We both shrieked along, me in delight, and Glo in shock, turning my living room into one big shriek fest, at 11:30pm. When the shrieking had died down, Toke bid us farewell with a “he’s coming, gotta go, we’re about to celebrate”, and hung up. She actually said the last line #inWaconzyVoice

Almost as soon as Toke hung up, a text message came into my phone. I quickly opened it, thinking it was some follow up gist. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a message from Hawt Pastor, asking that I ensure I did not miss church for any reason the next day, since it had been so long ago he had seen me in church.

Once I had finished reading the sms, I turned to Gloria “I’m listening…”

“It was like three years ago, and it wasn’t anything serious. I was in UK, and met him at a party. As you have experienced, he has a way with words and gestures. Things got crazy and it was a one night thing. I never thought I was ever going to see him again in my life, ever. There was no way I would ever have know he would end up as the love of my best friend’s life. Absolutely no way”.

I sat on the edge of the chair, as I realized the dilemma Gloria was going through.

“Please do not tell Toke”, she begged “she’s so happy with him and I don’t want to be the one that ruins everyone’s joy every time. Your wedding and now this.”

While what Gloria was saying made sense at a certain level, she was forgetting something “what if he tells her first? And if he had met you before, why didn’t he say so. And why would he propose to her right after meeting you?” I asked “I think it would be better if she finds out from one of us than him. That’s going to look real bad and it will be more difficult to let her know it was just a foolishness of the past. She can decide if she wants to go on, knowing what she knows. He obviously hasn’t told her so she can make her decision to marry him. We need to give her the opportunity to make an informed decision. Otherwise we’ll be making the same mistake Ossy made when he didn’t give me full disclosure about Yomi’s sexuality”.

She shook her head vigorously “No, he’s not going to tell her anything. From what I’ve seen, he genuinely loves her and wouldn’t want to hurt her that way”. Then she took my hands in hers and looked me square in the face “you must not mention this to her, ever. Oyin, you have to promise me. You must promise me, for Toke’s sake!” I was silent. “Promise!” she repeated. I nodded my head in agreement, hoping I would never have reason to regret the promise I had just made to Gloria.

The next day, I went to church again after a long time. Hawt Pastor had texted me earlier to remind me that I should not miss church for any reason. After the wedding thing, in which I had deliberately chosen not to follow his (sound) advice, our relationship had been sort of frayed. So I was surprised when I woke up that morning and saw his second sms. I really didn’t have much to do anyways, Gloria was going to see her mum and since Toke was still cooped up with Mr. Oga, I wasn’t expecting her back anytime soon. So rather than stay at home and cradle a bottle of JC Leroux, I decided to go to church.

I decided on a very comfy look for church. Jeans, flats, top and a jacket. Nothing elaborate, nothing gengen, I really couldn’t be bothered. If I had any other interesting option of what to do, I would probably not have gone to church that day.

But all that changed when I got to church and the service started. I have missed my church. The praise and worship was heavenly and the congregation was on point as usual. Everything gelled like a well rehearsed concert, the way CD John of blessed memory describes Island church services. One interesting thing though; I could pick out all the ladies who had come to church hoping to find husbands by casual observation. There was something about their dressing, the overstated alleluias and something else I just couldn’t place a name on. In a way, it was so obvious, it was funny. If I could see it this easily, wouldn’t it be so damn easy for the men to see it just as easily? I wonder, I just wonder. Just a few months ago, I was exactly like that, I thought ruefully. My recent experiences and heartaches have matured me sha (Oyin, clap for yourself).

As the service played out, my mind couldn’t help racing over various reasons why Hawt Pastor wanted to see me. As soon as the service was over, one of the fine ushers came and informed me that the pastor would be having a meeting with the building committee and after which he would see me. She handed me a note personally written by the Hawt Pastor himself. “I’d like to finish all business before seeing you, as I would like this meeting to be very private. I’ll make the meetings very brief. Thanks”. I fiddled with my BB for a bit and read status updates, then went through my timeline on twitter and then my FB wall. By the time I had gone through this, the church had emptied. This time I waited, instead of rushing up and forming pastor’s special convert (claps for herself again internally. Okay, I watch waaaay too much Ally Mcbeal). A few moments later, the same usher came back and informed me that the pastor would now see me. I followed her through rows of seats and up the stage stairs towards the office area. She asked me if I knew my way to the office and I nodded a yes. She then left me. I kept wondering what was going on. She had obviously been instructed to allow me come on my own. I am not paranoid, but after all sorts of things we have read, e reach to think these things.

Anyway, I kept going and knocked lightly when I got to the door. Hawt Pastor’s familiar baritone came through “Come in Oyin”.

As I made to open the door, my phone rang. It was Toke. I wondered why she was calling me now. I would return her call when I was done here.

“Oyin are you there?” he called out, his voice closer to the door now. The door opened before I could get it, and Hawt Pastor stood before me, sleeves rolled up, tie lose, but still with the rugged hotness that made him Hawt. “Hi Oyin”, he cooed “would you come in please?” Toke called again and I quickly turned off the ringer.

An SMS came into my phone, and I surmised it was from Toke. “Can I quickly check this?” I asked him as he still blocked the doorway. He nodded and I checked Toke’s SMS. It was short, but it felt like a punch to my face

“Gloria has slept with my fiancĂ©”

I let out an “Oh my God”.

Hawt Pastor caught my exclamation and quickly inquired “what’s the matter? Is there a problem?”

“I hope this is not going to take long, an emergency just came up, and I would have to leave very quickly”, I responded after taking a second to gather my breath.

He just said “Hmmm”, and then stepped aside to allow me go into the office.

I went into the empty office and he came in close behind me. I quickly sat down in one of the two visitor’s seats opposite his big seat, expecting him to go and seat in his own seat opposite me. When he leaned against the table on my own side, I became very worried. My eyes darted to the door, to ensure that he hadn’t bolted it from inside. It wasn’t bolted. That was a bit of relief.

He began “Oyin, I know you have been through a lot in the last few months, in trying to settle down. I’m sure there’s a lot more that has happened than the little I know, but even that little is a lot.”

I nodded, wondering where he was going with this.

“I have a proposition to make, and no matter how difficult and hurt you might be at first, I want you to really consider it first before making a decision. In fact, I will not rush you into making such a decision.”

He then placed a hand on my shoulder, and the alarm bells in my head rose to an alarming level. I began to shake my head and began mumbling “this cannot be happening, this cannot be happening, not you too, not you too”. How could Hawt Pastor want to be setting coded P with me? The thought was repulsive in every way I could consider.

“What, Oyin? I asked you to listen to the proposal before jumping to a conclusion.” With that, I heard the door open and as I turned back, I saw a familiar figure enter but I couldn’t make out the face initially, since it was silhouetted. Then I saw who it was and I let out a sigh and then a shocked “What!” the sigh was a sigh of relief. Relief that flooded me that what Hawt Pastor wanted was far away from what I had begun to assume that he wanted. Then the shock was because of the person that just entered. Standing right in front of me, was Femi Tosh.

I jumped up from my sit as he approached; and lashed out at Hawt Pastor, not caring that he was my spiritual leader. I was that enraged by the sight of Femi. The memories of the night I had hung my hopes out in the wind and he left me high and dry looking like a fool rushed back into my mind vividly as if I was still sitting at that table. I was not ready to hear whatever he had to say.

“Is it because of this vindictive fool you brought me here? This grown man who was so immature that he had to play boyish tricks to get back at me in my most vulnerable spot?”

Then I turned on Femi himself “and you are still a child, if you want to talk to me, and you cannot come yourself, you had to go through somebody else. I don’t even want to hear what you have to say.” I began to cry. I cry when I get very angry and emotional over anything.

Hawt Pastor tried to calm me down, but I wasn’t having any of it. I really am tired of all these men walking in and out of my life and feeling like they make me complete. So now that he has come, I should be happy he has come and I should rejoice and be glad at the prospects of being married? The last few months have taught me that if I cannot be with you even if we were never going to marry, then I shouldn’t want to marry you.

I stormed out of the office angrily, not bothering to conceal the tears streaming down my face. I unconsciously wished that Femi would follow me pleading, but I was alone all the way to the car. Unserious nonsensical somebody!

I drove straight home, as if possessed by a barrage of speed demons. When I got there, Gloria was back in my house, waiting in her car. When she saw me in the state I was, she could not say anything, she just helped me into the house. “Oyin, what is it?” she inquired.

Before I could answer, my doorbell rang. I don’t know why I thought it had to be Femi at the door, but I sprang up and raced to the door, wanting to scream a thousand vitriolic words into his face. When I got to the door, I realized it was Toke. I had not responded to her sms and hadn’t taken her calls so she had come to check me. I opened the door and stood aside to allow her in.

She began accusing me at the door “didn’t you see my missed calls and my text message? You didn’t even bother to call back and you were just at home.” she had been crying too and didn’t see I was in tears at first. When she did look at my face and saw it was tear stricken, she let out a gasp. “Oyin, what is it? Why are you crying?”

I didn’t answer, I just let turned away from the door and she kept asking what the issue was as she followed me. The moment she entered the living room and saw Gloria, unbelievably, Toke went ballistic.

“What is she doing here?” she shouted at the top of her voice. Toke isn’t very big, so having her shout like she was going to do something evil to Glo was scary.

Gloria tried to speak up “Toke it’s not what…”

Toke didn’t let her finish “Shut up! You just have to keep spoiling everyone’s joy, because you don’t have any. First you grabbed Ossy, and then did what you did at Oyin’s wedding. And now this. Of all the men in the world that you could have slept with, it just had to be my Lumi! How could you?”

Gloria broke down into tears “it was years ago, before you ever dreamt of meeting him, Toke. How was I supposed to know? How?”

Toke broke down into tears. “You just had to spoil it. Olumide was my perfect picture, and you soiled that perfection. I hate you Gloria. I hate you so!”

“Stop it!” I screamed. “Stop it, both of you!”

“Toke, listen to yourself. Just listen to yourself! Gloria is supposed to be blamed for something that happened between two adults over three years ago? You have set Lumi up in your mind as picture perfect and cannot allow anything affect that picture. So you want to blame Gloria for everything. Do you think this is easy for her?”

Toke was hysterical “I know, Oyin, I know. I’m afraid he will leave me. I slapped him when he told me and called him a small boy. I have tried to call him since and he has refused to take my calls.”

“The let him be. How did he expect you to react to the news that he has slept with your friend? With joy and smiles? If he is serious about getting married, then he will come for you. He chose to tell you about it only after he had proposed and you had accepted his proposal. He did act like a small boy.” I responded

“There’s one more thing I haven’t told you guys,” Toke said quietly, a kind of quiet speaking that told me what I was about to hear would shock me to my bones. “And what might that be?” I ventured.

“I’m pregnant for Lumi.”

“Does he know?” I asked

“Yes he does, I told him just before he told me about him and Glo”.

“Then he should man up and pursue the woman he wants to marry and the soon to be mother of his child if he really wants her. Enough of chasing all these men!”

Toke became quiet, and even Gloria began to look at me intently. I could sense they were wondering what had come over Oyin to make her talk like this, this kind of hard talk hardly came from me. Toke was typically the one that talked that way. In the quiet that followed, Gloria asked the question. “Oyin, what happened to you at church today?”

“Femi Tosh was waiting for me in Hawt Pastor’s office.”

They both let out oohs and long hisses, and then Toke asked “what did the clown want. He wants to do another vengeful ritualistic dramatization abi?”

At that moment, my doorbell rang again. We all became quiet. Who could be at the door? “Who is there?” I called out.

“It’s me, please open up,” a male voice responded from the other side of the door.

I shouted from inside my house “Femi, go away! I don’t ever want to see you again. And if you came back because you are feeling bad and want to apologize, it’s not needed. Just go!”

“Calm down Oyin!” Gloria shouted me down, and for some reason I cannot understand, I actually became quiet and dropped my tantrum. By then she was at the door and she unhooked it. In the doorway was Femi, looking huge but as unsure of himself as a toddler. He looked so vulnerable and something in my heart twitched. But my heart seems to have developed arthritis. These days, it doesn’t do so much gymnastics again.

“Femi, what is it? What do you want?” Toke queried.

I shot her a look that said “this is my matter and let me handle it” and she jejelly backed down. “Oo…o…oo…oyin”, Femi stammered.

I didn’t say a word. I just raised my eyebrows. All his suave smooth articulateness was gone.

“Oyin, I’m sorry, words cannot begin to describe…”

Toke could not hold herself back “Okay, we get that you are sorry. If that is all, you can like to leave right about now.”

I didn’t bother to shoot her any looks this time because I felt exactly that way.

“Let me rephrase,” he began, sounding surer of himself now, as if he had braced himself for whatever was the worst that could happen. “I have not been able to stop thinking about you since I left Nigeria. And I actually tried not to. But my heart refused to stop going back to you.”

He had become bluntly honest about how he felt and it was slightly disarming. His head told him to let me go, expectedly, but somehow his heart didn’t listen. It sounded very familiar, like me. Something twanged again in my heart, albeit faintly.

Toke wanted to talk again but this time, I gave her “the look” before she could. She got the message and slid back into her seat. Gloria had been the quieter of the two. Now she spoke up.

“Femi, all that is still stories that touch. What do you really want? To settle some more scores? To appease your conscience that you are a good person that apologizes for your wrong unlike the rest of us? Please what is it you really want and cut the drama, we’ve seen enough drama to last a lifetime”

Her words must have cut close to his heart, because his eyes seemed to light up with a fierceness that worried me. “No oooo”, he said, shaking his head vigorously at Gloria. Then he turned to me, as if to say this was between just the two of us and not the panel that was interviewing him.

“Oyin,” (it’s when men want to form mushy mushy they will be calling your name over and over again as if it’s going out of fashion, *rme*) “when I said earlier that in all those years in the US, I had still not been able to get over you, I wasn’t lying. It was true. You were the one and still are the only woman I’ve ever loved.”

“Femi, I have heard you,” I said in a calm voice that betrayed none of the storms that were going on in my heart with what he was saying. I gave a dismissive wave and turned as if to tell him the conversation was over and go into the room.

“I am not done yet,” he said. This time, all the uncertainty in his voice was gone and there was a steel and sureness in it that now stopped me in my tracks. I turned around and all we three female eyes in the room became fixated on him, watching him intently, as if daring him to say whatever he wanted to say next. At that moment, someone rapped on my door (it seemed to have developed a knack for being knocked on at dramatic times. I’m sure Frank Edoho has nothing on my door with his advert breaks on Who Wants to be a Millionaire) and Toke’s phone rang. It was Lumi. Gloria had become our doorman and she went to get the door. Lumi came in, eyes red, not looking as clean as the Lumi I had met the previous day. He looked Gloria over with venom and then came into the room without a word of greeting to her.

Without taking a care as to what was happening in the room before he came in, he spoke to Toke like we were all not there “I’m calling the engagement off,” he said, straight off. “I have thought about it from all angles and I have come to the conclusion that it cannot work.”

Toke was hysterical. In that moment, Femi and I took the backstage in the drama unfolding in my sitting room. Toke shot back “how can you call it off as if it’s pure logic. You have given it a thought? That’s all it was to you? You thought it would work and now you don’t think so, so it’s over? Did you ever feel anything, Olumide Sanni?”

“I don’t make decisions about who I will marry based on how I feel about them,” he retorted. “If you can slap me over telling you something that took all of my trust in your maturity to tell you, then it means you see me more as your younger brother than as your man. This is the first real difficult issue we’ve had and this is how you handle it. I cannot but think it’s an indication of things to come.”

Now, as I listened, Lumi’s logic made sense to me, but the overtly logical manner he was speaking didn’t just sit well with me. This was the woman he was meant to be so totally crazy about for crying out loud. How could he be talking like this?

Toke was unconscious that she had begun to raise her voice when she responded “Lumi, I made a mistake. I was angry, hurt and felt betrayed that you chose to tell me only after proposing to me. And I thought I should rightly be upset. I apologize for what I’ve done, but I believe I deserve an apology too for the deceit”

Lumi smiled ruefully and addressed an imaginary audience that included those of us in the room “See what I’m saying? She’s already shouting at me. Why do you talk to me as if I’m your younger brother? The two of us getting married would be a huge mistake.”

Toke simmered down as she said considerably quieter than she had spoken before “and what happens to the baby we have made together?”

He responded matter-of-factly “I’m not irresponsible. I’ll take responsibility for the child and also be financially responsible for the child. I cannot make a second mistake of marriage because I made a first mistake of getting you pregnant.”

The anger within me welled up to an uncontrollable level and it spilled over with all the venom of a volcanic eruption. I had just about had it with this smart imbecile.

“What!” I screamed. “Is it my friend that you are calling a mistake! You are such an insensitive cold immature guy underneath your smoothness.”

I just love my Toke. She didn’t fall our hand. She didn’t cry. She just had this resolute look on her face. I wanted to go on shouting, but she waved her hand and I kept quiet, literarily having to clamp my mouth shut to keep me from going on.

“Olumide Sanni,” she began, calling his full name “I have heard you. I will have this “mistake” and will take care of her. We will not be needing your help. I do not ever want to see or hear from you again, and if you try to claim this baby, you’ll be surprised at how ferociously I will fight you.”

Lumi shook his head “You cannot do that. You forget I’m a lawyer, and I know what the law says on the child’s custody. I’m the father and…”

“Fathers do not call their children mistakes, Mr. Lawyer.” It was Gloria, who spoke for the first time since. “You are not involved…” Lumi began as he turned to her. She interrupted him “Leave. Lumi.” He didn’t budge and I just lost it. “Leave my house! GET THE F@*K OUT OF HERE!” I screamed. I jumped at him and then Femi intervened and held me back. I don’t subscribe to violence or anything of the sorts, but I saw him for who he was now. He was one of those smug smart types that had the effect of making you want to wring his neck. Femi calmed me down and then turned to Lumi who looked confused as if wondering why we were so angry and told him “I think you should leave now”. Slowly, Lumi turned and went to the door. He shot Toke a glance as if he regretted what was going down (abegi, all that one is Mainframe productions jor). Again Toke didn’t fall hand. Her face was cool steel, she didn’t show any emotions.

As Femi saw Lumi to the door, he paused there for a minute before he turned around. I thought he was going to leave with Lumi (maybe all the men should just leave our space and give us peace).

But he came back into the room and continued from where he stopped as if the intrusion by the Lumi/Toke saga hadn’t happened. “Oyinkansola Clegg,” he called my name again “I came back because I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” He dropped on one knee and produced a beautiful white gold ring and I dropped on a chair and nearly passed out in shock.


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