Efulefu Business

  • ON THE 14TH DAY OF NOVEMBER, I was supposed to meet Nedoux i.e Chinedu Ahanonu ostensibly to hand over my beautiful but problematic shoes. We (She, I and my little cousin- it does not matter that she’s taller by 4 inches, I was born before her) had made a date/appointment to meet at the TBC Connect event. And we did. The event was nice. As I had skipped breakfast, I munched 4/5 different plates of small chops, hard candy, Wilson’s lemonade, zobo, fries, chicken and cupcakes. I did not have dinner that night. I did not need to. Pictures above. The blogs of the attendees were very conveniently listed here. Please go visit! Plus, they had so many giveways, everyone won something. 

I’m not entirely sure why this post went up today. Enjoy it though!

P.s – I know there are some ultra generous people scouring my blog currently, if you’re there and you’ve been touched, I would really appreciate this as a present. Waist size 31. *winks* Thank you very much! Kisses. Hugs. ENJOY CHURCH SERVICE TODAY!

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My Best Friend’s Dad (3)- Pabby (3) (Conclusion)

The story should have been up on Sunday. But I was busy. I’m busy through this week but I wanted to conclude this today. Strap yourselves in. And leave me loads of juicy and adoring comments afterwards! 🙂
********************************

He was watching me watch Iris. I could feel his eyes studying me. Usually whenever anyone stared at me too long I would burst out laughing. More often than not, they turned their eyes away immediately. Don’t pay too much attention to that one. She’s crazy. Come to think of it, who said loud laughter is a symptom of madness? I’ve never seen a mad person laughing before. The ones I usually see are naked or filthy with matted hair and terribly chapped lips. Bunmi used to tell me stories; of people sleeping with mad women and mad men raping women. And I would shudder with discomfort. The thought of the  filth of a mad man, those teeth more usually unbrushed for weeks and slowly rotting coming close to me irritated me beyond belief.
He was still staring.
I waited him out, eyes drifting from Iris to my book and back again. I wasn’t sure why he was looking, I felt comfortable with him but still I felt a frisson of fear every time I remembered Mr. Nwude who was known to us as Mr. Oyeyemi. Soon though, he left. I hoped he wouldn’t go drinking. The last time he did, last year, my mom, myself and Amara had to hold him down so Iris wouldn’t see him like that. I knew she worried about her father. Seeing him like that would have made her worry more.
*

I brought Iris for her monthly medical check-up. Bunmi had braided her hair while Amara and I made lunch the day before. She looked like a Nubian princess. I pointed it out to her yesterday and she turned to me and stared. It broke my heart. I could echo the questions in her head, mostly because I woke up at nights asking the same questions.
I was currently in my second year studying psychology at the University. Iris had not graduated from Secondary School. She was all set to graduate the day she had a Cerebrovascular Accident. At least that’s what I tell all the classmates Iris had kept in touch with when they call my phone. And the question, “when can we speak to her?” is always met with dead silence and then a blatant lie. “Iris is in the bathroom now, I’ll tell her you called.”
“Iris? She travelled abroad for further treatment. You remember how protective her father was”
Tolani was the only person other than Kelvin who had seen beyond the lies.
Iris had had a cerebrovascular accident, that much was true. But not many people realised that “cerebrovascular accident” is simply another name for a stroke. And Iris had had a serious stroke. It left her unable to sit unless propped up, unable to stand unless helped up. She couldn’t talk, hence the lies and she had to wear adult diapers. I changed them twice everyday. The last nurse Iris had, had once left her to sit in her urine and excrement for 3 days when her father travelled and I had been writing exams. It had taken the grace of God to stop me from killing her the day I came to the house to see Iris on the floor; hungry, dehydrated, weak and filthy. I beat her so badly she had to be taken to the hospital herself. My mum had slapped me senseless in return. But that day, it was settled. I would move into the Aghotures’ house, start studying part time, taking counselling lessons with my pastor and taking care of Iris.
*

Kelvin came by once in a while. He made Iris laugh. Despite the fact that she couldn’t talk, Iris still had a vibrant laugh. Seeing them together this way made me regret my former jealousy. Kelvin used to have a crush on Iris. Iris used to have a crush on Kelvin. I used to have a crush on Kelvin. And the green eyed monster had almost permanent residence in me. Seeing them giggle and practice nascent flirting skills with each other used to irritate me so much. And she had picked up on it, cornering me one day. I had been so angry with her, with them then. Now, seeing them together, smiling with one another, I was relieved. Relieved that at least one of her former friends was determined to be here for her. Relieved that I had stepped aside and let them be friends with each other without the added burden of my anger. Relieved that I had not staked my two best friendships on the false belief that I was in love when in fact it had been a 3 month crush. Kelvin and I had been and were still good friends. Kelvin and Iris were good friends as well. It hadn’t been love for them either. Just a six month “relationship” that consisted almost solely of going to the movies and holding hands. Still, he had made her feel so much better when she found out she was to repeat SS2. And he always made her laugh. I was grateful for that. Tolani’s reaction was still weighing on me. It hurt. Even I who had not been close to her was hurt. The day she came over, she saw Iris lying on the bed, body emaciated, eyes sunken and unfocused. When Iris spotted her, she smiled widely and beckoned with her left hand, the stronger one, and we both watched as Tolani ran out. I had to watch as Iris’ face fell and a tear slipped out. I wasn’t sure I had it in me to forgive her for that.
*

Amara had finished Youth Service and she took Bunmi and I to a restaurant to celebrate while my mom watched Iris. When we were seated at the restaurant two things struck me:
Today was Iris’ birthday and I was so relieved to be out of the house.
In our friendship Iris had always been the strong one. Nothing and no one could faze her. If she wanted something, she would get it. If i wanted something, more often than not, she got it for me. When she began to regularly miss school, I saw a different side to everything. I made some new friends and did much by myself that we used to do together. I recognised that I wouldn’t have Iris to protect me forever. It was scary but freeing as well And it cast me in the role Iris had occupied unopposed for so long- Leader. For 2 years, I had not cried, not in front of Iris, not in front of anyone. But when I opened my wallet, a birthday present from Iris, when it dawned on me that I was losing touch with the very person I was trying so hard to help, I burst into tears. Bunmi and Amara kept offering platitudes so I ran into a toilet stall and locked myself in. When I was about done crying, someone passed me a box of tissues. I accepted it, mumbling my thanks while noisily blowing my nose. I wiped my nose, cleaned my face thoroughly but I still wasn’t ready to face anyone.
“Are you okay, Ebube?”
“I’ll be fine”, I said, thinking one of my sisters had come to check on me.
I blew my nose a couple of times, blinked to clear the tears and took several deep breaths to clear my head before I unlocked the door and stepped out.
“Are you sure you’re alright?”
I had been wrong. It wasn’t Amara, wasn’t Bunmi. It was Tolani.
When we got back to the house, it was late. The generator was switched on so our approach was muffled. When we entered the house, I checked on Iris first while Amara and Bunmi went into the kitchen to drop the food we’d brought back. She was sleeping. I dropped the birthday card and her gift on the bedside table. We would talk in the morning.
I went to find my mom and Iris’ dad. They weren’t in the kitchen, or in the store. Or in the basement that housed the huge refrigerators. I scanned the parlor and was about to leave when I heard a noise. I quickly switched on the light while beckoning my sisters who were in the doorway to come closer. What we saw made us smile. Apparently, my prayers of so long ago had worked. My mom had her arms around him. They had tear tracks on their faces, they were fully clothed but their embrace was distinctly “loverlike” and they were sound and safely asleep. I put off the light. My sisters would sleep here today.
*

IRIS

Another day, another pastor. I laid there while he shook and jumped about, binding and casting the demons that supposedly held me bound. I knew this routine very well these days. He would bind and cast for about 30 minutes more or as long as he felt it took to “earn” the money he would then ask my dad for. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t demons, it was a stroke but of course, I couldn’t talk. I could roll my eyes and I did, hoping he would leave and soon too.
The year I turned 15, my faith walk staggered to a stop. I felt betrayed, hurt beyond words by God. Even before my birthday, I had been rushed to the hospital 10 times, I had bled and had to be transfused. I had been given so many injections that once, they had to be given through my legs. I was tired. I was very tired. And I was angry. Ebube and I once had an argument about it. She even read to me from Ecclesiastes 3. Still, I wanted an explanation. I wanted to go to school, to meet people, to be around when Kelvin and I had matured enough to have a successful relationship that would lead to marriage. I wanted to take deep breaths without hurting my lungs, to bite into suya without having it cut into little pieces first. I wanted to wear high heels again. I wanted to be free from painful massages and infrared heat lamps. I wanted so many things. I used to pray constantly then. I knew it was borne of fear but I couldn’t help myself. Then I had the first stroke. Then the second. Then Uncle Ferdinand, the man my dad had hit, told me he was travelling with his family, then I had a massive stroke, then Tolani ran away. I decided it was too much pain believing in God’s plan. It was painful. I suspected Ebube knew I no longer considered myself a Christian because she made a point of reading Bible passages aloud to me every blessed day.
My personal favourite was “I am beautifully and wonderfully made”. I knew the verse said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” but she paraphrased it for me. A couple of times, I would find myself thinking on that verse. “What’s so beautiful about me?”, I would think.
There were no mirrors in my room. But still, when I went for my monthly check up, I had the opportunity to see myself. And I was a husk.

There’s nothing beautiful about me.

The pastor was still praying when Ebube came in with my physiotherapist. After some more prayers, he and my dad left my room. Ebube sat on the bed, taking one of my hands and squeezing it before letting go. Today was Tuesday. She read a book to me while the physiotherapist massaged me. When the physiotherapist left, she fed me a contraband sausage roll and akara. I smiled my thanks. I was confined to custard, pap and soup with lots of vegetables. 90% of the time she fed me exactly that. But on Tuesdays, she fed me other foods- pastries, fried plantains, rice, ice cream.
That evening, we had a surprise visitor- Tolani. I looked steadily at her, she didn’t run this time. It was a short visit. She came to say that she was sorry and to give me a couple of audiobooks in a cassette player. I smiled and nodded. She smiled. And I felt some of my frustration ease. Maybe God did have a good plan after all. Maybe I can trust Him.

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

Iris was dead. I had woken up suddenly around 12AM, nudged awake by something I couldn’t explain. Her eyes were open, she was smiling, her hand extended to touch me. But her body was cold and she wasn’t breathing. I immediately called her father. And my mother. A neighborhood doctor confirmed it. After 4 years, Iris was dead. Her father carried her and rocked her and cried. My mother looked from me to him wringing her hands. I stood there in a state of shock. My legs buckled. I started hyperventilating. She was supposed to come out of this. She had added weight. She was supposed to be my maid of honor. She had started writing. She was supposed to finish school. She told me she loved me yesterday. She was supposed to be the godmother to my children. How could she die? She had a tutor. She took the GCE exams last month. She had started praying again. And laughing regularly. And bossing me around. How dare she die?
My sisters and Kelvin came later that morning. Tolani too. She hugged me tightly. She had become a good friend, not only to Iris but to me as well. My mum was with Iris’ dad. He was still holding her and sobbing. I do not know how to make it better for him. He was very close to his daughter. He was interested in each of us but his daughter was the light of his life. We all knew that. He didn’t let her go until later that evening. He composed himself,  went to take a bath. He wasn’t there when the mortuary attendants came to take Iris away.
My mom went to check on him. I was relieved when he came out. I had been afraid he was going to kill himself. The burial was arranged for the next day. His family members came. Family members of his late wife were there. My father came. Old school mates of ours were informed of the funeral. The church was packed. The ceremony was short and beautiful. Tolani and Kelvin gave moving eulogies. We went back to the house.
It hit me then that there was no reason for me to live here anymore. Iris was dead. I wasn’t going to be taking care of her anymore.
*

In the week that followed, we all stayed in the house, I knew my mom especially was worried about Mr. Aghoture. He wasn’t sleeping. Dark shadows covered his eyes. He looked disheveled.
Then one day, I noticed a change in him. He had obviously made some decisions. Two days later, he called all of us together, he gave Amara a plot of land for her baking business which she had continued and which had snowballed into something much bigger than we all expected. He gave Bunmi a percentage in his business which had grown under her supervision to become a conglomerate and to me he gave a monetary sum that made me gasp aloud and automatically refuse and Iris’ ring which I also refused. He smiled and gave them back to me.
To my mom, he gave a smile and the same envelope he had given her so many years ago. I hadn’t realised she had returned it. He travelled that evening.
*
I finished University later that year and I decided to take a year off and travel. I certainly had the money to do whatever I wanted. Amara met a guy, he was nice, he cared about her and whenever she baked for him, he paid her. Bunmi started a business of her own in addition to her job. My dad’s wife left him.
One day after I had been away for 2 months, I got to my mom’s house and met her talking animatedly with Iris’ dad. It took them 3 years, during which they went for pre- marriage counselling, Amara got married and Bunmi found someone she liked and trusted enough to get engaged to.
I’m serving food at the wedding reception and so many people are telling me that it’s my turn next. The urge to roll my eyes is so strong, I go somewhere to sit down and do it in peace. I haven’t even turned 24, you would think they’d leave me alone. I sit down behind a stacked wall of plastic chairs. Amara sees me and sticks her tongue out. I make a pleading gesture. She smiles and prances off. Tolani is somewhere in the crowd. She and Kelvin are flirting with each other so I knew to get out of the picture. Bunmi is with her fiancé and my mom is feeding her new husband cake. For the first time in a while, I miss Iris. I wonder if she would have read nursing like she’d planned. If she would have been happy to know I call her father “Pabby”, if she was relieved that we were stepsisters at last.
Someone is staring at me. It’s a young man. I’m not sitting on the stacked chairs, I’m sitting next to it. I’m not in the mood to laugh so I turn to look at him fully. Defiantly. Everyone says this it’s my war face. He smiles and extends his hand. I shake it. I feel a jolt and when I realise we’ve been shaking hands for a while without saying anything, I introduce myself.
“So nice to meet you. My name is Boma”
************************************
My best friend’s Dad is sixty percent a true story.
Some of the facts are fiction, others are real life experiences.
Iris’s medical problems are similar to that of my younger brother. He’s dead now. His name was Nebolisa. We nicknamed him Bobo (BohBoh not Bawbaw, by the way). He was a clown and he could make the most serious people laugh. I remember beating someone in primary school because he had beaten my brother. Luckily I didn’t get suspended. He used to have convulsions and get sick very very often. He had a stroke at age 9 and then he could no longer talk or walk. He died on December 9, 2007 at age 12. His birthday was on Sunday. Rest in peace sweetie.

This story originally started as a way to eulogise him but along the way it became a way to eulogise a lot of people who have recently passed on from this world to the next.

Joshua Ayalogu, Ogechi Atuonwu, Nneoma Atuonwu, the victims of terrorist attacks in Syria, France and Nigeria.

Rest in Peace!

Chineke, biko me ka ga noduzie n’ulo gi!
Na ha Jisos.

THE GRATITUDE CHALLENGE *whoop whoop*

Someone nominated me for a challenge recently, one nice young man named Immanuel who blogs here. Thank you Immanuel!

The person who nominated him is Oreofe of gracedmisfits. I remember visiting her blog a couple of times, here. I remember her as an awesome blogger. Below are her rules as lifted from Immanuel’s blog:

“I’m to write five things I’m grateful for, display a picture of gratitude – a picture of something simple that makes me smile and then nominate 5 other people for the challenge. I’m really fascinated by the idea of a picture of gratitude. In her words “It is not an opportunity to show off how rich you are. Let it be something that is simple (and inexpensive) yet a blessing.”

I did a 7 day gratitude challenge once on Facebook. Pictures everyday and you’d have to say 3 things you were grateful for that day. Incidentally, Day 4 was when I found out I had failed my Bar Finals, that first time. Then the challenge became clearer to me. It was God asking, “Will you still thank me even when it seems like everything is upside down?”

This was what I wrote that day:

{THE GRATITUDE CHALLENGE
DAY FOUR
1. I thank God for everyone I love who loves me back.
2. I thank God for good news as well as bad.
3. And I thank God for his promises which never change and never fail.
Thank you Lord! }

And then I cried and cried and cried some more. And played “Praise you in this Storm”- Casting Crowns on repeat.

But this year, God proved himself over and above. I held on to HIS promises- Isaiah 61:7, Isaiah 50:7, Isaiah 3:10. Jeremiah 29:11 and HE DID NOT FAIL.

So, without further prevarication, these are five things I am so very grateful for:

  1. My Family: My “little” cousin is currently lying down on my bed, playing with her phone. She takes up more than half my bed space and quite often, I have had to push her legs off so I can perch at the edge of my bed. Is it a perfect situation? Definitely not. But she and I are close. When we were younger, her arrival always meant I would have to surrender my love of eating alone, my love for privacy (we used to bathe together and use the toilet at the same time) and my bed. Still, I adore my Chaychi and she adores me, I think. And so I’m thankful for her, as a representative of every member of my family.
  2. My Friends: The other day, I was walking on the road and I met an old friend. We had lunch, laughed and went our separate ways to meet some other day. I am not, never have been the friendliest person. Or the most approachable. But still, some people have maintained friendships with me. Have called when I determinedly had my head buried in the sand, have hugged me when I was bristling insane, have written confessions for me to recite when I felt manic, have stayed when I punched them with my words. Thanks.
  3. For my house slippers: i have used this pair for close to 3 years. It has stopped me from sliding on wet floors. From tripping over my own legs.From breaking my teeth and the metal accoutrements on it. Thank you dear slippers.
  4. For the water tanks in our house: We don’t have a borehole. So we rely on the Lagos State Water Corporation. And 40% of the time, they’re great. Clean, clear water that doesn’t smell. It is the other 60% of the time when they seize water for times ranging from 3 hours to 6 months, that I’m grateful we have water tanks to draw from.
  5. For my Bible- What better way to reach God than through his Word? For the Psalms, For the book of Isaiah, For the Gospels. For all the different Bibles I’ve had over the years (and the people who bought most of them), the verses I’ve memorized, the verses that have cut me to the quick,my current Blackaby Study Bible, I thank YOU.
Devotional (Joni Eareckson Tada- Diamonds in the Dust, 1993) and Blackaby Study Bible
Devotional (Joni Eareckson Tada- Diamonds in the Dust, 1993) and Blackaby Study Bible
It's Ugly and Blond which I have a latent issue with, but it's mine and it is symbolic. Thank You Lord!
It’s Ugly and Blond which I have a latent issue with, but it’s mine, symbolic and I’m very thankful for what it symbolizes. Thank You Lord!

In turn, I would like to nominate the following bloggers for this challenge-

  1. Eziaha- http://www.eziaha.com
  2. Chinedu- http://www.nedoux.com
  3. Adaeze- http://www.chynanu.wordpress.com, http://www.chynanu.blogspot.com
  4. Dr. N- http://www.drnsmusings.wordpress.com
  5. David Brian Paley- http://www.vancouvervisions.com
  6. Timi-  www.livelytwist.com

What are you grateful for this week?

1st Thessalonians 5:18- In all things give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Also, I want to invite you to a concert- Joshuaville, Night of Worship, 20th of November, 2015. Fidelity Bank Open ground, Oba Idowu Oniru Street, off the Palms(Shoprite) Road, Lekki.
Say you’ll come please!

My best friend’s Dad (3)- Pabby(2)

This hospital. So many memories. So much sadness. So much pain. I hated it here. But I needed it to make Boma better.
When Ebube started screaming from the backseat I’d hit the car in front of me. And the driver; a short muscular man with tattoos covering his arms got out of his car ready to accost me. Instead, when he saw Boma, he drove ahead of me, honking his horn repeatedly and waving his arms wildly to clear the way. Now he paced the hallway, glancing furtively at his watch and sneaking looks at me and Ebube who was shaking on the chair beside me.
I stood up and shook his hand, thanking him for everything. He gave me his card and told me to call him if anything else developed. I thanked him and pocketed his card.
Ebube was still shaking. I laid a hand on her shoulder and went to ask about my daughter.
By the time I could see her, it was late. I had already called Amara who was spending time with her father and sister to apprise her of recent events.
When Sarah came to call me to see my daughter, Ebube ran into someone’s arms and Sarah turned pale. It was Bunmi. I gave Sarah a reassuring pat on the back and went to see about my daughter. She was sleeping peacefully, her mouth turned up in a smile. I smiled as well and held her hand. I had been so scared. The thought of losing my daughter sent shivers down my spine.
There was a furtive knock at the door. I turned around.
“Hello. Or if you would prefer, good evening sir”
“Hello is fine”
“How is Iris doing?”
“You mean Boma? I don’t really know yet. But I’m sure she’ll be fine”
She looked down, clutching her sister’s hand. I suppose she was recalling the harsh words her father had flung against me.
“Actually, I would like a hug”, I said.
She released Ebube’s hand and flung herself into my arms. I smiled.
Arguments with Boma had taught me that sometimes people just need you to take the first step so they can forgive you, whether or not they had a valid reason for being angry with you in the first place.
I pat her on the back continuously. And the memories came flooding in. I really hated this hospital.
Ebube had carried a chair from the hallway and was talking to Boma. She had taken one of Boma’s hands and was murmuring to her. I listened hard, she was murmuring. I couldn’t hear anything she was saying. She picked the hand again and kissed it. Then she kissed her forehead and walked out of the room like the world was on her shoulders. It had never seemed awfully important to me, but now I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen her laugh.
When she used to come over, she and Boma used to laugh so loudly. And it constantly irritated me. One day when I complained at the breakfast table, Boma asked me which I would prefer; her laughter or her silence. I looked at her, she had always been a serious child.
“I prefer your laughter”, I said.
And she went on eating cereal with merely a nod to acknowledge that she had heard my proclamation.
I shook myself out of my daydream to see Sarah step in. Bunmi moved a distance away but I could tell they were mending fences already. She smiled at her mom and I caught Sarah blinking back tears. Then Amara walked in with their dad.
I braced myself for trouble. The last time we had met, he had punched me in the face and accused me of being a pedophile too. As I had just carried the man known to the girls as Mr. Oyeyemi off her two hours ago, I could understand his confusion, his pain. The thought that anyone might do the same to my Boma made me want to punch through walls. So I could understand. What I refused to understand was when he slapped Sarah who had come to release me from his chokehold. I punched him so hard he fell groaning on the floor. It was Bunmi that saved us from further violence when she quietly but firmly announced that she was going to live with her dad.
I looked into his eyes, unsure what to expect. Amara prodded him. He extended his hand.
“Thank you for saving my daughter from getting raped. And I’m sorry I accused you of being a paedophile. I’m sorry your daughter is sick. I’m sorry for a lot of things”
“Okay. I’ll accept your apology after you apologise to your wife”
“My ex-wife. And why?”
“For slapping her”
He stared at me for some interminable seconds before he turned to Sarah and apologised to her.
“Apology accepted”, we said in unison.
**************************************
Six months later

Boma is awake. This was the third time we had been in this hospital this month. It became clear 2 months ago that I wouldn’t have time to focus on work so I called Bunmi and asked if she had any concrete plans for University. I was surprised and very pleased when she told me she wanted to take a year off school.
I then asked that she work at my office as an intern officially. Unofficially, she was to report any unseemly actions to me. Truth be told, I did not care very much about the company these days but prudence dictated that I took care of it. I had appointed a new principal to take care of the school the year before so I was covered on that front as well.
I looked at my daughter. She was meant to graduate from secondary school in six months but the combined effect of multiple convulsions and prolonged spells of dizziness had caused her to miss huge chunks of schoolwork.
Ebube used to bring her homework and attempt to teach her what she had missed but after I saw Boma crying after one such lesson I told her not to bother. She cottoned on fast. These days she said nothing to Boma or as she determinedly called her, Iris, about school. Whenever Boma brought up the subject of school, she would change it. When Boma was well enough to go back to school, she was informed that since she had missed a term of school she would have to repeat SS2. From what I heard, a former classmate of theirs had laughed at her and Ebube had set upon him like a tigress, beating him to a pulp. For which she earned a suspension. And my gratitude. Since that day, no one else dared laugh at my girl. No one dared say anything mean. I knew it was selfish of me, this protectiveness but with so much else happening to Boma I really did not want her to be bullied in school too.
Boma was laughing. The tattooed man I had hit so long ago had brought her a stuffed puppy and was making animal noises. They had become so close. I watched him carefully, the threat of sexual abuse foremost in my mind. It was Boma who had told me that he had two daughters, one of whom had died in a car accident the previous year. Apparently she looked like his little girl because he became attached to her so quickly. His wife and his other daughter had come to visit a couple of times too.
Ebube sat in a corner watching. I wasn’t sure if she was jealous. I never was. But these days, she watched Iris like a hawk. From the school’s brightest student, her position had dropped to somewhere in the middle. I knew this worried Sarah but there was nothing to be done. The only thing that could possibly be done was to sever all ties between both girls, which of course would mean cutting the two families apart. And we were interwoven now.
I had pretended not to hear my daughter praying that Sarah and I would get married. Pretended not to see how she bloomed whenever Sarah was near. Although her dreams did not come true, friendships had developed and Sarah and her daughters had come to mean a lot to me. I could not undertake the task of separating our families for good.
And truth be told, I did not want to.

****************************************
Conclusion next week!

By the way, I just concluded reading Wife Material Season 2 on http://adaezewrites.com and it is fantabulous,  cokeastic, amazing, splendiferous!
It is all shades of wonderful. If you have time, please check it out.

Thank you!

My best friend’s Dad (3)- Pabby(1)

Iris and I, our friendship was immediate. It cemented every time she grabbed my hand when she was excited or scared, every time she couldn’t sleep and I would read her a story, every time she made me laugh. But the transformation of Mr. Aghoture to Pabby was very, very, very gradual.
I’m sure I lost you. Let me start from where I stopped.
Iris was discharged later that week but her dad had a teacher’s conference to attend in another state. He was to give the commencement lecture which put him in a serious dilemma as Iris needed to be taken care of.
Unlike my mom though, he had no problem asking for help. He gave my mom money to take care of his “tiny dimpled angel”. She refused the money. Many times. Arguing all the while that she owed him for taking me home and feeding me. I would have blurted that the food was terrible but thankfully, I was blessed with a sense of self preservation.
When the time came for him to leave, he asked for water and while she made the short walk to the fridge in the kitchen, he winked at me, kissed his daughter’s head and literally ran away. When my mom returned with the water, I saw signs of a smile playing around her mouth as she took the envelope he had left on the table. Iris spent a week with us, recovering. It was delightful. I had someone to giggle with, someone who pulled me out of my books. Someone who made me laugh. When her dad came for her, I hugged her tightly. I wasn’t sure we would still be this close when we got back to school and I wanted to say goodbye properly. We all watched her leave. And I knew we would still be friends when she ran back to squeeze me tightly.
The next day at school, she was surrounded. Tolani, Tayo, Kenechukwu and Zainab hung around her all day, even pulling her from our seat and sending Ngozi instead.
She switched back however at break-time, taking my hand and whispering something that made me laugh.
We laughed our way out of primary school later that year. Contrary to a little talked about fear I’d had, I did not make Iris a melancholy hermit. Instead, she made an ambivert of me. I gained new friends, smiled more. Someone confessed that I had frowned so much they were scared to speak to me.
From that day until we left primary school later that year, I practiced smiling in front of my sisters. The first time, Bunmi said I looked like a drunk piranha. And Amara pursed her lips.

I smile over at Iris. We’re in Senior Secondary School now and for the first time in 5 years, our class teacher had not set our desks so far apart we couldn’t tap each other. She has just shown me a caricature of the math teacher. It is really funny but I know not to let out a laugh. My smile peters out and I look out the window.
A note lands on my thigh. “Are you nervous about seeing Bunmi today?”
I debate replying with the note but the teacher is looking at us so I concentrate on our class work.
The story of how Bunmi left our house to go and live with my dad is a long one. And a sad one. When my parents separated it was hardest on her. She adored my father but she knew she could not cast aspersions on my mother’s parenting by wilfully refusing to move with us. Until Mr. Oyeyemi entered, and upturned our lives.
From the 2 adults I could observe, both without partners, I came to realise that people tend to give you a couple of days, weeks, months or years after a break up as in the case of my mom or a death as in the case of Mr. Aghoture; to grieve or to get back on your feet before they begin introducing you to people they consider eligible for you.
Friends and family of my mom had begun to do this when Iris and her dad came into the picture.
He was smart, kind, handsome, rich and honourable. Best yet, I think my mom was catching feelings; which of course sent Iris and I into frenzied moments of fasting (lasting only until we caught a whiff of buns, puff puff or akara, those delicious fried pieces of yumminess) and prayer. But after a year of my mom twirling her hair, actually wearing makeup, etc, I saw her downcast one day after a date with him and I raked up the nerve to ask how it had gone. She smiled tiredly at me and said, “Nne, some people are amazing in almost every way. But nothing can go forward if they’re still in love with ghosts”
He remained our friend however. But,  where before there was lighthearted playfulness between him and my mom, now there was stern formality on her part and nervousness on his. The most amazing change he wrought in our family though, was in Bunmi.
Bunmi was the most reserved of us all. She was the stereotypical secretive middle child. She hated attention even more than I did. But she was wise. Very wise. I had learned to swallow my pride multiple times to ask Bunmi for advice. The only place she really shined, was in our bedroom. There she could laugh and play and be someone different from the frowning girl she normally was.
From the time my family trooped to see Iris in the hospital, it seemed he took a special interest in her. She was reading a book she had bought herself; 7 days to an MBA and he used it to strike up a conversation. It turned out Mr. Aghoture owned our school, a couple of airlines, and a manufacturing company that produced 6 different products. She gave him some advice on how to cut costs. He argued on some points but from that day, a kinship was born. It had its foundation in their shared love for business but it grew into something more. When Mr. Aghoture began going out with my mom, he made a point of coming over to our house and spending time with one of us every week. He got Amara a couple of books on advanced baking recipes, offered to enrol her in a vacation catering school if she baked a couple of cakes for his office every fortnight. He found something I was great at. Psychology, or more specifically, psycho-analysing people. He would give me a couple of books each week and when it was time to take them back, he would ask me what I thought the characters had been thinking at certain moments. But if was Bunmi of us all, who got the most attention from him. And between advising him on investments and hotly debating financial trends with him, she blossomed. No longer was she the shy, the-skies-are-gloomy Bunmi; she came out of her cocoon.
Well, until Mr. Oyeyemi came. He was a date recommendation from an aunt, my mom’s little sister. From the first day he came, we did not like him. On my part, it was because I still held out hope that Mr. Aghoture and my mom would get back together someday. On Amara’s part, it was that he looked like an opportunist and not like he could or would take care of 4 additional mouths.
Bunmi’s reason for disliking him was the one that made no sense at the time. She told us she did not like him because he was slimy. I remember that conversation clearly now. Amara and I had burst out laughing. That was 2 years ago. If I had known what he would do, I would have switched off my mom’s phone the first time he called, shut the door in his face the first time he came to our house, kicked him in the groin when he sat smugly asking us to bring water to him so he could wash his hands, acting like he owned the house and he had only been dating my mom for 2 weeks.
The bell pealed. School was over. I usually went with the school bus but today, Mr. Aghoture was coming to pick us up. For the first time in a year, we were going to see Bunmi.
*
Mr. Oyeyemi to our consternation seemed determined to stick around. After about 3 weeks and 2 dates, he turned into an almost permanent fixture in our house. From repairing things that were not broken, to acting like the lord of the manor, he had character traits that set all our teeth on edge. But my mum was smitten. I struggled to find something good about him, that would justify her adoration of him. I could find nothing.
Then he began to make demands. Little ones at first. Could Amara bake him a couple of cakes? He wanted to give them to a friend. He never paid her.
Could I please make sure the house was tidy when he brought his friends over?
Then it graduated to larger requests, larger demands. It was on the day he asked to manage the household finances that Amara blew her top. She and mum had a huge fight but our finances were still safely in our grasp.
Still, his presence caused a decline in the number of visits from Iris and her dad, so I hung out more at their house.
Since the fight with my mum, Amara who had just gotten admission into the university, spent a lot more time baking cakes and personally delivering them.
Which left Bunmi at home. Alone.
Mr. Oyeyemi had claimed to be a website designer. He spent an inordinate amount of time on our computer so we believed him.
When he started coming around, he claimed it was because his personal computer had spoiled. And we had one. It was fortuitous I guess, that the same day the demon planted the idea in his head to rape Bunmi, that we found out that he was an online fraudster.
*
Iris and I were sitting outside, her head on my lap when her dad drove up. My mom was in the front seat.
Bunmi had not said a word to my mom since she left the hospital. Every detail of her transfer to my dad’s house was orchestrated in perfect silence. The one time my mom ventured to touch her, she screamed so loudly our neighbours rushed in. And even then she didn’t stop. She burst into tears and I had to lead my mom out of our room. My dad came that evening and she left without a word to any of us. I can still remember my dad saying nervously while Amara and I fought tears, “She needs time. When she wants to see you, she’ll call you”. Then, with a hard look at my mom, he left.
I’m not sure if Bunmi asked my mom to come but I did not say it. I was worried about Iris. Her temperature had spiked, she looked very tired and on the short walk to the car, I noticed that she was slower and weaker than usual.
On the way to my dad’s house, I put my hand to her forehead. It was a bit warm. I guided her head to my thigh and was uncomfortably drifting off into some painful flashbacks when I noticed that Iris was violently convulsing.
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http://blog.joshuaagan.com/2015/07/09/marriage-its-not-what-you-may-think/