THE EXCHANGE (Episode 12)
I kept quiet and smiled… I was too happy and dazzled to say anything. We were there for a while as Baba T shared his ideas on how the Salon would work. There was also a part of the store that would sell beauty and hair products. He said he already talked to a friend of his in the UK that would be helping to ship the products. The area set up for manicure and pedicure was bigger than my entire salon back home…the comfortable seats would make anyone sleep off during a pedicure session.
“ I want people to step in here and never bother to try another place for their haircare needs again. I want this to be a one-stop shop for everything haircare and beauty product. I want to help you build a beauty empire not just a business. I want your name to be synonymous with beauty. I have
done the analysis and from my estimate, considering the location and all the services you
would offer, this place should pay for itself in 2 years ” Baba T said. The confidence with which he spoke and the ideas he shared, his business acumen and the excellence he exuded…all these things, endeared me to him. I was amazed at this side of him; he sounded like a man with “THE plan”, like someone that knew where he was going and how he intended to get there. “This must be what I saw in him as being proud, this isn’t pride? This is confidence” I thought to myself. I had to ask him if he had ever invested in anything like this because he sounded like a pro and he responded that “ Business is business, it is all about providing services and cashing in…it doesn’t really matter what your products or services are” Baba T later took us to a restaurant somewhere close and spoiled us silly…he said he was ‘washing’ the project. It was at the restaurant that he said he wanted me to meet his mum (again)…I was kind of reluctant because I didn’t know what we would call our relationship. “ Don’t worry, I’ll tell her you are my ‘very good friend’…you should know that she really likes you and she practically begged me to bring you ” Baba
T responded, it was as if he was reading my mind. Laide opted out of our arrangement…she said she had to go make dinner for her husband. We drove back to their house and dropped her off…She Hugged me, as she was about to walk through their gate and whispered in my ear “ I’m so happy for you…you have no idea how happy I am ”. Baba T told her he would come drop me off later in the evening but it might be a little late because his
mum would most likely not let me leave anytime soon.
We got to Baba T’s house…I found out that day that he lived with his parents; although he had his own apartment within the same compound. “My parents are a little overprotective. After my UK issue, my dad never wanted me out of his sight. So they made me stay with them ” he quickly informed me. He also told me that marriage would be his freedom from that ‘bondage’
as that would be his dad’s only acceptable/valid reason for moving out of the house.
When I stepped into the sitting room, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes…I’m not exaggerating, but I never knew there was a sitting room that beautiful in Nigeria. It was like a page in one of those luxury furniture magazines from outside the country. There was a huge picture of Baba T’s dad with the current Head of State hanging on the wall.There was a staircase in the sitting room that led upstairs. The floors were sparkling clean and shining like someone polished them. Baba T told me to make myself at home and took the stairs to inform his mum that I was around. There must have been like three domestic staff that came to ask if I was okay and if I wanted anything within a period of like fivefive minutes.
Baba T’s mum called me from upstairs “ my dear, máa bọ ” meaning come upstairs. I was scared-stiff as Baba T came to take me upstairs but she was so nice to me, she kept using endearing words and phrases for me. She said she was really happy to see me and that she had ‘accepted’ me whole heartedly. I looked at Baba T, who made a gesture that I should just go with the flow. Her room was like an apartment on its own…she told me to come sit by her on the bed. She was bringing out clothes and jewelries for me to try on. She told Baba T to leave us and go find something else to do. From the things she was saying, it was as if she already saw me as her son’s wife. ” I’m sure you know that Babatunde is our only son…the wedding will be one in town. I will go all out to make that day memorable. Lagos will know that someone is getting married. Don’t worry my dear; I will so take care of you. In this our house, you will give us twins, triplets and many more ”. She was just saying all these things and I had to just laugh along…although puzzled and very confused. She said she would take me to Italy to go buy the lace material for the engagement party “ Shèbí you have your passport? ” (Do you have an international passport?) she asked me. I said I didn’t. “ Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that when the time comes ” she responded She called on the chef and told him to make Pounded yam and egusi soup. She told him I was an august visitor. “ Ìyàwó Túndé nì yí o” (This is Tunde’s wife) she said, as she pointed at me. chef bowed and greeted me…I didn’t even know how to respond.
Baba T came to check on me about two hours later, was I glad to see him. I was almost getting suffocated with affection and gifts. I had tried on like 40 pairs of shoes after we realized that we (his mum and I) had the same shoe size. Baba T said he would be taking me to Laide’s place soon, as it was getting late. “ No o, she is not going anywhere o. She is sleeping here tonight. I will call Laide and tell her myself. If she doesn’t want to stay in your apartment she can sleep here in my room. Or you don’t want to spend the night in our house? ” Baba T’s mum said as she looked at me
“ It’s okay ma ” I responded
“ Ǫmǫ dáa dáa (Good girl) ilé ni’lé ę o (do feel at home)” she said with a satisfied look on her face. Baba T’s dad arrived before dinner was served and
he was such a gentleman. He reminded me so much of my father. He was also funny and made dinner delightful. He asked me a couple of questions and when we got to my educational background, Baba T jumped in and said I had an OND (ordinary National Diploma)in Accounting from the Polytechnic of Ibadan but I was running my own business. “That’s interesting. I support entrepreneurship… because businesses create wealth. So I always admire anyone that can take that bold step to start their own thing ” Baba T’s dad added.
He later said he had to turn in early as he was traveling the following morning. He said in case he didn’t see me before he left, he would ‘send’ his wife to me.
After Baba T’s parents went upstairs, we moved to his apartment and the first question I had for him was why he had to lie that I attended the Polytechnic of Ibadan. He responded that he knew his dad and he didn’t want any form of prejudice to mess up what he was trying to build. I wasn’t very satisfied with the answer…he told me not to worry about it and all I needed do was let my success speak for me. I also asked why his mum was already planning a wedding when we were not even dating… ” Well, that’s not my fault…she’s just trying to show you how much she wants you to be her daughter-in-law. But really, would that be a bad thing? I mean being married to you. I will be so happy if you can do that for me ” Baba T responded. I figured the best thing to do at that point was keep quiet so I let it be. Baba T asked if I was ready to sleep or if I wanted to watch a movie with him. We already agreed that I would be sleeping in his room and he would sleep in another room as there were three rooms in his apartment. I decided to go to bed, so I went in the room…it had a master bath. I took a shower and put on one of Baba T’s T-shirts that he left on the bed for me…I was just about to lie on the bed when I heard a knock on the door. It was Baba T; he wanted to know if I wanted some ‘Suya’ (Spicy grilled meat). I could perceive the aroma and I stepped out to have some. The movie was already playing, it was a romantic comedy…there was also a bottle of wine on the table. Baba T asked if I wanted some, but I had never had alcohol in my life. He said it was sweet and that I should just take a little, if I wanted to. He poured me some and we started to watch the movie together. He came and sat next to me and we started talking. He started to say nice things about me and how much he liked me. It was as if he knew the things I wanted to hear and he was saying them, verbatim. For whatever reasons, I liked what I was hearing, I liked it a lot. I just kept blushing and giggling as he said those things. It must have been the mix of joy and happiness from visiting the salon, a little bit of lowered inhibition from the wine I had, the sweet words from Baba T and the sensuality of the movie we were watching…one thing led to the other and we….
Oooooooo….. Noooooooo… What happened next? I guess she was careless.
Looking for Episode 1? CLICK HERE
Looking for Episode 13? CLICK HERE