THE EXCHANGE (Episode 16)
He had been knocking on the door but nobody heard him. He had gotten my mum’s message and had come to meet with her so they could discuss it.He was one of the family members that already knew Tunji and was taken aback by what he saw. It wasn’t long before he was brought up to speed and he looked at me, shook his head…then he pulled Tunji up. He said he had assumed I was getting married to Tunji after he got my mum’s message but notwithstanding; he was not in the position to influence whoever I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.My uncle started to talk to Tunji and somehow he listened…maybe because it was coming froman elderly man or because we could all see genuine empathy in the way my uncle talked.My uncle said a lot, he was trying to let Tunji seethat this was not the end of the world“
Tunji, that’s what we call a man…welcome to manhood” “T’Ǫlọrun bá ńse ire, à ló ńse ibi(Some things we see as evil just seem so, they are really ‘good’, in disguise)I want you to see this as God’s will and believe that He, in His sovereignty, has something better for you”“A s’òroó se bí ohun tíǪlọrun ò l’ọwọ sí(When the road gets too tough, it could be an indicationof God’s disapproval)” “Ojú tí ó b’áni k’alę, kìí tàárọ s’epin(an eye that’ll last a man till his old age should not be getting infected from infancy)”
“You are young, you are good looking, you are educated, you have a bright future ahead of you…don’t worry about it. Someday, you will look back at today and thank God that it happened. Don’t ever cry because a woman rejected you; get up, dust yourself and move on”After about an hour of listening to my uncle, Tunji got up, thanked him…thanked my mum andasked to take his leave. He looked at me and said he wished me the best…I still couldn’t say anything.My uncle and Brother Dipo saw him off and they must have spent another half hour outside. That was the last time I saw Tunji until yesterday, but I’ll get back to that.My uncle came back in and talked to me as well…he said nobody had the right to choose a husband for me and all they could do was pray that God would go with me and make the place comfortable for me. He asked some questions about Baba T and his family and I realized that I didn’t really know much except for the things Laide told me.
“Looks like you chose to marry a complete stranger over someone you know” He saidI told him that I did not really choose to marry Baba T but the pregnancy kinda tied my hands“Well, you chose him when you decided to do things that could get you pregnant. Not to worry, you really don’t know anyone until you have gotten married to them. I just pray that God will make the place your home” my uncle continued.He discussed with my mum for a while and scheduled another family meeting. He said he would reach out to all the people that should be at the scheduled meeting, where they would choose a date for Baba T’s parent to come for a formal introduction to the family.
After my uncle left, our family meeting continued…my mum blamed Brother Dipo for how things turned out. He refused to take the blame and stormed out of the house.I cried all night because of what I did to Tunji. I even prayed to God to forgive me…I just couldn’t get the picture of his reaction out of my head.Baba T came back the following day, it was a Sunday…he came with Bola and Laide (whose pregnancy was becoming obvious).Bola and Baba T discussed with my mum and 3 brothers (Brother Dipo did not even come out to greet our visitors) I was in the kitchen with Laideas she kept encouraging me to put my mind at rest…it wasn’t long before she got me back in a good mood. She told me not to worry and based on what she knew, I would be welltaken care of. She said her husband (Bola) told her some things he had heard from his parents and Baba T’s parents and I should rest assured that everything would be fine.When it was time for Bola and Laide to leave, Baba T said he would be staying in Abeokuta for the night as he wanted us to see the Doctor together the following day.
He had booked a hotel room before they came to our place. He asked my mum if I could go with him to the Hotel so we could talk.“Why not? Kò s’áwo kan l’áwo ęwà mọ(what’s the point of holding her back?)” my mum responded…so I went with him. I had lots of questions and it was as if we wanted to get to know each other after it was obvious we would be getting married. We talked about a lot of things and Baba T tried to answer my questions.In a nutshell, I would move to Lagos after the wedding and we would move to our own place. We would open the Salon and I would start that business and everything should be fine from there on…right?Let me forward the story a little bit…so we got married about 4 months later, it was beautiful, I’m not even sure the word beautiful does justiceto the event. It was more glamorous than what I had pictured…as a matter of fact; it was bigger and better than Laide’s wedding. She even told me I almost made her jealous.Baba T’s family took care of everything. It was a societal wedding, every girl’s dream wedding.
Baba T’s mum took me to Italy and Switzerland to shop for the wedding like she said the first time I met her…everything was perfect. Brother Dipo did not attend the wedding like he had threatened; not even my uncle could get him to come, so I decided to never talk to him again. My mum begged me not to do that but my mind was made up and I promised myself never to forgive him. Let me also add that my marriage ended my mum’s friendship with Aunty Betty. She felt like my mum betrayed her…I made sure Ididn’t see her until I moved to Lagos.After the wedding, the pampering was so much Icompletely forgot about Tunji. We also got a house as a wedding present, it was bought and renovated to our taste (Baba T’s dad said there wasn’t enough time to build a new one). It was inthe same area as Laide’s. We got cars as wedding presents too and Baba T gave the car he had bought for me to my mum.Baba T registered me in another Hospital in Lagos and would attend every appointment with me. He was so caring and supportive all throughthe pregnancy. We couldn’t travel for honeymoon but Baba T promised to ‘fix’ that as soon as I had the baby.The second trimester of my pregnancy was physically and emotionally hard. It was as if the baby did not want to stay, there was always a reason to go to the hospital. The doctor said I should have felt better after the first three months so he recommended that I didn’t do anything stressful.My Mother-in-law was very helpful…she would always come home to stay with me when Baba Twas at work. We had maids and helpers in the house but she would personally make my food and bring it to me and she would make sure I atethe food in her presence. I started to feel better right around the seventh month so my husband asked if we should go ahead and open the Salon. It had been sitting there for months…I didn’t see why not, so he put things in motion to get it ready.The Salon was opened on my birthday…I must have been like 7½ months pregnant then. It was an eventful ceremony with friends and family…it even made the evening news and I was so happy.The clientele in the first week alone was almost ten times what I did in a whole month back in Abeokuta. I had people working for me; I had access to all sorts of cars. I even had my own driver…life was good, right?When it was almost time to deliver the baby, Baba T sprung another surprise…I never knew he was planning for me to have the baby in the United Kingdom. He came home with flight tickets and said we would be travelling. His mum also came with us; she said she couldn’t miss the birth of her first grand kid. It was when we arrived that I got to know that Baba T’s familyhad a huge house in London.On our first night, I got to know that house was where Baba T lived while schooling in the UK…he told me stories of his escapades and some of the things that happened in that house. It looked like he felt he was saying too much because all of a sudden, he just changed the topic and started talking about something else.I got to know some new things about him that day because he delved into his past with the lady he almost married and said something about “getting arrested” and “blood everywhere” but that was when he stopped. I was a little scared and it was as if he read my mind“Don’t worry sweetheart, that’s all in the past…” he saidI had the baby about 10 days after we got to the UK, my water broke in the middle of the night and Baba T drove me to the hospital, his mum came with us.It was a baby boy and Baba T was ecstatic, he kept jumping up and down and couldn’t hide his joy. My mother-in-law was just kissing me and the baby repeatedly. Baba T said he had to make some calls and get some things at the home… hepromised to be back shortly I did not see Baba T for 3 days..
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