The Parting…4

rel-18-when-your-date-divorcedDivorced.

It didn’t sound as bad as everyone made it out to be.

It had been a crappy arrangement from the get go but I did want it to work.

I walked to the tall windows at the back of the bed, one of the few things the bastard bought, probably just to make sure he tasted me. I shook my head vigorously as memories assailed me of our first painful night together. At least for me.

I watched from the window as Debo drove away in her Red Murano. She worried too much and drove me a little insane quite frankly. She felt guilty, everyone did. My mother didn’t call me as much as she used to, my junior ones more or less never came over to visit no more and Debo stopped by to stare and make meaningless conversation.

I was divorced not dead for Pete’s sake!

I walked briskly from my large empty bedroom through the pale yawning corridor and into the sparsely fitted living room. I headed for the fridge to pull out a Fanta, my staple meal these days, and sat on the grey L shaped sofa set I had purchased 3 months ago while building my fantasy life.

The memories flooded unbidden as I became too weary to fight them. In a way I didn’t want to. I loved to go over the details, painstakingly. I knew I had done nothing wrong.

It was all on him. On Jonah.

His proposal…not flowery. To the point, promising care, asking for patience.

The plans…with Debo and my family for a bridal shower, garden wedding, the way I was going to arrange my home, raise my kids. Too far.

His calls that rained  during courtship that more or less began to drip from the day after our wedding

My insistence on an announcement with a small wedding or even to friends and family.

His need to always leave me or never turn up citing the reason of having to go ‘home‘ An aching reminder that when it concerned me, I wasn’t ‘home‘.

Insisting, asking, almost pleading for everything… time, attention, money, to keep to his promises…

The living room was suddenly plunged in darkness. I smiled. NEPA. Yawning, I rose. I had lied to Debo that I was going to drive over to my parent’s and spend the night. No-one wanted me to stay alone.

Well, I was doing no such thing. I wanted to be alone.

Today, my life as a single woman began. Again… but with a difference.

No more Daddy’s girl.

No more trying to please the world by getting married or towing the line of tradition.

I really want kids…maybe I’ll adopt but for now my nieces and nephews will do.

They’re more important things in life than some man that let me go in 8 months without a fight but hung on my every word and chased me for about a year! For Pete’s sake what had he been looking for? A legal prostitute? He got one alright!

All the gifts Jonah had gotten me, lay in a heap on the plush orange carpet in the bedroom. I was going to burn them. I paused a little and then hysterical laughter began to rise.

Why? Everything he had gotten me alongside everything I had purchased to keep up this facade, the former paled in significance.

Abeggi! I donned a bright pink nightdress and lay on the 6 by 6 monstrosity. It was comfortable.

The tears came hard and fast. I didn’t stop them. It didn’t matter how many times I rationalised it… knew I was right… they came any way. The regrets, the pain, the betrayal, the shame…

My tears rocked me to sleep.

I will wake weary and tired again tomorrow but free.

I am not sure of picking up any pieces but I am sure no-one will be breaking me into them.

Unless my strength fails me…then there’s the alternative.

I felt insane peace at the thought.

And it always works…always.

Out of sight is out of mind, Jonah used to intone.

Something we definitely agreed on.

 

Concluded.

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Today I noticed…Day 10

who-am-i-david-bowden-spoken-worSigh!

And I did it, the last day of the challenge which I thoroughly enjoyed!

 

Today I noticed…the things my life revolved around and being content with them

The struggle to be happy in myself comes when my 2 make me unhappy.

I don’t mind the quiet

I know my friend, sister, confidante, bouncer of ideas, Mother, Father, ATM:), you name it, ride and die… they are true.

That no one man has your mumu button

You let life live, settle in the pit

Rise in your words, talk or the screen

Intentionalise your actions as ibaadah, and not be found wanting

Smell like a rose, you must…inside and your surroundings not on you

Ride the pain sis…ride

All things come to pass

 

This is life

Happiness in me

Without makeup

Being healthy

Loving my values

Being grateful

Thankful for my childhood

Living my Islam

Careful on the internet

Immersed in the life of two, with no life at all.

Can I live like this? Who doesn’t?

And that is the real peace we all try to find.

 

Today I noticed…the things my life revolved around and being content with them

All I am and not.

I hurt by others and not by You enough

I think bu others and not by You enough

I love by others and not by You enough

I do not rise by others but by You alone

And this is enough for me.

 

 

 

Intervention…Part 3

couple-small-as-1030x543My mouth was probably still agape but I didn’t make any moves to close it. Thank God it was over a phone line but this was no time to worry about holes but to fix them.

‘I am coming over’, I said into the phone and hung up. I am sure it sounded more like a shout even though I was trying to hit a mild calm tone but I was shaken.

I had seen Seyi thrice since her 7 month marriage to my brother, Jonah. I had always thought she was a whisper of a girl that couldn’t chew hot yam. She had been so shy and quiet at the wedding and I could tell her entire family was a little petrified.

Her meekness was evident again the first time she came to visit after the wedding. She had come bearing fruits to see Mummy. She barely recognised me but greeted clumsily almost slipping unto the ground. She always kept her gaze to the ground. I wasn’t sure I even knew what she truly looked like.

The third time was the famous wedding of Antonia’s brother. She had come with a friend and practically swept past me with her gaze everywhere but on the crowd. Jonah had mentioned she hated crowds. He must have called her attention to her rudeness cause she came to apologise profusely as she hadn’t seen me she said. She made it a point to serve me for the rest of the event.

I never interfered or asked questions but no-one was blind. It was the only family event I had seen her at. Not at the Richaka celebrations to which the whole family spent with Mummy or at Lola’s baby’s naming ceremony, but we all knew Jonah, he was tight lipped when it came to his women so all was probably fine.

As I drove to our agreed meeting point, an office address in Gbagada, I heard her voice over the line, sharp and definitely not meek. ‘I would like a separation from Jonah’

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

She sat head bowed in the visitors chair. It was the office space of her father’s friend. I couldn’t believe my ears.

Jonah had just killed me! Literally and physically! What manner of behavior is this? It couldn’t be true.

She had sent the last 2 hours recounting her ordeal being ‘married’ to my brother. My whole body was recoiling in anger and shame. Of course I did not believe her at first, so by the time she had begun to explain how he never came to see her and was counting the amount of times she had seen him in 7 months, I had halted her, stepped out of the room and placed a call to my brother.

I spoke harshly pushed by the anger and bewilderment I had heard in Seyi’s voice. Once I was done, the first thing Jonah said was to stay calm as everything she said was true. He began to explain something but a vessel in my brain burst and I cut him short in disbelief. ‘Jonah, we went to this girl’s house and married her. You didn’t pick her from the street and for 7 months, you have spent a record 10 days with her, taken her virginity and not provided for her in any way? Is this a marriage?’

Jonah went quiet and then deliberately hung up . I knew what that meant. Jonah was the younger but the bread winner of the family. He was my bread winner. He was upset and my package for the month I might have to eat humble pie to remind him about. I knew that meant to struggle to provide for Midey and to pay part of my son, Teefeh’s fees but I was too angry to care.

I still had values and this was wrong.

I opened the door briefly and saw Seyi standing by the window with tears running down her face. She didn’t hear me enter. It was the first time I had truly seen her face. It was drawn, tired and young. I quickly cleared my throat. She turned her face quickly to clean up and returned to the chair. My heart twisted. Jonah was a lot of things but will he really do this? Did I know my own brother?

“It’s going to be okay Seyi. Jonah is my brother. Let me speak to him and let’s then have a meeting’. I saw her frown and quickly interjected. ‘I know, this will be like the umpteenth meeting all at your instigation, but that is what we have to do to make it work.’

I looked at her and I saw Anthonia and then Lola’s faces but this was different. Seyi’s was blank. She had given up and as I opened my mouth to re-assure her yet again, a little voice begged me to be silent. I was a man. Deep down I knew what was happening here. It was more than a little incredulous and not believable but sadly, it was true.

He didn’t care anymore. Seyi may suffer this alone.

And no matter what happens, Jonah was still my brother.

This was crazy and unfair.

She was young, strong and a woman. Stereotypical but, she will survive. I sighed deep inside in pain, she had to.

My chest…

…to be continued

 

 

Today I noticed …Day 9

whatsapp image 2019-01-25 at 08.53.29Today I noticed… happiness.

I have been feeling pretty down on the inside. It’s hard to describe.

I feel like a shadow of myself around my family and obligations.

My husband is quick to tell me how to handle money, that I have no idea what’s up and as much as I have an opinion, I keep the peace.

I don’t take care of the household and kitchen right.

My sister believes I am the quickest way to find honesty and release.

So my opinion on a matter is slammed down. The way I take of my children is seriously lacking. I make too much noise. Not helpful. I don’t listen, remember or tell a tale right.

It is frustrating…and because they are my joy, I die a little inside when they put me down. Peck up again because…well they still come back to let me know how much they love me…are grateful…and I know they do.

And that’s what matters isn’t it?

But it still hurts…and when I am bruised, I almost forget and in that moment, want to rise up, shout, scream, let loose…and my inability stabs me yet again.

It’s your loved ones that write your death notes.

But…

…for every little death, I realise my happiness…my strength is me. I walk away from them and find it…

In my Lord when I pray

In the playfulness of my imagination and thoughts

In my belief that this will count so much more if I record it as ibaadah

With my acquaintances at work, who ironically, are scared to speak in mock reverence

But respect my thoughts, words, work and opinions

In the words I read, like the book I am reading right now that spurred these thoughts…

In you, the words that pour through my fingertips from my soul

Massa and suya washed down with Zobo relish

The thought of my little girl’s squeal

The memory of my boys regaling me with a tale

Surprising my husband with a gift

Sharing a gossip with my sister

Giving of myself and what I own

Giving of what I cherish and all I know

Loving

Living

Life

 

Today I realised… happiness.

 

And it’s me

In me

All of me

Alhamdullilah

Today I noticed…Day 8

Forgive me challenge, I missed yesterday, should be rounding up but here I am.

I always like to write on my laptop/computer but decided that won’t bring me down.

Let’s do this!

Today I noticed…a stranger

We work together in the same office for over 10 years, I even know his name but I really noticed him for the 1st time.

I have never written about anyone except my boo or sister in detail on these pages but today I will like to write about two total strangers.

In the earlier part of my day, I attended a meeting. In my new job of barely 2 years, I am opportune to meet people I never have before, so that could be my excuse

He came into the meeting with an idea. My job handles ideation alot.

He presented succinctly, drawing to us into his thought process. He toggled between speaking in your typical Nigerian style and an American accent. Everyone in the room, naturally gravitated to him. It seemed like the norm.

I wasn’t a big fan of the overall idea, personal bias, but I tell you what I noticed about this stranger; he was observant, thoughtful of others, didn’t want to carry his idea alone, thorough, when we all spoke, he remained silent. And if you didn’t speak, he prompted to know why. I have to admit I was impressed. His attitude spoke volumes. Even on the call he had to take in the meeting, he was respectful, hurried and not verbose.

These all sound like givens after all, that’s how human beings should behave. As you can tell, that is not the case.

Most people talk too much… preferring the sound of their voice. Cannot be bothered if others contribute but most of all do not listen.

One last thing, we had never met and so as he left, he looked straight at me and smiled. It was a smile of awareness…I get that alot …and said, ‘It was nice meeting you.’

To the gentleman, the younger generation need you. We need you to teach them.

My 2nd stranger I’d known from a distance. He was loud, boisterous and a family person. Everyone liked to be in his circle. I always wondered why. You couldn’t help but notice him. He greets everyone regardless of level. To be honest, I have no idea about his work ethic. He is a jollofing kind of guy!

As I walked out of the office, we struck an unlikely conversation about the GOAT of Tennis and Wimbledon. Amazing the connection. Wow! I get it now Sir! Pretty sure I’ll be in his crowd next time.

Today I noticed 2 complete strangers … And I hope they noticed back.

I hope I presented Islam well.

May Allah guide me aright. Amin.

Today I noticed…Day 7

16530251-abstract-word-cloud-for-value-system-with-related-tags-and-termsToday  I noticed…yet again…how blind sided we are by our opinions without a value system.

It’s election time again…the most moronic time in the history of Nigerians.

I hear people speak volumes over the radio with opinions of how they think a government should run.

The office floors are inundated by the caucuses formed in support of different candidates.

It is a maddening frenzy every four years, one I have kept myself well away from all of my adult life.

Yes, I do not vote or campaign. Its against my deen.

Laugh, insult me, that’s fine. But you will not budge me from that belief.

As with all things in a belief system, there are some things that are sacrosanct, no argument and maybe also no understanding except faith. Like performing Hajj or Fasting. Voting is not one of them.

Think about it, there is nothing wrong with a ballot system. We can take a vote to see who sits in the front seat, travels with Daddy or who’s turn it is to make breakfast but to lead people? No.

I ‘voted‘ for my husband or vice versa. Some will say he campaigned for at least 6 months for me to choose him, and that will be correct. He campaigned for me to choose him to be my leader, fully aware of his responsibilities.  In the end, we choose each other because of one unshakable fact, we share common values and faith.

How would I dine, lie and bear children  for one who’s values I don’t share? That becomes my first yard stick in picking a leader.

When it comes to one man leading a Village, Town, State, a country, the scenario changes. And since all of us cannot investigate him, like a husband or a wife, then we should be allowed to choose WHO WE KNOW. Who we believe will do right by us because He fears the consequences of not doing so.

The Sahabas picked their Khalifa from the lifestyle they led. The person they trusted and then, thrust…in fact, forced leadership on him. To them, he could not live outside who he was to the best of their knowledge. Every Khalifa chosen, shunned leadership, afraid of the great responsibility they will account for to Allah for but where encouraged by the people till they took it. Even the Prophet SAW, refused to begin the duty of his mantle in fear of not being worthy enough. But once they picked up the toga, their duty was first to Allah and then the people.

So you know why a vote by someone who presents himself to the people is drop down ridiculous! We are fooled to believing the party shops and picks him but then I am confused why money has to exchange hands if people do not lobby to lead. Suffice it to say, I do not vote and I stand by it as a Muslim and an individual.

Now, in the present clime, the current President has ‘failed’ the people. Tough, he is just a man. Supposedly with good intentions but the structure is believed to tie him down, or his lack of a listening ear, or his stubbornness or a mix of all. May Allah assist him. He is however widely known to be a man of integrity.

Now the field is open and with 75 or so parties and maybe 7 presidential ones, the flag bearer of the topmost 2 parties are dividing up the polity.

ballot-boxes-nigeria-election

One is the failed president, the second is a former VP widely known to be a crook. In a bid to remove the failing president, a lot of people choose to vote the ‘crook’. Their intonation, ‘We need to bring down this non-performer.’

Where is our conscience? Even if nothing changes, why will I record in history to have been a stepping stone in anyway to wrong? What will I tell my children and their unborn children. What will I tell myself?

My job is to pray for my leader, no matter who sits on the chair of responsibility for this is what my Rabb asks I do. But how do I speak up or against an oppressor, when I willingly put him there to correct the wrong of another? Will he not take his pound of flesh in the end?

I do not believe in the lesser of two evils. There is always another way. What about choosing someone we trust? Let our might truly speak by going out and choosing someone we want, someone totally different, who will radically change structures and make a difference? Anything short f that, I refuse to be a part.. And with that conscience, my value system, I can face my future, the questioning of my grandchildren insha Allah…and my Lord. I can live with myself.

Whatever happens, I will be praying for anyone that gets to that position…obey him… and do my best by this country. This I promise.

Today I noticed the death of man’s value system.

And I shrunk and died inside

May Allah keep me firm on belief and this deen till my last breath. Amin.

How…?

1_4s91THSwG6Pttxo4nYNHfg.png

Indeed how does one live without the Supreme One Allah?

How do you look upon yourself and think you are all that is and is needed?

Tell me, if creation does not stupefy you, scare you, dazzle you, petrify you

Then shouldn’t life?

 

How was I created?

To be this person, walking , talking, with a mind of my own?

With hope, dreams, wishes, needs, wants and opinions?

 

How do I look up to the sky and shed tears?

How do I wear clothes, purchase them, know what they are?

How am I sized and framed?

 

How do I hate milk but can eat yogurt?

Do I think that it is my food that nourishes me?

Do I think it is my hands that provides my provisions?

When I am ill, do I really think its that tablet of vitamin C that cures me?

 

When I take off in the dead of night, in a car with a total stranger,

Do I think it is the SMS GPS I send to my loved ones that protects me?

The locked doors in my apartment, does it really keep out the intruder?

The roof over my head does it really keep away the wind, slate and rain?

The snakes, rats and reptiles…? When in one gust of wind, by His command, all will be wiped clean.

 

Is it not Him that Creates, Decides, Decrees, Knows, Sees and Judges?

Is it not to Him that all return?

Do I know my fate in the morrow except what I expect from the knowledge of my feeble existence?

 

What will I be in two days from now, a year from now, decades from now?

Will He grant me that long?

Do I not fear my meeting with him?

Do I not fear the day my breath finally leaves my body?

When all aches, pains, creeks stop and something…I know not what… takes its place?

What will life be like then?

 

My loved ones gone years before, how are they now? Waiting?

For a time.. years… centuries yet to come?

A wait without knowledge except what He alone has permitted.

Subhanallah!

 

I am nothing and yet, He alone, has made me something, without my permission

Sperm I am

 

Ya Allah, how should your servant be at all times?

A servant.

A lowly servant.

Living in this world, not like a Lord,

But in fear and hope of My Rabb

For you created me, feed me, provide for me, define my existence

 

Rich, poor, ugly, small, healthy or sick, there is only one thing that is true

All things belong and return to You