Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Watching Paint Dry

I have never understood why people compare boredom to "watching paint dry". I mean, seriously, who the hell watches paint dry? Haven't you heard of television or a book for that matter? Having said that, these last few days have been like watching paint dry for me! I really do not know what to do with this unexpected free time. I wake up at 8, hit the gym for 90 mins and then the rest of my day is empty.

This is entirely new territory for me, what should I do with this time. I could do what I am supposed to do; pack, but packing is worse than watching paint dry. Besides if its not the last minute, then its not T.

I know I am whingeing and some people are thinking "bitch, I would love a few days off" but that's different. When we take a few days off, we make plans, go on holiday, hibernate in the bedroom with our significant other etc. But every one I know is working so there is no one to play with me. boo hoo.

Ok, I am getting a grip.

On a totally random note, I was talking to a friend of mine who happens to work in HR in a large international firm, and we started talking about weird interview questions and answers. I interviewed grads for the first time a couple of weeks ago. There was supposed to be two of us but there was some accident at Liverpool st and my partner was delayed. Anyway so I was interviewing this final year Cambridge student. Nothing to write home about, he was average looking, etc. But when we started the interview I noticed that he had the most amazing green eyes and by the end of the interview I could not recall a single thing about the dude. Feeling guilty I put him through only to be told off because apparently he wasn't the most articulate fellow (putting it mildly).

Anyway, this friend of mine tells me about a trick question that they throw in, usually when the poor guy/girl is in the middle of a sentence. At the first assessment centre where they piloted the question, they were apparently so disappointed with the answers they got that they only put one person through.

Question: Would you sell your soul to us in exchange for this job.

Some people answered yes, why? Because they wanted the job really badly. They didn't get through

Some said no because they believe that integrity i important and some things are priceless. They didn't get very far either.

But that one guy, apparently, on hearing the question, put his hands behind his head and said "In a heart beat"

When asked why, he answered "Well to be honest I don't know what my soul is worth right now but working for you or indeed any corporate law firm it's value is bound to depreciate. Based on this assumption, I would have no choice but to take advantage of an offer that hedges the inevitable depreciation. They guy was obviously a sharp guy, and he was African (not sure what county though)!!!

That is without a doubt the weirdest question I think I have ever heard? Does anyone have a weird question that they were asked at an interview?

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Dinner with Mr Brown

Ok so I finally gave my notice, After the usual "Is there anything we can do to change your mind" song and dance, they wished me well and asked me to clear my desk. We arranged a date for my debriefing and I turned my back on the place that had been my home for so long.

I hadn't planned on giving notice until just before Christmas, but I need some time to process all these things, to pack properly and to just chill out before I move. Now that I have no fall back plan, this move is seeming more reckless than exciting, but I am still young and if there was ever a time to take risks, it is now!

Guys I am sorry oh, it was never my intention to leave you hanging in regards to Mr Brown, its just that I was literally updating and dashing out.....

So I met up with Mr Brown and he was still very polite and unassuming. I was really thrown by his behaviour that it made me awkward.

Mr Brown: Thank you for coming
Me: No problem, It sounded kinda urgent, whats the matter?
Mr Brown: I am sorry if I made it seem like life or death, but I just wanted some advice, Its about my sister.
Mr Brown's sister is a legend unto herself, I knew her before I knew him and I didn't make the connection for a long time. On paper she is amazing, all the right schools, all the right grades, all the right internships. Even in person she looks/acts capable and competent. Okay, to be fair, I heard that she is pretty good at her job. But here is where it gets murky, Miss Brown is a total slut. I don't use this word very often but in her case I will make an exception. She has slept with half of the trading floor and is still working her way through the list. According to the rumour mill, she was caught in a very compromising situation with one of the big bosses. I really can't stand her, she may do a good job but she just makes it harder for herself too be taken seriously.

Me: Oh, whats the matter with your sister?

Mr Brown: You don't have to feign ignorance, I know you know what she has been doing, everybody knows, except for me it seems.

Me: Your sister is an adult and there really isn't anything that anyone can do.

Mr Brown: She is pregnant, she doesn't know who for, she wants to keep it. She wants to make my family a laughing stock.

Me: So what do you think I can do ?

Mr Brown: Talk to her, she seems to respect you, she always talks about you as if you are a superstar, In fact, she is the reason I met you.

Me: Oh?

Mr Brown: Ok, not the first time, which I cannot apologise enough for

Me: Water under the bridge

Mr Brown: But the time after that, the reason I decided to use you guys, to specifically request you. I just had to meet you.

Me: So did I live up to your somewhat exaggerated expectations?

Mr Brown: No, You exceeded it.

I hid my smile.

Me: Back to your sister, to be honest there is nothing I can do, I am flattered that she thinks so highly of me but she is a grown ass woman and she needs to make her decisions by herself. The only person that will have to live with it is her.

Mr Brown: And me of course, and my poor mother who I haven't told yet.

Me: So what exactly do you want me to do?

Mr Brown: Tell her that having a baby will ruin her career, that you had to make sacrifices too

My people, my guilty conscience at this point made my ears burn.

Me: Sacrifices? What sacrifices do you know that I made?

Mr Brown: I don't know I am sure you will think of something.

Me: Look, I really don't want to waste your time, so let me just say this, there is no way that I can convince your sister to get an abortion because it is none of my business. I don't even like the girl.... Oops
I am sorry, I really didn't mean to say that.


Mr Brown: No, there is no need to apologise, speak freely.

Me: We don't have to have dinner you know, we could just go.

Mr Brown; Now why would we do that?

Me: I don't know, we have concluded our talk.....

Mr Brown; No, I am starving lets eat, unless you'd rather...

Me: I am hungry as well. Ok, lets eat.

Me: So, how is Hanatu?

Mr Brown: Who?

Me: What do you mean who? My friend, the one that you met at the poetry open mic,

Mr Brown: Well, why would I know how she is ?

Me: Didn't you exchange numbers, didn't you guys go out?

Mr Brown; No, we didn't but its interesting how interested you seem in my love life

Tinuke don't you dare blush! I didn't even bother to try and figure out why Hanatu had lied...

Me: Look, I am making conversation...

Mr Brown: easy tiger, I am just teasing.

I wanted to tell him about my new job, I wanted his advice, He was familiar with that territory. But I couldn't, he was doing business with my firm and I wasn't ready to have the news get out.

Me: How many sisters and brothers do you have?

Mr Brown: just the one, that's why I am trying to make sure she turns out right. You?

Me: Just the one, a brother.


After Dinner, Mr Brown offers me a ride home, I accept. sitting in his car, with him in such close proximity, I am hit by a lot of conflicting feelings. As if this wasn't confusing enough, his scent was distracting me from my thoughts and......

Mr Brown: Tinu, Tinu.

Me: Oh? Yes

Mr Brown, Are you ok, you seemed lost in another world

Me:, I was just running through my plans for tomorrow.

Mr Brown: You're home.

As I gather my things together, Mr Brown gets out of the car,

Mr Brown: Well that was fun, wasn't it?

Me: Yes, yes it was.

He leant in and I held my breath,

"Goodnight Tinu" He whispered in my ear as he barely kissed my cheek.

Me: Goodnight. Relieved that he hadn't tried to kiss me

At least I think it was relief

Saturday, 8 December 2007


As promised, Here is a rundown of the last few weeks, I know I promised a long post but I am literally writing this and running out the door (e ma bi nu oh).

New job:

Let me start with my biggest news; I am moving to Saudi. It all started a few months ago when I was approached at a networking event, I didn't think anything of it as these things are always filled with totally drunk traders/bankers who have the tendency to (as we say) yarn dust. Anyway, this guy is telling me about some restructuring going on in a middle eastern trading house and that I should email him my cv. So I do. If it turned out that he was not serious then I haven't really lost anything.

Next thing I knew I was going for a meeting in the UAE. The actual post was in Saudi so we flew by private jet (me too I was tripped) to meet my new team. The ratio of men to women was appaling but I like a challenge. The offer was too good to refuse but I needed time to think. I love my present job and the people I work with but the offer was too good not to take the chance. I still haven't told anyone at work yet. The day I give notice is teh day I have to clear my desk and I guess I am not ready yet. I dont actually move until after christmas so I am bidding my time.

I am soooo nervous about this move, but excited as well. Wish me luck guys!

Conversation with My Father:

So I decided to go see my dad, it was a Wednesday so my mum was at bible study. As I went passed the stop on the tube that would have taken me to my house and away from confrontation, I braced myself. I had no idea what I was going to say or how I was going to start. Who knew when I woke up that morning that I would be doing this come evening. It began like any other day.

I was having lunch with a friend of mine, Blue eyes is like my best guy pal, and Brad Pitt aint got nothing on him, no lie! We went to university together and were both serious library geeks. He followed me, or was it me that followed him.... Anyway, we wound up working at the same bank and we try to have lunch at least twice a week. The thing with blue eyes is that he is a real geek, through and through. He walks around oblivious to the stares and the girls going gaga over him. But he’s cool peeps, even though for a while I thought he was gay. Don’t blame me oh! How many men do you know will spend a whole day shopping with a girl and still be enthusiastic enough at the end of it to suggest that we pop into Russell and Bromley “because they had a pair of shoes in the window that would go nicely with that dress?”

So we are having lunch and we start talking about the hideous alligator shoes one of our bosses was wearing that day. No doubt it cost hundreds of pounds but if the alligators new the monstrosity that they would be turned into..... anyway Luther vandross’s “dance with my father came on and we both listen to it in silence, that song always leaves me with mixed feelings, it a beautiful song but I still wish he hadn’t written it. Blue eyes sighs and says “this song reminds me that the last time I saw my dad, I was walking out on him in anger, It was over a stupid car, next thing I know mums on the phone telling me that he was gone” We talked for a little while longer then we went back to work.

As soon as I got to my desk, I picked up the phone and dialled the number from memory. He picked up after a few rings. So here I was on the tube a few stops away from my family home, telling myself that I could just get off at the next stop and go home. A few stops later I got off and started to walk to my parents house, the walk usually took like 8 mins in a sprint. I was walking slowly and for what seemed like one or two minutes, yet here I was at the front door. I reached for the bell.

My mum was at bible study, but then I knew that she would be. I sat on the sofa and watched TV, my dad was eating his dinner. It used to be a joke, when we could laugh with each other, that my dad could not eat his food in one sitting. He started to eat, the made a call, then checked football scores, then ate some more, then another call, it usually took him about an hour to finish eating. I smiled as I watched him answer a phone call while trying to swallow a mouth full of food. At last he was finished. He came and sat on the sofa opposite me and “princess, you have my attention”
I took a deep breath.

2 hours later, I called a cab and went home

Sitting in the cab I felt a little lighter, I got home, ran a bath and then curled up in bed. When I woke up, I text my dad “good morning”

I guess we have to start somewhere...

My Date with the Dentist:

Despite all the pleas to go to the dentist and all the tears from the pain, Tinuke still couldn't bring her self to make that trip.

My friend calls me and tries to arrange lunch, I tell her I am working through mine, she insists. I figured she had something imprtant to talk to me about so I went. Thats how they ambushed me and hauled my ass to the dentist. As it turns out, it was no where as bad as I remembered and the discomfort paled in comparison to what I had been going through just bcause I was a fraidy cat. So I think my fear of dentists is a thing of the past (fingers crossed)

Mr Brown:

A few days after I went for my interview, I get a call from Mr Brown. I was polite but curt and after establishing that his call was in no way work related, I told him I was busy.

"Oh, erm I didn't mean to take you away from your work. I will let you get back to it" he says

This new unsure of himself Mr Brown was a revelation, and it kind of threw me. I immediately felt bad for dismissing him..

"Okay, I guess I can spare 5 mins, what can I do for you"

5 minutes later, I had agreed to have dinner with this guy, I don't even know how that came about. I know how to handle an arrogant Mr Brown, but this polite, nervous one? Well that was a whole new ball game.

After work, I hailed a cab to the Royal Exchange and in the cab, I pulled out my mirrow to apply a fresh coat of lipgloss. "Hot date?" the cabbie asks.

"No, work dinner" I answered, though it was really none of his business, was I really trying to convince him or myself?

Iknow it feels like I am rushing through this story. I will blog a bit more indpeth in a little while. I am packing, interviewing grads, looming deadlines and it just feels like there just isnt enough hours in the day.


Friday, 30 November 2007

Moving, Talking, Dinner and Dentists

My people, the last two weeks have been so eventful, I haven't even had time to process it all. When I do I am going to come back and give you an extra long post. But these are just the basics
  1. I am moving to Saudi after christmas, big step for me but I am excited.
  2. My dad and I had a proper conversation, no tears or tantrums just two adults talking.
  3. I had dinner with Mr Brown, okay, so maybe he isn't a total @**hole.
  4. I finally went to the dentist. Hooray!

When the dust settled I will fill you guys in on all the details of the past couple of weeks.


Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Ladies Night!

For the first time in forever I was having a girl’s night out

“Dinner round mine first” I had told them.

I picked up the phone and called Peking palace trying unsuccessfully to ignore their grumbling.

The wine was in the fridge; I took it out and watched the bottle start to sweat.

I make a mental note of everything,

It’s been too long since I had a night like this

I have missed my friends, we talk don’t get me wrong but it’s just not the same.

The door bell rings and I rush to get my purse

An aroma fills the hallway but it’s not Chinese, its Dolce and Gabbana’s light blue.

She has been wearing the same fragrance for four years, my friend.

I smile; the smell brings back memories, filled with laughter and joy.

I close my eyes as if I will be magically transported back to that time

I open them almost immediately; it’s time to make new memories

I hear screeches in the living room and I rush to be a part of the madness

How I missed the madness

They are talking about D’s dress; apparently it’s so short that she can’t even bend over

I make a mental note to be the pickerupper of any dropped items

We eat the food, we drink the wine and we talked the talk, hours went by.

As usual no one wants to get up, the planner in the group reminds us of the time

We all look around and burst out laughing, something about this seems way too familiar

After intensive cajoling, we all make it out the house,

The cab driver is a warm, funny old guy, as he drops us off, he tells us not to drink too much

As if!

The music was amazing, the company, incredible,

At the end of the night we struggled to all fit on my bed,

I remembered this part; it was the survival of the fittest

Where one person gives up and takes the sofa

No one ever wanted to be on the sofa, but tonight I gave in easily

I lay on the sofa and replayed the evening’s events as if willing myself to remember every detail

I hear a noise and turn to see my best friend, “welcome back T, I missed you” she says

I ponder that statement for a little while then I fall asleep.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Dentist Appointment? Oh, I'm too busy!

"But I haven't even told you what day or what time?" I was glad my friend was on the phone and not in front of me. But even then, I could still picture the disapproving/incredulous look on her face. I didn't blame her, I knew I was being ridiculous.

How can a 25year old woman be afraid of the dentist. I have had this tooth ache for almost s month now and it just keeps getting worse. I have been going through aspirin like they are sweets. Yesterday someone actually asked me why I "pop" so many pills. I have to sort this out oh, before a rumour starts to circulate that Tinu is on drugs.

I had a doctor friend write me a prescription for antibiotics because my gp said it was passed that stage and needed a dentist's attention, So far it has had no effect.

Today was the last straw, it hurt so much that I couldn't concentrate and in the end I gave up and came home. Yet here I was refusing to take the dentists appointment. Na Wa oh, I need help, any shrinks out there please help me overcome this fear oh! At this rate I will be toothless before I qualify for a freedom pass.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Daddy's Little Girl

Just in case you are experiencing Deja vu.....
I posted this yesterday and then I took it down. But then I didnt want to start censoring what I could and couldn't blog about so, here we are again.

I had dinner at my parents' house last month. Every time I go there it is so awkward and the long silences serve as painful reminder of a relationship that is still in shreds. I called my brother as I got to the station, just to make sure he was already there, I didn't want to be the first one. He wasn't there so I spent an hour in a coffee shop pretending to read a book. Is this how bad things are, that I would rather spend an hour doing nothing than to be alone with my parents?

So we are having dinner and no one is saying anything. To an outsider looking in, we might as well have been four strangers at a table. All our unresolved issues sat firmly in our stomachs constipating us, making conversation stilted and uncomfortable. The juice tasted sickly sweet in my mouth and I wished I was drinking Bourbon. Finally, after the 2 minutes silence that seemed like an hour, Tokunbo bit the bullet and started the conversation.

Tokunbo: Mum this food is amazing, I miss your cooking
Dad: Well, if you were seeing a decent Nigerian girl she would be able to cook for you, by the way how is that your white girlfriend.
They never asked how is your girlfriend, it was always "that your white girlfriend"
Toks: Actually Meg is an amazing cook, in fact...
Dad cuts in: You know your cousin Angela is getting married next month? On the 24th, I expect you both to be there.
I check my blackberry: I cant make it, I am out of the country
Dad: Where are you going?
Me: Abu Dhabi
Dad: Business?
Me: Potentially, So Angela's getting married eh? I bet Aunty Dupe is in her element planning this wedding
Dad: What do you mean potentially, it is either business or it isn't
Me: I have been offered a job, double what I am earning, the chance to help create something. Its a good offer, I have a meeting with ....
Dad: So you didn't think you should discuss it with us first.

At this point I look at my dad, and I wondered how we got here. I used to be daddy's little girl. I never did anything without his approval... until Seun. And now, when I looked at him, I felt resentment wash over me. Discuss what with who? I am a grown ass woman, I no longer live under your roof, I was about to say as much and then I caught my mothers eyes, silently pleading with me, begging me to keep up this charade of happy families.

Every time I am summoned to this house, I feel resentment. This is my home and this is my family. The bible teaches us to forgive and forget but how can I forgive these people who promised to love me unconditionally and then when I needed them the most, turned their back on me.

I remember breaking my leg when I was 12, I had fallen down a set of stairs and my dad came rushing. When I was screaming blue murder in pain, I caught the tears in my father's eyes and for a second the pain was gone. Its the only time I have ever seen my father cry.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Schindler’s List

When Schindler wrote his list, every name on it signified life. Every ink stained signature meant that someone would live, even if it was just for another day. I write about a different sort of list. When I was a little younger, a little foolish and a lot naive, I and a few of my friends would engage in an annual list writing ceremony, No joke oh! We would gather at someone’s house, drink some alcohol and then proceed with our ritual. What was this list? It was the list of men that we had been with. Names, situation that led to the event, how we felt after (emotionally oh! all you carnally minded people!). This was a deep ritual, definitely not for the faint hearted. Seun if you are reading this; Jo ma ka eleyi

Usually the actual writing took only a few minutes as it was only adding to names already on the list. It was the aftermath that was time and emotionally consuming. For some of us it was quicker than most, those who had boyfriends or who just hadn’t had sex with anyone new in the last year didn’t take too long. Then there were those of us who had a few additions on the list, there was a lot of contemplating, soul searching and finally (or at least I hope) moving on.

But there was one, every year it was the same song and dance. She cried more than all the rest of us combined, added more names to her list, made new resolves, but yet we were still there, one year on doing the same song and dance. This particular girl is very close to my heart. She gives without expecting something in return, she has a heart of gold but she was looking too hard for love and she was looking in the wrong places. It was always the same.

The first phone call: Oh I met a guy; he is so sweet and kind, not like all the rest blah blah blah

The second phone call: Oh we had sex, he was so gentle and then he held me after and blah blah blah

And then it starts to unravel: I don’t know, I tried to call him but there was no reply and he has blah blah blah

It was always the same pattern. The thing is this girl is gorgeous, not pretty but “stop and turn around for a second look” gorgeous and she is kind. So sometimes it baffled me. Then one day during the course of the song and dance, the “I met a guy” became I met your cousin. I was kinda apprehensive, I didn’t want my cousin to be one of the names she would have to cry about in a few months so I called him and I warned him seriously. But the song was still sung and the dance was still danced.

I later asked my cousin why and he said that what strikes you the most about her wasn’t her beauty or her good nature but the desperation; a very ugly feature (his word not mine). How could I respect a girl that was so desperate to be loved that she didn’t even respect herself? I didn’t have an answer to his question. But my heart was breaking for my friend. I told her that she could never be happy with any man because she was looking for him to justify her existence and not complete it. Learn to be happy alone.

So I got another call not too long after my cousin, but it went a different route:

Ist call: I met a guy today; He bugged me so much that I gave him my number. I hope he doesn’t call

2nd call: This guy is sooo persistent; He doesn’t pick up on any of my "I am busy" hints. I will soon have to adopt a more direct approach

3rd call: No, no, I still talk to him, he makes me laugh. I just am not interested in him

4th call: I can’t talk, I am at the cinema with, let’s call him Persistent.

5th call: I can’t talk; I am the theatre with Persistent

12th call: How did I get here? I like this guy

65th call: Persistent asked me to marry him

During this call, you would have expected to hear shrieks and laughter but home girl was sobbing like there was no tomorrow. “I can’t marry him. He doesn't know how many there were before him. Imagine if we bump into a friend of his or worse, a relative who is on my list, then what?” I didn’t know what to say. I knew she wasn’t being paranoid, her list was extensive. Before I could even say anything, someone dragged the phone from my hand.

“You better don’t say anything. Are you stupid? If his friend says he has slept with you, you say “who me, it couldn’t be” Just keep your mouth shut oh, I am going to buy some champagne to celebrate”.

A week later she calls me to let me know that she posted her list to him. I almost choked

“What did he say? I ask

“Nothing, I haven’t heard from him.”

I felt my heart sink and I uttered words which had no conviction, “I am sure he will call. He just needs to process this information and come to terms with it.”

I wanted to call him and beg, on my knees if I had to but I knew my friend wouldn’t thank me for it. It was none of my business.

Two weeks later, he called her and ended their relationship.

Words on a paper can be so powerful.

Words on a paper saved the Jews in Nazi Germany

Words on a paper broke my friend’s heart

This double standard jars me something stupid. When did this transfer of power happen or has it always been that way. While I believe in being held accountable for ones actions, I do not subscribe to this one sided mode of delivering judgement.

If a girl for whatever reason, lapse in judgement, looking for a partner or just plain old choice, has more than a few people on her list, she is a slut but the men are celebrated. A man’s ego will never allow him to maintain objectivity when considering the men that have passed through his woman’s bed.

Bottom line is this; he cannot hang you if you do not give him enough rope and I do not mean be dishonest or withhold information, this is an individual choice. But in a relationship, it is important to maintain a very vivid sense of your self-worth. If you know what you are worth no one will ever be able to tell you different. So if a man comes along and he prices you down; tell him the price he is offering will buy him satin, and to come back when he can afford lace.


My friend is fine, infact she is more than fine. I asked her permission to use this story and she has asked for the following addition:

*Although he ended their relationship, Persistent still called her from time to time looking for "a little tenderness"(which she declined), proving that he is a thoughtless wanker and what she was so heartbroken about infact turned out to be a lucky escape.

*Oh and that my cousin is also a wanker. He has no respect for her because she showed him love, which is totally alien to him because he was raised in the jungle.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The One Thing That Drives Me Hazy...

Am I or the others crazy?

Woke up Wednesday morning with a smile on my face, the sun was shining and for the first time in a long time, I hadn't snoozed my alarm clock a million times, which meant I could take my time. So I had a spring in my step, the kind that comes from an extra 10 mins in the shower.

As I get in to work, I bump into Hanatu, Hanatu is someone I have known for a very long time. We all have a Hanatu in our lives, you know that friend that tells you the truth especially when it hurts? The friend that'll flirt with your boyfriend if you let her, not because she wants him but because its in her nature. Well that's Hanatu. We ride the lift up together.

Between the ground floor and the 5th, Hanatu had railroaded me into going to an open mic night in Angel later in the evening. A night out with Hanatu always involved some sort of drama and I really could not stomach any drama, but the plan had been made. I got back to work, and awaited my fate.

We were early, the place was virtually empty. We ordered some drinks and found a spot close to the stage. Hanatu set her drink down on a four person table...

"Why are we seating here, are we four people," I asked

"You never know, some cute guys may just be here tonight." she replied.

"So we are saving the seats on the off chance that you see some guy that you think is cute?" I ask

"Precisely", she retorts.

I sigh, knowing Hanatu we will definitely have company tonight.

An hour later and the blooming thing is just starting, I am getting impatient but Hanatu looks calm, expectant. I settle in to enjoy the show. Just as the first over exaggerated reading is finished, I hear a familiar voice, a deep slow almost mocking voice. I turn around, there is Mr Brown and a friend, a male friend.

Hanatu springs into action so fast that I felt the whiplash. "Hi guys, why don't you seat here, we were saving these seast for our girlfriends but they pulled a no show and we are starting to feel guilty for occupying a big table."

They sat down, Mr Brown next to me and his friend next to Hanatu. My mind was working overtime, this was too convenient. The invitation from H, the "saved seats", My Brown's perfect timing.... I kept quiet. Mr Brown's friend, I think his name was Mohamed, kept trying to engage me in conversation but I made it impossible by giving him one word answers

"So, what is your name again?"


"Interesting name, Is it Nigerian?"


"Erm, Erm, so you like this sort of thing then...."


Poor guy but in my mind, they were all pat of the conspiracy. I looked at Hanatu pretending like she didn't know Brown and I wanted to just leave. Instead I excused my self and went to the bathroom. When I got back, Hanatu was whispering in Brown's ear and then they both laughed. Am I being paranoid or is this not the most obvious setup? I sat back down and smiled my way through what had turned into a long night.

The next morning, I went up to Hnaatu's floor to give her a piece of my mind but she beat me to it.

"Tinu, I am glad we went there last night. Wasn't Mr Brown just the most gorgeous thing you ever saw. We exchanged numbers and I spent half of last night on the phone with him. He is takling me out tomorrow night, I can't wait. "

I felt my anger bubble deflate into confusion, what was going on? so they didn't already know each other? "And Mr Brown wasn't there because of me" Wow, paranoia just creeps up on you.... So how come I was still angry? I smiled at Hanatu and told her I had a meeting. I lied.

Monday, 15 October 2007


Firstly, I want to thank you, who have patiently followed my story. You who have allowed me to write at my own pace. You who became so emotionally invested in my story that you matched my emotions tear for tear. Thank You.

I was going to write this as my last post, as a symbol of the closure that I finally had. I didn't try to get to know any of you simply because it would have been too hard, sharing my story with you was personal in itself. But as I write what was supposed to be a last post, I ask myself if I am losing out. There are many great people out here and it would be an honour to get to know you properly. So here goes, my first attempt to write in the present tense.

So about a month ago, I went for a meeting with a senior associate and I expected to be the only one there. I was running late, not the best impression to leave with your boss. I broke into a sprint. The heels that I wore only because I didn't expect to do much walking suddenly felt like a bad idea. As I arrived, I caught my boss's eye, he looked a little pissed. Walking a little closer, I see that he isn't alone. Double shit!

"Tinu, this is Michael Brown, he heads up X company in the UAE, he took time out from his busy schedule and you kept him waiting"

Since when do Md's want to meet junior associates? Why was he waiting for us and why wasn't I briefed before hand. I took a deep breath.

"Mr Brown, my apologies. London Underground is the most unreliable form of transport. I hope you haven't been waiting long."

As I finished my sentence, I looked directly at him, and I almost choked. I had met Mr Brown 2 months ago at a friend's birthday. He had tried to pick me up so crudely that I had insulted him, Infact thinking back, I think I may have thrown in an insult about his mum and the way she brought him up. See me see trouble, now I was going to have to do serious damage control. But before I could say anything

"Ah yes, I can't say that I am that familiar with your underground system but I have heard stories. At least you are hear now. My mother brought me up to be a gentleman and I graciously accept your apology."

I looked at my boss, he looked amused but not particularly surprised. I gritted my teeth. Sexism was one thing and I was prepared to fight for my place but this was ridiculous. As I began to wonder how long it would take before my boss excused himself....

"Look, I am going to have to leave you to it. Tinu, Mr Brown is very interested in doing business with us. And with that he left. I sighed.

"Before you start thinking, you being here has no effect on my decision to do business with your firm."

"I wouldn't presume to be so important Mr Brown, but if I am not here to secure an account, then what am I here for."

"Would you believe me if I said that I didnt even know you worked there but when I realised that you did, I just had to meet you"

The anger started to rise in my stomach as I thought of myself sprinting down City Road only to find that the "meeting" was in fact a ruse. I kept quiet.

"I just wanted to say that I am sorry, sorry for the way that I spoke to you that evening, I was a little intoxicated but that is no excuse."

I hadn't expected an apology, What was I supposed to say now? "Erm, Its okay, really."

"So can I take you out sometime?"

"I am in a relationship, but thank you for the offer"

"Firstly, you make it sound like I just offered you a job, secondly I have it on good authority that you are single and have been for a while"

"Well, Mr Brown, I had it on good authority that I was coming to a meeting, it appears that we have both been mis-informed" and with that, I gathered my things and got up to leave. He grabbed my hand, but not forcefully...

"You are here now stay for one drink"

2 bottles of Merlot later, I had told him my life history. He was a good listener, I told him about my parents, Seun, this blog. And then he tried to kiss me, I turned away. I couldn't believe it. What an asshole!! One minute he is calmly listening to me reiterate the darkest moments of my life and the next he is trying to shove his tongue down my throat.

I calmly stood up,packed my thing and left.

2 weeks later, my boss tells me that I have been put on that account.

"Do I have a choice?" I ask.

He looks me dead in the eye and says "I am sorry, what?" What he really meant was your in the big leagues now, with the big boys. If you can't play nice, don't play at all.

So I am stuck with this slimy snake, at least for a while. If he ever tries to touch me again, I will make sure I hit him where it hurts, right between the balls!!

It felt good to be able to vent, I will definitely be doing this again!

Seeing as I never formally introduced myself, Hi, My name is Tinuke and its nice to meet you all.

Thursday, 20 September 2007


Yesterday's joy has become today's pain
Memories I celebrated I now mourn
You died but it was me that stopped living
Convinced that my existence was impossible without you
Laughing fills me with such guilt
How dare I laugh when my love cannot hear me
My love died but it was me that stopped living
Convinced that happiness and me had parted ways for always
I catch myself sometimes forgetting about you
For a second or a minute, Its just me.
Did I die with you?
Am I still living?

The time has come for me to make a choice,
Living like I am dead is killing me
I love you and I always will
But you died Papa; And not me.
2 years and counting, they say the pain gets easier. Bullshit.
They say it gets easier, but only when you let go
Let go of my baby... Never
They say you let go when you passed away
Now its my turn

I am letting go Papa.

Thank you for loving me


Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Dear Seun

I have left this for as long as I possibly can. The letter that will ultimately be the hardest letter I will ever have to write. The date is burned in my heart. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was having lunch with Wale, the only one of my ex's that provoked (very irrational) feelings of jealousy in you. Wale was my first real boyfriend and the fact that he was the first man in my bed was very hard for you to swallow. That coupled with the fact that we never really broke up and I didn't have any "he's a bastard stories" to tell about him, made Wale one of your least favourite topics. But we were still friends, both in loving relationships and both very content.

It was your mother's 50th birthday and you had gone home for the celeberations. Wale called me and told me that he was going to propose to his girlfriend. I wasn't surprised. It had been a long time coming. "I need some advice, Can you come ring shopping with me?" He asked. I was flattered and a bit surprised. I was not sure his girl would appreciate a ring picked out by her partner's ex. I said yes though, I was bored and didn't really have anything to do. We arranged to meet up the next day for lunch.

You called later in the evening and during the conversation I told you I was going to help Wale pick out a ring. You fell silent for a minute and when I asked what the matter was...

"Tinu don't you think it is inappropriate, are you trying to tell me that he had no one else that he could have asked."

"Seun what is the issue here, that he still wants me? because proposing to his girlfriend is a sure fire way to pave the way for a romantic reconciliation between the two of us."

"Don't be stupid Tinuke, you know what I mean. Why you, "

"Because we are friends Papa for God sake and this conversation is really a waste of time. I agreed to help him and I will. "

"So my feelings don't come into this ...... Why do I bother? Do what you want. I don't have the energy to argue. My stomach feels like someone is poking it with hot needles and my girlfriend is going on a date with her ex. Goodnight."

And with that, you dropped the phone. I sighed. I hated when we argued. Then the anger of being made to feel guilty when I had nothing to feel guilty for started to grow. I shrugged of the niggling feeling in the back of my head and settled down to watch televison.

Till the day I die, I will forever be grateful to Gbovo. An hour later, Gbovo came round. He wanted to collect the keys to your car and in searching for the keys I found a little post it that said I love you. It made me smile because I remembered the day that you wrote it. Had Gbovo not called round, I would not have called you back, my determination to make my point seemed irrelevant somehow.

"Papa, you said your tummy was hurting," I said as you picked up, "Is it better?"

"No", you groaned, "I think it is something I ate. It happened the last time I was home. It'll pass." You replied.

"Kpele," I said. "Papa, I love you and I don't know why me seeing Wale makes you mad but If it upsets you this much then I will tell him I can't make it."

I could feel your smile through the phone.

"Baby go, I was being silly but I am over it. Besides his girl is pretty hot too."



"Goodnight, Feel Better."



"I love you too."

"I know."

And so I came to be having lunch with my ex, he was in the middle of telling me about his extremely extravagant proposal ideas, and I was wondering whether it was a coincidence that the two most serious relationships I had had were with extremely romantic men. And then my world fell apart.

It started with a phone call. It was a Nigerian mobile number, I assumed it was you. It wasn't.

The person at the other end was crying. At that moment my heart stilled. I recognised the voice. It was your sister. Tears started to pour down my face even before she had said a word. I still don't know why I cried. I just did.

"Aramide, calm down. what is the matter. Is it Seun." But she kept crying. "Aramide please tell me what is wrong." and then the line went dead. I dialled straight back. In retrospect I wish I hadn't been in such a haste to ring back, to burst my happy little bubble.


"Tinuke, Seun is dead. Seun is dead Seun is dead. Seun is dead"

I am not sure how many times she said it or if those words were echoing in my head but that's all I kept hearing. Until I heard a scream. It shook me out of my reverie, It was then I noticed Wale. Who screamed, was it me, Seun is dead Seun is dead.

Tinuke? Tinuke? I looked at Wale but the words were not coming from his lips. They were coming from my phone. Aramide. I had forgotten Aramide. Seun is dead Seun is dead


"Tinuke, his appendix burst, every one thought he had food poioning like last year. By the time we realised it was serious it was too late."

Too late for what?

To late to save you.

I don't remember much after that but I remember thinking that If I hadn't rang you back, the last words we said to each other would have been in anger. The last thing you said to me was that you love me.

I love you too Papa.

Now and Always

Saturday, 11 August 2007

The lie I told, The thing I did.

So I was very focused on my career, I wanted to make a name for myself, be independent. Having a mother whose husband told her how to think, feel and act, further fed my motivation to be my own person. Why am I saying all this? I know it sounds like justification for something, well papa, it is. I promised myself that I would be very honest in these letters and as much as I would rather take this to my grave, I need to tell you the truth.

It was around the time when I had just gotten a new job, I was happy. My earning potential was double what it had been 12 months previous, I was living with the man I loved, I felt at peace. My parents were still not talking to me but I had accepted it. God granted me the wisdom to accept that which I couldn't change.

Anyway, I woke up one morning and felt a little nauseous, I thought nothing of it. In tesco's, I almost fainted and you looked really worried. "You have been a bit tired lately, maybe you should book an appointment with your GP", I brushed it off and put it down to the stress of having a new job and having to assimilate myself into a new team. But there was a niggling doubt at the back of my mind.

The next day, on the way back from work I bought a pregnancy test. When I got home, you were not there. I rushed to the bathroom to take the test. My mind was doing a marathon. I calmed my self down enough to ensure that some of the pee got on the stick and waited.... It seemed like an eternity. The stick told me what I already suspected.

I didn't want to have a baby, I was not ready to play Russian roulette with my child's health . I guess when it came down to it, I had talked the talk, I just wasn't ready to walk the walk. I knew that you would see it as being out of our hands. I felt like the world was conspiring against me.

I swallowed the lump that had lodged itself in my throat, wrapped the test and the packet in a plastic bag and took it to the bin in the front of the house. I still didn't know what I wanted to do but I needed time to think.

You came home a little while later and life was back to normal, you, me and no baby. We were watching television when you went to the bathroom, nothing unusual there. When you came pout, you had this puzzled look on your face, I looked in your hand and in it was the pamphlet that came with the pregnancy test. Shit! "Are we pregnant?" you asked as you cocked your head to one side.

So much for having time to think about it,

I looked you straight in the eye and said "no, false alarm"

Papa, I know that I owe you big time for this. I know that your mouth has dropped and you are now questioning how many other lies I told, how many other decisions I cut you out of, Papa, it was only this one. I know that it in no way makes up for what I did, and if I could do it over again, I would have told you the truth, I would have given you the chance to have a say. I am sorry.

Still Yours

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Love Seun

Okay, I know my letters are getting heavier and although there is nothing I can do to lighten things up, I do want you to remember the happy times as well as the sad. So I dug deep into my memory and found my one claim to being a romantic.

I remember it clearly, I was at Tosin's and the girls were making fun of me for lacking a romantic side, How much more romantic can you get? was my argument, I chose love over family. But I understood what they meant, In the romance department, you beat me hands down. You were always the one with the grand gestures, the sweet, albeit sometimes embarrassing displays of affection.

So it began.....

Stage One:

Find a restaurant that had at least one slow/non existent night in terms of takings. Book the whole restaurant. I was lucky; It so happened that Tokunbo's then girlfriend (and I use that term very loosely) had a brother who had just opened an Italian restaurant on city road and business was really slow... Good for me, not so much for him.

Stage Two:

Find a guitarist and singer that could play Eric Clapton's you look wonderful tonight. We both loved that song and in my mind, it was our song. I found a guy on oxford street and he played and sang beautifully, asked him if he knew that song and he smiled. Talent booked.

Stage Three:

Think of something that doesn't make it look like I plagiarised my romantic gesture from some cheesy Meg Ryan or Julia Roberts movie. I had the restaurant make a heart out of tea lights and then spell your name in the middle of it in tea lights. Love Seun

Stage Four:

Get you there without suspecting a thing. I enlisted your big mouthed friend Gbovo and begged him not to say anything. Surprisingly he went along with it. He got you there under the pretext of an old school friend's engagement do.

The Night:

You walked into the restaurant and your face registered confusion when you were met with an empty room and just me . The tea lights caught your attention and your face lit up as you started to get the picture. I walked to you, took your hand and led you to the table. Dinner was exquisite. The wine was perfect and the company... Well the company was second to none. After dinner, Luke, the musician, came out and played our song.

After the music, we sat there and we talked until the manager politely told us that his staff would like to go home now.

The next day, when I was recounting word for word the events of the previous night to my friends, I revelled in the knowledge that they could never call me unromantic again. All that was missing from my romantic, somewhat cheesy night was the horse and carriage and I did try and book one :-)

I realised though that being romantic comes naturally to some people and others (me) have to work at it. I think I gave it a good shot. Don't You?



Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Cold Feet

Our families still were not talking, it was ironic that they were arguing because they were in agreement. Things were getting harder for us, sometimes we argued about it. Okay, I argued, you listened. I think I was just a little frustrated. All little girls dream of getting married; the white dress, the smiles and joy, their father giving them away.... Funny, my dad wouldn't even talk to me, let alone give me away. Thoughts like these plagued me from time to time and it made me shut down. You understood though, you were patient, even though I know I was making it harder for you. I want to say sorry. I am sure sometimes it felt like I had signed up for a war and surrendered when the going got too tough.

Another thing that plagued my mind was the fact that there was a 1 in 4 chance that we would have a child with sickle cell. Was I setting myself up for a life of heart ache,was I condemning you to life that may bring you more misery than joy? I wished I could have talked to you about these things that plagued my mind but I didn't want you to think I was giving up on us, I didn't want you to think I had lost faith, I felt so alone.

These thoughts were not always there, they started when I changed churches, The first service I went to was a thanksgiving service, There was a lady that I was drawn to, in the course of her testimony I found out that this lady had been in the U.K. for less than 2 years and that although she was 38, she had just had her first child. I was drawn to this woman for a number of reasons.

She looked like she was holding her grandchild. not her first child

She was smiling but her eyes told a story of sadness and despair.

On this joyous occasion and with her first baby in her arms, Her partner was noticeably absent.

So intrigued and drawn to this woman was I, that I laid in wait for her after the service. I did not know what I was going to say to her, only that I needed to hear the beginning of her story, if only to assure myself that it wasn't like ours. I needed to find out where her partner was, why was she celebrating such a blessing on her own. And so I waited, it was another 30 minutes before she resurfaced.

"Excuse me, sorry to disturb you, Can I have a word with you! , I started, still unsure of what I was going to say

"Of course you can" she said,

I looked at the baby in her arms, she was the prettiest little thing, dressed in white.

"aww", I cooed stroking her face, "Isn't she just the cutest"

Her mum laughed, again I was struck by the way the smile stopped short of her eyes, not like she was false or humouring me but like those eyes were incapable of smiling ever again.

"I am sorry to pull you away from your celebrations," I began, "but I need to hear your story,"

"whats your name?" she asked, "Tinuke", I replied.

"Tinuke, Where you not in the service? " I nodded

"Then you have heard my story"

"Not the full story, I need to know why you hold this precious gift in your arms and yet you still seem sad" I said, very aware that I might be crossing the line.

"I think that what is the issue here is not so much my story, but how it affects you, am I right?" I nodded.

And she started to tell her story, Seun I won't betray this woman's trust because although I want you to understand why I withdrew from you, It is not my story to tell. At the end, there were tears streaming down both our faces. I shared my own story with her and as I was about to leave, she said something that would shatter the little bubble I had placed us in. "Love, my dear is a good foundation but as important as a foundation is, there are other things that you should place equal emphasis one.

All the thing that I had heard, the horror that she had experienced, the sadness that she had been forced to grow accustomed to, I knew that I didn't want us to go that way, where we one day hate each other, my children are going in and out of the hospital so much so that I decide to keep an overnight bag on stand by just for efficiency sake, where the love that we were so sure would see us through is now such a distant memory that neither of us can remember why we got together in the first place.

I started having sleepless nights, and for the first time in our relationship, I felt like i couldn't talk to you. So I started shuting down, arguing about the most insignificant thing because I couldn't tell you what was one my mind.

And then I came home from work that day, there was a yellow post it on the door

"Tinuke, why so sad" It said, there was a smiley face on it with the smile upside down.

I walked in, there was another one on the wall at the beginning of the hallway. "I know there is something wrong"

and the next one a little further down read "and you don't think I can fix it"

and the next one "because I know you know that I would give it my best shot"

and the next one "and if I can't fix it, then maybe I can do the next best thing"

and the next one "the thing that comes most naturally to me"

and the next one "be there for you when you need me most"

and the next one "because",

By this time, I was outside our bedroom door and on the bed was my angel, with about 40 yellow sticky post its which all said "I love you". Oh did I forget to mention that the post its were all you had on.

Oh, I don't think that I have ever laughe d as hard as I did that night. I laughed and cried and cried and laughed. You didn't ask me what was wrong, you just held me. As I was about to fall asleep, I realised that I had something that lady didnt have, I had you.


Saturday, 14 July 2007

Finishing What I Started

Papa, I haven't abandoned you, even though I know it must seem like I have. My letters are fewer and farther between, but as our story unfolds, it is getting harder to rake over these memories. I started something and I have to see it through. Bear with me.

Love Always

Monday, 25 June 2007

Iya Ololufe Mi

So we were living together, I was amazed at how easily we slipped into those roles. By the end of the first week, it felt like we had been living together forever. My friends started to complain that they never saw me, I was always rushing home. I didn't mean to alienate my friends but after a long day, it was your face that I wanted to see.

If my relationship with my parents was strained before, it was non-existent once they found out that I had moved in with you. I had to change my number because I couldn't take all the phone calls from "well wishers" advising me to resist the devil, not to shun my parents and to leave that Muslim alone.

Do you remember the day your mum came round? It was a Saturday and you had gone to play footie. I wasn't expecting anyone so I was surprised when the bell went. I was more surprised to see your mum at the door. We hadn't spoken since our relationship became public knowledge and even though you tried to down play it, I knew that she was on your back because of me.

"Good afternoon aunty, please come in", I said as I stepped to one side to allow her in.

She walked in without acknowledging my greeting, I sighed. I wasn't in the mood for a fight.

"Where is my son?" she asked. I fought the urge to kiss my teeth. No how are you doing. Straight to business. "He is playing football today aunty, He should be back in an hour or so. You are welcome to wait." She kissed her teeth. "I do not need your permission to wait in my son's house" I didn't rise to the bait. She sat down. I went to the kitchen and said a silent prayer for the patience I needed to tolerate your mum.

"Aunty, would you like a drink, juice, soda"... "Tinuke, I didn't come here for all this niceties. I do not know what you are playing at. Because of you I have endured insult upon insult. Is it by force to marry my son? Go home to your parents abeg. Let Seun get on with his life."

I kept quiet. I didn't want to be rude to the woman that gave birth to the man that I loved. She kissed her teeth again. I walked back to the kitchen and stayed there until I heard the door.

"Seun, so you have decided not to pick my calls abi, because of this useless girl. What kind of girl lives with a man out of wedlock. Do you know what they are saying about her outside? So you want to marry her. Let me tell you something Seun, Over my dead body. If it is juju that she used to trap you, it will not work."

At this point I heard you mumble something, I couldn't hear the words but I knew that tone. You were angry.

"Don't shh me jo, So what if she hears. Her mother called me and rained abuses on my head. I told her that if she knew what was good for her she would never call me again. nonsense. I had a dream that you were in a calabash and you were crying out. I am sure this girl is up to no good. A word is good enough for the wise. I have said my own"

And with that she left.

You came to find me the minute she left and started to apologise. "Papa, there is no need really, we are both in this together, I never thought it would be easy."

I had to laugh. "A calabash? Seriously, your mum is a tad strange", I said , picking my word carefully. Truthfully, strange was putting it mildly, I wanted to say demented, crazy, senile. But I had to remember that she was your mum.

Later that night Aramide came round, she had heard what happened. "Tinuke, I just wanted to let you know where I stand on this whole thing. My brother is lucky to have you and I am proud that you want to be a part of my crazy family, and as for my mum, I have told her to let him be." Having Aramide come out in the open to support us felt like winning the lottery. I knew she was fond of me but I thought that the rift between your family and us would force her to choose sides.

I remember one summer when I came to your house with Toks a few years before we got together, Your mum hugged and me and called me an angel. "The man that marries you better deserve you" where her exact words, Its funny how things change. How I went from being an angel to being the one that jazzed her son.


Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Thank You

I was reading a story today about someone who had gone through hell and highwater, not with her boyfriend, but because of him. The story she told papa, the things he did to her. He broke her spirit, he broke her heart and he destroyed her soul. Reading about the broken promises, the lies and the deceit, I was overcome with anger. I was angry that this guy had hurt her so badly.

When my anger had subsided, I was overcome with immense gratitude. Why? I was grateful for you Papa.

I am grateful that in your eyes we were always equals, I did the dishes, you cooked and vice versa

I am grateful that although you cooked, you didn't do it too often because there was only so much of your "legendary stew" I could take.

I am grateful that you didn't act one way with company and another when we were alone.

I am grateful that you didn't love me in spite my flaws but because of them.

I am grateful that you respected my opinion and always sought my counsel.

I am grateful that you didn't desire me any less as sexy negligee gave way to old sweats.

I am grateful that you were always willing to talk, not just to shut me up,but to get to the roots of our disagreements and misunderstandings.

I am grateful that you didn't hold me to ransom for the rift between your parents and you but bore the cross for the rift between my parents and I.

I am grateful that I never had to doubt your love for me or justify your behaviour in order for me to stay.

I am grateful for your spontaneity and the romantic in you.

I am grateful because you were never scared to be seen as "whipped" and always put me first, but papa, you were sooo whipped :-)

I am grateful for your intuition, and knowing when I needed a hug and when to just leave me alone.

I am grateful for the balance you created between Mr Macho and Mr sensitive.

I am grateful for all the things that you have taught me, the lessons we learnt together and the wisdom these experiences have afforded me.

I am grateful for you taking the blame when I farted at Tunji's, Although I am unsure how much wass chivalry and how much was not wanting people to know that your baby farts too:-)

Most of all, I am grateful because you loved me, unreservedly and unashamedly.


Thursday, 14 June 2007

Moving On, Moving In.

Leaving home was not as hard as I thought it would be. Granted, it would have been much harder if I didn't have you and Labake in my corner. Labake, bless her heart was so supportive. She gave up her study so that I could move in, she decided to be my voltron when all those over-sabi church members kept calling me to give their two penny advice. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, But it was hard.

I was angry that my dad had found it so easy to throw me away, like I was a used tissue, that my mum never stood up to him and went along with whatever he decided, surely she didn't agree with his decision? I was angry that Tokunbo didn't want to get involved, Tokunbo always sat on the fence. I was angry but I knew that even if they said I should come home, I wouldn't. Unless they accepted you and the likelihood of that happening was a million to one.

A couple of months after I moved into Labake's, you announced that you were getting your own place, I was glad. It was about time too. You came to pick me up from the station one day after work and drove me to this nice street in Golders Green. Inside, the first thing that hit me was not how spacious the living room was, or how warm and homey it already felt. What hit me was how familiar the place was. Upon closer inspection, I realised that it felt familiar because a lot of my things were there. My pictures were on the unit, My cushions were on the sofa. I walked to the bedroom and pushed the door open; on the bed was the teddy you had given me last Christmas, my clothes in the wardrobe, my towels on the rack.

I understood what you were trying to do but in that moment, I felt anger rise inside me like bile and straight out of my mouth. "Seun, how dare you invade my privacy like this, moving my things, assuming that I was ready to live with you. Did you ask me? I don't know the magic you used to get my things here but please use the same magic and return them" With that I stalked off.

I walked out of the house and almost sprinted the five minutes to the station. On the way I started to think; Labake obviously has a hand in this. I got out of the tube and went back to hers. I used my key, Labake looked surprised to see me. "Labake", I started, without even waiting for her to reply, "if you want me to leave your house, all you have to do is ask, you didn't need to go as far as to move my things for me"

Labake looked at me for what felt like forever before speaking."This babe, before you sabotage yourself, let me give you some advice. Don't push those closest to you away because you are afraid. That poor boy went through hell and high water lugging your heavy things over to that house, making what he thought was a sweet, heart felt gesture. If you are not ready, then say you are not ready. Have I ever done anything to make you feel unwelcome? You owe Seun an apology, and me for that matter"

I was scared. You were the man I wanted to spend my life with, I had given so much up for you but moving in seemed so final. I had panicked and although I realised you were trying to be sweet, I felt that you had excluded me from what was a big decision. I wasn't ready for such a move, not yet anyway.

I called you. "Papa", I said once you had picked up. "Baby, are you okay", you asked. In that moment, I remembered why I loved you, why I was willing to fight to be with you, I knew my outburst had hurt you and I wished I could take it back.

"I am fine", I replied. "Papa, I am so sorry for the way I behaved, I know you were trying to be sweet and I know it must have taken you all day to move my things "

"There's no need to apologise, I made the wrong call, you are not there yet, I understand."

I started to think; What was I doing? I love you, there will never be a right time. "Papa, I am ready. I'm coming back."

"I'll pick you up"

I picked up my bag and tried to ignore Labake's smug I told you so smile.

God really did bless me with good friends, who always tell you the truth whether you want to hear it or not. And you, God blessed me with you.


Thursday, 7 June 2007

What Fan? All I See is Shit.

I have been wondering what you must think when you read my letters. Do you laugh? Do you cry? Do you wonder why I am still holding on to the past? I will never know the answers to these questions. But when I am writing these letters, I feel close to you. So I will continue to write you until I have nothing left to say.

Our trip down memory lane stopped when we came out of the closet. Let me continue....

The next few weeks were really horrible, I was treated like I came home and told my parents that I was pregnant. They stopped talking when I walked into a room, They no longer asked how I was and barely even spoke to me; except to make sure that I wasn't going to see "that boy" every time I ventured out of the house.

Of course I was going to see that boy. Before nko? But it did make it harder for us to spend time together. A few stolen hours here and there but never enough. When my dad announced that he was going for a convention in New York and that he would be gone for a few weeks, I was over the moon. It meant that I could have breathing space. Momsi wasn't so bad. It was my dad that was bent on punishing me.

On the day when he was supposed to be travelling, I woke up with a smile on my face. Freedom! I was so helpful; I ironed his shirt, I helped him look for his ever elusive glasses, I even volunteered to go to Boots to by some last minute gifts for some people. On my way back from Boots, I called you to let you know that popsi would soon be en route to Yankee. My mum was going to night vigil and Toks Jnr was in Warwick. We arranged to go to the movies, something we hadn't been able to do in ages.

Popsi's cab came and then he was off. I tidied up the house , then I jumped in the shower and got ready, you were going to come and pick me up. I had barely gotten out of the shower when I heard my phone ring. "Papa, I am not even dressed" I said as I answered the phone, "do you want to come in?" "At all , I am alright where I am oh" you answered as if I was stupid for suggesting such a thing. "There is no one at home, popsi is on his way to NY, momsi is at a night vigil and Tj is in Warwick.". As I was talking I walked downstairs and opened the door. I couldn't see your car, obviously you had parked down the road. I laughed. All this cloak and dagger rubbish.

I left the door open and went back into my room. I heard the door bang and footsteps lead up to my room. You opened the door and came in. I continued changing and then I felt your hands around my waist. "mhmm you smell so good", you said as you turned me around. I lifted my head to kiss you and then I heard the front door slam shut. We both froze. Oh my God, I was hyperventilating. I pulled a jumper and a pair of jeans on as fast as I could.

We were in serious shit. We kept quiet hoping whoever it was would just leave. No such luck. "Tinuke Tinuke, where did that girl go" Double shit, popsi... What happened to his flight, why was he home? I looked at you, you looked as scared as me. I bit the bullet, "yes daddy," I said as I exited my room, closing the door quietly.

"Did you not hear me call you?" he asked without even looking at me. " I was in the shower" I answered. "Do you know that my flight is tomorrow, I was already at the airport when I realised, what a waste of money, anyway, where is that money that I gave you earlier, I need to pay the cab, I only have dollars." Triple shit.

I will go and get it and pay him, how much is it" I said as I backed out of the room. "Never mind that, just give me the money" My dad replied as he followed me out of the sitting room and down the corridor to my room. "Seun pls, be hiding, be hiding " I kept repeating this prayer as my dad and I approached my room. I held my breath and opened the door. No Seun. Phew!

I walked into the room with my dad in tow, I found my wallet and as I turned around to face my dad, I saw you hiding behind the door. There was no way my dad wouldn't see you when he turned around. As popsi was counting the money with his back turned to you, you tried to sneak out. We would have gotten away with it if he hadn't turned around very abruptly.

The look on his face was frightening. without even turning to look back at me he walked out of the room, as he got to the door, he turned round and adressed you directly. "Since you have decided to spoil my daughter for me, please take her, I will not have a rotten child under my roof. I do not want to see her here when I return" And with that he stormed off.

We both stood there in silence for a minute. Then with a sigh I pulled a suitcase out from under my bed and began to pack. "what are you doing" you asked me. "what does it look like, I am packing a few of my things, you know my dad does not joke. If I am here when he gets back I am dead, so I'd rather be homeless and alive, wouldn't you agree?" You sighed and started to help me to pack. I called Labake and told her that she had a new lodger.

This was the last time I set foot in that house for three years. When people ask me why I didn't beg, why I left so easily, my answer was always the same. " They wanted me to give up something that was a part of me, I didn't chose my family, they chose me. But him, Him I chose"


Monday, 28 May 2007

The Shit Hits The Fan Part 2

Papa, I am sorry I haven't written in a little while, but with practicing for the London to Paris bike ride, work and church, I was struggling to find time. Where did I stop? Oh I remember, I let you lead me back into the house. When my dad saw you, his eyes lit up. He was fond of you. I know it didn't really seem like he did, but he was always telling Toks that he needed to be more like you.

"Seun my boy, How are you? I have been meaning to call your dad. How is he"........My dad's voice trailed off as soon as he noticed that we were holding hands. The penny slowly dropped and he stared at us (for what seemed like ages) in disbelief. I swallowed the lump that had lodged itself in my throat. Silence. My mum came out of the kitchen and embraced you warmly. My dad had still not said a word.

Momsi noticed the tension and looked at my dad. "Toks, kilode? Is anything the matter?" she asked. I gulped. My dad clapped his hands together in disbelief. "This is who your daughter has brought to us. Or am I wrong? "He asked, directing his gaze at me. I wanted the ground to swallow me. "Yes dad" I answered. I looked at you, you were looking at the ground. I was so angry with you in that moment. I knew this was a bad idea. but you always felt that the two year jump start you had on me allowed you a certain wisdom. Sorry Papa, but that is bullshit. You should have listened to me. But you know what they say about spilt milk....

It was my mum that reacted first. she reached over and pulled my hand out of yours with such force that it hurt for days after. "My friend will you get serious. so this is who you want to marry abi? Did I do something to you that you would want to shame this family. eh? If I have wronged you Atinuke, let me know. A muslim. abi ori awon omode o da? I didn't kill my mother, you will not kill me." My dad was still silent. Its like he was waiting for you to say something. And then you did.

Aunty Bunmi, I know this situation is far from ideal, but I love your daughter and she loves me. We have weighed the pros and cons and we are prepared to fight the odds. We...

"Come on will you shut up" my dad roared, cutting you off mid sentence. You will marry my daughter over my dead body, now get out of my house" You hesitated, I could see that you didn't want to leave me to face the wrath. "Get out of my house" Popsi shouted again. I had never seen him so angry. You looked at me. I nodded that it was okay. There was nothing you could do. You would only make things worse. So you left. As I heard the door slam shut, I knew there would be hell to pay.

My dad turned to look at me. The venom in his eyes was frightening. I thought he was going to slap me, so I braced myself. "Tinuke, you are an adult so I will give you a choice. Either you stop seeing this boy or you stop living under my roof. The choice is yours" and with that he left the lounge. My mum was sitting on the sofa with her hand on her head. "Mummy, I began. "Tinuke, your father has said all that there is to say. I am very disappointed in you, but I am going to let your dad handle this matter" I burst into tears, she kissed her teeth and left the room.

I sat on the floor. What was I supposed to do. Leaving you was out of the question. Leaving home was another matter entirely. How could they make me choose. My head was a mess. I didn't know what to think. I heard the front door open, then Toks jnr came into the lounge. He looked at me but didn't say anything, he sat on the sofa. I was still crying. "Tinuke, he began, stop crying, it is not going to solve anything. You need to think logically. I just spoke to dad and he is angry. He will be calmer in the morning. For now, lay low and let things blow over. Why you decided to red flag the bull is beyond me, a softer more subtle approach would have been better." "Like what?" I asked. "Tinu, I don't know, but whats done is done. Bottom line is daddy can't chuck you out. He is just trying to scare you. You are the apple of his eye. He isn't going to just throw you away like that. Right



Wednesday, 16 May 2007

The Shit Hits the Fan (Part 1)

My dad called me princess today. its been so long since he called me princess, not since I"dishonoured" his family. It took me back to the good old days, when he still thought his little girl could do no wrong.

I remember how it all unfolded. It was just after I got my first job, popsi was so proud of his daughter, he told anyone who would listen that his daughter had done good. It was at this time, when I was in his good books that he called me into the lounge.

"princess, princess", I was on the phone to Tosin, who as usual was in a cantankerous mood. To be honest, I was glad for an excuse to get off the phone. I told her I had to go and went to see what my dad wanted. He looked worried. "Tinuke, come and sit with your daddy" he said. So I sat.

"You know your mum and I are proud of you. You are an intelligent woman who knows what she wants out of life, but my dear, you don't know everything." My heart stilled, had he found out about you? Had uncle Femi betrayed my confidence? My mind was racing.

He continued, "I see you on the phone all the time talking to someone, I know it is a man. What kind of home training does he have if he starts to see someone's daughter without their permission? Tinu, more importantly, what kind of home training do you have that you did not seek our approval before dating this man?"

See me see wahala, popsi is stuck in neverland, which boy would come and ask him for permission to take me out? The thought alone would garauntee me a lifetime membership to single hood. I didn't say anything.

"Call him", popsi continued. "Invite him to dinner, tell him your father would like to meet him" Ah, I almost choked on my tongue. See who? Popsi would have died if he knew who the "man" was, what the hell was I supposed to do now?

I did what anyone would have done, I bluffed. "Daddy, I am not seeing anyone, just because I am on the phone does not mean I am talking to a boy. You know I like to gossip with my friends if I had a boyfriend, I would invite him over." I held my breath, did he believe me?

What happened next shocked me, my dad reached over and slapped me across the face. "Liar", he shouted. "Am I raising a prostitute and a liar? You know what the bible says about these things. So if you don'thave a boyfriend, who were you saying i love you too to? Eh, you can't talk abi? Tomorrow evening you had better bring this boy with no home traing home" and with that, I was dismissed.

I was stunned. What the hell was I going to do. I knew that if you turned up, there would be hell to pay. And that my dad would make sure that taht was the end of you and me. He knew I had a boyfriend, he was expecting someone tomorrow. I was freaking out.

I did the only thing I could do, I called you. You were quiet as I told you what had happened. When I finshed, you told me that you would fix it. You called me back later to tell me that you had a plan. "Go and apologise to your father for lying and tell him that your boyfriend will be coming to dinner." I asked if you had found someone to play a role and you said yes. You promised to email me the boys story so I would know what to say when asked. I felt a little relieved.

The next day, I still hadn't received the email from you, so I called you from work. No answer. I kept trying all through the day. No answer. I was going crazy with worry. I contemplated calling popsi and telling him that I had to work late, but I knew that it wouldn't go down well. So I bit the bullet and went home, consoling myself with how much I was going to make you pay for all this worry.

I looked at the time as my dad strumed his fingers impatiently on the sofa, "where is he? no manners" he muttered disapprovingly. I sighed. This was definitely going to be a long night. Only I didn't know how long. The door bell rang and I flew to answer it. It was you. "Seun thank God, I have been going out of my mind, why didn't you answer your phone, where is the boy?" I asked looking over your shoulder. There was no one behind you. I felt my stomach drop as I realised why you hadn't been picking up your phone.

"Tinuke, you know we have to do this. If you brought someone home and they eventually find out about us, how do you think it is going to look? We would just be making things worse for ourselves. It's time babe." You knew I would object. I wasn't ready to face my parents. I knew they would be livid.

I let you take my hand and lead me back into the house. Time to face our destiny.