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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Finding Hubby (11)




The tabloids were merciless. For weeks after the botched wedding, there was one story or the other about me, Gloria, Ossy and Yomi in every print and online tabloid and blog possible.

 Comedians used us as skits for their event promos. It was real bad. And trust Nollywood, within two weeks of the event, there was a movie out, complete with a poster of a reenactment of my scream on my knees at the church.

 They titled it “Love Scream”. Someone needs to do something about Nollywood. Really.

I had to pretend to the world I had known absolutely nothing about Yomi’s sexuality. That was the only way I salvaged my respectability.

 In fact, some people actually came to console me and tell me sorry. See en, when people are going through stuff, just leave them alone sometimes. Sorry my Yoruba ass.

Yomi left the country and no one could reach him. Not that I tried, but his family kept asking if I had heard from him or could reach him. They were genuinely afraid and were indeed nice people.

 They didn’t know I knew about him, so they kept trying to be good to me, trying to compensate me for the way their son had deceived me. I played along. Better that way than the other way I guess.

Gloria and Ossy have been asking for forgiveness. Again it’s that heart thing. They keep saying they were trying to make up for their previous mistake, trying to make sure they didn’t keep silent again while I walked into a trap.

 I could see their intentions were genuine and all, but couldn’t they have chosen a less disastrous way to “save” me? Gloria is a woman like me, and has been one of my closest friends for years.

 Even if Ossy didn’t understand how disastrous their actions would be to a fellow woman, how could Gloria not understand? 

So my head keeps telling me to forgive them, but my heart bluntly refuses to do anything of that nature (influenced by the fact that they are happily married and I’m still carrying my father’s surname plus Glo is preggy for Ossy now).

 Abi if you were in my shoes, would you?

Since I had taken a long leave for the wedding, I didn’t have to go to work immediately and so had time to just be by myself in my house. 

Thankfully, I didn’t resign at Yomi’s prompting based on his promise of endless money. I would have felt worse if I didn’t have my job to look forward to going back to. Toke was my friend through the time and she made sure amongst other things that I was eating, didn’t strangle or drug myself to death, burn down my house or call assassins to go after Glo and Ossy. 

The funny thing is, now that this Yomi wedding brouhaha was over, I felt more at peace than I’d been in a long time. In retrospect, I would really have been miserable in that marriage. 

Truth is, I’m still a romantic at heart, and could never really be happy in those circumstances.

I went through the whole “I’m so done with men” cycle, to the “I’ll just have a kid for some random man” phase and then back to the “when will my own come” phase. 

By the time I was at this phase, Toke and my mum were satisfied that I wasn’t suicidal and would get over the disappointment and still marry. Prior to that, I had been closely monitored and kept away from sharp objects and medicine bottles.

One of the ways I deal with disappointment is to get something new as if to tell myself I deserve good stuff even if life was trying to say otherwise. I acquired a tear rubber Honda CRV in this period. Big girl, big toy, I can’t shout. (and if you don’t think a CRV is big enough, snap and send your car pix #yimu)

My leave and the commensurate insulation from the world soon ended and resumption day at work came. I had dreaded this moment for so long and had rehearsed it in my mind severally until I had each detail planned out. Determined to look every inch unfazed, I poured all my energies into looking good. And I looked good. 

I did not fail to notice that a few heads turned when I parked my sleek toy and stepped out. I made up my mind to enjoy life everyday and not kill myself about marrying, quoting Sefi Attah’s book title, Everything good will come.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I got back from lunch that day and met a bouquet of flowers with a note on my table. Here’s what it said

“You’re a masterpiece, the epitome of beauty”.

I appreciated the gesture (yes, everyone likes to feel like the epitome of beauty even if you know it’s awash), but really didn’t take it seriously. Over dramatics of any kind were not in my agenda at the moment. 

I didn’t even bother to mention it to Toke when she came around. It was that insignificant to me. We watched old episodes of Ally Macbeal and she crashed at mine.

Next day, I unconsciously expected to see flowers and co on my table when I got back from lunch. Nothing! Looooooong hiss, see me already anticipating. It was on the second day I inquired about Ossy, as I hadn’t seen him since resumption. I was told he had left the company for banking. 

Whatever, it was better not to have to deal with him. The moment I entered the car park, I noticed a bright red gift bag on top of my car. I was already internally abusing the person that used my new car as a table when I saw it had my name on it. 

Forgetting that Boko Haram is threatening everyone, I quickly looked into the bag. In it were the loveliest pair of silver Louboutin shoes I’ve ever seen. This person must know I love shoes. Kai! When I brought the shoes out of the bag, a note fell out of them. It had another message on it

“You are my centerpiece, I’ll build my world around you”.

This guy knows Oyin is a poet o, what kind of attack is this now? It’s as if the guy had taken time to study me and was hitting at my weak spots. I didn’t want to open up to anyone so soon after my last saga, the tabloids and blogs would have a field day. Plus I’m not a fan of stealth tactics. If you like me,oju l’oro wa.

These days, I can’t wait to go home after work, so I headed straight home. When I got home, I quickly took pictures and sent to Toke, giving her the meat of the gist. 

Trust the nonsense girl, she came up with all manner of conspiracy theories. I really think she should begin to write for some TV series, cos the girl’s imagination is on fertility drugs. She can know how to think up scenarios that all you will say is Tokeeeeeeeeeeeee!

 In the end, we had a good laugh and agreed I shouldn’t take the fellow seriously until he showed his face.

***

Next day, nothing at lunch, nothing at my car when I was leaving. I thought this guy had run out of ideas. Then I got to my gate and guess what I saw… a mannequin fully dressed, from sunshades to scarf to belt and even shoes beside it.

 Omo, this person knew my house. That was beginning to sound like a stalker, but do we have those in Naija? Or was it Yomi playing games ni? I quickly took pictures (making sure my gate and house number showed) and sent it to Toke.

 Seemed she was busy, no response, because normal her would have called for the gist if she had seen the pix. This person was doing things that would definitely get my attention in a way that would trip me. 

I wanted to find out which one line poetry he had written this time and I moved the mannequin in and frisked it. Nothing. I couldn’t believe how disappointed I was. Why prince charming fall my hand now? mtchew.

 I decided to undress the mannequin and keep the clothes in the car for the drycleaner, while the mannequin stayed outside (I’m definitely not wearing them, would give them to charity. The note was handwritten across its chest –

“My cornerpiece, you bring it all together”.

Thursday, and I was up bright and early. My BB was blinking and Toke must have pinged me like hundred times for the gist. I filled her in on my drive to work. 

We both agreed our guy who we shall label Mr. Poet was getting more interesting. I spent a bit of the workday wondering what he would come up with today. He didn’t disappoint. 

When I got back from lunch, there was a gift card on my table for a pampering session at an exclusive Spa on Ligali Ayorinde. 

Accompanying it were two notes. One teased me about going straight home everyday and asked me to go to the spa for a change. The one I really wanted to see, the poem read

“My choicepiece, I chose you”.

Men, this guy was good. It wasn’t the gifts that got me, it’s the poetry. Together, they read like this

“You’re a masterpiece, the epitome of beauty

You’re my centerpiece, I’ll build my world around you

My cornerpiece, you bring it all together

My choicepiece, I chose you”

Kilode! I was more than curious to know who this mystery guy was.


***

Let me tell you, if you haven’t taken time to go get yourself pampered at a spa, and you are making above fifty thousand monthly, you better indulge yourself.

You can feel the stress ease out of you as those people handle you. And some of the spa attendants en, they can make you feel like you don’t live in this same Nigeria.

They are so totally fine and near flawless. Haba! There are some men I saw there, coming to get massages, and in my inner mind, I knew they were there for the girls.

Anyway, the owners of the business know this, hence the girls. It reminded me of those fine guys that served ice cream at Ice Cream Factory. You don’t need to wonder why all the island girls have suddenly made it their one stop shop and fashied Chocolate Royale.

To get up was war after the whole massage. Whenever you are getting something osho-free, even when you can afford it, it always feels sweeter. I managed to drive myself home, and had the most peaceful sleep I’d had since the whole wedding saga.

Friday morning, I woke up and hit my left leg on the bed as I was getting down. Then I hit it on the bathroom door too. Now, forget poshness, there are some things you grow up with and no matter how educated you are, you still unconsciously remember them.

My mama is a typical Yoruba woman, and she drummed it into our heads growing up that if you strike your left leg against something, it was a bad omen. She even had the one where she would ask a guy to meet her first as she was going out of the house on something important.

She said meeting the opposite sex first was a good omen, and hence she made sure of that. And with all my UK masters and my Island big girl-ism, that was what came to my mind this morning. You can imagine.

I packed myself out of the house, thanking God it was Friday. Work went by and I was wondering what Mr. Poet would come up with today. I didn’t have to wait for long. An sms came into my phone around lunch hour.

“We should meet. Private dinner at the Palm View Manor off Ajose Adeogun. Let’s do 8pm. Ask after Chris”. Notice he said “ask after” not “ask for”. The guy can speak proper English. I smiled.

 I forwarded the text to Toke sharply and she agreed to be my “backup”, with the addition “Mr. Poet now has a name o”. At my age, I am not foolish. I don’t go and meet strange men in places they chose without having someone around the corner that can make sure I’m safe.

 I have watched too many C & I things to make such silly mistakes. So Toke was gonna be around and in touch, to avoid stories that touch. We can say serial killers are not in Naija yet, but there was a time when people also said Nigerians could never be suicide bombers.

Anyway, the day raced past after that, and then I waited for Toke to meet me up at work. Since I close at five, I had about two hours to burn before my date. We spent it imagining who this secret admirer could be.

Toke said she had some other gist for me, but that would be after my date, since she said it was not so great gist. I made up my mind to just have fun and enjoy the moment, no serious anything. In no time, we headed out, with Toke driving behind me.

I found Palm View Manor easily. It’s one of those exclusive places in Victoria Island that the people who are old money meet to talk about how all the brash new money people are invading their moneyed space and how to create newer exclusive circles available only to old money.

Toke stayed at one café on the road; there are many of those in that area. Seems like a nice business to do on the island, I should begin to consider opening one.

Seven on the dot, I drove into the compound and walked to the reception. A small Asian lady was behind the counter and I smiled sweetly and asked after Chris.

She returned a smile just as sweet as mine and said in the gesture-full way Asians do. “Chris is already waiting; you’ll be shown to the table right away”.

Another guy came out of the staff only door behind her to lead me to Chris. I liked the treatment and all. I so couldn’t wait to see this mystery man. Second by second updates were flying to Toke via BBM. Thankfully the network wasn’t falling hand and she was getting my messages realtime.

We went through a beautiful corridor, with old pictures of Lagos Island when things were sane and orderly hanging on the walls.

We turned a corner and came into a very well furnished restaurant. They seemed to have a thing for red velvet and combined with the lighting, it had a cool comfortable look.

 I was ushered into a secluded seat in a corner, with candles and all set up on the table. Chris wasn’t there. Very quietly, my guide disappeared and I was alone. I discreetly took a picture of the table and sent to Toke. I was engrossed in my chat with her but all of a sudden, I felt there was someone else with me.

I braced up to meet him for the first time. A very pretty, I’ll repeat, extremely pretty lady smiled down at me. I assumed she was looking for someone and smiled at her too, waiting for her to ask me a question. She said with a tilt of her head, “Oyin Clegg?” I was surprised but answered that I was the one. She stretched her hand towards me and said: “Chris.”

 To be continued
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