“I will like to be at the TTS meeting today.”
“Great. I think you should. How do we do it?”
“I will just make appearance at the wedding, I won’t stay long. Then I will join you.”
“How will you do that? You don’t even know how to get to the site.”
“Where is your women’s meeting holding?”
“Jahi. And it starts at 11am.”
“How long is it for?”
“Maybe two hours. But the TTS meeting is 12noon, so I also will have to leave the women’s meeting before 12noon.”
“Okay. When I leave the wedding, I will meet you up at Jahi.”
“Cool. There’s no point for me to drive then. Why don’t you drop me at Jahi for the women’s meeting, then go show face at the wedding and come back to pick me and we go for TTS.”
“In that wise, we are running late, we should leave home as soon as possible.”
We both increased the pace with which we got ready. She opened the wardrobe and picked what she would wear. I rushed my breakfast and gulped the glass of water. And just as I was about to dash into the bathroom, my phone beeped.
It was a text message.
“Baby, Chizaram just sent a message, she doesn’t know how to get to the venue of the TTS meeting. She says she will come over to the house and drive behind us.”
“Did you tell her we are not leaving from home?” She returned the first dress she picked and brought out another.
“Yes, I’m doing that right now.” I said as I typed on the phone. “Will you send her the description of how to get to the venue?”
“There’s no way she will get it. If she doesn’t know the place, she would have to be taken there.”
“Okay.” What she spoke, I typed the same to Chizaram. “Let me quickly add that she would want to see me afterward. It seems we are due for one of our many long talks. ” I continued the chat with one hand and used the other to pick one of my many white cloths.
“Okay. I guess you need an update on how she’s been fairing and what she’s been up to.” She was bringing out the third fourth dress. Still undecided.
“Yeah. It’s been a while.” I brought the pressing iron out and started straightening the clothes before she could change her mind again. I continued chatting with Chizaram in between.
Chizaram was one of my very few acquired aburos and we talked and chatted a lot. Our talks sometimes lasted for hours. I probably stood as her go-to person on many controversial issues ranging from dating to marriage to men. We agreed on a number of fronts and when we argued or debated it could get intense. Her supposed boyfriend was beginning to wobble at the knees. Work demands were not reducing. And exam was knocking.
“Olami, we are running late. At this rate, you can’t even drop me off at Jahi. I will have to take a cab or call Bolanle to pick me up.” She brushed her hair. “You should drop that phone now and go take a shower.”
“How do you think we can work this out?” I continued to chat with Chizaram on the phone. I honestly didn’t hear the last thing she said.
“Chizaram getting to the venue now.”
She hesitated. I looked up and saw she was staring at me. I didn’t understand.
“Did you hear what I said? Look at the time!”
“Just a minute, you know I will be done in no time. Let’s just sort her out.”
She shrugged. “Where does she live?” She dialed Bolanle’s number. A little conversation ensued. Sad news – Bolanle had already left for Jahi.
“Drop that phone now and enter the bathroom! Bolanle has left!” It was a command.
And this time I dropped it. “Okay mummy.” I sent the last message and did as commanded.
“I think Chizaram lives in Asokoro. The wedding you are attending is in Asokoro too.” Her brain set to work. She raised her voice a little so I could hear from the bathroom. “Why don’t you pick her up when you leave the wedding? She drives behind you to Jahi where you will come to get me?”
“Hmmmn…you’re too brilliant.” Her suggestion would work perfectly.
She was not done.
“And after TTS meeting, I will drive the car back home and you join Chizaram, and you guys can go and have your long overdue talk.”
“Fantastic.” I answered from the bathroom. “What do you do in your office again? You should be in Planning and Logistics.”
“Thanks. I am sending her a chat with your phone to text you her house address.”
“Thanks, baby. What would I do without you? You’re too much.” I started singing her praises from the bathroom.
I finished and cleaned up. I opened my eyes and found she had been standing by the bathroom door all the while.
“Do you think I’m okay?” Her voice was as low as the sea.
I was confused but I took a brief look at her. “Yeah, you look good. Turn, let me see.”
“No, that’s not what I mean. I mean, I’m arranging a hook-up with you and a single lady, a fine lady for that matter, do you think I’m okay?”
I laughed. I laughed so hard, it was thunderous. I walked past her and she remained silhouetted by the door. I couldn’t stop laughing. I thought about where her mind traveled to, I laughed even more.
“You’re not serious.” She laughed too. Her laugh was like a waterfall.
“You want an honest answer?” I paused. “No. You are not okay. YOU ARE NOT OKAY AT ALL!!”
“I thought so too.” She laughed and turned back to finish her make-up. “You know, I was just thinking or it’s just dawning on me what I was doing for you.”
“You are hooking me up with a single lady.” I laughed again. “You are not okay at all.”
“If I raise this gist in certain circles, they would laugh me to scorn and call me dunce.”
“And sincerely, I wonder why they would. You think it’s really okay for me not to see anything amiss in this?”
“Oh well…I guess we all are wired differently.”
“I could understand. I mean, if your relationship is strewn with bouts of unfaithfulness and men have disappointed you on several occasions, the likelihood that you would see all men from that color-tainted spectacles is high.”
My wife is teaching, let the class be quiet.
“Each time you speak or anytime you assess a situation, your views could be dirtied by the experiences you’ve had and the men you’ve been with. You would find it difficult to believe otherwise if you’ve never had otherwise.”
“I agree with you. You don’t think the perceptions of such people could ever be changed? At all?”
“It depends. It depends on them. Are they willing to change their own narrative? For how long would you keep using your false dawns as a mirror through which all men are viewed? And I keep telling Samira this but it’s so hard for her. She checks his phone, goes through his chats, checks his activities on social media, listen in on his phone conversations. Come on! The energy, the time, the stress! Who has that time? You suddenly become an FBI agent just because you got married?! Say wetin happen?”
“That’s a lot of work.”
“And I feel her pain. Different strokes for different folks. Foundation is key, but I also know as much as foundation is key, people can change too. I mean, he can be all cool and calm before the vow and after the vow he is unable to zip up.”
“And that just underscores the God-factor.”
“Hmmn…Olami! What are you saying? Why are you talking like this? It’s even more prevalent among Christian folks today than ever before!”
“True. Very true.”
“One writer I admire would often say, ‘We trust patterns, not words.’”
“Hmmn…” I smiled, the kind of smile you smile when you’ve just been quoted. “Mention his name?”
“What are you feeling like?”
“Just say it…it won’t damage your mouth…try it.”
“As I was saying,” she continued, denying me my brief shot at fame, “if you have been beaten once, twice, thrice…it would take a great deal to build trust again, not just with the person but with any other man, for that matter. You will need several actions, consistent patterns of faithfulness to expunge the many heartaches you’ve had. So, truly, we trust patterns, not words.”
“It’s not enough to just say it…”
“Forget words!” She cut in. “Anybody can say anything. It’s what you do that counts.”
Her phone beeped.
“My Uber is here.” She walked to the door. “So, are we sticking to the plan as I suggested?”
“It doesn’t look like I have a more brilliant idea, so we stick to it.”
“Call me when you leave the wedding.”
“Am I okay?” She smiled. “I mean, how do I look?”
“Gorgeous. The black shoe is better, though.”
She changed her shoes. “Thanks. See you later.”
And three hours later, Chizaram and I were ordering lunch and ready to have our long overdue talk just as my ‘not-so-okay-wife’ planned it.
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