DIARY OF A STRANGE WOMAN – 41

Nosa will date any man for the right price. Find out why.

Mum’s tradition is a watch-night service that starts at 8pm and ends at about 5am in the New Year, so I opt to follow her to her church. Maybe a prophecy will come my way, but no such luck.

The year is declared the year of God’s glory and everyone prays hard to see it. I do too. Whatever will give God glory in my life is what I seek. I don’t know what the year will have in stock for me, but this past year ended on a brutal note. I want peace and quiet. That’s all I pray.

The first day after my arrival is New Year so everyone puts up the happy face. Three of my sisters, Julia the oldest, Rose and Beauty, middle sisters, come to visit with their kids. They all live in Benin with their families. I imagine Mary is still in Lagos or wherever. I haven’t seen any of my sisters since the day Kate, the second oldest called a family meeting over me. She had the full details of the man I was dating, a married man. Everyone shouted and complained, and I walked out on them. Imagine, baby of the family suddenly so bold. That was ten years earlier.

The conversation is awkward, and centered around things we didn’t have in common. I didn’t even know the names of my sisters’ children. Or that Leila, the third girl died of child-bearing four years earlier. Her daughter survived and now lives with Julia. Husband has since remarried.

Julia ventures on what I’m doing now, though I imagine she knows. So, I tell her, nothing. And that stifles the chat. Besides me being there, it is a beautiful time of celebration. There is a lot of food, which my sisters brought with them, and drinks, a big cake, and lots of chocolate and ice-cream. The cousins run around screaming and playing, and eating more than is good for them.

I imagine this is how they have celebrated in the past. With my dad no longer in the picture, Mum must have been very lonely without her daughters. And Leila’s death must have devastated her. I just can’t imagine.

Beauty, the prettiest true to her name, walks up to me toward evening. “How long are you here?”

She’s the snob. Some say I’m prettier than her but I know I’m not. She’s not only physically “yummy” she has a sweet spirit.

I shrug. “A week. Maybe more.”

She arches her eyebrow. “Mummy will like that. You should catch up with some of your friends.”

“I plan to.” Such an awkward discussion. “I called a friend already.”

“Who knows, you may want to move back. Be good company for Mummy.”

Is she kidding me? Even if I move back, I won’t live with my mother. “That’s a clean joke.”

“I’m serious. She needs the company.”

The mean streak rears its head. “Does she now approve of what I do?”

Beauty blanches, and walks away without a word. I don’t want to do what I do anymore, and yes, it has everything to do with the dead dog at my door.

Maybe I’ve taken my chance for too long. Maybe fate, and all the tears I caused married women all these years is finally speaking against me. I am superstitious, and I believe in karma. It may be time to “close shop” as the voice said.

But I doubt Benin is the place to settle. People don’t forget, and I know I made some history in this city. I might not have lived here for ten years but that time is very short in people’s memories. I’ve even been accused of trying to sleep with Julia’s husband, a man who earns less than fifty grand a month as a civil servant!

The next few days, apart from eating, I just remain in the second room in my mother’s two-bedroom flat reading some old novel I found there. I assume my sisters pay her rent because I don’t see her doing anything. Back in the day, she was a staff nurse at the teaching hospital.

On the fifth day of the year though, I get a call from an old flame who wanted to meet up. No harm in catching up with one or two “crazed” old crushes or friends, is there?

Sazu, the way we shortened his name Osazuwa, tried to get me into his bed all through my stay on campus, and then we turned it into several bets and jokes, and I won all. He was my age, and I didn’t do “boys” but he was always very fun to be with.

He picks me up and we go to the club. I notice a ring on his finger and couldn’t believe he would do that to himself.

“You got married? How old are you, Sazu?!”

“Hmm,” he chuckles. “Like eight years ago, even. We have three kids.”

I laugh hysterically. “Does she know you’re taking me to the club tonight?”

He shrugs. “She doesn’t care, as long as I don’t bring a disease home.”

I die laughing.

 

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DIARY OF A STRANGE WOMAN – 40

Nosa will date any man for the right price. Find out why.

I’m sure Mrs. Fiona Luke Chase is after me, so when I see Luke’s missed call, I ignore it. I’m shaking from head to toe when I walk into a hotel lobby and buy a room for two nights. I need time by myself to know what to do.

Luke sends a message:

Be away for the new year with friends on a yacht. Wanna tag along?

I have never been on a boat or ship. A yacht! I would love to tag along but the image of the dead dog, me dragging it across the road into the bush, cleaning its blood on my door and car…

Sorry honey. Something came up and I had to travel to Benin to see my Mum! Woulda loved to!!!

He calls immediately and we have a little chat about my mum being sick and all. He promises to take me on a similar trip when he has the time. And adds that Fiona would be on this trip though he’s not on talking terms with her.

Before this evening, it would have been the best time of my life. Instead I cuddle in a corner of my hotel room bed and shiver. Perhaps Fiona really has everything well-planned out. For me to boldly come on the new year trip and face her. Maybe she plans to throw me overboard and feed me to the fishes in the ocean.

My heart thuds and fear runs me around wild. I can’t eat and I can’t sleep and I’m afraid someone knows I am here.

In the past, I’ve had a few run-ins with jealous wives and lovers. Fought physical with a couple of girls in my competition, but never have I been challenged like this. I don’t even know where to start from. Regardless, I have never done cult, juju or blood-fights. Whatever my nails can’t claw at, I let be. I’ve left many men whose wives threaten to strike me with thunder…life no hard reach like that, abeg!

I realize two things then.

First, I have to leave Luke Chase. I can’t marry him. I may have a lot to lose but I don’t want to lose my life.

Second, I want my mother. Since my days in university, she’s been unhappy with me. Especially because my father at some point left her for a younger woman. A younger woman who gave him two sons in quick succession. I thought I was on a vengeful journey against my father. Rather I hurt my mum more than I could ever imagine.

Now I’m stuck in a lifestyle I’m afraid to leave. Sometimes, I feel I can never work a decent job, when I can have a man-friend who takes care of my bills.

The voice in my head starts to plan. Before you foolishly leave Luke Chase, get him to take you to the exclusive club where you found him. Hook up quickly with someone else while he’s not looking, then dump him.

Simple. You’ll have your life back. Even if you don’t get a fish as big as he is.

The other voice. This one long lost…in my heart but it had been a long long while I heard it, but I recognize it. The small voice I deadened even after I claimed to become born again.

Why is the voice speaking to me again? Or has it been speaking and I haven’t been hearing. It’s small, soft, clear. And that voice tells me it’s time to close shop and return home!

I miss home.

It’s end of the year. A time to make new plans. Turn a new leaf. Make believable and achievable resolutions.

I’ve paid two nights here, and I plan to stay. I have enough money to give me the desired rest I need.

And on New Year’s Eve, I check out of the hotel and charter a taxi to take me to Benin. My mother nearly faints at the sight of me. But she simply opens the door wider and lets me in. Did I expect a lot of oohs and aahs?

No, and I got none.

 

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DIARY OF A STRANGE WOMAN – 39

Nosa will date any man for the right price. Find out why.

Ivy pulled me up, and flung me out of the room, while Femi just stared. Back in the day, I will beat the daylight out of her. Who does she think she is? But see me…Nosakhare Williams, fighting over a bloody poor plumber who lives in one room. No. At that point, I think I realized, I don pass that level.

I am going to marry a billionaire. My engagement ring has been in my wardrobe, except for the day I went on the date with my fiancé. Now, I will wear it every day, and everywhere. Let them say!

So, as I drive my car out of that slum, I cuss at the two of them. They don’t belong! Ivy can choose to live below her class and Femi can decide to marry an over-used prostitute. It is their lives and I don’t need their scum in my life.

It’s the worst Christmas for me. I didn’t even know when the day passed. Luke sent a message he was spending it with “family” and I wonder what I am. Well, he came back to plan wedding! What is my life going through? I really need to take back control.

I pull my car to a stop in front of my house and come out of the car, hissing and cussing at the two people I thought I loved.

Then I see it!

I stifle a scream before I throw up right there in front of my door. A dead dog with the blood still oozing from its slit throat. A note written with what I assume is the dog’s blood stuck on my door, back off!

“God! Why me? What is happening to me?!”

I swing around but there is no one in sight. It’s afternoon. Most of my neighbors have gone to work and many have travelled for Christmas and New Year.  What am I going to do? I take a few deep breaths and run around to the back of my house. There’s a tap just beside my kitchen door and I open it on my face for several minutes, fighting nausea and fear.

Then I return to my front door and yes, whoever did the first thing is definitely still around! My beautiful car windscreen has been smashed. All the windows broken. This time I couldn’t stop myself from screaming.

I stumble backward, shivering, glancing around. A similar note has been placed on my bonnet, back off! I have to leave here now. I am a single woman, and I live alone. I don’t have a gun, or friends to call, or family. If someone is so angry with me, then I have to stay away for a while.

The first thing I have the mind to do is get rid of the mess. I pull the notes away and step around the dead dog and into my house. My body shakes with deep sobs as I wonder what I have left. I am finished. Never in my life have things been so bad. And this time, it has nothing to do with money! Wouldn’t I rather choose peace over wealth; loneliness over chaos.

Realizing my assailants are still in the vicinity, I sit on the floor in my bedroom, ready to dive under and hide in case they decide to come in and harm me. At the last minute, I think I should have a knife close by but I’m too scared to go get one.

So, I remain on my floor, weeping for hours till I feel convinced they must have gone. Couldn’t be the work of one person, in my thinking. I tiptoe to my front door. Everything is as is. I need to get rid of the dog before it starts stinking. Oh! How will I do this? Call the police? No. They will just take money from me, and not do anything about my plight.

The wicked people who did this didn’t even kill a small dog. Dragging the huge thing across the road to the nearby bush took all my strength. Then I wash off all the blood. It will cost me a fortune to fix all the broken glass, but I go ahead and call my mechanic and tell him I had an accident. He sends one of his boys to get the car.

I get back into my house and change clothes, pack a suitcase, and call a taxi. No way am I sleeping in this house tonight.

 

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DIARY OF A STRANGE WOMAN – 38

Nosa will date any man for the right price. Find out why.

I was cuddled up in my house for three days, doing nothing but mope. I didn’t know Femi’s news will affect me this much, and I continue to battle with the urge to go and fight it out.

I can see myself scream at him. “It’s me you love! It’s me you want! Me! You will share me with a hundred men!”

Ha! What a joke. If he loves me he won’t want to share me with half a man. Why did I not think this? I have to talk to him or Ivy. This is a betrayal.

I love Femi! I don’t even know why I let him go in the first place. I’ve never had a male friend I could discuss anything with. He was just such a rock, a defender. Oh, Femi!

Luke calls that he is back and takes me to dinner. We return to my house where he spends the night. We don’t talk much about our wedding, though I am not so inclined either. But he does mention he wants a private affair.

“We can travel to an Island somewhere, just the two of us, and get married.” He arches his eyebrow. “Does that work for you? Or you want your whole family to attend.”

I snicker. “Just two of us is fine.”

“And we can keep this place for you. Basically, we continue as we have till my divorce is over.” He pauses. “Or we can leave the wedding off till the divorce is final but believe me, the way Fiona is acting, that may be forever.”

I think in nearly a year of dating Luke, this is the most I have heard him talk. A one-syllable man usually, it occurs to me this divorce and me, seem to be getting at him.

“Let’s not leave it off. My family don’t need to be at my wedding.”

After he leaves, I continue to mope around. Luke is a bloke, really. Handsome, in his forties, very rich, generous, not a fantastic lover but who cares? He is any woman’s dream come true for a first, second or even third wife. But my heart aches. I’m not too excited anymore about marrying this guy if Ivy is going to have Femi.

It takes me another few days but I finally pick my phone and call Femi for directions to his house.

“I need to see Ivy!”

He quietly gives me the address and I drive over. It’s eight days since he dropped the bomb.

I wasn’t in church on Sunday because I couldn’t face the baboon who raped me, and generally, I am tuned off. I realize this church is not interested in anything but its own prosperity. A “brother” can drive in his plush car from church to rape a woman in her house and still gloat. He called a few times during the week, and sent a text asking if I’ll be home and he can visit…imagine. And I replied I will kill him and go to jail. And haven’t heard from him since then. Chapter closed.

Femi’s house is in an area I assumed it would be, downtown, clustered houses, bad roads. Not a dirty area but definitely low income.

I find a parking space on the street and weave my way between closely built houses to a bungalow with his house number. It’s a little bigger than my house, and Femi’s accommodation is a room within the house.

Ivy opens the door to me, and a deep hatred wells up inside me. To my surprise, the room is big, clean and well-arranged. The bed is at one end, with a couch, a reading table and two chairs to another end, and a 40” TV hung on the wall facing the bed. A small corner of the room has a twin-door refrigerator, which is so surprising, and a microwave oven placed on a chest of drawers. The room is air-conditioned. There is no sign of cooking things but then, two doors lead out of the room apart from the front door, and I assume these are for the kitchen and bathroom.

Ivy wears a smirk on her face but looks really pretty with little make-up, a jean jacket over a camisole, and shorts. She’s barefooted. Femi is seated at the reading table, wearing a black sleeveless T-shirt and jeans, and looking so good. And I notice a HP laptop open in front of him.

I could be the woman of this house, really. It’s so cozy and clean and warm and I am so jealous!

“You stole my man, Ivy.”

My softly spoken accusation was not planned. I want to beat her up. Beat myself.

“You didn’t want him, Nosa.”

I cried. “I did. I do! How can you betray me like this, after all we’ve been through together.”

Ivy throws her hands up in the air. “Is that what you call this? You were hung up on Luke Chase. Did you want to have two men?”

“I didn’t want Luke! You stole my man, and you know it, Ivy. And I’m not going to let you off easy.”

“Pathetic, Nosa.” She laughs. “Are you still with Luke?”

“I will drop Luke like a wet towel the minute I get my Femi back!”

He clears his throat but Ivy shoots out her hand at him. “Stay out.”

“Yeee! See how you are talking to Femi? You used juju on him, abi, you wicked witch.” I turn to Femi whose eyebrows are squeezed, and his lips downturned. “She’s diabolical. Did you know? She has a “Baba” who helps her to get men. She knows all the clubs where rich men go in this city, and she patronizes them.” I take a few steps to him. “Femi, please. Even if you’ll marry anyone, not this witch of a girl.”

Femi folds his arms about his chest. “I know everything about Ivy. But she has changed her life—”

I stomp my feet. “It’s not true! She is a big liar. She just wants to get you.” I throw my hands in the air. “Do you know she has had up to nine abortions? She can never give you kids.”

Ivy screams. “And what about you? You have had six abortions!”

Above our screeches, Femi shouts. “I don’t care.”

We both turn to him, my mouth drops open. And Femi is shaking his head.

“I don’t care what Ivy has done in her life. She’s mine now. Mine alone. I’m not sharing her with anyone and that is good enough for me.”

I begin to sob despite myself. “Femi, please. Look at me.” I go to him and fall on my knees in front of him. “Sweetheart, you know what we had—”

Ivy cuts in. “Nosa, please get out of my house!”

 

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DIARY OF A STRANGE WOMAN – 37

Nosa will date any man for the right price. Find out why.

I didn’t even think twice or check the time. Unlike me, so coordinated and composed, cool as cucumber, I begin to scream and Femi hangs up on me.

Ehn! Femi and Ivy? And he was in my bed last night; in fact till this morning? I find my pair of bedroom slippers and without checking the mirror, grab my car keys.

That’s when I realize I don’t know Femi’s house.

Wow.

I slump into my couch and weep like a child. What kind of betrayal is this? How can Femi, my Femi be getting married to Ivy? Did I make a mistake? What am I going to do? Just now I was thinking being with Femi will be the succor I will enjoy being married to Luke.

I’m too distraught to write about this.

 

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2018 is HERE!

From me

To you!

With much love.

May the new year bring to you, and to me, the many blessings of newness, and freshness. A new dawn, a new hope, a new desire to serve, to give, to live.

A new adventure into great discoveries beyond reality, beyond happiness, a lasting feeling of joy, and excitement.

In this journey called life. With a God bigger than all our challenges.

Make it count.

Last day of 2017

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