IN JUST A SECOND

There was a moment of silence at that instant.

It was only a split of a second, but at that moment, it felt like all was frozen. The only thing which could break the ice was a reality, or a semblance of reality. A lady’s fate might be decided by the actions within that split of a second.

Olamide was however, not frozen. She was missing, or rather her mind was missing from the jamboree her body was presently witnessing. There was the big question mark of she wanted to do with her life – pursue academics or continue in the white-collar experience. Her father needed a response that evening and it was evening already. What was she going to choose? She pondered.

Olamide was still abducted by her raging thoughts that she didn’t know when all eyes got fixated on her still frame. It was not until she heard, “And there she is! Our next bride! The fair and beautiful lady in the peach dress!” It was then she opened her second eyes. The eyes of her mind. Right there and then, 26 year old beautiful and thriving Olamide Bello had supposedly caught the bouquet of flowers which had been thrown into mid-air by the bride of a wedding she had been invited to.

To cry or to smile? Then she started to hear “Congratulations, dear. Ensure you send us invitations to the wedding.” She was about to make a decision that would determine the next phase of her life and future and then what? Congratulatory notes for a supposed wedding all because of one ill-fated bouquet which had so decided to crash on her arms. This was not what she planned. She struggled a fake smile and tried to hide her face from the sheepish smiles and stares at her.

“So, you caught the bouquet? Are you the next in line?” She looked up just to see a well set of pearly white teeth beaming at her. “Hi! I am Kola Martins, the groom’s cousin.” He extended his hand which she took in a warm handshake. “And you are?” He asked. “And I am what?” She stuttered. Feeling embarrassed, she lowered her head. “And you are beautiful…strikingly beautiful.” He said to her warmly. “I am Olamide Bello.” She smiled back at him. “And yes, I am the next in line”.

There and then, in that split second where all had frozen, Olamide Bello’s fate had been decided by the actions of that split second. It was evening and she had made her decision.

She was getting married.

©2014

Advertisements

REVERIE

She was familiar with the aisles within the bookshop and so the idea was to head straight to the section for Children’s Adventure, pick up the items she wanted, make payment, head back to her car and beat the afternoon Victoria Island traffic. She knew that the bookstore had its fair share of patronage, however on a Thursday afternoon; she relied on the confidence that the store would be empty. Indeed, her schedule was going according to the plan till she got to the payment counter and met a long queue ahead of her.

Taking decisive strides towards the counter, she stepped up behind the last person on the queue with a basket containing the books she had picked out in her hands. She counted a total number of twelve people before her on the queue and mumbled in frustration. She did not know she had mumbled out loud.

“Well, everyone was thinking like you…they all thought no one would come out to a bookstore on a busy Thursday afternoon.” She heard the man in front of her say but he had not turned to face her.

“Excuse me, were you talking to me?”

He let out a soft laugh and turned to face her, “I will always recognise your voice even if I was in Antarctica.”

Her face was a mixture of shock, surprise, amazement, laughter, sadness all at once.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost. It’s just me, Soji.”

“Yeah…yeah, I know…hi, I mean hello, Soji.”

“Teju, you really look like you saw a ghost. Is my presence seriously rattling you? I apologise.”

She noticed that he still had that boyish smile dancing around his lips and his dimples seemed to have sucked in deeper into his cheekbones. On a normal day, she would have gone on her tiptoes and plastered a kiss on his lips without a second thought.

The thought left a blush on her cheeks and she felt her eyes twinkle. She knew her eyes twinkled because he was the only one who was able to have that effect on her.

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

“Your eyes look like stars” She heard the guy opposite her say.

“Like stars, really? Soji, is that your pick-up line?”

He laughed out so loud she was sure she heard his stomach grumble. “Omolewa, you really think I am trying to pick you up?”

“My first name is Tejumade. Why are you calling me Omolewa, dude?”

“Your middle name is Omolewa and I love the name. It means a child is beauty and honestly, you are beauty personified.”

She tried not to give out a smile but her face betrayed her.

“See…….your eyes are twinkling like stars again. I could drown just staring into your eyes.”

“Soji, you are embarrassing me.” She found herself laughing. “This is like our first time meeting…like a first date. Chill bro!”

“If you have any idea the thoughts I have towards you, you won’t call me bro, you this babe. And really, you know I like you plus we’ve been talking over the phone for months now. I don’t think we are strangers.”

“Are you asking me out?”

“Am I doing a good job at it? Please, tell me I am not embarrassing myself and my future generations?”

She laughed out loud.

“Your eyes are twinkling again. Why do I feel like I am the one having that effect on you? I make your eyes twinkle like stars and it is really a sight to behold.” He had a satisfied and accomplished smile on his face.

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

“So, Disney Classics, huh?”

She knew he was referring to the books in her basket.

“Yeah, they are for one little angel like that as a birthday gift. She just started reading on her own and I felt Enid Blyton’s books are still a bit advanced for her.”

“Age?”

“Four years. She turns four this Sunday.”

“And you are getting the little princess books?”

“Well, it is never too early to engage them.”

She prompted him to move forward on the queue; he was next in line on the check-out counter. He placed three hardcover novels and one animal kingdom pop-up book on the counter.

“Frank E. Peretti and Mario Puzo, uhn?!” She commented.

“You know those are my boys now.”

“Thought you had read all their books.”

“Well, I like to keep my library up to date on my faves. Please, place our Disney classics on the counter.”

“Why?”

“Well, I would love to pay for them. It’s the least that I can do. I have not seen you in years. Please, let me.”

“But I’m buying it as a gift. I would think it would be proper for me to use my money…my own money.”

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

They were arguing again.

Soji knew that arguments were one of the signs of a healthy relationship but he was very sure there was everything cancerous about their weekly arguments.

Today, the mole hill of their altercation was that she felt he was not attentive enough to her needs. She expected him to pre-empt her needs but he was explaining that she needed to open up and tell him what she needed per time.

“Teju, you know I cannot read minds. You have to tell me what you want or need and I would try my best to be there. I cannot assume or pre-empt your thoughts.”

“So, a year and three months and you don’t even know what works for me. Soji, what are we even doing? Are we even getting this right?”

Soji inhaled and exhaled. He would only admit to himself; she was stretching out his patience and that dude was threadbare thin as is. Nonetheless, he moved closer to her and held her face in his hands.

“One thing you should never doubt is how I feel about you. I deeply care about you and honestly, I fall deeper in love with you each day. You know that, right?”

“Yeah, I know.” She sighed, “but I can’t be asking you for money nau. It makes me feel less than a woman. It makes me feel like those babes who are always dependent on their men for money.”

“But you aren’t. You are strong, fiercely independent and ambitious. And I know you would never ask if you were not nearly tipped over, but you should never have a problem asking me. Stop dropping hints; this is not Gulder Ultimate Search, ehn.”

“It really is not easy but I would try.”

“Now, that’s my girl.” He plastered a soft kiss on her nose.

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

“So, what are you doing now?” He asked her as he punched in his PIN into the POS machine.

“Well, I manage an event planning firm with a friend. You remember Helen now?”

“Oh, really?! That’s really nice. I started a tech start-up recently. Nothing grand, we just floated the business. Here…” he opened his wallet and brought out a complimentary card, “…here is my card. Please, I dey find clients and business referrals, abeg.”

She laughed and collected the card from him. It was then she spotted the gold band on his left finger.

She smiled and nudged him to collect his ATM card and receipt from the cashier. The cashier handed them brown paperbacks containing their books and they walked away from the check-out counter.

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

She stood before him and one minute felt like a spread of five hours. She waited for him, for his response, for his decision.

She breathed heavily and opened her mouth to talk but air just escaped through her teeth.

She made another attempt and even garnered the courage to take a few steps to where he sat.

“Soji, you aren’t saying anything. Please, say something. I am sorry.”

“Teju, I have told you over and over again that I am not angry with you. I just cannot do this anymore…this back and forth. You cannot keep breaking up with me and I keep begging you to come back. I don’t know if you have the heart and mind to continue with that tirade but Teju, I cannot.

I know what I want and I go for it but you obviously are too immature to be in this dating business and honestly, I am tired. I can’t continue with this.”

“But Soji, I said I was sorry.”

“And you think ‘cos you said ‘sorry’, it rewinds everything that happened these past weeks and everything returns to normal. Teju, it doesn’t work that way.”

“So, are you breaking up with me?”

“Funny how you are flipping this script to be my fault. Teju, you’ve been breaking up with me since last year. Teju, you have called off this relationship six times within eight months. So no, I’m not breaking up with you. All this is on you.”

“Soji please, I-I am sorry. I promise I won’t break up again. I love you.”

“Tejumade, that ship has sailed, I’m sorry. Not sure I would ever stop loving you but I don’t think we are right for each other. Goodbye, Teju.”

“So, this is the end?”

“Goodbye.”

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

Teju remembered that day as she had walked out of his apartment. It had taken every fibre of strength in her not to collapse in tears as she journeyed back to her house. However, the dam was let open and the flood of tears was unleashed as she opened the door to her apartment. Her friend, Helen had heard her collapse to the floor and had ran from the kitchen to where she had slumped on the floor shaking uncontrollably in fits of sobs.

She smiled sadly to herself as she stepped to a side to let him open the door for her.

“It was really good to see you again, Soji.”

“I know right! And you haven’t even changed at all. You still have that twinkle in your eyes.”

She laughed out loud at the irony of it all. No one had ever mentioned that about her eyes, He was the only one who saw stars twinkling in them.

“Thank you. How old is your child?”

He chuckled. “What gave me away?”

“Well, the marriage band and the pop-up book. My daughter has tons of those.”

“Daughter?! You do not say. My boy is two years. His name is Sesan.” He brought out his wallet and showed her the picture of the cutest boy she had ever seen.

“He is really cute, very cute like his father.”

“Now, I am blushing. Thanks ma’am.”

“You are invited for Nini’s birthday. She turns four this Sunday.”

“So, she is the little princess who owns the Disney collections. Wow, what a very lucky girl.”

“…and a handful!”

“I can imagine.” He had walked her to her car and opened the door for her.

“It was really nice to see you again after all these years…how many years again?”

“Five, I think” she stepped into her car and placed her paper bag on the passenger seat. She leaned in and opened her glove compartment. “Here is Nini’s invitation card.”

“Touché, this is very nice. Niniola Adaraloye. So, I take it that you are Mrs Tejumade Adaraloye.”

She chuckled loudly, “Tejumade Martins-Adaraloye.”

“Nice one…” he mimicked a clap “…with a very nice ring to it.”

“Thank you. See you, Mrs Balogun and Sesan at Nini’s party on Sunday.”

“Sure!” He closed her door and waited for her to wind down her glass. “It was really nice to see you again, Omolewa.”

“You too, Soji. Goodbye.” She wound up her glass and backed up the parking lot.

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

Helen was with her and holding her hands, steadying it from shaking profusely.

“What are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know, Helen.” She did not even attempt to wipe off the phlegm that ran down her nose to her lips.

“But Teju, you can’t keep this away from him.”

“He would think this is a ruse to get back into his life. He told me goodbye…I cannot go back.”

Helen looked at her best friend and down to the several home pregnancy test kits scattered on their toilet floor. “So, you are going to keep his child away from him?”

“He told me goodbye, Helen. I guess he told his child goodbye too.”

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

As Tejumade weaved her way through the busy Victoria Island traffic she prayed and begged God that Soji would never connect the dots.

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

Soji had just pressed down the handbrake of his car and was about to pull out his key from the ignition when the question hit him like a wave of lightning.

He remembered vividly that he and Teju had broken up five years ago, July precisely. Now, her daughter was turning four in March; nine months after they had broken up. He made futile attempts to calculate and re-calculate but everything he did still gave the same result.

He slumped back in his car seat and placed his hands on his head.

“Shit!” He cussed. He had just paid for his daughter’s gift for the first time in his life.

Dyslexia, a common problem overlooked

– Ayomide R. Afolabi.

I remember as a student, it was a constant battle of staying at the top of the class i.e. being in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position.

While for some it was either the top or the top, for others it was the bottom with no struggle whatsoever.

They never contributed in class nor did their assignments correctly, that is if it was done at all. They are commonly called names like, “Olodo, Empty head, Fish brain”, etc.

I was a curious child, so I always wondered exactly why those kids could not do it right, but the answer never came forth.

As a graduate, I was opportuned to tutor some children at the primary level and same scene played out.

That one child who could not answer questions, who was timid, who was laughed at, who was picked on by others for not knowing or who was giving a hard time to the teacher.

I constantly asked myself how normal this could be, but then if the right questions are not asked; you would not get the right answers.

I did a little homework and there, all the answers to my questions were! Effort is essential to get desired results.

Here’s the deal, “Ever heard of Dyslexia?”

Dyslexia –

• Is a neurological condition caused by a different wiring of the brain;

• Is a disorder that involves difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols;

• Is a genetic condition;

• Has nothing to do with lack of intelligence.

Warning signs include:

• Late/delayed speech

• Difficulty reading when compared to age mates

• Difficulty writing or spelling

• Spending unusually long time completing tasks

• Difficulty comprehending information.

While there are other types of learning disabilities such as Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia etc., Dyslexia is one of the most common type of learning disability.

Research has however shown that it is possible to have more than one learning disability.

Knowledge of Dyslexia and other learning disabilities is not common in Nigeria and so, children with these conditions are often times called names, bullied or beaten and these, directly and indirectly, have certain effects on the child or a dyslexic individual.

Effects –

• Low self esteem

• Withdrawal from friends, parents and teachers

• Timidity

• Lack of self confidence

• Depression

• Anger

Risk factors of Dyslexia

Having a risk factor for Dyslexia makes the chances of getting a condition higher but that does not always lead to Dyslexia. So also, absence of any risk factor does not guard against getting the condition.

• A family history of dyslexia;

• Premature birth or low birth weight;

• Exposure during pregnancy to nicotine, drugs, alcohol or infection that may alter brain development in the fetus;

• Brain level differences in individuals.

It is important to note that Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that has no cure but it can be managed.

Parents and teachers are meant to be observant of their children/wards.

While it may not be all children that have difficulty learning that have learning disabilities, it is important to know the best learning method of a child. Not every child comprehends information the same way, some children learn easily by reading, others by listening, some by observing while others learn by practicing.

Early detection of Dyslexia in children is necessary as appropriate intervention will be put in place which would help these children maximize their full potentials.

Dyslexia is not a condition to be ashamed of; with Dyslexia are known to have special abilities and this can only be discovered with a lot of patience and assistance.

Dyslexia can be diagnosed through thorough and careful assessments.

Here is the good news: there is a Dyslexia Foundation here in Nigeria! You can look them up in case you know anyone who might be in need of it.

The best news however, is there have been a lot of successful Dyslexics who are quite famous, who would have thought? George Washington, Bill Gates, Tom Cruise, Albert Eistein, Mohammed Ali, Jennifer Aniston and even in Nigeria, Ayanwoye Tobi, a teenager who overcame Dyslexia and now constructs electrical appliances.

You can come out of your shell today or help someone come out of theirs.

“90% of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses” – George Washington.

MORE TO IT – part 3

Dapo was surprised when she picked his call, and he was even more surprised when she agreed to meet with him.

He had not been able to gear up the courage to talk to her until her mother had called him demanding to know why he was yet to pick his wife from her house.

He had confessed to her that he could not bring himself to because he had broken their marital vows. The older woman had reprimanded him over the phone and ordered him to fix his life and his marriage.

He had called her, after two hours of fiddling with his phone and losing concentration totally from work. She had picked the call on the third ring and simply said, “Hi”.

He had been at a loss for words and just held the phone to his ear, unable to utter anything.

“Oladapo,” she had called out his full name and all he had said in response was, “Lade, can we talk?”

She had remained silent for a while and responded with, “I would text you where and when.”

“Okay,” and she ended the call when he had remained silent over the phone.

She had on sunglasses that almost covered her entire face when she walked up to where he sat. He winced knowing that he was the reason for that cover up.

She took her seat opposite him and requested for a glass of water with a slice of lime when the waitress came to request for her order.

“Are you not having anything?” She asked him.

He had been lost in his thoughts, then with a smile, informed the waitress that he would have a glass of water.

“You wanted us to talk?” She cocked her head to a side. He had never been sure why she had that habit of cocking her head to a side whenever she wanted to begin a discussion or argument with someone.

On his own though, he had concluded that she did so in order to have a clearer view of a person’s face from a particular angle.

“Dapo, I’m listening.”

He cleared his throat but that did not decongest the barrage of words blocking his vocal cords. He had many things to say to her all at once but none of them sounded convincing to his ear.

“Dapo,” she called out again. “I’m sorry.”

Of course, he was shocked at her apology and his face did not do too well to hide the shock.

“I’m sorry our marriage has gotten to this.” She continued. “I’m sorry that we have now become those couples we judged and swore to never become. Dapo, I’m sorry that we have now become strangers staring at each other in silence at a restaurant. I’m sorry on your behalf as well.”

At that moment, Dapo’s tear ducts failed him as a rogue tear fell from his already reddened eyes. He pinched his nose and held his head back, hoping that gesture would retract the already forming tears.

“How do we go from here?” She asked.

“I would perfectly understand if you want to leave me.” He finally found his words. “I’d crossed a line and I’m not too sure there’s any coming back from it.”

“Are you saying we should file for a divorce?” Her voice quivered a bit.

“Lade, I don’t want a divorce. I can’t even imagine losing you. However, I would perfectly understand if you want to leave me.”

“I don’t want a divorce either but…….but Dapo, I’m scared for us.”

He swallowed before speaking, “I really wish I could swear on my life that this would not repeat itself but I’m the last person to assuage such confidence. If I’d been confronted with the fact that I would lay my hand on a woman, I would have beat my chest at the impossibility of such ever happening….but look at me, look at us.”

“I provoked you though. Those words I had uttered…”

“I won’t allow that, Lade.” He cut her short. “Lade, I would not allow you blame yourself for my actions. Yes, your words were degrading but my response was way off and out of line.”

He paused to let the waitress place their glasses of water before them.

Then continued, “Lade, that would have been a very easy excuse to ride on but….but what if it was a police officer or my boss that had insulted me in that manner, would I have reacted with slaps? I should never have laid my hands on you and I have no singular reason to justify my action.”

“But do we now end this…us…our marriage because of what happened?”

“I don’t want us to end, Lade. Probably, separation for a while?”

“Therapy? Couple’s counselling? I think Pastor B can recommend us to someone.” She rolled out the suggestions.

He nodded.

“Hope the face does not hurt?” He asked, genuine concern not missing from his voice.

She gave him a dainty smile. “Not anymore.”

She removed her sunglasses then. He saw that she had just a slightly blackened bruise and red eyes. His insides turned.

“Are we good?” She asked him gently.

“I’m surprised though, at you, at your reaction. Why are you letting me go easy?”

“Well Dapo, not everything is in black and white. I guess experiencing it first hand has set some things in perspective for me. I know you more than everyone else out there and I know you are not a violent person. We are passing through a very rough patch in our marriage right now and I’m willing to work to make it work.”

“Dapo listen, there is more to every marriage that is being flaunted. There are no standard rules to relationships. What worked for our parents and works for our friends cannot work for us. We have to create and continually evolve our own rules.”

“However, if you lay your hands on me again, I would walk out and never look back.” She added sternly, albeit calmly.

“Duly noted and perfectly understood.”

She smiled and extended her hands across the table to hold his.

He interlocked his fingers with hers and whispered, “I am sorry.”

“I know.” She whispered in response. “Are we good?”

“Always.”

– THE END…..for now –

MORE TO IT – part 2

His head was still in his hands when the backlight of his phone came on. He reached out for it and saw that she had replied his text message some thirty minutes later.

Her message had simply read, “I am safe but don’t try to get across to me.”

He heaved a sigh of relief. He was confident that she was in her parents’ house.

Dapo covered his face with his palms, sniffing and cussing.

He had never laid his hand on any woman before, not even his sisters when they were younger.

He did not need a soothsayer to tell him that he had just lost his wife simply because he had lost his cool for a second or two.

From their friendship days, he knew Temilade to be the sharp-mouthed one. She was not the type to be subdued or hide her disapproval. She had always verbally expressed her dissatisfaction with accuracy and precision, hitting her targets at the exact points she wanted.

That was what had endeared her to him, yet that was what had made him lose his head and turn his wife into a slapping contest.

They had been having back and forth arguments for months now over various issues ranging from difference of opinion on societal issues to the right time to have a baby.

She had returned from work some minutes past ten and he had wasted no effort in unleashing his anger at her and demanding that she spent more time on their marriage instead.

She had flipped and insisted that her career was more demanding now because she was nearing her peak. She had explained, no, she had shouted that she needed to focus more on her career because it was a feat women, especially young women, hardly accomplished.

In his fit of anger, he had told her to get married to her career since she rated it more than their happiness. In retaliation, she had accused him of being jealous of her rapid growth and promotion.

He had responded that she needed to concentrate more on them, especially having a baby and she had retorted that she could not imagine having a baby with a couch warmer like himself, whose devotion was more to his game console and TV. She had called him ambitionless and a lesser image of the man she had initially fallen in love with.

That was when the slap struck her face. The next two slaps had come in quick succession and it was not until he heard her scream his name did his senses return in a rush.

He had been unaware that she had left the house until he heard the opening and closing of their gate. That was when he turned around from the wall and realised that he was alone in their two-bedroom apartment.

He could swear that he had not planned to hit her, but she had provoked him. Even the Bible warned that wives should not provoke their husbands to wrath, or was it parents who were warned from provoking their children to wrath, he quipped.

He tried to remember that part of the scriptures that addressed married couples and if his memory served him correctly, he remembered that it was “husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” He was also convinced that somewhere else in the Bible admonished husbands to love their wives as their own bodies for he who loved his wife loved himself. He knew these because the Pastor had reiterated them during their counselling.

Yet, he had laid his hands on the woman he had sworn by God before all men to protect. He was definite that there was no coming back from that.

He lifted his legs off the floor and placed them, knees up on the couch, placing his arm on his head as he did so.

He turned on his phone and scrolled through his Twitter feed. He then searched for her handle and scrolled through her timeline, expecting a thread of her latest ordeal and advising ladies to flee abusive relationships but there was nothing of such. There were no cryptic messages to sub him or any post to show that she had even gone online.

He knew Temilade was quite expressive on social media and was the type to update her life occurrences in cryptic messages.

He opened his Instagram and searched through the pages of Break or Make-up and Joro Olumofin; pages he ordinarily would not have visited if he had not done the stupid act of raising his hands against his wife.

Her silence troubled him. This was a reaction from her he had never anticipated.

– To be continued…

MORE TO IT – part 1

Disclaimer: This work is pure fiction and the storyline, characters and names are the author’s imagination. Any semblance to anyone, either living or dead, is coincidental.

When the first slap hit her face, she had known it was coming. She had been mentally prepared for it but had not been physically ready.

However, when the second slap struck her face, nothing had prepared her for the impact.

She was dealt with the third blow and it was when he locked her head in his arms that she screamed.

“DAPO!!!!!!!!!” Her scream was a mix of anguish, shock and fear.

He let go of her head the instant she screamed his name. He released her and backed away from her, placing his hands on his head.

She tried to muffle the sobs trying to escape from her mouth while using her hands to wipe her tears and the phlegm from her nose. She raised her throbbing head to look at him but he was not looking at her. His face was to the wall and his head was still in his palms. She was not sure if he was crying or seething but she could grasp that he was muffling his words.

Despite her ringing ears, her senses were in action and she made a decision.

She picked her handbag from the floor where she had dropped it when their argument had started and picked her car keys from the coffee table.

In one swift turn, she turned on her heels and walked out of the house, gently closing the door behind her.

* * * *

Her mother was livid when she walked into her parents’ house. The matriarch of the Adelegan family required no further explanation when her daughter walked into the house with a bruised and purplish face and a slightly swollen eye.

“Did Dapo do this to you?” were her mother’s first words when she came face to face with her.

She could only offer a nod in response, as she gently took her seat on the couch in their spacious and well-lit living room. Her mother sat beside her on the couch and took her face in her hands, carefully examining the extent of the damage.

“Dapo did this to you?” Her mother asked again, her tone laced with unbelief.

Temilade, at that moment, was grateful that her father was out of town or else, all hell would have let loose on Dapo. Her father was a retired Air Officer and she was certain that her father would have had him locked up in a guardroom, or somewhere.

While her mother hurled expletives on Dapo and his entire family, Temilade’s mind wandered to the drive she had made to her parents’ house.

She had gotten into her car at exactly 11:38pm and had dared the risky drive from their house in Lekki to her parents’ house in Surulere. She had not even stopped to think about the dangerousness of driving through Adeniji Adele/Apongbon or the Eko Bridge at that dead of the night.

The realisation had hit her when she had heard her mother’s voice on the other end of the phone asking her why she was being told to ask her gateman to open the gate for her daughter at quarter to one.

Temilade was however jolted from her thoughts when her mother’s next question sank into her head.

Ehn Temilade, you sef, what did you do to your husband?”

Temilade was very sure that the look she gave to her mother shot daggers at the older woman.

Nevertheless, her mother pressed on, “Temilade, iwo naa, ki lo se fun oko e?” she repeated her question in their native language, Yoruba. “I don’t know your husband as well as you do but from the little I have seen from that boy, he does not look like the violent type. Dapo to dabi eni ti o le p’ayon.” Her mother ranted on, claiming that Dapo had the innocent composure, as one unable to hurt a fly.

“You must have provoked him!” Her mother insisted.

“So, Dapo is the victim here, abi?” She shot back at her mother. “So, I am the one deserving of brutality? So, Dapo can be excused for laying his hands on me just because I did something wrong, ehn? Ehn, maami, so, Dapo has the right to beat me?!”

“Temilade, calm down. Calm down and listen to me. See, men are egoistic in nature. They do not appreciate their authority being challenged. Temilade, you have to understand that as a wife, you have to be docile and subservient in order to keep your home.”

“And that is why you’ve remained in slavery disguised as a marriage.”

Her mother shot up that instant and glazed Temilade with an icy stare.

“Young woman, I would not tolerate you speak of my marriage with such disdain. It is my marriage and I choose to remain in it anyhow I deem fit. Have I ever complained to you or any of your siblings about your father?”

She pointed her finger at Temilade, holding her stare at her.

“It may not be love but I choose to remain with your father out of the respect I have for him and the respect I have for the sanctity of my marriage. It is my marriage, Temilade, my marriage and each day I choose to be with your father, it is MY decision.”

Pause.

“I do not know how you youngsters live out your marriage these days but when we say for better, for worse, we mean it to the letter.”

“Your room is still neat. Abigail cleaned it last weekend, and if you choose, you can sleep on the couch. Me, I have gone to my room to sleep. O daro.”

Temilade had half-expected her mother’s response; the latter part of the altercation was what she had not expected.

Her phone buzzed beside her and she reached out for it. She punched in her password and saw that she had some notifications from her Twitter, LinkedIn, Whatsapp and a text message. The text message was from Dapo.

The message had simply read, “Babe, please let me know that you are safe. I know you don’t want to talk to me again in your life but please, let me know you are safe.”

To be continued…

SCATTER BRAIN

This was what she loved most about a brand new day. The smell of fresh coffee.

Every morning, she would climb off her bed and walk with decisive long strides to her Coffeemaker. First, she would, with sarcastic attentiveness, fill out her mug with the dark liquid. She enjoyed pouring her coffee in that manner because she was often referred to as a scatter-brain. Nothing ever sustained her attention over a period of time. An enigmatic restlessness, she would often quip about herself.

Second, she would lift the mug of the hot, thick liquid to her nose and allow the fresh aroma waft through her nostrils and settle on her olfactory lobes. Then, she would take a long sip of the brew, letting the caffeine sate her senses.

This was her every morning ritual. Her romance with her coffee. As usual, she would pour herself another mug. All this she did while standing in that spot of the kitchen she had come to get accustomed to. It was a little space between the shelf where her Coffeemaker sat and the side of her refrigerator. She just loved to stand, resting her back against the side of the refrigerator, the gentle humming vibrations massaging her back.

She would then drop the used mug in the sink. The cleaning lady would wash the mug, that she knew and also, clear out her room and fold or hang, whichever the case may be, every cloth she must have strewn around. The cleaning lady was a nice, smiling woman who never said much. She had at one time left her used plates in the sink (she was never a kitchen person) and the woman would always wash them. Guilt, however, settled on her like a night cloud and so, she resorted to disposable everything! Plates, cups and cutlery. Life was that simple: use and dispose!

Her bath often took longer than ten minutes because she often times forgot whatever it was she was doing in the bathroom. Her brain rummaged with thoughts and solutions. How to approach this? How to settle that? The best plausible way to synchronize? Then, like a jolt of lightning, her mind would snap back to the present reality and she would continue with her bath.

Dressing up was an even more arduous task, with less co-ordination. Flinging clothes around her room, never deciding which was best. She actually never easily decided on anything, except for the best approach to take on with her cases, of course. She often called it a ‘knack’ which just made her know the right step, the right approach to take. Like Olivia Pope in the popular series, ‘Scandal’ would call hers ‘gut-feeling’, she called hers ‘her knack’.

Make-up applied in haste, hair pulled back in her signature ponytail, laptop bag and handbag in hand, her day was set to take-off. But first, she had to pour her coffee into her travel mug and take a dash out of the flat, often always running back to lock her door.

This was her usual routine. The usual routine of the scatter-brained Lagos female lawyer.

(C)2015