PROVOCATION – LESSONS ON CONTENTMENT

52 ways cover stripThroughout the following week, I thought about Emeka’s strange behaviour. I knew he had been dating one of my old school mates Ekaette, and though the girl attended a Pentecostal Church, she lived in his house! Emeka worked offshore and did one month on water and two weeks at home. I also knew he was seriously planning to marry the girl. So why would he come to my house in the middle of the night and attempt to sleep with me?

I expected him to call or come over the following day but he didn’t. Neither did he through the week till he went back to work. Even then, he just called and briefly told me as was the tradition when he was going and when he would be back. I was too ashamed to ask him about my supposed ‘birthday’ visit. Somehow I still feared and respected him. And I knew I still loved him. A part of me hoped for reconciliation but I really couldn’t see how it would happen.

When Emeka came back from his two weeks onshore, he called to say that he was back.

“I’d like to see you, please. I got a notice from Adaora’s school. Her fees have been increased,” I told him.

He sounded tired and bored as he told me he would come over the following day. He did, late in the evening. I was about to go to bed when my door bell went. I knew at once it was him. I picked the letter from the school before opening to him. He looked lean and sick… and handsome as usual.

After he was seated, I quietly handed him the letter from the school. The fees were ridiculously high by my standards but the school had been chosen by Emeka.

“You know my problem with you?” He looked up at me carefully after reading the letter. I stiffened. What now?

I was ready to throw it back at him that he could well afford the new fees. He was spending so much money on his fiancée. I heard he’d bought her a car, changed her wardrobe severally, opened the first 24-hour Grocer’s in the town for her and lavished her and her family. The best he could do for us was at least pay his daughter’s fees. Besides, he had chosen the school. I would have gone for a cheaper school. But I’d learnt early to train my tongue. I waited for him to finish his accusation.

“You are too complacent!” he said.

“What do you mean by that?” I lashed. “I just got this letter last week, what was I supposed …”

“Hey, hush,” he whispered. “I’ll give you a cheque for the session.” He brought out his cheque book and began to write.

I sighed. “Thank you.”

Talk about who pays the piper… he could afford to be rude to me. I had no choice. Thank God I never had to haggle with him anytime I needed money for Adaora. I’d never asked him for money or anything at that, for myself and the sparse times he’d given me personal gifts, I’d received with thanks.

He handed the cheque leaflet to me and I thanked him again. He usually gave more than I asked for school extras – books, snacks, shoes, socks and bag. When I looked at the cheque he wrote, he’d been very generous. He stood up to leave.

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At the door, he turned and looked at me pointedly.

“Ekaette and I broke up,” he said.

“What? Why?!” I exclaimed. Who would have imagined that after all he’d done for her?

“She’s too greedy!” he said, and left.

Incredible.

My mouth remained popped.

Published as 52 Ways to Provoke God. Get your copy here

 

 

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TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – TANGO A sequel to Morass

Read Morass here.

tango croppedMimi ran to the back of her grandmother’s compound, her chubby frame covered with sand. “Mam-ma! Come and eat.” She carried her sand food to Mama, served on fresh green leaves.

Mama looked up from sieving raw pap. “What did you cook?”

“Eba and vegetable soup.” The four-year old beamed. “Taste.” She took a portion of the sand food and stretched toward Mama.

Mama pushed her bowl of pap just in time to avoid Mimi’s dripping sand. “Ha, Mimi my daughter. Keep it aside. I will eat it when your mother comes back from work.”

“Okay, Mama.” She ran off and Mama smiled.

Demi walked into the house later in the evening to pick up her daughter and Mama related the tale.

“She’s an angel, Demilade.” Mama smiled. “I’m glad God gave her to us.”

Demi nodded. “Yes, Mummy. I’m glad God gave her.” She peeped at Mimi who was fast asleep on the couch. “There’s—I want you to keep her for me, Mummy. I am going on leave and I want to travel out of town.”

“To Lagos?”

“No, Mummy. I’m going to Uyo.”

“Uyo!?”

“Don’t try to stop me, Mummy. I’m going. I already bought my bus ticket yesterday.”

Mama stared Demi down and when Papa came back from the landlords’ meeting he attended, could not convince her otherwise. They agreed to care for Mimi till she returned.

Demi did not tell her parents her plans but she knew they had a good idea what it was. It had been four years since she returned without her husband and with a gory story of deceit. Idem had married her a virgin, and loved her more than life. Yet he had lived a lie, deceived an innocent woman into following him all the way to Uyo, his homeland. She could never forget how Idem’s wife threw her out of their home while Idem stayed quiet inside the house.

How she found the strength to travel back with a two-month pregnancy over six hundred kilometres remained a mystery. But her parents had supported her all through. Her colleagues at her bank job received her with open arms. Slowly, Demi’s life returned to as much normal as being a single mother could afford.

Mimi looked exactly like her father, which made loving her harder. She was such a darling though, and the main motivation for Demi to seek revenge.

Her parents encouraged her to move on, explore other relationships but Demi would never let them know she had other plans.

Duru waited at the motor park when Demi arrived. He wore the same type of clothes Demi had always seen him wear, black denims, black t-shirt, black boots, a black worn leather jacket and he carried a black rucksack. Mama told her he had darkness behind his eyes. Demi moaned inward. Her mother would have a feat if she ever got to know Duru was going to Uyo as well, and to help Demi carry out her plan.

The journey took almost ten hours with two stops. Duru sat beside the driver and made no conversation with her even during the stops. She contented herself with her back seat and his silence.

She had booked a hotel online for both of them, and Duru, who boasted of having lived in Uyo for several years proved his mettle and called a taxi to take them to the hotel.

Duru was rendering a service and though what he asked her to pay nearly-cleaned out her savings, she was ready. And she had paid him half already.

She remembered Mama’s comments about him and smiled inward. Mama was right. Duru had a past no one dared inquire about. He was a go-to guy in Owena and had done one odd job or the other for nearly everyone.

His secretive attitude and mean demeanour made most people steer clear. He did his job, got his pay, and left you well alone.

On one of the days she had to work late, she’d returned home to find her door broken into. Fear gripped her and she had run to her parents’ to spend the night. On second thoughts, she’d called Duru, who did a lot of jobs for her colleagues. To her surprise, he came that night to her parents’ and insisted on fixing another lock for her.

Mama said she could never get his tall, rigid physique, set mouth and dark eyes out of her memory.

The hotel Demi booked was more luxurious than she imagined and more expensive than what she saw online. Duru loomed behind her till she paid and the receptionist gave them their keys. A porter led them to two adjacent rooms.

Duru waited outside the door while the porter made sure Demi’s room was alright. When the young man moved to the next room, Duru stopped him.

“I’ll be fine,” he said in a low deep voice.

Demi wondered why he stood at her door even after the porter had left. She was happy with the single room, and knew she would sleep well tonight. From the following day however, she feared the future.

Her voice of reason cautioned her again but the voice was now so strained and thin, she barely heard it.

She walked to the open doorway where Duru stood and stared into the room like it repelled him. “Is there a problem with your room?”

Duru licked his lips. “I don’t need a room.”

Demi arched her eyebrow. “But where will you sleep? Tonight?”

Tomorrow would take care of its own.

“I will go to his house tonight and study the environment. Tomorrow, I pick the child. He can stay with me wherever I decide—”

She couldn’t believe he was talking so casually about kidnapping Idem’s son on the corridor of a hotel. She pulled him in on reflex and slammed the door.

The room felt small with him inside. Demi wasn’t a small person except now she was so close to him. He made no move to put space between them and she took that initiative breathlessly.

“How can you be so casual about this?” She said in a harsh whisper.

He smirked. “If the boy is found with you, you’ll go to jail.”

“What about you? And I don’t want the boy to suffer.”

Duru narrowed his eyes. “Don’t worry about me or him. Now, if you don’t mind, I have to leave. You should take a refund for my room.” He headed to the door.

“Wait!”

He turned. Demi hated his flippant attitude. She’d been shocked when she asked him if he could kidnap a boy for her and he’d accepted. The thought had matured in her mind after she discovered Idem was now a politician, and a local government chairman in his state. He’d not even made any effort to contact her or find out about her daughter. Her anger and bitterness against Idem was unfathomable.

“How will I contact you? How will I know—you’re safe?”

He smirked again. “I’ll be fine. And I will contact you.” He cleared his throat. “You’re here for vacation, right? Enjoy it.”

With that, he left.

Demi couldn’t sleep despite the fatigue of the journey. The following morning, she paced and waited for him. When the suspense became too much, she called his number but it rang out. For the first time, she thought of going back. She’d thought he would take the child from school or something and bring him here. She’d thought she would be part of the operation. She’d written a ransom note, making it clear who she was, and Duru had torn it into pieces.

“I’m sure you don’t want this traced back to you.”

She’d protested. “But how will he know it is me. This is for revenge not for money.”

He’d written a note instead. “If you love me, find me. Find us.”

It was brilliant, and she’d accepted. She won’t ask for money, and she won’t get any. After a week, Duru will return the child unarmed and they would leave Uyo. Hopefully, Idem should have lost some weight by then, and his chubby nasty wife should be sick to death.

Demi decided not to get a refund for the room just so no one else would take it. She panicked through the day and by evening concluded the whole plan was a mistake.

All the mean thoughts crossed her mind. Maybe Duru would fail, and be caught, and lead police to her room. She called his number again but it rang through. Where was he? She’d eaten very little throughout the day, and slept fitfully.

At close to midnight, a hidden number called her.

“Order for yourself a bottle of champagne. I have the twin girls. They are barely a year old. They cry like the devil and your ex-beau has already started panicking. It’s working, madam. Goodnight, and sleep tight.” He paused. “Check the local TV.”

Demi gasped. “Duru! Duru!” She stared at her phone.

A bubbly purr vibrated from her stomach through her chest and she fell on her soft mattress giggling. Idem has a set of twins? Wow! What if Duru got the wrong family? Was he safe? Where would he have kept a set of twins who cry like the devil?

“How does the devil cry? How will he feed them? Duru? Oh my.”

Demi hugged her pillow and gave in to tears. Why was she crying? She slept off thinking about Idem’s betrayal.

The ringtone of Demi’s phone was new and she probably overslept. She searched blindly for a moment before she caught her phone and picked the call.

“Overslept?” Duru chuckled. “Too much champagne.”

Demi jerked to a sitting position. “Where are you?”

Cries of babies were heard in the background. “With the babies.”

Demi smiled. “I know. Where?”

“Did you watch TV?”

She let him off avoiding her question. “No. I—”

“Watch. It’s all over the news. With our ransom note.” He chuckled and hung up.

Demi switched on the TV and truly, the first channel had the face of the twins. They looked so adorable. What had Duru done? Demi stared at the picture of the twin girls. They were identical, and reminded her of Mimi at that age. Her anger was renewed and all guilt flew out the window. Yes, this was it.

The picture was replaced by a newscaster and Demi realized the volume was down. She lunged for the remote control. The lady on the screen read the note and pleaded with the criminals to free the twins, and contact their parents.

Chubby Mrs. Idem, who looked even chubbier than the last time she flung Demi out of her house came on screen, with her face tear-streaked. “We are willing to pay anything. Anything—”

Demi switched off the TV and ordered a heavy breakfast from room service. Her vacation just began.

MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – DONE

coco“He asked you to marry him? And what did you say?”

Lillian licked her lips. “What would I say?”

“Aha—”

His voice cracked and Lillian pressed a hand to her second ear. “I can’t hear you. Seems the line is breaking.”

“I said, aha wha—”

Lillian hissed and hung up. Iyke would never understand she accepted the proposal. Mr. Clarence had their lives in his hands. The man could do and undo. Since he proposed to her, he had changed her car to the new Mercedes C class 2011 model, moved her to an apartment in Ikoyi and spoiled the life out of her. Despite the fact that she was still pregnant for another man.

He’d told her plans to bring Iyke to Lagos didn’t work out anymore. It figures. If Mr. Clarence wanted to marry her with Iyke’s baby, bringing Iyke to Lagos will be a mess.

She felt ungrateful. When she met Iyke, she had only been sixteen years old, while he was eighteen. He fell for her on first sight. He had taken up her education though they both came from the low-income class. And through ten years of struggle, got her a university degree in business while he got one in computer studies.

Iyke deserved better but for how long will they both struggle? Mr. Clarence would give her a future Iyke couldn’t.

She had made a tough decision. But it was done.

 

 

 

PROVOCATION – LESSONS ABOUT REMORSE

52 ways cover stripIt was the most unexpected event in my life. One that not only pleased me but also humbled me. I had just come back from school, breastfed Adaora, and was preparing some food for myself when I heard a knock on the door. I was almost sure the visitor was Mmabong’s.

Very few people knew where I was living. After being thrown out by Emeka and rejected by my family and friends, with 6 months pregnancy, my last hope had been Mmabong. She was a member of the church and also my classmate. In fact, she was Pastor’s sister.

Mama had encouraged her sister-in-law to accommodate me in her one room accommodation, and somehow we had hit it off together. She was a neat, pretty lady with a quiet spirit. She never judged or condemned me for one day. I felt comfortable with her.

When I opened the door, I almost lost spirit. My father stood there. He was a tall, straight man but today, he looked worn and bent. I gasped, unable to do anymore.

“Your Pastor told us where to find you,” he said. “Can I come in?”

My father?!

“You can come in sir.” I stepped back and allowed him in.

He was such a rigid man. I couldn’t believe he’d come looking for me. I had planned to go and look for them when I had a place of my own; when I was comfortable and could make them proud again.

“I came to apologize for throwing you out, dear,” he said.

That was so much like him. He wasn’t a man that minced words. He had spoken his verdict just as plainly ‘if you’re pregnant, then I have no other option but to disown you. Leave my house at once’ he’d said.

“Daddy,” I gasped.

“Come here.” He held his hands out and I rushed into his arms, sobbing. “I’m so sorry. Your mother and I are,” he said crisply.

I could imagine mummy saying sorry but I’d never heard my father saying the word. It broke me down completely.

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“She’s in the car, come and see her,” he said. I nodded sniffing. “Where’s your baby? We heard she’s a girl. Bring her along,” he said. I did as he bade.

After they had gone, food forgotten, I played back the whole episode. They had made forgiving them so easy for me. I felt love all over again in my heart for them. They were strict but loving people.

Published as 52 Ways to Provoke God. Get your copy here

SATURDAY ROSE THORNS – 5 Business Tips for Ghostwriters

  1. p n y 8Identify what you know how to write, know your SWOT. SWOT is the acronym for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats.

 

  1. Remember you’re a ghost. You’re never seen. Your personal style and opinions may add value to the book you’re writing but shouldn’t be splattered all over your project.

 

  1. Don’t discuss this project on social media. Or on any public forum or platform. You don’t own the copyright. If the author is excited about his work, he can talk about it. Sorry, you can’t.

 

  1. Have a signed contract with clearly defined terms on your limits, deadlines and so on.

 

  1. Get paid. It’s your only reward.

FRIDAY CHOCOLATE TREAT: BRYAN

BryanBryan returns from a business trip to find his best friend’s relationship broken. And what does he do, he goes in search of his friend’s ex, Melisa, and makes an astounding proposal.

The character of Bryan portrays a rich, successful man who comes from a background of money, and has made a lot for himself too. Bryan is confident, good-looking, and very passionate.

In my True Dream novel, What’s Good for the Goose (one of my favourite True Dream novels, by the way), Bryan exhumes a vulnerability covered by his desire. He knows how to win a woman, and he knows how to treat a woman.

Bryan is every woman’s dream come true.

In a What’s Good for the Goose movie, who better to play Bryan than screen god, Majid Michel. Majid, like Bryan, is handsome and knows how to spin a woman. On-screen at least.

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Read What’s Good for the Goose, A True Dream novel by Sinmisola Ogúnyinka. Find the book online on amazon, smashwords, iBooks, and other leading online bookstores!

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PROVOCATION – LESSONS ABOUT ENDURANCE

52 ways cover stripI think one of the things that formed a bond between Emeka and I was the period of suffering we shared. Most people see Emeka as a ready made man. He definitely has what most ladies want – a steady job with an oil company, a beautiful car, a house of his own, an award winning physique and carriage. The only ‘buts’ in his life are Adaora and I – which many of his admirers are ready to overlook.

Emeka did not come into my life so enticing. I met him when he came to my state as a youth corper. A graduate of environmental science, he got a job as a primary school teacher in a run-down government school.

My mother was running an NGO that helped government schools at the time and I assisted her in supervising renovations jobs round selected schools. That was how Emeka and I met. His school was on our list. He was almost always broke, living in a city with near-to-nothing stipend. He could hardly feed as most of his allowances were spent on accommodation and transport.

My weekly pocket money was just a little less than Emeka’s monthly take home and I took it upon myself to be responsible for his welfare. I stopped spending money on myself and gave all to Emeka. He wasn’t my first lover but he was definitely the most thrilling.

Even after Kingsley I still cherish Emeka.  I was a believer and Emeka soon became my forbidden fruit. The church stood against the relationship, and so did my parents. I was in my first year in the University and I moved in with Emeka in his strait 2×2 room.

We had no bathroom. That meant we had to bath outside. The pit latrine attached to our room amongst four other rooms was so dirty and close to the bush that it was better to find an alternative way of ‘easing off’.

But I loved Emeka and I enjoyed being with him. My parents threatened to disown me if I didn’t come home. I didn’t. Instead I got pregnant for Emeka. The pregnancy did not come immediately. I was in my third year when I got pregnant. Emeka had finished the Youth Corps and was in search of a job.

Though the primary school gave him a temporary appointment, the salary was ridiculous. Emeka and I resorted to doing odd jobs. Weekly allowances from my parents had stopped so we had to depend solely on what we had.

When it got so tight, I dropped off school, took a year off and got a job as a hotel waitress. It was when I got back into school that I got pregnant. It was a terrible setback for me. A ray of hope was rudely dashed when Emeka got the job with the oil company suddenly and denied ever being responsible for the pregnancy.

He was afraid the company would think he was irresponsible for having a child out of wedlock so he cut me off completely. I ran back to my parents but they threw me out (I forgave them, anyway). I was a disgrace to them.

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I believe Emeka feels indebted to me for disowning me when I needed him most. Well, I made it. It wasn’t easy but the first thing I did was to retrace my steps back to God. Emeka would always remember that when he was nothing, I believed in him and stood by him. That he would always cherish. And owe me.

Published as 52 Ways to Provoke God. Get your copy here