Series

Once Upon a Boarder: 8 Signs You Were a Bubbler

Disclaimer: Please locate your sense of humour before you read this post! 🙂

Being a bubbler was not a joking matter. EVERYONE wanted to be a bubbler. Those that hated bubblers, hated them because they wanted to be them. Really, have you ever met a child that doesn’t want to be one of the cool kids?!

There were a few ways to gain bubbler status in QC.

A few people had a natural swag that certified them as bubblers without any effort on their part. Those ones were called “bubblers by nature” aka BBN.

Then you had those ones that did everything humanly and supernaturally possible to receive the seal of approval. Those ones were called “bubblers by force” aka BBF.

There were also some people who met all the criteria but just did not have the personality required for bubbling. Those ones were on the border; not quite in but not quite relegated.

The vast majority of bubblers however, had a combination of the bubbler personality and most of the criteria listed below.

If you are feeling brave, feel free to take the bubbler quiz and see if you qualified!

  1. Did You Wear Pop Socks?

pop socksIt was not possible to be a bubbler without owning pop socks. Like seriously, were you kidding with your cotton socks?! There was also a clear difference between the janded pop socks and pop socks from Balogun market so don’t think you were fooling anyone.

It was one thing to own pop socks but did you roll them all the way up or fold them down?  If you folded them down, gerrarahere shawty and take a seat in the non-bubbling zone.

  1. Was your School Bag a Satchel?

satchelBackpack gang, please tell me, were you going off to climb Kilimanjaro?! If you did not have a satchel that you slung across your body, tell me what you are looking for here?

  1. Did You Have Fancy Folders and Refill Paper?

Refill paper was the most useless thing in the world…but you needed to have it. There was no argument paperthat notebooks were the sensible place to store your notes and you needed to have those but really, no fancy folder and refill paper? Your life was not complete.

  1. Did Your School Shoes Have Heels?

mocksNow this one is important, very important. If you had mocks with heels, come in and take your rightful place. If you had mocks without heels, enter but don’t feel too comfortable. If you owned any shoe that has not been mentioned here, don’t bother knocking, respect yourself and leave this place. But wait o, if you had the audacity to wear wannabe mocks, kneel down, raise up your hands and close your eyes…shior!

  1. Did you know KC Boys?

kcIf you did not know KC boys, really, what are you looking for here? I didn’t say A-Hall boys o, KC boys because they were allegedly the baddest boys in town. If you knew A-Hall  AND KC boys you can stand up but A-Hall without KC? I beg have several seats.  Your aje butter is too much.

  1. Did You Attend Parties with Names?

First of all did you attend parties? Not the types with bouncy castles and Uncle E o. If they didn’t do “all boys out” at you parties and there were no obtainers collecting shoes and shirts from awon boys, shift to the side.

Then did you parties have names? Certified? Let’s Play House? House Party? No? It was fellowship you were going to, not party. The lord be with you as you leave this place.

  1. Did You Jand in the Summer Holidays?

Wait first, did you have a passport? Because if you didn’t, I don’t care if you have pop socks or not, you had no business attempting to bubble. Any bubbler worth their salt janded during the summer holidays. If you janded every other year, we will give you pardon, but any less frequently than that and you are a joker… gerrarahere mate!

  1. Did You Date a Lag Club Boy?

Knowing KC boys was one thing but dating a Lag Club boy? Give us a minute while we all rise and clap for you. With your A-line skirt and beret, you managed to conquer the most coveted boys in Yaba. I beg open your mouth and chop knuckle.

If you scored 6 out of 8, well done, you were a bubbler. Any less than that and please, don’t disgrace yourself; just pretend you didn’t take the test and when your friend tells you about it, roll your eyes and say, “I beg, I beg, , I have better things to do!”

xXx

Waila

Once Upon a Boarder: The Beginning

QC GirlI vividly remember my first day in Secondary School. I woke up that Sunday morning with a spring in my step. I was finally going off to boarding school and not just any school, the famous Queen’s College aka QC! Every single item (useful and useless) on my check-list had been bought. Between my mother and myself, we knew that I didn’t need 12 dozen name tags or 10 dozen handkerchiefs…but if the school said I needed it, so be it!

I walked through the gates of Queen’s college in my oversize Sunday wear, dragging my matching suitcases behind me. I had bought the cases while on holiday that summer and refused to tear the protective covers off until that morning; I needed everything to be brand spanking new. The confidence with which I approached the check-in desk was impressive. I refused to let my mother speak on my behalf, determined to handle the process like a big girl. I banished her to a corner while I sorted out the formalities. I didn’t want her escorting me to my dorm room either but she insisted so I grudgingly let her. The corridors were filled with the sounds of JSS1 girls bawling as their parents left but no, not me. I all but shoved mine out of the door so I could explore my new found independence in peace!

The reality of my situation didn’t dawn on me until I woke up at 1am the following morning needing to pee. There was no light (power cut) and the silence that engulfed the boarding house area was deafening. All the stories I had heard about witches, wizards and some female spirit that wore stilettos (madam koikoi), visiting students in the middle of the night, came flooding in. For the first time I wondered why the hell I was not in my mother’s house where her fervent prayers were sure to keep demonic forces at bay. I didn’t want to be the newbie that wet her bed though so I grabbed my Rosary, flicked on my torchlight and sprinted to the toilet. I have never peed so fast in all my life. I raced back to my dorm and buried myself under my bedspread in record time. Clutching my Rosary, I chanted Hail Mary’s until God had mercy on me and put me to sleep. That was how I survived my first night.

My first shock came when I was woken up a couple of hours later to have a shower. I stared at the well-meaning junior dorm captain (JDC) like she had lost her mind.

“But it’s 3am!”

She patiently explained to me that junior girls didn’t dare venture near the bathrooms after 5am, especially not a fresher like me. Earlier was better if I intended to attend my first day of classes smelling fresh.  And that was how I found myself having a shower at roughly 3.30am. In the coming days I discovered that that shower had been a welcome present from the gods; for it was one of the only times that year, water flowed in the bathrooms!

If you went to boarding school in Nigeria, you will know there is a hierarchy and JSS1 girls are at the bottom of the food chain. I didn’t know this till I had my first encounter with a senior the very next day. I was lying on my bed hatching my escape plan when my thoughts were rudely interrupted by a senior shouting my name.

At first I ignored her, I really wasn’t in the mood for conversation, but the third time she screamed my name, I sensed danger.  It was too early in the game for drama so I dragged myself out of bed.

“Take this bottle to slabs and fill it with water.”

It didn’t occur to me that I didn’t have the right to refuse, so refuse is what I did.

“Sorry but I’m not in the mood to go anywhere.”

I knew I had said the wrong thing when all the seniors in the vicinity, who had been lazing in bed half naked, sprang to attention.

Shouts of, “Ehn, junior girl what did you just say?!” filled the dorm and in hindsight, I would like to thank God for sparing my life that day, for only He can explain how I dodged a bruising!

The senior, under the influence of grace, sat me down and gave me the lowdown on how things worked. In this new order I found myself in, I was the equivalent of a slave, the property of my seniors. If I dared disobey them or be rude to them, they would send me to join my father in the afterlife.  Once she was satisfied that I understood my place, she thrust the bottle in my hand and ordered me to find my way to slabs. The JDC pulled me aside and kindly informed me that slabs were the rows of taps by the Sick Bay, where students fetched water.

And that was my first encounter with a senior. Much as I hated the fact that I was rudely ejected from my bed without a choice in the matter, I like to think I won that round. If she looked closely, she may have spotted traces of saliva floating through her bottle of water. Or maybe not.  After all, I did give it a good shake!

New Series: Once Upon a Boarder

Hi folks!

Guess who’s back, back again. Waila’s back, tell a friend! #hieminem

Yes, we’ve been here before but let’s not dwell on that.

It feels good to be writing again but I must admit I’m a bit rusty. I don’t remember it taking me this long to churn out a post. I guess that’s my punishment for neglecting the craft for so long.

I’d like to thank the Twitterati for shaming me out of hiding. I’d been meaning to snap out of the funk and resume blogging but when one of my old blog posts suddenly started making the rounds on Twitter, I logged into my blog and was shocked at how long it had been since I had last published a post. I honestly thought it had only been a couple of months. Somebody say deluded!

Well, I’m back with a brand new series!

QC LogoYou know I like to document my memories and what better memories to pen than those I amassed at Secondary School?! If like me you went to a government boarding school in Nigeria, you will know that it was a life changing experience. For those of you that don’t know, I am a QC girl…that’s Queen’s College to my non Nigerian readers. It was one the most popular schools in the country and while I will admit it was one of the better government schools, there was nothing posh about it. Really, nothing!

Lack of ‘poshness’ aside, I don’t regret my time there. It taught me so much about the world and life in general. I always say that QC was a pretty good replica of the real world. There aren’t many schools where you will find the daughter of a driver sat next to the daughter of a multimillionaire. We had students cutting across the tribal, class and financial divides and it really did give you a glimpse of real life.

Many of the relationships I made there are still going strong and while academically I didn’t learn a damn thing, I did learn how to pass exams, iron without an iron and rebel without appearing rebellious!

In this series, I will share some of my secondary school stories with you. Each story will be complete so there’ll be no waiting for part two. It will be interjected with other posts though so if you find that next week I write about something different, be not confused.

The first story will be up this week. I am not active on Twitter so it’s not the best place to look for me. If you subscribe to this blog, you will get an email alert when the post is published. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates!

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/waila.caan

Instagram: @wailacaan

Happy Wednesday!

xXx

Waila

19 Bush Street : Part 2 of 2

For eight years we pleaded with God to bless us with a child. I prayed fervently, cried diligently and fasted religiously, starving myself until my pot belly deflated, my cheeks became hollow and my collar bone threatened to break free.

“Eat my darling, please eat!” she would cry, fearing for my life. Eat? Was food going to improve the quality of my sperm?  How could I eat, knowing I was the reason we were childless? Every night we knelt to pray, I asked God to forgive me for not telling her the truth; for not telling my wife that my non-existent sperm count was the reason we were childless.

My fast was a signal to God; I needed Him to feel my desperation, needed Him to see how much I was willing to sacrifice if He would only make a real man out of me.

“It is God that gives children,” they said, but that was no encouragement to me. Had I done something wrong, something that deserved such a severe punishment? I gave to the poor, fed the hungry and looked after widows hoping that God would see what a good person I was and have mercy on me.  I clung to hope, to the belief that the God I believed in would end my misery.

And then one day, the very thing I had been praying for, we had been praying for, finally happened.

That day, the day she told me she was pregnant, everything changed. Hope turned to the darkest form of despair, sorrow to a blinding rage. I knew then that I had surely offended God. After everything I had done for him, given up for him, how could he sit back and let this happen to me?

I saw fear in her eyes as she stood before me, silently begging for my understanding.

Shame embraced me tightly as the reality sunk in; another man had given her what I couldn’t. A better man, a real man, had stepped in and excelled where I had failed so miserably.

Shame turned to anger and I struck her across the face; twice. She stood still, tacitly urging me to carry on if it would make me feel better. It didn’t but I slapped her a third time for good measure. Still she said nothing, gave no explanation and in that moment, I knew that she never would.

There was no miracle about her pregnancy; no divine intervention or immaculate conception. Someone had impregnated my wife and neither I nor God was responsible. I knew it, God knew it and she sure as hell knew it. For months I had been unable to handle matters in the bedroom. The pressure to father a child and the guilt of the secret I was carrying had taken its toll on my libido.

Anger coursed through my veins as I imagined another man flooding her womb.

Did she love him? Did he love her? Was it a one night stand or were emotions involved? Who was he; someone I knew or a stranger she just met? Did she even know or were there a number of potential candidates?

Months went by and the bigger her belly grew, the hotter my anger burned. I wanted to tell the world she was no better than a common prostitute, selling herself for the seed of a man. I wanted the world to hate her for betraying me in the worst possible way but to do that would be to admit that I, the same man who cruised the streets of Lagos in cars ten times the size of my flowing agbadas, could not impregnate his own wife.  So I smiled when people congratulated me and sang praises to God on my behalf. And the more I had to smile the more I loathed her for making a fool of me.

I gave him my name but even before he was born, I knew I could never love him. I watched him as he grew to see if he resembled anyone I knew but he was the spitting image of his mother. I saw how her eyes would light up when she looked at him and hated him with every fibre of my being. He was a constant reminder of my inadequacy as a man and yet I had to feed and clothe him and pretend he wasn’t some faceless man’s bastard son. I prayed she would go and take her trash with her, but I should have known better. If my prayers didn’t work when I was giving away my wealth and starving myself, it certainly wouldn’t work now that I was at war with God.

I pummelled her, hoping she would pack her bags and leave, but she didn’t. I beat the crap out of him hoping the so called love of a mother would compel her to whisk her bastard to safety, and still she stayed. No matter how mean I was, how monstrously I behaved, she wouldn’t leave me.

I knew what she wanted, what she craved more than anything, but over my dead body would I give it to her. She would have to turn to God to absolve her of her guilt because I would never forgive her for defiling our marriage, for taking what was left of my pride and burning it to ashes.

19 Bush Street : Part 1 of 2

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His face was redder than I’d ever seen it, eyes bloodshot and spilling hot tears, scalding tracks along his cheeks. I’d see him cry many a time, usually in silence, but this, the state he was in, was new territory. I heard the cracks as his heart splintered, the sharp edges piercing his lungs, drawing blood and cutting off his air supply. I caught him in my arms as his knees gave way. It was then I felt the throbbing welts peppered across his back. Anger burned within me.

How could he do this to him?!

Yet I was powerless to act. I lowered myself to the ground, taking him down with me, gently rocking him as he cried out in agony, silence, no longer an option.

“It’s okay Baba, it’s okay,” I whispered over and over again as I continued to rock him in my arms.

“Why does he hate me so much, Tega?! What have I done to him?! I want to die Tega, I want to die! God please let me die, I am tired of living!”

I wanted to tell him everything would be alright but knew I’d be lying. If the things I had witnessed in the two weeks I had been living with them were anything to go by, it was only a matter of time before Baba’s wish would be granted.

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I’d met Big Uncle once before I came to live with him; when he came to Warri for Papa’s funeral. He was the golden boy of the family, the only one for generations to break free from the clutches of poverty. His hands fed many mouths, mouths that multiplied as poverty continued to breed poverty. He was a demi god, the saviour of the family. When he mentioned in passing that he was in need of domestic help, Mama latched on to his words like a baby suckling its mother’s breast. She offered me up speedily, eager to please her saviour. With Papa gone, life was about to get even tougher for her. Being in our benefactor’s good books was of the utmost importance.

I was excited, eager to see Lagos, the land of opportunity and the birth place of Big Uncle’s fortunes. The schools they said, were better and to Mama’s horror, Big Uncle had agreed to fund my education when I cheekily asked. The only reason she didn’t beat me black and blue was because He seemed pleased with the idea. I would go to school during the day and cook and do chores at night. I had dreams of going to University and the thought that I could potentially be the second ever graduate in the family, a student of Unilag, made me giddy with excitement. My chest thrust itself outwards and I walked around the family compound like a peacock about to take flight.

The day I told Papa I wanted to go to University, he laughed so hard, Mama had to pat his back furiously to stop him from choking. To prove a point, I sat JAMB and passed with flying colours. Not that anyone cared. I wasn’t going anywhere when Mama needed a hand frying akara in the market. Yet, here I was, packing my meager belongings, getting ready to leave the smell of stale oil and soaking beans behind.

When I arrived at 19 Bush Street and realised I would have a bedroom all to myself, I danced in circles till I became unsteady. I would no longer have to share a room with all three of my siblings. After years of dodging my younger sister’s fists as her subconscious dealt blow after blow in the midnight hour, I would have a bed all to myself. A proper bed complete with a mattress and bed sheet! Collapsing on the bed, I stared at the ceiling in awe. A fan stared back at me. A fan, a ceiling fan in my bedroom?! Heaven was finally smiling down on me.

The first time I saw Big Uncle beat Baba, I knew for sure that heaven had tricked me. I had traded in a lesser form of hell for the ultimate damnation. I had seen many parents beat their children, received many beatings from Papa myself, but this beating, was like nothing I had seen before. He unbuckled his belt, backed him up against the wall and flogged him till he collapsed to the ground. But for the sound of the leather slapping against Baba’s skin, the room was silent.

The speed with which Big Uncle’s hand contracted and relaxed as he swung blow after blow, left me speechless. Tears pricked the backs of my eyelids but I didn’t think I had the right to indulge in tears. If Baba could lie in silence while Big Uncle beat him for dead, who was I to cry?!

I stood motionless till satisfied with his handiwork, Big Uncle left the room. A part of me feared the blood stained body lying still against the wall, was a corpse. Staring intently, I willed it to come alive. What would people say if they heard that a man had used his hands to kill his own son?!
And then I saw his chest heave. Tears of relief streamed down my face.

Everything would be alright.

Two Become One Problems: Who Ate My Rice?!

If you think you’re the most selfless person that ever lived, I dare you to move into a house full of people and promise to be there for you when you realise just how selfish you really are. Don’t judge yourself too harshly though, communal living brings out the worst in us all. The manifestation of your selfishness will take different forms but today, we’ll be focusing on food.

A couple of days ago, I had a Facetime date with one of my girlfriends. At some point during the conversation, I noticed her opening up cupboard after cupboard, making a right racket. I almost died laughing when she confessed that she was looking for somewhere to hide a packet of biscuits from her husband! I couldn’t judge her though because heaven knows I have on occasion, rushed home from work to make sure I got to the leftovers in the fridge before my Yoruba boy. First come, first served!

Thanking you very much for your prayers, it will be well.

When you live with people, the contents of your fridge develop hands, legs, wings, propellers and all sorts of agents of transportation. But when you get married, it’s a whole new ball game. You see, when you live with strangers or even siblings, you can set boundaries. The boundary lines might be crossed by the brave amongst them but when you’re screaming at your sister for eating the bowl of rice you left in the fridge, you will feel justified. Try screaming at your husband when (and not if!) he eats the bowl of jollof rice you left in the fridge and if you don’t feel foolish as the words are flying out of your mouth, I envy you!

You see, the concept of two becoming one creates all kinds of problems in a home. It implies that what’s mine is yours and vice versa. There’s no more me, it’s now us. It means you cannot claim sole ownership of ANYTHING , especially things in the fridge, after all, OUR money paid for them. Never mind who journeyed to the supermarket, who stood sweating over the cooker and took the initiative to pack up the leftovers. All that one is for your pocket. Na who carry sense go market na him dey chop bellefull! In other words, you snooze you lose!

jollof

There are few things more painful in life than spending all day dreaming about the jollof rice in your fridge only to get home and find out it is no more. Such was my fate the other day. If not that shame would not have allowed me to cry, I would have wept for England. Alas, these are some of the problems that arise when two people are targeting one bowl of rice.

I have learnt my lesson.

I’m up and out of the house before my Yoruba boy gets out of bed so if there’s anything in the fridge I’m feeling particularly proprietal about, I get in there and take it to work with me. I will leave him to come up with his own strategy.

Every man for himself, God for us all!

xXx

Waila

Fighting For Forver: Part V (Final)

They say good things happen in three’s but bad things I tell you, happen by the dozen. I started my day rowing with Alex and it was downhill from there on in. My conversation with Nneka didn’t help matters but when I got to work to find that my MD was wanted by the EFCC for fraud, my day fell apart at the seams. Having being tipped off, he’d absconded to England with his family the previous day. The building was on security watch and operations, shut down by the commission.
How were Alex and I going to survive?!
I didn’t even get the opportunity to reclaim my personal effects. The place was ferociously guarded by frustrated policemen, hungry for opportunities to let off steam. I watched in horror, as they slapped Femi, the IT guy, senseless, for daring to attempt to bribe his way into the building. As tensions rose between angry staff and frustrated officers, I climbed back in my car and slowly made my way home. After the row we’d had earlier, I didn’t know how to break the news to Alex.
As I crawled along the streets of Victoria Island, I remembered the day he told me he’d lost his job. I suddenly understand how he must have felt. His distraught speech about needing time to get himself together suddenly made sense.
Where was I going to start from trying to find a new job?
I knew I’d been hard on him, I’d seen what happened when men got lazy and there was no way I was going to let him fall into that cycle, but for the first time, I realised I’d been unfair to him too.
I remembered when we first started dating. We were only two months into the relationship when mum had a stroke. At the time I told him I’d never forget everything he did to help her, but I lied. It’s wasn’t till I was sat in the car, dreaming up ways to avoid telling him my job had gone down the drain, that I remembered.
I’d forgotten how he’d sold his second car to help settle the hospital bills. I’d forgotten how he’d employed someone to look after her because I was away a lot with work. I remembered the sacrifices he made to ensure she had everything she needed.
I remembered the first time I tried to pay the electricity bill after we got married; he looked at me like I’d lost my mind, said it was his responsibility to provide for me and not the other way round. Up until he lost his job, he’d never asked me for a penny.
I had forgotten that.
I remembered how excited he got every time he had a new project at work. He’d bounce ideas off me and I’d dutifully listen, many times feigning interest. Many nights he’d stay at work long after his colleagues had called it a day, trying to perfect his designs. The man had loved his job.
I had forgotten that.
My fears had blinded me to the reality that the man I married is nothing like the man I accuse him of being. Slamming down on the gas, I sped home to say the words I should have said when he came home lost and hurting having just lost his job,
“We’ll get through this.”

Fighting For Forever: Part IV

“What do you mean you lost your job?” she asked, her eyebrows meeting in the centre of her forehead.

“I got fired, sacked, get it?!”

“Don’t get smart with me, you know what I mean.”

“I’m sorry babe, it’s just that today has been the worst day of my life. I don’t know how to feel, what to think.”

“You still haven’t explained what happened.”

I took her by the arm and led her to the sofa. I hated having to admit to her that I’d failed and foolishly too. I knew how proud she was of me and everything I’d achieved in the 4 years we’ve been together. I opened my mouth to explain how it had happened but the weight of my shame silenced me.

“Go on Alex, talk to me. Your silence is driving me crazy!”

“I’m sorry, I just feel like such an idiot. I made a big mistake that lost the company a multi-million dollar contract. I swear I didn’t know the guy was a conman. I didn’t know!”

“Calm down Alex and start from the beginning,” she said, clasping my hands in hers, her fingers drawing comforting strokes.”

“Remember the deal I told you about? Turns out the guy I contracted to supply the marble tiles was a fraud.”

“How’s that possible? I thought you said you were using Zania? They are the largest importers of marble in Africa!”

“Yeah they are but it turns out the guy doesn’t work for them.”

“Didn’t you check him out? But you said you said he showed you round their warehouse in Matori?”

“Honey, I don’t understand it. I even went to his office in their main building on Adeola Odeku. I don’t know how the guy did it. He gave us an invoice and we paid for the tiles but they didn’t arrive on the day he said they would. When we tried to call him to find out what was going on we got no response so I sent one of my assistants to his office. I was dumbfounded when she came back and said she was told no one by that name worked there. I went there myself and met the MD, he confirmed it. I explained what had happened and he asked to see the contracts and all the paper work. Turns out they were all fake.”

“Oh my God, Alex this is huge!”

“Like that wasn’t bad enough, the client threatened us with legal action if we didn’t produce either the tiles or their money so the company had to pay back the money. It wasn’t my fault Karen, it wasn’t but the losses were too great, someone had to pay for it.”

“I’m so sorry baby, I know it wasn’t your fault.” She cradled my head against her breasts while I sobbed my heart out. Everything I’d worked for was gone in an instant. My reputation was in shreds and I was forced to pay back the $200,000 commission I had received for landing the project. No other design firm in the country would hire me, my MD had made that much clear to me.

“Don’t worry about it baby, things will work out,” she soothed, stroking my head, “you’ll get another job and things will go back to normal soon enough.”

“To be honest Karen, I don’t even know what I want to do with myself anymore. No design firm will hire me now and to be honest, I’m not sure I want them to. I need time to get my head around this and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Perhaps this is God’s way of getting me to explore other options.”

“When up say you need time, how long are we talking? A couple of days? A week?”

“A month, maybe two. I don’t know babe. I just need time to get my head round this.”

Her fingers stilled against my head and looked up into her eyes questioningly.

“And how are we supposed to survive while you’re getting your head round this?”

“I know it’s not ideal but we could live on you salary till I sort something out.”

“Ah, I see. I’m supposed to go out to work, while you laze around all day right?!”

“Karen!”

“Don’t Karen me! This is how it starts. One month turns to six and before you know it it’s been sixteen years and you’re still trying to get yourself together. If you think I’m going to work my butt off while you live a life of leisure, do yourself a favour and get that fantasy out of your head.”

“Who said anything about living a life of leisure? All I said is I need a little time to figure out where to go from here, is that too much to ask? I know what my responsibilities are as a man, as your husband, and you should know better than to think I’m trying to abdicate them!”

“Story! All I know is you need to find a job and fast too. You want to take a break from your career? Joker! The next thing I know you’ll be spending your days getting drunk in front of the TV and slamming my head against walls. If you thought you’d struck it lucky, you had better think again. I am not my mother.”

“And I Karen, am not your Father.”

Fighting For Forever: Part III

As I stormed out of the house trying not to slam doors, I could scarce contain my anger.
Where does the man get off thinking he can get away with trying to feel me up when he knows I’m mad at him?!
A voice in my head tried to tell me that perhaps I was being a little harsh but I silenced it. I know I’ve been mean to him lately but there’s nothing like tough love to cure a lazy man. I’ll drop dead before I turn into my mother!
Desperate to vent I called my best friend Nneka.
“Alex needs to get his act together because I have no intention of financing his lazy ass for much longer. This is not the life I signed up for. Who wants a man that can’t look after his family?!”
“Good morning to you too.”
“Whatever Nneka, I’m serious! I’m sick of Alex’s crap!”
“Calm down Karen, you know Alex isn’t that kind of man. He is just going through a difficult patch. He’ll be back on his feet soon enough.”
“Yeah, that’s what my mother said for 20 years while my father sat on his ass getting drunk and fat off her hard work.”
“Haba! How can you say that?! Alex is nothing like your father! He will find a job soon enough, be patient with him. You’re his wife, you should be supporting him. Cut the guy some slack. He has been good to you and deserves the same from you now that he is in a difficult place.”
“And I haven’t I been good to him too? In the last six months I’ve paid every bill that needed paying, fed him and fuelled his car so he could attend the many meetings he claimed would help get him a job. I’m done doing it. If he really wanted a job he’d have found one by now. He knows people, surely it’s not that difficult?! ”
“Wow Karen, when did you become so unfeeling? And since when is finding a job in Lagos or anywhere in the world for that matter, not that difficult?”
“You know what, you’re getting on my nerves. I will speak to you later.”
I hung up without waiting for a response. I forget how annoying Nneka can be. It’s why she gets on so well with my mum, association of door mats. I can’t stand weak women. I love Alex but I’m no fool.
Karen, don’t you think you’re being too hard on the man? You know he has been trying.
I remembered how my mum would rush home from work night after night to cook dinner for a man who had done nothing but sit in front of the TV all day. One day, she came home late and he was so mad that he wasn’t served dinner at the usual time, he beat her till she ran out of the house screaming for help. I will never forget the sight of her kneeling in the driveway begging for his forgiveness, after he locked her out of the house. The house her salary paid for. It was the moment I lost all respect for her. She is a weakling but I, Karen, am made of sterner stuff.
If Alex thought he was marrying my mother’s daughter, he thought wrong.

Fighting For Forever: Part II

I remembered the first time I took Karen to see my mother. Knowing how quick mama’s tongue is, I’d briefed her on the right things to say and do. As soon as mama came into the living room, Karen fell to her knees and greeted her like a good servant would greet his master. I was impressed. When mama went into the kitchen to serve lunch, she trailed her offering to help. Not wanting to be left on my own, I followed them into the kitchen but one sharp look from mama told me I wasn’t welcome. I groaned as I realised she intended to grill Karen. Much as I wanted to protect her from mama’s interrogation, I realised it would have to happen at some point so I conceded and left them to it.
Half an hour later when they both surfaced with smiles on their faces, I breathed a sigh of relief. All through lunch Karen wouldn’t shut up about how fantastic a cook mama was and I was certain she had passed the test when she promptly cleared the table and offered to do the dishes after lunch. I couldn’t have been more shocked when mama called me later that night and gave her verdict.
“My son, leave that girl, she is not a good woman.”
“Mama! How can you say that?! You met her today, what’s not to like?!”
“I am a woman and your mother at that. I know a good wife when I see one and I am telling that she will not make you a good wife.”
“You can’t just say that,” I groaned in frustration, “help me understand how you came to that conclusion.”
“It’s in her eyes my son, she smiles a lot but the smile doesn’t reach her eyes. She is shrewd, she is not a kind person.”
“How can you know that when you’ve only just met her? I’ve been dating her for two years and she’s never yet given me reason to agree with you.”
“Call it feminine intuition but I know what I’m saying. I’m your mother, I won’t lie to you. Oju e buru gan, her eyes are wicked.”
I was furious with the old woman. The very eyes that made me feel like a million dollars when they smiled at me, how could she call them wicked?!
“Look mama, we both know how you are. You never see the good in people, always quick to criticise. Karen is the woman I have chosen to marry. If you want to convince me otherwise, you’ll have to come up with something better than this your wicked eyes theory.”
“My son, you are not a baby. Marry whoever you want to marry but know that the day I cease to tell you the truth is the day I will join your father in the grave. I cannot sit back and watch you make a mistake without saying my piece. If you want to marry her, marry her but for your sake, I hope the blackness I see in her eyes is just her pupils.”
“I’m grateful for the advice but I think I know Karen better than you do. She is a lovely girl and I have no doubt she will make me happy. You wanted me to find a wife, I’ve found one. Please be happy for me, that’s all I ask.”

Oh mama, I wish I’d listened to you!

Karen has made my life hell the last six months. Initially I told myself I deserved her anger. I’d made a mistake and though a part of me wanted her support and understanding, on some level, I felt I deserved to be punished for being so gullible. Any fool that does business with a man that wears a white suit in this Lagos deserves to be conned! But six month of hostility from my wife was more than I deserved. I’ve begged, grovelled and worked my butt off trying to find a new job. What more does she want?
I will never forget her reaction the day I broke the news to her. It was the first time I saw what my mother saw in her eyes. Blackness.