#2: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJMAO

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Anaborhi sat down beside her mother and turned to face Akunna, and waited.

“When I was dating your father I was full of hope and love. Excited at the prospect of marriage, I dived in on the preparations. Mama was seriously trying to get my attention and I turned a deaf eye as well as ear” Akunna said hanging her head. She took a deep breath before continuing

“When the day drew close, I finally sat down long enough for her to tell me that my marriage was doomed from the start. That the moment that he and I exchanged the vows, his sanity will start to diminish for that was the curse on all males in our family”

“But doesn’t that mean that the curse is on those that are of our blood? Akin is not of our blood, in no way is he related to any of us so how can the curse affect him?”Anaborhi asked anxiously.

“The fact that he is married to you and you lay with him, he becomes one of us by right of what is called a ‘melding'” Akunna explained

“Is that why your younger sister refused to marry traditionally?” Anaborhi asked. She watches as her mother nodded in response.

“Hers is truly the only true success story for us all. She realized on time that no traditional rites should be performed and when they decided to give it a try, he agreed and they have been together since then. Over 10 years now”

“And the curse? Who laid it? What is the source and mummy why something so awful?” Anaborhi asked.

“I do not know. When everything started to unravel I realized I had to concentrate solely on ensuring that your kids lived as much of a normal life as possible”

“Aren’t you the least bit curious as to the origin?”

Akunna paused and stared at her first born for a few seconds.

“You would have to go looking for our Tsohuwa Dada,” She said bringing out her phone and flipping to the gallery for Anaborhi to view the picture of an old woman who must have been a rare beauty in her prime. “She is the oldest in the family and is even rumored to have some sort of mystical powers”

“Have you ever met her?” Her daughter asked.

“Not really. She came around when mother died and we met briefly when prayers were said at her burial, but I didn’t wait after the ceremony” Akunna turned to her daughter with tear filled eyes “Your father and I eloped that night. We forfeited any and everything we could have learned for love.”

“But your sister, Ahunna did?”Anaborhi asked, “Was that how she found a way around it all?”

Akunna nodded sadly “Though I do not know how much better she has fared in all this time, we are not that close. But yes, it would seem that she listened to some advice and her partner remains unaffected”

“And where is she? Our Tsohuwa Dada?” Anaborhi said looking down at the phone again and smiling slightly.

“I would assume she would be in Barwi where we are from. You may want to ask around. Maybe from Ahunna” AKunna said sadly.

Anaborhi could not really remember her aunt but had looked forward to the cheques that came in the mail on her birthdays until they had stopped. Now she suspected that the tension that ran deep in her family was from this festering wound that had refused to heal. Fear gripped her at the realization that she too could become lost in the pending avalanche of discovery that she was sure awaited her.

Not to be deterred, she left the room and approached her aunt Akpobome who she met sitting in the balcony staring at a bee hovering over the flowers that beautified the hedge in front of the veranda. She sat by her for a few seconds, joining her in staring at the bee.

“I want to so see Tsohuwa Dada” She started. Beside her, she felt her aunt shiver.

“What about?” She asked under her breath.

“The Curse. I need to understand, I need to know”

“Are you ready? Are you prepared for what you will find?”

“I do not know what to expect” Anaborhi turned to look at her aunt “I came to ask if you could take me to see Aunt Ahunna”

Her breath hitched “Did your mother mention her?”  From the corner of her eye, she saw her niece nod yet did not turn to her

“She said she must have spoken to Tsohuwa Dada and found a way to avoid the curse. She remains with her partner and her children are with her”

Anaborhi froze when Akpobome turned to face her with eyes brimmed with tears and a face filled with sorrow

“There is no way to avoid the evil thing,” Akpobome said as the tears she had held back flowed freely. Anaborhi frowned in confusion.

“How do you mean aunty? Mummy said she is happy, that she lives a fairly good life”

“Akunna does not know my darling. Your mother is oblivious to the fact. Ahunna’s husband died, Anaborhi. There is no avoiding the curse. It claims them all in the end” she said, turning back to the bee hovering over the flowers as both women sat in silence. The irony-filled Anaborhi with sadness. The insect as the only free one in their gathering

To be continued….

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Love Letter 1 – The 14th Day in February.

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Photo by Farica Yang on Unsplash

There was something George told me last February – he mentioned something about loving me intentionally. The word sounded brilliant timely. I had told myself that I was going to be intentional about 2018, so imagine my joy when the LOML (as you guys now put it – I wonder what happened to writing in full) said he’d be doing the same.

(All the marital boxes ticked in my head)

As expected, I looked forward to the 14th day in February.  I’d be damned if my flatmates, Ife and Joan got better gifts…their boyfriends Val’s Day boyfriends had only started dating them for a month, (Yes, those ladies change boyfriends every year – I’m nothing like them anyway; I called them flatmates not friends…) so I didn’t expect them to receive anything other than boxes of chocolate, the customary giant teddy bear and a bottle of wine.

As day broke on the 14th of February, 2018…a musician was playing ‘I’ll never leave you’ by Kenny G outside my window. Before you could say Jack Robinson, I was outside humming along to the tune with my eyes shut of course…the vision was simple, George would come out from somewhere and cover my already shut eyes with his hands and then whisper something nice into my ear before going on one knee and asking me to do forever with him. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS HOW YOUR BOYFRIEND LOVES YOU INTENTIONALLY! Hahahahaha we too dey act film for our head.

Needless to say, I could feel this hand take mine from the back…I started saying Yes to the question I had not been asked. You guys should have seen me brimming from ear to ear and thinking of swirling in his direction until the husky voice went, ‘Can you please step aside? I need Joan to stand in this spot’ – That was the first ‘ela’ for the day, but an optimistic woman like me won’t be deterred. My Val’s Day was going to be special. I returned into the house and allowed the one-month old lovers have the moment. (I’m sorry, I had to shamelessly rub that in…I am petty and I know it.)

Upon my arrival at the office, there was a bouquet of flower waiting on my desk. FINALLY! I legit shouted. I was about to start doing a victory dance when George called that he’d be working late…and to make matters worse, he confirmed that no bouquet of flower had mistakenly found its way to my office. “But babe you don’t like flowers…” He protested from the other end of the line.

He wasn’t wrong, but didn’t he understand that this day was about bragging rights?! I was losing the battle on the home front with my flatmates and things were not looking better at work. Everyone was getting something – from cakes to chocolates, bracelets, necklaces, wristwatches, ‘singlets and briefs’, ‘handkerchiefs’ (delete any spouse who gives you this), wines and a car! A colleague of mine got a car! (But I’d like to quickly add at this point that my conceited boss is looking for a clever way to tax us for parking at work…she got this in a light bulb moment after seeing her staff receive a car – keep your good things away from bad people.)

My busy TV presenter of a boyfriend would eventually show up around eight pm to pick me from work (nothing ‘intentional’ about his timing as all my colleagues had gone home and there was no one to ‘ooohhhh and aaahhhh’ for us) Smh.

We arrived at his apartment and it was nothing like the place I visited three days ago. You know those candle-lit something that guys do to impress women, well…he did this and more…I’m like ahan…George, ‘you is a romantic somebody oh’. He wears this smug smile that says ‘I do this every other day’…(but of course, not for another woman because then we are going to have a problem). In no time, he is leading me to the dining table and I am wondering if Chef Fregz visited this house because I am seeing dishes I can’t name on the table.

As we sit to eat, he takes my hand….(brethren, I am in the moon right here….it’s happening before my eyes. My village people have lost this battle…or maybe not) and fetches a paper from his pocket. As you were ladies and gents, it’s a letter from George to me. Ugh!

Hey,

My woman. My best friend. My Guy. I don’t need this day to tell you how much you mean to me. I do this all the time…no, I don’t and that’s silly of me. It’s like having gold before you and not acknowledging that you have gold. That’s silly, right? Or, better yet…It’s like doubting that God loves you. He loves me so much He placed you in my path. I’d love to tell you this every day…and on days that I forget, I know I won’t hear the last of it, so go easy on me. I love you dearly. You are Gold. Sorry I didn’t bring this day to your office or your apartment…I know how much you needed to score this point against those who have gloated in your face in the past years with their gifts…but then, that is not really who my Queen is…your heart can’t take running another person down, this is one of the reasons I am in awe of you. But petty can be cool too…so, we’ll give them something to chew on…that’s if you don’t chew the pseudo silver miniature onion in your side plate for dessert…no baby, it’s not a part of your meal…it’s just me slipping everything I love about you around your finger.

Would you do life with me?

My eyes found the ring in my plate without even trying…baddest detective in the business.

Those things they call butterflies are ‘kinda real’ I must confess…just that they are not creatures in your belly.

They are in the little coy smile you make when you see that someone…they are in the squint in your eyes when you think about how vulnerable this person is with you…they are in the ‘helloooo…’ that you drag coolly when you answer the phone…they are in the little things that pass by unnoticed because they make up your big thing. The big thing that sits with a diamond at its hem beckoning to you to say ‘Yes’ – a yes you’ve said since the day you chose to let this person in…a yes that has been real since this person felt like your safe place…a yes that mattered when you felt that conviction in your spirit that confirmed this place as home. A yes I had said to George before meeting him. 

I’d like to tell you guys that George and I had our dream wedding with fifty guests but when you have African Parents like ours who live for the big African scatter ground stuff…your guess is as good as mine.

George and I have each other and it’s better and bigger than what I felt 14th of February last year should be about…but does that mean I’ll pass on this Red Ribbon adorned Range Rover sitting pretty in the driveway today? By no means! Me no dey dull. 

 

Love and Light always,

Tomi Adesina

 

Thanks for reading, I hope to write another letter soon…but, since you are here…a guest series is currently running on the blog, ‘Of Good Destiny’ by Taj Mao – Read Episode 1 here: https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/2019/02/10/1-of-good-destiny-by-taj-mao/

 

Of course I’d love to read your comments as always!

Have a great day guys!

 

 

#1: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJ MAO

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Her father was her world. Her mother too but everyone knew that a girl’s first love is almost always her father. She looked forward to coming back from school to him as well as visiting days when he would come to see her and her brother, regaling them with tales and fables that they believed even if untrue or outrageous. Such was the relationship that Anaborhi had with her father.

So when he started acting weird, she was confused and at a loss. She had returned home for a long holiday and looked forward to his 40th birthday when she met him in a horrible state. He was taken away one night after a week of her return and for two days she did not set eyes on him and her mother was gloomy, only smiling sadly whenever she asked.

“You will see him soon dear,” her aunty would say and she would be shooed away to her room. After another week, she and her brother were taken to a hospital on the mainland where their father sat in a corner eyes wide as they entered the room. Anaborhi and her younger brother started crying at the sight. He cowered in the corner whimpering each time they tried to draw close to him.

“What is wrong with him?” she asked her mother as they returned home. She watched a tear rolled down her cheek.

“If I could answer that, we would not be in this mess darling” was the gloomy response her mother gave her. Anaborhi started to cry more. Things went from bad to worse as they had to leave their home and move to the family house. No one offered any explanation. All they knew was that it had to be done before daddy came back home.

Once there, Anaborhi started noticing strange things. She never knew that her mother’s sister Akpobome was not married neither did she know that this was the same for many of their cousins. She found out that the men who eventually married all ended up the way her father was and either their wives left them or they died.

“Is this a trend Aunty?” she had asked. “Will daddy be better?” Akpobome had only smiled and hugged her.

“Stop worrying your little head about all this. Nothing is a trend” she had reassured. “He will get better darling”

And it seemed things did get better but Anaborhi was only a child who didn’t notice the extra effort her family was put into ensuring that their childhood was as normal as possible. There was only so much and so far that the ruse could be maintained for with adulthood came the realization of their situation.

Many years after, Anaborhi graduated from the university and came home with a fiancée with the intention to marry after 6 short months. Akpobome stood strongly against this, disgracing Akin out of the house on one of the days that he visited.

“Why?” she had asked “this is the 6th time I am asking you this today and I promise mum, aunty, if I do not get a tangible explanation, I will take drastic actions on this matter” she had threatened. Akpobome had laughed aloud as they sat in the living room area of the family house.

Akunna eyed her sister. “So what is funny about all this now?” she had asked coldly. Akpobome stopped laughing, wiping a tear from her eye as she relaxed in her chair.

“Oh, nothing! Just that her threat sounds so familiar. Oh yes, it was the same action YOU took when you ran away from home” Akpobome spat out. His voice was laced with venom and Akunna felt the sting. Tears framed her eyes and instantly she stood up and left.

Anaborhi watched her mother leave and turned to stare at her aunt. “I asked a question and you two turned it into a sibling spat? Is that the question I asked or are you guys trying to stall or change the topic?”

“Madam, watch your tongue! If you want to know what all this is about going and ask your mother and stop bothering me. She is the one that has been living in denial for years till it all came back to bite her!” and she was gone. Up and out of the living room leaving Anaborhi standing in shock.

After a few seconds, she turned and walked in after her mother finding her in her room seated on the end of the bed, staring into space.

“I asked a question and you came inside to cry? I used to leave you when the waterworks start but this time around it won’t work, I need an answer immediately” Anaborhi said, raising her voice slightly. She braced for more tears, resolute in her decision not to back down and to press on for the information she needed. So when Akunna asked her to sit and listen, she was taken unawares and in shock for a few seconds.

“I said sit down so I can tell you all you want to know”. Akunna said again this time looking up at her daughter when she didn’t react the first time. Anaborhi sat and Akunna sighed before straightening her back and narrating the story that she had been told before her marriage.

To be continued ………….

2018: The Year That Happened To Me

What a year this has been! And I mean WHAT A YEAR! Okay, maybe the capitalization is a bit extra but yeah, this year has been ‘IT’!

Let’s just dive right in.

January: The month of ease. Or rather, learning to wait.

I expected my year to take off in full flight, writing scripts here and there and cashing out but narf!!!! I was literally sleeping and eating all month. Over-sleeping at times because the pace of everything just seemed to be snail-driven. So, I prayed about it, because I couldn’t cope with being anything but ‘busy’. That’s been like my life. Busy. Busy. Busy. So, imagine the shock when I realized I was stuck with doing nothing. But in this month, I learnt to wait in silence. To allow things move. To believe that I wasn’t stuck on the curbs. To understand that God was and is with me. This made things easier. This made things better.

February: A friend buzzed me and said He’d love me to join in writing of a devotional plan. And I was tempted to say NO. It’s almost like my default response to things I haven’t thought through. But I didn’t say NO. I waited a beat (as we write in screenplays) and said Yes. I was sure I’d drop out after a week or a month tops but I’m grateful to God because He enabled me with the ability to write from a place where He leaned into me. That was rare and special and is still very much special. I’m in AWE of this. In case you want to check it, we’ve been writing daily since February 2018 here at http://mysalvationstory.me

March/April/May: Can I exactly tag these months? Nope. I don’t remember anything ground-breaking happening in between these months, but sometimes in May, my family and I travelled down to Osun state for my Paternal Grandmother’s funeral and I had my first rock climbing experience (HATERS WILL SAY I DIDN’T CLIMB A ROCK, But never mind…I WON’T MIND THEM. NOT MINDING YOU ALL) I have also decided to spare you the torture of watching the video when climbing as my panting would make you think I went to Kilimanjaro but guys, these are little beginnings, encourage a little child.

Sigh. (I don’t see you clapping…double sigh)

All of you will be alright.

But I will show you proof…

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JUNE: This month!

I’ll summarize this month with a song I have grown to love so much. “You’re gonna be ok” by Brian and Jenn Johnson. A lot wasn’t okay in this month. I felt pain all over again and almost sunk to the depth that was hollow and called for me. It was as though the universe conspired to send storms my way, but the beauty is, there is a Well we can always draw from. If you stay close to Him and never let Him go, Rivers will flow out of you.

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July: Here comes the sun!

Yes, literally!

So, you guys know I have to be extra with this month. Birth month, check. AMVCA nominee month, check! Grrrrrrr!!!!!!!! Hahahaha. July arrived with healing in its wings. More like a balm for the pain from the previous month. I am grateful for it. July was bigger than the AMVCA nomination although (*shines teeth*) it felt good to be recognized for something.

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In this same amazing month, I had the privilege of being a Chief Bridesmaid to my very close friend and one of the pioneer pushers of my blog, Anuoluwapo Ajayi (we used to share the same surname until Mr Ajayi married her.) I was frightened about being her bridesmaid. I didn’t want to mess stuff up for her. People who know me personally would naturally say ‘Tomi would not be a Bridesmaid’, I mean come on! LOL’. BUTTTTTTTTT, we did it. Glory to God. Showed up in dresses instead of Jeans and T-shirt. Wore Heels in place of sneakers and we looked nice sha. Thanks to the amazing make-up artistes and fashion stylists for the dresses.

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Thanks July!

August: We are taking it up!

Ahhhh!!!!!! This month. As though being an AMVCA nominee wasn’t enough, I became an AMAA nominee in the space of a month for the same screenplay, Hakkunde. I was like whattttttttt?????!!!!!!! God is Good. Eternally grateful for this privilege. Thankful for the opportunity to be on the creative side of this project. Thank you everyone for your support too. It’s been immense from way back in 2012.

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Then the AMVCA nominee cocktail party happened: Another opportunity to get a fine dress and hair done. My account balance was side-eyeing me all through these expenses but what can I do. Woman gotta do what woman gotta do.

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Pic: Tomi and Wingman from Bowen days, Taiwo Boboye. A.K.A Event crasher. This guy is everywhere.

Thanks August!

September: Lights, Glitz, Talks, People.

Started off with a bang. The AMVCA came. Beautiful night, beautiful people everywhere. Cameras, lights, sounds. I listened to Adekunle Gold perform ‘Ire’ at the AMVCAs and smiled all through like a kid (still a kid sha)…he sounded amazing and maybe it’s just me but live performances can seep through your soul. It was beautiful. Grateful for that night.

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Aside from the glitz of the AMVCA, I took big decisions in September – there was the need to peel, feel and heal. It’s been life changing but I’m better for it. So, maybe you are on the brink of making a big decision – you should sit back and listen to the leading you obey. Mine is God’s. It’ll always make sense in the end.

I was invited to talk at Ignite Book Club and we discussed Books, Movies and George’s Pieces of Me. It was a refreshing experience. Thanks for inviting me guys.

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At this point, I must say I am always thankful for the opportunity to speak. It’s humbling. And whenever we get to talk about #GPOM, I am reminded of the essence of the book – Humans, love, life, loss, friendship and forever.

p.s: I’m still selling my book and it’s #2000. Buy from me, epp my life. Just click this link to buy: https://buboox.com/product/georges-pieces-of-me/

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October/November: WIN

Wow! Like I said, this has been some year. In October, Hakkunde wonAMAA 2018 Achievement in Screenplay. This came as a massive surprise to me. I was like wow wow wow (siren sound literally). I didn’t go to Kigali sha, wasn’t economically friendly at the time. The rave from this went into November and it’s been really immense so far. November was also a very interesting month in my writing span this year, did a lot of writing for a project I am invested in and can’t wait to see the realization.

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DECEMBER: WE ARE HERE!

Finally, phew! Thanks guys for reading so far but this is my best part. Hehehe So, I attended a friend’s wedding and when the bride’s friends were called out, I went out with another friend, Busola Majaro to go and ‘see the bride’ oh! I promise you guys… I was not meaning to catch the bouquet, but I assure you that it fell into my hands. Hehehehehehehehehe

 

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So, George, we both know you’re out there (I’ve been writing memoirs for you since I was girl) do the needful. Guys, don’t ask about the wedding date. Husband is on the way…you and I are both waiting for him.

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Photo by Rachael Crowe on Unsplash

I was also privileged to speak at African Writers Meet in Opebi on the 16th of December…we discussed transitioning from blogging into screenwriting. Very good session and I was thrilled by the performances and other speakers. Thank you for having me guys.

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It may seem like I have not gone into details of the rough edges that happened to me this year, but they’ve been weaved in between the things that brought smiles. You know why? We are focusing on the beauty this time. And boy, there’s been a lot of it! So why don’t we show that always? Love and Light!

So, this was 2018 in highlights.

But the ‘main light’ here is YOU: You who has read this to the end. You who have supported me from way back till today. You are the main light and I don’t take you for granted. You, my friends. You, my family. I say Thank you and I look forward to doing 2019 with you.

Thank you, (1)

Love and Light always.

Have a great year

Yours,

Tomi Adesina

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