Guest Post: “Familiar Strangers” by @IamTimayin

Hi everybody, how are you all doing?
I’m sorry i can’t publish Episode 5 of Two Weeks To Go this week. I will hopefully do so next week.
But for the moment, please enjoy this piece written by Folorunsho Olutimayin tilted FAMILIAR STRANGERS. You can follow him on twitter @IamTimayin and also read his stuff on his blog at
http://iamtimayin1.wordpress.com/

Happy reading

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“Dearly beloved, Families, friends, colleagues, loved ones, everybody. We are gathered here today to witness the solemnization in holy matrimony of Ibukunoluwa Gideon Afolabi and Modupe Omotayo Adeniran.” These were the words of the officiating minister, Rev. Folu, as he signaled that they had reached the most crucial point of the day’s event – the reason for the gathering.
“Knowing fully well the reason for our gathering here today, is there anyone here today who has a credible reason or reasons why this two should not be joined together as man and wife on this day? Such should speak now… Or maybe, just forgive and move on” he was quick to add with a smile on his face that must have been contagious as it got the entire congregation jeering in laughter despite the seriousness his voice conveyed.
Rev. Folu definitely had the love of his congregation as everyone seemed to be warm toward him. He was a man in his early 40s, average height, had greying temples that seemed to be unsuccessful in their attempts to ruin his facial features as they only added to his radiance. He had a lovely wife and even lovelier kids. Success was all he was on all sides.
He looked curiously from the couple to the crowd with searching eyes for the person or persons who would object to the wedding. The congregation looked around frantically in high hopes of not finding any raised hands or sudden appearances. Their probing eyes darted to and from all corners of the large air-conditioned auditorium which could hold three thousand people. The congregation was silent as everybody spoke in hushed tones for fear of being held in the bad spotlight.
Ibukun and Dupe looked at themselves, then at the Reverend but were too scared to look into the congregation for the “fear of the unknown” awaiting in the over one thousand pairs of eyes boring holes into their backs.
“Well, seeing as everyone of us here has tacitly given the approval for these two to be joined…” He said as he paused for a quick scan of the congregation to ensure he had not ignored anybody with an objection to the marriage being held. He wore a mischievous grin that caused everybody to erupt in momentary laughter.
“… I hereby join you two as Man and Wife” the Reverend said amidst cheers and applause and screams from the crowd. And of course, the instrumentalists didn’t fail in their rendering of Timi Dakolo’s ‘Iyawo mi’ and everyone joined in, humming, singing along and dancing to the lovely tune as the couple proceeded to put ink to paper.

Newly-wedded couple, Ibukunoluwa and Modupe Afolabi stepped out onto the balcony of their honeymoon suite in the Holiday Resort, they had been here 8days already and every new morning brought a feeling of fresh newness to them like it was their first dawn in the resort as the film of clouds seemed to be rising from the fields where they had laid the previous night. Who knew the heavens visited the earth in this age?
The gently-blowing breeze as well as the serenading sound of the smooth-flowing stream nearby did more than nourish their souls as Modupe basked in her husband’s embrace as he held her in his arms from behind and kissed her tenderly on the sides of her neck. The time as 0538hrs, about five minutes after the sun just began to rise in the distant horizon.
“I wanna spend every waking moment with you, Ibukun” Dupe said, as she fell further into the warmth of her husband’s embrace. It all felt so romantic and she couldn’t help the confession.
“You meant ‘you wanna live here in the resort every day’ shey” Ibukun said teasingly in response.
She jabbed him lightly in the stomach as she responded “Silly dude. Of course, I wanna stay here the rest of my life. This is paradise for us, earthlings. The breeze, the vegetation, the life, everything is romantic. So… yes, I wanna spend the rest of my days here…” She watched Ibukun’s pretense pain slowly change into a sulky face like a baby’s who’s milk bottle just got snatched from him as he freed her from his embrace and stepped a little distance away with folded arms. Dupe couldn’t help the laughter that followed.
“But, all of these would be empty without the man who makes my heart tick. It would all be void without the dude I’m in love with. It would be pointless without you, baby” she said with puppy eyes as she made a pout at her husband whose face seemed to have suddenly been illuminated by her words and actions.
“Oya, apologise to me before I accept your proposition” he said as he pretended he was walking away from her.
“Come on, baby. You are my world and everything in it. There is no me without you. I love you more than words can say. I would say to the moon and back, but that’s a quantifiable entity. What I feel for you cannot be explored to the end.” She said as she held his arm to prevent him from walking away. Their night robes flowing in the morning breeze.
“I want an eternity with you, my love. Oya come and hold me jor. I want to be held by my husband like his life depends on it.” She continued as she motioned toward Ibukun who was wearing a sheepish grin which extended across the length of his face, blaring his cute dentition which had a few cut teeth as well as some white and some “ex-white” teeth and a dark gum. His dentition always had an effect on Dupe.
“Dupe darling, I would go to the ends of the earth for you, my love” her husband said as he held her in an even better embrace than the first time. This time he placed more intimate kisses on her nape. He inhaled her scent and he loved it. She always smelt divine in the dawn hours, before all the accessories came calling. Not like she was into making up, no. She only had to wear the basic items and he loved her for that. He loved this woman.
“God!!! I love you, Dee-baby” he said as he lifted his head from her neck. He caught a whiff of her hair’s scent too. This woman was truly divine.
“I love you too, boo” she replied, hormones threatening to rise from her insides out as she turned to hold his face in hers. She placed tiny kisses on his cheeks, teasing him, kissed his eyes too and his nose and she pulled away just when he braced himself for the kiss that would seal the deal on his already poised lips. Instead, she smacked his sides, full of laughter.
“What did you to that for?” he queried as he opened his eyes more from the shock of the missed kiss than the smack he got.
“You don’t ever learn, do you?” she said as she laughed at his shocked expression. “In your mind, you would chop kiss, shey? If you want any kiss from me today, you have to go brush that dirty mouth of yours. Shior!!!” She knew better than to hang around for his response. She immediately ran back into the suite through the open doors leading to the balcony.
Ibukun followed her in pursuit, their robes trying desperately to meet up with them as they ran after each other like two little children playing hide and seek all over the honeymoon suite. Who would have thought the world was still asleep at this time of the morning.
“Shebi my mouth is the dirty one shey?” He asked in hot pursuit. “Not only will I kiss you today, I would kiss you so hard your toes would curl in your slippers and you would have no option but to return the kiss with an even greater force than mine. And all these must happen before I even think of brushing these romantic teeth of mine. You sha know you tripped for me from the very first moment you saw my teeth” he continued as he caught up with her, pinning her to the ground on the soft furry Persian rug in the living room as he went ahead to do the one thing that would bring her to an outburst of laughter.
“Baby please!’ she pleaded as he started at her sides. “Ibukun! Ib!! Ibukun nau!!! Stop nau. It’s too early to be…hhahahahahahahhahhahahahahhahahhahhaah…” she erupted as he got the better of her and tickled away at her sides. By this time, he had her fully under him as he kept tickling.
“Can I kiss you now?” he asked with a flash of his teeth as he raised his eyebrows mockingly. She shook her head in a bid to compose herself while rejecting his offer. “Very well then, the saga continues” he said as he resumed the tickling and she went into more laughter.
“Okay, baby k….ki………. hahahhahhahahaahahahahaahaaa oya okay kiss o. Jor kiss o. Ibukun, kiss me. Don’t kill me yet abeg. Which one is death by laughter?” she said as he stopped tickling her, both of them panting.
He inched closer towards her for the said kiss and just as their lips were about to meet, they were interrupted by the ringing of her mobile phone.
“Hold that thought one second, will you?” he said as he looked her in the face. She nodded with bright eyes as she brought her hands to her mouth to cover them from breaking into another round of laughter. She knew that was Baba on the phone.
Just as he was about reaching for the phone, he turned to her and with a mischievous smile running across his face, said in a funny way, “You know what, let the calls roll in” as he seized her waiting lips in his and her arms found his neck, pulling him further to her. The phone rang out.
About thirty seconds later, just when hormones were beginning to heat up, their kiss was interrupted by the ringing of her mobile phone again. He knew it was Dr. Akin judging by the ringtone he had heard the first time before looking at the screen which showed the caller ID to be Ba’ami. He smiled as he whispered to her “Dupe, tell your daddy to stop disturbing our children’s daddy’s happy time o. Because you did not disturb him in his time” and handed her the still ringing phone. She smacked him playfully on the shoulder, laughing visibly as she answered the phone call.
“E ka’aro, Ba’ami” she started. “Shey daadaa le ji?” she asked.
“Modupe, how many times would I tell you it is already almost 7pm here in Nigeria? I wonder why that boy had to take you to a part of this world with a backward timezone.” He responded. “How are you jare? Oko e nko?” he continued
“Ibukun is fine daddy and so am I. I miss you. How are you coping? Your health nko?” she said while her husband went to get a glass of water from the kitchen.
“God is in control, Dupe. When are you returning to Nigeria? I am missing your cooking and your presence o.” he queried.
She stole a glance at Ibukun as he approached. “Soon, daddy, soon by His grace, we would be home. We are still enjoying our honeymoon ni, sir.” she replied with a mischievous smile on her face as her eyes met her husband’s while he approached with the water in a tray.
“Okay, dear. Have lots of fun o. Don’t forget to send me photos on the phone o. Let me have something to feed my eyes with before you return to Nigeria. And please, tell your husband I said he should take care of my baby for me o. Bye bye, dear.” He said.
“Bye bye, daddy. Will certainly do. Please, take good care of yourself o” she said just before she ended the call. Then she turned to face her husband with a sheepish smile on her face.
“What evils did the old man have to say about me this time?” he said as he placed the water on the side.
“He said to tell you…” as she met his waiting lips with a kiss.

It was four months after the honeymoon had ended, Ibukun had resumed work with his construction firm after a two-month holiday, one which was both well-deserved and well-spent in the arms of the love of his life. He was a practicing Architect who owned his business and as such it was easy for him to take easy breaks to relax and breathe without having to head all the way to report to work or to a boss. He loved the idea of how information and communications technology had made Telecommuting possible and easy – now he could work from anywhere in the world; all he would need would be an internet-enabled device, internet and a good supply of power. And given the new advent of powerbanks for mobile devices and even laptop computers, he was never without internet access.
Dupe, on the other hand, worked with a New Generation bank and although the job had its cons, it also had its pros. And she was indeed grateful that her job wasn’t too demanding on her. She was a high-ranking personnel in her branch and that gave her a lot of peace of mind as she could, with some level of freedom, speak and sometimes even influence decisions regarding her branch of the bank. She had everybody’s love and respect. And she radiated joy around her.
Sitting and relaxing in the living room of his apartment rubbing his wife’s hair while she laid her head on his laps on the cool Friday evening after they had both returned from the day’s work, they were both watching TV while chatting along with comments and questions and all else that came to mind.
Unable to find anything interesting to view on the channels, they both resorted to music videos and when they couldn’t deal with the scenes and displays, switched to international news and ultimately muted the TV.
She looked up at him and tugged at his goatee beards as she said “Gorilla, I’m bored jor. Let’s go hangout, it’s a Friday night.” with a boyish smile on her face.
“You want to hangout, ehn? Does my beard look Ibukun a skipping rope? My friend, just say you want to take me out one time and stop beating about the bush” he replied with a mocking smile as he put his tongue out.
“Alright, fine, Mr. Deflectionist” she responded. “It’s a weekend, yeah? So, let’s do something crazy tonight. Just keep your ATM card closeby. I have a plan” as she made to get up from where she lay on his laps.
He held her down from getting away. “Madam, where are you taking me? Is there a dress code?” he asked with widened eyes.
“Well… Let’s just say it’s a surprise for Le Boo” as she tried to get away from him. “Besides, there’s not so much fun in showing you my aces nau”. She watched him as he made a sulky face and watched his cut tooth show in the little space between his half-open mouth and although his teeth always had the craziest effects on her, she said “Nothing would make me tell you, Oga Ade. Just make sure you look good for me, and nothing official – casual is just perfect.” as she finally headed for the bedroom for a change of clothes. He stood up and raced after her as she ran away from him.
A few moments later and they were both done and looking youthful in T-shirts, Jean trousers and sneakers to go with. They were set for the adventure ahead. And just as they stepped out to the living room, his phone rang and a quick glance at his phone’s screen showed he didn’t have the number on his phone judging from the fact that it was just digits showing but then, he already had a Google CallerID tracker activated on his phone and was immediately shown the origination country of the call. It was a call from the United Kingdoms.
He turned to Dupe. “Dupe babe, do you have any contact in the UK? This number isn’t registered on my phone” to which she shook her heard in the negative and said “Why don’t you just answer it and find out who it is. Who knows! It could be yet another contract offer, you know”.
He answered the call and after the first few seconds of awkwardness, suddenly erupted with life and joy as he went on and on with the phone call. As the call ended, he scooped his wife and danced with her as he told her, “Baby, guess what! You are soon about to meet the only family I have ever had in this life.”
She seemed perplexed at his announcement but he was quick to tell her “Remember how I told you I was brought up in a Motherless Babies’ Home and how I got the scholarship to further my education and all that?” Without waiting for her response, he continued. “The proprietor of that home relocated to Europe a few months before I finished my university education. He was a father to me because although he is not my biological dad, he loved and cared for me on his own. And he always told me I had a sister when I was brought to the Home. The only reason people knew I wasn’t his child was the fact that he didn’t take me into his immediate family to live and feed and grow with them…” By now he could see the surprise in her eyes, to which he said “Babe, after all these years of lost contact, he finally found me. He called to say he would be back in Nigeria in a few weeks” he said as he held her hands.
“Now look who’s super excited… I take it this means you are going to spoil me this weekend” she responded.
And he didn’t waste any time in saying “As your Ladyship pleases. I might even give you a surprise of my own for being a good girl” he winked at her and she shoved him lightly.

Dr. Akin was just about getting into his car in the shade where his driver was waiting for him when he spotted a familiar appearance a few yards away from him in the hospital premises. Deciding to find out who it was, he approached the person who owned the face.
As he got closer, he acknowledged his senses weren’t wrong or deceiving him either. Just as he got within five meters’ distance, the figure turned and as their eyes locked and both tried to recollect where they had met.
“We definitely have met before. I don’t forget a face, ever” he said to the other. “I am Dr. Akin…” he started to say but was interrupted by the other.
“Akin Adeniran!!! I knew it. Although you are beginning to grow grey hairs, the face is still a lot the same. Akin padi mi, bawo ni gbogbo nkan? O to ojo meta.” He said to Dr. Akin who was obviously still trying hard to figure out his name.
Sensing his friend’s misery, he added “Don’t tell me I remembered your name only for you to forget mine” he chided him. “Agba tin de nuu” as he started laughing. Akin could not help himself as he joined in the laughter. It really beat him that the older man seemed to have a sharper memory than he did.
“Forgive me, please, sir. I am not very good with names, faces are my forte” he said. “Please remind me the name again. I won’t forget this time.” he continued with a smile on his face.
“We obviously have a lot of catching up to do. The name is Omotosho, by the way. You should probably write it down somewhere so you don’t forget again this time.” as they both erupted in laughter, hugged and made small talk. Then Dr. Akin asked. “It’s been decades, what have you been up to?”
The older man replied and said “As much as I would love to sit and catch up on old times, I have to run off to meet up with a few appointments”. He apologized to the other, then they exchanged numbers and promised to stay in touch.
“See you on Friday, my good old friend” Akin said as Tofunmi Omotosho shook hands with him and they both parted ways.
Dupe sat at her desk in the office as she went through some paper sheets brought recently and added to the various stacks and folders on her desk by some of her colleagues during the course of the day. The day had, so far, been a hectic one for them at the bank. The kind of days she didn’t like the idea of getting used to, but she had no choice. It came with the territory. She shrugged and adjusted in her seat as she continued punching away at keys on her desktop computer’s keyboard, entering and editing details of the day’s transactions. It was almost closing time and she just couldn’t wait to head home and cool off.
The rhythmic vibration of her mobile phone got to her senses even before she heard the ringtone to indicate the presence of an incoming call. Her face instantly beamed with a childish smile as she answered the call.
“Good afternoon, daddy. How are you, sir?” the exhaustion threatening to overwhelm her.
Dr. Akin responded to her greeting “How are you, my dear girl? I am in good shape. Lovely day at work today?” He always had a way of making her smile without much effort.
“Daddy, don’t even go there jor. I am sha fine. This people will not kill one with paperwork. I can’t wait to go home and get some much-needed rest, sir. “ she was quick to respond to him.        “Sweetheart, I want to invite you to meet someone very important to us. And you have to make out time to come” he said when she was done complaining about how tired she was.  
“Daddy… who is this important person that you want to meet and how does it concern me?” she began to query but he quickly shot her down with his words.
“Dupe, do you remember the story I always told you about how you came to be my daughter? We are going over to meet the person who was instrumental to it all. I ran into him a few days ago after more than two decades of lost contact. We have exchanged contact details and would be meeting on Friday.” He said as he satisfied her curiosity. “Please, endeavor to be there. He’s going to be delighted to see what a pretty young lady you have grown into” he continued.
“Okay daddy. I will talk to Le Boo and ensure I come for the meeting. “ she started to say but he interrupted her speech once more.
“You should invite him too, I mean Ibukun. I am sure he would also want to meet your roots. Or what do you think?” he further stressed
She smiled as she answered “Definitely daddy. You are the best. We would make it to the meeting, sir”
“Alright, dear. Have yourself a great evening. And take care of yourself too. And your husband as well” he said as he brought his call to an end.
She smiled as she replied “Thanks daddy, you too. Good night. Love you” as he terminated.
**********************************************

It was a few days after their reconnection and both men looked eagerly to meeting the other and filling in the blanks after over two dozen years of absence. They had both spoken on the phone about plenty things and decided on meeting for a few drinks and some chichat too.
Five minutes after Dr. Akin arrived the place of the meet which happened to be a very cozy relaxation centre, Omotosho joined him at the table where they proceeded to order drinks to kick off the conversation.
“Tofunmi Omotosho, my good friend, I hope you do not mind that I invited someone to join us for this get-together. She has been dying to meet you all these years. And oh, she is coming with her husband. They should be here any moment from now, they already are close to this place.” He said to the older man who seemed to be a lot more excited at the news.
A few minutes later, Ibukun and Dupe walked into the place hand-in-hand as they approached Dr. Akin who sat opposite Mr. Omotosho who had his back to them. As they reached and greeted and he made to introduce them to the older man, he was interrupted by him.
“Ah ah, Ibukunoluwa, how are you? What are you doing here? And who is this lovely lady by your side? She must be your wife you talked about on the phone the other day, abi?” he said as he shook hands with the younger man who prostrated to the ground before him while Dupe knelt in greeting, beaming with smiles.
“Yes, sir. She is my wife, sir. Good afternoon, sir. We are fine and you?” Ibukun replied the man.
Dr. Akin, feeling left out, interrupted them by clearing his throat and when he got their attention, said to the older man, “I see you have met my son-in-law. This is his wife, my daughter, Modupe. Modupe, this is Mr. Tofunmi Omotosho Omotosho. He is an old friend from over twenty years ago.” as he turned to his Dupe who went on her knees a second time. The older man had a shocked look on his face. Akin was quick to observe the sudden change in his friend.
“Akin, ore mi, are you saying this lady is your daughter? The same daughter I knew twenty-seven years ago? The very same one I knew as a baby? The only you brought to the Home on that cold rainy night with her brother?” he asked.
An excited Akin responded in the affirmative both nodding his head and saying “Ehn yo!!! This is she. The same girl I couldn’t afford to take care of back then because I was a student and had stumbled on them after hearing her cries in the bushed on the path to my residence on that October night which was unusually silent and abnormally dark. I remember her brother was fast asleep in the small basket there close to the refuse heap.” He went on. “I had proceeded to bring them to the home because I just could not walk away from two beautiful souls stranded by the wayside, without food or clothing or even shelter. This is she. I am so sorry I couldn’t come back for her brother after I took her in with me. I got a scholarship abroad and had to leave instantly and I never returned to that town all these years. In fact, I had forgotten about the boy until I ran into you recently” he was going to continue but he paused as he stared at the older man’s face which couldn’t hide the pain he now felt.
“Ahhhhhh… Oluwa o!!! The brother is married to the sister. These two are brother and sister” the older man said.
“Jesu !!! Mo gbe!!!” Dr. Akin screamed as his hands found their way to his head and tears rolled down his face. “I am finished” he continued endlessly as he crumbled to the floor.
    “My son-in-law is my son”.

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Now, comments…

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