A curve ball is said to be a kind of pitch in baseball. It is explained that when a curve ball is thrown, the ball doesn’t travel in a straight line as expected but curves downward as it gets…
Source: A CURVED BALL
A curve ball is said to be a kind of pitch in baseball. It is explained that when a curve ball is thrown, the ball doesn’t travel in a straight line as expected but curves downward as it gets…
Source: A CURVED BALL
A curve ball is said to be a kind of pitch in baseball. It is explained that when a curve ball is thrown, the ball doesn’t travel in a straight line as expected but curves downward as it gets close to the batter (the one who hits the ball with a bat) and it makes the ball very hard to hit.
It is therefore safe to say that when life throws us a curved ball, it is meant to surprise us with something that is difficult or unpleasant to deal with.
Maybe you just lost a job or you have been down with an illness. Or friends that you thought would be there for you are the very ones who stabbed you in the back.
Yours might be failure at an examination you had studied so hard for or a love relationship gone terrible. For some, it might be the death of a loved one and you think you cannot go on with life anymore.
These are situations that were in the least expected, meaning there were no plans in place to forestall their occurrence.
So yes, it happened. Are you going to lay there regretting not hitting the ball or for not seeing it come as a curved ball; or are you going to get up, re-position yourself and make damn sure that the next throw from the pitcher gets hit so hard by your bat?
No one stays in a pity party for long, they all leave after a little while and leave you to lick your wounds all by yourself, then pray tell me, why throw the pity party in the first place?
Think of life as a competition with yourself to make you become better and to eventually win. You have got to fight back, reclaim your victory, sing that song again, write that story again, open up your heart to love again, seek that new business opportunity again.
No matter what happens, you have got to promise yourself that you will win at this game. Winners are not born, they are made.
Strive to be better!!!
Wow, November. Yay!! The year is almost coming to an end.
It’s the 11th month of the year and one common thing to note is to see people hurrying to make things happen. There are deals to close, businesses to set up, homes to build, jobs to resign from, examinations to write and the list is endless.
Some have been on it since the beginning of the year and realizing that they still haven’t attained what they wanted; they delve in more and try to ensure they get it done.
Some others actually didn’t do anything since the beginning of the year. They thought they still had time and only just realized that time waits for no one. Now they are hurrying to see what they can do to at least get it done on time.
Some do not even have a clue what to do. They see people rushing to close deals or start up that dream project, etcetera before the year ends. They wonder what the end of the year rush is about. They planned to do something different in January, but circumstances prevented them. They allowed their present circumstance or FEAR to dictate, hence not being able to actually get anything done.
Which of these do you belong to? Have you started or about to? Or you do not even know what exactly to do? Or how to go about it?
Have you been the same person since January till date? Or you have blossomed into your dream’s desire? What new skill have you learnt? What new partnerships have you formed? What new thing are you bringing to the table?
Remember, God didn’t create us empty. There definitely is a lot of deposit in you. Discover it…Develop it…Use it. Don’t let FEAR keep you from manifesting.
Towards a better you!!
Lately on the social media, a lot of innovations are being bought to the fore. There have been a lot of online contents videos that makes you wonder if it’s going out of fashion.
Most of these are found personal video blogs (vlogs) and some on the new rave of the moment (Going Live on Facebook).
While I do not hold brief for any of them, I must say that they often churn out great online content. Most of those videos range from how to start your own online content, how to design your blog, how to get your target audience and the likes. They offer you some tips for free and then you have to pay a certain amount of money to purchase the “real deal” if you are actually serious about learning. Your inboxes gets bombarded with lots of emails you sometimes wonder if you should unsubscribe.
My two cents on the matter is this: NO ONE can motivate you better than YOURSELF. No one knows you like you do. Sometimes, you can’t even explain you to yourself. The only thing these “motivators” do is to encourage you, but you have got to have something on the inside that needs to be motivated into existence.
Find yourself first. Study about yourself. Take stock of your past and use it to forecast your future. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Know your limits. Set your realistic goals and targets. Be aware of your environment. Improve on yourself. Use Google.
Don’t measure yourself by another’s opinion of you. Plan to take it one step at a time. Don’t beat yourself up if you do fail. There won’t be success stories if there hadn’t been failures!
If you do not believe in yourself enough, no matter what anyone tells you out there, you are never going to be able to become the picture they paint of you.
Keep Being Better!!!!
Picture Credit: Bizreport
The road to finding oneself sometimes are not the easiest of roads to take. Will Dapo find his? Are the roads paved with gold or pain?
Source: Finding Grace
“How do I begin my story? Where do I start from? I‟m not sure many will believe it ever happened. This is no fable….
My name is Adedapo Obe and I am forty three years old. I was born into affluence and my father was also a crown prince. It meant we got to enjoy royal treatment when occasion demands. Life was good as I had a lot of things at my beck and call.
My mother, Madam Titilayo Obe is an epitome of beauty. She exuded grace and charm, everyone loved to be around her. Unfortunately, they had just me hence mother pampered me to a fault. Dad often scolded her for the excesses and would normally say
“You will spoil this boy and he will eventually rot if you do not be a little firm with him”. Mother always had something to say in defense. She loved me too much. I knew it and used it to my advantage all the time.
I once drove my father‟s car against his knowledge, a car he had actually warned me to stay clear of. Thankfully, I got back home before he did and mother took the blame. She told him she had gotten a little distracted and didn‟t know when the car veered off the road into an electrical pole. I was only fifteen and under the Nigerian law, not old enough to drive a car.
I miraculously passed my A’level examination and my parents were over the moon with joy. I did all other required examinations and luckily got admitted into a renowned university in Canada. I was admitted to study Chemical engineering.
I told my parents I didn‟t want to stay in campus, against the school rules but my dad would have none of it, but my mother pulled it off. She travelled with me so I
could settle into school before she left for Nigeria. I lived a lavish lifestyle on campus.
By the end of the second semester, I had gotten introduced to hard drugs. I skipped classes and my grades got affected. I was mugged by some certain group of guys on my way from a friend‟s party. I was beaten to a pulp but a certain guy came along and helped me home. His name was Mike and it was he who introduced me to DEUCE, the club for the elites.
I was fascinated at the kinds of people who were part of Deuce. There were professors and lecturers amongst us. I even saw some of my faculty members there and it was later I found out it was set up to take out the enemies of club members. I was asked if I had enemies I would like them to take care and I told them I wanted them to find those who mugged me and bring them to book.
Two weeks later, Mike told me my muggers had been found and would be punished at the next club meeting. When we got there, four guys were tied to chairs and their faces covered. I was asked to remove the paper bags used in covering their faces and after I did, I realized that I hadn‟t seen their faces before, because the guys who mugged me didn‟t cover their faces.
I told the house to let them go as they were the wrong people but they would have none of it. They argued that someone just had to pay for what happened to me. I tried to persuade them and right before my eyes, our leader shot the four guys in the chest with a silenced pistol. As the floors fell to the floor with the chairs, I realized that my life also wasn‟t safe with them. So, I got deeper in the atrocities they committed else they turn back against me.
By the fall of the following year, my grades had gotten so bad I was asked to withdraw from school. I couldn‟t go home and I stayed back, pretending to my parents I was still a student at the university.
Then one day, Mike who was into shop lifting as a hobby had asked me to tag along. I refused initially but succumbed. We were caught and sentenced but I bagged only four months because I was a first time offender. After I served my sentence, I had to come back to Nigeria. There was nothing else for me to do in Canada.
Back In Nigeria.
I got back to Nigeria and couldn‟t go straight home. I hung around a bar in our neighborhood till it was dark, then I went home. I didn‟t want prying eyes. My mother was shocked to see me home without a prior notice. I ought to have informed them I was coming home and the driver would have come to pick me up from the airport, she lamented. Father didn‟t even raise his head from the newspaper he was reading before my entry.
The fact was father had been informed by my school and the Canadian authority when I was arrested. It was then he got to know I had even been sent away from the university but refused to share the information with my mother so that she wouldn‟t hurt herself from much worry.
Mother broke down in tears and was inconsolable. “Dapo why, why” she asked. “After all we have done for you, is this how you repay us?”
“But mum, I really didn‟t want to travel, you imposed it on me. I was cool with my Nigerian friends.
Dad got up and in a swift, landed a deafening slap across my cheek, cutting short my blab. I staggered from the impact and before I could regain my composure, another one on the other cheek. Dad rubbed his palms together to calm the sting. He walked away into his room and retired for the night.
I knew I deserved it, my parents didn‟t need to be paid back for all their love with my waywardness. Mother got up from the soft rug she sat on and went into the kitchen to rustle up some food for me. As she walked away, it seemed as if she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. It broke my heart to see her that way.
I ate my dinner quietly and went to bed. For the first time, the realization of my actions hit me in the face. How do I make it up to them, especially my mother?
Staying at home was boring, I also had to hide anytime visitors came to the house as my parents would be ashamed to let them know I had been rusticated. I usually go out once in a while to the neighbouring game house to play. And on a certain day I saw the most beautiful work of creation.
She passed by me on her way from church that evening. I could tell because she had a bible in her hand. She was tall, slim and beautiful. Her skin looked like caramel and I swore it would also feel silky to touch. She had natural long hair that reached her shoulders when let loose. I stopped her to say hello and the sound of her voice when she responded was like a nightingale. She immediately handed
over a tract publication she had tucked into her bible. She smiled and walked on. I really would like to see her again. I didn‟t bother to read the tract, I knew what would be in it but I kept it in my pockets all the same.
I had the privilege of seeing her two weeks after our first meeting. I found out her name was Folake Coker and a part time student at the university. She worked as a receptionist and schooled during the weekend.
I really admired her and wanted a relationship which she refused. I made sure I was outside whenever she walked home from the bus stop. Sometimes she would wave and head home and at other times she would stop by for a chat.
One fateful day, she was on her way home and I was outside as usual when she tripped and fell, she wore very high heels that day. I quickly rushed but got to her late as she was already on the ground. It had rained that day and typically our untarred roads were slippery. I helped her up and told her she would need to wash up the mud from her body and clothes before continuing home except she wants to be the symbol of laughter. Her home was still about ten minutes‟ walk and she gave in to common sense and followed me in.
I helped her clean and offered her a drink which she refused, she doesn‟t trust me. When she felt clean enough, she made to leave, while thanking me for my kindness. She invited me to church as a way to start a conversation and I promised to come. She stood up and smiled at me, thanking me once more and that instant, her smile looked like an invitation. I wanted to hold her forever. I made to hold her and kiss her lips and she pushed me away.
She looked frightened and begged to leave but I would have none of it. I tried to hold her again forcefully and this time she pushed me so hard I fell. I got up
quickly and held her and a struggle ensued. I had gotten more beautiful girls when I was in Canada and it was no struggle, why would she put up resistance?
She kept screaming and clawing at my face. She fought so hard, I must give her credit for that. I was able to pin her down and got a kiss from her and hoped she ceased to struggle as I wasn‟t finding it funny anymore. Then she bit my lip and I pushed her away from the impact of the pain, cursing her as she fell backwards.
“Folake, Folake” I called out her name. She lay limp on the floor and I noticed that blood was trickling down slowly besides her face. I had pushed her after she bit me but I didn‟t know she would hit her head on the side stool as she fell. Her eyes were closed and I thought she had fainted. I rushed to the kitchen to get a bowl of water and poured on her, knelt beside her and begged her to please open her eyes.
“I won‟t kiss you again, I won‟t even disturb you again Folake, just open your eyes” I cried. The gravity of what I had just done dawned on me and I feared for my life. I looked at the time from our big sitting room clock and I knew my parents would be home anytime. I know what I had done would shock my parents and probably raise their blood pressure to infinity.
Then I did the only thing under the circumstance, I ran. I went into my room, packed a small night bag and threw some few clothes inside. Went into my parents‟ room and took all the money I could lay my hands on. I looked at the body one more time on the floor and bolted out of the door. I ran and never looked back. I ran to Ibadan in Oyo State. I later read in the newspaper about the incident and that I was a wanted man.
The money I took from my parent‟s room lasted me for two weeks and I became penniless. I took up odd jobs to survive and lived each day as it came. I worked so hard during the day to make enough money to settle lodge bill and buy food, then at night, sleep eludes me. The face of Folake haunts me, every night. I was shocked my face had still not been splashed all over the media for the murder I committed.
Two months after Folake‟s death, I packed my clothes to launder because I had not washed my clothes since I left Lagos. In one of the pockets, I found the tract Folake had given me the first day we met. It reminded me of her and though I knew what would possibly be written in it, I read it all the same.
Surprisingly, the writer came in from a different angle and before I knew it, I could not hold back the tears. I had conviction for my sins and wanted to make amends. I knelt down and wept profusely. I wept because I had committed murder, I wept because she didn‟t deserve to die like that, I wept because I had brought shame upon my family, I wept because I realized that with all I have done, I still had a chance to make it right with God, but Folake didn‟t. I snuffed life out of her. How can God love me after all I had done? I didn‟t deserve it.
I made up my mind right there and then to surrender my life to Jesus and go back and face the consequences of my actions. I packed the unwashed clothes back into my bag and walked out of the lodge..I was going back to my parents!
I got back home and our guard was shocked to see me. He ran inside shouting “Madam, Madam!” My mother came out feigning annoyance at his outburst but froze when she saw me. She rushed at me and held me tight, crying and checking me out at the same time. She couldn‟t stop the flow of tears and I joined her. She held onto me for a long time and when she finally let go, she led me inside the house.
“Mum, who moved Folake‟s body or better still who found it?” I asked as I needed answers. Mum told me how the guard had called them after I ran after the house and he didn‟t see the lady I came in with leaving with me. Mum got home to find the body in a pool of blood. My father was called and when he arrived, they had to report to the police and meet the deceased‟s parents. The police began an earnest search for me and are still searching.
My mum also told me that after the police left, on the day of the incident, my father had disowned me and vowed to have nothing to do with me again. She told me to go back into hiding until the whole incident was forgotten and was about writing a Cheque in my favour when my father arrived. He was shocked to see me and even more to see that mum had made me comfortable.
He didn‟t allow me utter any apology before ordering me out of his house. He clearly forbade me from returning back. Mother cried, holding him by the leg to forgive me but he stormed into his room and slammed the door shut. It was clear his mind was made up.
I left our house and went straight to Folake‟s house. I needed closure and I know once they see me, the end of my freedom had come. I was prepared for the worst. I knocked on the door and was ushered in by her mother. They didn‟t know what I looked like as we had never met. She saw that I hesitated at the door, what guts I must have to have showed up at the home of someone I killed. Folake‟s father was reading a newspaper and he put it down as I walked in.
I prostrated on the ground and explained who I was. I expected to be pounced on as I started talking but I wasn’t. Folake’s father asked me to tell them exactly what happened on that fateful day. I narrated the story exactly as it happened. Whilst still on the floor, he picked hid phone and called in the police, telling them the culprit was right in his living room. He then told me to stand up and sit on the chair.
I refused and lay still on the floor. He explained to me how I had taken their only source of happiness. How I had turned their joy into sorrow, how their hope for a better tomorrow was cut short by my actions. Before long, the police arrived and took me away. I knew the end had come. If the judge was kind, I might get a life sentence.
Exactly six days in police cell, while waiting for my case in court, I was called out. I guessed it must be my mother, who had come to see me. I was shocked to find Folake‟s parents there, I later got to know they had come to withdraw their case against me and have forgiven me. I was shocked, I couldn‟t believe my ears. I know I didn‟t deserve to be forgiven but God made it possible somehow. They left after bearing the news to me and I was taken back into my cell. I didn‟t know what it would mean to my case.
On the day of the hearing, I pleaded guilty to the charge. It was ruled that it was an involuntary manslaughter and the date for judgement was adjourned till the following day. I prayed to my new found confidant, God and told Him to help my case. I was sentenced to ten years imprisonment because I pleaded guilty but with no option for bail. My mother broke down in tears in the court room as I was led away to serve my term in jail.
My sentence was reduced to six years because I showed exemplary and I was released two years ago. I have worked since then as a volunteer in an NGO I joined whilst in prison. It is for the rehabilitation of young people who have led terrible lives and how to help them live better lives.
I visit Folake‟s parents once in a while and they have come to forgive me fully and their home became my second home.
I still remember Folake and wish I could turn back the hands of time. God had been gracious to me and has saved me from eternal destruction; I can‟t help but wonder if God “planned it all along” to get me to His side. I am glad for a second chance. His grace found me in my sinful state and made me a brand new being.
I am still waiting for my father to forgive me. I have sent elders to meet him to no avail. He is over seventy years old now and still does not want to set eyes on me. I need to make peace with him and I need him to find peace for himself as well…I won‟t stop praying.”
Have you ever been on the highway with that has no pedestrian bridges? You know that to get to the other side of the road, the only option is to cross. You realize that so many people like you are …
Source: A better YOU
“Oruka ti dowo na, di ololuferemu, ko se ni to le ya yin titi lai” sang Yetunde as she danced into Tolu’s room. A smile lit at the corners of Tolu’s lips, it was obvious that Yetunde Alabi is excited about the forthcoming wedding as much as Tolu Badmus, the bride was.
There was a palpable excitement in the air. Yetunde was more excited than any of her friends simply because she would be the chief bridesmaid. She had lobbied for the position even before Chude proposed to Tolu. Somehow, Yetunde knew that the only place Tolu and Chude’s relationship was headed, was the altar.
Tolu had met Chude one sunny afternoon on her way from lunch. She never was one to go out for lunch (she considered it a sheer waste of money) instead she enjoyed the packed rice and fried turkey delivered to their office by Kems Kitchens. But the last delivery on Friday had upset her tummy so much, she vowed to steer clear for a while. It had resulted in her stooling uncontrollably. She had to dash to the nearest pharmacy to buy talazole, much to the dismay of the attendant who tried to make her change her mind. “Why not try another better drug madam?” the pharmacist had said. “No ma’am” retorted Tolu, “talazole is all that works for me” but truthfully, Tolu didn’t want to spend a fortune all in a bid to stop stooling. To her, the pharmacist only wanted to make some more extra cash from her.
When Monday came, Tolu had to psyche herself to go to a nearby restaurant and give her stomach a treat. She had always considered it a waste of money whenever some of her colleagues go out to lunch. Why waste so much on food when you can always get a cheaper alternative, so long as the stomach is full, the cost of food is inconsequential. She quietly walked into the restaurant and chose a corner table that can seat only 2 people. She ordered her food and ate quickly. She had a report to submit to her boss immediately after lunch and she didn’t want to be late.
She hurriedly ate and left the restaurant, muttering under her breathe never to return there until pay day. The food was small compared to the “huge” bill she paid. Just as she rounded the bend that leads to her office, her small purse fell and as she stooped to pick it up, she felt strong hands brush her sleeves as the neatest set of fingers picked up her purse. “May I” the gentle man said as he straightened and handed her purse back to her. She was caught between surprise and fear. How come he was directly behind her as she bent to pick up her purse? Had he been following her? Was he a stalker? How did she not hear his footsteps? Loads of questions rummaged through her mind..
But her manners took the better of her.” Thank you sir” she said. “Oh, it’s nothing. I just happened to be around when needed” he replied.
“By the way, my name is Chude Obi. I work at Gibson global. I am a trained HR consultant” he stretched out his hand for a handshake. Tolu firmly gripped his hand and introduced herself too. They exchanged complimentary cards and Tolu hurriedly left the scene. She got to the office in time to send the already prepared report. Her boss was a no nonsense iron lady.
After work that day, she got home and as usual went over the happenings of the day. It had indeed been eventful. Then she thought about the gentle man she had bumped into. He isn’t what ladies call tall, dark and handsome. But he exuded a charm no one can overlook. Well-manicured hands, tall, caramel colored skin, eyes that looked as if it can see into your very soul, trim mustache, a broad shoulder and oh, the diction. Tolu had always been a lover of good diction and when a man has a good command of it, she is easily won over.
She had to pinch herself from fantasizing about him. “Maybe he has even forgotten about me” she thought. And here she was day dreaming about him. For what it was worth, she actually would love to see him again, she felt drawn to him in a certain way. She had him on her mind as she fell asleep. She even dreamt about him. She woke up to find herself smiling and holding her pillow tight. She got up and started laughing at how stupid of her to see him in her dream.
She dressed for work the next day, bid her parents goodbye and headed to the junction where she would join the staff bus to Victoria Island, where her office was. She got to work and thumped away at her keyboard. She was eager to finish up her major tasks before lunch break. Tolu knew she should eat the Kems kitchen rice and turkey but the thought of seeing Chude again made her go to the restaurant. She hurriedly ate again and left. On her way back, she walked slowly back to her office and occasionally looked over her shoulders to catch a glimpse of someone who looked like Chude. But she never saw him. She finished the last two minutes’ walk to her office with a frown. She had so much wanted to see him, even if it’s for a minute.
Two weeks passed and still no sign of Chude. She had started to forget him; maybe he didn’t like her as much as she expected or alas, even married. By the third week, her tad totally let him the thought of him out of her system or so she thought until her phone rang. The voice on the other end was so hot it could melt butter; she knew it was none other than Chude. He was only calling to check up on her and invite her for lunch the next day if she would be available. She quickly accepted the offer and after he hung up, felt she had accepted too quickly without any restraint. She didn’t want to appear too easy.
She carefully picked out her outfit for work the next day, wanting to create the right impression. Lunch went well and she found out he had been out of town on a business trip for two weeks, and only just got back. They had many more lunch dates after that and even dinner dates. He became frequent at her home and her parents loved his aura. Her friends met him too and prayed he was the “one” they had been praying for.
Exactly six months after they met, Chude proposed marriage to Tolu in the presence of her parents. “Oh yes, yes, yes” she responded, smiling and crying at the same time. Her parents hugged them both and prayed for them. Chude had been all she ever wanted in a man. God fearing and supportive, always knowing what to do or say, dependable, the man after her heart. Two weeks later, Chude and his family came to do the customary introduction ceremony with Tolu’s family and the wedding date was set.
They set the weeding date for four months away and all hands were on deck to ensure a smooth and unforgettable wedding experience.
“Iyawo” called Tolu’s mum, jolting her out of her reverie. “Your wedding planner is on the phone, she says she can’t get through to you on your line”. Tolu took the phone and had a brief discussion with the planner. She wanted to confirm the cake tasting time. Yetunde also needed her to convince the other ladies not to make her own style of dress as she wanted to stand out. To which everyone in the room laughed. Yetunde had a way of amusing people; she was the official clown amongst Tolu’s friends.
And the wedding day finally arrived, it was a huge success. A particular highlight was the exchange of vows at the church. Both of them had written their own personal vows, pledging to love and cherish themselves, through thick and thin. Forsaking all others and cleaving to themselves alone, this got some eyes tearing up. Especially the bride’s mum.
The weather was beautiful, everyone had such fun. It was obvious the bride and groom were so into each other. Lots of “oohs” and “aahs” on every one’s lips. It was a romantic setting and the décor was out of this world. There was no doubt on everyone’s mind that the union will last forever. Or will it not? What could possibly go wrong?
Chude and Tolu went on an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai for their honeymoon. It was the best moment of their lives. They were back after eight days as they had both taken only two weeks from work. They planned to use up their remaining leave days at Christmas.
One thing Tolu craved for was to experiment all the things she had heard married people do, like feed themselves while they ate; bathe together, go hiking, sleep cuddled up till morning and a host of others. She was only disappointed because Chude got tired more often than necessary. He was a kind of kill joy but she was too elated to bother.
Exactly two months into their wedding, as they got back from church. Tolu went into the kitchen to fix lunch when she heard Chude let out a loud scream; she rushed to the living room to find him sprawled on the floor holding tight to his chest. She held him to her bosom asking him what happened. He couldn’t speak but just held onto his chest. She quickly took her phone and called his doctor who told her what to do before he got to them. Twenty minutes later, as doctor Ibrahim arrived, Chude passed out from the excruciating pain.
The doctor resuscitated him and with Tolu, helped him to the car and drove to the hospital. When they got to the hospital, Chude had to be placed on drips and monitored closely. Tolu could swear that the doctor and Chude exchanged a glance that seemed to have a lot of meaning. Tolu was asked to excuse them as the doctor needed to examine him some more. She was invited into the room few minutes later and asked to sit. It was time to know what had happened to Chude
“Chude has a terminal disease.” Said the doctor. “What!!” screamed Tolu and she felt dizzy all of a sudden. Then she ran to her husband’s bedside and the look on his face halted her. It was obvious from the way Chude lowered his eyes that he knew about his condition way before this particular incident. But how could she not have known, thought Tolu. They had done series of tests before the wedding…”oh! All they did was HIV, Hepatitis and genotype test” Tolu muttered under her breathe.
“Chude, how long have you known?” asked Tolu. Chude couldn’t answer, he simply closed his eyes; he didn’t know what to say.
“I thought you knew, Tolu” chipped in the doctor. “ I insisted that he tell you before the wedding. Chude told me you had discussed it and were both okay with it”
The doctor explained that it was first diagnosed three years ago. He even reminded Tolu of their last visit to his hospital before the wedding.
Suddenly Tolu remembered the doctor asking Chude in her presence if he told her and she remembered Chude laughed and said sure, and that she was fine with it. It was actually the doctor hoping he had told her the truth. When Tolu asked Chude about it later that evening, he had said the doctor wanted to know if he had told her he wanted to start a family immediately and also that his desire to have four children….they both laughed about it and carried on with the wedding plans.
Tolu loathed him at that instant. How could he do that to her? How does one hide such a secret from the one we profess to love? How would they move on from this? What was she to do? Different thoughts rummaged through her head. He had lied to her, deceived her into marriage. She couldn’t take it anymore and burst into tears. Sobbing uncontrollably, she ran out of the hospital room. Doctor Ibrahim ran after her so she would not do something crazy to herself.
Chude knew at that moment that he had just lost the most important treasure in his life. He wanted to tell her but he loved her too much to want to lose her. And he figured if she knew, she wouldn’t want to go ahead with the marriage and even if she did, her parents won’t allow it. He silently prayed to God to come to his aid. Hoping it wasn’t too late.
Doctor Ibrahim caught up with Tolu at the entrance of the hospital and begged her to stop. He didn’t want her running blindly onto the road and getting herself hurt. She stopped in her tracks and turned to face him. Collapsing on his shoulders, she cried even more, her shoulders shaking sporadically from the sobs. Passersby stopped to look and some simply moved on; at hospitals, crying people are a normal sight. After a few minutes, she calmed down a little and the doctor led her back to his office and the told her everything she needed to know.
Chude had discovered a small lump under his armpit one day. At first he thought it was a boil but when after three weeks it showed no sign of improvement, he went to the hospital to have it checked. He did series of test until a biopsy showed that the lump was malignant melanoma, a particularly fatal form of skin cancer. He got the lump removed and thought everything was okay, but a year after, the cancer had spread to his lung. And he had been on drugs and radiation therapy ever since. According to the last oncologist, Chude had less than eighteen months to live. Which means he should die in less than eight months?
Tolu could not take it anymore. She took her phone and called her friend Yetunde to come take her home. She wanted to be far away from the hospital and especially Chude as far as she can. She could see her world crumbling right in front of her. How can her marriage that had only just begun suddenly be coming to an end? Whom had she offended? How could God let this happen to her? She prayed endlessly and served God faithfully…What was she to do?
“This is terrible and an unjust, how could he have gotten married to you knowing his condition?” retorted Yetunde.
“You cannot continue with this madness friend. I reject being a widow barely a year after wedding for you oh” “Have you told your parents?”
“No, I don’t even know how to start telling them” I find it a hard pill to swallow myself” replied Tolu.
“Well, you just have to. Thank God you are not pregnant yet, it’s not too early to find a way out” said Yetunde.
“But I love him Yetunde, with all my heart and soul” “I know he deceived me by not telling me the truth about his illness but I cannot think of a life without him” replied Tolu
“Then when he eventually dies, won’t you live without him? Be wise dear friend, you don’t want to saddle yourself with the responsibility of taking care of an ailing and dying man so early in life. You have to let go and move on. Even God will understand that you do not have a choice in this matter” Yetunde replied.
Yetunde did not want Tolu to delay telling her parents of the news. She drove her to Tolu’s parents’ home and was even the one who broke the news to them. As expected, her parents didn’t take the news too kindly. Tolu’s father ranted and raved, about how he was going to make Chude pay for the deception. Angry that he allowed them to have wasted so much on a wedding that would end soon.
Her mother just sat down staring into space. Searching for answers or for a small voice telling her all will be well. She was angry at Chude but also felt sorry for him. She understood why he did what he had done, and silently prayed that somehow, the whole news was just a mistake and all would return back to normal. Tolu was their only daughter and this wasn’t how they had envisaged her marriage.
Chude lay down on the hospital bed feeling sorry for himself. He also hated himself for the deception. He wished he could turn back the hands of time. Replay his life over again and go back three two years. Wished he had not met the most caring and fun to be with lady called Tolu. Wished he had not fallen in love with her and wished above all, that he had simply told her the truth.
Doctor Ibrahim came in and broke into his thoughts. He knew what his patient must be going through. Physical pain from his illness and a heart wrenching pain from his actions. He simply checked to see that he had taken his medication and quietly left.
Chude’s parents were not happy at turn out of events. They rebuked their son for it but pleaded with the Badmus’ family to forgive him. They pleaded with them to allow their daughter stay married to Chude and weather the storm with him.
“Stay married to a dying man?” Retorted Tolu’s father “Never!! That will be over my dead body. He did not even allow Tolu have a say in the matter. Mr. Badmus had spoken; and that was it.
Five days later, Tolu went back to see Chude at the hospital and stopped at the door in shock. The man lying on the bed was not the one she had gotten married to. He was a shadow of himself, he had greatly emaciated. She went into the room and sat opposite him just stared at him. She didn’t know what to say, Chude also was lost for words.
Finally he broke the silence. He had so much time to think of everything and was willing to take whatever decision the family reached.
“Forgive me Tolu; I know I have hurt you in ways I cannot even find words to explain. I allowed my selfish interest becloud my judgement. I should have come clean before the wedding; but I felt so energized by your love I thought somehow God had heard my cry and healed me. I wanted you so much I hid the truth so that I won’t lose you. But that is exactly what has happened, the truth is out now and I will lose you”.
“Please don’t allow your disappointment of me to cover that heart of gold that you have. I know I do not deserve to be forgiven; but please Tolu, please..”
Chude broke down in tears and wept soberly. Tolu also couldn’t bear the sight of him weeping bitterly and knelt by his bedside, sobbing uncontrollably. They were like that for over 10minutes and just held on to each other.
“I forgive you Chude. I do not know if I would have gone ahead and married you if I had known the truth then; but it doesn’t matter now. I swore to love you for better or for worse. I guess this is the worse part. And we will go through this together. I promise you it won’t be easy but I will help to make your last moments as memorable as possible.”
Tolu’s parents would hear nothing of it. They threatened thunder and brimstone.
“He is going to die soon anyways, I won’t leave him dad, I will stand by him till he breathes his last” with that said, she stormed out of her parents’ house and vowed to keep them away from Chude.
Yetunde concluded that Chude’s family must have used voodoo to brainwash her into standing by her husband. They all treated her like an outcast and told her she knows where to find them once she changed her mind.
Chude was discharged a week later and rested only three days before resuming back to work. He never missed his appointment at the hospital. He started preparing for any eventuality, since the oncologist told him he had about eight months during the last examination.
Then he remembered that the oncologist said that if a surgery was carried out again, the tumor had a chance to be removed and he could live. But he was given a 50-50 chance. He told Tolu and it renewed their faith.
They booked another appointment and the facts were laid bare. The oncologist told Chude that once melanoma invades an internal organ like the lung, the invariable outcome is death; usually within months—without immediate treatment. Even with treatment, the outcome was guarded. Only few of all melanoma patients with lung metastases are alive twenty months after surgery.
Chude was warned to rest well for the surgery and desist from strenuous tasks. He went for his church’s mid-week service and he heard a scripture like he had never heard it before. Romans chapter 10 verses 10 “ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved”.
Chude didn’t follow his doctor’s recommendation as expected. Even Tolu thought he had gone crazy but later had to encourage him as he confessed to good health. He took a month off to strengthen his body for the treatment that he knew would most likely be a grueling ordeal. He went on long walks, he ate healthy foods, and he meditated on that scripture alone. He also spent a lot of time picturing himself as healthy and visualizing good strong blood cells destroying the cancer in his body.
Two months after, Chude was ready for the surgery. He felt sure it would be a success. The chest X-ray was repeated to document the size and location of the tumor before starting treatment. But instead of the large cancerous lesion in Chude’s lung, he saw…nothing. The doctor did the X-ray again to be sure there had not been a mistake and still saw nothing. During his month of meditation and healthy living, white rings developed around his skin tumors, causing what doctors call a halo sign.
But Chude knew God was at work. God had given him a second chance at life and love again. He was healed and didn’t even have to undergo a second surgery. What was scientifically impossible; God made possible.
Tolu could not believe it. It was indeed a miracle and her faith in God was strengthened even more. His parents thanked God for giving them back their son.
Tolu’s parents heard the good news and received it with mixed feelings. Happy that Chude was alive and well but ashamed because they had deserted him in his time of need. Yetunde only called, she could not bring herself to face Chude after all the hurtful things she said.
On the day of the thanksgiving celebration, while in her room to change into her second outfit; she couldn’t help but wonder what would have become of her if she had left Chude alone only to discover he wasn’t going to die after all. And she knelt down and lifted her hands to the heavens and thanked God, for helping her make the decision to stand by her man, no matter the obstacles and deceit. It wasn’t easy for her, but it paid off at the end of the day.
Joyce lay on her bed, staring into space. She had decided to pick up the pieces of her life again. She told herself to snap out of the mood she had been in, since Ladi’s sentence. She knew that she was the one who practically threw herself at him; Ladi had only responded. Life hadn’t been the same, she missed him. She could only go to visit him twice after the incident and once after the sentence. She couldn’t bring herself to see him like a common criminal. It broke her heart seeing him in prison uniform. She noticed Ladi had also become withdrawn; the look on his face had been that of a broken man. She hoped he would get out of prison and get the necessary help. It was only six months sentence and she hoped he had learned his lesson.
She sat up abruptly, “I must get over him” she mused. “I cannot go on wallowing in self-pity. I will move on with my life”. She got up from the bed, paced her room for a while and went into the bathroom to take a shower. It was Saturday afterall, she decided to go to the nearby mall and see a movie. She had seen the trailer of a particular one and decided to go see it. She wore a pair of jean and a yellow floral blouse, matching it with a yellow sandal. She knew the color flattered her complexion; she was set to have a great outing, even if it’s alone.
The mall was so full; she had to squeeze her way through. There were lots of teenage boys and girls on dates. She giggled at the sight, shaking her head because she knew they were only relieving some storybook fantasies. She had never been a fan of teenage relationships; she just felt they were too young to understand the matters of the heart. Going past two teenage couples, she found her way to the cinema ticket stand and bought one. She got popcorn, hot dogs and a drink; she loved to munch while watching movies and she had better be prepared. Half way into the movie, a comic scene occurred and it had the whole hall erupt in laughter. She laughed so hard she choked and it became somewhat uncontrollable and as she struggled to catch her breath, she felt a firm hand tap her back so hard and a piece of popcorn, trapped in her oesophagus came out. She quickly wiped tears from her eyes and thanked the kind hearted individual who had rescued her, he replied her saying “it was my pleasure”, he had the best baritone she had ever heard and it was a sweet sound. It was dark so she couldn’t see the facial features clearly and she couldn’t wait till they were out in the open.
The movie ended and people chatted about it as they filed out of the cinema hall. Her rescuer was behind her and she made a mental note to thank him properly as soon as they stepped out, at least to be able to recognize him if ever she saw him afterwards. And she couldn’t hide the shock when she turned to face him. He was tall, broad shouldered, clean shaven, caramel skin color, pink lips and had the biggest eyeballs she had ever seen. He also had a deep scar than ran from his left ear to his cheek and made him look grotesque. In summary, he didn’t look quite like his voice.
He noticed her shocked expression and smiled, he had gotten used to people being shocked when they beheld his face. He stretched his hand to her “My name is Tomiwa Ajayi, Tom for short and I am an engineer”.
“My manners” she blushed. “My name is Joyce Oteka and I am a youth corper serving with Lily Oil and Gas”. Tom was really impressed and congratulated her for getting a good place for her NYSC unlike her many counterparts posted to public primary schools to teach. He told her to ensure she got retained as staff, to which she replied in the affirmative. They strolled to the car park as they talked and both enjoyed each other’s company. They exchanged addresses and got in their respective cars and drove home. Tom thought about her all the way home; it had been long he had a meaningful discussion with a lady. All they ever talked about had been clothes, latest fashion trends or trending reality foreign season films. Joyce had been like a breath of fresh air. He hoped to see more of her.
Ladi woke up with a scream, sweating profusely, his prison flatbed drenched in sweat. He was glad it had all been a dream, he wasn’t sure he ever wanted to see George again. He had been in jail for two months and each night had been a nightmare. Staying in a room with someone else had reminded him of George. He is the past he wished he had never experienced.
Ladi’s mum had always wanted the best for her son. She made sure he had the best care any child would crave for. His father had passed on when he was only a little boy and he grew up without a father figure, save for his uncles who came visiting once in a while. And when either of his uncles arrived, his mum was sure to recount to them all his “sins’ and makes sure he gets punished, even if it had been done months back. His mum saying “I will tell your uncle when he comes” had been enough to make him straighten up when being mischievous.
Mum had so much business to attend to and hence couldn’t afford him to attend day school, so she had shipped him off to boarding school so he could bond well with his mates and grow up as a man. He had been so excited to attend boarding school; he loved the fact that he will take some decisions about his life himself and not run to mummy every time. Thank God mum had taught him how to lay his bed, wash his clothes and some little house chores, he was so sure he wouldn’t have any problems.
He was put in a room with two other boys. George was in year five and the Ike in year two. They welcomed him and gave him a hint of the various school rules. He settled in nicely and seemed to be enjoying his new environment. Nothing could be better.
Whack!! Whack!! Whack!! Screaming from his sleep, Ladi woke up to whips on his buttocks. “Shhh!!” whispered George. He suddenly looked different from George of daytime. There was ruthlessness about him. Standing behind him was Ike and another student Ladi couldn’t recognize.
Crying, Ladi asked why he was being beaten. “What did I do?” he moaned from pain. “This is a special treatment to new students here. I had a taste of it and so did everyone here; and you cannot tell anyone, else the head find you and deals with you.”
“We will do this every night for four weeks and then you become a “MAN”; no one must find out, else there will be dire consequences” warned George. Ladi nodded in fear and crept back into bed. The third guy sneaked out back into the darkness, to his own dormitory. The beatings went on for days. Sometimes, he would be pummeled with punches and gets occasional black eye and he covers up with lies to his classmates. He wasn’t sure who to talk to, because George made him believe they had male teachers in the know of all that happened and they were in support. He woke up most night drenched in sweat from fear of being tortured again. It was supposed to last for four weeks but George occasionally comes around to give him the “special treatment” till he graduated from school.
Ladi hated George but he hated the fact that he couldn’t confide in anyone else. Even when he went home for holidays, he would not be able to tell his mum. He had begged her once to change his school but because he couldn’t give a good reason, she had not seen the need to. He felt enraged and needed to vent his anger and one day had beaten his neighbour’s daughter to stupor. His mum had been so disappointed and was shocked at his behaviour and that had been his way of life. He gets beaten in school and comes back home during his vacation to vent his anger, and most times on girls, the seemingly helpless.
Ladi got up from his jail bed and knelt down, he felt drained. He had never linked his current tendencies to his boarding school days. He became filled with so much emotion he broke down and wept like a baby. “Oh God help me, save me from this beast I have become” cried Ladi.
“Tell me Tom, how you came about this scar on your face, an accident?” asked Joyce as she lay her head on his chest on chilling afternoon. They had been going steady in their friendship and Joyce had never known a man so caring and selfless. Tomiwa smiled and looked down at her face “ I was trying to separate a fighting couple, my former neighbours actually, when the bottle the man held to stab the wife landed by mistake on my face. When the husband saw what had happened, he ran away and that ended the squabble. I had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment.”
Joyce further learnt that that last fight had been the end of the marriage of those neighbours of his. To think that she almost didn’t want to be his friends because of the same scar; her respect for him grew daily and she began to feel affection towards him. Something she couldn’t actually define.
She told him about Ladi and how he had landed in jail for his uncontrollable temper and Tom only felt pity for him. He told her to continue praying for Ladi as God can turn his heart towards Him.
They talked some more about other issues and both drifted off to sleep with the rain drops on the window pane, the only sound that was heard.
Ladi would be released in two days and he was so anxious to get out. He had learnt so much behind prison bars to set him straight for a lifetime. He had seen people who got imprisoned because they had no lawyer to represent them, people imprisoned for other peoples crimes, and the real hardened criminals. He also gave his life to Crist during one of the prison devotion time, organized by the prison chapel. He promised himself to live more responsibly. He knew no job was waiting for him upon his return and not sure anyone would want to employ a convict.
He had sent a text to Joyce with the warden’s phone that he would be released In two days and would love her to be around. On the said day, only his mum had showed up and he couldn’t hide his disappointment, he wept like a baby and his mother tried to console him. All kinds of thought ran through his mind, he only hoped his friends had not deserted him too.
Ladi knew that he had to adjust to being a free man, after four months in jail. He was grateful to be out and in two days had started searching for a job to do. He sent applications to various companies hoping that at least one would click.
Two weeks after his release, he called Joyce and asked to have a meeting with her, at least to know how things were with them. Michael had visited him a week after he was released and he was so pleased to see him. Ladi told him how he had written an apology letter to the woman he had assaulted and also to Lily oil and gas. He told Michael that the lady had even called him saying how sorry she was that he eventually landed in jail, that she had wanted to call off the case but her husband had persuaded her to allow the law take its course. Michael was happy to learn that Ladi had started his therapy sessions, while in prison to work on his anger and abusive tendencies. He hoped the therapy would work because he had never heard of anyone who got cured or healed from such…
Ladi and Joyce met at a popular restaurant. He didn’t know he missed her this much; he couldn’t hold himself and held her in a very tight embrace. He released her when she squirmed, he must have held on too tight. They sat down and ordered drinks, and started talking about the events of the past months.
“Why didn’t you come to see me often Joyce, did I repulse you that much?” asked Ladi, holding her hands. Joyce didn’t know how to answer the question.
“I am sorry Ladi, I guess I just couldn’t bear to see you in a place like that. I know what happened was an accident and that you were not a criminal that should be kept in jail” responded Joyce.
“I know being in jail isn’t anyone’s prayer, but I must say that the experience gave me a paradigm shift. I had time to reflect over my life and what’s important. I think I am not the same man who went into jail, I am reformed” responded Ladi, with a smile across his lips. He couldn’t describe the peace he felt as he said those words and Joyce could swear she saw a glow on his face.
They ordered food and ate it quietly. When Ladi finished his, he laid his hands on hers and looking into her eyes, asked Joyce if they could go back to how they were. He vowed that he had become a changed man who would never hurt a fly. Joyce wanted to believe him but just couldn’t, not after what she experienced with him and what he did at the office. She had to tell him she had started seeing Tomiwa and hoped he would find someone else as well. She told him how much of a gentle dove Tomiwa was. She told him to move on as well as she had put their relationship behind her. Ladi’s heart felt like it had been hit by a rock and smashed into pieces, but he acted calmly and wished her all the very best. He hoped they could still remain as friends though and Joyce replied “of course Ladi, you will always be my friend”.
Ladi’s mum spoke to friends and family and even her church members and finally Ladi was able to secure another well-paying job at real estate firm. He was happy to secure another employment that he gave it his very best. He worked so hard and got his confirmation just after three months instead of the stipulated six months by the company policy. His bosses liked him and after eight months, he got a promotion as assistant head of his unit. He rented another apartment in a posh area of Lagos as he had gotten uncomfortable living at his old apartment because of his past. All seemed to be going well for him, except for the snag of not having a woman in his life.
He knew he was ready to get married but how does one get married when there was no fiancée. He couldn’t bring himself to look at another woman; Joyce filled his thoughts constantly. He told himself he had to snap out of the situation as Joyce herself had moved on. He hadn’t even been able to convince himself that he had totally gotten control of his emotions and would not be battering a woman or anyone else for that matter anytime soon. He felt he needed Joyce in the equation, date her again and when provoked, if he would handle himself like a gentleman; but Joyce had moved on.
“How will I even know that the therapy session and prayers worked, if I have no one to use as my guinea pig” he mused. A certain lady in church had caught his fancy, very beautiful and well behaved, her name was Ruth Kadiri. He liked the fact that she served the Lord but he couldn’t go any further; as much as he felt he had been delivered from abusive tendencies, he was too scared to find out through another relationship.
He finally summoned courage to get close to Ruth. He was surprised that beneath the church sister look laid a charming witty nature. She was fun to be with and Ladi hoped they could take the friendship a notch higher. He had told the pastor about his intentions towards Ruth and that he intended to ask her to be his wife. Afterall, he had a good job and a posh apartment, an important criterion before contemplating bringing in a wife.
After four months of friendship, Ladi made up his mind it was Ruth he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He realized that being with her had reduced every thought of Joyce that still lingered. He had taken her on a dinner date and there proposed marriage to her, and Ruth gladly accepted. A week after the proposal, Ladi had taken Ruth to meet his mother. His mother was overjoyed when he took Ruth home to meet her. After some minutes, she excused Ladi into her room and asked him if he was sure he had overcome his abusive tendencies. He told her he was sure because he had not exhibited such anger and that he believed God had healed him completely. Ladi’s mum held him tight in her arms and prayed for him, a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving to God.
Ruth took Ladi home to her parents and they warmed up to him easily, his charming nature won them over. The wedding was set for another three months. They completed the compulsory intending couple’s classes. After the last class, which was a month to the wedding, Ruth had asked Ladi to drop her off at her cousins’ to give them the wedding invitation. When they turned into the street, Ladi silently prayed that he wouldn’t see Joyce anywhere as it was the same street she lived. A few minutes later, he knew there was no hiding place, as Ruth led him straight into Joyce’s parents’ apartment. It was a Saturday and almost everyone was home. Joyce opened the door at the sound of the doorbell and was shocked to find Ladi behind her little cousin.
She stepped back into the house and Ladi followed Ruth reluctantly, his feet felt like it had shackles on them as he couldn’t walk properly again. He stood as Ruth exchanged pleasantries with Joyce, Joyce’s’ parents came out into the living area when they heard voices.
“Oh, it’s you Ruth. Welcome, why is your fiancé not sitting down?” they asked. “You are welcome my son, we didn’t have much time to talk during the family introduction”.
“I am fine thank you” replied Ladi as he sat down. He had never met Joyce’s parents so they couldn’t have recognized him during the introduction of Ruth’s family to his, and Joyce had not been present then too. Ruth was chatting away with the rest of the family and was totally oblivious to the plight Ladi was in. Ladi tried to catch Joyce’s attention with his eye but she intentionally made sure they didn’t have eye contact up to two seconds. An hour later, it was time to go and Ruth and Ladi bid their farewells and left the premises. Ladi was quiet throughout the journey back to Ruth’s house; he wasn’t sure what Joyce would do. And he felt the best thing was to tell Ruth about his past. He told her he had a very important thing to tell her and it would be better if they went someplace quiet. They went to a park and sat under a tree.
Forty fives minute later, after Ladi had told her everything and not holding anything back, Ruth stared back at him, mouth opened. She couldn’t believe she was about walking down the aisle with a man who had a past she would never have known about if not for meeting Joyce earlier. “How could you have kept such information away from me Ladi, how?” asked Ruth, she couldn’t wrap her head around the deception.
“But I am a changed man now Ruth, I swear, I am not the man in the story I just told you” responded Ladi. He couldn’t bear it if Ruth doesn’t forgive him. “Please forgive me Ruth, I know I should have told you this story before we got serious but I was scared I would lose you if I did. Please Ruth, please forgive me” a sober Ladi begged.
“I need time to think about this Ladi, I have seen battered women in abusive relationships. Sis Joko and Sis Tolu in church were victims of such marriages. I saw what it did to them; I am not ready to mortgage my happiness on a gamble. I need time to think deeply Ladi” responded Ruth.
“I understand Ruth, but please don’t think for long, our wedding is just a month away. Please I assure you I am a changed man” Ladi replied. She got up to leave and he followed her to the car, they drove in silence till he got to her gate and the only word she said to him was “Don’t call me, I will get in touch” and she walked into her home.
Ladi had cried before, examination failure and even in prison but this separation from Ruth broke his heart. He could feel his heart torn into shreds. He had never needed anything so badly like he needed Ruth’s forgiveness and understanding. He cried till his eyes were sore and no strength left in him. He called his mother at 2am when he couldn’t sleep and explained what had happened. His mum pacified him and told him to try and get some sleep and would speak to Ruth in the morning on his behalf.
Ruth woke up the next morning to a call from Joyce that she would like to see her immediately after service and they agreed to meet at Shoprite. Ladi had not been able to go to church, his head hurt so much from crying and his heart still ached. Ruth made excuses for him in church when people asked.
After service, she met with Joyce as scheduled and Joyce stated the reason for the meeting and told her about herself and Ladi. Ruth told her she already knew and Joyce was shocked at her calmness.
“Don’t tell me you will go ahead with this wedding o, we do not want to come and carry your dead body from his house oo” said Joyce.
“I have not made up my mind cousin, but something tells me that Ladi has truly changed” responded Ruth.
“Over my dead body Ruth, I will not allow you ruin your life, I know Ladi and what he is capable of doing. I have heard of so many women killed innocently because they chose love over commonsense, I will tell our parents and make sure they talk some sense into your head” retorted Joyce.
Before they parted, Joyce told her she would also be getting married to Tomiwa in the next five months. She told her she hoped Ruth would find a better man soon that will make her a happy woman and to let go of Ladi and his charm.
The next few days were the hardest for Ruth as she was bombarded from her family with calls, texts and visitations on not going ahead with the wedding. On the other hand, Ladi’s mum begged her to give her son a chance, and that if anything were to ever go wrong, she would personally hand over Ladi to the authorities; but that she was sure that her son had truly changed for better. Ruth had begged her to allow her do the thinking and take her decision by herself. She had been praying to God ever since Ladi told her about his past; the many women her had hurt and tortured, how he didn’t even know what he was doing until after the act. Her heart was deeply troubled but two weeks before the wedding, she knew what she must do. She had to let everyone know what she had decided. She knew she would hurt hearts in the process but it was her life afterall.
One evening she told her dad she wanted to speak with him in private and they went outside in the compound to have a little chit chat. She knelt down and told her dad that she was willing to go ahead with the marriage; she told him how people change and how he had taught her not to write anyone off as no one was irredeemable. She didn’t know how it happened of what she said right, but she heard her dad say “Yes” to her request. I t had taken less than an hour to convince him and he told her he would convince her mother.
“But dear, don’t run coming back to this house if anything goes wrong” he told her and quietly got up and went inside the house.
The turnout for the wedding was very impressive, Micheal had been his best man and Joyce refused to be the best lady, so Ruth had asked a colleague to stand in. The weather had been very favorable as well. They had their honey moon at Dubai and Spain.
It’s been three years after the wedding. Ruth got a call from Joyce, she wanted them to meet someplace for a discussion. She had not visited them since the wedding because she had not approved.
Over drinks and snacks, the discussion drifted into marriage and in-law issues.
“Are you sure he had never laid his hands on you?” quizzed Joyce as she pulled her chair close to her cousins’.
“I am sure cousin, I do not think it’s the same Ladi you had dated because this man I am married to; is the world’s best husband. He cares for me so much and above all, he is as gentle as a dove”. Replied Ruth, as she rubbed her hands on her protruding belly.
“I know I took a gamble when I agreed to marry Ladi; I was scared to tell the truth, but I had peace of mind concerning him. The first few months of our marriage, I was always waiting for him to pounce on me and show me the beast in him, but I have been waiting ever since and till date, I am yet to see that side of him” Ruth said smiling. “Let’s just say that no one is truly irredeemable, my husband is a testament to that fact”.
Joyce cold not hide her surprise, she was happy Ruth had followed her heart and not listened to outside influence.
Disclaimer: This is purely a work of fiction and the writer does not encourage anyone to get married to an abusive partner.
“Life, oh life, oh life” a song by Des’ree blasted from the radio station that keeps him company every day from work. He nodded his head to the beat and sang along as he made a turn onto the road and heading home.
Ladi Ojo had loved music all his life; his iPod could boast of so many songs he could have started his own radio station and never be wanting of good music, if he so desired.
As the song played, he couldn’t help but reminisce on his own life. He was fortunate to secure a job at the prestigious Lily oil and gas company. He joined immediately after his master’s degree abroad. He had travelled immediately after the compulsory National youth service corps (NYSC) by the Nigerian government for those who have completed their university or polytechnic education.
Most of his friends who had served together had not been as lucky as he was. In five years, he had risen to the position of Head, human resources due to his relentless attitude and hard work. He would be thirty in two months and one of his goals was to at least have a fiancée by thirty if marriage didn’t happen.
A dog ran in front of his car as he turned into his street, snapping him out of his reverie. He honked his horn and waited for the guard to open the gate to the compound where he lived. He chose to rent a serviced apartment in the highbrow part of the city to fit his status as a Lagos big boy. A characteristic of a Lagos big boy is the bevy of ladies that was always at their beck and call. One can literarily have these ladies eating out of their palms.
Ladi had his fair share of the ladies; different colors and sizes. He was also blessed with looks that never went unnoticed. A charm he had used to his advantage from his university days when he began dating.
His first girlfriend had been Esther, the daughter of the school registrar. They had been the envy of a lot of students when the affair started, but it hadn’t lasted more than two months. Everyone was shocked at how short the relationship had been. One of Esther’s friends who had probed her to know the reason why they broke up had met a brick wall; she only observed that Esther didn’t want to have anything to do with Ladi again. Not even the mention of his name.
Next was Toyin Ali. They also dated for a while and Toyin called off the relationship. Ladi then decided to call it quits with women and relationships but to have flings only, at least until he graduated from the university. Even during his NYSC, he stayed off anything serious with any lady. He felt he wasn’t lucky when it came to matters of the heart.
Ladi travelled out of the country for thirteen months after his NYSC for a master degree program. There he met a Jamaican lady and he developed an interest in her. “At least, since she is a non-Nigerian, possibly the relationship will work” he thought to himself. They dated for just three weeks and went their separate ways. She just couldn’t stand him; in less than three weeks of dating, she had come to know him for who he truly was; she saw what lay behind the charm and intelligence. She thought it could work out between them because she really liked him but she knew she would be making a grave mistake if she stayed on.
Ladi got back to Nigeria after his master’s program and got a job almost immediately. He determined to stay off ladies and build his life. Life couldn’t be better; his mates were still job hunting but not for him. The master’s program coupled with his good grades earned him the job. He was sought after even before he completed the NYSC.
One day at work, his colleague Michael teased him about a certain intern who was obviously swooning over him.
“Ladi, what is wrong with you? Do you mean to tell me you haven’t noticed the way Joyce acts around you? She literarily worships the ground you thread on” asked Michael
“I noticed Mike. She couldn’t even hide it; but I am not into her type” replied Ladi. He loved to be the one who did the chasing, not the other way round. This Joyce acted as if the world revolved around him, always at his beck and call.
One day, Ladi decided to take Michael’s advice. He invited her to lunch and she accepted without a second’s hesitation. Lunch was good and Ladi found himself impressed. Joyce was actually a very intelligent lady. She had graduated with honors at the university and the best student overall in her department. He decided to take her even more seriously.
They started dating officially and everyone knew they were a couple; they couldn’t hide it for long. Micheal was surprised but happy the two hit it off smoothly. Joyce, being a well brought up lady told Ladi from the onset that she would not engage in pre-marital sex before her wedding. Ladi didn’t like it, but because she appeared too good to be true, he agreed.
Months into the relationship, she had gone to his house on a visit. She came with food stuffs hoping to make a meal for them, instead of eating out. She prepared egusi with goat meat and searched the house for yellow garri (cassava flakes) to make eba (a Nigerian dish made from cassava flour) but when she couldn’t find, she used the white garri instead.
“Wow darling, the aroma of this food is enough to satisfy me without me actually eating” said Ladi as Joyce set the table. They both laughed and she invited him over to the dining when she was done.
As she opened the bowls to begin the dishing out, he asked; “Why is the eba white? Why didn’t you use the yellow garri?”
“I searched all over but found none, I assumed it had finished and used the white garri instead.” Joyce replied.
“How dare you assume? No one assumes around me, you should have asked me first or gone out to buy. I HATE WHITE EBA!!!” He jumped up from the seat and angrily scattered the table; throwing the bowl of soup at the wall and plastering Joyce’s face with the hot eba.
She ran wildly until she got to the toilet to wash off the eba. Her face was tingling due to the heat. She prayed her face won’t boil from the impact. When she was done cleaning her face, she sat on the toilet bowl wondering about the scenario that had played itself out at the dining. She wasn’t sure it was the same Ladi she had known all along. This person in the living room was a beast; a savage.
“Open the door Joyce, I know you are in there” called out Ladi as he knocked on the toilet door. “Please come out. I am so sorry; I don’t know what came over me. I am truly sorry. Please open up dear”. Joyce came out of the toilet to behold the face of Ladi, he looked like an angel. No sign of the beast she had witnessed a while ago. He knelt down and begged her, promising he would never do anything to hurt her or their relationship. She hugged him and they shared a passionate kiss. He cleaned the apartment all by himself and made sure she was seated in front of the television whilst he did so. They went out afterwards to a restaurant for lunch.
On her bed later that night, Joyce knew what she witnessed was more than a stressed up Ladi. He seemed to be emotionally imbalanced and she didn’t know what to do about it. She thought about telling her mother but she knew her mum would be excessively worried and mess things up for her. Mummy can be over protective of her little girl sometimes and Joyce was in no mood for lectures.
“Dear Lord, thank you for today. I am grateful for your mercies. Please whatever is wrong with Ladi; help him sort it out because I do not want to lose him oo. Dear Lord, you know I am madly in love with him; therefore our relationship must just work out. Touch him for me and make him the best man in the whole wide world. In Jesus name I pray” said Joyce as she closed her eyes to sleep.
Two weeks after the eba incident, they went out to the beach for a weekend outing. They rode horses and bathed in the water. It was a refreshing time; Joyce couldn’t have had a better weekend. They later lay on the beach bed they brought along, under some coconut trees. They decided to play the game “catch-up”. It meant they asked questions from each other about what happened before they both met; past relationships, if any.
“So tell me, how many ladies have you dated?” it was Joyce’s’ turn. “I hope they are not uncountable” she added.
“Well, I have dated quite a few but they were not good women.” Ladi replied. “I don’t know what happens, but when I really get into them and start showing them how much I really care, they just walk out of my life without turning back”
“I have often wondered why I have never been able to have a relationship that lasts up to a year” Ladi said. “I had told myself its over for me when it comes to ladies until I met you Joyce; you have been the best thing to happen to me”. He pulled her to himself and squeezed her in a tight hug. Joyce had never felt so loved in all her life. They disengaged and lay side by side staring at the clear skies.
“So Ladi, tell me about the last relationship before you and I. What did she do to make you decide to stay off women”? Joyce asked. He didn’t respond but lay there, gazing. She nudged him with her shoulder to answer her question and he still didn’t say a word. She sat up to look at his face and possibly tickle him till she got her answer and she froze. What she saw could not be described. It was a glare as cold as ice. She could see veins popping on his forehead as if ready to burst at the slightest touch. She felt she must have broached a very sensitive topic and made to pat him and calm his fears but he stopped her hands midway as he held her wrist. He held it so tight she screamed, whispering to him to let her go. Ladi knowing they were in public glare, let go of her wrist and it looked as if blood had drained from it.
The rest of the time on the beach was tense and Ladi suggested they left. He drove her home and she invited him in for a drink, since her parents and little brother had travelled for the weekend and she was going to be home by herself. She hoped they could make up and go back to being normal again. He declined initially but she insisted. Once in, she got him a cold drink from the refrigerator and went in to change.
“Joyce, don’t ever broach the topic of my exes with me again. Never!!” Ladi said.
“But why Ladi, I told you about mine, what did they ever do to you?” retorted Joyce. The next thing she saw were stars dancing across the living room. She was stunned. She staggered and fell into the couch and Ladi hit her on the face again.
“Don’t question me again; I am not your mate. I said drop the subject and you insisted. This is what happens to people who meddle in other people’s affairs” Ladi spat angrily. He thought she would fight back, he was expecting her to; but she crouched deeper into the couch crying. But she wasn’t supposed to cry, she ought to fight back, he thought. Then he realized the woman he cared for was the one he had hit. He knelt by her side and cried alongside. He promised heaven and earth to make it up to her. He said he didn’t know what came over him. He begged her not to tell anyone, that he loved her crazily and would do anything to make it up to her.
“Joyce, what happened to your face?” asked Tope her supervisor at work. Joyce had been happy her parents came in late Sunday evening and had not seen her face properly. She left the house before they woke up and was glad she knew a little trick about make up. She applied foundation and concealer as much as she could.
She couldn’t afford to stay back home; her first appraisal meeting was on Monday and it would not be nice to stand her department head up, as she hoped she would be retained after her internship.
Tope wasn’t fooled at all. She saw the signs and knew Joyce had not fallen as she had claimed. She told her to open up to her if she was in an abusive relationship. Joyce avoided her eyes and denied it.
“Okay then, but speak up dear before it gets too late to do anything about it.” replied Tope. Tope’s younger sister had been a victim of abuse and had kept it to herself until it was too late. She had become so depressed that she became suicidal. Eventually, she had a mental breakdown and has since been confined to a psychiatric home for proper care. It’s been 3 years and still hasn’t improved. Tope shared the story with Joyce so she can take action.
Joyce became wary of Ladi but tried to hide it. She pretended to be busy just to avoid him. She wasn’t sure she loved him anymore but misses him each passing moment. She promised herself to give him another chance and not judge him too harshly; he was probably undergoing work stress.
Suddenly there was a loud bang, raised voices and women screaming. The noise seemed to be coming from the conference room. Every one hurried to get there to see the cause of the commotion…a man was being held by three men in suit, all rumpled because of the pulling and tugging. Another lady was being consoled by two ladies and a guy. She was sobbing hysterically. The MD sat at the head of the table, sending a message on his phone, looking unruffled by the whole drama. Before long, the security guards had come up to take the man downstairs. The crying lady also got up, told her sympathizers she would be okay and picked up her phone to make a call.
It looked like a movie only that it was real and happening at her office premises. She got the full scoop of the gist from the PA to the MD. The heads of departments had a presentation to make and defend. Then there was an argument over whose project was better and whose budget was to be approved first. The lady had stood her ground that it was hers and the guy felt belittled. He couldn’t hold his annoyance anymore and lashed out at the lady. Before anyone could calm them down, he had dealt her two slaps. The lady responded back with hers and then he rushed at her in a scuffle. It took the three men to get him off her.
The guy had been her own Ladi. Thrown out by security guards and handcuffed off the premises by men of the police force whom the MD had called. He couldn’t look at her eyes when the cops came. He felt stupid for having fought with a lady at the office. The lady had pressed charges and sued, she had the evidence after having gotten a black eye and a broken tooth from the assault.
When Ladi’s mum had visited him in detention, she reminded him of her warnings. “You have lost all the good women God brought your way due to your uncontrolled temper. You beat them mercilessly and expect them to stay. I warned you, I begged you; see where it has landed you now”. She was heartbroken over his situation and started calling every top citizen she knew to help her son. He was also taken for psychiatric evaluation to determine his mental condition.
At the office, Joyce couldn’t concentrate. She just couldn’t believe the man she loved had been a beast in public. Tope sensed her mood and after little cajoling, Joyce opened up to her and told her everything.
Micheal visited her and tried to offer her some comfort. He told her he had never ever seen Ladi that way before. That though he got angry at times but never to the extent that he got into a fight. He excused himself and Tope went to her side one more time.
“Let’s just be grateful this happened. I hope you have snapped out of any uncertainties. Because a man as short tempered and violent like Ladi, is a time bomb waiting to explode” Tope warned.
Ladi sat alone in his cell, reminiscing over the entire episode and what his mother had said. He broke down in tears and asked God to help him. He knew he needed help so he won’t be condemned. He was shocked Joyce had only come to see him twice. He thought she loved him and that love stayed no matter what.
He didn’t want her to leave him like all the others. He now realized that the others had run for their lives when he exhibited his uncontrollable anger. Well, he wouldn’t blame them; he would have done the same. Two weeks after the assault case, he had gotten a letter of dismissal from his company, and his world had come crashing down around him.
He promised himself to get the necessary help so that he wouldn’t destroy his future.
“ Once I get out of jail, I will go for counseling and anger management class and try to be a better person for the society” he said.