Tag Archives: childbirth

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #2

Good evening,

I’m so sorry for the missed episode of The Immortals’ Code. I was too lazy to do a last minute edit. Please, don’t be mad.

Read the first episode of It’s Another Novocaine Saturday

 

novocaine saturday

It is Noka who first notices the ring on my finger barely seconds after I let them into the house. She has an eye for glittery things, a look of greed I’ve come to accept as part of her nature. And it’s not just the look. It’s her entire person. She is of a covetous kind. It was for this reason she got pregnant for Ibro and became his wife and is now in a loveless marriage. One would expect that she would have learned after all this time but she gets worse by the day.

She clutches my hand and gasps.

“Honey! This is so sexy!”

I smile at her. I think her dress is sexy too. It is worn for Ibro whom she hasn’t seen since in a while. He now lives with Eno in a smaller house somewhere in Ikeja, miles away from her. I can’t imagine her pain. She literally begs him to touch her and it seems she would be doing so tonight. Her dress is red and hugs her curves sinfully, showing off a plunging neckline no one can ignore. It’s a good thing the men are all outside. It would be awkward to have people’s husbands trying not to stare at her boobs.

“Why did you buy it?” she asks of the ring as the others make themselves comfortable on pale yellow couches.

“Jide bought it. It’s my push present.”

“Are you serious?”

“Push what?” Mary asks, glowing in all lights of Ekene’s love. I hardly recognize her these days.

“Push present,” Celia repeats. “It’s a father’s way of saying to the mother of his child, thank you for pushing my child out of your vagina.”

“I’m just hearing of it,” Peace confesses. “But I love the sound of it. I wish men would start giving sex presents too.”

“Well, I get a present every single time Ibro and I have sex…”

Celia stops Noka. “Which is like almost never. Abeg, spare us. We know your husband has money. It’s getting quite irritating the way you remind us. Can’t you learn from Mary? Does she brag about everything Ekene gives her? By the way, they are probably richer than you people but no we won’t hear word from you. Abeg, shush.”

The message is to Noka but somehow all of us comply, no one saying a word after the outburst, waiting for Noka to retort. But she doesn’t. She sits beside me, silent as a mouse.

“Am I the only one that is anxious to actually see our little Jiney?” Mary turns to me. “Madam, go and bring the latest Onuora bundle. Abi you think we came here to look at your ugly face?”

I rise to my feet but stop when Genesis steps into the living room with my little angel. Another moment of jerky silence follows. Of course, my friends are not awed by my baby but have been taken unawares by Genesis’ presence.

“Hi ladies,” she greets, calling each of them by name. Their replies are polite but lacking of cordiality. Only Mary responds with friendliness, rising up to take Jiney off her arms.

“Awww, she’s so adorable. See her face like her daddy’s.”

The others crowd around Jiney and she gets passed round, taking kisses that Jide would not approve of. He is already very protective of her.

Peace is the last person to hold her. She gently rocks her back to sleep after she had been awoken by our loud voices. While she drifts off, we talk about my birth experience and share a good laugh over how it went. They each tell their own birth stories, Celia lamenting on how long it took for her to regain her body back after she had Dara.

“I tied my tummy like there was no tomorrow but it didn’t work. Last-last I resorted to aerobics and tummy exercises.”

Noka lifts my t-shirt without permission. “Who tied yours for you?”

“Nne. Jide doesn’t like it, though. He says it’s archaic.”

“It is,” Genesis agrees.

“It is not,” Noka counters. “It worked for me.”

“And me.” Peace lifts her hand.

“Maybe I didn’t do it well,” Celia says. “It should have worked for me if I did.”

Her statement is said only to oppose Genesis who simply smiles back at her.

“Well, I didn’t tie mine,” Genesis insists.

“And you’re flat like that?” Peace asks, taking everyone’s attention to Genesis’ scandalously-dangerous curves. She is wearing a loose jumpsuit that should naturally understate her sexiness but it does nothing of the sort. Genesis has the type of body that even a blanket would find hard hiding.

“You must have done liposuction,” Noka concludes. “I did mine in Abuja. Who’s your doctor?”

“I didn’t do any liposuction. This is the way my body is. I dance to keep shape.”

“Ah. You’ll come and teach me the dance o!” Mary pats her own tummy. “I need it.”

“No wahala.” Genesis stands up, as do I. I can hear Jide entering the house through the backdoor. I’m guessing he’s getting drinks. They’ll also need peppersoup.

“So can I get you ladies anything?” Genesis asks. “There is goat meat and catfish peppersoup, party jollof, yam porridge and egusi with pounded yam.”

“You cooked all of that?” Peace gapes at her.

“Well, I’ve been here since morning, so…”

My friends look at me as though I have betrayed them but I pretend not to notice. Genesis is as much a friend as any of them. Even more than they may ever be. She had visited as early as 8am, melancholic in her manner when she cornered me in the kitchen to ask how she can help. Nne was leaving to the hospital at that time. Elsie’s eldest daughter, not so accustomed to Nigerian weather, had fallen ill and was admitted in the hospital. Hence, Genesis’ presence was much needed. I asked about why she looked so glum and she told me she had a fight with Dominic just before leaving home. She had admitted it was her fault for giving him stress over his constant absences. She had planned to apologize later in the day but Dominic had resurrected the issue and led them into a row that saw them exchanging offensive words with each other.

“I am tired of the money,” she sobbed. “It’s become a burden. The fame, the status… I wish someone would just take everything away. Just strip it off and let me have Dominic again.”

I lent her my shoulder to cry on and she had a good one. Shortly after, while we ate breakfast with Jide, she told us how she came into Dominic’s life and how they ended up together and built their business to what it is today. It was a peculiar story but a beautiful one. Jide and I advised her to be patient with Dominic and find subtler ways to express her concerns next time. After breakfast, she and I got busy in the kitchen. She did all the cooking while I entertained visitors. I am surprised that she is still pumped to serve my guests after all that work.

“Don’t worry,” Celia speaks, getting up. “We will serve ourselves. This is our house.”

She leads Noka and Peace to the kitchen. Mary stays behind, obsessing over Jiney.

“It’s almost seven o’clock, Honey.” Genesis reads the time on her watch. “I have to go.”

I look at her with a grateful smile. I don’t know how to thank her. Apart from the cooking, she has left a check for Jiney with an amount I’m still reeling from. I give her a bottle of vintage wine to take home to Dominic, and just as she is about leaving, Noka walks in on us with an expression I’m not comfortable with.

“I’ve been trying to place your face, Genesis.”

“My face?”

“Yes.” Noka drops her dish of peppersoup on a stool and straightens up. “Did you ever date the petroleum minister some five, six years ago?”

“Me?” Genesis places a hand on her chest.

“Yes, you. Were you dating him then? He was just a director or something like that in NNPC.”

Peace and Celia file in, each with a dish of something to eat.

“What’s happening?” Celia sits.

“I was just asking Genesis if she ever dated the petroleum minister.”

“That’s silly,” Mary puts in. “The man is in his fifties or so and married with kids. How could she have dated him?”

“Well, shit happens.”

I am upset with Noka. I don’t know where she is going to with her assertions. Genesis is clearly embarrassed by the line of questioning. I already know of her past but I don’t think she needs to explain anything to anyone. I decide to step in.

“Genesis has been here all day and has left her babies for almost twelve hours. Please, allow her go home to them.”

“Just answer the question,” Noka presses.

“Yes,” Genesis replies. “Yes, I dated him. Any problem?”

“So it was you who tore my aunt’s marriage apart.”

“Ojonoka!” I scold. “What’s wrong with you? Behave yourself!”

“Honey, I have to leave,” Genesis announces a second time. “Thanks, again. Goodnight, ladies.”

They all respond, excluding Noka. I walk Genesis to her car and apologize for Noka’s rudeness.

“It’s okay. The past will always come calling, Honey. And maybe I deserve what I’m getting from Nick after what I have done to other people’s marriages.”

“Haba! Don’t speak like that. Your marriage is fine. Dominic adores you. And your past is your past. Ignore Noka. She’s just being the basic bitch she is.”

Genesis pulls me close for a hug. I can feel her heaviness through her hold. I assure her that all will be well. As she drives away, I stand outside until the taillights of her car disappear. Jide calls me over to say hi to the guys. I spend a few minutes with them, accepting congratulatory messages and lighthearted teases. They eventually let me be and I enter the house to give Noka a good scold for her rudeness to Genesis. She listens to my rant without uttering a word but doesn’t show any remorse.

“She ruined my aunt’s marriage, Honey. You would hate her too if she did the same to you.”

“So you hate her?”

“I didn’t say so.”

“You just said so. You hate her for no reason.”

“She is a husband snatcher.”

“Was! That was her past! Why are you judging her without even knowing her?!”

“Honey, calm down,” Mary pleads.

“I’m pissed, abeg!” I retort, keeping my eyes on Noka. “You come to my house to visit me and then you insult my guest! Why can’t you just be a nice person?!”

“I wonder,” Mary murmurs. “You were totally out of line, Noks.”

Noka ignores us both. For all she cares, I might be a buzzing fly trying to steal her peppersoup. Peace motions to me to calm down.

“I think you really need your husband’s dick to help you take the edge off,” I add acerbically. “Try and do that tonight. And by the way, Genesis is here to stay. You just have to get used to her.”

“As long as she’s not stealing my husband, we’re good.”

“Your husband is already stolen,” I bite back as I march off to the kitchen.

What a way to end the day! I wish Bimpe was here. She alone knows how to put Noka in her place. I wonder how she and Bright and the kids are coping in Angola. The last time we spoke on the phone she expressed that she was making friends with other expatriates. She actually used to be my least favorite amongst the wives but I now realize how her presence had been influential on them. Noka needs to be tamed and since Bimpe is not here to do it, I’ll take it upon myself to put her straight.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

Dominic is welcomed into Wura’s three-bedroom home by her cousin. He’s a young boy in his teens, face riddled with pimples and sporting a few strands of hair on his chin. He greets Dominic with a smile much like Wura’s. Dominic returns the gesture as the boy points him into a couch of navy-blue fluffiness that matches little, azure dots on buttery-colored curtains that hang off the windows.

The room is small and cozy, the type of space lovers might enjoy, snuggling in under dim lights and the fragrance of mild incense which Dominic spots burning in a corner. Certainly, Mahmud’s northern influence on Wura inspires her décor choices. The couches all bear distinct Afghan designs that complement each other. And Dominic, without having to look twice, can tell that they are all imported pieces, including the Moroccan lantern hanging off the ceiling that gives the room its subtle lighting.

Dominic makes himself at home in the comfy space, putting away a toy truck he almost crushes as he sits.

“Aunty is in the studio with Pastor Ralph,” the teenage boy informs him. “They’re rehearsing for their concert.”

“Just tell her I’m here. But she shouldn’t rush out. I’ll wait. You know who I am?”

The boy nods.

“Okay. Just inform her I’m here.”

“Yes, sir.”

The boy disappears through a door to his left, leaving it wide open. The sound of music floats in, carrying rich, full notes from a piano playing a familiar song that puts Dominic in a calm disposition. Before long, the smoky tone of Ralph’s voice hits the air, harmonized by Wura’s subtle soprano as they take on Bebe and Cece’s It’s Okay.

Maybe we can talk it over
And save our hopes and dreams
Though the waves seem endless
Somehow we’ll cross this angry sea
With love all things are possible
If we just believe

I need to know, yes it’s okay
Can I hurdle this storm
Yes but only together
With love in our hearts, the only way
Somehow, things will work out just you wait and see

 Oh it will, believe it will

See real life confrontations
Caused our vows to break
But I learned the word forgiveness
Can time chase the pain away
True love made our hearts inseparable
If we just believe

But right now it hurts so bad
And feels so bad
But tomorrow waits with laughter
If we endure the tears then joy comes after

I need to know, you need to know
It’s gonna be okay
Can I hurdle this storm, oh-oh-only together
With love in our hearts, the only way
And somehow, somehow
Somehow I can feel love again
Somehow, things have worked cause you stayed with me
I’m glad to know it’s okay

 It’s okay

As the ending notes on the piano die down, Dominic realizes that the song has taken him to an emotional place. His fight with Genesis earlier had been the worst they ever had. He had called her names that he wishes he can unsay. The pain he saw in her eyes as she hurried out of the house might need more than a verbal apology from him to heal. It would need all of him, and he isn’t so sure he has the time or endurance to give Genesis what she wants at the moment. She was raised a diva, taught to be demanding of her men. She either gets the best or nothing, and this includes affection and time. If Dominic doesn’t love her the way she wants to be loved or spends quality time with her, they get into a fight. He is coming to learn that as successful and as business-savvy as she is, she is beginning to lose grip of what’s important to them as entrepreneurs. He fears that she will let her sentiments get the best out of their business and ultimately ruin what they had both worked for. It is for this reason he is paying Wura an August visit. She alone can fix things.

“The Don himself!”

Ralph emerges from Wura’s studio. Dominic rises up to share a handshake and a manly hug with his childhood friend. Ralph enquires about Dominic’s family and Dominic replies that all is well. When Dominic throws the same question his way, Ralph presents an uneasy smile.

It is hardly news that he and his wife are going through a difficult divorce. As Ralph had shared with Dominic a short while ago, the marriage had been hanging by a thread for years, both of them managing each other for the sake of their reputation as church leaders. But his wife woke up one morning and decided to share with the women fellowship in a tear-jerking session that she was leaving Ralph. He got the shocking news from the general overseer’s wife after it had spread around the church like a California wildfire. Ralph did everything within his power to change his wife’s mind but it was obvious she stopped loving him a long time ago. Thus, their nine-year marriage was tossed into the hands of court documents and lawyers.

The collapse of their relationship left Ralph broken but filled him with a desire to minister to folks like him going through tough times in their marriages and relationships. And what better person to have on his tour than Wura, a woman who was publicly disgraced when her past was shared to the public in sordid videos that went viral just a week to her wedding. She had withdrawn from church and work, following the devastating scandal, also breaking off her engagement with Mahmud who was insistent on marrying her despite everything. She then fell into depression that saw her admitted into a psychiatric clinic. Ralph stood by her through the duration of her hospitalization, especially when Mahmud had to leave the country for a surgery course in Saudi Arabia. During the period, two broken souls sought God and found healing, and together commenced on the tour that has so far run for three months and will come to an end in a mega gospel concert organized by Novocaine Knights at the end of the month. As told to Dominic by Ralph, this final concert would be Wura’s first appearance since her public disgrace. Prior to this, she had stayed behind the piano and lent her voice as a backup singer alone. This would be her chance to share her story and redeem herself through her music.

“Hello Wura.” Dominic smiles at her as his eyes shifts to the corner where she stands like a stranger in her own home.

“Good evening, sir.” She curtsies in her usual courteous manner.

“I like what you did with this place.”

“Thank you, sir. And you’re heartily welcome to my home.”

“Where’s Bilal?” he inquires of her son.

“Sleeping.”

“By this time? Ah. You’re in trouble at night be that.”

Wura shakes her head in exaggerated self-pity. “He keeps me up every night. Every single night.”

“I feel your pain.”

“Sorry for interrupting you guys but I gotta run.” Ralph extends his hand for a handshake and blows a kiss at Wura before stepping out.

“Mr. Dominic, can I get you something to drink? Don’t mind my stupid cousin. The boy doesn’t have manners.”

“No, it’s fine. I’m good.”

“This is your first time here since I decorated the place,” Wura says, moving towards him, her long Ankara skirt making a whooshing sound as she walks.

“Yes, it is.”

She settles into one of the Afghan couches and picks a throw pillow that has gold trimmings on its corners.

“So, Mr. Dominic, this one that you visited me this evening, I’m scared o.”

“Relax.” Dominic laughs. “It’s all good news, the first of which is that Lexus is back.”

Pleasant surprise fills Wura’s face as she gasps. “Are you serious? When?”

“I was in my study this morning and next thing she was standing in front of my table. Best surprise ever.”

“Awww, that’s so sweet. I can’t wait to see her.”

“I’ll give you her new number before I go.”

“Okay, thank you. Yay! Lexi’s back!”

“So, Wura…” Dominic moves forward on his seat. “The reason I came here is to offer you your old job back.”

The pleasantness drains from Wura’s face.

“Novo needs you, Wu. Your management skills are top notch. Genesis and I haven’t been able to fill that hole you left. You were our most valuable player on the team.”

“Sir… you’ve forgotten that a client recognized me from the videos.”

“A client. Just one. And really, it doesn’t matter. We, your family, we did not judge you. We stood by you through that difficult time and we’re still here for you. You’ve been brave enough to put yourself out there again in your music tour with Ralph.”

“I stay in the shadows literally.”

“Well, it’s time you stepped out. You can’t keep punishing yourself for your past, Wura. You have to let it all go. And since you’re going to be on stage with Ralph for this final concert, I don’t see why you can’t take back your place as Novo manager again.”

“Sir, I don’t know. Even the thing with Ralph, I’m still contemplating. The moment I step on that stage, they’ll resurrect everything. The videos will resurface.”

Dominic leaves his seat to hers and lifts her restless hands off her skirt.

“Remember I was accused of murder and I had no one to defend my name?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You never asked me how I got over it or maybe somehow you think my heart is made of stone.”

“No, I don’t think it is.”

“It is not. I’m as human as you are and I’ve been where you’ve been and the only way I survived was just to keep going. Your shit is already out there. You can’t do jack about it. Some people will forever call you a stripper. You can’t undo that. But what you can do from now on is to write a different future for yourself. And we all believe in your greatness, Wuraola. We need you to start believing in that greatness too. Will you do that for all of us?”
Wura nods, eyes brimming with tears.

“Your salary would be doubled and you’ll get a brand new car plus other benefits. Please, consider the offer.”

“I’ll think about it, sir.”

Dominic lets go of her hand and stands up.

“Lexi’s number?” she requests as she pulls out her phone from her pocket. “So she’s completed her art course?”

“Yes, she has, and she’s back home to stay.”

“Yay! I’ve missed her like mad.”

Dominic passes Wura his phone and she copies out Lexus’ phone number.

“She says she still has to go back to iron out a few things but she particularly came because she has a surprise for us.”

“And you don’t like surprises.” Wura laughs.

“You know me nau. I was like madam, I hope you’re not pregnant for that white boy sha. That one will not go down well with me. I’m sorry but I agree with my wife that I’m the occasional racist. I will not be the grandfather to white kids.”

“Sir, it’s not that deep nau. If Lexus decides to marry the guy, then I’m sure he’s cool.”

“And Kasiobi?”

“I think you just have a bias for Kasi.”

“I do. He’s been endorsed by Gen and I and Lexus better adjust her sights on him. Enough of this her white boy persuasion.”

Still laughing, Wura shakes her head as she hands Dominic back his phone.

“I’m on way, Wura. Take care and be sure to give me your answer soon.”

“No wahala, sir.”

Wura walks him to the door and once he steps out into the night, he dials Genesis. For the eighth time, she refuses to take his call.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

novocaine saturday

Kasiobi stares inattentively at the girl in the voicing booth. She is just another voice that would be forgotten soon, even before she is known. There is no question about the power of her vocals. Her cords pack a punch but that is all there is to it. She lacks what it takes to be a star. He had sensed it on their first meeting, by just looking at her, that she wasn’t hungry enough for the fame, but he had obliged her– only as a favor to a friend.

He lets her have her moment in the booth while his mind travels to Lexus whose image he can’t quite get out of his head.

He had gone to pick her on Genesis’ request and found her in a t-shirt and distressed black skinnies, topped with a red fedora. A pair of gray Yeezy Boost 350 sneakers which probably cost a fortune also caught his eyes. Her overall look screamed ‘model off-duty’. Casual, yet chic. Kasiobi concluded her designer boyfriend was responsible for her new sense of style which had turned her tomboy looks to something modish. And he also noticed that she was fuller at the hips and bust, having added some weight in the right places. It gave her an overall mature look which turned heads. Everything about her begged to be noticed but in typical Lexus fashion, she was oblivious of what was going on around her.

Taxi drivers had tried unsuccessfully to get her attention but her phone had all her concentration. She didn’t even notice that Kasiobi was standing a couple of breadths away from her. His eyes had been on her tattoos, checking to see if she had inked on something fresh, but all he saw were the old ones.

Nothing new. Yet everything different about her. She remained the same girl who used to be his best friend amongst other things but was now a stranger.

“Lex?”

Her head jutted up, her eyes falling into Kasiobi’s in surprise.

“H-hey.”

Some uncomfortable seconds passed and then she put her arms around him for a hug of which he didn’t object to. He felt the familiar crush of her breasts on his chest and the softness of her skin that translated into memories of intimate moments.

“I’ve missed you, Kasbi.”

He had realized just then that his anger at her would not last long and it got him irate at himself. Having Lexus as a friend was fine but having her back as the girl that had the power to crush his resolve put him on edge.

Lexus broke from the hug. “Let me guess. Genesis sent you to pick me up.”

“She’s busy.”

“It’s fine. Awkward. But fine.”

They didn’t speak after that. He helped put her baggage in his vehicle and they carried on in silence as they headed into town. However, Kasiobi interrupted the peace when they hit their first traffic stop. He unfastened his seatbelt and leaned towards her. When she returned his stare, his lips took hers unexpectedly. He kissed her like he had forgotten something in her mouth and was searching for it. He went in deep and hard, his puny anger making a comeback. But he stopped abruptly and went back to the wheel.

The silence continued, now burdened with fresh sexual tension that Kasiobi had supposed was dead. He was amazed at how quickly Kira was forgotten and all he thought about was kissing Lexus again. He looked at her. Her face was pressed to the window. Her fedora was resting on her laps, letting free her full, long hair which fell all the way to her neck in different tones of brown. Preoccupied eyes continued to stare out but she turned suddenly and caught him ogling.

And to him, that had been the defining moment. Looking into her eyes, he knew he was going to let her back in as easily as it had been for her to walk out on him. The thought annoyed him a great deal and he expressed it with more quietness, giving quick, terse responses when she tried to engage him in conversation.

“Clearly, you’re still mad at me,” she finally said when he neared the street that led to the Ditorusin mansion. He kept his face away. The sight of people walking about a drab street on a busy morning was good distraction.

“Kas, I’m sorry.”

“Let’s not go back there, Lex.”

“I tried to explain but you never let me,” she complained in a Nigerian drawl that had been tainted with an American accent.

“Tonbra, shut the fuck up.”

She obeyed – but only for a few seconds.

“You know what? Fuck you, Kas. You think breaking up with you was easy? It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I had massive feelings you.”

“And yet you walked away.”

“I don’t expect you to understand what I was going through at the moment.”

“Oh, it’s about you now and what you were going through? When did you become so complicated sef? You have feelings for a guy and yet you leave him? I don’t get it. What happened to the Lexus who loved the simple life and lived for the moment?”

“That was what I was looking for!” she uttered. “Just the moment! Just two of us being two of us and having fun every day but…”

She broke off, staring out again.

“Tonbra, what happened to you?”

She looked at him with a weary smile. “You. You happened to us. You screwed up what we had with bullshit talk about love and marriage and…having kids.”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

“It was scary. I wasn’t ready to be responsible for anyone’s feelings or even be responsible for anyone at all.”

Kasiobi tried to ponder on her words but shook the silliness of them off his shoulders before they settled in.

“You know what? I officially give up on you. We should end this talk now and never have it again.”

“Fine.”

“Good.”

The silence returned, and went on until he pulled up in front of her house. When he said goodbye to her with a hug, he sensed that she had something to say. But she stepped back and he waited, watching stray curls of her hair, blown by gentle morning breeze shimmer in hues of brown as they flipped across her face.

“I don’t want to lose our friendship, Kas. It was and still is more important than anything else.”

“Lexus, you can’t just separate our friendship from our love life. They were interwoven. You did not only betray me as a girlfriend. You broke my heart as a friend and it’s hard to go back to being us.”

“So I should give you time?” she asked.

He gave no reply, entered his ride and fired it up.

“Bye, Lex.”

He drove away, leaving her outside the gates of the house with a look on her face that was going to break him if he stayed longer. When he got home, he fixed himself a scanty breakfast and let Kira in just to watch her grovel.

Twelve hours have gone by since then and Kira is still groveling. While the ambitionless girl in his studio sings herself into a delusion, Kira prepares a meal of starch and banga soup to appease Kasiobi. She sets a lavish table and pokes her head in to let him know that dinner is ready.

“I’ll be out in a jiff,” he replies. But he takes longer. A whole hour later. When he eventually comes out, he finds a pouting Kira and a dish that has gone cold. He renders no apologies to her. Kira is now quite used to his poor eating habits, and being that she is still in a contrite mood, she makes no complaints about her food being ignored.

“Don’t you have somewhere else you have to be?” Kasiobi asks, walking into his bedroom. “With Mayor or something?”

“He dumped me. Said I should move out of the house.”

“Maybe you’ve been begging the wrong person all day. He’s your sugar daddy. Go back to him and grovel. I’m not going to take over from him. I can barely feed myself.”

“I’m not asking you to take care of me.” Kira clutches Kasiobi and rests her head on his chest. “I can take care of myself.”

“By finding a new blesser?”

She gives no answer.

“Go home, Kira. We’ll talk tomorrow, abeg.”

She looks up at him. Her expression turns innocent. “I’m still your girlfriend?”

Kasiobi stares back, finding her artificial lashes and the deep red blush on her cheeks distracting.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” he repeats.

“I want to spend the night. I’m scared of what Mayor will do to me if I go back there this night.”

“Kira…” Kasiobi sighs in exhaustion.

“Please, baby.”

He releases another sigh, twirling the edges of her hair in his fingers. He has no plans to do away with her just yet. She could be good reason to keep Lexus away from him.

“Just tonight.”

Fingers dig into his joggers from behind and squeeze his butt as a kiss meets his lips, seizing his mouth without consent. His t-shirt is peeled off his body and he finds himself falling backwards until he hits the bed. Kira sits on him, her face disappearing in the darkness as the power goes out.

novocaine saturday

She drops her weight over him for another kiss but a flash of light from his phone on the bedpost alerts him of a notification.

He picks the phone and sees that it’s a Whatsapp message from an unknown contact. He taps it open.

-Hi Kas, this is Lex. Store my new number

He types out a reply.

-Okay

He adds her to his contact list as another message comes in.

“Who is it?” Kira inquires. Kasiobi ignores her and reads Lexus’ message.

-I’m about to send you something. Please, don’t freak out

He waits. A blurry photo pops up in the chat thread. He taps on it and waits some more. When it clears up, the photo of a baby held in Lexus’ arms is displayed. Kasiobi frowns and thumbs over his keyboard.

-Whose baby is it?

He glues his eyes to his phone screen as the double tick that indicates his message has been delivered turns blue. An uneasy feeling takes over his mood. A few more seconds pass and he repeats his question.

-Whose baby?

Lexus’ answer drops in.

-Yours, Kas. She’s your baby.

©Sally@moskedapages

 

 

Images: www.avitalandco.comneversatisfied.comtight hugs kisses smile on Instagram

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #1

Morning!

I’ve missed being here a great deal and I’m glad to be back. I was ready to resume last week but something happened and I had to postpone. I am good, but the devil wants to stop me from writing. I’ve had a wrist injury for sometime now and just two days ago, I discovered my other arm was swelling above the elbow. Please pray for me that this mumu satan will leave me the heck alone.

PLEASE READ!!!

Now, concerning The Fourth Finger, I didn’t tell you guys I will be returning with it this June. Hian! I was surprised at seeing your messages, I had to go back and check the posts in which I mentioned when I would have the book ready. And I didn’t say I will make it blog posts either. I only mentioned that I would return with It’s Another Saturday and Novocaine Knights. So, I don’t know where you people got your info from o. Please feel free to quote me and I’ll apologize. Lol.

But the book comes out next month, so stay tuned.

For this one, I didn’t want to call it It’s Another Novocaine Saturday but seems like the name fits, so let it be so.

Lastly, if you haven’t been receiving newsletters, it’s because I disabled the plugin. I have over eight hundred subscriptions in the Mailpoet service alone and yet the click rate is about 10%, meaning people don’t open the emails. And what’s sad is that some people will unsubscribe and they’ll click on the option that I’m spamming their emails when they registered on their own. Hence, my account was flagged and I was told to go pro and start paying. But why pay when the response rate is low? I had to shut it down. My apologies.

Anyways, enough of the long tori. Here’s It’s Another Novocaine Saturday. If you haven’t read It’s Another Saturday and Novocaine Knights, then you need to catch up HERE and HERE.

Enjoy!

Jide

It’s another Saturday…and we are the proud parents of Jiney Fumnanya Onuora. She comes to us on a cold night, exactly a week before she is due. I drive home from work after long hours of doing nothing in my office, battling with the cold that seeps into my bones like a bachelor who has been lacking the warmth of the finer sex for a long time. I stop on the way to buy roasted corn mostly because I am hungry but also, I need the heat. I had discovered a long time ago from numerous visits to movie theaters that chewing when cold keeps one warm.

I let down my window and my mouth waters at the sight of roasting cobs of corn. A man is selling them. A regular customer who grumbles about life a lot. All I ask him is how things are going with business and he launches into this long talk of how much the sack of corn he bought cost him.

“Eight thousand naira!” he exclaims, fanning the flame beneath his merchandise with a plastic fan. “And yet they gave me unripe maize!”

I feel sorry for him but it stops there. I’m not interested in his story. Everybody complains about the economy these days. It’s depressing. I’ve been affected by the crunch as well, having just made a down payment for the present house Honey and I live in, a colorful four-bedroom flat with a large compound, two mango trees and a small lawn in the backyard that threatens to turn into a swamp. Honey and I love it, anyways. Kalu had bought the house from some politician years ago but recently decided to put it up in the market after renovation.

“You should buy it, Jide,” he said to me. “You’re big enough to own your house.”

I had looked at my brother who was the business mogul amongst us and was probably richer than my dad, and asked how much the house cost. He replied with a sinister laugh when he called out the price. Adding ‘only’ to the figure as he said it slowly, knowing well that I could not buy it all at once. Take away the religious side of Kalu and you have a pompous, black ass that always subtly makes his younger brothers feel they’re not worthy to fill his shoes.

Well, in keeping to my own male pride, I tell him I am interested in the house. We haggle over the price and settle for a payment plan that will span over five years. We shake hands. A month later, I drag Honey out of bed early in the morning, blindfold her and bring her to the house. She falls in love instantly, dancing through the rooms with her bulge and filling her head with decor ideas. Over the course of two months, we fix the place and move in just as Honey gets into her ninth month. We don’t mind the quietness of the empty rooms. Our sanctuary is our bedroom and once we’re in it, the world outside ceases to exist.

I buy my corn, two cobs of what I have been told is soft. I ask him to give me ube worth a hundred bucks and the guy packages two miserly things and starts to tell me about how the price has gone up.

“Make it two hundred.”

He adds three more and lets me know he is doing it for the sake of my beautiful wife and unborn kid. I show appreciation that is not from my heart and head home. When I get in, Honey takes all the ube, leaving me with only one, and feasts on the softest corn.

For a moment, I am annoyed. This is a woman that gives me hell daily just because I knocked her up, demands the most ridiculous things at the oddest times and now, she’s eating the hot, juicy corn I bought to keep me warm from the never-ending cold spell she abandoned me to just because ‘sex is too disgusting’!

“Honey?” I call, after watching her attack my night snack like a piranha.

“What?” She throws her hands open. She is about to act oblivious to my pain, and as much as I want to let her feel my anger, I let it slide. A plastic chair before my reading table welcomes me into its stiffness as if to say, “bro, I feel your pain.”

I sit and begrudgingly begin to eat my one miserable ube and hard corn. The man deceived me about its softness. I wonder why I never learn. As I eat, I am forced to watch something on the History channel. Honey has a weird taste in television programs. I wonder what’s so intriguing about Egyptian pyramids and sphinxes at this time of the evening.

I endure the moment that seems like it will never end but only turns out to be less than thirty minutes.

“Can I watch something else now?”

“Sure, hotstuff.”

She flings the remote control at me and resumes the activity she was engaged in before I came in – picking leaves off waterleaf stalks for the afang soup she plans to make the next morning. The soup is her third trimester craving. After watching Mary prepare it once, she learned to do it herself and now falls into the habit of preparing it twice a week.

She sits on our bed, propped up on a stack of pillows, legs spread apart and the bowl of waterleaves before her. She is telling me about Yazmin being suspicious of Emeka seeing another girl. There are messages, according to Yazmin. I shake my head, no. Emeka is not cheating on his wives. Honey thinks so too. She feels Yazmin is just being insecure because Emeka spends more time with Tola who recently announced that she was pregnant.

Honey stretches out her feet and twists a little to the right. I look at her and smile, my initial anger at her unable to fight off my affection. Exhaustion claims her pregnant frame. She is burdened by that restlessness pregnant women are known to have towards the end of their term when they begin to feel they have carried their babies for nine years. Honey complains every day and I am now quite used to her whines. I always tell her to enjoy it because a time will come when she will miss it.

“Miss being pregnant?” she would reply. “Can’t you see how ugly and fat I am?”

She is neither ugly nor fat. In fact, the pregnancy has been good on her, even in this final stage. She is undoubtedly the most beautiful expectant mother I have seen. And my fans seem to agree. On my blog, monthly, I give updates on how the pregnancy progresses. Everyone is expectant as we are. Friends and family give more than the support we need. There is already a couples’ fight amongst our friends over who would be Jiney’s godparents but because none of them are catholic, we are considering asking the Ditorusins to do the honors. Honey and I have become quite close to them over the past seven months. Despite the age and status difference between Dominic Ditorusin and I, he considers me someone he can count on.

Genesis and Honey feel like they share some things in common, especially their history of being treated unfairly by family. They also like to sit over lunch and talk about the different countries they have visited. Genesis seems to be the one more invested in the friendship. Maybe it is because she is too way up the ladder of success to have any true friends. She desires to be let into the circle of my friends’ wives but Celia and the gang gave her the silent treatment on their first meet and she has since withdrawn. I believe they are intimidated by her wealth and refinement. They fail to see that she is a simple woman. Sometimes too down to earth, one would think she is pretending.

“Oh Lord,” Honey mumbles under a yawn, “I am so tired.”

“Then abandon the vegetables.”

“I’m almost through.” She yawns again, stretching out her arms. I do not listen to her. I walk to the bed and take the vegetables away to the kitchen. When I return to the bedroom I find a look of confusion on her face.

“What’s wrong?”

“I feel wet between my legs,” she tells me. “Like I’m peeing on myself.”

“Are you?”

“No, I’m not.” Her confusion switches to panic. “What if I’m bleeding, Jide? It just keeps coming out like water.”

“Then maybe it’s water. There’s only one way to find out. Lie down.”

“I’m scared.”

“Do you feel any pain?”

“No.”

“Just lie down.”

She obeys me and from quick observation I can tell that her water has broken. I get a pair of latex gloves to investigate further. Interestingly, she is 5cm dilated. I pull out my fingers and look at her panicked face curiously.

“What’s wrong, hotstuff?”

“Nothing, sugams.” I smile. “The baby is on the way.”

“What?”

“Get up. Let’s get you to the hospital.”

I help her up, change her clothes and just when we’re about to leave, she touches me. I look at her. She has a familiar wild look in her eyes.

“What’s that look, sugar lips?”

“Let’s do it here.”

For a second, I’m thinking she’s telling me that we should make love. But I look deeper into the eyes of the woman I have grown to understand over the course of seven months and realize she is telling me she wants to have the baby at home and not in the special birthing unit the hospital has prepared for her.

“Are you pulling my legs?”

She shakes her head, smiling wildly. “Jide, we have this new, beautiful house, everything we need to birth the baby and no noise. Think about it. No noise. If we go to the hospital, we have to deal with all your colleagues who will want in on the action. Not to talk of friends and family. But this is just us, hotstuff. You, me and Jiney. It’s a story you’ll always love to tell.”

She makes a compelling point but she’s wrong on one thing. I do not have everything I need to bring my first child into the world. I take Honey’s hands in mine.

“Are you feeling any pain yet?”

“Just a little. Nothing major.”

“Good. Let me dash off to the hospital…”

“No, no, no, no, no. Don’t leave me, Jide.” She clutches my arm.

“Hey, I’m just dashing off to pick a few things…”

“You’re the one who always says a baby can be born anywhere. All I need is to push and for you to catch her. Let’s just do it now. Please, don’t go.”

I laugh. “There’s no traffic. Nothing will delay me. I promise, I’ll be back in thirty minutes.”

“No.”

“I promise.”

“You’re sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“Okay, okay.” She pulls me closer. “Kiss?”

I kiss her, lingering. I’m excited as she is but I don’t show it.

“Thirty minutes,” she reminds me.

“Thirty,” I repeat, running out.

Now, here’s where you think something goes wrong, like I get stuck in traffic or like the police arrest me because they’re so stupid or like Honey goes into quick labor or like she gets one complication or the other and the story turns gloomy.

Nope. Nothing bad happens. The twist is, I get to the hospital, pick what I need and dash back home to see Honey watching the E! channel, sitting on a towel and eating prawn crackers.

Strange?

Not really. I’ve had patients like her. One woman in particular walked into my office, told me she was in labor while chatting with her husband on Whatsapp. Before I could get her a bed in the maternity ward, her baby was already bearing down. She gave birth less than five minutes later without breaking two sweats.

“Hi, baby!” Honey waves at me and I hurry towards her.

“Get up. Your water has broken. You can’t be sitting on a towel like that. You can risk infection.”

“Oh?”

I help her up. “Let’s go to the room.”

“Don’t think I’m not feeling pain. I am. I’m just not shouting.”

“On a scale of one to ten…”

“Ten being the highest, I’d say the pain is seven.”

I stop and stare at her. She has a high threshold for pain but this is becoming strange.

“You’re sure it’s a seven?”

She nods. I don’t believe her until I check her cervix again and realize that she has progressed fast. The baby will arrive sooner than I imagine. I say nothing to her as I clear the bed and make sure everything is set for Jiney’s birth. To Honey, it’s all fun and games. She resumes watching the E! channel while I sit beside her and record her contractions. It doesn’t take long for them to become intense and for her to begin to feel real pain. Things escalate speedily in such a short while that I hardly have time to put my thoughts together. One minute she’s laughing at something someone said on TV; the next minute she’s screaming in agony; the minute after that, I’m asking her to push.

Jiney comes into this world at exactly eleven minutes to eleven pm. At the first sight of her, with her little arms thrust out, fingers clutching the air, face with an expression of what-the-fuck, my eyes moisten up. When I place her on Honey’s chest, she lets out her first scream and Honey joins her in a sob.

What follows after is a blur of happiness to me. I only come to my wits after both mother and baby are clean and comfortable. I lie beside them and take a selfie. The funniest thing happens when three of us fall asleep with the cannon camera I had kept on my reading table recording the priceless moment. To me, this is the definition of marriage and family. Last year, Honey and I walked into a lifetime contract as novices. We didn’t have a script and we just sort of took each day as it came, so I’m not surprised that Jiney’s arrival is much the same way.

At about half-past three, Jiney wakes up with a cry and parenting begins.

“Is her diaper soaked or is she hungry?” Honey asks, staring at her.

“She’s fine,” I assure Honey. “She just needs to be in her bed.”

“I want to feed her. I want to know what it feels like.”

I oblige the new mom. She sits in a special nursing chair that has a matching stool on which she can place her feet. I guide her on the process of breastfeeding. It doesn’t go smoothly and I don’t expect it to. Besides, Jiney is not hungry. We place her in her cot and stand over it, watching her until she goes back to sleep.

“She’s so pretty. Boys are going to swoon,” I say.

“Like crazy. She has my lips.”

“No, I have your lips.”

I pull Honey close for a kiss. “Finally, the sex ban will be lifted. I can’t believe you starved me throughout.”

“Sex irritated me. Even people kissing on TV had a smell that always made me nauseous.”

“Come on, let’s get to bed.”

I turn off the Cannon camera, we slip beneath the sheets and excitedly go through the amazing moment we just partook in. We had planned for an elaborate birth experience with family and friends present, video coverage and all of the pageantry one would expect from us. But in the end, I think we both wanted it to be about us and our child.  Before we drift into sleep, I go on Instagram and put up the photo we took earlier, captioning it:

When you’re both the father and the midwife. Our little princess is here! Unto us Jiney is born.

#Jiney #ProudParents #ChildbirthWithoutFear #Homebirth #HappyFamily #Grateful.

A few smileys are added and I call it a night, switching off both our phones for the sake of sanity.

But the silence doesn’t last very long. At 6am, someone is banging on our front door. Honey clutches the blanket, poking her head out.

“Who do you think it is? Nne? Tola? Celia? Mary? Yaz? Saratu?”

“All of them.”

We giggle, not wanting to wake Jiney.

“I’ll get the door,” I say, standing up. Honey also leaves the bed but only to check on Jiney.

“Jideofor!” I hear my mother’s voice outside the moment I step out of the bedroom. “I’ll break this door o!”

I also hear another voice I can’t quite pick out. When I open the door, I find the old woman in the company of her three daughters-in-law. They all don’t look pleased with me.

“What is wrong with you, Jidenna? How dare you go and have my granddaughter without me knowing?!”

“Hi, mom.” I smile. I haven’t seen her in a while. I stretch out my hands to hug her but Tola interrupts by walking past me, into the house, calling out Honey’s name.

“Congratulations, Jideofor.” Elsie smiles calmly. Her face is still swollen with sleep.

“Thanks, Elsie.”

I move aside and let her through.

“I’m so not talking to you and Honey.” Yazmin follows her in and I’m left to face my mom’s indignation alone. She immediately dishes it to me in Igbo.

“Is it the latest style now for one’s daughter-in-law to have a baby quietly and the news is first announced on the internet?”

I laugh. “No, ma.”

“Then, what is it? What did I do bad to you and Erhinyuse that you did not call me when she went into labor? You know she is a first time mother and she needs me and her sisters by her side.”

“Mom, I’m a midwife.”

“You’re a man!” she reminds me in a tone as if to tell me that men are of a lower species to women.

“Can you just come in and see your granddaughter without all this drama, Nne?”

“I’ll never forget this.” She points at me. I take the pointed finger and kiss it.

“Enter.”

She walks in and I follow her, putting my arms around her as we walk. We enter my bedroom to find the women all surrounding Jiney. There’s cooing and ‘awwwing’. The moment my mom holds her granddaughter, she goes into prayer mode, leaving us with the job of adding ‘amen!’ at every ten seconds or so. After that, she hands her phone to Elsie, telling her to take photos of her and Jiney.

“You will put this up on that your instant something abi?” she asks me, taking a pose.

“Yes, ma.”

“And hashtag it well, biko. You can say ‘my mom already here for ‘omugwo’ things’.”

“Nne!” Elsie says good-naturedly.

“Yes o. Grandma on fleek.”

General laughter meets her humor.

“Oya snap the picture, biko.”

Elsie takes a couple of photos and the old woman christens Jiney.

“I have decided to name her Fumnanya.”

“What does it mean?” Honey asks.

“It means ‘love me’,” I reply.

“Awww. That’s such a beautiful name.”

“Now, I’m going to cry.” Tola puts her hands over her face and actually dashes off to some corner to cry. Nne instructs Elsie to go through her music playlist and pick Samsong and Chioma Jesus’ Odugwu, one of her all-time favorite gospel songs

“Mom, really?” I laugh and the ladies share my amusement. We all know what is about to go down. The moment her phone’s speakers come alive, the small woman cradles a startled Jiney who is now awake and begins to dance with her. No one dares interrupt the moment.

My mom is a worshipper. From the day I became aware of my existence as a human being, I was conscious of the fact that I had a mother who did not joke with her faith. Prayers and the bible were the foundation on which her strength rested. Underneath that was a realistic woman who believed in applying pragmatic methods when it came to life’s problems. And it has been this mixture of faith and commonsense, blind reliance on God alongside a no-bullshit way of looking at life that has made her cope with mothering four headstrong sons. She does owe all to God, looking for every occasion to worship him, and little Jiney has given her one this morning. We all watch as she dances to her heart’s content, joy on her face like she is being made a grandmother for the first time.

And she doesn’t tell me but my dad does, upon first sight of Fumnanya later on, that my little girl is my younger sister rebirthed in physical features. The one I was told that died just hours after she was born and broke Nne’s heart for months. The one we never talk about, who should have been named Fumnanya.

Watching my darling mother’s face get washed with tears and the women around me joining in the emotions, I suddenly feel clogged by all the excessive estrogen and decide to go shopping for refreshments.

The rest of the day is plagued with activity. We have guests pouring in from everywhere, and my mom in typical fashion ensures that they are well entertained. I provide the cash needed for her extravagant hospitability. By evening, Honey and I have to ask to be excused so we can take Jiney to the hospital to have her properly checked and assessed by a doctor. We leave with Nne who requests to be taken home so she can pick her omugwo bag. I tell her it’s not necessary, being that we’re in the same town. The look she gives me makes both Honey and I apologize. On our way back from the hospital, we pick her up from the family house. When we get home, we have just a couple of guests around – a neighbor whose red and constantly-blinking eyes are as much entertainment to me as his obese form that has taken most part of a two-sitter couch to consume as much refreshment as he can during his short visit, and his wife who chooses to take nothing at all but stares longingly at Jiney, yet refusing to go near or touch her. After handing us a gift of a set of pink mother and baby towels, they announce their exit.

Honey shuts the door after them and does a weird back and forth motion, telling me her center of gravity is messed up. She still feels like she’s carrying the weight of pregnancy.

I give her a surprise lift off her feet to which she responds with a shriek. We kiss all the way to our bedroom where we both collapse on our bed. The kissing stops there, both of us exhausted. Honey falls asleep first. When I am certain she won’t stir awake anytime soon, I carefully slip her push present around the middle finger of her right hand.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

Genesis starts the day by swearing. She doesn’t mean to but the F-word slips out of her mouth before she can swallow it back. Daylight is more than an hour away but she is wide awake. Her round, doll-like eyes which hold scanty lashes that appear oiled are left wide open in an unbroken stare at the bedroom door. She stares for so long that everything else becomes a grey distortion in keeping with the base color of the bedroom, and the door itself moves closer to her until it seems like she can just stretch out her hand and touch it – and if she does, she would walk through it into another life that is quite like hers but devoid of all the wealth and fame. In that other life, she would still have Dominic and their children and they would remain in this house with all the memories of the past when things were still right with their world. She wouldn’t have to think of responsibilities or have to worry that she is now a billionaire and is required to keep up with a façade that people of her echelon struggle with.

She thinks of how much she misses the simple life and how cruel and lonely it gets at the top. Nobody had warned her about this but she had learned a long time ago that going to sleep on a bed draped with linen that costs thousands of dollars does not give one a peaceful sleep. She still dreams of the same old monsters of her past and struggles with new ones, adversaries that feel she does not belong where she now is.

Genesis withdraws from the prison of her thoughts and swears again – and of course, she doesn’t mean to – as she remembers that she has a meeting to attend by 10am.

“Oh Lord…” she groans, just as the glass blind that separates the bedroom from the balcony slides open and Dominic steps in. He comes forward with a smile like one that has good tidings.

“See who just had a baby.”

He dumps his weight on the bed. It doesn’t creak beneath him like normal beds do. It takes his almost-110kg mass, dipping softly when he sits in with a raised a leg. Genesis shifts towards him to fit perfectly into his frame as he passes his phone to her. She taps on the dark phone screen and life comes to it, displaying Jide’s Instagram post.

“Awww, the baby is here,” she whispers. “So adorable. Precious little angel.”

Dominic pushes his body further into the bed, guiding Genesis along with him. She doesn’t seem to notice that she is being moved. Her concentration is lost in the Onuora family photo. Wistfulness settles in her eyes.

“It was a homebirth.” She sighs. “The simple pleasures of life.”

Still held by the photo, she doesn’t realize Dominic is giving her little doses of her own simple pleasures with downy kisses on her shoulder and a soft touch on her breast.

“Beautiful bliss. Happy family. This picture says it all.”

Something in her tone gives away her intimate thoughts and puts a stop to Dominic’s sexual advances. He looks into her face to find tears filling her eyes in a rush.

“Gen, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I’m just happy for them. They don’t have everything but they have each other and the baby. It’s a blessing.”

A solitary tear snakes down her smooth cheek and disappears to the side of her face.

“So, you have tears in your eyes because you’re happy for them? I don’t understand. Do you want another baby?”

Genesis twists her neck to bless him with a hostile stare. “Another baby? When it comes will you be here for it? Are you here for the ones you already have? When they were born were you here? I went through labor all alone while you were in Europe doing God-knows-what!”

Dominic stares at her with an expression that is devoid of surprise. Rather it carries a sigh.

“We don’t even have a picture like this!” She springs out of bed. “Or any that captures what we feel for each other and for the kids! And you know why? It’s because we don’t have that – that thing Honey and Jide have! In fact, we have nothing…but a lot of money! Money that makes me not trust anyone! Money that makes me unapproachable! Money that is driving a wedge between me and you! And I hate it! I hate all it comes with!”

Her palms assault her eyes to wipe off tears. It seems a futile effort.

“Jide comes home to Honey every night.” Genesis’ voice burns down. “They still have date nights and kiss like teenagers when they’re out in public. We lost all of that, Nick. Everything. And no, another baby can’t bring us back.”

“So, what do you want me to do, Gen? This is who I am, the man you married. You knew that before you accepted my ring. I am building a future for my children and their children. You want me to stop and take a few selfies just to show the world that I’m father and husband of the year? Is that what you want?”

His words force fresh tears down Genesis’ eyes.

He doesn’t understand. He never does.   

“You’re making the same mistakes you made with Lexus, Nick. Zach and Zoe are growing up without a father, and I’m learning to be in a marriage without a husband. I hope, when you hop on the next plane to wherever, that you enjoy how much of you we don’t get to see.”

She leaves the room to the bathroom. The door doesn’t slam at her exit but the coarse silence it brings as she stands in the emptiness of cold tiles over a marbled floor makes her feel like she had just made a big deal out of nothing. Remorse quickly takes over her mood but a voice tells her she did the right thing by letting out months of heaping sentiments and frustrations. She knows, with Dominic, there are better ways to express herself. She decides she will revisit the issue later at night after apologizing for her outburst.

She runs a foamy bath and soaks herself in. Her thoughts switch to Honey and she mentally cancels all her plans for the day as she wonders what gift would be appropriate for a newborn.

gen2

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

Being a big boy in Lagos means many things. One, you have gotten to a level where you do not only depend on yourself for your survival but you have another person or more depending on you for their survival.

Two, you would also have to own a car. Nothing basic like the Hondas, Toyotas and Kias that gun the roads looking like they all went through the hands of the same manufacturer. No, your ride has to stand out. Or would you like to be identified as John Camry or James Honda Civic?

Three, an apartment in one of the popular estates, especially on the Island, won’t be bad. The rent has to have a price tag that you can comfortably brag about in public. It is a taboo to squat with a friend or be known to still live with one’s parents.

Four, you should look the part. Clothes and shoes off pages of fashion magazines. Slay with the trends. Have your own style. Make love to designer labels. Once in a while, wear a Mai Atafo or a Caesar Couture, flaunt the look on Instagram.

kas

Five, have a social life. Mark your presence at parties thrown by other big boys. Throw a couple of your own. Make them exclusive. Invite your celebrity friends. You can’t be a big boy without being chummy with a few of them.

And lastly, don’t forget the girls. They are very important to elevating your big boy status. Pick them carefully and confuse them with cold, hard cash. Fuck them senseless, and then dump them when things are on a high. Never let them do the dumping. Do this three or four times and your name starts to go round. No one will talk about the brutal manner in which you move on to the next conquest. You will be remembered for your money and your bedroom skills. Be careful though, you may attract guys too.

The truth is, in Lagos, no one cares to know whose gutter you dug or whose dick and cunt you went down on to make your cash. As long as you have it, you’re good with the throng. Money is money. It’s the wheel that keeps the ever-spinning city of opportunity and dreams going. Much like other fast cities around the world, it does not run on anybody’s high-minded, moralistic lifestyle. It is unapologetically brutal and demanding as are its citizens.

Kasiobi thought he already had this figured out, having lived as a Lagosian for more than ten years. He now believed he had finally attained the status of big boy-ism, having worked his way through the school of hard-knocks and emerged successful and unbroken. But it takes just one girl to strip off his false impressions of himself, to leave him feeling small and cheated, almost in the same manner Lexus did when she moved on from their relationship to start something new with a guy whose sandy-white hair and blue eyes still gives him nightmares.

His new girl—Kira, they call her, short for Shakira and whose real name is something African and unpronounceable—is a runs girl, as he has just found out. Less than an hour ago, he was being treated to a deep-throat experience on her queen-sized bed of all things pink and soft, matching the overall décor of the roo; presently, he is hiding in her guest bathroom, listening to her have loud sex with a man she keeps calling ‘Mayor’.

Mayor had shown up without prior notice at her front door, and with wide, frightened eyes, she had dragged Kasiobi out of her bedroom to the guest bathroom, telling him blatantly that her blesser, the man who had bought her car and paid for her apartment had just come in from the UK and Kasiobi needed to make himself scarce until she could get him out of the way. Stumbling in anger and questions, Kasiobi was pushed out of sight and forced to listen to Mayor do the same things he had been doing to Kira for the valuable period of nine months.

Calming down somewhat, Kasiobi begins to laugh at his stupidity. How hadn’t he seen that a girl who called herself Shakira and was always between jobs had a sugar daddy? She had been too much of a dream and distraction when they first met, with a slim waist and full curves. But it had been her tattoos and carefreeness which reminded him of Lexus, that had drawn him to her and kept them together for nine months. He can safely say his feelings for her are from a place of authenticity. He worries when she falls ill. Frets when he doesn’t hear from her after two days. Spends precious money on her. Makes love to her with emotions or something similar. The only thing he hasn’t done is express any type of love for her verbally, and this is largely because he doesn’t feel like he loves her. At least, not in the way he had feelings for Lexus. It had been that expression of the famous four-letter word coming in a heartfelt utterance that caused the breakdown of their relationship in a foreign man’s land.

Lexus became distant all of a sudden and soon after asked for a break from him. It was springtime and to Kasiobi, New York didn’t look any different to him as it had done during winter. He still nursed the unending flu that had plagued him from the first day he arrived, and felt the same detachment that made him long for the putridness of Lagos. And when a week later, he found out that Lexus had moved on to someone else, he felt hate for the land called America. It gave him no dreams; instead, it took that which he had come with. It was hard to wait until summer to finish his short course in DJ Mastering, but he managed through, patching the broken pieces of his heart one day after another, and returned to Nigeria where he put his hustle on accelerate and faced his future with brutal determination.

His hard work paid off and he made something of a name for himself. A name not even slim-waisted Kira who could give blowjobs with her legs up the air could ruin. And so Kasiobi with the name no one can ruin, opens the bathroom door and walks past the scene before him without taking any of it in. He hears Mayor’s raised voice as he shuts the front door on his way out. The voice, although increasing in tempo in its own end faded with the background as Kasi went down a flight of stairs. He came out to a compound of six flats surrounded by small flowery shrubs and a floor that held interlocked bricks. Kasiobi’s vehicle, a metallic teal Jeep Renegade, is parked close to the gate. He had bought it off a friend of a friend, quite older than him, whose business was falling apart. The price was one-third of its original, a good bargain Kasi still smiles about, since the car is yet in its fresh stages.

As he sits in, his phone kicks off to a ring. Kasiobi sees that it is Genesis calling and he smiles. In so many ways, she is still his boss. He isn’t under Novocaine Knights anymore but he works with them more often than not. Once in a while, he would DJ at their club. Occasionally he stopped by at the house to see the twins, Zoe and Zach. The Ditorusins see him as family.

“Good morning, boss lady.”

“Hello, Kasiobi. How are you?”

“Great.”

Kasi let his window down, answering more questions about his wellbeing and business. He also inquires about her family. She tells him all is well.

“Kasi, I need a huge favor from you.”

“Anything, Ms. Genesis,” he says recalling how she had dumped a chunky sum of cash into his account to help kick off his career the moment he returned from the States.

“Lexus is flying in today, and she wants to give her dad a surprise. I have offered to pick her up from the airport but the thing is that my friend just had a baby and she needs me. So, please can you help me pick Lexus?”

Kasi’s face has pulled into a tight frown. Why the hell can’t Lex get a taxi home?

“You want me to pick her?”

“Yes, please. I don’t want her taking any taxis. I know you guys are no longer together but she told me you’re still friends and you communicate.”

Lies. He hadn’t spoken to Woyintonbra since the night he had asked her to dump her boyfriend and take him back and she shook her head at him, walking away.

“Yeah, we still talk.”

“So, please help me get her.”

“No problem ma. What time is the flight coming in?”

“It should be here in the next hour.”

“Fine. I’ll be there.”

“Thank you, Kasi.”

“No wahala. Anything else, madam?”

“No.”

And on that note, they both hang up. Kasi entertains mixed thoughts on going to get Lexus from the airport. He is both excited and hesitant. And curious too.

What does she look like now? What surprises will she come with? Will she be happy to see him? Will she run into his arms and kiss him like the old Lexus would?

Kasi shakes his head, turning on the car.

Lagos big boy but woman still dey show you pepper.

©Sally@moskedapages

Translation: Ube (Igbo) – Pear, the type eaten with roasted or boiled corn.

Push present -a present a father gives to the mother to mark the occasion of her giving birth to their child.

images: www.notey.com_chinesekittynoble_igwe

It’s Another Saturday…#9

The Challenge

“You never called…or answered my calls.”

Honey is standing before me in a little white dress. She is sporting a different hairstyle from the braids I last saw her in. This weave leaves her with short bangs that fall on CT  the sides of her face, almost covering her right eye. Her lips are a soft, pink shade matching the blush she has on her cheeks. A pair of yellow flats adorns her smooth, long legs and I catch myself staring longer than usual.

“Jide.” She has this understanding smile on her face.

“Hi,” I say for the second time, returning the smile as I walk to her. Her scent pulls me closer. I want to reply her accusation but my tongue feels heavy. She had called me twice last night and I was too busy to either take the calls or call back. I apologize, take her hand and lead her back to my office. When I shut the door behind us, I lean on it and gawk at her some more. I’m fighting with my words. They want to adore her and say things that I rarely say to women.

“Talk, Jide.”

I finally speak up. “I want to let you know that I’ve missed you, Honey. I didn’t know how to handle the fact that you were constantly on my mind. I felt out of control. One minute I didn’t know what I was feeling about you and the next minute I’m falling hard. Just like that. What have you done to me?”

“So you missed me,” she says in a whispery tone.

“Yeah.” I want to kiss her so badly. “How have you been?”

She shrugs. “So, so.”

I put my hands on her waist and pull her close like it’s the most natural thing to do. There’s an irksome voice telling me to tread carefully because I know nothing about this woman. Well, I don’t see how that information is helping me right now.

We both go silent. We are at the start of something new but it seems we don’t know how to get in. Some people kick off a relationship with sex, some with a direct proposal but Honey and I unsure of how to proceed.

“What do you feel for me, Honey?” I ask. “And no Shakespeare dramatization, please.”

She giggles and I think it’s the most adorable thing I’ve seen in a grown woman in a while.

“I’m crazy about you, Jide.”

“How much?”

“If I tell you, you’ll be scared, so let’s just say I like you a lot.” Her hand rests on my chest and she straightens my shirt. I have a feeling this woman will treat me like a king. I smile as I recall the rush of starting something new and exciting, and how it’s always paralleled to none.

“Can I kiss you?” She makes a shy request which I don’t respond to with words. I simply tug her closer and taste those lips I’ve been dying to have for a whole month. They are still as soft as I remember. I make love to her mouth by nibbling and teasing, taking pleasure from the soft caresses of her lips. It is meant to be a short kiss but it lasts for a while. When we pull apart, I give her that snuggle I promised over the phone. And oh, she smells divine!

“Am I going to share you with other girls, Jide?” she asks. I try not to think of Ele and the other two who have been features in my life over the past weeks. They are as good as done. It’s not even a hard decision to make; I’ve always been a one woman type of guy. Once my heart is captured by someone, I have eyes for only her.

“No, it’s just you, Honey.”

There is a knock on my office door.

“Who is it?”

“DOM, sorry for disturbing  you. Erm your intercom is not working…”

“Yeah, what do you want?”

“A patient needs to see you, sir.”

“I’ll be right out,” I reply the nurse outside the door.

“What is DOM?” Honey asks.

“Director of Midwifery.”

“Hmm…boss.”

“But not the boss of you.” I pinch her nose. “You’re my oga now.”

She moves away from me. “Are you going to be long?”

“No. Please wait for me.” I offer her a chair and leave.

It’s the fastest ward round I’ve ever done. I return less than thirty minutes later and suggest we go somewhere for breakfast after we share another intense kiss.

We have breakfast in a café nearby. She orders for fries while I take pancakes that don’t taste as good as my mom’s. I don’t mind, though, I’m listening to Honey retell me how she got herself suspended from work.

“You should sue that chick.”

“Jide, I’m from a country that is homophobic, and I slapped an influential lesbian from a place where homosexuality was just legalized. Who will listen to my case?”

She has a point.

“Sorry about your ordeal. But on the bright side, you have new clothes and six weeks to be with me.”

“You and my dad.”

“Tell me more about your family.”

She tells me about them. They’re not completely Nigerian. Her mother was half-Eritrean and half-Shua Arab. This explains Honey’s light skin tone. But her shapely figure is fully Nigerian, of Urhobo descent from her father’s side.

We touch on other topics before coming back to the subject of our relationship. I’m realizing that she’s the type that likes things spelled out; unlike me, I just go with the flow. She wants me to reassure her that I’ll be devoted to her. I make no promises yet. I don’t want us to rush things.

“I hope you’re not staying in a hotel for the entire time, though,” I enquire.

“My rent expired ages ago, so hotel it is.”

“Why not come stay with me?” This is not me trying to get into her pants. I’m just concerned about the hotel bill she will accrue.

My request makes her smile. “Thanks for the offer but…”

“I’m not trying to sleep with you. I gave my word once and kept it, didn’t I?”

“Jide, we’re so going to do it if I stay with you.”

“Really? You think I can’t control myself?”

“I didn’t say that. What I mean is that the chemistry is strong. We both won’t be able to control it.”

“Trust me, we can.”

“We can’t, Jide.”

“Okay, me I’m challenging myself not to have sex with you.”

She laughs. “Impossible.”

“Honey, I’ve kept a platonic relationship before and I can still do it. Just trust me.”

“Hmm… Kissing, smooching, spooning and cuddling nko?”

“Spooning and cuddling? Haba! Even the pope cannot resist. But kissing and touching are allowed.”

“You can handle that?”

“Sure, I can.”

I see the disbelief in her eyes. It mirrors my own uncertainty.

“Well,” she says, “I love the challenge because I’m not ready to be a bride yet.”

“Oh, come on! You too?”

She cracks up. On my face is an expression of amusement but inside I’m brooding on the matter. I’ve always pretended that the Bridemaker stuff never bothered me but secretly it did, and it still does. And that’s why Honey’s body will stay in the confines of my fantasies and not my bed. I don’t want to know her that way yet. I’ve had enough sex to last me a lifetime. She won’t be treated like the others.

“So, deal?” she asks.

“Deal.”

A mischievous smile is on her face. I’m curious about it but she assures me it’s nothing. We talk until twelve noon and just as we’re about to leave, she vacates her side of the table and sits beside me and takes a selfie. I steal a kiss when she is not concentrating. She pushes me off half-heartedly and I poke her side in a tickle. She squeals, jumping to a start. I stare at her. I can get used to this. It’s been so long since I’ve been this free with a female in a non-sexual setting.

I poke her again. She jumps off the seat and I pull her to my laps where I mercilessly tickle her until she begs me in tears.

“I just found my favorite past time. You’re so dead.”

She turns her face to mine for yet another kiss. It’s a quiet café; no one bothers us.

“Let’s go and see my parents,” I suggest. She gladly agrees.

On our way, we stop to get some red wine for my dad and a basket of fruits for my mom. When we get to the house, Tola and my mom are at the dining area, deep into wedding plans. Emeka is seated at one end of the table, moody like a black cloud.

anothersaturday360nobssad-blackman

When my mom spots Honey, she grins and calls her over. Honey gives her a hug and is offered a space to sit beside her. I hang with them for a few minutes before going upstairs with Emeka. I ask him to update me on his twisted love life. The last time we spoke he had told me Yazmin couldn’t come over because her father wouldn’t let her. The man insists that Emeka gets married to his daughter in Mexico once the baby is born, and both of them are to live there and not in Nigeria or even in the States.

“The poor girl is shattered,” Emeka informs me. “All the stress has gotten to her, thanks to her old man. But I just have to travel for the birth of the baby. The only issue is that Tola says I can’t leave until we get married.”

“When is this wedding sef?”

“In two weeks.”

“I thought it wasn’t until two months’ time. Why is no one updating me on these things?”

“That’s what I’m telling you. Everyone in this house is scared that if I travel I won’t come back. That’s why they’re rushing things. Me I’m just here looking at them. Nne is excited, Popsi has started telling everyone his son is getting married to an Adeniyi. You know how he is.” Emeka sighs tiredly.

“This is serious.”

I can’t believe Emeka is going to tie the knot. I know he doesn’t want to but he is so scared of my dad that he can’t do otherwise. I’m really worried about him and his contentment. Already, he looks depressed.

“You don’t have to do this, Mex.” I sit beside him. “Didn’t you listen to anything Kalu told you the other day? What’s the worst that can come out of this? Popsi disowning you? He won’t even try it. We got your back. And Tola, she’ll move on.”

“The girl loves me, Jide, and I think that’s all that counts.”

“How can you say that? How about how you feel?”

“Does it matter?”

“You will cheat on her like it’s going out of fashion once you get married, Mex. Is that what you plan to do? How you want to live as a married man?”

“Everyone cheats, Jide. Every single married man cheats. If not all the time; then at least, once. See popsi for instance.”

I look at him. “What did popsi do?”

“Oh, nobody gisted you?”

“Gisted me what?”

“When you were away, Nne left this house for like almost four months. At first we didn’t know why. It was later Aunty Chinazor told Oba that it was because Nne found out that popsi cheated like twenty years ago. There was some university chick that popsi used to take to one hotel then. I don’t know the details sha.”

But I do. I remember the time. 1995. I remember the woman’s face and I remember how I found out. I was in secondary school then. Reno, Shady and I were in our SS3 and misbehaved a lot. We always snuck out of school to attend parties and such. On this particular occasion we ended up in Reno’s uncle’s hotel, a place we always frequented. We were with our girlfriends. Reno hooked us up with one of their best suites that had a double room. The problem was that the walls in that hotel were thin. One could easily hear anything happening in the next room if its occupants were loud enough. And that was how we were hearing this couple have really loud sex. The lady was screaming her head off. It was entertainment for us. We jibed and called them names the entire time. When it all went silent, we continued our own little, private party. We were out of cigarettes and I volunteered to get some. The moment I stepped out of the room was the same moment the couple was stepping out of theirs. I don’t know why that night I didn’t ignore the voice that was telling me to turn and stare at them. I obeyed it and when I turned, I was staring into the face of my own father. In his arms was a much younger and curvier girl.

We were both shocked but neither of us said a word to each other. He walked right past me and I recall catching a fever at the spot. I was my mom’s favorite, the one everyone called her daughter, so you can imagine the kind of anger I bore for him from that day. Later he gave me a stupid explanation, the type Emeka just gave now, that every man cheats. Afterwards, he bribed me constantly, giving me everything I asked for without questioning. I forgave him when I grew up and discovered married life is a lot more complicated than two people just saying their vows to each other. Nonetheless, I still believe there are men out there who remain faithful to their women; and I want Emeka to be one of them.

“Wait o, JD,” Emeka calls my attention, “you think Kalu is not cheating on Elsie?”

“He’s not.”

Emeka laughs.

“Is he?” I ask.

“I haven’t caught him but that his born-again, over righteous acting no dey fool me.”

“No, he’s not cheating,” I maintain. “And he’s really born again.”

Emeka keeps quiet and his laughing face disappears really fast. It’s so unlike him. He is truly disturbed over his dilemma. I don’t know why he wants to subject his future to even more unhappiness.

“Just break Tola’s heart now, once and for all.”

“My mind is made up, Jide. They all want a wedding, they’ll get a wedding. I hope it makes all of them happy.”

I can see he is resolute on his stance. I won’t speak further but I won’t let him ruin his life. I make plans to discuss with Tola.

Noticing Emeka has withdrawn, I give him some space as I go back downstairs. My mom has smiles for me as I join her and Honey in the kitchen.

“What’s the grin about?” I ask. The woman looks at Honey and back at me.

“When is you people’s own wedding date?”

“Jeez, ma! What are you talking about?”

“She forced it out of me, I’m sorry,” Honey apologizes.

“What are you sorry for?” My mom scolds. “I would still find out. Jide tells me everything.”

I nod in confirmation.

“I’m happy for you two. When I met you, Honey, I knew my boy will fall hard.”

I tickle Honey. “You naughty girl, you told momsi I’ve fallen hard?”

Honey squirms while laughing. “No o! She figured that all on her own.”

I peck Honey on the lips and my mom doesn’t object.

“I invited Honey to come stay here but she wants to stay at her friend’s house instead,” the old woman reports as she puts a bowl of rice under running water.

“Yeah… She’s um… staying at her friend’s.”

A look passes between Honey and I. My mom doesn’t miss it but she says nothing.

“Mommy, I’ll always be here,” Honey promises.

I ask to be excused again and go in search of Tola. I find her in one of the guestrooms. She opens the door when I knock and a smile fills her face.

“If it’s not my hot brother-in-law.”

Her sassy look has returned. She purses her lips sensually and lets her gaze lower to my midsection.

“Have I thanked you for making me a bride?”

“Don’t rejoice yet.”

I shut the door and turn the key in the lock. Her carefully-shaped brows twitch in pleasure.

“You’re crazier than I thought, Jide. Under your parents’ roof with our partners around. Ooooh… come here, hotness!”

Her madness has returned too.

“Cancel the wedding,” I order her.

“Excuse me?” She stops.

Cancel the wedding.”

“Is that why you came here?” Her countenance drops like a boulder from the sky.

“You’re not pregnant.”

I don’t miss the apprehension that flashes in her eyes.

“What does that mean?”

“It means what it means, Omotola. You are not pregnant.”

“Okay, you just have to leave my room. I’m irritated now.”

I stun her by marching towards her, slamming her slim frame on the bed and pinning her hands down with my knees. She struggles but can’t break free. I proceed to feel her tummy for a ten-week fetus that is supposedly there and just as I suspect, I find nothing.

“I said it. Nothing here.”

“Jide, don’t be stupid. You forget that I’m a doctor. It takes lot more to determine if a pregnancy exists or not.”

I free her and get off the bed. “You are going to tell Mex that you’re sorry, and that the wedding cannot go on because you lied about the pregnancy.”

She mocks with a sinister laugh. “I will marry Mex and there’s nothing nobody can do to stop me.

“You’re not listening, Tola. If you don’t cancel the wedding, I’ll tell everyone we had sex.”

“You’re just so stupid, Jide. Add delusional to your spite. Do you think anyone will give you an award for revealing the fact that you screwed your brother’s fiancée?”

I don’t have words for her. My mind is set on exposing who she really is and saving my brother from a huge mistake. I know I’ll lose a few hearts to this but I can’t sit by and watch Tola ruin things for Emeka, knowing I can do something to change it.

I march to the door, unlock it and stride out of the room. Honey and I hang around for lunch and leave at the appearance of dusk. In the cab back home I seek her counsel over Emeka’s issue.

“If you’re sure he’s just marrying Tola to please everyone, maybe you should call the family together and talk to them. In the end, parents want their children’s happiness. I don’t think mommy or daddy would be that difficult to soften. The only problem would be Tola sha. From her plans, she’s investing everything into the marriage.”

“Wedding. Not marriage. She just wants to be a wife badly. She doesn’t love Emeka.”

“But the way she was talking about him…”

“Trust me, she doesn’t love him.”

Honey doesn’t comment further on the topic. We stay silent in the cab and I busy myself creating goosebumps on her skin as she slowly drifts into sleep. She seems really tired. When we get home, I give her the privacy of my bedroom and go back to the hospital. On my way, my mom sends me a text, asking me to use a condom. I simply smile. Meddling, old woman.

On arrival at the hospital, I’m taken to see a woman who is supposed to have a caesarian section due to some complications but she insists on having the baby vaginally. I am called to help her through the process. I beg her to opt for the surgery but she declines, claiming God had revealed to her through her pastor that if she climbed the operating table she would die.

Being that she is already in labor, the doctors advise that I commence on the birth process. We begin and it takes us a grueling period of ten hours. Finally the baby comes and is pronounced dead by me a few minutes after delivery. The woman goes hysterical. I’m sad by the turn of events but there’s nothing anyone can do. I get set to go home after punishing myself in my office for a long time, going through the unfortunate incidence over and over and asking myself what I would have done differently to save the life of the baby. On my way home, one of the nurses at reception stops me.

“DOM, that woman died o.”

I spin around.

“What woman?”

“Your patient. The one that her baby died.”

I go cold.

“How did that happen?”

“Pulmonary embolism.”

“Oh God,” I groan and settle into one of the waiting benches.

“DOM, it’s not your fault. The woman was stubborn. With her weight, she should have listened to what they were telling her. I’m sure while she was pregnant she was sitting in one place for a long time. That alone can lead to an embolism. And you know the risk is higher with women who just gave birth.”

I recall writing in her file that her blood clotted too fast, asking that the gynae in charge take note. It might be that the woman passed away based on the reasons the nurse noted but I have a feeling there was a pre-existing medical condition which we all missed because we were sidetracked by the complications before us then.

“May she rest in peace sha. And may God punish all these fake pastors that keep causing the deaths of their members with their fake prophesies.”

I add an amen to that before I leave the hospital. I take a bus home. When I get into the compound, I find Ele outside where the water tank is, busy on her phone, wearing nothing but a short bathrobe. I ask her what she’s doing there.

“Oh. Free WiFi. The reception is strongest here. By six they’ll turn it off until twelve in the afternoon.”

I shake my head and enter the building. She tags along. When I get to my floor, she tries to follow me in. I stop her.

“Ele, no.”

“Why? You’re tired? I’ll give you a massage.”

“No. My girlfriend is in.”

“Girlfriend? Since when did you have a girlfriend? Is it the tall one I saw you with last week? Or is that other darker one?”

“No. This is my girlfriend exclusively.”

“When you say exclusively, what does that mean?”

“It means you and I are done.”

She places her hand on her chest. “You just broke my heart, Jide.” She tries to touch me but I move back.

“I’m serious.”

“But I have a boyfriend too na.”

“Since when?”

“Since like forever.”

“And you never told me? You want one small boy to come here and break my head?”

“Relax. He’s not in the country. And he’s not a small boy. He’s thirty-eight.”

“Thirty-eight? Why do you like older men?”

“Why else?” she fixes her glare on my groin area. “Sugar daddy things.”

“You’re so unserious.”

“So you’re saying no more us?”

“Yes. Stay in your house.”

“Aww, it’s not fair o. Anyways, this is what you’ll be missing.” She unties her bathrobe and exposes her nude body. I turn to my door.

“Bye, Jide.”

I insert my key into the keyhole.

“Wait…”

I angle my head at her.

“My boyfriend proposed to me over the weekend.”

My hand freezes.

“Just out of the blue. On the phone he gives this long speech about love and drops the question from nowhere. And I’m like all that one is just talk. Me, I want a ring on my finger. Platinum, preferably, because it is stronger and will hold the diamonds much better than white or yellow gold. But that’s not the point, Jide. Should I commit to him since I’m not ready to leave Nigeria yet? I don’t want a long distance marriage.”

“I believe there are websites dying to have people like you write in to seek their advice, Ele. Email them.”

“You’re just so mean.”

“Bye.”

I enter my house quietly and stop for a second to brood over the fact that Ele has now joined the list of women I’ve made brides. This makes solid my decision not to have sex with Honey. I don’t want to lose her to someone else.

I walk in and find her sleeping in my bedroom, the door wide open. She is wearing a silky nightgown that disappears under the duvet covering the lower half of her body. I have the urge to snuggle in with her but I fight it and move back to the sitting room where I fall on my favorite couch and go to sleep.

I wake up a few hours later, to the sound of upbeat music coming from the television. It is neither loud not irritating. In fact, I’m beginning to doze off again when my eyes catch a feminine form in front of me. It is Honey. She is in black gym pants under a fitted top. Following the movements from an aerobics instructor on TV, she does squats. I want to take my eyes away but I remember that she’s now my girlfriend and no one will fine me for ogling.

She switches to another routine. In this one, the instructor is asking her to spread her legs apart while her hands rest on the floor as she angles herself at 45°. And then she has to commence this twerking movement from nowhere. As in, is the instructor conspiring with Honey to give me a hard-on this morning bikonu? Which kain wahala be dis? Person cannot even sleep in peace again.

I listen to the voice of the Lord, telling me to unlook. I turn my head and slam a throw-pillow over my straining boner. I don’t know what type of wahala I’ve put myself into with this stupid no-sex challenge. It’s going to be harder than I imagined. Only the devil knows the type of thoughts flying around my head right now. God forgive me.

“Hey you!” Honey calls. I look at her. She is facing me and she has that mischievous smile again. It is only now I understand its meaning. She’s bent on making me break my promise to her.

“I know what you just did,” I tell her.

“What I just did?” She asks innocently. “Oh, the aerobics. It’s something I do all the time.”

“On the plane? Up in the air?”

I catch her right there. She releases a guilty smile.

“Just trying to keep fit.”

I point a finger at her but utter no words. She leans over and kisses me, her cleavage in my face.  The sweet smell of her perfume mixed with her sweat intoxicates me. Jeez! This is going to be harrrd. Who sent me message?

“I’m going to have a shower,” she announces and walks away. Well, since I can’t sleep again, I follow her, and stop at the bedroom door, asking permission to gist her how last night went while she showers.

She agrees. As she walks into the room, I take a discreet photo of her backside. I will need it for later. Meanwhile, I’m thinking maybe she and I will have to go through that our agreement again and re-negotiate the terms because I don’t think I can last one more day having her walk around the house like this. She will just have to be wrapped up in a blanket anytime I’m at home.

As I ponder on this, I get a text from my mom.

I had a dream last night, Jide. Please pray. It’s about Honey. She’s your wife but the devil wants to take you from her like Ezinne. Pray against it. And please my son, don’t sleep with her or you’ll lose her. Please pray.

I go through the text again. She used the words ‘please’ and ‘pray’ three times. Interesting.

The old woman dreams a lot, especially after going to bed worrying about issues that don’t concern her. First she sends me a text about using a condom and now, it’s that I shouldn’t make love to my babe. I’m sure before she slept last night, her little head was panicking over her precious Honey being taken by another man the moment I make love to her. Don’t worry, ma, I have no plans to turn her into a bride.

No, but seriously, who am I kidding that I won’t touch Honey? Help me judge, abeg, Am I to unlook when I have this walking up and down in my house?

anothersaturday360nobsyogahoney

©Sally@moskedapages

Image credits: www.informationng.com, tumblr.com

It’s Another Saturday… #1

PROLOGUE

She lights four candles and places them at different compass points. A green candle in the north, a red in the south, a blue in the west and a yellow in the east. They rest on a red piece of cloth she has placed on her bedroom floor. She lights two more candles and holds them in her hands, both of them pink. Then she faces the red candle in the south, clad in nothing but her Jigida.

“Powerful one, hear my prayer!” she calls out with emotion in her voice. “Lords of fire, burn my desire, three times over!”

She breaks, lifts her head upwards and shuts her eyes. Tears slide to the sides of her face. She continues with unsteady lips.

“Bring Jideofor back to me. Restore his passion for me. May the strange women in his life bring him nothing but pain. The same pain I have known. He will search for love but will never find it until he searches for me and finds me.”

She lowers the pink candles gently and picks a wedding gown spread across the floor. She slips into it. The gown has red blotches but she doesn’t seem to notice as she picks a surgical blade from a table nearby. The blade swiftly slices into her palm with one smooth motion, drawing instant blood. Maneuvering her way through spaces between the candles, she kills the burning flames with her blood as she chants on.

“Come back home, Jideofor. Come back to me. Home is here with me. Come back.”

The last flame goes out and so does the light in the room. She sits down and slips her feet into a pair of yellow heels. She will wait for him. She doesn’t care for how long. She must wait. Jideofor must come to her.

another saturday4

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

It’s another Saturday…

And I’m immersed in a lady’s reproductive parts. This is life, I tell you. And it’s the one thing I do the best.

The woman whose legs are spread open before me moans and tells me she can’t take it any longer. I tell her to hold on. We are almost there. If only she’ll just let me do my thing.

She moans again and grips the bed sheet she’s lying on. Her legs shake irrepressibly. She’s swearing, saying things I can’t understand, speaking in tongues. Why do they all speak strange things?

“Oh God!” she screams. I smile. We are almost there. Just one more…

The door flings in and this Goliath-like creature charges into the room with fire in his eyes.

“My husband,” she gasps.

Without realizing, I pull away from her. The man looks like he’s about to pick me from where I stand and pluck my head off the rest of my body. Maybe this is the best time to recite the Hail Mary my mother has been wanting me to recite for years.

“Who you be?!” the man growls, pouncing towards me. “I say who you be?!”

“Ah, Baba Patrick!” his wife replies as I search for my voice. “Na midwife be dis.”

“Middle wife?!”

“Abeg allow am make hin finish hin work before I die for here.”

“Middle wife?” Goliath looks at me from top to bottom and back again. “Man dey do middle wife?”

“Oooh-oh-oh! Baba Patrick!” His wife cries. “Dis pikin wan commot o! Leave the man abeg!”

Goliath still doesn’t trust me or his wife as he glowers at both of us, but because it is unimaginable for us to be doing something immoral when a baby is on its way out of her vagina, he lets me be.

I take my former position between her legs and I’m glad to see that all on its own, the baby is making its way into the world. All it needs is a little help.

“Okay, madam, one last push.”

Mama Patrick gives it all she’s got and a beautiful, little girl slips quietly into this world. Usually I don’t immediately sever the umbilical cord until the blood has balanced between the placenta and the newborn, so I place baby on her mother’s chest for warmth, throwing a clean cloth over them. From the corner of my eyes I see the look of sheer incredulity still impressed on the father’s face. I know that expression too well. The ‘why would any man want to do a woman’s job?’ look.

Well, the answer to that question is because of all the places in a woman’s body, the vagina is my favorite. Lord knows how many lady parts I’ve seen in this life but let’s not dwell on that. The second reason I’m doing a woman’s job is simply because I can, so give it a rest, dude.

I eventually clamp the umbilical cord, sever it and take baby away from her mother. The little thing protests with a “Waah! Waah!” and breaks into a full cry. I place her on a table in a corner, which I previously made sterile as best as I could, and clear mucus from her nose and mouth. I don’t believe in washing off the vernix that comes with a newborn until after twenty-four hours. It’s the best natural moisturizer for babies and it doesn’t stink.

I pat her dry and wrap her in a fresh, warm blanket and hand her back to her mother.

“Madam, I’d love to stay around and take care of you two but unfortunately I can’t. You’ll have to go to a nearby hospital to make sure all is well.”

The grateful woman nods. “How much do I owe you?”

I laugh. “Nothing, madam.”

She is touched. “Thank you very much, sir. God bless you, sir.” She gives her husband a stern look and he mutters off cheerless thanks but continues to stare at me as though he really caught me screwing his wife. Funny how people reason. If I had told him I was a doctor, his attitude towards me would have been different.

I help the woman birth out the placenta and then clean out her uterus. At this time, neighbors are already waiting in the sitting room, most of them women. I wonder where they were when she was shouting the entire neighborhood down in agony. Even the Papa Patrick, where was he? Walking out, I pick my suit hanging off the door and stare at the Armani shirt I have on, stained with blood and whatnot. Bobby will kill me for showing up late for his wedding.

I walk through a group of women on my way out of Papa and Mama Patrick’s home. I get approving stares. One or two of them recognize me.

“Oh, it’s the new neighbor,” I hear a fat one say in a whisper that is clearly not a whisper.

“The one that packed in day before yesterday?”

“Yes. That lives in Baba’s compound.”

“So he’s a doctor.”

I’m almost at the door now. I should leave them to their little gossip and be on my way to my friend’s wedding but I can’t help it. I stop and turn.

“Midwife, not doctor. I’m a midwife.”

I leave them in the wake of my stunning revelation and kiss the fresh air outside. My sharp ears pick out another statement by the fat lady.

“Ha! Midwife keh. He should just kuku call himself mid-husband.”

Story of my life. I laugh as I walk away.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

I arrive at the wedding midway. My friend, Bobby and his wife are making their way out of the church hall when I slip in. I pick a chair in the last row, skirted by two Christian mothers that smell of camphor and talcum powder. With their heavy head gear and shimmery attires, I pray I am well hid from Bobby’s bespectacled eyes. And he is not the only one I’m hiding from; friends that I abandoned for a long time are on the premises. Most of them are mad at me. After some heartbreaking event in my life five years ago, I packed a box in the middle of the night and moved to a smaller town where nobody knew me. I cut off communication for the first three years and when I finally reconnected with everyone, I did so meagerly. Social media was off limits for me and whenever any of my friends popped into town and suggested visiting me, I often gave one silly excuse or the other.

Now I am back, quietly, as I had left. I am not expecting a hero’s welcome. Only Bobby would be glad to see me. After all he is still my best friend and the only one I kept the line open with. He is going to be upset about my showing up late and would think I opted out of wearing the Armani shirt he bought for me. I have chosen a Ralph Lauren in its place and it is shades off the yellow and grey theme of the wedding.

I lower my head as Bobby and his wife approach. Bobby, the ever-jovial fatso delights the crowd with his clownish dance moves. I am missing the show but I dare not raise my head. As I count the seconds, waiting for the procession to be over quickly, I feel a heavy knock at the back of my head that sends a shooting pain down my spine. I jolt up. It is Bobby. He has stopped in his tracks and is staring at me with the heaviest of frowns.

“Hey, Bobby…” He doesn’t let me finish as he picks up where he left off and dances past me with his wife. Following closely behind them are my friends. They have all seen me. Their reaction surprises me as all I get are smiles.

Looks like it’s going to be a good day after all.

I wait for the bridal procession and a good number of people to leave the church before I find my way out. It’s a fine weather outside. No sunshine, no rainfall. Just a cool draft of air blowing in all directions. The crowd that has just exited the church is scattered around the premises in clusters of yellow and grey. The place looks lively and I am affected by the contagious spirit of happiness. I hear laughter behind me and I turn. A group of bridesmaids is smitten by some dude who has just announced his coming with a G-wagon. He is the playboy type and going by his looks I can understand why they would be struck.

wedding1

I smile at the scene and breathe in the air. This is my town; I have missed this place. It feels good to be home. Wait till my mother finds out her favorite son has returned. Surely she’ll slaughter the fattened calf. I’m glad she’s not in town presently. I can use the short time fixing up my new apartment before she returns and my freedom is taken away.

“Jide!” a familiar female voice calls and I turn, only to be smothered with a hug from one of my closest friends. I hold her and warm memories fill my head. I used to love this girl to death. I still do.

“Mary.”

“You came,” she says, looking into my eyes. I know she is about to get emotional.

“Don’t,” I warn her with a finger but I’m too late. Tears have filled her eyes.

“I didn’t just come for the wedding. I’m back for good.”

My statement has a positive effect on her. Round chicks blushed up by makeup glow as a smile fills them.

“For real?”

I nod. She hugs me again. This time, she lingers.

“Mary, I’m sorry.”

It is my first sorry for the day. More are to come.

She frees me and hits me weakly. “Don’t ever leave me again.”

“I won’t.”

Our moment is broken by the appearance of a couple of my friends’ wives and their kids. There are hugs and introduction to children I’m meeting for the first time. They leave after I promise to visit them. More people recognize me and stop by with their “longest time!” “where have you been?” “you dey so?” greetings. So much for slipping back into town quietly.

“Bobby and the guys are looking for you.” Mary takes my hand after everyone is gone. “Come.”

I am dragged to one side of the building where my guys are. Bobby and his wife are seated in a limo. Bobby has his legs out of the car, talking to our mutual friends. I hear a round of laughter that breaks off when they spot me.

“Jydo!” Ibro greets me first. He is the coolest guy in our clique, and the richest too. A northerner with a taste for southern women. He is married to two of them.

“Mutumina!” I greet back with a slap on his palm that passes for a handshake and a pat on the back for a hug. I face the others—Shadrach, Reno and Bright. They are actually glad to see me. All beef squashed.

They throw in some light questions about my welfare and the town I’d just left. I tell them all is well.

“But Jydo, the Bridemaker gist na true abi na just scopes you dey use enter chicks?”

A smile crumples my lips at the edges when Reno’s question hits me. I look at their faces and realize it’s a question they all want an answer to, a question I was hoping no one would bring up.

“Answer nau.” Mary nudges me.

“Come on, guys,” I speak up, “on this blessed of days? Haba mana? At least let Bobby introduce his wife to me first.”

And that is how I escape the Bridemaker gist. But I’ll share it with you.

Fable has it that any girl that sleeps with me ends up getting married shortly afterwards. To be frank, I don’t know how it started or who started it but I can swear on my life that it is real. I didn’t believe it at first but when a colleague at work pointed it out to me and we sat down and took inventory of the girls I had bedded and how all of them were married, I knew it was no longer a joke. I was ecstatic at first. More chicks to screw for absolutely free. No commitments, no hassles. Just go in, hit it and get out. It was fun for a while until the lonely nights became so hollow and scary. I’d be in bed with a woman and yet it would feel like lying on a deserted highway in the middle of the night. In addition, I met crazy women who lost it if they didn’t get married as quickly as they wanted. They’d haunt me and fight me or whoever i was dating at that moment. It was at that point I was dubbed the Bridemaker. Guys envied me, girls just wanted to sleep with me. And there I was in the center of it all, unable to stop myself from engaging in carnal pleasures. It felt as though I had been cursed.

Nobody had to tell me to leave that town and go back to family and friends. I’m turning a new leaf now. I have buried the Bridemaker.

“Kate, meet Jideofor,” Bobby introduces me to his wife. I bend my tall frame into the limo and extend a hand to Kate as Bobby stands and gives me some space.

“Our wife,” I address her as she places her hand in mine and I kiss it with a bit of theatrical flair.

“Ehn-ehn o!” Bobby objects. “Not our wife. My wife.”

“Okay, sorry. My wife,” I correct myself. The bride smiles. Her face lights up shyly. I have just discovered she is a virgin. Don’t ask me how I know. I just do.

“Nice to meet you, ma’am,” I tell her and straighten up. “You have a good man here.” I tap my best friend’s shoulder. “Have no fears. You’re in good hands. But if he misbehaves, just give me a call and I’ll set him right. A left uppercut always sets his brain in order.”

She smiles again. That virgin smile that makes me look at Bobby with a question in my eyes. He reads me well and laughs.

“After all the rivers you went a’dipping.”

“No mind am,” Shady comments.

We tease Bobby for a while, using terms the virgin wife cannot decipher. She simply sits there with her maid of honor, smiling politely at us. A crowd that has just discovered where the bride and groom are hidden is making its way to us. It’s time to leave; I face Bobby’s wife.

“Nice to meet you, Kate.”

“Same here.”

“Kate, mummy is here,” Bobby announces the coming of his mother and launches off into Yoruba with the old woman. When I turn and see her, I fall prostrate to the ground.

“Ah, Olajide!” she calls me. “You are back.”

“Yes ma.” I rise up and hug her. My friends snigger behind us. After all these years, the old woman still doesn’t know I’m Igbo. I don’t blame her. She has never met my parents before and secondly, I come off more Yoruba than her son.

With a concerned expression she asks me why my parents are not at the wedding. I tell her my mother is out of the country and my dad is recuperating from a stroke. The second part is a lie. The old man is just being the grouch that he is. He actually made it clear to me over the phone that he won’t show up for Bobby’s wedding because he will be disgraced, seeing that his own son is yet unmarried and has no plans to do so. I tire for the man. He has an older son that is married. Wetin come concern him with my own life

And it’s not as if I don’t want to get married. I desperately do. But I haven’t found the one yet. Cliché as that may sound, it’s the plain truth as you would come to find out. All of my close friends are married, Bobby being the last to walk down the aisle. My life is going to be shitty from now on. I will be the butt-end of their jokes. They and their wives are going to pair me with all sorts of women, left, right and center. I’ll be left out of family-oriented outings and such. When they’re talking about school fees, sexless wives and family planning, I’ll be brooding in a corner like an idiot. Like I said, pot of beans life.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

Read All Episodes of It’s Another Saturday Here

Image Credit: ronovanwrites.wordpress.com, pinterest.com