely.

Thank you Lord, for the Greatness of Your Power.  To you alone be all the glory! I love you Lord. Thank you for loving me first and more. 

***************************  

Now, praise God for your victory and newly ignited discernment. Satan, will not have our children! In Jesus Christ's name. Amen!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Happy Birthday to the latest Teenager in our Town!

My dearest LBS

Happy Birthday to you! As I looked at recent pictures of you, I marveled. How time zooms. More importantly, how gracious God has been. No doubt, I'm super rich. Yes, I am. Your Papa and I are blessed beyond belief to call you our own.  You, your older brother and sister. Any day, anytime, I'd choose you three over all the treasures in the world. Any day. Anytime. 

Barring my eternal salvation, you three bring me so much inner contentment as a human being. Thank you. Especially you ( I know you will love that😄! Lol!). It's true, maybe it's a last born thing or maybe it's just who you are, but you express verbally what I believe all my children feel about me. Your Papa. Our lives today and our hopes for tomorrow. You say what you feel, no filters. It worries me and blesses me in equal measures but who is perfect, right? Plus, you know your Mama is a prayer mogul, abi? With, God I got this. I got you. No, scratch that. God's got you. And as you continue to grow up, he will equip you with all you need to live  a godly and abundant life in Jesus Christ name! Amen! 

  
                        The many faces of my youngest heart.

This last year, we've been through some stuff but you know what? I'm proud of you. You are so real and honest and even as you squirmed, you chose to rise above it all and came out clean. God bless you for me. I'm not sure bullying and all the other stuff will ever go away but I know the God in you is Bigger. You will always choose right. You will always choose life. I decree it and declare it over and into you again today as I do everyday.

I'm so grateful to God for how he's shown up for you in your academics. So glad you are putting in more effort now but like you rightly said, 'it's the power of Mommy's prayer'. You are right and always remember that. Prayer works. You pray and study and pray and study. Then you do it all again with some play in between of course😄. Your sister and I are still amazed by your sudden interest in basketball this year. I shall not lie, I was waiting for the 'I'm done with that' day. I'm still waiting. It feels wonderful! Your commitment and dedication to the game is commendable. Keep it up. Especially as it's clear you are on your way to being my tallest child. Lol! I see great things in your future my dear brand new 13 year old son. Great things. 

So, as you turn teenager today, I want you to know that you have your own personal cheerleading and prayer team by your side. As you have found out, there are unfriendly people out there, same age or a bit older than you. But you must remember that they are not the enemy. But there is an enemy. Yes, you have a real enemy, one that wants to steal, kill and destroy you and every thing you stand for.  Thankfully that enemy, according to the Word of God, has an opponent who’s a force to be reckoned with.

You. Yes, you! You have all you need to defeat this enemy called the devil and be all that God has called you to be. Then of course, you have your Papa. Your Brother. Your Sister.  Me, your Mommy. And a host of family and friends praying for you and all our children. And because we choose to live lives that please God, our prayers are powerful. So you just keep remembering to ask yourself what God would have you do in each situation; keep putting in 150% in your school, being the best you can be at home as a son and brother and believe me, these teen years and beyond will end in praise. Of course, tough times will come but you will rise above them all, grow through them all. Better. Stronger. Smarter. In Jesus Christ name. Amen! 

Anyway, I know you will wonder why this year's letter is so 'heavy', right? I guess it's because you kept telling me you are now a 'man'. Lol! This is serious talk between a mama and her son, the 13 year old who is now a man! Lol! But seriously, this letter is a different because it's important. You really aren't a baby anymore. As much as I would love to hide you in a cocoon and never let you out to be exposed to nonsense, I can't do that. You yourself have seen how easy it is to be drawn into bad. 

So, as you are now 'a serious and reflective dude' this letter presents your first assignment. Something to reflect seriously on😄. I promise you, every day, in one way or another, I shall be crying out for your heart because it's from there that the life you live will flow out from. Trust me, your mommy is not odd. I know many more mommies just like me out there. Lol! 

And today, I use you as a point of contact to all their sons as  I pray to God to create in you a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within you every day. So that when everyone around you is going low. You will go high. You will be light wherever there is darkness. My LBS, my Tubby-Tub(can I still call you that?), you will respect and revere God and listen to his voice only. My mint new teenager, be strong! Be courageous! Do not be afraid of anyone because God  is always by your side. And as your full name asks rhetorically: Who is greater than God? Nobody! So always remember this, OK? In you lives a very Big God! 

Finally my love, my heart, you will be a shining example to other teens around you: the way you talk, the language you use, the way you carry yourself,  the way you treat others. in love, in faith, and in purity every time will make you a positive role model all the days of your life in Jesus Christ's name. I decree and declare! Amen! 

Happy Birthday my one and only LBS! 

We love you so much and give God our highest praise for your life that we know he has hidden nicely in his Secret place. Have a fun and laughter filled day! 

Your Mommy
❤️❤️❤️🙌🙌🙌❤️❤️❤️

                                  Twinning or not Twinning, that is the question! 






Sunday, 13 November 2016

Toun's Tale, a Story that 'Touches' - Part 2️⃣

The Exchange (Part 10)

Baba T started to talk about how he liked me from the first day he saw me. 

How he had pestered my cousin, Laide, to help talk to me but she kept saying that I had a fiancé.

How no girl had ever been acceptable to his mum, but somehow she was crazy about me. 

How his mum would always tell him “I don’t know why, but I just like that girl. You better don’t let her slip out of your hands”

How his mum suggested the new salon move, just to get me out of Abeokuta 

How after he told his mum that I was already engaged to another guy she said “B’ómǫdé bá r’óyin a s’àkàrà s’ígbó” meaning when a kid tastes honey, he/she has to let go of the bean cake 

How I deserved a beautiful and comfortable life and how he would see to it that I got it.

How he was not looking for a girlfriend but a wife…because his mum was on his case to get married.

How he would never hurt me and how he would take care of not just me but my entire family.

We must have talked for hours…I was doing more of the listening though because I really didn’t know what to say. It was already evening and Baba T suggested that we went to my cousin’s place to chill and talk some more. I agreed because I seriously needed to talk to Laide about this.

As soon as we got to Laide’s place, I dragged her to a corner to talk. She confirmed everything that Baba T said. 

“Na serious matter o” Laide said.
She told me how Baba T’s mum had actually asked to be brought to Abeokuta to come see my mum. 

“But I have a fiancé” I said, trying to put up some kind of protest

“I know, but you are not married. They have not broken any laws. They are simply trying to get a seemingly ‘available commodity’. If Tunji had already married you, I wouldn’t even be part of this. Until a woman is officially married, she is not off the market o” Laide responded, as she told me the story of the guy she was dating back in the University. Their relationship started in secondary school and they attended the same University. It was a serious relationship but the guy was always saying he would never settle down until he had made a certain amount of money.
Laide said the guy was her first love but in their 3rd year, he said he would need like 5 to 7 years to sort things out. She was actually willing to wait for him until Bola came into the picture. She was snubbing Bola until the day the other guy told her she didn’t have to wait for him. That was what made her decide to go with Bola.

“Do I need to tell you that you are coming into comfort, if you consider Baba T? Can’t you see it already? I know that money is not everything but it is the main thing…It makes life easier and makes the marriage sweeter. I know you like Tunji, he’s handsome and promising but Baba T is also handsome and he’s got more than promises to offer. Don’t forget the wise saying of our people ‘bà ò r’ęni b’álà, ọlà kìí yá’ (it’s easier to make it, when connected to those that have made it). Maybe God is trying to pay your family back for the good deeds of your father…I cannot lie to you, you can never regret choosing Baba T” Laide continued.
I was more confused after my chat with Laide. I had to tell Baba T that I needed time to think and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. He said it was okay and regardless of what I decided, I would still get the Salon, if I wanted it. He left and promised to see me the following day. For the most part of that evening, Laide kept trying to convince me…her husband stayed out of it though. All he said was “She’s old enough to make her own decisions”.
I couldn’t sleep all night as I weighed my options…the thought of being Baba T’s wife sounded interesting and enticing but I had my fears and reservations.
What would Tunji do?
How would I tell him?
Would my mum support it?
I also thought of staying with Tunji…but what if he didn’t marry me at the end of everything?
What if he got that job, travelled to Germany and never came back? Something in me knew he could never do that and I sensed I was just trying to paint him black.
But every woman wants and deserves comfort…everyone deserves a shot at affluence and prosperity. Opportunities usually knock just once, what if this was it?
What if this was my one and only shot?
What if God truly sent Baba T my way to turn my life around?
What if this was my own fairytale come true?
Something in me wanted to be with Tunji but another thing in me kept questioning if he’s worth giving up everything Baba T was offering
 
I finally slept off around 3:30 am and when I woke up I knew I had to leave Lagos. I knew I had to be somewhere neutral where I could clear my head and apply sound judgment. I told Laide I had to go and that she should tell Baba T I would let him know my decision about everything.
I got to Abeokuta and went straight to my mum’s room
“Maami, I think I’m in trouble...” was my opening line

The Exchange (Part 11)

I told her everything and how I didn’t know what to do…to my surprise, my mum did not flip out. She told me to get myself together and that I needed to know what I wanted in life and in a husband. She told me not to make my decisions based on money because “money does not guarantee happiness”. 

“You are the one that will live with the consequences of your choice. That’s why you have to choose wisely and not allow unnecessary sentiments cloud your judgment. Tunji has been with us through thick and thin…this new guy also seems to like you. Look deeper, look beyond the surface, and beware of ‘Greek gifts’…hopefully that will help you. I will keep you in my prayers but you have to make this decision on your own. I also want to be ‘àna olówó’ (A wealthy man’s in-law) but not at the expense of your peace and happiness” my mum added as she hugged me and said she had to go out.

I was home for 3 straight days, trying to figure out what to do…Tunji didn’t even know I was around, likewise the people working at my Salon. Bro Dipo was also around and he tried to encourage me in his true, but harsh way.
On the 3rd day, Tunji came over…I tried my best to look like there was nothing wrong. He however was acting strange. He wore a frown and snapped at everything. I had to ask what was wrong with him. He said it was nothing…he didn’t stay for too long. 

After he left, I started to wonder what could be wrong with him. The following day, I decided to let things be and play themselves out…so I went back to work. The thought of the Salon I saw in Lagos, the mental picture made my shop undesirable. It was like comparing sleep with death…my heart wanted to own the Lagos Salon; especially since Baba T said he would give it to me without any strings attached.
“But would that be possible? Would he really hand that kind of investment over to me without a motive or with nothing to benefit?” I kept questioning myself. I was so uninterested in my immediate surrounding that one of my customers actually said I looked “detached”. She asked if everything was fine …I laughed it off and told her I was just going through a rough patch.

Tunji came over later that day and his demeanor had not changed. He said a quick hello, stayed for a while and said he had to go. He didn’t even ask how my Lagos trip went or what the business proposal was about.
“Could it be that he was being suspicious? Or was he just trying to make this decision easier for me?” I was beginning to get angry at Tunji. The following day was a Friday…I had only been at my salon for a few hours when Laide walked in. I was surprised to see her…she said she did not like the way I left Lagos and just wanted to come check on me. Besides, Baba T had been bothering her to come find me. I asked where she parked and she said Baba T drove her down…he was waiting in the car and didn’t want to come in because of my ‘boyfriend’.

I didn’t want him to come in either so I picked my bag and quickly followed Laide to the car. Baba T said he was sorry if he scared me with all the things he said back in Lagos…that maybe he said too much too soon and he just wanted to come clarify that he meant everything but would give me time to work it out if I needed to. He begged me to come back to Lagos on Monday to check out the Salon as it would be completed over the weekend. I could see Laide in the rear view mirror smiling mischievously.
After the brief discussion, Baba T drove to our house to see my mum, but she wasn’t home. He had brought her a lot of ‘provisions’ (Milk, Milo, Corn Flakes, Corned Beef, Titus and the likes) and dropped them off with an envelope that I could tell had money in it. He left for Lagos after making me promise I would come on Monday. 

As at that time, I wasn’t sure if I would go to Lagos but I didn’t see Tunji for two days. I went to his house and he wasn’t there….he finally showed up on Sunday evening and when I asked where he had been, he got angry and said I didn’t care about him or his future. I was shocked at his reaction
“You are the one acting up since I got back from Lagos…you are the one that did not ask what became of the business proposal that took me to Lagos…you are the one that has been incommunicado and unreachable and you dare say that I don’t care about you” I yelled at him. 

Tunji got up and started to walk away “When you know what you did, you know where to find me” he said and walked out
I was so angry that I almost ran after him to make a scene but my parents taught me better than that. I could think of a thousand and one things to say to him as he walked out on me. “Ęni tí à ń’to rí ę gbàwę…tó ń’jǫ sán” (the irony of someone you’re fasting for but was caught eating like a glutton). 

In annoyance, I left for Lagos as early as possible the following morning and went straight to Laide’s house. My mum was wondering why I couldn’t wait till it was daybreak…I didn’t want to tell her what happened between Tunji and I. She would have wanted to intervene and I didn’t want that. I knew it couldn’t be because of Baba T, there’s no way Tunji could have known. Even if he had any concerns or I did something, I would have expected him to be more mature and just tell me what it was...not even after I asked if anything was bothering him.
Laide called Baba T from their home telephone and he said he would come get me on his way to work…he got there in about 30 minutes. He said he was dedicating the whole day to me. 

He drove me to the Salon and my god! It was breathtaking. It had the exact name of my salon back at home but in lights and with grandeur. Laide came with us, although she kept saying “three’s a crowd”…she hugged me and was jumping up and down as we toured the completed project. The interior was something else, I thought it was beautiful from outside until we stepped inside. I didn’t know whether to cry or scream…I didn’t know when I jumped at Baba T and hugged him real tight. “I guess that means you are moving to Lagos?” He said. I wasn’t sure how to respond
“She doesn’t have a choice o…when she is not stupid” Laide quickly cut in.

The Exchange (Part 12)

I kept quiet and smiled…I was too happy and dazzled to say anything. We were there for a while as Baba T shared his ideas on how the Salon would work. There was also a part of the store that would sell beauty and hair products. He said he already talked to a friend of his in the UK that would be helping to ship the products. The area set up for manicure and pedicure was bigger than my entire salon back home…the comfortable seats would make anyone sleep off during a pedicure session. 

“I want people to step in here and never bother to try another place for their haircare needs again. I want this to be a one-stop shop for everything haircare and beauty product. I want to help you build a beauty empire not just a business. I want your name to be synonymous with beauty. I have done the analysis and from my estimate, considering the location and all the services you would offer, this place should pay for itself in 2 years” Baba T said

The confidence with which he spoke and the ideas he shared, his business acumen and the excellence he exuded…all these things, endeared me to him. I was amazed at this side of him; he sounded like a man with THE plan, like someone that knew where he was going and how he intended to get there. 

“This must be what I saw in him as being proud, this isn’t pride? This is confidence” I thought to myself.

I had to ask him if he had ever invested in anything like this because he sounded like a pro and he responded that “Business is business, it is all about providing services and cashing in...it doesn’t really matter what your products or services are”

Baba T later took us to a restaurant somewhere close and spoiled us silly…he said he was ‘washing’ the project. It was at the restaurant that he said he wanted me to meet his mum (again)…I was kind of reluctant because I didn’t know what we would call our relationship. 
“Don’t worry, I’ll tell her you are my ‘very good friend’…you should know that she really likes you and she practically begged me to bring you” Baba T responded, it was as if he was reading my mind. 

Laide opted out of our arrangement…she said she had to go make dinner for her husband. We drove back to their house and dropped her off…She hugged me, as she was about to walk through their gate and whispered in my ear “I’m so happy for you…you have no idea how happy I am”.

Baba T told her he would come drop me off later in the evening but it might be a little late because his mum would most likely not let me leave anytime soon.

We got to Baba T’s house…I found out that day that he lived with his parents; although he had his own apartment within the same compound. 

“My parents are a little overprotective. After my UK issue, my dad never wanted me out of his sight. So they made me stay with them” he quickly informed me. He also told me that marriage would be his freedom from that ‘bondage’ as that would be his dad’s only acceptable/valid reason for moving out of the house.

When I stepped into the sitting room, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes…I’m not exaggerating, but I never knew there was a sitting room that beautiful in Nigeria. It was like a page in one of those luxury furniture magazines from outside the country. There was a huge picture of Baba T’s dad with the current Head of State hanging on the wall. There was a staircase in the sitting room that led upstairs. The floors were sparkling clean and shining like someone polished them. Baba T told me to make myself at home and took the stairs to inform his mum that I was around. There must have been like three domestic staff that came to ask if I was okay and if I wanted anything within a period of like five minutes. 

Baba T’s mum called me from upstairs “my dear, máa bọ” meaning come upstairs. I was scared-stiff as Baba T came to take me upstairs but she was so nice to me, she kept using endearing words and phrases for me. She said she was really happy to see me and that she had ‘accepted’ me whole heartedly. I looked at Baba T, who made a gesture that I should just go with the flow. Her room was like an apartment on its own…she told me to come sit by her on the bed. She was bringing out clothes and jewelries for me to try on. She told Baba T to leave us and go find something else to do. From the things she was saying, it was as if she already saw me as her son’s wife.

”I’m sure you know that Babatunde is our only son…the wedding will be one in town. I will go all out to make that day memorable. Lagos will know that someone is getting married. Don’t worry my dear; I will so take care of you. In this our house, you will give us twins, triplets and many more”. She was just saying all these things and I had to just laugh along…although puzzled and very confused.

She said she would take me to Italy to go buy the lace material for the engagement party “Shèbí you have your passport?” (Do you have an international passport?) she asked me. I said I didn’t. “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that when the time comes” she responded

She called on the chef and told him to make Pounded yam and egusi soup. She told him I was an august visitor. “Ìyàwó Túndé nì yí o” (This is Tunde’s wife) she said, as she pointed at me. The chef bowed and greeted me…I didn’t even know how to respond.

Baba T came to check on me about two hours later…was I glad to see him. I was almost getting suffocated with affection and gifts. I had tried on like 40 pairs of shoes after we realized that we (his mum and I) had the same shoe size.  Baba T said he would be taking me to Laide’s place soon, as it was getting late. 

“No o, she is not going anywhere o. She is sleeping here tonight. I will call Laide and tell her myself. If she doesn’t want to stay in your apartment she can sleep here in my room. Or you don’t want to spend the night in our house?” Baba T’s mum said as she looked at me

“It’s okay ma” I responded

“Ǫmǫ dáa dáa (Good girl) ilé ni’lé ę o (do feel at home)” she said with a satisfied look on her face
Baba T’s dad arrived before dinner was served and he was such a gentleman. He reminded me so much of my father. He was also funny and made dinner delightful. 

He asked me a couple of questions and when we got to my educational background, Baba T jumped in and said I had an OND (ordinary National Diploma)in Accounting from the Polytechnic of Ibadan but I was running my own business. 
“That’s interesting. I support entrepreneurship…because businesses create wealth. So I always admire anyone that can take that bold step to start their own thing” Baba T's dad added.

He later said he had to turn in early as he was traveling the following morning. He said in case he didn’t see me before he left, he would ‘send’ his wife to me.

After Baba T’s parents went upstairs, we moved to his apartment and the first question I had for him was why he had to lie that I attended the Polytechnic of Ibadan. He responded that he knew his dad and he didn’t want any form of prejudice to mess up what he was trying to build. I wasn’t very satisfied with the answer…he told me not to worry about it and all I needed do was let my success speak for me. 

I also asked why his mum was already planning a wedding when we were not even dating...

"Well, that's not my fault...she's just trying to show you how much she wants you to be her daughter-in-law. But really, would that be a bad thing? I mean being married to you. I will be so happy if you can do that for me" Baba T responded. 
I figured the best thing to do at that point was keep quiet so I let it be.

Baba T asked if I was ready to sleep or if I wanted to watch a movie with him. We already agreed that I would be sleeping in his room and he would sleep in another room as there were three rooms in his apartment. I decided to go to bed, so I went in the room…it had a master bath. I took a shower and put on one of Baba T's T-shirts that he left on the bed for me…I was just about to lie on the bed when I heard a knock on the door. It was Baba T; he wanted to know if I wanted some ‘Suya’ ((Spicy grilled meat)). I could perceive the aroma and I stepped out to have some.

The movie was already playing, it was a romantic comedy…there was also a bottle of wine on the table. Baba T asked if I wanted some, but I had never had alcohol in my life. He said it was sweet and that I should just take a little, if I wanted to. 
He poured me some and we started to watch the movie together. He came and sat next to me and we started talking. He started to say nice things about me and how much he liked me. It was as if he knew the things I wanted to hear and he was saying them, verbatim. For whatever reasons, I liked what I was hearing, I liked it a lot. I just kept blushing and giggling as he said those things.

It must have been the mix of joy and happiness from visiting the salon, a little bit of lowered inhibition from the wine I had, the sweet words from Baba T and the sensuality of the movie we were watching…one thing led to the other and we ended up sleeping together.

The Exchange (Part 13)

I snapped back to my senses later but there wasn’t much I could do. I started to cry because I was a virgin and had promised to make that a wedding gift to Tunji.
Baba T started to apologize…he said he needed to let me know that it was not an ‘arranged’ thing; that it just happened and that he never knew I was a virgin...which was a good thing because I had just cemented my place in his heart and he would go to any lengths to marry me.
I told him about my chastity vow with Tunji and how I felt like a betrayer.
“Well, if I had been in your life for as long as this Tunji guy, I would have closed the deal a long time ago to avoid something like this. You are a very beautiful and intelligent girl, why would anyone leave you for so long and not expect more serious suitors to take over? ” he said, trying to justify what happened.
“If you want me to, I can tell my folks to come see your family as soon as possible and we will make it official. I told you I was not here to play…I want you for keeps ” he continued as he knelt next to me.
All the sweet words from Baba T wasn't really ‘do it’ for me anymore, as I felt really bad and sad. He took me to Laide’s place after breakfast but I just wanted to go back home at that point. He wanted to take me to Abeokuta but I rejected the offer…I just wanted to be by myself.
I told him I would see him but I had to go take care of a lot of things back home.
I got to Abeokuta and the moment my mum saw me, she knew something had happened. She kept asking if I was okay but I told him I was not feeling too good and I needed to just rest. She said Tunji had been coming every day since I left and had even begged her to help talk to me. Tunji had said something about taking out his frustrations on me and getting me angry…I told my mum I couldn’t deal with that at the moment and she let me be.
As soon as I got in my room, I just started crying…the fact that Tunji had been trying to find me to fix things between us even made it worse. After about an hour in the room, someone knocked on my door…I hurriedly wiped my tears and cleaned my face. I asked the person to come in and it was Tunji…before I could say anything, he went on his knees and started begging me.
He said it was because I never bothered to ask about his follow-up interview with the Oil Company that he had been acting up lately. He continued that he never shared it with anyone except me and he specifically told me the date of the interview; but when that day came, I never said anything…I didn’t even wish him luck and it was obvious I had completely forgotten (apparently, the interview had fallen on one of those days that I visited Lagos to go see Baba T).
Tunji said he was sorry for not communicating and for acting like a child.
“I could have just asked you or told you why I was angry but I chose to be immature about the whole thing ”
“I just can’t imagine my life without you, fighting you was like intentionally choosing not to breathe. I tried but couldn’t do it…I felt like I was fighting myself” Tunji said, as he looked straight into my eyes.
He paused for a moment…he could tell that I had been crying. He held me and told me he was really sorry for making me cry. It was as if he flung open the floodgates of tears with that statement. In my mind, I knew I was the one that should be apologizing, and here was this guy begging the person that should be begging him. The fact that I couldn’t tell him what had happened made me cry even more.
“I’m so sorry for hurting you…I’m really sorry” he continued as he held me. After a while, I calmed down and asked how his interview went. He said it was really great and they told him to come back in about 6 weeks to find out. Tunji was with me for the rest of that day as he was doing everything to make me comfortable and happy…I think he even made me lunch at some point.
He asked how my investment opportunity in Lagos was going and I told him I wasn’t sure I wanted to pursue it…as it required moving to Lagos. Tunji said it was okay to move to Lagos if that was what I wanted to do. He explained how Lagos had more to offer than Abeokuta and how he saw himself moving there as well. He told me he moved to Abeokuta solely because of me, he added that if he got the new job, it could require moving to Lagos after the training in Germany.
I had a lot on my mind and I finally decided not to tell Tunji what happened in Lagos…at least, not yet. I would have to think of a way around this, as I was still torn between the two of them but Tunji’ s approach to issue he had with me (which was totally justified by the way) made me feel very guilty and the guilt, somehow bought some soft spot for him.
I was still nursing my conscience but would pretend to be fine anytime Tunji came around…things were a little awkward between us and Tunji would apologize again and again, every time he noticed this.
Because of the weight of the guilt, I finally decided I would tell Baba T that I didn’t want to date him, and everything that happened was a big mistake. I had thought he would come over that weekend, as usual, but he didn’t.
I was a little worried and angry that I had not heard from Baba T, it made me feel very cheap and used and I had rehearsed how I would give him a piece of my mind, and some more, anytime I saw him. I had a little something for Laide as well.
About a week after this, Brother Kola came home to introduce his girlfriend to us and told me Baba T had to travel out of the country for some kind of emergency but he did not have the details
A couple of weeks after that, I woke up with a terrible headache and was feeling nauseous. My mum had to come check on me in the bathroom as she could hear me throwing up. She asked jokingly if I was pregnant…
”How could I be? ” I answered scornfully; my period started 2 days before then and she was the one that bought me sanitary towels.
My mum gave me some medicine and advised me to stay at home for the day and rest. Tunji also came around when he checked on me at the Salon and was told I didn’t come. I wasn’t getting better so about three days later, I decided to go to the hospital…Tunji couldn’t come with me because of work and thank God he didn't. The Doctor asked a couple of questions and decided to run some tests…after all said and done, it was confirmed that I was pregnant.
I still did not want to believe it and I showed the doctor the extra sanitary towels in my bag. “My period started 5 days ago and should end today…I can’t be pregnant. I am not even sure if I have really had sex before” I protested
The Doctor laughed at the latter part of my statement and gave me a lecture on the basics of sex education. She also told me that it’s not uncommon to confuse bleeding during pregnancy for menstrual period. She advised me against terminating the pregnancy as she could tell I was not very happy about it.
I left the hospital totally confused…what would I tell Tunji?
I had not even seen Baba T for weeks, what if he denied the pregnancy?
I wasn’t sure if I should tell my mum or not.
As sick as I was, I decided to leave for Lagos the following morning. I figured Laide would be the best person to talk to at this time. I told my mum and Tunji that the doctor diagnosed Malaria and gave me some anti-malarial medicine. My mum did not look convinced but I went straight to my room to avoid more questions. Tunji wanted to stay but I told him I needed to rest and I would see him the following day. I couldn’t tell my mum I was going to Lagos because she would have kicked against it so I had to wait until she left the house and I took off...

The Exchange (Part 14)

Laide was about to drive out of her house when I got there. 
“O ti ko ba mi o ” (you’ve gotten me in trouble) I screamed as I started to cry. She quickly drove back in and asked the gateman to close the gates. She took me inside with a very confused look on her face. She asked what the problem was and I told her I was pregnant. Before she could start asking ridiculous questions, I told her the Doctor already confirmed it. She was quiet for a while, and then she smiled
“What is funny? ” I asked in annoyance
“If you are planning to plant a Cocoa tree and it sprouts at the same spot, would you be angry? ” she responded.
I was still trying to make sense of what she said when she asked “ I hope it’s Baba T’s o ”
“Of course…I’ve never been with any other man in my life and this was just a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time ” I retorted.
Laide tried to make light of my plight and encouraged me to see the good in this. She teased me for a while about how ‘going to see someone’s mum’ could turn to pregnancy but I was not amused.
“Your mum desperately wants a grandchild abi? Likewise Baba T’s parents; they will be so delighted because he’s all they’ve got. Even Baba T will see this as winning, because now you’re going nowhere ” Laide continued.
I told her I was scared because I had not seen nor heard from Baba T after our unfortunate one-night stand. I was scared because I couldn’t bear to tell Tunji…I didn’t even know how to tell him. I was scared because I would ruin relationships and burn bridges. I was scared because I wasn’t even sure I wanted to marry Baba T. I was scared because something in me was telling me it wouldn’t end well….I went on and on and on until I started crying again.
Laide tried to allay every fear that I pointed out. She said Baba T had to travel out of the country for medical reasons and it was an emergency. Before I could probe any further, she said he was okay now and would be back in a couple of days. She went inside and brought an envelope…it contained a letter and some money.
Laide said Baba T had sent her to me, before he traveled but she was indisposed and couldn’t come to Abeokuta to deliver the message. She told me she discovered she was also pregnant right around that time and the first few weeks were not very pleasant…she was even admitted at the hospital for some days and her husband almost flew her out of the country.
The money in the envelope was a gift from Baba T’s dad as promised the day I visited their house. The letter was not too long but it said something like he (Baba T) was sorry he couldn’t come see me at home because something came up and he had to quickly travel, he would see me as soon as he got back and we would try to resolve our issues.
“Okay o, but kíni màáse s’ọrọ Tunji? (What would I do about Tunji)?” I asked rhetorically
“Ǫlọrun l’ómọ ọkọ ìyàwó ojú ọnà (regardless of the length and depth of a relationship, only God determines who the groom would ultimately be)” Laide answered.
She tried to convince me that some things are beyond our powers as humans and that God works in mysterious ways. “ God will give him his own wife…ìná òwọ, kò sí ìjà ní bę (when a bargain falls through, it doesn’t have to become a fight)”
After hours of going back and forth and weighing different scenarios, we decided to let Baba T return before taking any actions...the plan was to keep this between the two of us and not to even tell my mum yet. Laide promised to come with Baba T as soon as he gets back. I left for Abeokuta but still had some heaviness in my heart. I went straight to my Salon and somehow, nobody realized I had traveled to Lagos.
Tunji came later that evening and was looking very sad, I asked what the problem was and he handed me a letter. It was from the Oil Company he was trying to get into, the letter said something like they appreciated his interest in their company and although he was one of the strongest candidates during the interview process, they would not be moving forward with his application and that they wished him luck in his future endeavors. As I read the letter, I could see Tunji wiping streams of tears from his eyes. It was as if the letter broke him.
“I was so sure of this…even the hiring manager said I was the strongest candidate for the position. I scored 96% in their aptitude test and they promised to contact me with the next step in the process and I got this. When will I ever catch a break? Why is life so cruel to me? ” He said, tears still streaming on his face
“I thought this was it, I thought this was the big break…I already planned my life and future around this. This was going to turn everything around and lay the right foundation for tomorrow ” he continued
“I have failed…I have failed you ” at that point, he was not even wiping the tears anymore. That was the first time I saw Tunji break down. He was always optimistic and had this positive approach to life.
“Don’t give up on God…I know He has something better for you ” was all I could mumble…I felt really bad.
"What better thing? You are the only thing I have now " he responded
The thought of what I was also about to do to him, someone that’s already at the brink of giving up on everything, froze my heart. I tried my best to encourage him, I made him follow me to our house so we could talk about it.
My mum also tried to encourage him
“Wọn ká ęní wọn ni, Ǫlọrun á tę Rug (they merely removed a mat, God can replace it with a luxury carpet)” my mum told him. She also added that Tunji did not need to get a job at an Oil company to start living his life. She told him stories of people that did not start moving forward in life until they got married. It was as if their marriages opened doors that were hitherto shut.
Tunji somehow managed to man up and later went home but tears really flowed. He traveled some days later and said he would be back in about a week. He needed to go see a friend about another job.
My mum was getting really suspicious because of my morning sickness but luckily for me, Laide and Baba T came over that weekend. I was in the room when my mum called my name and said I had a visitor.
Baba T looked like someone that was just recuperating…I greeted him but he went for a hug and said he had missed me. He talked a little about his medical emergency and why he had to travel but did not give details. He said he had been dying to see me and that Laide told him there’s an important issue that we needed to talk about.
I told him we couldn’t discuss it there and he advised we could go somewhere to talk…I didn’t want to leave the house so we chose to go talk in the car. Laide went inside to meet my mum while we stepped outside to talk. I didn’t mince words at all, I just told him I was pregnant and started crying. He quickly held my hand and smiled, he said there was no reason to cry.
He told me he decided on his medical trip that he would ask me to marry him the moment he got back…and was hoping I would say yes. He started to promise all sorts and that he would take good care of me and I would not regret carrying his child.
I told him it didn’t feel right and I was not sure of what to say or do because of Tunji.
“Give me some time to figure this out; I can’t just leave Tunji like that. Not this way…nobody does that”
Baba T agreed but said “ the pampering had begun” and that I would hear from him soon. He also said he would have to tell his mum. We went back inside and after a while, he left with Laide.
After they left, my mum came to the sitting room and asked if I was pregnant…I was shocked and didn’t have any answer.
“I’m a mother, I’m your mother…I have watched you for some days and I concluded when your visitors came. You are pregnant for the Lagos boy abi? And you are in a dilemma…tell me I’m lying ” my mum said…I was just looking at her and couldn’t say a word.
“Kò dáa o (it’s not fair) …what are you going to do about Tunji? ”
“I warned you when this started…olójú kòkòrò ni ę (You are a greedy person)” my mum just went all out to show her dissatisfaction at the turn of events.
I started to cry and her motherly love wouldn’t let her scold me any further. She held me and cried with me. She assured me that we would find a way to resolve this. I tried to explain how it all happened and she told me not to worry. She said abortion was not an option; we would just have to find a way to break it to Tunji and not break him in the process
“Rírò ni t’ènìyàn…a ję pé b’Ǫlọrun se fę nì yęn (Man proposes, God disposes…this must be how God wants it)” my mum said and she started to ask me about the pregnancy and how I was doing. She also asked what Baba T was planning to do...I told her he was asking me to marry him.
“T’ęlę n’kọ? (Does he have a choice?) If he’s man enough to cause the trouble he must be man enough to handle it”
We were still working on what to tell Tunji when Baba T showed up two days after his visit with Laide...

The Exchange (Part 15)

He said his mum was outside…so I stepped out to welcome her. It was more of an entourag. They must have come in like . 5 or 6 cars because they brought gifts and things that made it look like they came for a traditional engagement ceremony.
I noticed a brand new car (a 1982 Subaru GL) the only person in it was the driver. Baba T’s mum almost swallowed me as she hugged me and kept showering prayers on me.
“Èmi lo sè yí fún tán? (You considered me worthy of such a wonderful gift?) Wàá gbá dùn mi (You will be glad you did this for me). Don’t worry o…consider us, Babatunde’s dad and me, your husband and the father of this child...anything you need, just let us know ” Baba T’s mum said.
I was too dumbfounded to reply or respond. She said her husband was out of the country but she already called and informed him. She just couldn’t wait for him to return and that was why she made sure they came over to see us as soon as possible. She said they would have come the day before, but they had to get some things as they couldn’t come to their ‘in-laws’ empty-handed.
They came into our house and met my mum. Baba T’s mum was obviously very happy with the turn of events, her joy could not be contained. She hugged my mum and called her ‘Àna mi’ (my in-law).
Brother Dipo was also at home; he came to get some money for his final year project and was really confused at what was going on. He excused himself and went inside
Baba T’s mum was already talking to my mum about ‘the wedding’ and how they would make it memorable. My mum was as confounded as I was, at what was happening. She had to tell Baba T’s mum that she didn’t have much say in this and would have to contact my dad’s relatives to set something up.
“No problem ma, just let us know what you want us to do and when you want us to come…tí isę ò bá pę ni, A ò kí ńpę isę (We are ready whenever you are)” she said in response to what my mum said.
My mum promised to get in touch with members of my dad’s family and that she would send me to Baba T’s mum once something concrete was agreed on.
My mum offered them food and to my surprise, they stayed and ate. Baba T’s mum said we’re family now and although she wasn’t really hungry, she would eat the food all the same. I went with my mum to prepare the food…she didn’t say anything but I could tell she had lots of questions.
When it was time for our visitors to leave, Baba T said the new car was for me and that he wanted me to be comfortable and not have to walk around or stand at bus stops in the scorching sun. I reminded him that I once told him I couldn’t drive…he asked if I could get a driver in Abeokuta and he would pay the salary because it wouldn’t be sensible getting a driver from Lagos. He promised to come back in a few days to see me, so we could arrange how to go about the ante-natal care. I was really startled and couldn’t say much because of how fast everything was happening.
The moment I got back in the house, it was a torrent of questions. My mum wanted to know what was happening. She said it looked like someone already planned everything out and was merely following the scripts.
It took a while to convince her that my story was true and that the pregnancy was a result of one reckless night. I told her that Baba T was an only child and that his parents almost lost him some years back. I also told her what Laide told me about how Baba T’s parents could not wait for him to get married so they could have grandchildren. My mum responded with “Okay o, if you say so…Ǫlọrun òní ję a kábàmọ (I pray God will not let us regret this)”
“You sure will regret this…it’s not a matter of prayer ” Brother Dipo yelled as he stepped out of his room. Apparently, he had been listening to our conversation and had been trying to make sense of what was happening since the visitors came.
“I reject it in Jesus’ name…none of my children will regret in life” my mum fired back.
It became a heated argument between them…Brother Dipo was never the sentimental type. He said things the way he saw them without caring whose ox was gored. My mum told him that the role of family was to support one other especially when options were few.
“That’s sentiment Maami, what if Tunji was your son…would you have said the same thing? You don’t do that to people…Karma has a way of coming back to get you”
“Nítorí owó? (Because of money?) I knew this was going to happen…I said it when the ‘Father Christmas’ era started” My brother was really angry and he promised not to be part of it in any way. He even threatened not to attend any ceremony or gathering for the cause. He left the house in anger…I could tell that my mum didn’t like what was happening but she kept encouraging me that everything would be alright.
My mum decided to go talk to members of our family (both paternal and maternal). She said there was no point wasting time as we needed to come to a conclusion and reach out to Baba T’s family with definite answers and dates. I couldn’t go to work because I was avoiding Aunty Betty (Tunji’s aunt who trained me as a beautician)…also because the morning sickness had gotten worse; I would throw up till there was nothing left in me.
Brother Dipo was not talking to me and he would just walk by when he saw me throwing up. My mum said he would come round and I should not make a fuss about it.
I was wondering why I had not seen Tunji (since he said he would be back in about a week) but deep down was hoping he would just walk away. May God forgive me for this, I almost wished he got involved in an accident so that I would not have to face him and explain myself.
I wasn’t sure how my mum did it but that weekend, all my brothers came home.
After being brought up to speed, Brother Kola couldn’t hide his excitement…it was obvious he was on Baba T’s side (Can you blame him?). My other two brothers had some questions but still showed their support…however, Brother Dipo would not budge.
He lambasted everyone for supporting an evil plot and reminded them that my dad would never have supported something like this, if he was alive. My mum argued back that she knew her husband would not have supported having an abortion either.
“Tí ędá ò bá gba kádàrà à gba kodoro (people that struggle with the tide of fate, end up drowning)” my mum argued.
Brother Kola stepped in and said as the eldest son and heir to my father, he gave his support and blessings. My other brothers had to hold Brother Dipo down as he was ready to fight our eldest brother
In the middle of the brouhaha, my worst nightmare came true…Tunji walked in and I could tell that he knew what was happening. The look on his face said more than a thousand words could have said.
Somehow, Brother Dipo in his anger had visited him (not knowing he was out of town) and left a note at his house telling him what happened and how he (Brother Dipo) wasn’t part of it.
With the silence in the room, one could almost hear hearts beating…Tunji looked at me for a while and went down on his knees. He wrapped his arms around my waist with his face on my belly.
“Please tell me it’s a joke…tell it’s a dream and that I would wake up at some point ”
“Tell me you are not leaving me for another man…tell me it’s all a figment of my imagination ”
“Tell me we can go back in time and fix this…tell me there is a way around this ”
“Tell me this is not the end…it can’t be, it just can’t. I was told love conquers all; tell me Love can conquer this ”
“Tell me life is worth living…tell me my ‘Ajike’ (a pet name Tunji called me) is not becoming someone else’s ”
When I didn't respond he said
“Okay, tell me the pregnancy is mine…please do, nobody has to know it’s not. I promise never to tell anyone ”
He kept asking all these questions while crying…he would sob, hyperventilate like he was having a panic attack and continue. My cloth was drenched in his tears…I couldn’t push him away, I couldn’t hold him either. I couldn’t help but cry with him but I didn’t say a word.
“When I met you, I promised myself that life had taken enough of my loved ones and nothing would take you away from me. Please don’t leave me, I will do my best to also make it in life…I will take care of you. Àjíkę má se bá yĭ (Àjíkę, don’t be cruel)”
He turned to my mum and started to plead
“Mummy, Ę bá mi bę (plead with her on my behalf) I know she listens to you. Tell her it’s me Tunji…tell her to say something, anything…tell her to talk to me. If it’s because I delayed marrying her, I will marry her. I can even marry her tomorrow ”
My mum did not know what to say or how to respond to him. She was only able to say “Tunji ní sùúrù (Tunji calm down)”
“Don’t let me calm down ma…this is where ‘calming down’ has led me. Ę kàn bá mi bę ni (just help me plead with her)”
Tunji turned to my brothers too and started to beg them, promising to never make them regret supporting or vouching for him. They were equally stupefied while Brother Dipo stayed aloof from us all
“You just have to be a man” Brother Kola said as he tried to pull him up
“Don’t let me be a man sir…I just want to be with Àjíkę. Let me stay like this…Ę má ję kí n'dìde sir (don’t let me get up sir)” Tunji responded…sobbing, slobbering and panting
It was so sad watching him go through this but I didn’t have anything to say. I couldn’t even make a sound…I only had tears running down my cheeks.
I knew this day would come but I didn’t expect it to go like it did. My mum had said we would think of a way to break the news to him but we had not even started thinking, so it was shocking and I was totally unprepared.
In the middle of this, my dad’s immediate younger brother walked in...The Exchange (Part 13)

I snapped back to my senses later but there wasn’t much I could do. I started to cry because I was a virgin and had promised to make that a wedding gift to Tunji.
Baba T started to apologize…he said he needed to let me know that it was not an ‘arranged’ thing; that it just happened and that he never knew I was a virgin...which was a good thing because I had just cemented my place in his heart and he would go to any lengths to marry me.
I told him about my chastity vow with Tunji and how I felt like a betrayer.
“Well, if I had been in your life for as long as this Tunji guy, I would have closed the deal a long time ago to avoid something like this. You are a very beautiful and intelligent girl, why would anyone leave you for so long and not expect more serious suitors to take over? ” he said, trying to justify what happened.
“If you want me to, I can tell my folks to come see your family as soon as possible and we will make it official. I told you I was not here to play…I want you for keeps ” he continued as he knelt next to me.
All the sweet words from Baba T wasn't really ‘do it’ for me anymore, as I felt really bad and sad. He took me to Laide’s place after breakfast but I just wanted to go back home at that point. He wanted to take me to Abeokuta but I rejected the offer…I just wanted to be by myself.
I told him I would see him but I had to go take care of a lot of things back home.
I got to Abeokuta and the moment my mum saw me, she knew something had happened. She kept asking if I was okay but I told him I was not feeling too good and I needed to just rest. She said Tunji had been coming every day since I left and had even begged her to help talk to me. Tunji had said something about taking out his frustrations on me and getting me angry…I told my mum I couldn’t deal with that at the moment and she let me be.
As soon as I got in my room, I just started crying…the fact that Tunji had been trying to find me to fix things between us even made it worse. After about an hour in the room, someone knocked on my door…I hurriedly wiped my tears and cleaned my face. I asked the person to come in and it was Tunji…before I could say anything, he went on his knees and started begging me.
He said it was because I never bothered to ask about his follow-up interview with the Oil Company that he had been acting up lately. He continued that he never shared it with anyone except me and he specifically told me the date of the interview; but when that day came, I never said anything…I didn’t even wish him luck and it was obvious I had completely forgotten (apparently, the interview had fallen on one of those days that I visited Lagos to go see Baba T).
Tunji said he was sorry for not communicating and for acting like a child.
“I could have just asked you or told you why I was angry but I chose to be immature about the whole thing ”
“I just can’t imagine my life without you, fighting you was like intentionally choosing not to breathe. I tried but couldn’t do it…I felt like I was fighting myself” Tunji said, as he looked straight into my eyes.
He paused for a moment…he could tell that I had been crying. He held me and told me he was really sorry for making me cry. It was as if he flung open the floodgates of tears with that statement. In my mind, I knew I was the one that should be apologizing, and here was this guy begging the person that should be begging him. The fact that I couldn’t tell him what had happened made me cry even more.
“I’m so sorry for hurting you…I’m really sorry” he continued as he held me. After a while, I calmed down and asked how his interview went. He said it was really great and they told him to come back in about 6 weeks to find out. Tunji was with me for the rest of that day as he was doing everything to make me comfortable and happy…I think he even made me lunch at some point.
He asked how my investment opportunity in Lagos was going and I told him I wasn’t sure I wanted to pursue it…as it required moving to Lagos. Tunji said it was okay to move to Lagos if that was what I wanted to do. He explained how Lagos had more to offer than Abeokuta and how he saw himself moving there as well. He told me he moved to Abeokuta solely because of me, he added that if he got the new job, it could require moving to Lagos after the training in Germany.
I had a lot on my mind and I finally decided not to tell Tunji what happened in Lagos…at least, not yet. I would have to think of a way around this, as I was still torn between the two of them but Tunji’ s approach to issue he had with me (which was totally justified by the way) made me feel very guilty and the guilt, somehow bought some soft spot for him.
I was still nursing my conscience but would pretend to be fine anytime Tunji came around…things were a little awkward between us and Tunji would apologize again and again, every time he noticed this.
Because of the weight of the guilt, I finally decided I would tell Baba T that I didn’t want to date him, and everything that happened was a big mistake. I had thought he would come over that weekend, as usual, but he didn’t.
I was a little worried and angry that I had not heard from Baba T, it made me feel very cheap and used and I had rehearsed how I would give him a piece of my mind, and some more, anytime I saw him. I had a little something for Laide as well.
About a week after this, Brother Kola came home to introduce his girlfriend to us and told me Baba T had to travel out of the country for some kind of emergency but he did not have the details
A couple of weeks after that, I woke up with a terrible headache and was feeling nauseous. My mum had to come check on me in the bathroom as she could hear me throwing up. She asked jokingly if I was pregnant…
”How could I be? ” I answered scornfully; my period started 2 days before then and she was the one that bought me sanitary towels.
My mum gave me some medicine and advised me to stay at home for the day and rest. Tunji also came around when he checked on me at the Salon and was told I didn’t come. I wasn’t getting better so about three days later, I decided to go to the hospital…Tunji couldn’t come with me because of work and thank God he didn't. The Doctor asked a couple of questions and decided to run some tests…after all said and done, it was confirmed that I was pregnant.
I still did not want to believe it and I showed the doctor the extra sanitary towels in my bag. “My period started 5 days ago and should end today…I can’t be pregnant. I am not even sure if I have really had sex before” I protested
The Doctor laughed at the latter part of my statement and gave me a lecture on the basics of sex education. She also told me that it’s not uncommon to confuse bleeding during pregnancy for menstrual period. She advised me against terminating the pregnancy as she could tell I was not very happy about it.
I left the hospital totally confused…what would I tell Tunji?
I had not even seen Baba T for weeks, what if he denied the pregnancy?
I wasn’t sure if I should tell my mum or not.
As sick as I was, I decided to leave for Lagos the following morning. I figured Laide would be the best person to talk to at this time. I told my mum and Tunji that the doctor diagnosed Malaria and gave me some anti-malarial medicine. My mum did not look convinced but I went straight to my room to avoid more questions. Tunji wanted to stay but I told him I needed to rest and I would see him the following day. I couldn’t tell my mum I was going to Lagos because she would have kicked against it so I had to wait until she left the house and I took off...

The Exchange (Part 16)

He had been knocking on the door but nobody heard him. He had gotten my mum’s message and had come to meet with her so they could discuss it. 

He was one of the family members that already knew Tunji and was taken aback by what he saw. It wasn’t long before he was brought up to speed and he looked at me, shook his head…then he pulled Tunji up. He said he had assumed I was getting married to Tunji after he got my mum’s message but notwithstanding; he was not in the position to influence whoever I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

My uncle started to talk to Tunji and somehow he listened…maybe because it was coming from an elderly man or because we could all see genuine empathy in the way my uncle talked. 

My uncle said a lot, he was trying to let Tunji see that this was not the end of the world

“Tunji, that’s what we call a man…welcome to manhood” 

“T’Ǫlọrun bá ńse ire, à ló ńse ibi (Some things we see as evil just seem so, they are really ‘good’, in disguise) I want you to see this as God’s will and believe that He, in His sovereignty, has something better for you”

“A s’òroó se bí ohun tí Ǫlọrun ò l’ọwọ sí (When the road gets too tough, it could be an indication of God’s disapproval)”

“Ojú tí ó b’áni k’alę, kìí tàárọ s’epin (an eye that’ll last a man till his old age should not be getting infected from infancy)”

“You are young, you are good looking, you are educated, you have a bright future ahead of you…don’t worry about it. Someday, you will look back at today and thank God that it happened. Don’t ever cry because a woman rejected you; get up, dust yourself and move on”

After about an hour of listening to my uncle, Tunji got up, thanked him…thanked my mum and asked to take his leave. He looked at me and said he wished me the best…I still couldn’t say anything.

My uncle and Brother Dipo saw him off and they must have spent another half hour outside. That was the last time I saw Tunji until yesterday, but I’ll get back to that.

My uncle came back in and talked to me as well…he said nobody had the right to choose a husband for me and all they could do was pray that God would go with me and make the place comfortable for me. He asked some questions about Baba T and his family and I realized that I didn’t really know much except for the things Laide told me.

“Looks like you chose to marry a complete stranger over someone you know” He said

I told him that I did not really choose to marry Baba T but the pregnancy kinda tied my hands

“Well, you chose him when you decided to do things that could get you pregnant. Not to worry, you really don’t know anyone until you have gotten married to them. I just pray that God will make the place your home” my uncle continued.

He discussed with my mum for a while and scheduled another family meeting. He said he would reach out to all the people that should be at the scheduled meeting, where they would choose a date for Baba T’s parent to come for a formal introduction to the family. 

After my uncle left, our family meeting continued…my mum blamed Brother Dipo for how things turned out. He refused to take the blame and stormed out of the house.

I cried all night because of what I did to Tunji. I even prayed to God to forgive me…I just couldn’t get the picture of his reaction out of my head. 

Baba T came back the following day, it was a Sunday…he came with Bola and Laide (whose pregnancy was becoming obvious).

Bola and Baba T discussed with my mum and 3 brothers (Brother Dipo did not even come out to greet our visitors) I was in the kitchen with Laide as she kept encouraging me to put my mind at rest…it wasn’t long before she got me back in a good mood. She told me not to worry and based on what she knew, I would be well  taken care of. She said her husband (Bola) told her some things he had heard from his parents and Baba T’s parents and I should rest assured that everything would be fine. 

When it was time for Bola and Laide to leave, Baba T said he would be staying in Abeokuta for the night as he wanted us to see the Doctor together the following day. He had booked a hotel room before they came to our place. He asked my mum if I could go with him to the Hotel so we could talk.

“Why not? Kò s’áwo kan l’áwo ęwà mọ (what’s the point of holding her back?)” my mum responded…so I went with him. I had lots of questions and it was as if we wanted to get to know each other after it was obvious we would be getting married. We talked about a lot of things and Baba T tried to answer my questions. In a nutshell, I would move to Lagos after the wedding and we would move to our own place. We would open the Salon and I would start that business and everything should be fine from there on…right?

Let me forward the story a little bit…so we got married about 4 months later, it was beautiful, I’m not even sure the word beautiful does justice to the event. It was more glamorous than what I had pictured…as a matter of fact; it was bigger and better than Laide’s wedding. She even told me I almost made her jealous.

Baba T’s family took care of everything. It was a societal wedding, every girl’s dream wedding. Baba T’s mum took me to Italy and Switzerland to shop for the wedding like she said the first time I met her…everything was perfect. Brother Dipo did not attend the wedding like he had threatened; not even my uncle could get him to come, so I decided to never talk to him again. My mum begged me not to do that but my mind was made up and I promised myself never to forgive him. Let me also add that my marriage ended my mum’s friendship with Aunty Betty. She felt like my mum betrayed her…I made sure I didn’t see her until I moved to Lagos.

After the wedding, the pampering was so much I completely forgot about Tunji. We also got a house as a wedding present, it was bought and renovated to our taste (Baba T’s dad said there wasn’t enough time to build a new one). It was in the same area as Laide’s. We got cars as wedding presents too and Baba T gave the car he had bought for me to my mum.

Baba T registered me in another Hospital in Lagos and would attend every appointment with me. He was so caring and supportive all through the pregnancy. We couldn’t travel for honeymoon but Baba T promised to ‘fix’ that as soon as I had the baby.

The second trimester of my pregnancy was physically and emotionally hard. It was as if the baby did not want to stay, there was always a reason to go to the hospital. The doctor said I should have felt better after the first three months so he recommended that I didn’t do anything stressful.

My Mother-in-law was very helpful...she would always come home to stay with me when Baba T was at work. We had maids and helpers in the house but she would personally make my food and bring it to me and she would make sure I ate the food in her presence. I started to feel better right around the seventh month so my husband asked if we should go ahead and open the Salon. It had been sitting there for months…I didn’t see why not, so he put things in motion to get it ready.

The Salon was opened on my birthday…I must have been like 7½ months pregnant then. It was an eventful ceremony with friends and family…it even made the evening news and I was so happy.

The clientele in the first week alone was almost ten times what I did in a whole month back in Abeokuta. I had people working for me; I had access to all sorts of cars. I even had my own driver…life was good, right?

When it was almost time to deliver the baby, Baba T sprung another surprise…I never knew he was planning for me to have the baby in the United Kingdom. He came home with flight tickets and said we would be travelling. His mum also came with us; she said she couldn’t miss the birth of her first grand kid. It was when we arrived that I got to know that Baba T’s family had a huge house in London.

On our first night, I got to know that house was where Baba T lived while schooling in the UK…he told me stories of his escapades and some of the things that happened in that house. It looked like he felt he was saying too much because all of a sudden, he just changed the topic and started talking about something else. 

I got to know some new things about him that day because he delved into his past with the lady he almost married and said something about “getting arrested” and “blood everywhere” but that was when he stopped. I was a little scared and it was as if he read my mind

“Don’t worry sweetheart, that’s all in the past…” he said

I had the baby about 10 days after we got to the UK, my water broke in the middle of the night and Baba T drove me to the hospital, his mum came with us.

It was a baby boy and Baba T was ecstatic, he kept jumping up and down and couldn’t hide his joy. My mother-in-law was just kissing me and the baby repeatedly. Baba T said he had to make some calls and get some things at the home…he promised to be back shortly. 

I did not see Baba T for 3 days…

 The Exchange (Part 17)

I was really scared and thought something had happened to him. His mum kept assuring me that everything was fine. She said she already reported to the Police and there was a search party looking for him. She kept telling me to remain calm because of the baby and that Baba T would be fine.

He finally showed up, he looked really unkempt…he gave some cock-and-bull story about where he was for 3 days. I noticed that he came with another guy…his mum knew the guy and thanked him profusely. I also noticed that his mum did not talk to him; she did not even look at him…something seemed iffy but nobody was saying anything. Baba T reached for the baby, his mum almost didn’t hand him over. She later did but it was reluctantly...she kept while ‘eyeballing’ Baba T. We left the hospital later that evening.

Some days after that, my mother-in-law said we would be leaving for Nigeria and she had gotten someone to change the tickets for us. We were supposed to stay in the United Kingdom for a couple more weeks. I was still recuperating and was not happy with the decision. She promised that the two of us would come back, with the baby, to spend some time but we needed to leave. I thought maybe Baba T would say something but he didn’t…he had been very quiet since we got back from the hospital. We had not even had any real talk or conversation…he would only come in the room, play with the baby, hold my hands and smile at us.

When we got to Nigeria, my father-in-law was at the airport…he was happy to see us and he quickly took the baby. He looked at Baba T, shook his head and said “Ǫmọ ęni ò bá j’ọni à bá yọ (How I wish upbringing was all it took to mold a child’s character)”. I couldn’t wait to be with Baba T alone so he could help shed more light on what was happening. My father-in-law made Baba T ride with him while we got in another car as we drove to their house. I had thought we would be going to our house but we ended up at my parents-in-law’s house. Baba T’s dad literally dragged him upstairs and was yelling at him…my mother-in-law must have sensed that I was very confused

“Irú ìrìnkurìn wo nìyęn? (Who leaves his family like that?) Let his dad deal with him. Who leaves a wife that just delivered and goes away for 3 days? He is married now, he should show that he is a responsible man” my mother-in-law said

“Don’t worry about him, we will deal with him…just take care of my grandson for me. We will make sure that it never happens again. Let’s just keep this within the family. “Wèrè l’ará ìta máa pèé” (Outsiders will not understand, they will blow it out of proportion)” she continued as she motioned me to follow her into her room.

One of the maids had a look that suggested she knew what was going on; she stood around and wouldn’t leave. “Gbéborùn játijàti (worthless busybody) get out of here” my mother-in-law yelled at her and sent her away.

We stayed at my parents-in-law’s place for almost a month…we even had the christening party there and it was huge. My folks came over for the party and my mum asked if everything was okay…she said I looked confused. I told her all was well and that I was just tired. Laide also asked why we returned to the country sooner than we had planned…I really wanted to tell her what happened in London but I remembered my mother-in-law’s instruction and I didn’t want to be in her bad books, so I made up a story. 

While we were at my in-law’s house, Baba T and his dad would leave the house and return together every single day. Baba T would only play with the baby for a while then he would go into his dad’s room...if he was staying too long, his dad would send for him.  Everything seemed strange but my mother-in-law kept telling me not to worry, that her husband was simply teaching my husband how to be a responsible man.

We went back to our house and somehow, everything went back to normal. Baba T was back to his loving, caring self but never wanted to talk about the London incident. He would say “It’s water under the bridge…I’m here now, that’s what matters”. I chose to go with that phrase ‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’ so I let it go. 

Baba T actually took care of my family, my elder brothers got good jobs, after youth service, because of him…the only person that got nothing was Brother Dipo and it was because he didn’t want it. Even my mum got a monthly stipend…my business was doing well and growing almost more than what my husband had projected.

It wasn’t long before I got pregnant again…my mother-in-law was the one that told me to go confirm it, because according to her…I looked like I was. True to her words, I was like 8 weeks gone…she was super excited. I broke the news to Baba T and he was happy too. In the fourth month of my second pregnancy, I woke up in the middle of the night to drink water; Baba T was not on the bed. As I was about to enter the kitchen, I noticed that the sitting room was slightly lit and I could sense that there was someone there, I tip-toed and saw my husband snorting some white substance from our center table. I wasn’t very exposed at that time so I didn’t know what to make of it. However, I could tell it wasn’t right because of the look on my husband’s face…it was obvious he didn’t want anyone to see him. I gently backed away from the kitchen but inadvertently knocked down a mug cup that was on the dining table. The sound jolted Baba T to reality and he ran into the kitchen, the white substance trace still on his left nostril…he could tell I had seen him

“What are you doing here? Why are you sneaking around?” He yelled at me.

“Can’t a man have peace in his own house?” He continued

I didn’t know how to respond because I wasn’t expecting that reaction…he continued to yell and scream; I had never seen him like that since I met him. I thought he was going to hit me. It was the shrieking cry of our son (Junior) that made him stop…but he was obviously very mad and went to sleep in the guest room.

He left for work very early as well and didn’t eat breakfast…I really couldn’t tell why he was so angry. I checked the sitting room after he left, to see if I could find any trace of what I caught him doing, but he had cleaned the place up. I checked our room and ransacked his closet but found nothing. For the first time since we got married, Baba T did not come home…I didn’t know what to do. So at 11PM I called his parents and talked to his mum. I told her what I saw and how my husband reacted

“Ó se kíni? (He did what?)” My mother-in-law asked

I repeated what I said, she was quiet for a while and I could hear her calling her husband and talking. I could only pick some words in their conversation. I heard my father-in-law say something like “I’m done, Babatunde ò lè wá pamí (I’m not going to let Babatunde kill me)”

My mother-in-law got back on the phone and advised me to come over to their place the following morning. She told me not to talk to anyone about it…she said she would take care of everything and we would find him. I didn’t sleep all night and I left for my parents-in-law’s house as soon as our driver got in.

When I got there, I saw that maid again; she was looking at me like she wanted to tell me something but was being held back…she had always given me that look.

I could hear Baba T’s parents talking but as soon as I entered, they kept quiet. His dad said they had tracked him down and he was at a hotel…the man was clearly angry, although not at me. He said he had to leave because he had a very important meeting that he could not afford to miss. He turned to Baba T’s mum and said

“Mo ti sè wọn tí mo lèse (I have done my best)” 

“These ones are my more important to me now” he said, pointing at me (my tummy) and my son.

“He’s your son, these ones are my grandchildren and I will not allow anything or anyone mess them up” my father-in-law added, as he turned to his wife and got up to take his leave. 

As soon as he left, my mother-in-law started to beg me…she said I needed to be patient and that Baba T had some issues that they were trying to fix. She said she needed my cooperation to do this; because his father was at the verge of abandoning him and had already threatened to cut him off.

“He is very smart and he is a good kid but this is what bad company does to a kid…even one that’s supposedly from a good home” she said

She begged me not to share any of this with Laide or Bola, because Bola had a positive influence on Baba T’s life and she didn’t want Bola to stop being his friend.

I told her I was a little confused because I didn’t really know what was happening or why my husband was angry. When she saw my naivety, she took advantage of it and twisted everything…funny enough, I believed her. 

They resolved the issue and Baba T came back home, he blamed the stress for his erratic behavior; I even apologized for getting him angry. He started to see a doctor to help him with the ‘stress’ (that’s what I was told)…and it looked like the ‘doctor visits’ helped.

When it was time to have the baby, we went to the United Kingdom again but this time, Baba T did not come with us. It was just me, Junior and my mother-in-law. My father-in-law put his foot down that Baba T would not come with us. I even asked if my husband could come after I had given birth but he said they would wait for us in Nigeria. 

I had another baby boy, there was a little complication and I would have loved my husband to be present…I needed someone to comfort me and someone I could yell at. From that day, I started to hate the weird control that Baba T’s parents had over his life and affairs. I wanted my own family; I wanted my husband to be the head of my home and not his dad. I decided I would talk to Baba T about it, once we got back to Nigeria.

We got back to Nigeria, we still stayed at my in-law’s for a while…we had the christening there again and I couldn’t wait to get to our house so I could bare my heart to my husband. I could have told him at his parents’ house but there was no privacy at all…his mum was always around, always trying to know what was happening between us.

The day we were moving back to our place…my mother-in-law called me and said “I’m sure you believe we are meddling in your affairs; and we are too controlling, but we are doing it for the right reasons. Kó lè dáa náà ni (We are doing it for your good)”

She went on and on about how they know their son and thus, can “handle” him better than anyone. She told me to tell her what was on my mind since we were on the same team and wanted the best for Baba T… so I said

“There must be something I’m not seeing ma, Baba T told me he’s made some wrong choices in the past but nobody is perfect and I don’t think he needs to be treated like a kid to make him a man”

I regretted making that statement…as I could see how it changed my mother-in-law’s demeanor.

“Ǫmọdé ò moògùn ó ńpè l’ęfọ (a little kid cannot differentiate between vegetables and herbs) I’ve heard you, I’ll let you handle your husband” she responded. I could tell she was angry, I tried to explain what I meant but she said it was okay and that she got my message loud and clear.

The Exchange (Conclusion I)

We got to our house and things seemed to be going on smoothly…my mother-in-law had backed off a little bit and I was beginning to enjoy my husband. He would come home straight from work instead of going to his dad first. The “doctor visits” or whatever they called them, also stopped…I couldn’t ask for more. 

Not long after that, I was home in the morning sorting out clothes for the dry cleaner. I always checked the pockets of every cloth before passing them on to be washed. I found something in one of Baba T’s pants; I brought it out and it was some kind of polythene bag package. It was tied up so I opened it; it contained a white powdery substance, just like what I saw him snorting a while back. I decided to investigate and find out what it was so I took it and hid it.

When my husband got back from work, he started to look for something. He almost turned the room upside down. I asked what he was looking for and he told me not to worry about it. He was so agitated and angry…he later asked if I had seen his blue pants, the one he wore to work two days earlier. I told him I gave them to the drycleaner…it was as if my response was the passcode to the inner chambers of hell.

“Who told you to give my clothes to the dry cleaner?”

“Why didn’t you ask me before giving my clothes to the dry cleaner?”

“What kind of stupid person gives other people’s stuff out without asking them first?” he started to rant and yell

“Why do I need your permission to take dirty clothes to the drycleaner?

 Is this the first time I am taking clothes to the drycleaner?” I asked him

The response I got was a dirty slap…it felt like a dream. I must have passed out for a couple of seconds because when I came round, I was on the floor and I couldn’t remember how I got there. The sharp pain on my left cheek confirmed that it was reality.

I wanted to say something but there was blood in my mouth…besides, Baba T had this wild look and I didn’t want to push my luck. Even with my silence, he still pushed me out of his way and in the process, I broke the mirror on the wall while struggling for balance. I had a cut on my left elbow. He left the house and did not even bother to see if I was wounded or not. It was our house help who had heard the shattering of the mirror that rushed in to see what was happening. She helped me up and asked what happened…I told her I tripped and had to struggle not to hit my head on the mirror.

I tried to hide what happened from her, but I couldn’t hide my tears or the mark on my face. She got some iodine and bandage to stop the bleeding. She asked if she should call the driver to take me to the hospital. I told her not to worry about it…so she helped to clean the room and carried my baby, who was crying after all the commotion. I was just glad that Junior was with Baba T’s parents and he did not witness it.

I had heard stories of women beaten up by their husbands but I never thought I would ever be a victim. I wasn’t sure of what to do; I didn’t want to call my mother-in-law because of the “I told you so” gloating that could come from it.

 As hurt as I was, I still wanted to know what that substance was…as a matter of fact, Baba T’s reaction made me more interested in the quest. I called Laide but nobody picked up, I figured she was not at home.

I was getting ready to leave the house when Baba T came back, he looked very mad, he dragged me from the sitting room into the room and did not care that the house help was there.

Supposedly, he had gone to our drycleaner to check with them and was told that “madam always checks and empties pockets before giving the clothes to us”. He choked me and said he would kill me if I didn’t produce his ‘stuff’…he was like a raving lunatic and was screaming at me. I was so scared that I quickly told me where I hid it.

“Try this with me again and I will kill you” he said, as he took the package and left the house again. I knew at that moment that I was in trouble…I needed to talk to someone.

I tried Laide’s number again but it was just ringing. I decided to go to her house but I couldn’t find any of the car keys. There were 3 cars in the compound but I couldn’t find any of the keys. I also learnt from the house help that my husband had sent the driver away for the day…so I figured he took the car keys.

So I called my mother-in-law and told her what happened…she was too shocked to even gloat. She said she would send her driver to come get me…I sat there on the floor, holding my baby until the driver came.

The driver didn’t come alone; he came with that maid that always gave me the ‘look’. She said my mother-in-law wanted me to come with some of my stuff and sent her to help with that. We went inside to pack and I let her carry my son while I got the things we would need. I couldn’t hide my tears as I was packing, my mouth was swollen, I had a cut on my hand and I had marks on my neck, the lady didn’t need to be a genius to figure out what happened.

“Oga Tunde will never change…I thought getting married would make him better, but a leopard can never change its spots” the lady said

I looked up and something in me wanted to yell at her for poking her nose in my affairs and daring to say such a thing about my husband but my reality made me indulge her…so I asked what she meant by the statement. The lady said she had always wanted to talk to me just to let me know what she felt was hidden from me. She said she saw me as an easygoing person and had always wondered how our paths crossed

“Auntie, if you truly knew Oga Tunde, you would not have married him o”.

“Mo sorry o (I’m sorry to say this) sùgbọn ęranko ni man yęn (He is an animal)”

“Whenever that his drug thing comes upon him, even his mum cannot get him to calm down” the lady said

“His drug what?” I cut in

“Haba! Auntie, don’t tell me you don’t know that he is on drugs o…everybody in our house knows” the lady responded

The lady continued by telling me she had been working for this family for over 10 years and had seen things. She said that as brilliant as Baba T was, his drug addiction was his undoing and that was why his parents really wanted him to get married and have children so they could put their hope of a lasting legacy in the grandchildren. She said the drug he was on, made him destructively angry and abusive.

“Do you know how many women left him because of this? Children of big people that left because they could not stand him? There was a particular case that almost got him in jail, if not for the connection of his father. He beat the girl to a pulp; we even thought the girl had died. The girl’s uncle sent soldiers to come and arrest him” the lady must have sensed that she had said too much as she stopped talking

I sat there in bewilderment, like someone that was waking up into reality. I wanted the lady to tell me more but she said she didn’t want to lose her job. I couldn’t handle what I was hearing so I tried to call Laide again but it was just ringing. I really didn’t feel like going to my mother-in-law anymore but the lady encouraged me to go. She said Baba T’s dad was the only one that knew how to handle him and make him behave and that was why he had to live with them even as a grown up until he got married.

When we got to my in-law’s house, my mother-in-law and almost knelt down for me

“Pẹlẹ ọkọ mi, èmi ni mo f’ìyà jęę (I’m so sorry my dear, this is my fault)” she said

I was trying to explain what happened, she said I shouldn’t bother to, as she knew what I was talking about. The lady that came to help me pack gave me a look suggesting that everything she told me at our house was right. My mother-in-law quickly sent her away and took me to her room upstairs.

The fact that I wasn’t allowed to talk, made me cry even more. My mother-in-law just kept begging me, she promised that her husband would handle it and it would never happen again. She tried to dance around the facts, blaming Baba T’s actions on her enemies that want to disgrace her family. She said I should consider my children and parents-in-law who care for me and ignore whatever Baba T was doing. I told her blatantly that I knew Baba T was on drugs and I did not want to be a victim of his rage and violence ever again.

“Now you know what our problem is…your husband is not a bad guy, I know he is just being manipulated by evil people. They jinxed him with the addiction, to soil our family name. You have no idea how far we have gone and the things we have done to help him”

“We are fighting for the same thing and we should work together to get him all the help he needs. After all, he’s the father of your children”

She persuaded me to cover ‘her nakedness’ and keep the family secret…she promised that her husband would see to it that I never got hit or beaten again. I almost told her that it wasn’t really a secret, based on what the maid told me but I didn’t want to get the lady in trouble.

Somehow, Baba T’s dad was able to ‘fix’ things; my husband apologized to me and even bought me an expensive gold necklace to say he was sorry. We went back to status quo, my parents-in-law were in charge again and I felt more like a well-paid baby maker than a wife. Baba T had to report to his dad at least, once in 2 days…it was working (or so we thought). No erratic behavior, he was doing well at work and he wasn’t hitting me.

We did not have that intimacy that you would expect between married couples, everything seemed forced, programmed and monitored. Baba T was a great father though; he loved his kids and took good care of them. Laide would see me and remind me of how beautiful my life was and I would smile…but deep down, I could trade everything for some happiness.

Living with my husband was like walking on egg shells…I was constantly watching my words, my reactions to things, and would never argue with him. Even when he smiled, I was still scared.

My mum somehow knew I wasn’t happy and all the seeming good life, vacationing abroad, ‘big man wife’ status was just a charade. Many times she would ask what was going on but I kept pretending that all was well…I would tell her not to worry about me and that she should continue to pray that God should touch my husband.

There was a time she visited and spent some days; that was when she insisted that she had to know what was going on. She said she didn’t like what she saw and that our marriage looked like somebody else had the remote control to it. I told her my husband was going through some spiritual issues but God was already at work and all I needed from her, was her prayers.

She stopped fussing about it and said she would continue to pray for me. Things actually started to get better maybe because I started to see it from the “You gotta learn to live with what you are stuck to” perspective. I decided to always make the most of it and enjoy my husband whenever he was physically/emotionally available. I focused my attention more on my children and sought for joy in motherhood…I would even joke that they were my husbands. It was dysfunctional but what could I do? I had to roll with the punches.

After almost 9 years of marriage to Baba T and 3 children (all boys) to show for it, my father-in-law died. It was totally unexpected as we still saw him the night before he died. The doctor said it was due to a heart attack triggered by stress and exhaustion. He was supposed to travel for medical checkup some months before that, but he rescheduled it.

The Exchange (Conclusion II)

Baba T was shattered, that was the first time I saw him cry, he cried like a baby. My mother-in-law was devastated too; she kept saying “Ta ló máa bá mi to gbogbo nkan? (Who will help me structure things?)”.

We buried my father-in-law in grand style; in spite of the grief and pain. It was really a tough time for the whole family. My mother-in-law’s health took a big hit because of it. Most of the people that came kept encouraging Baba T to be strong and to step up to the responsibility that fate had thrust upon him.

Baba T went back to work almost immediately, because the company was in the thick of a rebranding process when his dad died. The whole purpose of the rebranding was to woo some foreign investors that were going to make the business international. It was worth a lot of money and there had been talks back and forth. Based on where the talks were heading, the company decided to make some changes and that must have been where my father-in-law got the exhaustion from. 

Coming home late, working even in the middle of the night...I could tell that Baba T was really stressed. I did my best to support him but he never liked to be disturbed when working. Unfortunately, when the foreign investors finally showed up, the deal fell through because of some huge discrepancies in the financials of the company.

It was a downward spiral for Baba T from there on, he just couldn’t handle it. At a point, I had to remind him that his family had done this business successfully before the foreign investors showed interest and it wasn’t doing badly and all he had to do was revamp it and hopefully it would catch the attention of some other investors. 
 
That was the first time he insulted my intelligence 
“What do you know? Your common hairdresser brain cannot even begin to comprehend what happened here…do you know how much money went down the drain? Do you know how much manpower went into this deal? My father died working this deal and I couldn’t even honor him by sealing it” he said, looking at me with disdain

“But I was just trying to help…” I responded

“Please don’t…this is not your forte. We are talking about acumen, business intelligence and lots of money here” he interjected

I felt so stupid and hurt and I decided to let him be. He started acting very irritable in the house, everything pissed him off. He would go to work, come back in the evening and just go to bed (in the guest room). 

I didn’t have a mother-in-law to talk to, as she was out of the country for medical reasons…so I talked to Bola about this.

He said he was aware of Baba T’s emotional state and was already encouraging him to get over the failed deal and move on. He advised that my support was all my husband needed and I should not let his attitude stop me from encouraging him.

So that night, I put on my sexiest lingerie, and went to the guest room to ‘support’ my husband as advised. I sneaked in because I was planning to just crawl into his bed and it was supposed to be a surprise...but guess what I saw? My husband had some kind of bubbling brown substance in a spoon with a lighter under it; he was so engrossed that he didn’t notice that I had come in. He pulled the content of the spoon into a syringe, tied one of his ties around his left arm and injected himself. I didn’t know what to say as I just froze in one spot.

I knew it was hard drugs so I shouted “Tunde what are you doing?”

Boy, did I get the beating of my life…he was so mad that he even slammed my head in the door. He boasted that he would kill me and nothing would happen, I curled up on one side of the room and there was blood dripping from a cut on my head.

He got out of the room and was yelling and cursing…he didn’t even consider the sleeping children or the domestic staff in the Boys' Quarter. He came back in the room, picked his car keys and said

“if not for my mother that talked me into marrying a peasant like you, you dare question what I do in my own house? I should be your god…unquestionable and sovereign. I made you, I can end you”

You know when you are sobbing and your tears are in one accord with fluids from your nostrils? that was me…I was hurt more by his words than the physical assault. I never knew he could say those things to me. I could hear the gateman opening the gate for him and he left the house that night.

I must have curled up in the same position for over an hour…I finally gathered enough strength to get up. I cleaned my wound, got in the room and cried all night. I couldn't call his mum so first thing in the morning, I called Laide  and she came over with Bola…they were shocked and appalled at the things they saw and heard...I didn't mention what I saw him doing, I only focused on the physical abuse. 

Bola said he never knew Baba T was that kind of person; and if he had heard this from another person, he would have dispelled it and vouched for him. Bola promised to track him down and talk to him…Laide stayed behind and advised me to take things easy

“ìwọ náà máa ní sùúrù ni (You have to exercise patience) You already have 3 children, where do you want to go now? We will pray and God will touch his heart” Laide advised

I told Laide I wanted to discuss this with my mum but she advised against such. She said I might not be able to remediate the damage that it could do.           

Laide left in the afternoon and Baba T showed up later in the evening. He looked at me and said if I ever discussed him with anybody again, he would make my life miserable. He was not remorseful at all and the plaster/band aid on my forehead did not mean a thing to him. He said I was a mistake that he was forced to make and he would find a way to rectify it. I didn’t say a word and he kept taunting me, I could tell he wanted me to say something so he could find an excuse to hit me. He asked how I thought I deserved someone with class and level of education...he also talked about how he couldn’t even tell anyone that I was a mere ‘School Cert’ holder. 

“What’s the difference between you and the house help? Tell me a fundamental difference apart from the fact that you married me” he asked.

“But you were the one that came after me” I said

“That wasn’t me…that was my mum. She was the one that saw and liked you…she literally begged me to ask you out. She made me give you all those things so you could leave that pathetic boyfriend of yours. Did I even talk to you the first time I saw you? Maybe I should take you through my dating hall of fame. There are girls I dated, that would cringe if they found out I ended up with someone like you” he responded

His words hurt like crazy and I could tell he was doing it intentionally…hot tears flowed down my cheeks but I kept quiet. I never knew a day like this could come; I knew we lacked synergy but that was better than what it had become. 

Somehow things skewed and took a plunge, a sharp decline…it happened so fast that I didn’t even know how it happened. After the fierce bout of tongue lashing, Baba T left the house again and didn’t come back to sleep.

I decided to get my mum involved…so the following morning, I travelled to Abeokuta and opened up to her, I tried to gloss over the drug part and just said he had suddenly become very temperamental and abusive. 

“Mo dáràn (I’m in trouble)” that was my mum’s first reaction. She must have noticed that her reaction wasn’t helping so she calmed down a little. She said she would help me beg him as there must have been something I did that he wasn’t telling me. My mum decided to go back to Lagos with me so she could talk to my husband. I wasn’t sure I liked the idea but I didn’t know who else to talk to.

We got to Lagos in the evening but Baba T did not come home that night…my mum kept telling me to believe that all will be well. He finally showed up in the morning and was shocked to see my mum. He greeted her but said he couldn’t stay because he had a meeting and only came home to pick a shirt and tie. He promised to be back later to have a talk with my mum. My mum was in Lagos for 3 days and Baba T did not come home. My mum had to leave on the third day because she had some other appointments to keep. I could tell she was disappointed but she downplayed it and said maybe Baba T already knew what he did and was too ashamed to come home. She left a message that he should come and see her at Abeokuta unfailingly that weekend and be prepared to pay a huge fine.

Baba T did not come home until that weekend; he didn’t greet me and didn’t even ask of my mum. He got the kids and said he was taking them out. I wanted to ask where they were going but he wasn’t even looking at me. They were out for about 5 hours, I was almost freaking out for the period that they were away because I didn’t know what plans Baba T had or where he took them. When they finally got back, the kids had lots of gifts and toys and they were really excited…they talked about all the places daddy took them to and how they had so much fun. He then watched a movie with them till very late and tucked them in. I just sat in the dining room with my left hand supporting my head…it was as if I was invisible.

Baba T stayed at home that night but in the guest room…with so much fear, I gently knocked on the door. He asked who it was and I mentioned my name, he was quiet for a while, then he asked what I wanted. I told him I wanted to talk to him…after about a minute, he unlocked the door and I entered the room. I knelt down and asked what I did to deserve what he was doing to me. I reminded him of how I had been supportive and faithful to him…how I gave him 3 beautiful boys…how I respected him and his parents and how I never complained about anything just because I wanted a peaceful home. 
 
He looked at me for a moment but didn’t say anything. I then told him what my mother said and pleaded that I would like him to honor her by going to see her. The last statement must have triggered something in him as he started to rant again. He said he chose to leave me and be on his own because of peace but I had to come disturb him and remind him of things I had done for him. Then he started to remind me of the things he did for me and my family…he said since I was keeping scores, he could mention a few things he did for me as well. I felt worthless when he was done with his ‘lecture’…I couldn’t hold back the tears so I got up and scuttled out of the room. He slammed the door behind me and locked it. 

A few minutes later, I started to smell the vinegar/rubber stench like the odor in the guest room the last time I walked in on Baba T and I could tell what he was doing inside the room.

I couldn’t let my children live like that, I had to do something fast…and I had to do this on my own. The following morning right after Baba T left the house, I went to an Estate Agent around my salon and asked if he could help me get a 2 bedroom flat on the mainland, I told him it had to happen fast and had to be kept between the two of us. I figured if we went away for a while, it would make Baba T rearrange his priorities. I didn’t tell anyone my plans because I didn’t want them to tell my husband. So I gathered all the money in my bank accounts, got the apartment, furnished it and strategized my move. 

The day we moved, I waited for Baba T to leave the house…it had been weeks since we said a single word to each other. Then I took my children and we moved to the new place. I had arranged for a van to come get us because I didn’t want to use our driver. I actually sent him to go get something for me so he wouldn’t see us leave. I also packed some of the things in the house but I didn’t take any of the cars as I did not want Baba T to track us with that.

The maid and the gateman were wondering what we were doing but they couldn’t ask me any questions. That was how I left Baba T’s house…I didn’t go to the Salon, neither did I contact anyone. 
 
My kids did not get it and they were not happy. They kept asking for their dad. I told them we would be going home soon but we had to be at the new place for a while. This fell within the long vacation period and I had believed that the issue would be resolved before the kids went back to school.

The thought of how troubled Baba T would be, gave me some form of good “gotcha! Deal with that! In your face!” feeling…it was nothing compared to the pains I had endured but it felt good fighting back in my own little way.

It was a totally different experience, my kids were not used to it at all and it wasn’t long before Junior caught Malaria. We couldn’t go to our family doctor so we treated it in house…it spiraled and he had to be admitted at a hospital in the area. At a point; I was so scared that I thought of going back home. Resources were dwindling but I held the fort.

After about 5 weeks, someone rang our door bell and it was Baba T, he had some police officers with him. He had reported an abduction/kidnap incident with them and they had been on our tail all the while. The way the officers handled it, I could tell he had ‘settled’ them because they did not care to hear my side of the story. Baba T was able to track down the van that took us, because somehow, the gateman remembered the License plate number.

The kids ran to him and hugged him…they were so happy to see him. The officers asked what they should do with me, he told them not to worry about me as he had gotten what he came for. The Officers took the kids to the car they brought…Baba T stayed behind, he looked at me with so much disgust in his eyes and said

“This is the life you deserve, continue to live it…but if you dare touch my kids again, I will use everything I have to fight you and your wretched family” as he walked out.

It felt like transient paralysis, because I couldn’t say anything, I didn’t even move...I could hear my last child crying and asking for me but they drove away. I must not have thought this through; this was not the outcome I had envisaged. 

Lots of thoughts flashed in my head.

How would I fix this?

How would I get my children back?

Who would help me?

The following morning, I went to Laide’s place…I hadn’t taken a ‘Danfo’ (commercial bus) in a long time but I couldn’t really afford a Taxi. Laide was visibly mad at me; she said there was no justification for what I did because there were better ways of handling it. She said I could have come to their house instead of absconding with the kids and getting everybody worked up. She told me of the showdown between my mum and Baba T and how my mum accused him of kidnap and murder and that he was only pretending not to know our whereabouts. How Brother Dipo and Baba T got physical and made a huge scene at Abeokuta. How my mum had been worried sick, running from pillar to post to find us. How I got brother Kola (my eldest brother) fired because Baba T would not buy the story that nobody knew where I was. How all the drama had caused a considerable amount of friction between her and Bola because Bola found it hard to believe that she didn’t know where I was either.

I tried to defend my action but Laide made it sound like I killed a fly with cannon…

“Are you kidding me? Moving my children away from a house where drug is abused openly is wrong? What would you have done if you were in my shoes?” I snapped back

Laide kept trying to rationalize it “After all they are his children, you can’t just take them away like that…baba ọmọ ló l’ọmó. Even your mother-in-law is not very happy with what you did. Her state of health cannot handle that. When I spoke with her; she said you didn’t inform her of what was happening”

“I didn’t inform her? She knew about all of this even before I found out. She hid he truth from me just to get grandkids…” I went on and on about the things I had heard and seen and how they begged me not to tell anyone. All the dirty secrets I did not divulge earlier…even what happened in London the first time.

Laide was speechless, she asked me to wait for her husband to return. She was mad at me for hiding the most important part of the issue. She scolded me for not making adequate preparation for this. 
“When you knew you were going to do this, you should have informed me. We could have executed it better. We would have waited for you to gather enough money. Maybe you could have travelled abroad with your children…we could have done a lot of things differently" 
"Did you even remember to take your passport when you left the house?” Laide asked. 
That was when I realized I didn’t.

When Bola got back in the evening, Laide shared everything with him and he decided to go with me to see Baba T. When we got there, the gateman would not open the gate…he said ‘Oga’ told him not to let me in the house or he would lose his job. Bola had to get off the car and walked in through the small gate. He was in for a while and when he got back, the look on his face said it all.

He got in the car and said we needed to leave and that he would explain things to me on the way. I insisted that I wanted to see my children; I started to cry and was banging on the gate. Baba T came out and threatened to get me arrested if I didn’t leave. He said he was just considering the fact that I was the mother of his children, otherwise he knew exactly how to deal with me that I would never step foot in that house again.

Bola convinced me to get in the car and that we would resolve this. It was on our way back to their place that he told me what happened when he was inside…how Baba T almost fought him and finally asked him to stay out of his business. Bola said he also threatened to go to any extent to deal with me if I ever tried to come near his children. 

When we got back to their place, Bola and Laide advised that I would have to get my family involved as I could not fight this on my own. I stayed there that night and travelled to Abeokuta the following day. Bola gave me some money…I guess Laide informed him of my cash situation.

As happy as my mum was to see me, she still scolded me for doing what I did. I told her everything this time, there was nothing to hide anymore. She said “You should have seen what that lunatic you call your husband did when he came here. Of course, it had to be drugs. Normal human beings don’t act that way…I knew he was definitely high on something”

Long story short, everything we tried to get the children back didn’t work. At a point, Laide had to withdraw from the ‘struggle’ because her husband’s family did not want to be involved anymore. I noticed that my brothers that got jobs through Baba T were treading with caution but Brother Dipo was ready for war…he was a Students’ Union activist back in school and was known for his ‘no retreat no surrender’ stance in the face of anything he saw as injustice. He didn’t have money to fight Baba T but he was able to get some competent lawyers that got the case to court and gave Baba T’s lawyers a run for their money.

However, Baba T produced “evidences” even “witnesses” to “show” that I was emotionally unstable, had mental issues, and therefore was an unfit mother…and how this prompted them to take the children from me after I had forcefully taken them away from their father’s house. They “proved” at the court that Junior almost died when I had him in my care and his sickness was due to my negligence and incompetence. They “proved” that I was the abusive one and that I once threatened Baba T with a knife. They wouldn’t let the children come to the court or testify because of the emotional scar it could give them.

We argued back that Baba T was on drugs and thus, was the unfit parent…but all the test results showed that he was clean…I don’t know how they did it. At a point I almost went crazy and had an emotional breakdown at the court, I started to yell and curse Baba T and his entire family; I almost got punished for contempt of court.

Baba T’s lawyers killed the case with that and he got custody of the children. We appealed but he won again…this time around, he got the judge to allow him move them to the United Kingdom for a while so they could be with their grandmother and away from the traumatic experience. 

The judge said I could come back in a year for another hearing and gave me the requirements I had to meet to do this…the requirements were so ridiculous that I knew it would take God to get my children back.

I cried like my world had ended…the injustice and oppression was too much for me to handle. I didn’t know where to start from or how to piece my life together. Baba T already locked off the Salon he opened for me and I wasn’t allowed anywhere near his house. 

When my rent expired at the house I rented on the mainland, I saw people for who they really were. Everyone I turned to for help wanted something from me…even people I considered family friends when the going was good. Men that once placed me on a pedestal, even the estate agent that got me the house wanted to sleep with me to help persuade the Landlord to give me more time to source for funds…even Laide started avoiding me.

That was when I decided to move back to Abeokuta as I didn’t want to go live with my brothers…they had their own families and I didn’t want to be a burden. My mum supported the move and I had to start from scratch… I asked about Aunty Betty but was told she had left Abeokuta and nobody knew where she moved to.

It wasn’t easy at all but what could I do. I got a shop and went back to my hairdressing, it was better than prostituting under the guise of staying in Lagos. It took a while to get past all the jeering, mockery, ridicule and questionings. 

It’s been years and I have only seen my children a few times; mostly on their visiting days at their schools. They are in boarding schools in Nigeria and once they are on vacation, Baba T sends them out of the country. My last born somehow still loves me genuinely…he shows it and he’s always promising to take care of me when he becomes an adult. He’s the only one that bothers to call me when they are out of the country. He eats whatever I bring for him with relish, even if they are not as expensive as his dad’s gifts. I don’t know what they did to the other two or what they told them…Junior hardly talks to me anytime I visit him at school. But I haven’t allowed that deter me…I still go there on his visiting days and bring things that I can afford. He will graduate from secondary school later in the year and he already told me he is getting his first degree abroad as he already passed GCE London.

Enough with my predicament…let me get back to why I shared this story

I was walking down the road to my shop yesterday morning when an SUV pulled up next to me. I couldn’t see the person driving until the rear passenger side window was rolled down. I could never forget that face…It was Tunji. He was still as handsome as the first time I saw him. I could see a couple of grey hair strands on his beard but they only made him more handsome. He said he could tell it was me but he didn’t want to believe it. He asked me to get in the car and I did. He asked his driver to drop us at an eatery so we could talk and sent the driver to go withdraw money at the ATM. 
 
Tunji said he wanted to know what happened to me…as something must have happened for me to be in the state he found me. I didn’t know what to say so he broke the ice by telling me his own story. He said he was in Abeokuta for a wedding and was just driving around to find his Bank’s ATM. 

He told me how he had to leave Abeokuta after our breakup and how the Oil Company reached out to him not long after that, because there was a mistake during the recruitment process. Someone else that shared the same first name with him was offered the position in error. They apologized for the error, gave him the job and sent him to Germany for the training.

He told me how the breakup made him bitter and resentful to women but God used a lady he met while in Germany to start the healing process and how the lady showed him the path of righteousness and brought him to know Jesus.

He told me how God has favored him within the organization and he’s currently the Regional Head of Business Development, West Africa.

At that point, I started to cry, he consoled me and said he already forgave me and was willing to help me in whatever way he could. I told him my story...everything, without sparing any details and he couldn’t help but shed tears with me. 

He said he wanted me to meet his wife as he couldn’t do anything without talking to her. The driver took us to the hotel where they lodged…Tunji asked me to wait at the lobby and went in to get his wife. He came back with his wife after a while and she greeted me, she was really nice to me. She told me she had heard so much about me because Tunji never stopped talking about me.

At the end of everything, they wrote me a cheque for N250,000…I couldn’t stop crying. Tunji encouraged me that everything would be alright and shared a lot from the Bible. He promised to check on me anytime he drove through Abeokuta but he didn’t give me his number. They asked the driver to go drop me off and as I was about to leave, Tunji’s wife smiled at me and said “Thanks for not marrying him”

*************** 

So Toun's brother Dipo was right after all. What a tale! Look at the last sentence! The words from Tunji's wife. How painful, right? I don't think she said it in a mean way but still, it would have been a punch to Toun's gut. 

*exhaling*. 

I leave you to reflect and hopefully determine to now more than ever, involve God in your decisions. Remember, you and your future are the sum total of all your choices. Shalom. 
Salt. 

P. S. Even if this is fiction, but art imitates life sometimes. Much respect to the writer. Much respect.