Here’s a reminder about the upcoming release of my first published book titled “George’s Pieces Of Me”.
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“I can’t believe that Nigerians pay to see Shrinks!”
Kunle stared at the slim and pretty lady in black kicks, skinnies and a loose crop top that wouldn’t stop ranting in the last thirty minutes. He wondered what had her so cranky. She had initially gone on a rant about the poor state of Nigeria as a country and how it was enough reason for anyone to go nuts. He had ignored all her talk and was thankful that she had not asked him any question directly.
“Hey man, are you here to see the shrink too?”
Kunle shook his head.
“That’s worse. So who is crazy? Your wife? Your Mom? Wait, let me guess, you ex?” she replied.
He looked at her in the eyes. Bad idea. She had pretty eyes. He exhaled and looked away. “What do you have against shrinks?”
“A lot of things. Like they are wasting my time and my money, technically, my parents’ money. I would actually love for them to say that my brother is a waste of time and dump him in one facility rather than charge us twenty thousand Naira for one hour.” She replied.
He shook his head. “Your brother would be happy to miss you.”
“Trust me, you just need to live with him for a day and you’ll be signing him into a mental facility. He has gone mad. That is what happens when you are always using drugs. He could just jump into this room and light us up with his madness. I believe I have inherited some part of his craziness.”
“I agree.” Kunle said.
She laughed. “Damn it. Sometimes I don’t even recognise myself. This is what chilling with a crazy person does to you.”
Kunle took a deep breath. He couldn’t understand why she was so comfortable with referring to her brother as crazy. “Have you always seen your brother as crazy?”
“No. It’s a slow fade, man. Initially, I thought it was just the heartbreak of his babe leaving him but then it became something else. He started dealing with the pain the only way he knew how to and look at where we are. We are seeing a shrink and I am sure that talking won’t be enough so he’ll need to get locked up.” she replied.
“Do you want him locked up?”
She nodded. “I feel it’s going to help him and that’s because I haven’t seen any progress from being out here with us.”
Kunle’s heart pounded. He hated the words he had just heard. Could he one day speak of Tami with resentment.
“Are you scared you are gonna hate him or her?” The lady asked.
Could she could read his mind? Kunle shook his head, dismissing her words.
“It’s okay. I didn’t think things would get this crazy with my brother too.” She replied.
Kunle smiled and fetched his earphones, plugging them into his ears. That was it. He wasn’t going to have any more of her negativity.
“Justin was…he was really handsome, tall, always with a squint in his eyes, that squint that left me guessing what his next move was always going to be,” Tami started. “He was never predictable, hot and cold. I guess the only thing consistent about him was the fact that he always found a way to hurt me.”
“What were your happy days like?”
Tami took a deep breath. “It left me wondering…it left me thinking about the next sad moment because I knew it would always be short-lived.”
“Did you always expect sadness with him?”
“Then why did you stay that long?”
Tami sighed. “It felt like a duty. I was there to tend to him. To care for him. To love him. To never leave him. I felt like he’d be lost without me. I felt committed to him.”
“You left him shortly after you met Kunle, right?”
Tami smiled. “You know I am used to sitting in your chair, asking these sort of questions, right?”
Tami fixed her eyes on the loose button on her Doctor’s brown suit. She knew that if she was his wife, she wouldn’t let him leave home without fixing the button. In a way, she considered herself a fixer and maybe that was why she was always sticking around for others, the only person she didn’t know how to fix was herself and that was why this man was here.
“Tami?” he called, bringing her back to consciousness. She looked lost. “Would you like me to repeat the question?”
Tami shook her head as she wiped a tear drop from her eye. She knew his last question, she only needed a moment before answering it. “Kunle oozed love,” She started. “I was taken away by his warmth, his kindness, his attentiveness, his soul, his vulnerability. I was struck by the purity of his love. I felt like a kid with my ice-cream around Kunle. Warm, fuzzy, lovely man. I left Justin because I found better and I wanted better.”
“So, Justin wasn’t better?”
Tami shook her head. “Toxic. He was toxic. Very toxic.”
He scribbled in his notepad and stared at her. “Do you like toxic?”
“Excuse me?” Tami retorted almost immediately.
He blinked. “What I mean is—”
“I know what you mean.” She replied. “I am a psychologist too, you know?”
He nodded. “Of course, Tami. But, I would want to know why you missed or ignored the signs.”
“Because people make mistakes.”
He shrugged. “Continuous mistakes are choices.”
“I loved him.” she replied. “And when you love people, you give them second chances.”
He dropped his notepad and folded his arms. “Second chances to hurt you?”
“And third chances if the need be and hope for redemption.”
He smiled faintly. “Did you at any time in your relationship with Justin consult for him?”
Tami clenched her teeth. “Yes, I did.”
“So you were not only his girlfriend, you were also his doctor?”
Tami nodded. “I know what you are driving at. You think that I compromised?”
“No. I think you were a woman in love who gave chances to the man she loved and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”
“Did I make the right call?”
He wore a smile. “You know I can’t answer that question.”
She nodded. “Of course, I can only give myself the answer” She said and rose to her feet. She took a walk to the window and looked out into the city. “Nice view.”
“Thank you. Let’s talk about Amina.”
She turned to him. “No. I don’t want to change the subject”
“You already did.” He said with a chuckle. “What do you hope to get out of Amina?”
Tami took a deep breath and leaned against the window. “I just want to help her. I feel like she needs help. She wants to go back home to find her loved one and I want to help her get it.”
“That’s very noble of you.”
Tami swallowed. “There’s nothing noble about it, I am only doing what I know how to do.”
“Help, right?” he said with a smile and walked over to meet her at the window. “Could the fault with you and Kunle be that there’s nothing to fix in him?”
Tami’s heart pounded as she stared at her Doctor. “I’ll see you later.” She said and hurried out.
“Hey, Babe!” Kunle said, intercepting Tami as she hurried out of the office.
Tami stopped and stared at him. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Oh, it’s a lady! I am sorry for you, man.”
Kunle frowned at the lady who had not spared a moment to stress him while he awaited Tami. “I am sorry for you too.” He said, taking Tami’s hand.
“Women are trouble! I am woman, I know this.” She rolled after them as they walked away.
Muna took a long stare at Tife’s last message. The poor guy wanted to know why she stood him up the previous day but she was yet to come up with a reasonable answer. He had called several times on Sunday, but she had conveniently found a way to evade his calls.
Hey Muna, I don’t know if I did something to tick you off but I really just wanted to hang out with you and get to know you better. If you still think we could hang out or not, call me. Take care – Tife.
She read through the message again and turned off her phone.
“She is back.” Amina announced as she walked into the room. “And she looks really sad.” She added.
Amina nodded. “Are you sure that whatever she is doing is working for her?”
Muna took a deep breath. “I guess.”
“And you? Is that strange number still calling you?”
Muna clenched her teeth. “I turned off the phone. He won’t be calling anymore.”
“Why would you turn off the phone if he is calling a wrong number? Just tell him off and he won’t call again” She replied, slipping into the bed. “That is, if you are not the one avoiding him.”
Muna turned to her. “That’s enough, young lady. You don’t know anything about this.”
“Why are you trying so hard to convince me if there is nothing there?” Amina asked, pulling the duvet over herself.
Muna diverted her attention to her laptop. She wasn’t going to spend the next few minutes trying to convince an inquisitive teenager about her own decisions.
“Do you think we should go and find out what’s going on in the living room?”
Muna shook her head. “I think we should leave them alone.”
“Okay, so when are we going to find Usman?”
Muna stared at the email on her laptop from a private investigator she had hired. “Very soon, Amina.”
“You are saying very soon but we are here.”
“There is this thing called the internet-”
Amina chuckled. “I know what the internet is,-” she said, cutting in. “And you won’t find Usman using Google.”
“Good thing I have a better plan.” She replied.
Amina smiled. “I’ll invite you to our Nikha.”
“It would be my pleasure.”
“Would you like me to make you lunch?” Kunle asked.
Tami shook her head. “No, darling. Just sit here with me.”
He took his seat beside her. “So, would you please tell me what that doctor said to have you rustled so I can go and break his face? Because I don’t understand why you’d come out of his office worse than when you went in.”
She smiled. “Talking with a psychologist is never easy,” she replied. “Sometimes we intrude into normalcies and stir up things you don’t want to hear.”
“What did he stir up?” he asked.
She shrugged and reached for Kunle’s collar, adjusting it. “He thinks that I am a fixer. Those were not his exact words because he won’t label me for sake of proper ethics but I could feel it.”
“But you know this, don’t you?”
She took a deep breath. “He is reaching. I am not a fixer.”
“I guess you’d like to believe that.” He replied, flying his collar. “I like my collar flying.”
She chuckled. “I just fixed your collar, it has nothing to do with me being a fixer.”
“Fix your button, Tami.” He replied.
Tami looked down at her top and then at him with a smile. “It has no buttons.”
“But you did not know that.” He said, rising to his feet. “You should have known that and not allow me throw you off-guard.”
“Come on, people forget stuff.” She said, laughing. “Don’t tell me that you are now picking up from Doctor James.”
He smiled. “No,” he said, slipping his hand into his pocket. “We are going to get past this, babe.”
“I know.” She replied, rising to meet him. “I am fine. I admit that I let myself drown in my own tears for too long but I am swimming now.”
“Good.” He said, hugging her. “I love you, Tami.”
Tami took a deep breath as though she inhaled his words. “I love you too,” she said with a seamless exhale as though she slipped a part of her heart into his.
Muna’s morning run was going well. There were no hunks to distract her in Tami’s estate or maybe all of them were serious men who went to work early. She stopped to catch her breath by the sidewalks as her phone buzzed. Tife. She clenched her teeth and contemplated turning it off but resisted the urge.
“Hey, Muna! Finally!”
She could almost hear the relief in his voice.
“I thought I pissed you off.”
She shook her head, as though he could see her. “What’s up, Tife?”
“I…I quit my job.”
She blinked. “What?!”
“Just kidding.” He replied with a chuckle.
She smiled. “What do you want, man?”
“Breakfast! I am not working this morning. Let’s hang out.”
She stared at her wristwatch. “I…erm…err.”
“Come on, Muna. I don’t bite. Look, I just want a chance to shoot my shot properly with you. Except you really like that mango head guy.”
“Tell me, why are you looking for a girlfriend in me? You look like you can get any girl.”
He laughed. “And you look like you can get any guy, Muna. But I just want to be sure that I can trust my heart with you.”
“In that case, I’ll save you the stress of hanging out. I am a Class A pervert and I won’t stay with you.” She replied.
“You have quite the opinion of yourself.” He replied.
She nodded. “I have been told so.”
“Grill and Chill on Ari Kola road? In the next one hour?”
She gaped. “Dude, give up.”
“No.” he replied.
She smiled. “Fine. One hour.”
“Give up, bro. You’ll never beat me in scrabble.” Tito said as she watched Kunle check the dictionary to confirm the existence of a word she had played.
“You are always cheating, Tito.” He replied.
She giggled. “That’s what losers say.”
“Okay, fine. You win.” He said, shutting the dictionary.
She bowed. “Thank you.”
“It was fun getting beat by you again.” He said.
She sprawled out on the sofa. “It comes effortlessly.”
“Shut up. Be humble in victory.”
She laughed. “Why? A little excitement won’t hurt.”
“Fair enough,” He replied. “Tito, when are you going back?”
She turned to him. “I am not leaving until you are married, bro.”
“Look, you know Tami is seeing a doctor, right? We don’t know when we would get past this phase. I don’t want to keep you away from your friends over there.”
“Do you think I have friends over there?”
He frowned. “Don’t you have friends? Come on, Tito. You have to start letting people into your life, who knows? You might meet someone new? Cute Spanish boy.”
“Why? So I can bring him home and our parents will mess it all up…again?”
He took her hand. “Tito, I am sorry about him, but he also didn’t stick around to fight for you.”
“How do you fight when you don’t have enough to fight for? They weren’t willing to give him a shot. It was as though he carried a sign on his forehead that said, ‘I am not Yoruba, hate me.’”
“He could have run away with you.” Kunle replied.
Tito laughed. “Nobody needs that drama in their life.”
He squeezed her hand. “You are going to find someone better.”
“Nah, in my next life, I’ll choose my parents.” She replied.
The doorbell went.
“I’ll get it,” Tito said, rising to her feet.
Kunle hated the fact that Tito despised their parents for sabotaging her relationship. It was one of the things that drove her to Spain. She wanted to start over away from their family.
“Kunle, your father is here to see you.” Tito said, returning into the living room with Chief Olugbile.
“So, who is your own father, Bolatito?” Chief Olugbile asked.
She smiled. “It’s nice to see you,” she said, grabbing her phone from the sofa. “See you later.”
Chief Olugbile watched Tito head upstairs before turning to Kunle. “What have you been giving that girl to eat? Can you hear the nonsense she is saying to me?”
“I am sorry, Dad.” He replied. “Please, sit.”
He took his seat. “How are you?”
“I am fine, thank you. What would you like to have?” Kunle asked.
“I had food before leaving my house,” He replied. “How are things?”
Kunle shrugged. “Fine.”
“Fine?” he quizzed. “What is the progress with her?”
Kunle blinked. “Tami is her name.”
“Don’t I know that?” his father replied.
“We are…we are working things out.” Kunle said.
Chief Olugbile took a deep breath. “Olakunle, I am truly sorry for everything you have been through.”
“Dad, I have not been through anything. It’s Tami who has had it rough, but we are both climbing out of the rubbles.”
“Kunle, see, I won’t lie to you, when a woman mourns an ex like this, she doesn’t care about you.”
Kunle relaxed in his seat.
“Kunle, I want you to understand that whatever you are doing is damage control. It’s a can of worms that will still explode in your face. I’d like to help you stop it.”
“Really?” Kunle asked.
Chief Olugbile nodded. “Yes.”
“Dad, I love Tami.”
Chief Olugbile laughed. “Which one is love? Look, Tami is a fine girl, I get it, but there are finer ladies with better, I mean much better features and they will make you happy. Do you remember Wumi? The Ogunro’s daughter?”
“No, I don’t remember.” Kunle said.
Chief Olugbile smiled. “Wumi is back from London and she is amazing! She came to the house the other day and asked about you. We told her what happened anyway and she is really sorry for you. You should talk to her.”
Chief Olugbile fetched his phone. “Let me give you her number.”
“Dad, leave my house.”
Kunle rose to his feet. “Please, leave my house and never come back.”
“Have you gone mad?” Chief Olugbile asked, rising to his feet.
Kunle shook his head. “No. I am disappointed. I am ashamed to call you father. You and Mom ruined Tito’s life and now you want to ruin mine?”
“Do you know who you are talking to, Kunle?”
He nodded. “You. Do you know your daughter hates you? Do you know she can’t stand you? I wish I took a stand with her back then when you would not let her marry who she loved. Now you are here to tell me about somebody I don’t even care about because you want a wedding to happen? Please, leave before things get dirty.”
“Ah, so it can get worse than this?” Chief Olugbile asked and made for the door. “Okay oh, just know that I have disinherited you from my will.” He yelled on his way out.
Tife smiled as Muna joined him at his table. “Finally.”
“Yes, you get to chop your L in broad day light.” She replied, taking her seat.
He folded his arms. “I am ready for it.”
“I am just here to set the records straight. I’d never be your girlfriend.” She said.
He nodded. “That’s good. I am not going to ask you to be my girlfriend.”
“Oh? Then why I am here?” she asked, clutching to her bag.
Tife took a deep breath. “Muna, I want a best friend. I want someone who is going to let me be a part of their life. Even if it is as their personal chauffeur. I want someone who is a part of my life and who gets to realize that I am not only a driver but a photographer too.”
“Okay, what am I going to do with the knowledge that you are a photographer? Allow you take my photos?”
“Isn’t that a good place to start?” he asked with an eyebrow raised. “You can be my muse.”
Muna smiled. “I like the sound of that.”
“But I don’t just want to take your pictures, I want to see your soul.” He said.
She scoffed. “You are wasting your time, Tife. I won’t fall in love with you. I’ve never fallen in love and I won’t start now.”
“That’s fine. I wouldn’t like you falling either, it’s a lot better if we both walk into it.” he replied with a smile.
Muna smiled back.