Roshana was lying quietly on her bed half-heartedly watching a TV show. She was sad and unhappy; anyone who saw her envied her life and felt she was living a dream. True she was beautiful, intelligent and had a great career; in fact, she had just landed a juicy TV deal, yet she was unhappy. She primarily did not know the cause of her unhappiness, maybe it has to do with the strained relationship I have with dad she thought. She had sought his love in the arms of men, in fact, she had fought for love in men but that didn’t yield anything good, the guys always ran away from her. Unfortunately, instead of her to get better, she was getting worst and desperate.
Even Bayo whom she thought she had gotten under her radar, left her for someone who was lower in class than her. She didn’t know when or how it happened, but she suddenly felt hot tears streaming down her face. She couldn’t remember the last time she cried, for the first time in her life she had to admit she was lonely.
Out of nowhere, her phone started ringing; she quickly dried her eyes as if the caller could see her tears. She ignored the call, even without checking to see who’s calling. Stubbornly the phone started ringing again, this time she picked it up. “Hello? “Roshana, it’s me Bayo”. She suddenly sat up on her bed, “Adebayo Williams? “Yes, it is I”, “Bayo what a surprise”, “I know you will be shocked and it’s all my fault”, “it’s alright, at least you are calling now. How can I help you? “Well if my memory serves me correctly, I know you are off tomorrow and I was thinking if you would spend the day with me?
“Wow, but tomorrow is Monday, aren’t you going to work? “I am, but I have a break time and I also have a closing time”, he said smiling. “Ok, let’s see”, she was thinking. “Let’s meet after your closing hour, I will pass by your office towards your closing time, so we leave your office together to Ember Creek”, “Ember Creek? “Yes, have you been there before? “Trust me Roshana there’s no place I have not been to in Lagos in this short time I have been here, I love Ember Creek”. “That’s nice, so we have a date? Roshana asked, “yes we do”. “Is 4 pm ok, no make it 3 because I close 4”. “Alright then thank you for calling, have a nice night”, “you too babe, good night”.
Immediately the call ended, Roshana jumped from her bed and started dancing, “thank you Jesus” she kept saying. Just when I had given up on Bayo, he shows up from nowhere she thought to herself. She quickly dialled her friend Steph, “Babe guess who has a date with the most eligible bachelor in Lagos”, “who? “me of course”, she said excitedly. “I thought you said he was avoiding you, that’s the same thing I thought, but he just called me now”, “babe I’m happy for you oh, you better deck as you are going”. “Do you have to tell me, I am ready for him” and they both laughed. “Babe I better be going, let me start brainstorming on my look for the date”, “alright dear bye”, “bye”.
Meanwhile back at the Adebambo’s house
Shalewa raced to her room and collapsed on her bed crying, Foye wrapped her hands around her to console her. “Shalewa its ok”, “Foye it’s not ok, can’t you see your parents want to ruin my life? What crime have I committed to come first? I feel like I should just disappear from the earth right now”. She kept on crying, Foye did not exactly know what else to say, she just sat by her still wrapping her hands around her.
There was a knock on the door, for a moment Shalewa stopped crying. “Who’s that? She called out. “Shalewa open the door, its mum”, it seems that only made Shalewa cry all the more. “Mum go away”, “Foye come open the door for your mother, I need to speak to your sister”.
Foye got up from the bed and walked to the door, she half opened the door, begging her mum with her eyes to leave, but Mrs Adebambo still stood at the door adamant. “Mum, she’s not in the right frame of mind, must you talk with her now” her mum nodded like right now?
“Foye just open the door, this matter doesn’t concern you”. Foye eyes just widened, and she moved out of the way but she didn’t leave the room. “Shalewa I don’t know if this is the right time, but I really need to talk to you”. Shalewa cleaned her eyes and sat up straight on the bed staring at her mother, “Mum you can go ahead”. “Shalewa I and your father love you very much contrary to what you may presently think”, Shalewa scoffed, her mum continued.
“Shalewa can you please tell me one reason why you don’t like Bayo? “Mum I don’t love him, and I’m not convinced he’s the one for me, I’m not sure of his intentions for me”. “But Shalewa what do you know about love? Her mother asked. “Mum answer me honestly, didn’t you marry dad because you loved him? Mum began stuttering, “I already know your answer” Shalewa said dismissively.
“No you don’t” her mum barked. This shocked both Foye and Shalewa. “Yes I married your father because I loved him, but where did that get me? Eh, answer me, where? Are you not seeing our condition? “But mum our condition is not bad. Who are you competing with that makes you feel our state of life is terrible?
“Your father’s business is failing, I’ve lost my job, and your sister is still in school”, “Mum when did it become my duty to rescue dad’s business? If I were a man, would you want to exchange me for money? What did Bayo give you anyway? “Shalewa watch your mouth, who’s exchanging you for money and Bayo did not give me anything, I just want a better future for you”. “After you just finished telling me how you need Bayo’s family money to rescue yours, you are now saying, you want a better future for me?
“Mum I may not know anything about marriage, but I know marriage is more than money. You and dad may not have the type of money you want, yet you both are happy, don’t you want same happiness for me? “My dear there are so many things you do not know”, “like what mum?
“I’m not interested in going back and forth with you; I just came here to plead with you for one thing”. “What’s that? Shalewa asked. Foye who had been pressing her phone throughout suddenly jerked up her ears.
“Shalewa you know how much I have laboured over you? “I know that Mum and I’m indebted forever to you”. “Excellent”, her mother said “and you know how I haven’t demanded anything from you before? “Yes, I know that”, “good”.
“Shalewa my request to you is this, even if this is the only thing you will do for me in your lifetime, Shalewa’s heart was beating rapidly. “I want you to at least court Bayo, be in a relationship with him. In your entire refusal to marry him, you haven’t even dated him. At least date him first and see what he’s like firsthand. If when you date him, you still stand by your decision not to marry him then I would support you”.
“But if you refuse to be in a relationship with him and you adamantly still stand on your decision, then I don’t know how long I will still be a loving mother to you”.
“So mum, let me get this straight, you want me to do trial by error relationship with Bayo? “Yes”, her mother replied, “what if the relationship doesn’t work? “Then you’re free to marry whoever you want, just try him first and see”. “But if I refuse to date Bayo, you will stop being a mother to me? “Yes, because I feel you are just being unreasonable and selfish if you remain stubborn, this small request is little compared to everything I have done for you”.
“Well Mum sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t believe in trial by error dating, I am too old for that. Any man I date now will be the one I will marry. I can’t have anything romantic to do with Bayo, the few times we went on a date, he was physically abusive. That type of man would be violent”.
“Shalewa that’s just an excuse you’ve conjured up, the Bayo that I know is calm, cool and collected and he loves you very much. I have always told you that a woman should marry a man who loves her and not the other way round”.
“That means you are telling me to be selfish, to love someone for what they can offer to me. The question intending partners should ask themselves is what am I bringing to the table? What can I offer this other person?
“Now you have spoken wisely, you said what can you offer Bayo right? Her mum asked. But Shalewa was quiet. Her mother continued, “Don’t you think you can change Bayo, you can bring peace to his life. If indeed you say he may be violent, it may have been because of the intensity of his love for you”. “Mum you are unbelievable, I can’t marry Bayo and I’m sorry this decision is not what you want to hear”. Her mother started crying, “after all I have done for you, and this is how you want to repay me? My God, who have I offended?
Shalewa and Foye just exchanged helpless looks, “Mum this emotional manipulation ain’t going to work. I have already made my decision. Marriage is a lifetime contract and I’m not going to make it simply because I want to make either you or dad happy. I believe this discussion is over I really want to sleep. I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow. Good night mum and with that Shalewa stood from the bed, walked straight to the bathroom where unfortunately she began crying again.
Mrs Adebambo was shocked; she thought Shalewa still had a soft spot for her. She turned and looked at Foye who just shrugged. Seeing there was nothing she could do, she left the room. Immediately she left the room, Foye ran to the bathroom to console a weeping Shalewa. She managed to bring her back to the room and settle her in her bed, wrapping her duvet over her.
“Shalewa you shouldn’t have told Mum an outright no, you should have just told her you would think about it, now you may have just drawn a battle line between you and Mum & Dad”. “Foye there’s no need beating around the bush honestly, and it’s better I let them know my intentions from the beginning. By the way, do you think I should date Bayo?
“Well, I have noticed that everytime you are around him or you go on a date with him, you always come back tensed and frowning. I don’t think you should be with someone who brings out the worst in you. Life is too short and marriage is too long to spend with someone you are always fighting with. Babe ultimately the decision is yours because it is you that will live with whoever you choose not Dad or Mum and I trust you will make the right one”.
“Thank you, baby,” Shalewa said as she hugged Foye. “It’s alright, sleep well”, Foye replied.
At the office the next day, towards the end of closing hours while Shalewa was putting finishing touches to her work, Orode excitedly rushed into the office. “Shalewa, Shalewa” Orode called out as she was tapping Shalewa’s desk impatiently. “Orode what is it? Shalewa said looking up from her system, “Babe you need to come and see this”, “what is it? “It’s Bayo oh”, “what happened to him? “You know that lady from Great TV, mmmm, let me remember her name, Roshana, yes that’s it. She’s here with him in the office, and he’s taking her round”.
“Orode when you rushed into this office, one would think you had something important to say, what’s so special about that? “Was it not yesterday you said Bayo was at your place still begging for your hand? “Yes? “Isn’t it too quick for him to be seen with someone else? “Well I turned him down, shouldn’t he move on? “Even if he wants to move on, should it be so quick? Orode said thinking.
“Orode your problem is you worry yourself over things that are not your business, if Bayo brought her here to spite me, then he has failed cos I’m not in a competition with anyone”. “Shalewa thanks for insulting me oh, anyway you are right”.
It had been weeks since the confrontation with her father and Shalewa had been avoiding contact with him since then. She was succeeding until one day when she had just come back from work, that Sarah their help came to inform her that her Father wanted to see her in the sitting room. She was really afraid because her Father hardly summoned her except it was for something important.
She raced downstairs, she looked around the room; her mum was also there. This is definitely a marriage talk she thought. “Yes, dad you sent for me”, “yes I did sit”. “I have been watching you over the past few weeks to see if there would be any changes in you, but it appears that you have still remained adamant”. “Dad what makes you think I am still adamant, you haven’t asked me for my decision”, “Shalewa I don’t have to ask you, I have been speaking with Bayo and he says you don’t talk with him anymore”.
“But Dad, Bayo has moved on, he brought someone to the office, someone who he’s obviously seeing”. “So because he brought a lady to the office, then they’re seeing each other? And even if he’s seeing her, then he’s not to blame, after all, you turned him down. But it’s not too late, just go back to him and tell him you’ve had a change of heart and you are now ready to marry him”.
“What? Dad, I am not a commodity, neither am I a lady who do not know her worth, I can’t and will never beg Bayo to take me. God forbid, a man who could move on so quickly just a day after he left this house? Come on dad, I thought you knew better than this”. “This is your problem Shalewa you have read too many books that have turned your head upside down”, her mother put in.
“Just leave her alone let her be speaking English, look here Shalewa since neither I nor your mum can talk to you it has become imperative that we cut some of your wings. Henceforth I am imposing a curfew on you, you must return home on or before 7 pm irrespective of wherever you go, if you stay beyond 7 pm then you will not be allowed into the house. You must follow us to a special deliverance session at our church; because I am beginning to believe you must be possessed”, her mum added. “Mum how can you insinuate that I am possessed”, “young lady I haven’t even finished” her father interrupted. “That holiday trip you’ve been planning to Dubai with your friends, as long as you are in this house you are no more going.
In addition, Sarah will no longer do anything for you, you must cook your own meals, wash and iron your own clothes. In short, everything Sarah used to do for you must stop. Lastly, young woman, go upstairs this minute and bring the key to your car. You will drop it here because I am seizing the car from you”.
“But dad you can’t do these, this is wickedness”, “trust me, young lady, this is just the beginning. Since you have refused to obey us, then we will deal with you until you see reason”. Shalewa who was already crying, suddenly wiped the tears off her face, “Dad, you can take a horse to the river but you can never force it to drink water. No matter what you or Mum does, I am not going to have anything to do with Bayo”, she started to walk away but she suddenly turned back, “and Dad you cannot seize my car. I bought it myself”.
She ran up to her room and brought out the bottle of sniper she had bought weeks before. She shook the bottle, poured a little on the cover and began staring at it.
Read Part 15 HERE
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