This one is for Queen Jiddah. You have found love, may you never lose it.💕
“So instead of making things right with your family, you just took off and disappeared without warning. Is this how you have been doing? In fact, don’t answer. You and I will reach Egbeda today and you will explain all of these to your father. Tell him how you suddenly grew wings and what is responsible for those wings” my mother turns round and continues to fold her clothes neatly into a bag.
I stand by the entrance to her room, my arms folded. I don’t know why she is angry with me and I don’t care to know.
But I am angrier at her than she knows or can ever understand.
“Are you deaf? I said, we are going home together. So go and pack your things and get ready!”
“I am not going anywhere”
She is stunned by the finality in my voice. She stands and looks at me in utter shock. “You say?”
“Mummy, everything that happened did not make you face Esther and her husband, it is me you’re facing”
“Are you stupid? Are you not the one who moved in with them? If you didn’t show up, would they have had an issue?”
My expression is blank and I think she is waiting for me to respond to what she has said.
But I stay put, refusing to speak. Because if I say the things on my mind, I may never be able to take them back.
So I avoid her gaze, my eyes on an old calendar on the wall.
It is a 2014 calendar that hasn’t been removed because nobody really uses this room.
“Are you deaf? Did I not ask you a question?”
“No” I say
She raises an eyebrow
“No I am not deaf. Or stupid. And it is not my fault that they have problems. Esther’s husband’s philandering ways has nothing to do with me. I refuse to take the blame”
I turn to leave and find my sister standing in my way. I think she heard some of the things my mother and I said to each other.
“What’s going on here?” she asks and I ignore her. I make to walk out when she stands in my way. “Where are you going?”
Maybe it is time I got my own space.
A room cannot be so hard to find or pay for. Maybe it would be expensive to pay for but I will struggle hard and raise the money. I cannot continue to live with family that treats me like I begged to be a part of their lives.
“Excuse me” I say
“Are you not the one I am asking a question?” my sister asks
“Leave her, she has suddenly become too big to answer anybody” my mother replies. “Your life will spoil and it will have nothing to do with me because I would have done my own part as a mother!” she yells after me as I push my sister out of the way slightly.
“You think running off to a man will help you? Turning yourself to asewo for a man who hasn’t paid your bride price!”
I try to push her voice out of my head as I make for the room I stay in. Throwing the doors of the wardrobe open, I begin to throw my things in a bag.
I am not going to stay here any longer than necessary.
Tears blur my vision as I zip two bags containing my things. I have no plan and I don’t know where to go but I know I don’t want to be here.
“Sarah” my sister has walked into the room now, I grab my handbag and push her out of the way as I drag my things out of the room. “Am I not talking to you?” she asks and pulls my arm
“Please, I beg you, leave me alone” I say to her.
“Why? You’re going to walk out on your family because…”
“You’re not my family” I say and yank my hand off her. Then just like that I find my way to the front door.
“She said we’re not family” I hear my sister say as I close the door and step into the afternoon sun.
Ade is surprised to see me and my bags push in through the front door when I arrive at Oge.
“That’s a lot of laundry” she says, her eyes on the bags at my feet. And of course, we both know she is aware it’s not laundry.
“Yeah” I say anyway, too feeble to do anything else.
I shake my head. “But I’ll be fine”
And before she can get another word in, I hurry to my work station, keep my bags securely in a corner and help the Tailors with stitches.
We all work in silence for a long time before one of the Tailors begins to talk about her Sister and her “useless” husband.
I listen as she mentions how he peeps at girls bathing in the compound and how her sister forgives him every single time he does something stupid.
The others call him “shameless” and her sister “stupid”
Those are the words that describe my sister and her husband too. But again, my sister is worse than stupid. She is unfeeling and unbelievably ignorant.
I wonder how long she wants to believe the lies she is hanging on to and for how much longer she intends to stay in the bubble she’s built around herself.
I also wonder if I can ever forgive her.
I try to push away the whole drama that has happened that morning and think ahead.
I can get a Hotel to spend the night. But what happens tomorrow morning? Do I keep spending money in a Hotel on the Island or do I find someplace to stay?
Or maybe I should just abandon my dreams and flee back to Egbeda.
I should probably start my own Tailoring shop and forget this fancy designer life/dreams.
Surely, I can find people to make clothes for in Egbeda. Not everyone can be an Island Tailor.
Sighing deeply, I push in a needle too far and pierce myself
“Sarah, are you okay? This one wey you dey breathe like this?”
I look up at one of the Tailors and smile. She is a plump, warm woman in her early thirties.
“I’m fine, Aunty Adunni” I reply with a smile I hope masks all my worries
She doesn’t believe me. “You sure say you fine? Your face look one kain”
I nod. “I jus dey feel somehow but I go dey alright”
“Ha you better go home if you are having malaria because everybody is just having malaria this rain period” Another Tailor says
“True. If no be for the agbo wey I use sef, my body for don pack up dis moreen” Aunty Adunni adds.
“Hmm dis rain jus dey do pesin body one kain”
“Dat na how you talk last year and na belle commot for that talk”
They laugh and Aunty Adunni tells me to get some rest. “Na us you come help, you no suppose work if you sick o… Ehn just go rest small”
“Abi call boyfriend if you get make e come give you small blanket”
The other Tailor winks at me and I burst into laughter with the rest of the room despite myself.
The mention of a boyfriend reminds me of the one I just said yes to. So I grab my phone and send a quick text to AKT.
Hey, how is it going?
The other Tailors have started talking about something else.
Hey, thinking about you. Weird as hell. But I love it. what’re you up to?
I tell him I’m helping the Tailors with a little stitching.
I’d like to see you later. Can I come pick you up?
I remember how much I need someone to talk to, someone in my corner. So I send him a response I know he will like
Sure. In an hour.
And so I return to work with the other Tailors.
“Dem say Oga Scott and im wife one redo marriage”
“Dem undo am befor?”
“Ha, dem undo o. ngbo Sarah?”
I look awkwardly at Aunty Adunni and smile like an idiot. “Erm… I think so”
“Sarah and Oga Scott dey do wole wode na”
I gasp at that statement when I hear it. It is Caro, the third Tailor in the room that says that.
“No deny am. I no talk am for your back. And I no say e love you die”
Okay… thanks Caro, for nothing.
“Me sef sabi” Aunty Adunni says. Alright fine, my life is now DSTV.
I grab my phone and send a quick text to AKT.
Make that thirty.
“We were not serious…”
“You serious o” Caro cuts in.
“How you know?” Aunty Adunni demands
“You no sabi say Ogiri leti?”
Everyone has abandoned their work now and their eyes are set on me.
Right, Caro I will forever be grateful to you.
“Keji, you know this story?” Aunty Adunni asks the other Tailor.
Keji shakes her head.
“Sarah no fit deny am.” Caro says and I stare blank faced. “And one day, I dey try enter Oga Scott office na im I hear Oga Ade voice. She talk say make Oga Scott no do you like ‘di odas’”
“Na who be di’odas?” Keji asks, confused.
“Di odas ode.” Aunty Adunni says and I am certain she’s as confused as Keji.
“The other people he’s probably had an affair with” I say and then with my little knowledge in Yoruba, I explain.
“Ehen” they both nod slowly
“Oga Scott com say he love you.” Caro continues, “Say you no be di odas”
Silence falls on the room.
“So why e de redo marriage?”
Caro shrugs, “His wife don get belle somehow”
“Somehow? No be im put am for dere?” Aunty Adunni says “Okunrin” she hisses and returns to work.
When AKT’s call comes through, I announce in a voice too loud, “My boyfriend is here! See you guys on Monday!” and I dash out of the work station the fastest I have ever done.
When I get outside, I tell the guard “I am coming back for my things.” I say to him and he nods.
Hopping into AKT’s car, I sigh. Relieved to be away from all that gossip.
“You okay?” He asks
He smiles like he doesn’t believe me. “Give me your hand” he says and reaches for my hand.
Raising it to his lips he kisses it gently. “Everything would be fine”
And somehow, I believe him.
We sit up in bed, his heavy duvet around us while we watch an old movie on Mnet. I have a bowl of grapes in my hands which I eat from, my other hand in his.
“So were you able to take care of things with your baby mama earlier?” I ask as the end credits roll.
“Her name is Cynthia” he says
“Well, she’s still your baby mama”
“I know. Just please, call her Cynthia”
“Fine. So what happened?”
He shrugs, “She just needed me to be there that’s all”
I frown but say nothing.
She just needed him to be there? What does his presence have to do with anything?
He grabs the remote with his free hand and browses through stations “We should just watch music videos or something” he says as he stops at MTV Base.
An old Wizkid video is playing.
“So how did it go at home?”
“Nothing different. My family still hates me”
“I’m sure they don’t” he says to me.
“Okay na. as you don’t know half the story”
I look at him and shake my head slowly. “No”
“C’mon Sarah. We’re dating, you should tell me stuff”
“That will take a lot of getting used to”
“Well start getting used to it” he pleads, “Please” then he suddenly smiles “Or do I have to tickle it out of you?”
Without warning, his fingers find their way to my sides and he begins to tickle me. I laugh like a little girl as my back falls on the bed.
“Okay fine, I’ll talk!” I say through laughter.
“Are you sure?” he doesn’t stop
Then he stops, kisses me before pulling me up to sit by him.
“Okay maybe I should start from the beginning. My Sister and I never used to get along. Even as kids. I used to think it was ‘cause she’s years older and she was used to being the only one before I came along but with time, I just didn’t get it”
He is listening to me intently, I can see.
“But with time, I realized she didn’t want me around her. Not even when I really wanted to. I think she just hates me”
That hurts to say. It is something I had wondered about all my life but saying it hurts a whole lot more.
“I’m sure she doesn’t”
I smile wryly. “You don’t get it, it runs deeper than you think” and somehow, I realize AKT is the first person I am opening up to like this so I say “You know what, I don’t think we should be talking about this…”
“Sarah, please don’t do that. If this is meant to happen, you cannot keep things away from me. Especially not something that hurts so bad”
I nod. “But it just…” my voice breaks and I lose the fight against the tears.
The fight I seem to have won all morning.
He gathers me in his arms and kisses me on the forehead “Please baby, please don’t cry”
My body shakes violently as tears cascade my face. And just like it’s meant to be, his hands rock me through every sob, every tear, every pain.
Until his phone rings.
“Yeah, wassup?” he says into the phone. “Are you sure?” he pauses “Should I call Ese?”
I gently disentangle myself from the hug.
“Okay, I’m coming” he ends the call and faces me apologetically “I’m so sorry Sarah but…”
“Cynthia needs you. Go” I say
“I promise I will be back soon” he says and dashes out of the room.
I sit in silence, my eyes on a Dare Art Alade music video.
Cynthia is playing at something and I would be damned if I didn’t realize.
Desperate to find out, I stand and make for the guest room.
I don’t knock.
I want to find out what is going on so I open the door and take in the picture before me.
It is that of AKT, curled up in Bed with Cynthia.
His arms hold her from behind her where he lies and her hands hold his firmly.