I’m glad to inform you that my first book is coming.
George’s Pieces Of Me (Poetry meets Prose)
Now let’s meet Tami and co this week.
Dear Tamilore Morola Oni,
Hey babe! If you are reading this, I probably went ahead with what you asked. Yeah, I killed myself. It’s crazy, yeah? I never thought I’d have the courage to get on with it but all I had to do was a take a look at your picture on my phone and it made it easy. That photo I took of you when we went to the beach in our final year, your hair flying back, well, more like your hair extension but all na hair sha. Damn, you are so beautiful. You were not aware that I was taking photos of you. You just sat and watched the waves and I wondered what was going on in your mind – that beautiful mind. When you saw the picture you laughed so hard because you said I didn’t get your best side; my love, I got your perfect side, the picture that didn’t have me with you was always going to be the perfect one. After seeing that picture, I was sure that with one bullet to my brain, I wouldn’t miss. I am really sorry about it. The truth is, I probably was dead before tonight. I was dead the minute you looked me in the eye and told me you were leaving me behind. To be fair, I didn’t expect you to stay with me, I probably wouldn’t love me too but you stayed with me through it and I love you. I love you with everything in me. I am not the best man in the world and bone for bone, I wouldn’t be able to compete with the man who has brought smiles to your face.
You may never have noticed this but I have stalked you for months. I have watched you scoop ice cream with Kunle with smiles on your face; nothing like the smile you had on your face when with me. I forced smiles on your face, Kunle put smiles on your face. It’s crazy that I now realize how much it took you to smile at my weird jokes that were never funny to me, you put in a lot to love me. That’s a shame. I am not worth it. I was never worth it.
Tami, I am a broken record, I could never be right. I know you never expected me to sink so low but I started using to numb the pain after you left for good…I thought it would be enough to keep me company at night so that thoughts of you would not find me, but it was of no use. With every sniff I took, I felt you looking over my shoulder…I was sure that life would be purposeless without you. I tried to get in touch but there was always Kunle everywhere. I guess going to get me that book in his book store was the best thing that could ever happen to you, yeah? Life is funny! You went to get me a book from his store and now you are getting married to him. LOL. I am a joke of a man.
When I came over to you today, I was wrong. I wanted you to take me back. I wanted you to love me again. I shouldn’t have asked that of you, I am sorry. But the truth is, I really, really do love you and I am sorry I never said it enough. I am sorry I never really said it at all. I am sorry I looked on when you said you loved me. I am sorry I hung up before you were done speaking. I am sorry I didn’t show up for you when you’d always be there for me. I am sorry for the nights I stood you up at the movies and at restaurants; sometimes I was just sitting outside the restaurant in my car, not sure if I should go in to meet you. I am sorry for the days silence was my best ally and your worst enemy. I am sorry you fell in love with me. What did you even see me in?!
I remember you saying you were going to have a boy and you are going to call him George – your father’s name. I wish I could be his father, but I know I am never going to be…Kunle would make a great father.
Tami, I can’t keep writing…I am tired and life is quite worthless. So, this is where I leave you.
Please, do whatever it takes in your heart to leave me behind.
I wish you the best.
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Muna’s mind was idle. She never made right decisions when idle. The bust up with Tami had left her sad and alone. She had tried to get on with the day by helping her parents with their little scheme to get Tami and Kunle together on their supposed wedding day but now her role in the plan was done and she was back to being lonely and missing her sister. The only way out of feeling this gloomy was taking a bad decision or what she considered a bad decision.
She held her phone to her ear for a second and hoped that he wouldn’t answer his phone, after all, it was 11p.m.
“Hey.” Tife’s voice came up.
Muna took a deep breath shamelessly, she was sure if he listened carefully he would have heard. “Hi. I…I think I called a wrong number.”
“No, you did not.” He replied. “I saved your number too but I was not sure if I should abuse the privilege and call you but seeing that you have broken the ice for me, how are you?”
Muna smiled sheepishly as she prompted herself for the trouble she had invited. “I am fine, thank you. And you?”
“I just finished my last trip for tonight so as you can imagine, I am exhausted.” He replied. “Did you meet the mango head guy?”
Muna chuckled. “No, I did not meet the mango head. Can you skip that topic, please?”
“Of course.” He replied. “So what are you doing tomorrow? I’d like to see you.”
Muna sat back. “Dude, you are so direct.”
“Am I supposed to be beating around the bush? You don’t strike me as someone who likes time wasters and I really would not want to waste your time.”
“So what do you want from me?” Muna asked.
He cleared his throat. “Just a date. Food, drinks and talk. I’d like to know you and I hope that you wouldn’t mind getting to know me. Who knows, I might be better for you than the mango head.”
“Strike one, you drive a cab.” Muna replied.
Tife laughed coarsely. “Strike two, you ride in a cab, Muna.”
“I have a car.” She said with some defiance.
He smiled. “Well, my cab is my car.”
Muna blushed carelessly. Tife was getting to her effortlessly. It felt good. “Okay, Tife, you win. But the date can’t be tomorrow. Let’s make it Sunday.”
“Sunday is perfect. After church?” he asked.
Muna raised an eyebrow. “You go to church?”
“Don’t you go to church?” he said.
Muna blinked as she thought about her answer. She seldom went to church. It was Tami who did stuff like that. She didn’t. She’d rather spend her Sunday morning in bed and afternoon at the beach but Tife was putting her on the spot and for the first time in a long time, she worried about what he’d think of her if she disappointed him with her response.
Tife cut in. “It is okay if you don’t go, you don’t have to lie to impress me.”
“What?! I am not even trying to impress you, Tife. What do you take me for?” Muna replied, defensively.
“Come on, Muna. It’s not that serious, okay? I could pick you up after church on Sunday.” He said. “Does that work?”
“Fine. That works for me,” She replied, crossing her legs. “So…I am guessing this is goodnight, right?”
“Yes, Muna. I’ll talk to you in the morning.” He said. “Good—”
Muna nodded and hung up before he could say goodnight and then sighed. “Muna, this is not healthy,” she said repeatedly to herself as she drew her blanket over herself. She hoped that the number of times she had drummed this to herself would be enough to stop her from doing something she had never done – attach herself emotionally to a man.
It was the first rain of the year. Amina dreaded the rains. She tossed and turned in bed. The rumbling from the thunder would not let her sleep. With every flash of lightening and the following thunder strike, her thoughts raced back to the strikes on her town by the insurgents. Her parents would lead her and her sisters and her little cousin, Jubril into dugout trenches to hide for their safety. Her father had told her that the insurgents would never find them there. Baba, as she fondly called him was however wrong. The insurgents had chased him and her sisters, little Jubril and killed them in the trenches which they considered their safety net on one night. She was lucky to be alive. She hid underneath her father’s body and laid still, covered in blood and filth before she was rescued by the Red Cross to one of the IDP camps. It was in the IDP camp that Tami relocated her and some other girls from their town. She was part of the selected few chosen yearly by The Jola-George Oni Foundation to continue their rehabilitation programme outside their town. Tami, who had named the foundation after her late parents, often told them stories of her late parents whom she didn’t have the opportunity to spend much time with before their death, as though it was to console them for their own losses. Amina could relate, after all, she was also an orphan. She hoped that Tami would be able to relate to her own fears too that night as she drummed on her door.
“What is it? Are you alright?” Tami asked, as she opened the door.
Amina stared at her. “I am afraid.”
“What are you afraid of?” She asked. Amina didn’t need to respond as Tami cowered upon hearing the next thunder storm. “Come in.”
Amina settled into a side of Tami’s bed. “Thank you.”
“It’s nothing,” Tami replied, and gulped some water from a bottle by her bedside. “Thunderstorms won’t kill, you know?” she said, trying to ease Amina’s fears.
“But they make my heart jump.”
Tami passed the bottle of water to her. “Drink some. You’ll be fine, okay?”
Amina sipped some and pushed her back against the wall. “Thank you,” she said, dropping the bottle by the bedside. “Today should have been your wedding, right?”
“Yes, it should.” Tami replied, slipping underneath the blanket. “I would have been married today.”
“But it’s not even daytime yet, you can still get married if you want to.” Amina said.
Tami smiled. “What do you know? Go to bed, Amina.”
“I am not sure I can sleep.” she replied. “I miss Usman, I miss my father, my sisters and Jubril, my little cousin. Did you know that they were killed on a rainy night like this?”
Tami swallowed. “I am sorry, Amina.”
Amina nodded and turned off the lights by her bedside. “Goodnight.”
Tami drew closer to her. “Do you fear the night?”
“And the rain,” She replied. “It took everything from me.”
Tami took a deep breath and turned on the lights in the room. “This should cheer you up.” she said. “Light brings colour.”
“The painting in your room is beautiful. It is not the light,” Amina replied. “Light is not real. It’s not here for long. The dark will still come.”
Tami smiled as she marvelled at the depth of Amina’s mind. It brought tears to her eyes.
“Are you crying?” Amina asked as she turned to Tami.
The lights went out and this time it wasn’t because she flicked them off to prevent Amina from seeing the tears in her eyes. It was because the ones that controlled electricity decided they had tried for the day. “Useless people,” Tami said, reaching for a torch.
“Are you afraid of the dark?” Amina asked with a soft chuckle.
Tami flashed the light in Amina’s eyes. “No.”
Amina grabbed the torch from Tami and flicked it in Tami’s face causing her to blink, refracting the light. “You can’t take the light.” Amina laughed, enjoying the moment. A nostalgic moment for her. One that reminded her of a game she played with her sister, Hadiza.
Tami laughed as Amina was clearly enjoying this. “Bring it on, bring it on,” She said. “I won’t blink. My eyes can take a lot.” She boasted.
Amina pressed the torch closer to Tami’s retina, forcing Tami to shut her eyes in defeat. “I win, Hadiza!!!!!!!!!” she screamed until she burst into tears.
Tami hugged her tight. “It is alright.”
“Hadiza! Come back, Hadiza.” Amina cried.
Tami couldn’t hold back her tears any longer. “I am so sorry, Amina. I am really sorry for everything you have been through.”
“Happy Married Life.” Mrs. Olugbile said, as Kunle opened the door.
Kunle clenched his teeth. “Good morning, Mom. And this is not the best way to greet your son.”
“Are you going to let me in or not?” she asked.
He stood firm by the door. “It depends on why you are here.”
“My friend, will you clear away from that door and allow me in.” she ordered.
Kunle stepped aside in one instant. His mother’s commanding tone forever winning. “I hope you are not here to cause trouble because I really don’t have the heart for it,” he muttered as he walked in after her.
“Chase me out na. Then you will go and tell your Uncles and Aunties who have come all the way down here how you have not only disgraced us by calling off your wedding but by chasing me out of your house.”
Kunle exhaled as he sank into a chair. “Good morning, Mom. What’s up?”
“Number one, where is that prodigal girl that has refused to come home?” she started as she surveyed the living room.
Kunle chuckled. “Mom, I have not hidden Tito anywhere. If she is not coming home, that is something you and Dad have to figure out.”
“Fair enough, I didn’t make a mistake by stopping her from marrying that boy and that one is a matter for another day. Now, let’s talk about how I am hiding in your house because people have been coming to look for me today.” She replied.
He shook his head. “No, Mom. You can’t hide in my house. As a matter of fact, I am heading out very soon.”
“Have you lost it? Where are you going? Do you want my enemies to see you out there and confirm these rumours?”
Kunle rose to his feet. “Mom, any problem you have is for you, not me, I don’t care if they laugh at you or if they think you have failed as a mother but right now, I am going out because I need a break from all the chaos in my life. I want to really thank you so much for caring about my life and not yours right now. Thank you for making this about me and not your group of friends who have all married their children in grand style. I love you, Mom.” He said, and returned upstairs.
Tito walked into the living room. “Nice talk with your son, Mom.”
“Tito, is that how Olakunle should talk to me after everything I have done for him?” Mrs. Olugbile started, almost in tears. “Do I deserve that?”
Tito took a deep breath. As far as kindness went, Kunle was better and she wasn’t sure she was the right person to be answering her mother’s question. “Mom, I am sorry you feel bad about how Kunle spoke to you but if we are being honest, you haven’t really been a mother to him in this situation.” She said.
Mrs. Olugbile gaped. “Are you talking to me?”
“Mom, do you want to hear the truth or not?” Tito asked in her calmest tone. It was pointless arguing with her mother. If she had a point to pass, she needed to be subtle about it as her mother was an expert at raising the rooftop during discussions. “Tami left your son because of the death of her ex-boyfriend. What that implies is your son is struggling with acceptance right now. The least you can do is be there for him and tell him that he is good enough and if you can’t do that, leave him alone.” She concluded.
Cold chills ran down Mrs. Olugbile’s spine. It felt like fear, then a little bit of shame and some sorrow. It was the perfect blend of how much of a disappointment she had been. It was a long walk back to her car after Tito’s words.
“Hey, Amina.” Muna greeted as the door opened.
Amina smiled. “Hello, ma.”
“Ma? Come on, people don’t even know I am almost thirty.” She replied with a smile.
Amina chuckled. “That’s true. You look forty.”
“You are the real MVP.” Muna said, as they clenched knuckles together. “Is that big head inside?”
Amina smiled with a nod, closing the door after Muna.
“Look who we have here.” Tami said, walking into the living room. Amina hurried out of sight into the kitchen.
Muna rolled her eyes. “Just so you know, I am here for a very important reason.”
“Well, first things, I am really sorry for what I said to you, Muna. It was stupid and I was out of line. I shouldn’t have attacked you based on your unstable love life.”
“I agree that you were stupid,” Muna said with a smile, taking her seat. “But I don’t quite agree with the other part. My love life is about to become stable!”
“Do you mean a stable like where we keep horses?” Tami asked.
Muna laughed. “Very funny, Tami. I am being serious here?”
“Okay… fill me in.”
Muna crossed her legs. “I met a guy. Not your conventional way of meeting guys but I met a guy and this brother is fine. Chocolate goodness.”
“Oh come on, Muna. You met your next candidate for a use and dump, right?” Tami said. She knew Muna too well to know that when she started describing anyone with their physical attributes, she was only lusting after them.
“I couldn’t sleep last night. He was all I thought about. This is not a one night stand. I am serious.”
“Okay, Muna. Let’s start with the basics. This is the point you disgrace yourself as usual,” Tami started with a mocking grin. “What is his name?”
Tami chuckled. “Muna, you have failed the first test. You don’t know his last name just like every other guy you have dated.”
Muna frowned. “I haven’t asked him for it yet. We haven’t been on a date yet.”
“What? Did you meet him online?”
Muna shook her head. “In a cab.”
Tami grinned. “Oh, you guys shared a cab?”
“No, he was my driver.”
Tami folded her arms and relaxed in her seat before bursting into a horrid laugh. “Muna, I have missed you. Welcome back.”
“You don’t believe me?”
Tami shook her head. “No, I don’t and no apologies.”
Muna gaped. “This is embarrassing, but I am going to surprise you.”
“I’ll say you said so. Anyway, I have to be on my way now. Dad thinks I should hang out with him today.”
Muna nodded with a smile. “I’ll just hang in with Amina then.”
The doorbell went. “I’ll get it.” Tami said and walked over to the door.
“Good morning, Tami.” Mrs. Olugbile greeted.
Tami’s heart palpitation increased.