Posts Tagged With: Touching Stories

A walk to remember


I was 10 minutes late for my doctor’s appointment. *Dr. Sam Akpan was going to scold me again, today. For the last one year, I have being experiencing these panic attacks, been on medication and checking my blood pressure regularly. Dr. Akpan had booked me on specific days for my check ups and he was never happy when I come late or don’t show up.

“Good Morning, Dr. Akpan,” I said running into his office.

He looked at me through his glasses and smiled.

“*Tola, you always come late so I have given up on complaining,” he said while staring into his case files. “Well, you are lucky; I still have some case files of patients to visit before your section. So, just lie down and relax. I will be back soon, today is public holiday, so I have more time” he added.

“Okay, Dr. Akpan”, I giggled. He tapped me on my shoulder and walked out.

As I lay down on the bed in his office and began to stare at the ceiling, I remembered the first time, I visited Dr.Akpan’s office with *Emeka, last year. I remembered that visit vividly, how I cried when Dr. Akpan diagnosed my medical condition and how Emeka wrapped me in his hands and comforted me.

Emeka and I met, in my 300 level at the University of Ilorin. He had come to visit his cousin who happened to be my course-mate and one of my study partners. My best friend, *Mercy and I got to *Ike’s hostel room on time and when we walked in and noticed he had a guest. I briefly introduced myself to Emeka and focused on our study plan.

I was shocked when Ike called me the next day that his cousin wanted to talk with me and after much convincing I finally agreed to hang out with them and that was the beginning of our relationship. We were both in love with each other, we were the envy of our friends and both families loved each other.

Emeka was working in a big audit firm in Lagos and was very comfortable. He wanted us to get married as soon as I graduated but I wanted to get a job first and my father insisted that I go to UK for my masters immediately after my youth service. The eighteen months away from Emeka was a tough time for us but we did handle it as best as we could and pulled through.

I started working in a bank immediately I got back to Nigeria, and our relationship was still perfectly in order as I had believed. We rarely spent time together due to work schedules and hassles of Lagos life but we communicated on phone or via blackberry chat. We barely talked about marriage. We only did when our parents ask when we are going to give them grandchildren. Our responses always remain the same, “Soon, Mum. Very soon, we promise” and then we smile.

Two weeks after, I went to visit Emeka at his house, I was beginning to get worried because we had not spoken about marriage plans since I got back from the UK and since we both loved each other, it was time to celebrate our love in marriage.

“Eme, (I usually called him that) so when do we plan to get married? We have not talked about it in a while”, I said.

He came towards me and sat by my side.

“Baby, I have being thinking a lot about that of late and I want it to happen this year,” he said and I smiled.

“But” he concluded and paused. I stared into his eyes wondering for just those seconds what the excuse would be.

“I am expecting a promotion in the office in two months time and it comes with a better pay. So, then I can give you the wedding of your dreams” he smiled. I was not pleased. I had told him from day-one of our relationship that I do not feel so comfortable relating with large crowd and don’t want a elaborate wedding, just with family members and few friends was fine with me.

“Eme, but with both our incomes we can afford a beautiful wedding and adding the support from our parents, we will definitely have a big wedding,” I said.

“I know. I really want this promotion. It will make me happy, boost my career to become a partner someday and with you beside me what more can I ask for in life,” he said.

“Baby, please understand” he pleaded.

Well, I thought two months was not forever that I could wait and with Emeka’s position I could someday resign from my job when I start having kids. Then, I nodded in approval.

I had not seen Mercy in a while we had promised to visit the salon together that weekend to have a makeover. I had stopped by at her house at Surulere on my way to VI. Mercy lives alone because her family was based in the east (Enugu) and we have been best friends, from university and even after. I allowed myself into her house because I had her spare keys.

“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, I called out. I heard sounds coming from the bathroom and walked toward that direction when I saw Mercy throwing –up.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I am fine”, she replied while cleaning her bathroom.

“You don’t look too fine, dear” I said.

“Babe, I swear, I am fine. It’s just something I ate yesterday that I think it’s disturbing my tummy,” she said. And we headed off to the salon.

It was one of those quiet Sundays, I had just closed from church and was not in the mood to rush home immediately and I decided to visit Emeka at his parent’s house. He had called the day before that his Dad had requested he come see them at the weekend. His parents love me especially his Mum, so I knew it would not be offensive if I visit them unannounced. As I drove into the compound, I noticed more cars in the premises but since Emeka’s was a politician it was not a surprise to me.

“Aunty Tola, good afternoon,” *Ada, Emeka’s little cousin greeted me. She was very close to me and I already warmed up to her as my younger sister.

“My little bunny” I said while giving her a hug.

“Where is everyone?” I asked.

“They are in the big living room, I think Daddy has some visitors,” she said.

“Okay, let me go greet them before going upstairs,” I said.

I had just opened the door and was about kneeling to greet Emeka’s Dad when I noticed my best friend, Mercy, sitting on the couch with her parents. All eyes were on me, it seemed that they were either pissed off or confused at my presence there but my first guess was that I just ruined a surprise for me.

Keeping my cool, I decided to walk out, then I heard Mercy sobbing. I was still watching everyone in the room, now confused, especially seeing Mercy crawling on her knees towards me. Then it hit me something was wrong.

“Tola, Tola I am so sorry”, she said, panting. “Please, forgive me, I did not mean to hurt you or anyone. Please, forgive me,” she kept repeating those words.

“Forgive you about what?” I asked.

Emeka was still sitting down, hiding his face like he could not watch the drama unfolding.

Mercy cried louder and I was beginning to get angry.

“What going on here?” I screamed.

“My dear”, Eme’s Mum said. “Sit down, my dear. Come, sit here” she beckoned to me.

I walked towards her; she held my two hands and started by telling me all my good qualities and how I was a daughter to her.

“Mercy, came to tell us that she is pregnant and that Emeka is….’ she had not finished her sentence when I started screaming, I knew already what she wanted to say.

“No, no, no,” I cried. I could not believe what I just heard. Everyone began to apologize to me all at once, like I just had a tiny injury that will heal soon.

Mercy’s parents had come to inform Emeka’s family that there was no way she was going to abort the pregnancy because it was a taboo in their village and Emeka must marry her. I felt it was already a signed deal and I was there wasting my time. As I headed out of the house, all Emeka said to me was, “Baby, I am sorry. Please, forgive me.”

Their wedding was set two months later, I received several calls from Emeka, Mercy, his family and friends, begging me to forgive and forget and also pleading that I attend the wedding, which I did.

It was an awkward situation, I was so uncomfortable see them sitting at the front of the altar. Then it happened, it was during the exchange of the marital vows, when the priest said, “If there is anyone where you know of any impediment why this couple should not be joined together in holy matrimony should speak now or forever holds his or her peace.”

My legs were up; I imagined walking towards the altar or out of the church. There were thousands of eyes feasted on me, I could barely breathe, the church was quiet and the only sound in the church came from the heels of my shoes as I ran out and never looked back.

“Tola, Tola, Tola,” I could hear my name as I opened my eyes it was Dr.Akpan.

“Sorry, I took so long. A lot of patients to see,” he said. And as I sat up, the tears began to drop again.

*Please note in order to protect my friend and others involved in this story I had to use fictional names. 

 

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The Golden Ticket


People give many reasons why they get married. Some have very good reasons while others do not. Don’t get me wrong, I am not judging anyone’s decision to get married. Relationships used to be a scene of boy meets girl, they agree to date, love each other, understand each other blah blah then boy proposes, girl says YES, they get married and live happy ever after.

Nowadays relationships scenes are different. Lately, its boy meets girl, they start dating, they claim to love each other, long story short girl gets pregnant and boy must marry!

A friend, *Bisola had literally dragged me out of my house, on a Saturday morning to attend a wedding with her; she was a friend to the groom. At the reception we sat with some of her friends who were also friends to the groom.

The wedding was pretty cool, the hall was beautiful, well-managed with the space, and there was food and drinks, in all everyone seems to be having a great time.  I got myself acquitted to Bisola’s friends that sat at our table. We started chatting about university days to work, music to fashion until *Samuel decided to change the topic.

“I do not understand, how all the wedding I attend these days the brides are all pregnant”, he said. I could see that everyone turned to look at him at once, it was then I stole a look at the bride and noticed her protruding tummy. She was pregnant.

“Things happen”, another guy said.

“Things happen? That ladies now use that as a way to force a man into marriage,” Samuel said.

“How can you say that? They have been dating over a year now,” Bisola said displeased.

“Bisola, what are you saying? Like you do not know *Yemi’s present financial status? He does not have a good job yet, his income is poor and his wife works with the government. So, you can now imagine their income and how difficult it is to live in Lagos and raise a family,” Samuel went on.

“I spoke to Yemi about this when he told me he was getting married but they love each other and can manage. Their status would definitely improve in the future,’ Bisola alleged.

Everyone started talking at the same time, explaining what they thought about the situation. I watched as each tried to get their opinion heard.

‘Do not get me wrong people; I know Yemi. He is a good man and I know he loves her but I just believe that most ladies are getting pregnant on purpose these days. You all know what happened between me and *Chioma. People are different and this situation may be different for them but on the scale of one to ten pregnant brides, seven of them did it on purpose,” Samuel added.

I was dazed at their conversations because they were discussing a topic that affects the couple we had come to felicitate with. What if someone heard them and informed the couple that their friend doubted their union? The topic lingered on more and I got to find out that Samuel’s ex had told him she was pregnant immediately after his NYSC and she had insisted that he married her. According to him, she was a lady he would have loved to settle down with but was not thinking of that immediately after his service because he was still unemployed at that time. He explained that he did confide in his parent about his ex and they agreed that she moved in with them, he had gone with her to register for antenatal with his mummy when they found out she was not pregnant.

I was so engrossed in their conversation that I began to reminisce on a situation that had led a friend to rush into marriage. It happened in my third year at the university. A course mate, *Edirin confided in me and a friend, *Cynthia that she was pregnant and was thinking of aborting the pregnancy. Edirin said that her reason was based on the fact that she was not sure about the paternity of the pregnancy, as she was dating two men at the time. One was an undergraduate in the university while the other was a young wealthy businessman who lived in Lagos.

At the moment, I did not think it was wise for me to say anything because I was not too close to her. Cynthia was the closest to her and the only reason she told me was because she knew Cynthia would definitely tell me.  So, we advised her to think through about her decision again and try to inform the men in her life about it.

The following day at the lecture hall, she informed us that she had spoken to her mom and her mom had cautioned her not to have the abortion but should inform the rich businessman about it. She decided to take the next week off campus by the time she resumed she was wearing an engagement ring.

I kept my mouth shut. How could I possibly tell another woman, who was not sure of the paternity of her unborn child that she was making the biggest mistake of her life? Like my fellow course-mates I congratulated her and prayed everything worked as she hoped.

The following year, we resumed for our final year. Before resumption, Cynthia had informed me that Edirin got married (a small wedding) during the holiday but she did not attend.  Three weeks later, Edirin was back to campus. She came with pictures from her wedding, told us how she was coping with marriage and all about her due date. She was different now; it seemed her lifestyle had been upgraded. She was spending excessively and giving out money to people unnecessarily. It was clear evidence that her husband was rich and she loved her new life.

Months, later into our final year and Edirin had still not put to birth. I never wanted to be bother by it until another course mate was delivered of a baby girl. Everyone knew that Edirin took in before her based on the information she told us. So, Cynthia decided that we should inquire directly from Edirin instead of joining other course mates to gossip about the situation.  We paid her a visit at her hostel and she told us she would be due at the end of that month as she had just confirmed that from her doctor. So, we believed her and keep hoping she was fine.

But what visited our eyes the next week was shocking. I have never been pregnant before or do not know the actual size of a lady’s pregnant tummy but when Edirin walked into to the lectures hall few days later, it looked like her tummy has gone down. I did not bother to say anything nor ask for Cynthia what the problem was, I kept my thoughts to myself. The next week, her tummy looked big again, by this time I could not bear to keep silent anymore, I knew something was wrong so I went to Cynthia to find out.

“Cynthia, what’s up with Edirin?”, I asked. “I do not think she is fine and her tummy was not as big as this last week,” I said.

“Well, to be frank with you, I have suspected too but have been scared to ask.” She said.

So, we decided to go visit her at the hostel again, as we had earlier promised to study with her that day. We were about to take our leave when Cynthia asked, “Edirin, are you okay? It seems that something is wrong?”

She pulsed for a second and started crying. She told us that her pregnancy was in its tenth month already and she was so scared. She added that her greater fear was that some days, she woke up to find out that her tummy had gone down and other days its swells back up. We did not know what to say or how to console her about the situation.

“Edirin, I am sorry for asking you this question but do you go to church or have you prayed about it?” I inquired. She looked directly in my eyes and I knew my question was stupid but that was what I could say.

“I go to church; I have even spoken to my pastor about it. My mom have requested that I come back home this weekend to attend a revival,” she said.

“I am so sorry and we cannot say we know what you are going through right now.  But we pray you would be fine soon,” I added.

Cynthia led us to a short prayer before taking our leave.  We promised to check up on her from time to time. It took her time to heal, she left for home that weekend but we kept in touch with her. She and her mum became regular visitors to every revival or crusade or vigil around the country.

By the time she resumed for her final year, her pregnancy was gone, she told other people that she had lost the baby but only Cynthia and I knew the truth. During her revival sections, a pastor told her that her husband was responsible for the situation and she had to make him confess to her. She later discovered that he was a secret cult member and had used his unborn as a new sacrifice in his cult. By the end of our final year she was divorced and till date still single.

Often time, I do think about Edirin’s situation and how it had played out. What would you have done differently if you were in her shoes?

An edited version on this story was published on bellanaija.com

*Not their real names

Photo Credit: www.123rf.com

Categories: Touching Stories | Tags: | 6 Comments

My Letter to You


I have thought really hard about this topic, today, wondering if this should be a topic I should talk about or just keep mute on it.

Yesterday, as I was trying to handle my daily work pressure, I decided to scan through Facebook via my blackberry and a status update on my friend’s page caught my attention.

Stephens’ FB update read, “I got this SMS from my friend last night but I’m still struggling to respond. Please help. “My girlfriend caught me cheating for the third time last night and threatened to break up with me. I got angry and slapped her twice. She started crying and drove home. Today she sent a text message saying she was sorry. I don’t know if I should forgive her. She over-reacted!”

Wow!!! Was my first reaction, I couldn’t and still cannot comprehend what charm or juju was working on this chic that made her to apologies to her weak boyfriend after beating and cheating on her. Was it because of the less population of good men (as most ladies think that men are scarce) or did she think she can never love again or her boyfriend was her first ( you know what I mean) or they have made a blood oath (which Africans hardly do)?

Maybe, age was not on her side, whatever are reasons are did she not hear about the late Titilayo’s case where her husband, Kolade Arowolo stabbed her to death (from beating to killing her). Like the pidgin proverb says, “Na from clap dem dey enter dance”.

I remember being in that position seven years ago, something when I look back at how it all began, it breaks my heart. Lucas was a good man (I still want to believe so), intelligent, Christian, quiet and a family-friend.When, the first incident happened I was so shocked because I never once expected it from him or saw him as a woman-beater. I never told anybody because I was ashamed of myself, most of my friends thought I had the perfect relationship and I did not want them to think otherwise. He begged me for weeks, brought me lots of gifts and then I forgave him and we got back together.

But, then it happened again and that was when I spoke out and people told me that a break-up would destroy or kill him. I decided to keep quiet about my intentions for months, traveled out of Warri and that was how, I was able to end my relationship with him through the phone and of course he did not take it lightly (very long story).

It became tough for me to deal with it after the ordeal. I never wanted to be left alone with a guy anywhere and I began to withdraw from guys especially the ones that portray any form of violence.

Talking about this something doesn’t help heal the wound or the scar it has made in my life, it sometime reopens it.

I spoke to a friend that actually beat his ex-girlfriend years back and he said, she insulted him and at that time the only reaction that came to his mind was to slap her, which he did. According to him, they were in a heat of an argument about him not meeting his responsibility as her boyfriend and she insulted his ego by saying, ‘He was not man enough to even buy her recharge card but expected her to call him’ (laughing).

Like, I told my friend it wasn’t worth beating her and he should imagine someone was beating his sister or cousin or female friends like that and if it would be okay with him.  Please, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying his ex had the right to insult him or what she said was right at all but why make her your punching bag, was it to show her who is in charge?

Sometime, we ladies have issues sha!!! We worry about everything in our relationship all the time, from; ‘He hasn’t called me, Why didn’t he take me to the movies today, My friend’s boyfriend bought her a new blackberry, you too must buy one for me, I need money to fix my hair, I want to buy this shoe, I need some money, Why didn’t you call me before going to bed, Don’t you want me to look pretty and of course the MAIN worry; When would you propose?’

Seriously, ladies such things only make you have high blood pressure, if he doesn’t take you out to the movies, go yourself or with your girlfriends, spend your money if you have to look good not for him but for other potential spouses (as long as you are not yet engaged or married to him sha), marriage is not arranged by man but by God, just live in faith and believe that our wedding date is coming.

I remember when I was planning to break up with my ex and most of my friends advised me to pray for him to change that he was a good man. What good man would raise his hands to beat a lady? Sometimes, we have been so confused by religion or Christianity that we use it to avoid making the right decisions. God performs miracles for us in all situations but always take the right step by running away for the guy first while you are praying for him far away from you.

People change sometimes but you might not be the one to change them or they might not change because of you. Today, my ex is married with a son and from what I hear they are happy *wink*.

Kevin, please pass this message to your friend’s girlfriend (soon-to-be ex), “My dear fellow lady, life is too short for you to live in pain both physical and emotional. There are many good men out there searching for you and one already have your name tag, runaway from this guy, he would do it again and even worse. Love is free and is the most beautiful feeling on earth, yours’ is not in this guy but on someone else, you are not too old but only growing wiser, you would love again this promise I make for you. Have fun, develop yourself – academically and spiritually, make good friendships, laugh and most importantly PRAY!!!

Yours Sincerely Fellow Lady,

E.I.E.G
  *Please, note the names in this story are fictional except Kolade Arowolo

Categories: Touching Stories | Tags: | 4 Comments

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