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It’s all for the money $$$- A tale of one Lagos big girl….New beginnings: Part 2 Episode 7

Mamus was angry, she bit her lower lip as she tugged at the dress. It’s too damn small, she seethed. Nothing fit right, it was all so frustrating. She cussed loudly and I was forced to pay attention. I had been doing a great job ignoring the tantrums she had been throwing all morning. I had a lot on my mind and the constant whining of this bridezilla was lost on me.

“What’s wrong?” I asked in my best concerned voice. It wasn’t my fault she had gained a ton of weight in the past few weeks. I had tried to get her to go to the gym but she wouldn’t budge and she had a penchant for size 12 dresses that reminded her of the days when she was a skinny, hot babe.

“Everything’s wrong!” and she burst into tears. This was a bit much really. My intuition told me this wasn’t about the dress. Mamus wasn’t usually such a drama queen.

“What’s the matter hon?”

“It’s Azeez. I feel too old for him and worse still I feel he is only marrying me because he can’t be with the person he wants to be with. I know I sound crazy but I feel this in my guts!”

“Mamus we can’t keep doing this. Marriage is a choice and at your age you do not have to settle. If you don’t think Azeez will make you happy then don’t marry him!”

“I know Toke but it isn’t that easy and to make matters worse I bumped into Gerald last week and he said I had added weight…” Mamus burst into fresh wails and I groaned.

“Please don’t cry, who is Gerald for Pete’s sake and how dare he comment about your weight?” hiss

“Gerald was my husband’s lawyer. I fell in love with him some years after my husband died. He was so supportive but I guess he never saw me as more than a friend. He made that remark because we were always honest with each other and would tease each other mercilessly. He helped me get back on my feet when my husband died and my son sees him as a second father. He doesn’t know how I feel about him…” more sobs.

“How you feel about him or how you felt about him? I thought you loved Azeez?”

“I do love Azeez but the love I feel for him is a gentle, good feeling. Gerald on the other hand gives me butterflies and makes my heart race.”

“I can’t believe I am about to say this seeing as we are at a bridal shop, shopping for your wedding to Azeez but why the hell did you never try to seduce Gerald? Was he unavailable? The way I see it, you could have been married to Gerald ages ago, men rarely have female friends, they just have females who are their friends because it is not proper to make them more at the time.”

Mamus was silent and seemed lost in thought.

“He talked sometimes of his family abroad and when I teased him about his love life he always said he had no time for women so I just assumed that included me and that he probably had a wife he devoted that time to.”

“Never ever assume babe”

“So what do I do now?”

“Make a decision, a broken engagement is better than a broken marriage. Azeez would not appreciate a second divorce.”

“How did you know about his divorce?”

“Facebook of course!”

“Oh, I should visit these social networks more sha”

That was close! I wondered if Azeez would appreciate me sabotaging his wedding. It wasn’t personal I swear, but if Mamus had a choice not to be married to the man I couldn’t get out of my head, I was definitely going to explore that option with her.

“Mamus you have four months to the wedding. The next two months you are going to spend at the gym getting back in shape. Then the third month you are gonna find Gerald and see if this thing is mutual which gives you one month before D-day to either call off the wedding or focus on it heart, body and soul. I know it’s a gamble and you risk hurting Azeez but you owe it to yourself to get married without shoulda, woulda, couldas!”

“I only have one objection, can I lose the weight in one month instead of two?”

“Sure. But it will take some serious discipline and determination.”

“Right. Thanks Toke. You are really a Godsend”

Just then a text came into my phone.

Heard your husband is out of town, I will be waiting for you when you get home. There are so many things I wanna do to you…hurry back. A

I gasped. Which kain wahala be this one?

“Are you alright dear?”

“Y…yes, Barry just sent me a weird text about stuff happening at his work place, nothing major”

“Ok let’s get out of here, I am starving”

I followed her meekly. A chant on repeat in my head; ‘Get thee behind me Azeez, my marriage is covered with the blood of Jesus’ Chei!!!

…….to be continued……

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in It's all for the money!, Series

 

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It’s all for the money $$$- A tale of one Lagos big girl….New beginnings: Part 2 Episode 6

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I opened my mouth and closed it again and then opened it again. I must have looked like a fish gulping large volumes of air in quick succession. I was frantic. Words failed me. I looked around for the nearest exit. The room was too quiet. A show down was definitely about to go down! I could feel the sweat on my brow.
‘OK snap out of it Modinat; there’s nothing Toke can’t handle!’
The quiet encouragement by the diva in my head helped me switch persona remarkably fast given the fact that I was about to wet my pants.

“Mamus I think we should have this talk in private.”

My response was short, calm but confident. I had definitely regained control. Acting so cool would surely make Mamus have a rethink. Mamus seemed to blush, she was obviously not expecting that. Geez, polite society was so different from the back streets where I’d grown up.

“Y..you are right dear! Forgive my ill-manners, love does make us do some foolish things. Hahaha…Let’s talk outside. Excuse us ladies”

Her nervous laughter and forced cheerfulness didn’t have me fooled for one second. Something serious was about to go down. The others were quiet but looked both curious and disappointed. I guess every one loved a cat fight. I flashed them a wry smile as I followed behind Mamus. Nothing prepared me for what happened next.

“I am really sorry Toke but I am going out of my mind. Azeez has asked me to marry him but I think he is still in love with an ex. I have tried to do my research and find out more about her but she was in his life a very long time ago. He refuses to talk about her and asks me not to worry but I can’t help worrying. I have been single for so long and to now allow a man into my life, I have to be sure he won’t mess up. All I know about the woman is that her name is Modinat!”

She paused for air and I looked at her incredulously. Was she toying with me?

“How do you know her name?”

“He called me her name by accident one day while we were laughing hard about something. I asked him who Modinat was and he denied saying the name. I let it go but I am convinced that’s her name. I don’t wanna live a lie but in all fairness we are great together and I know he cares deeply for me. I am just scared that if this woman ever comes back into his life, I may not win if he has to make a choice. That’s why I need your help. Please don’t deny it but I think you know more about Azeez than you are letting on. Please help a friend here.”

I couldn’t believe I was about to tell a big, fat lie…

“Honestly Mamus, I don’t know Azeez. After I saw him at your house, I went snooping on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I know I shouldn’t have but you are my friend and I have to watch out for you and you are obviously smitten by him. That’s how I got the extra info I have. I could show you my ipad so you could check my browser history for the stuff I looked at after I left your house that night. I was a real Inspector Gadget. Sorry babe, didn’t mean to pry but really I don’t know much, at least not more than you.”

Mamus laughed half-heartedly.

“Ok I won’t lie, I am a little relieved because it took me a while to work up the courage to ask you cos I was so afraid of what I would hear but I am also a little disappointed because the mystery still remains unsolved. Do you think I should ask Amaka to use her father’s connections to investigate him?”

“Nooooo!!! That’s a very bad idea. What if he finds out? He would never forgive you for not trusting him. Besides I have seen you guys together and I think what you have is for real but remember that marriage is a big deal. I wouldn’t want you going into it with doubts so you need to sort this out in your head before taking the big step. How are things with you guys at the moment?”

“Fine actually. Azeez is such a romantic and I feel thoroughly cared for. I guess you are right. I won’t mention it to Amaka. Please let’s keep this between us. I guess I am just being paranoid. You know I am not as young and sexy as I used to be hahaha”

I felt like crap. Mamus was my friend. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. Now I knew how Judas felt. I hoped I wouldn’t end up hanging myself.

“Toke I am so blessed to have a friend like you. Thanks for always having my back. Love you babe”

Mamus hugged me and tears stung my eyes. I was a good person and I was going to prove it. I hugged her back with a new resolve. Azeez was history.

“One more thing babe. I know the others are gonna kill me but would you do me the honor of being my maid of honor?”

I froze. Kai karma’s a b*tch. This was gonna be harder than I anticipated.

“I would love to dear.”

She hugged me again and I could have sworn I heard laughter from heaven. Even the angels were laughing at me. I was in big trouble!

…….to be continued…..

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in It's all for the money!, Series

 

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It’s all for the money $$$- A tale of one Lagos big girl….New beginnings: Part 2 Episode 5

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Modinat knew in that instance that he was going to kiss her. The unmistakable tilt of his chin and that dark, smouldering look in his eyes caused her tummy to lurch and she knew she had a choice; close her eyes and give in to the heady emotion or step away. There was no time to think…

“What is it babe?” He asked softly with the confusion that comes with getting mixed signals from a person you want so bad.
“I…I can’t. I am married and you are engaged!”
“But what we have transcends time and ties, I know you feel it just as strongly as I do”
“I feel nothing Azeez, we are not teenagers. This is crazy!”

Azeez grabbed my waist with a sudden aggression his breathe ragged in my ear.
“I will have you Modinat, I swear to you. Making you mine shall be my life’s mission…”
He kissed me deeply and with my thoughts in a maze of shock and unbridled passion I did the first thing that popped into my head.
“Ow!”
“That’s for kissing me without my permission”
He grinned and rubbed his cheek in a way that was all too distracting. I turned and walked towards my car. I needed to be home with my husband.
“I am moving into your neighborhood hon, I hope you won’t get into the habit of slapping your neighbour…”
His deep chuckle was the last thing I heard as I drove off in a hurry.

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

“Having connections is koko in Naija”
Amaka smiled at my remark. Siki’s husband had been picked up and harassed by her father’s men and then he had signed an agreement never to come near her again. He hadn’t resisted and was just grateful to be allowed to leave without any permanent scars. We had all been shocked to realise that he wasn’t her ex. Siki had never divorced him. If the guy was more influential he could have made an issue out of it but instead he came after her. Siki was just a big bag of secrets. Almost as bad as I was lol. We waited patiently for her to be strong enough to talk while speculating about why she would choose to be a bigamist seeing as it was against the law. The only reason we could think of was the physical abuse. We watched over our friend like mother hens and her husband was grateful for the support. Siki could see the questions in our eyes but she was assured of our devotion and support. We were friends and friends stuck together no matter what. Which was of course one of the main reasons I couldn’t have anything to do with Azeez. I hadn’t seen him since that night but the way Mamus was carrying on, I knew she was in love and happy. I couldn’t take that away from her. There was also my Barry. The only real love of my life. That man’s love and devotion made hurting him a bizarre thought. He made me feel safe, secure and wanted and there was no way I was going to give up my marriage for a tall, dark stranger. There were too many stakes involved.

One bright Saturday morning Mamus, Zainab, Amaka and I were sitting around Siki’s bed making small talk when she took a deep breath and told us she was ready to tell us the story we were all itching to hear.

Siki’s story:
“Sometimes one mistake can haunt you for the rest of your life. I met Wasiu at a party in Lagos some years ago. He looked nice and talked like he was somebody and we felt the attraction immediately. Wasiu had told me he worked in an oil company and I had been blown away by the car he drove and his sweet tongue. We started dating soon after and I tried to be a good girl for him. I never asked him for money because I had all the money I could want from the business deals I did and I didn’t stress him in anyway. Our love was a fairytale and one day he asked me to marry him. He told me straight up that he didn’t believe in big weddings and that a court wedding with dinner afterwards with a few friends was his ideal wedding. I agreed. I didn’t need a big wedding anyway. I had visited him in the modest apartment he shared with his friend a couple of times and when asked about the modesty, he had told me he was almost done building his house in lekki and didn’t want to waste money paying for an expensive apartment. The day I became Mrs Ajibade the truth began to unfold. We had skipped the honeymoon because he had to be at work and soon after I had settled in the modest apartment with his friend as a flatmate based on the premise that his mansion was almost complete. In two weeks being the sharp babe I was, I began to get suspicious. He never brought his car home, one excuse after another. He was always broke though he blamed that on his mansion in progress and he was always fast to ask me for money. The love began to wane and one day I confronted him. I asked him to tell me the truth and the truth was shocking. He was a driver for a big shot who worked in an oil company, he had no house anywhere and he was currently squatting with his friend cos he hadn’t had money for rent due to some other pressing issues. I had almost fainted.  I shouted and cursed and insulted him. I couldn’t believe I had been hoodwinked. I always considered myself a sharp babe. I guess I must have really bruised his ego because soon he was raining insults on me telling me he knew I slept with men for money and wasn’t fooled by my pretence and had only married me because my ‘business’ was so lucrative. I had cussed and thrown a stool at him and it must have triggered something because he beat the hell out of me. That night as I writhed in pain, he told me we were gonna move out of his friend’s apartment and that he had found us a new one and I was to pay for it the next morning or he would kill me. That was the beginning of my nightmare. I constantly walked the streets looking for men who would have their way with me in exchange for money at my husband’s insistence. He took all from me and left me with just enough to look good for the men and take care of any wounds I incurred from his constant beatings. He eventually quit his job and became my pimp, dictating who and who I was allowed to sleep with and even making me steal things from the men. I knew I had to escape. I had already met Tosin and he was quite smitten with me. One day I made up my mind to leave. I drugged Wasiu’s drink and ran. I lay low for a month avoiding all the places I usually hung out and didn’t pick any calls. I was constantly afraid he would find me and his threatening text messages had clogged up my inbox. I finally decided to change my SIM and move on with my life because I was seriously low on cash. I sent Tosin an sms with my new number and told him I had been kidnapped by unknown men and only just released. He came to get me and the fear in my eyes made him not doubt my story. He brought me here and in no time he made me his wife. I actually thought I was safe here till Wasiu broke into my home…”

I squeezed her hand as big fat tears rolled down her eyes. I wasn’t surprised at her story. I had encountered worse in my hustle. We were Lagos girls and we all had our sob stories. I looked at the other three, born with silver spoons- daring them to judge!
Amaka was the first to speak.
“I am so sorry Siki luv. I spoke to my father and Wasiu has been handled. He will never bother you again. You are safe here.”
Mamus dried her tears and Zainab seemed genuinely pained. Silver spoon or not, love and friendship prevailed. They may not have understood all of her pain or the reasons for some of her actions but they were behind her solidly. I smiled a grateful smile.
“Thanks guys, what would I do without friends like you? I hope you don’t think me a fool for not seeing Wasiu for what he was before marrying him. I truly fancied myself in love and love makes you do stupid things…”
We all nodded, lost in thought. Love did make us do stupid things and I was determined not to allow myself fall in love with Mamus’s fiance.
Just then Mamus looked at me and said;
“Toke I have been meaning to ask, how well do you know Azeez?”
My eyes widened, kai yawa don gas oh…

……………………………………………..to be continued………………………………….

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2014 in It's all for the money!, Series

 

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It’s all for the money $$$- A tale of one Lagos big girl….New beginnings: Part 2 Episode 4

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Siki opened her mouth to say something but her voice was muffled by the anguished exclamations of three women. They had arrived! I looked over Mamus’s shoulder hoping that I would not see the very person my heart longed to see. This was crazy, I felt like a teenager. I was brought back to reality by Amaka’s accusation.

“Amaka I know what the nurses said but I have spoken to Siki, her husband didn’t do it.”

My declaration started another burst of market-square chatter as the threw women aired their views at once. I knew that my usually cultured friends were still in shock about the degree of assault on Siki but I also realized that if they didn’t quieten down, the nurses would come and chase us away.

“Siki can I tell them?”

I knew it was unfair to put her on the spot but I also knew her confession was beyond me and she was definitely going to need all the help she could get. Siki shrugged and nodded obviously too weak and defeated to argue. Amaka, Mamus and Zainab looked at me expectantly.

“The monster who did this to Siki was her first husband. I don’t have the details but somehow he found her at home and did this to her. Her husband doesn’t know- frankly I don’t know how much he knows…”

I looked at Siki and she looked away, her eyes filling with tears. I continued…

“All I know is that our friend needs our help. Mamus you will have to convince her hubby that his wife was beaten by an armed man who broke into the house just to corroborate Siki’s story. Amaka you will need your father’s connections to ensure that this man is found and made to pay for his crimes and that he never has access to Siki again…”

“What will I do?” Zainab asked. I had gotten so wrapped up in my master plan that her question momentarily threw me off balance.

“You and I will take turns watching over Siki at the hospital. We must make sure that there is someone with her at all times. I know you work but please while at work tomorrow see if you can contact Siki’s sister. The four us, Siki’s husband included will run shifts watching over Siki. Mamus and Amaka will also chip in. We do not want a repeat attack.”

“I have an idea, why don’t I get my fiance to organize some mobile policemen to watch over her instead of us running compulsory shifts?”

“I thought he was a fashion designer Mamus?”

Mamus stared at me awkwardly.
“I never told you what he did for a living”

“Sure you did”. I laughed a little too loudly. “Don’t tell me you are starting to forget our little chitchats?”

Mamus exchanged glances with Amaka. Zainab sensing things were getting a bit awkward glanced at Mamus with a look that said drop it and announced that Mamus’s idea was splendid.

I couldn’t care less about what just ensued. If Mamus probed deeper, I would just let her know that I had checked him out on Facebook out of curiosity as I didn’t want my friend to fall into the wrong hands. What I did care about was the fact that Mamus had used the word ‘fiance’. She wasn’t wearing an engagement ring but definitely something had gone down. I needed a breath of fresh air and told the girls I would be back.

I was leaning on a car behind the hospital psyching myself to get it together and forget this Azeez of a person when I heard a voice that made me jump.

“Hello Modinat”

I looked up and there was Azeez with a smile playing on the corners of his full lips as he stared back at me with an intensity that burned my skin.

“H…how…I don’t understand…”

“How did I know it was you? I admit I never got a good look at your face but I memorized the sound of your voice and when you opened the door at M’s house I couldn’t immediately place why your voice was familiar but just now I was walking towards the ward when I overheard your laugh and suddenly it all made sense to me. Oh Modinat!”

I looked at him in what was a mix of shock, horror and pure longing. He took a step towards me and I froze.

…to be continued

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in It's all for the money!, Series

 

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It’s all for the money $$$- A tale of one Lagos big girl….New beginnings: Part 2 Episode 3

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The look on Barry’s face scared me. I knew something terrible awaited me in the living room. I wondered if it was the police or worse still Samsudeen. I wondered if whatever lay ahead would signal the end of the fairytale life I lived. I wondered if Barry would stick with me regardless of what he had heard or was gonna hear. His silence was deafening.

“I love you Barry”
It was a silent, gut-wrenching plea. It was a desperate affirmation of what we shared and a subtle reminder of the vows we took.

Barry held me hand and squeezed it softly without saying a word and then I opened the door and walked into the living room with a deep breath suspended in my lungs…

Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. I let out the air in my lungs in a loud whoosh as I ran to Siki’s side.

“OMG, Siki were you in an accident? Are you alright? Is that a hand print on your face? Who did this to you? Oh God!”

Siki had been battered. Her face was red and there was a distinct hand print on her cheek. Her clothes were torn and she had cuts and bruises in several places. She groaned in pain, unable to answer my barrage of questions. Her eyes were wet with tears and filled with regret.

“Babe let’s take her to the clinic. That’s why I needed you to dress up”.

I was startled by Barry’s voice. I had forgotten he was behind me. No wonder he had looked so grim when he walked into the bedroom. This was obviously domestic violence and Siki’s husband was his very respected boss. I guess Barry couldn’t fathom how a man so cultured could batter his wife but I knew many men were two faced monsters. I felt really bad for Siki.

Barry and I had to carry Siki to the car. She had no strength left in her. At the hospital Barry called Siki’s husband and the doctor informed us that Siki had three fractured ribs and would be admitted. I quickly called Amaka and Zainab. I didn’t call Mamus, I figured Azeez would still be at her house and didn’t wanna risk seeing him again. Siki’s husband arrived at the hospital very alarmed and making a whole lot of fuss. If I hadn’t already found him guilty in my head, I would have believed he was innocent. He made quite a show and some of the nurses began to sympathize with him. An older matron walked up to me and whispered that many wife batterers were good actors. I guess she saw the confusion in my eyes. She eyed him coldly and walked off.

Siki’s husband walked up to us and shook Barry’s hand thanking him for bringing his wife to the hospital. Barry asked him what had happened with the last shred of civility he had. I knew Barry was protective about my friends and anti-domestic violence. Siki’s husband sensing the accusation in the air, swore that he had just gotten home when he got Barry’s call. As we were talking, Siki was wheeled past us on a stretcher enroute the theater. Apparently the doctors needed to perform a procedure and as she saw her husband her eyes widened with fear. He ran after her but the matron who had spoken to me earlier blocked him and asked him to take a seat.

Three hours later, we were still there and Barry and Siki’s husband were struggling to keep their eyes open. I told Barry to go home that I would stay here till Siki was stable and suggested that Siki’s husband take him home and get some rest himself. The men protested but I told Barry that the wine I had drunk earlier in the evening had me very alert and that I would be fine and besides both of them had work the next day. They finally agreed howbeit reluctantly. I had other motives for wanting to be alone with Siki. I needed to hear the truth. Just then Amaka called and said she and Zainab were on their way and that they had had to pick up Mamus hence the long delay.

Siki finally came out, weak but alive and she was bandaged up in so many places that if I could find the humor within I would have likened her to an Egyptian mummy. How did we women get ourselves into such situations? I wondered if this was the first time her husband was beating her. I wondered if she knew of his violent streak prior to marriage. I reckoned she did, these days it was all for the money. I held her hand and she opened her eyes and gave me a painful smile.

“Siki who did this to you?”

There was a long pause and she turned her head slowly to see if there was anyone else in the room.

“My husband”

“I knew it, that evil son of a…Na God go punish him. Ah! Men can be so wicked…”

Siki raised her hand as if to say no;

“My first husband”

I opened my mouth and closed it and opened it again. No words came out. What was Siki saying?

….to be continued

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in It's all for the money!, Series

 

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It’s all for the money $$$- A tale of one Lagos big girl….New beginnings: Part 2 Episode 2

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It couldn’t be Azeez. I blinked, was I dreaming?
“Hey beautiful, are you gonna let me in?”
I pulled myself together and forced a smile. Please come in.
“Azeez darling, I wasn’t expecting you so soon, was just rounding up my evening with the girls”
As Mamus gave her visitor a warm hug, I caught Siki’s eye, that was our cue to leave. I knew Siki would have loved to stay, she generally loved aproko but I couldn’t stand being there a second longer than necessary. Thankfully Zainab and Amaka agreed with me and despite Mamus’s half-hearted protests that we stay a little while longer, we were gone in less than five minutes.

“Didn’t he recognize me?”

I silently pondered about this on the short drive home. Thankfully Barry was working late so I had the house to myself. I poured myself a stiff drink. Barry had banned me from drinking since we were trying for a baby but I needed it. Where had Azeez been all these years? Was it a good thing that he couldn’t remember me? Why did seeing him still have such an effect on me? Was he the beau Mamus had been talking about finally getting serious with? Why would he want an older woman? I hated having so many unanswered questions. I had a brilliant idea and grabbed my iPad. These days, most people had their lives on full display on one social network or the other. I checked Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter and four hours and a full bottle of wine later I had answers to quite a few of my questions.

Azeez was a successful designer with a fashion brand called Azure. He had relocated to Lagos from L.A some months back and he was divorced (already) with a child from his previous marriage. His ex-wife and kid still lived in L.A. He had no pictures of Mamus on his Facebook or Instagram but had some interesting tweets about his new lady love. I scrolled through his older tweets and one dated on the 12th of August 2010 caught my eye.

“I wish I could have this night forever,  I wish time and circumstances would give us a chance…”

I had felt that exact same way that night. I remembered that night so vividly. I had hustled my way into a society owambe hoping to catch myself a generous toaster but had realised it wasn’t your regular party when all around me there were sounds of excited conversations heavily impregnated with deep British and American accents. This was forming on a new level and I had gotten weary of hearing people boast about how much money they had or where they spent their last holiday and had quietly retreated to the balcony. I couldn’t imagine opening my mouth in this kinda gathering and with the number of correct babes in designer clothing at the party, my chances of catching any correct bobo were slim. I stood there hoping Taiwo would hurry up with her work so we could leave, most guests had eaten anyway so I figured her job was almost done. That was when I heard his rich baritone. I have always been a sucker for a sexy voice. The balcony was dark so he hadn’t caught a glimpse of my face but his handsome features would be forever etched in my memory. He had come to the balcony to make a phone call and hadn’t noticed me which gave me ample time to study him.

“Remi this party is dulling oh, all the babes are forming like they never spoke Yoruba in their lives. Abeg come and pick me, I dont know why my mum refuses to let me drive in naija…”

I giggled at what I had eavesdropped and he noticed me for the first time.

“Guy I dey wait oh, let me call you back” “Hello were you laughing at me?”
“Yep, I couldn’t help it, the forming at this party na die”
“As in, omo I no fit shout, Hi my name is Azeez and you are?”

Modinat was what he knew me as and we had gisted for one hour switching from pidgin to Yoruba back to pidgin in obvious defiance of the party behind the glass door. We had tons in common, our ideas about life, favorite songs, childhood games. I had never been so real with anyone in my life. I was really feeling him and I knew it was mutual. When he let on that he had just finished his masters at a university in America and had come home to visit his mum, I felt the insecurity for the first time. Our lives were too different, I was a poor orphan, hustling for a living. He would never want to be with me if he knew who I really was. We bonded unimaginably and I tried to be as truthful with him as possible which meant evading any questions I felt were too personal. He told me that he had never felt this way about anyone in such a short time and that he wanted to be with me and see how far things would go even though he admitted that he had a girl abroad. I knew we could never be together and I told him I was engaged and in love with my fiance. His friend called at that very moment telling him he was parked badly and that Azeez had better hurry down. A tear pricked my eye as he asked for my phone number and I refused, how would I explain to him that I didn’t own a mobile phone? He took it as further rejection and had turned to leave and on a whim, he had grabbed me and kissed me and I swear down, no one had ever kissed me with such passion.

I hadn’t seen him again till tonight at Mamus’s house and he obviously hadn’t recognized me. I reached for my glass of wine and found it and the bottle empty. I groaned. What was wrong with me? I was supposed to be happily married and here I was agonizing about the one that got away. As if on cue, I heard Barry’s key in the door.

“Hi honey, I figured you’d be too tired to cook after hanging with the girls so I stopped by at Mandy’s and got us some dinner. Have you been drinking woah!?!”

Barry rushed to my side and instead of reprimanding me, he fussed over me caressing my hair and cooing into my ears. He had learnt early in the marriage that I didn’t like being questioned and as he silently reassured me of his love and carried me to bed, thoughts of Azeez began to dim in my head. When Barry served me dinner in bed I smiled gratefully at him. I would never know what could have been between Azeez and I but I was grateful about what I had in the present with Barry. Just as I finished dinner the doorbell rang, I wondered who could possibly be at my door at past 9. Barry got up from where he was propped beside me to check who was at the door. He came back in looking grim.

“Honey I think you had better dress up and come with me”

My heart skipped a beat!

……to be continued………

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in It's all for the money!, Series

 

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It’s all for the money $$$- A tale of one Lagos big girl….New beginnings: Part 2 Episode 1

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Hi Chutzpah Fam, due to popular demand, it’s all for the money has been continued…thanks for the feedback readers ♥

People say that when one chapter of your life closes, another begins. I sighed dreamily at the words ‘The End’ that signalled the concluding scene of our wedding video. The guys who did the video were incurable romantics and the priceless scenes captured on film along with the 80s love songs had me squeezing Barry’s hand in a way that clearly showed my emotions were on overdrive. They really don’t sing love songs like they used to…I really wished that was the end it would have been a most perfect ending but unlike real life, the end wouldn’t come till I was 6 feet under and right now I had way too much to live for. I couldn’t believe 6 months had rolled by so quickly. Marriage was beautiful. I had friends who would say otherwise but really life had a way of throwing you lemons and peaches and if I was eating peaches at this stage of my life it didn’t mean I hadn’t sucked my lemons dry.

Most of the women who had become my close friends had lived with a silver spoon all their lives. Amaka’s dad was an ex-governor and she had never worked a day in her life. The husband and the spa which were her two most prized possessions had been handed to her by daddy. She was your cliche fairytale princess. She reminded me of Bree in Desperate housewives, Barry had loads of DVDs and I’d spent a good part of my days catching up on the series I missed in my hustle days. I laughed because watching Friends or 24 now when people had moved on from them reminded me of the fact that even though late, I had definitely arrived. I couldn’t imagine any of the girls I had hustled with sitting down to watch Desperate housewives. The English would have been an issue and as for our mindsets, we would have never been able to identify personally with what we watched. Thank God for Bukky Wright and Yoruba movies jare. Anyway back to my friends. Amaka had a life everyone outside envied, she was regularly featured in magazines and was a style icon. Her yellow skin was pampered and spotless and she had a body that would make you jealous. Her husband was tall, dark and handsome and was the oga in charge of one of her father’s most successful businesses but things weren’t what they seemed. Amaka didn’t talk much but it was obvious to me that something was amiss. They had no kids and Amaka said they weren’t ready which was kinda odd to me cos they had been married for 5 years and then there was the little issue of Amaka’s love for coffee. She drank about 30 cups a day, I kid you not and while I used a teaspoon of decaf coffee downed in milk to make mine, she took hers strong, black and very bitter judging by the way she heaped the coffee grains into her cup like it was sugar sometimes I could swear she was high on caffeine. I had asked her once about it and she laughed in that way she always laughed, a laugh that sounded toosh and gentle like it had been practiced and perfected and told me that she needed the bitterness in her cup to remind her of the realities of life. Well like I said before she was perfect.    

 Then there was Siki, I had bumped into her at a supermarket one day and she had shouted ‘Modinat’ which had me quite embarrassed since I didn’t go by that name again. I had wanted to get rid of her fast and did all I could to form busy but this childhood friend of mine was not going anywhere. Ever the slut, she had used her bottom power to get herself out of the ghettoes and was dating a famous Ondo state politician whom she proudly pointed out was just one of her options. This girl knew me from way back and trust me when you’ve struggled to get a new identity the last thing you need is someone from your past wanting to be chummy. Anyway fate has a way of stirring things up. She’s the biggest drama queen in the universe and true to type, she brought Siki into my life a few months later. She moved into my estate, newly married to Tosin, Barry’s Nigerian boss. She had failed to mention that he was one of the people held spell bound by her powerful toto. I wondered why the yeye thing hadn’t slacked since. Her hubby had opened her a big supermarket around the corner and I had been forced to embrace her or make an enemy of her and trust me nobody wants a loud-mouthed Yoruba girl as an enemy. As a Yoruba girl I should know. Anyway I had to welcome her into the group to keep Barry happy since she was his boss’s wife and Amaka wasn’t too pleased. She was all for pedigree and pedigree was the one thing Siki and her expensive perfumes, bleached body and Brazilian hair did not reek of.   

      Mamus hadnt minded the new addition. We called her the mummy of our little group. She had lost her husband some years ago to cancer and her son lived abroad with his wife. She travelled a lot but when she was around she made us her business. She was nice and very accommodating and people said she was the first person to move into our estate and that she owned some of the other houses in the estate. Mamus knew everybody and everything. People tended to open up to her when left alone with her for a few minutes. She was the one who had warned Zainab that her hubby might be taking a second wife soon and also advised her on what to do and a few weeks later Zainab’s hubby had realized he couldn’t love two women equally and had called off the Nikkah. We loved Mamus and she loved us back. After Zainab’s incident we hid nothing from her and the more she knew the happier she was. She always teased me that I held back, I guessed she must have spoken to Barry at some point and realised he also had parts of my life he had no information about. I always wondered why Mamus needed to know so much, maybe her older age made her feel like it was her right but that secret was my secret and it was bad enough that Siki was in the picture, I wasn’t ready to let on anymore about me than was necessary.   

     Zainab was the last girl in our circle. She was also the only one with a 9-5 job. She left her twins at home with a nanny and drove to her job at Zenith bank every day. She refused to get a driver the same way she had refused to allow her widowed mother-in-law come take care of the kids. She hadn’t forgiven the woman for trying to get a second wife for her husband. When she had tackled her, the woman had said she wanted a wife who knew her place was at home taking care of her husband and kids. Zainab had been so outraged and would have acted rashly if not for Mamus’s timely advice. Now she had her husband eating out of her hand and was polite to her mother-in-law which only made the woman more afraid of her. She even sent the old hag a card and a basket of fruit every two weeks and nobody would have ever suspected that she detested her mother-in-law save for the woman. Zainab was ambitious. She was a goal-getter and a workaholic. Her husband was a business man but with the money she brought in from the other businesses she did outside her 9-5, her hubby was content lounging about and rarely brought home any money. She didn’t mind though, contrary to her mother-in-law’s opinion she was very much dedicated to her man and kids she just didn’t agree that a woman had to take the backseat in life just because she was a wife and mother. I agreed with her jare.     

     I looked around at the four women sitting at Mamus’s dining table drinking cranberry juice and vodka and gisting nonstop and I smiled contentedly. This was my new life. I was a responsible married woman and had friends who loved me. Even Siki had grown on me and sometimes I was actually grateful that there was another ex-hustler in the group. Mamus considered herself single and on nights like this she would regale us with tales of the men she dated. She was quite discreet especially since she had a penchant for younger guys but she always saved all the juicy details for us. Thursday nights were our nights and we took turns hosting the girls. That night as we sat drinking, the door bell rang and since I was sitting closest to it, I got up to open the door.

“Who is it?” I called out laughingly as I unlocked the door
“Mamus darling-”
Our eyes collided and time seemed to stop…

….to be continued…..

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2013 in It's all for the money!, Series

 

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