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Thursday, August 23, 2018

It's A Love Story (1)

She gave me an opportunity to change things, my life especially, and I took it. Call me cheap, call me selfish, call me whatever, but if you’ve been through what I have been through, you’ll know that I did what was right for everyone. 

I see myself as the sacrificial lamb led to slaughter, for the happiness of those I truly love. I consider it a worthy course. Maybe I could have done things differently, maybe there was a better way, but now, that’s all there will ever be- uncertainties.

Somehow, along the course of life, I keep learning more about myself, and I realize that in life, there should never be regrets, just a lifelong appreciation of the choices I make. And so, I don’t regret that I left him.

 I now realize that he was the best thing that ever happened to me. But then there was Seun. I know they say that love proves itself most when there are challenges and trials. I quite understand that fact. But Seun was not just a trial or a challenge, she was a reality. How do you cope or deal with reality?

My elder brother once told me, “Never make someone your priority if you are just an option”. It all makes perfect sense now. of course Tony loved me and maybe he still does, and I love him too, but so does Seun, maybe even more than I do, considering how hard she fought just to keep him. One only does that for someone they truly love.

The fact that I met him first and Seun just happened along the way, did not count for much. She loved him and was ready to shed blood to have him.

 I was not ready to do any such thing; so when she came to my flat that evening with a cheque for 2 million naira and a flight ticket to the UK and a student visa plus admission letter to the Imperial College in London, I figured it was a better option to dying for the man I love.

Again, they say in every fight, it is the one that is willing to die that wins. Seun was willing to die and I was not; I guess that means she loved him more. 

Two weeks later I was away from yesterday and into today. Two weeks later I walked away from the man of my dreams and into the life of my dreams. But can there be a life of my dreams without the man off my dreams?

Should I be thankful to Seun for giving me this new life or should I hate her for taking Tony away from me? I may never find an answer to this question. I like my life right now.

Why not? I am studying business administration in one of the most prestigious schools on earth. I earn much more than what many graduates earn, even as an undergraduate. What can I say, my life is just sweet.

But that’s all that it is- just sweet. Perhaps it could have been more, maybe it still can, my God I want it to be more. Surely, I like the parties, the clubs, the girls night-outs, the shopping and all the other things that come with my status now. But I want much more. Maybe I don’t deserve it, may be I do, but it does not cost anything to desire it.

Like hell I miss Tony. So many times I’ve thought of picking up the phone to call him, I still have his number on speed dial even though he’s changed his number twice. I’ve been keeping an eye or two on him since I left. I always never have enough courage to call him. What would I say?

He probably thinks I’m dead. Maybe I am, the way I feel right now I probably am dead. It was cruel the way I left him. He did not deserve to be treated that way. He was a great guy, nice, caring and always very sweet.

He never forgot my birthday nor anyone else’s in my family. He took me out on weekends and took me shopping severally. He even bought me my first laptop. I remember very vividly. It was valentine’s day and I was feeling very unlike myself, getting all cranky and touchy.

He sent me his usual rise and shine text message by 7 a.m, ending it with words I knew he meant, ‘I love you’. I did not reply. He called me a few hours later and I did not spare him from my misdemeanor. I so wanted to be mad with him even when he did nothing wrong. I guess I disliked the fact that he was such a great guy. I wanted him to err a little, he did not have to be so perfect.

That evening, after I had turned down his invitation to dinner, a parcel came in for me. I knew immediately it was from him, but I was not expecting it.

‘A parcel for Miss Maggie’, I heard the mail man’s voice from the living room where I was seated watching my favourite TV program. I had calmed down by then, so I received the parcel from my younger sister. ‘Here, this just came in for you’, she said.

‘Thanks dear’, I replied.
‘It’s quite heavy, she continued, ‘What’s inside?’

‘I don’t know’.
‘It’s from Tony right?’

‘Yes, I think so’.
‘Well then, go ahead, open it’. I tore at the beautiful paper wrap that covered a big rectangular box.

 ‘It’s a laptop!’ I exclaimed with much joy. My phone rang before I was even done unpacking the content of the parcel. It was Tony. ‘I hope you like it’, he said.

‘Yes I do. I love it and I love you too. Thank you’.

That was three years ago. I have changed laptop twice since then, but I still remember how I cherished the one he got for me then. It really meant a lot to me then.

I’ve been away for two years now and I have had enough time to consider many things. My choices and my actions most especially. I now see that it was all my fault. I am not talking about taking Seun’s offer, no, I’m talking about the day she came into our lives and tore us apart.

To be continued

 By Scopeman (courtesy

Monday, August 13, 2018

Blooming At Dawn (5)

Her new  team was a team of four. They all seemed nice, if a little chatty at times. This was her second month with the team and so far she was settling in ok. They tended to have lunch together at least once a week as some sort of team bonding initiative.

Her cousin worked in the bank just opposite her office so they  usually left  and returned home together.  She was finding a daily rhythm that she found comfortable.  She loved comfortable and predictable.

As she finished off her egg salad sandwich, she scrolled through her Instagram feed. She saw her sister had put up a picture of mom all decked out in her party gear for a birthday party over the weekend. The caption read ‘when your momma is bae! #pepperdemGang’. Dolapo hit the like button, cleared the table and filled her water bottle.

As she headed back to her desk, she mentally ran through her deliverable for the rest of the day. Her work load was still relatively lighter than the rest of the team given that she was still learning the processes. She got to her desk and froze. Her water bottle dropped with a muffled sound to the carpeted floor.

“What is this?” she asked with something akin to hysteria as she stared at the bouquet of red roses beside her work station.

Joy, her colleague looked up from her computer. Following Dolapo’s gaze to the bouquet, she picked up the flowers with a smile. “This? My boyfriend had them delivered. Isn’t he the sweetest?”

“Your boyfriend,” Dolapo repeated, waiting for her racing heart to slow down.

“Yes. Are you OK?” Joy gaze narrowed as she took in Dolapo’s panicked look.

“I’m fine” Of course he couldn’t reach her here. She was safe, Dolapo thought, as she looked at the offending flowers. “I’m sorry to ask but do you mind not keeping those so close to me? I get sick around red roses.”

“Oh sure! Sorry about that” Joy said, moving them to edge of the desk.

“Thanks.” Dolapo muttered as she waited for her hands to stop trembling.

       Lagos – January 2015

“Someone’s in a good mood today.”

Dolapo looked up from reading Jame’s text message to see Joke and her boss looking at her. She hadn’t even realized she’d laughed out loud.

“Must be a message from James.” Joke guessed.

“Must be” her boss concurred. “Is he back from London?”

“Yes. Been back for two weeks now”

“Ahh. No wonder you’ve been glowing.”

Dolapo laughed. ” No denying that it’s good to have him back.”

She had been in a good mood since he came back. He had gotten worried after the January incident but there had been no further incident since then. She was meeting up with him after work for a movie.

As the work day ended, he texted her that he was headed her way to pick her up for their movie date. She cleared her desk and headed to the car park to change her shoes and drop off her laptop. As she approached her car, she noticed a folded piece of paper under her wiper. She picked it up, thinking it was an ad flier. She screamed, dropping it when she unfolded it and saw it was a picture of James with the eyes cut out. She looked around but at that time, it was fairly deserted.

She picked up the picture again. There was a warning scrawled on it.

Lose him Bunny. I don’t like sharing you. J

She hurriedly got in her car and locked the doors. She missed six calls from James before she realized her phone was ringing. She fairly jumped out of the car into his arms when he rapped on her window, still clutching the paper and sobbing hysterically.

“Son of a gun” James swore when he saw the picture. He tucked it in his pocket.

The security guys at the entrance weren’t much help. No, they didn’t see who left the note. No, no outsiders came in, only employees or their drivers had access.

James drove her to the police station to file another report and  then drove her home.

She hated the lump of sobbing hysterical mess this lunatic had turned her into...

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Blooming At Dawn (4)

Dolapo stood in front of the mirror in the beauty store critically assessing the sample short fringe  wig she was trying on.

“That looks good on you.” the store assistant next to her said..

“Yeah, I like it too.”

“If you want to be adventurous, try it in color 33. The deep red would look really cool.”

Dolapo nodded. “OK”

 As she took off the wig, she was careful to keep her wig cap in place before putting on her face cap.

Purchase done, she headed out the store. It was a fifteen minutes walk home. She lived in a one bedroom above-ground basement apartment in her cousin, Lola’s newly purchased home. Once she got home, she took off her cap and tried on her new purchase. The deep red color did suit her. A new wig in preparation for a new job seemed appropriate, she thought with a smile as she returned the wig to the package. She took off her wig cap and ran her palm across her close-cropped hair.

She used to have a long, thick mane. She’d had to shear off the entire thing after she’d picked off most it and gone half way bald.

Lagos – December, 2014

Her first wig – courtesy of mom – was a short curly monstrosity that failed at mimicking an Afro. She’d worn it with the confidence she’d lost along with her edges. Mom had walked into her room one day as she contemplated how to style her hair. She took one look at her receding hairline and gasped.

“Dolapo! What happened to your hair?”

Her mom was probably going to think she was crazy, she thought. She could go with the bad weave excuse.

“I can’t stop pulling my hair mom.” She’d blurted out instead. “With everything going on, I can’t help it. I just keep pulling and pulling when I get stressed. ” She turned desperate eyes to her mom. “I feel like I’m going crazy. Am I crazy?”

“I reject it in Jesus’ name. Craziness is not your portion.”

Without another word, mom retrieved one of her pieces and helped her put the wig on.

“Beautiful” she said, squeezing her shoulder affectionately.

She’d started picking at her hair about the time she found a rose on her pillow. The more frazzled and anxious she became, the more she picked at her hair.  Her confidence was eroded. She couldn’t explain or control the compulsion. She came to think of her wigs as her healing costumes, helping to cover up her wounds.

Her hair wasn’t the only thing she lost.

“Wow!” her boss exclaimed when she’d arrived at work after one of her sleepless nights. “You could go shopping with the size of those bags under your eyes. Are you OK?”

She’d smiled. “I’m fine. Just a long night is all.”

“OK. But my door is open if you need to talk though.”

“Thanks Boss”

James had traveled to London on a short term work assignment earlier in the month. Before leaving, he’d insisted she move back in with her parents for security. When her parents found out about the stalking, they’d been alarmed and upset that they had not been immediately informed. Her dad had immediately hired a security guard to man the gates. She had also changed her phone number and limited the number of people she gave the number to.

Since she’d moved back home, she had not received any flowers or phone calls. But she remained high strung and was exhausted from constantly being on guard.

By the time the new year approached, there were no new incidents and she started to breathe a little easier. and she could see new growth in the bald spots.

Lagos – January 02, 2015

The office was relatively quieter as a lot of her colleagues had yet to return from vacation. In her team of five, it just her and Joke in the office and they’d decided to have an extended lunch break.

“I think we should just close a little earlier today. No one’s going to nice anyway” Dolapo said as she headed to her desk.

“I was thinking the same.” Joke responded. “Are you going with the staff bus?”

Dolapo stood frozen in front of her desk.

Joke looked her way when Dolapo failed to respond to her question. “Did you hear me?” Joke walked over to her desk to tap her on the shoulder. “Are you OK?”

No. She was not OK. Dolapo thought as she stared  in horror at the single rose stalk placed across her keyboard.

She lost a few more hair strands that night. 

To be continued
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