WRITTEN BY TUNDE LEYE
Ossy took a seat opposite me as a waiter followed him closely with an exquisite bottle of white wine, the type that I liked. “Is this a joke or something? Or are you on a date with Gloria here?” I asked, confused. Someone had been sending me romantic notes and gifts for the past few days and Ossy turned up on my date. “Please listen”, he responded trying to calm me down, because I was raising my voice already. For some reason I still cannot understand, I gave him the benefit of doubt and sat back calmly to hear whatever explanation he had for this.
“Look, I’m going to cut to the chase Oyin. The truth is that my feelings for you have not changed one bit from the first day I set my eyes on you. I could never love another woman the way I love you, my mind is fixed on you. And don’t think I haven’t tried to love my wife. I truly have, with all of my might. But my heart refuses to agree with what my head knows is the right thing to do. I truly cannot live without you Oyin”.
“So that’s why you ruined my wedding and humiliated me in front of the whole world? Love! That’s why you let me go into a serious relationship with Yomi for 3months with all you knew without uttering one word. Love!! And you come here asking me to cheat on myself and my friend by having an affair with her husband? Love!!! So you have finished looking at me and you don’t think I can find a man of my own, so I should be content to share you with someone as a side-chick? Ossy you are a selfish man. Ossy you are a mad man. Ossy you are a wicked man! In fact evil man!”
He stood up to come over to my side “Oyin try and understand. Please. Look at the lengths I have gone to, just to get your attention and get you here. I’m not saying…” he tried to hold my hand.
If you see the violence with which I pushed his hands away en, you will wonder where I got the strength from. “I do not care what you are trying to say, get your hands off my body! You just took advantage of the fact that you know me so well, to do the exact things I told you a long time ago were thoughts and daydreams I had, and that we had talked about that I would love. That’s not going to any length, that’s taking advantage of me!” I stood up and literarily climbed over him. “Don’t ever let me hear from you again. Do not call, text, drop a note again. Ever!” Then I cupped my boobs in front of his eyes and shouted as I gave him dagger eyes “These can never be for you, even if no other man wants them! Oloriburuku, (literarily ‘your head is not correct’). God will punish you a thousand times.”
He just sat there calmly, as if on the verge of tears. I really couldn’t care. I stormed out of the restaurant, barging into every table and chair on my way enroute the door. I am finding hubby now, not finding friend’s hubby. Kilodem! I blocked out everything I was passing. At the door, I turned round to look at him. He still sat there, as if he didn’t believe I was going to leave him there like that. It angered me that he had been so sure I would fall for it and agree to his plans. Imagine, the clown wanted to be doing Glo at home and have me Oyin Clegg as a side-chick outside. Wonders will never end. God forbid!
I went to my car and when the security guy that helped me out of the car park kept hailing me, I shouted on him seriously. The guy couldn’t understand how the nice madam that came in bright and smiling didn’t want to make “the boys” happy. I drove to the café where Toke was sipping on a mix of Smirnoff Ice and Malt (you should try this, it is really noice). I caught her by surprise, she almost spilled her drink. “Wetin happen? Why you out so quickly now? Thought you were having such a great time you forgot to give your poor friend updates any longer” she asked, with raised eyebrows. She got serious when she saw I wasn’t smiling at her jibe “What’s the issue, what happened”, she queried, sitting up. I took her drink and gulped it down first, “Order another one for yourself, I’m not returning this one.” She signaled the waiter and I relished the drink while she ordered for another.
“What was wrong with our man now? Is that how high his level of wowo-ness is ni? Abi he called you HOyin too ni? Abi its Femi trying to apologize? (told you guys Toke’s imagination is very fertile ground abi? As in Femi? SMH)”. I rolled my eyes for effect to show her she was imagining wayyyy off again. “Oya, stop being silly and leave all this suspense now”, she said, rolling her eyes in return.
I heaved a deep sigh and said “well, Mr. Poet turned out to be none other than our dear friend-in-law Ossy!” Toke actually fell out of her chair in shock. “What! Jesus, Joseph and Mary! The nerve! Is he mad ni? I’m all ears, fill me in”. I quickly gave her a rundown of the events inside the restaurant. She got very concerned at the obsession with which Ossy had come after me and how calm he was about my rejection. We decided she would stay with me for a bit to avoid any obsessed person to hurt me because of rejection. I watched some movie called Obsession which featured Beyonce a while ago. Hell hath no fury like a scorned woman can also read the earth hath no fury like a scorned man.
We each had two more of our mix and the Smirnoff (which has just as much alcohol as beer by the way) was starting to make us slightly light headed. In the midst of our chatter, I remembered that Toke told me there was something she wanted to tell me after my date. “En en, what was the gist you said I should wait till the end of my date. So the date is over now, I’m sure nothing can top my experience of this evening, so spill it”.
Toke shifted uncomfortably in her chair, as if trying to find the words to say what she wanted to. I knew that move very well. “Talk now, worris it now?” She gave it a thought briefly and then responded “I think I should let the person concerned tell you by herself.” She picked her phone and called someone “she’s here now, you can come. How long? Five minutes? Okay. We’re waiting. Yeah, the café I told you. Alright.”
I kept looking at Toke, trying to understand the drama she was acting but she refused to volunteer anything. So we waited. I just silently hoped that it was not another plan with Ossy. I would personally strangle Toke if it was. A couple of minutes later, her phone rang. She picked it up, got up as she answered and signaled that she needed to step outside. She was gone for about two minutes. I checked my TL on twitter to keep myself occupied, keeping an eye on the door.
When Toke returned, she was with another lady. I couldn’t make out who it was initially, it was getting dark, plus the lady was wearing a scarf and wore dark glasses. But then, you cannot be close friends with someone and miss them on a second glance. Toke was coming in with Gloria Onisokame.
As they approached, my mind raced to a thousand and one things she might want to tell me that made Toke even think of bringing us together. So they got to me and sat down. I shot Toke a “this had better have a serious explanation” look and she gave me a “calm down and all shall be revealed look”. The greatest reason why men cannot understand women is because they do not know how to understand this “communication by looks”. They used to understand perfectly when they were kids (when one look from your mum told you exactly what response to give to a question from some friend or relative) but it seems they lose this all important trouble avoiding ability as they grow up. Anyways, I digress.
Gloria didn’t say a word. She didn’t even say hi or anything like that. She just sat down directly opposite us (Toke was now by my side) and silently removed her scarf. And then she removed her glasses. And then I gasped. And then my mouth opened and refused to close. And then an anger welled up within me that made me bang my hands on the table and shout. Everyone in the café turned towards us but I couldn’t care less
Let me explain. Gloria is one of those light complexioned Ibo girls that cannot enter a place without being noticed. It’s one of the reasons we call her Glo (apart from the other obvious one :D). If you hold her too much on one spot, the skin of that spot will become red, that’s how sensitive her skin is (in fact, on days she gets frisky with any guy, and she is with us after and undresses, the redness of her boobs gives her away). So when she took off the scarf and specs today, it revealed red blotches all over her face, two black eyes and deep red etches on her neck. Every vex inside me melted away right away and I was beside her as she broke down into tears.
“Did he do this to you?” I asked, voice shaking. She just continued crying, as Toke put her hands around her, sobbing along with her.
Nearly the whole café was looking our way now and so we decided to go to mine, away from the prying eyes. She rode with Toke, as they drove behind me. There was a bit of traffic at that blasted toll gate and it took us a whole forty five minutes to make a twenty minute journey. Alone in the car, the thought of what could have happened to Glo rose in my mind, but I desperately hoped it wasn’t what my rational head was telling me it was. We eventually got to my pad and just sat in the parlor quietly for a few minutes, waiting for her to begin to talk.
She pulled herself together as I poured her a drink. Ossy had begun by isolating her from Toke and I, with the drama at the wedding. As if that wasn’t enough, he began to complain about everyone else. In the months they had been married, she had cut her family off and had been isolated from them. Then the late nights and all the signs of other women began. She had turned a blind eye initially, since he was being discreet. But it seemed that he got emboldened and stopped being discreet. When the confronted him, the beating began. Lightly beatings (whatever that means) at first and then it got progressively worse. At this point, the tears were flowing freely.
She began to narrate episode upon episode of how Ossy beat and battered her. He abused her verbally. He told her she was never his choice and that he just settled for her and would do as he pleased. Chasing small girls was what he referred to as doing as he pleased. He expected her to be at least happy that she was married and that he saved her from her spinsterhood. He had sha made her a Mrs. And whenever she said anything, he would beat her mercilessly. Nothing was spared in beating her. They lived in their own house, so no neighbor could hear him beat her. The only people that stayed with them were the house-help who was one of the “doing as he pleased” and the gateman who assumed that wife beating was a normal part of marriage. After the drama at my wedding, she couldn’t reach out to friends. Ossy had isolated her from her family and so she couldn’t go to them. She endured her pain alone.
“Ossy is not Ossy again since he cannot have you Oyin,” she continued. “He has turned into every woman’s nightmare. So while what I’m about to say might sound out of place, I’ll need you put yourself in my shoes. I am trying to save my marriage here, and it’s the only way I can think of.”
Now, I’m not normally a skeptical person, but whenever anyone wants to say anything, and dramatics are involved, plus warnings like “put yourself in my shoes”, and “it’s the only way”, I become very skeptical. Very. I sat up and encouraged her to continue, eager to hear what Glo was about to say. I noticed Toke too had sat up. Her body language meant we were both about to hear whatever Glo was going to say for the first time.
“I would like you to come back into Ossy’s life”.
My sharp head got what Glo was trying to say immediately, but I chose to disbelieve. Toke was the one that spoke up as the proverbial cat had my tongue. “Come back into Ossy’s life as what exactly?”
“Oyin, you seem to have been the reason Ossy’s demons were repressed and now you are gone and he’s become like this. He thinks about being with you night and day. Maybe if you just gave him a chance, maybe he would return to being the sweet Ossy we all knew.”
I growled “you are asking me to have an affair with your husband, put my life on hold, and be content with being a side-chick in order to make your marriage happy?” My voice was getting progressively louder, because the more I voiced the thoughts I knew she was having, the angrier I got “Can you listen to yourself? You would be content with a marriage to someone who would batter you like this, sleep with anyone he pleases, even your close friend, and still call that a marriage? That would be worse than what I planned to do with Yomi. Much worse.”
She became hysterical, shedding tears seriously. “Oyin”, she wailed, “please help me save my marriage. I ask you to do it for only a while, maybe one year, while I”…
I didn’t let her finish, I flew into a rage and Toke had to restrain me “You are very selfish Gloria. I should give you one full year of my life to do this nonsense you are proposing. It’s not your fault, shebi it’s because I’m not married! Would you come and say this nonsense to me in my husband’s house? You know what? Just leave my house! Yes get the hell out of my house.”
Toke tried to calm me down but I turned my rage on her. “Why did you bring her here” (lie, cos we both decided to bring her o, but I had to blame her) “Just take her away before I do something I will regret!”
I stormed into the kitchen and fetched a bottle of wine from the fridge. It seems Toke thought I wanted to use the bottle for other purposes than to take wine from it, because on seeing me turn around, bottle in hand, she dragged a weeping Gloria out of the door.
When they were gone, I looked at the time. It was nine thirty pm already. As if to add to my horrible mood, NEPA decided to install a reign of darkness. I didn’t bother to go turn the gen on. Cradling my bottle of wine in my laps, I drank myself to sleep.
The shrill ring of the ringtone I had set for Toke woke me up the next day. My phone told me the time was eight o clock. I had really slept plenty. I sluggishly picked the phone and answered the call. My head was still all groggy.
“Oyin!” Toke’s voice was frenetic.
“Toke what is it?” Toke can be slightly dramatic, so I would not be surprised if she woke me up like this to tell me she had just found a great book.
“Gloria is in the hospital!”
I became instantly alert. “What? What happened? Were you guys in an accident?”
“Ossy was the only accident that happened, Oyin. I dropped Gloria off at home yesterday. I didn’t go in with her. Ossy was drunk and assumed a man dropped her off. He got more angered when she told him it was me that dropped her off. When she explained that it was you she had come to see, he went ballistic on her. I mean he beat her till he was spent. Then he locked her out of the house and went to bed with the house-help. She managed to call me. I rushed back and took her to the hospital.”
Surges of guilt rose in my heart. Mentally, I knew I wasn’t responsible, but all I could remember was throwing her out of house into Ossy’s clutches.
“That bastard! Which hospital are you?”
“I took her to Dr. Phillips”.
It took me just twenty minutes to get to Dr. Phillips small but well equipped clinic.
Toke met me at the reception as I rushed in. Dr. Phillips was a motherly doctor that we all had used for years and felt comfortable with because she was a woman old enough to be our mothers.
“Where is she? Where is she?” I asked Toke.
Toke placed a hand on my shoulders and silently willed me to listen to her. When she was sure she had my attention and I was calm, she hit me with the bombshell.
“Gloria has lost her baby”
I fell into the hard reception sit “Oh my God, Oh my God”.
The question that keeps running through my mind is this – which is better, the one that is married and is unhappy in the marriage or the one who is longing for marriage and hasn’t found hubby? That, people is the million dollar question. Internally, I thanked my stars. I could have been Mrs. Onisokame today, beaten, bruised and battered. All of this has made me rethink and redefine this my finding hubby quest. Why should I allow myself to be defined by my marital status, or Mrs. Who I am?
Toke tried to call Ossy’s phone with Gloria’s line but he kept cutting the call off. She tried with her own phone but got the same treatment. By the time we tried with mine, his phones were switched off. We sat there, as we waited for Dr. Phillips to come out of the emergency ward.
A little later, restless, Toke decided to ping Ossy impersonating Gloria. The BBM read
“Ossy, you have killed our baby, I’m in the hospital, and the doctor says I’ve had a miscarriage. And you aren’t taking my calls. What did I do to deserve this? Marrying you?”
The bbm didn’t get delivered to him immediately, as his phones were off. After what seemed like an eternity, the motherly figure of Dr. Philips came into the doorway and beckoned on us to come in to see Glo.
When I saw my friend, I burst into tears. She had a cut above her eye that had been patched up, the lacerations I had seen the day before had become fresh again, and her black eyes had become even blacker. All this, after the doctor had worked on her. I wondered what Toke would have seen when she picked Glo up initially. We all stayed silent for a while, grieving in our own different ways. The bubbly, lively and mischevious Gloria I knew was gone, on the bed lay someone else, a shadow of her old self. Just a few months ago, we were phone selecting, Mr. X-ing and all the likes. It seemed we had lost ourselves in the quest for hubby.
Toke broke the silence, saying what the circumstances would not permit me to say and which Glo’s nature would not bring her to say. “That marriage is over. I read on some blogs how a Nigerian guy stabbed his wife to death recently. We will not wait until you are dead and become bloggers’ fodder before this madness ends.”
Gloria’s BB beeped in Toke’s hand, and it seemed a welcome distraction from the tension soaked hospital room. That was until she read the message. “It’s the idiot,” she hissed. “What did he say?” I queried. Rather than answer, Toke handed the bb over to me.
“The idiot! The frigging idiot!” I exclaimed, raw anger seething through every pore in my body. Gloria tried to sit up, anxious to see what was on the bb. She winced in pain as she tried, so she lay back down. I wasn’t inclined to showing her exactly what he had said so I paraphrased for her.
“He said the baby can go to hell, and that you had better get back home to do your duties as a wife. He’s threatening to haunt you if you ever try to leave him.”
Gloria spoke quietly “He’s been threatening me every time he beat me. I would have left him earlier if I was not afraid. Ossy doesn’t handle rejection well at all. Ossy forced me to come to your wedding Oyin. You couldn’t see me that day, but I had been beaten. If you were close enough, you would have seen the marks.” She sobbed even more quietly, as her body shook.
“Gloria, as I said,” Toke continued, slamming her hand on the hospital bed railing, “the marriage is over. While it’s painful, thankfully, there are no kids involved just yet.” She continued “and as regards his threats, we will teach that foolish wife-basher a lesson he will never forget.”
Dr. Phillips came back in just as Toke was rounding off her (quite imaginative) plans on handling Ossy. We knew our time with Gloria was over. I screengrabbed the chat from Ossy and emailed it to myself. Those kinds of things should be documented. You never know, cos people will never believe an Ossy could say something like that about his own child. Or beat his wife like that. I asked Toke if she had taken pictures of Gloria the night before. My smart Toke had. She forwarded all of them to my email.
Gloria was able to leave Dr. Phillips’ clinic by Sunday afternoon and we brought her over to mine. I have missed my girls. Even though it was something like this that brought us together, that night was one of the best nights I had had in a long time. It brought back memories of a time that wasn’t too far away in the past, when we were just girls having fun.
So I know you are dying to know what we did to Ossy. First, Glo was to go back home as if she had accepted her fate and act the part of the submissive wife who was afraid of leaving or offending him, and do all she could to avoid provoking a beating. I was tempted to give Gloria the gist of Ossy stalking me and all the Mr. Poet Ossy series, but Toke and I agreed not to. She was hurt enough as it was and it would just rub the hurt in some more. Monday morning, bright and early at my desk, just as Gloria was supposed to be returning to the house (which she confirmed she did without any event) Ossy sends me an sms
“Take a risk with me”.
The bile in my throat rose but we had a plan and I had to act my part. I wished with all my heart I could ignore it, but I responded
“I’m in a meeting oga. Stop disturbing me and making my phone beep.”
He responded instantly (which part of making my phone beep did he not get, oniranu oshi) “So sorry”
“Stop beeping me! I will call you later” I responded.
I nearly slammed my phone on the floor when another text came in from him “Really? You will call?”
I ignored him.
Later in the day, I brought myself into the right frame of mind and called Ossy up.
Me: “Hey Ossy”
Ossy: Oyinnnnnnn. I’m so glad you called. You can’t begin to imagine how glad I am. How have you been? All I’ve done is yearn for you.”
I was so incensed that this guy who was pounding my friend black and blue could sound so excited talking to me. These animals are the ones that look nicest and most normal outside. I remembered the plan and swallowed the bile that was rising in my throat.
Me: You know you hit me real hard, but in my heart I know you meant right. And I’ve missed you ni jare. You know good friends are very hard to come by.
Ossy: I’m blushing here o. Me, good friend. Okay. We should hook up and catch up on many things now.
Notice he doesn’t bring up my friend who happens to be his wife. The cow is already falling for the bait.
Me: Yeah, that would be cool. How about Angels in Phase 1? You know the place abi? And you won’t need Chris to hook that up.
Ossy: Of course. Wasn’t it me that showed you the place before? Would have tried there for our last date, but didn’t want you to suspect it was me at all at that time. I showed you this town now.
Me: True talk. I had forgotten. Let’s do Friday evening, so we wouldn’t be in a hurry as we catch up.
Ossy: Alright dear. Would definitely make that a date.
Me: Aite dear (ewww). Talk to you later.
I hung up. I called Toke and reported the conversation immediately.
“Can you imagine that bastard? He didn’t even mention Glo once, all he was thinking was how he would get lucky on Friday. Kai, I so cannot wait to deal with him!”
“Well,” I responded “his oju kokoro (lustful eyes) has made him fall easily for our plans. It’s over to you now.”
“Okay, let me go and get dressed and hit the road,” Toke said as she rounded our call off. Ossy would not know what hit him. I extracted the pictures of Gloria’s battered face plus the screen munched image and got to work.
The days flew by and I kept a string of calls going on with Ossy to keep him encouraged about our rendezvous. I skillfully dropped subtle comments here and there to drive the thought into his head that I wanted to commence a secret affair with him. He swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Shebi it is what was already in his mind to do. All that was required was a little encouragement and he was game.
Friday came quickly (since we were so looking forward to it) and Toke left the base (that’s what we called my house for this operation, military feeling sturvz) to begin her arm of the operations. I had the whole beauty treatment I did on the week before courtesy Ossy to thank for the outstanding glow of my skin. And then I wore this gown! The neckline was plunging, revealing a good portion of my 36D in glorious Technicolor. The thing hugged my figure, and thanks to my flat tummy, the valley it created accentuated the mountain on my chest. Don’t let me describe what my hips down looked like, before some of our male friends… cough cough
I set out and sure enough, tall dark and handsome Ossy was waiting for me in all his lasciviousness. You know when some men look at you and you can see that they have undressed you totally in their heads.
Angels is one of those exclusive places inside Phase 1 where there was a drinks bar in front of the building, and large chalets further into the compound. These chalets were small bungalows that had all the trappings of a house and all the Island big boys and girls came to do all the things they wanted to keep secret. Ossy sure thought he had me.
The conversation was annoying but I smiled sweetly and laughed at all the jokes. He successfully twisted and tilted everything we said towards sex. I had never seen this part of Ossy before and couldn’t imagine what Gloria had been put through. Eventually, after I got a message from Toke, I sent him a BBM. It read “ask for Chalet 5. I’ll be waiting there. Make sure you’re naked before you come in. I’ll be waiting exactly same. You have exactly ten minutes to get to me after I leave otherwise deal is off”.
I waited for the BBM to be delivered and saw the red light indicator on his BB blinking and then leaned over to him seductively and whispered. “I’ll be waiting. Read your BBM when I’m gone”. Then I stood up and strutted my stuff before his lust-filled eyes and went to the chalet.
Then I sent a BBM to Toke “it’s all set.”
Ossy was not quiet as he approached the Chalet at all. I had left the door opened and a note on the door (lessons from my stalker, Ossy himself) instructing him to undress as soon as he entered the door. There was a small hallway between the door and the parlor in the chalet where he could do that, and all the lights in the hallway were off and the door leading into the parlor was shut. As I heard him come in, I pinged him “I’m waiting… #bbkisssmiley#”. Thankfully, the network behaved and the message was delivered instantly and he read it. I heard him hustle out of his clothes and then bumble towards the door.
As soon as Ossy opened the door, Toke turned on the lights in the parlor and all the people in the parlor shouted “Surprise!!!” Ossy stood stark naked, in front of the small crowd in the parlor, and instinctively, he tried to retreat back into the hallway. But one of my friends from The Marquee stood behind him to block his exit. A hush ran over the people in the parlor on the sight of naked Ossy. Toke and Gloria and gone to great lengths to gather all of his friends, his bosses and colleagues at work, his main customers, his friends from my company, his family, her family, everyone that mattered in Ossy’s life basically. The ruse had been that she was organizing a surprise party for her husband to celebrate his recent promotion at the bank. They had all come to celebrate with Ossy who was a clear star in the eyes of all of them. Now, to have him walk in naked sent murmurs, hushes and disbelieving exclamations throughout the gathering.
Gloria wasted no time. She quickly projected the images of her looking radiant and beautiful side by side with the images we had taken in apartment of her right after battery. The images was like this
Fine Gloria + Ossy = Beaten Up Gloria
“This is what this fine career gentle-pig does to his wife at home. Some of you might not believe, hence I will give you a live flesh and blood result of his work.”
Thanks to her skin, the marks of beatings on her face became clear the moment she removed her scarf and glasses. The crowd let out a shocked oooh. Ossy stood there, looking ashamed, unable to take his eyes away from the ground, his only exit from the room blocked by a no nonsense bouncer.
Next, Gloria beamed screen-grabbed images of BB conversations where Ossy had threatened her with violence if she ever left him onto the screen. The last screengrab she displayed was one in which she was talking about the baby they had lost to his last beating and his callous responses to her. “My husband killed our baby, and feels not the slightest remorse for it. The words are not manufactured. He is on the BBM of everyone in this room and I’m sure you all recognize the contact name and display picture.”
She produced papers already prepared by Toke. “These are our divorce papers. I have taken the liberty to sign it. And don’t be afraid, I don’t need anything from you so I’m not asking for any of your things. All I need is your signature, before these witnesses, before you leave here now. And know that if even one single hair on my head or any of my friends is hurt, everyone here will point their fingers at you, so you better pray that we’ll be okay.”
With that, Toke took the papers to Ossy, and gave him a pen to sign. He hesitated briefly and the bouncer behind him touched him on the shoulder to remind him that he wasn’t going anywhere until he signed. Trust Naija people, the guests just kept watching the film unfolding before them ni o, no intervention nothing. Ossy signed and Toke inspected all the places he was supposed to sign against the signature on the wedding documents that Gloria had provided. The signatures were genuine. She nodded to Gloria and then the bouncer allowed Ossy out of the door.
I then smiled sweetly and thanked all those who had come and told them there were refreshments if they still required any. All done, we, the three Lagos musketeer babes stepped out into the waiting car and drove to mine to celebrate.
We learnt later that Ossy left the country without trace, not leaving his destination with even his family. We hoped never to see wife battering face again. As we sipped on the Martini I had specially ordered to celebrate, Toke’s phone rang. I forgot to mention, but I have noticed that she’s been receiving calls from some guy recently. But I’m getting worried, because she would normally have told me about this new guy. But for some reason, she was being secretive. She would try to be alone to receive his calls, and she had turned off chat history. We had just rescued Gloria from one bad man. I wasn’t about to allow Toke walk down the same path. I allowed her go and receive her call away from us as she had now made a habit. It was Gloria that voiced my thoughts “Why is Toke going to the room to talk? There’s no music playing and we are not outdoors. That’s very un-Toke-like.”
“I agree”, I said, “She’s been acting funny like this for a while. And while we are at making sure about things…” Toke entered while I was midsentence and our eyes met. She sensed what was about to happen and tried to start a new conversation to deflect talk from it. We were not having any of that. “Toke”, I began, “who’s calls have you been taking secretly?” “Secretly ke? I haven’t been taking any calls secretly now. abi which one is secretly again?” “So why did you have to leave quiet here to go take the call in the room?” She didn’t answer and Gloria chipped in “we cannot have you doing any shady things. Babe, you’re 35 and if a relationship is right, you shouldn’t be hiding it from us. You’re making us feel there’s something wrong with whoever you’ve been receiving calls from. And we want to hear it today, right now.”
With her attention on Gloria, I snatched her phone from her and checked her last received call. “Who is Lumi, babes?” “Olumide”, she responded. I raised my eyebrow and Gloria went to seat on the arm of her chair. “Well, we are listening.”
We watched as Toke struggled with telling us who Olumide was and my fears about him instantly skyrocketed. I hoped Toke wasn’t pregnant for some married man. The most intelligent ladies do the silliest things at times, when you least expect it.
“I met Olumide about a month ago. Very nice guy.” She took her phone from me and retrieved a picture from her memory card and showed him to us. The guy in the picture was on the chubby side, but chubby in a good looking Cedric the Entertainer kinda way. He was wearing a grey suit that looked good on him, and he seemed to carry himself well even in the picture. “This is a correct looking guy now”, Gloria said. “Exactly,” I joined in. “So why the hide and seek?” “You guys should wait and let me give you the background now, before I get to that point. At least you will be more lenient when crucifying me if you hear it all.” We nodded okay and she continued,
“I met him in company of another male friend, and I just enjoyed his wit and charm. He’s a lawyer, and he’s very intelligent. Very very. You know me, I’m a sucker for intelligent guys. And his imagination was just as active as mine. At some point, even my friend couldn’t keep up with us as we sparred with all sorts of puns. It was beautiful.”
I can imagine. Toke looked like she was having an orgasm just internally reliving the conversation. She always (I mean always) gauges a man by his ability to keep up with her, especially in conversation and talking in imagery. No attraction can happen if the guy cannot, and even if there was some initial attraction, if he cannot keep up, the attraction dies a natural death. She always said that if a guy cannot get jokes she cracks, he simply cannot get the rest of her. So I know the kind of heaven she must have been in when she met a guy who could keep up with her. It seemed he could do more than keep up with her. He challenged her. She rarely found such men.
She continued “we hooked up a couple of times, and he just has the most beautiful amazing mind ever. You will notice I’ve been happier and more motivated lately”. Very true, she’s had great energy level recently (as attested to by events of earlier in the day). I was beginning to get impatient because I knew she had not gotten to the gist of the matter. But I borrowed myself brain, make I no rush the girl. She was obviously having a hard time coming out straight with it, so I didn’t want to make it harder.
“He didn’t even need to formally ask me out. We just started dating, and I feel in my bones he is the one for me. I met his family and they are such wonderful people. He doesn’t make as much money as I do, but I don’t mind at all. He’s hardworking, makes his own money, and takes care of me in spite of not making up to me. Lord, I love him.” She held her head in both hands now.
Wow! The big love word. This was more serious than I thought. Toke was in love. For real. She was despairing seriously now, so I had to nudge her “All this sounds wonderful, but I’m sure
there’s something you haven’t told us”.
She raised her head and looked me squarely through eyes that were red from tears she was struggling to hold back “He’s 27.”
I nearly fell off my chair. The words “cradle snatching” jumped out of my mouth before I could catch myself. Gloria repeated, “27!” She was a clean eight years older than him.
“Yes he is, but he’s so mature. First, I met him through a friend who is older than me and they talked as colleagues and friends. I didn’t realize that men are not like us; they can relate with someone way their junior as friends on the same level. So I assumed he was at least my age on that first meeting. And it was so perfect with him I didn’t think to ask. It wasn’t until I had to get his driver’s license about two weeks into the relationship that I discovered. Then I confronted him with the fact, and he told me he didn’t have any issues with it, that he loves me and wants to make me his wife. He has never dated any woman younger than him, so he’s used to it already. And in all honesty, if you remove the age ish, he is all I want in a man.”
“Toke,” I said, shaking my head to emphasize my disagreement “he’s not even as old as Dayo, and if I recall, Dayo isn’t your immediate younger brother. There’s still Salewa between you guys. It just doesn’t seem right. Too many things can go wrong. How would you handle if Salewa or Dayo was rude to him? They are older you know? And then add another ten years to your ages, he’s 37 and still youthful and you are 45 and nearing menopause. A lot of times, these young guys will leave you at that time when you need them the most and go for a girl that is young enough to be your daughter (yes, a 45 year old can sha give birth to a 25 year old). What will you do then?”
Toke’s eyes blazed as she shouted at me “I know! Do you think I haven’t thought of all that? I wish I could just turn myself off and let him go. But it’s not that easy!”
I quickly hugged her “Sorry dear, I’m real sorry”.
Somehow I felt like life was playing a cruel tease game with us. It brought me a man who was my all I ever dreamt about but he turned out to be gay. It delivered Gloria to a man who turned her into his punching bag and cruelly killed their child. And now it had sucker punched Toke by delivering her the man of her dreams, with this big comma over him. I’m beginning to wonder if everyone always has to make some sort of compromise to get married, because it seems that is going to be the case here. Really, I want your thoughts on this in today’s comments. Is it absolutely necessary?
Back to Toke’s issue. She was near tears now. “I tell myself I should be proud of my man, and he’s been asking to meet my friends for like two weeks now, but I’ve given one excuse or the other. He’s too sharp not to see my excuses for what they really are, but I guess he is humoring me. But I really don’t know how long his patience will last. I want to be proud of my man in every way, but I cannot truly tell myself that even I am not struggling with this right now. My fear is that I’ll do something because of these struggles that will sabotage the relationship, and then I’ll then say it’s because of the age difference that it crashed when in reality, it’s my actions that caused the crash.”
My impulse is to tell Toke to end it and count it as a loss, but knowing how choosy she is, and how long it has taken her to find this, and then the fact that the guy is seriously considering marrying her, I really do not know what to say.
I looked at her and said “Toke, this is what we will do…”
We agreed with Toke that we would meet Lumi. In spite of all our reservations about the cougar kinda relationship, we decided to support her. Immediately we did, Toke excitedly called him and put it on speaker. A deep rich baritone voice with a slight British accent came through
Toke:“My friends have agreed to come on an all expense paid trip with me to see you. All expense paid by you of course”.
Lumi:“I can guess they are all listening, so I’ll let them know that I have to consult my board of directors on the profitability of this investment”
We all laughed and he cooed “Hi ladies”.
We all said in our most girly voices “Hiiiiii”.
“We’ll see tomorrow, at four pm. Please ensure your tour guide, Toke, gives you adequate tips on how to survive my very dry sense of humor”.
Then he addressed Toke
“Sweets, glad I’m finally getting to meet the world famous musketeers. Can’t wait to see you tomorrow. Love you plenty”
Toke:“Bye honey. See ya tomorrow”.
You need to have seen the way Toke was smiling from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat as she hung up the call.
Now it’s not like we were the ones going to our man, but we had to represent, we couldn’t fall our friend’s hand. So we spent most of the next morning picking out what to wear, wondering where we would all be going anyways.
I picked out a lovely flowery dress, while Glo wore one of those jumpsuit gowns and an elaborate hat with shades. Toke cough cough wore a pair of shorts that showed off her legs and a chiffon top, big earrings and pumps. Omoge on point! The guy will die there o, see as my friend was looking hot.
4pm on the dot, my doorbell rang and Toke wanted to head to the door. Gloria rushed her and made sure she did no such thing, you can never seem too eager to a man jor. I got the door, and surveyed Lumi. I smiled that “not bad” smile and extended my hand saying “Oyin”, and he took my hand and said “so you guys did the ‘she must not be too eager to come and get the door’ thingy”?
I laughed. He was a smart one. “But of course”, and I stepped aside to let him come in. Toke was right behind me already (RME. The girl is just not trying at all).
The day with Lumi went great. The chemistry between him and Toke was like bread and butter, so together, so seamless. And I did the imagining them in bed thingy in my head and the picture gelled. Glo and I watched them with positive envy (yes there is such a thing), and enjoyed the evening together. First we went to Terakulture for one of his friend’s book reading, and then went on to have dinner at Jevinik. The conversation around that dinner table was one of the best I have had in years. We talked about everything and moved effortlessly through every topic. He was down to earth, witty, and all that Toke had said and more. By the time the evening was over, I had totally forgotten about his age. It felt like I had known him for years. I couldn’t be happier for my friend. If he had that effect on me with just one evening, how could I blame my friend for forgetting with plenty such evenings together?
At about ten o clock, I noticed that Toke was getting more and more cuddly. That’s non-verbal for “you people should start going and leave us to wink wink” I kicked Gloria under the table and she got the message. Lumi picked on the increased activity and seized the moment to say
“I think we should call it a night, en, ladies?”
We sluggishly gathered our things and shuffled towards Lumi’s car. Toke took the wife position beside him in front and Glo and I got into the back seat, pretending not to notice that there were some slight smooches as he formed opening the door for her. He walked over to the side of his car with a slight arc of his back, and the posture did nothing to hide the bulge he was trying to hide in his groin. In no time, we were home, and they dropped us off for the night (like we were expecting Toke to stay with us 😀 ). The BBMS began to fly in from her the moment they left
Toke: So what do you guys think?
Me: think he’s real great o. Our fears were unfounded.
Toke: Oyin, you are putting me on long ish! Talk jor!
Me: #bbrotflsmiley. We both think the age is not going to be an ish. He’s a correct guy and carries himself so well.
Toke: #bbkisssmiley. Gotta run
Me: Gerrout. We both know what you are running to go and do.
It was then I noticed Glo wasn’t laughing with me. We had been reading the bb conversation together. Maybe she was thinking about her marriage. For whatever its worth, a broken marriage cannot be as easy to take as she had taken it. After her initial relief, there was bound to be despair and a loneliness that was deep. Add that to the sense of loss she must feel over her lost pregnancy. I hadn’t even been married to Yomi and those first few days after the wedding had been hell on earth. So I could imagine to a degree what was going through her mind as she saw Toke so happy with her man. I had felt that way about her being married and preggy earlier
I poured her a drink and we just sat in silence for like fifteen minutes, sipping on our drinks. Gloria broke the silence
“I need to tell you something, Oyin”, she began
“If it’s about Ossy, and asking forgiveness kind of talk, I’m over that now and we’re waaaaay past that”, I responded
She hushed me and said “No, it’s about Ossy at all. That whole saga hurts, but I don’t want to talk about that. It’s something else”.
I became alert, and sat up. I wondered what it was that she wanted to talk about. I figured now she had been trying to decide whether to tell me or not, so it had to be pretty serious and had to involve me in some way.
“It’s about Toke, or more correctly, about Lumi”.
I sprang into an upright and fully alert sitting position immediately. “What about him”, I inquired.
Gloria held her head in her hands and said “I have slept with Lumi”.
I collapsed back into my chair like a pack of cards, as tears fell out of Gloria’s eyes.
Before I could get the details out of Gloria, my phone rang. I knew it was Toke because I set her own voice recording as her ringtone. I quickly picked the phone
“Is Gloria there?” she asked
“Yes she is”, I responded and Gloria’s head shot up. All that raced through my mind was that Lumi and told her and she wanted to scream her head off at Gloria.
I gingerly put the phone on the table and put it on speaker phone. “Toks, you’re on speaker now, we can both hear you”.
Then she shrieked, “He proposed!!!!”
Check the next post for final episodes.
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