The Man I Married
Today, I feel so happy. Extremely happy. Absolutely Ecstatic………..
I met him today. I really feel he is the one. How can some people say love at first sight does not exist. This has got to be real. I would definitely remember today 20 years from now. I am definitely never loosing this diary. He is just exactly my kind of man. Tall, a little chubby in the right places, dark with lips to die for, the eyebrows were killing and those eyes??? OMG… My knees are weak just thinking about him. His smile when he said hello was killing and I was absolutely glued to my seat. I am pretty sure I looked stupid and for somebody so put together, that is a first. Concentrating on the sermon was almost impossible after that. I really feel like praying for the usher that directed me to that sit. I really wish I could have gotten his number but I just did not have that kind of boldness yet. My prayer throughout the service was for him to get my contact but alas, my prayer was unanswered. Just imagine! I don’t even know his name. I lay on my bed tonight and say a silent prayer to God to bring him to me again. I definitely need to marry that man.
That was the entry in my diary about 6 months ago when I first met Abbey. I just had to go check it again and it is funny that my feelings for him haven’t changed. I have seen him in church often since then and I always stare hopelessly at him but he finally walked up to me yesterday after service and introduced himself. His name is Abbey and he said he would like to know me better and be friends. We exchanged numbers and BB pins. He started chatting me about an hour later and has already called me 4 times since then. He seems to want to know everything about me. I already know his name is Abiodun Williams. He is from Lagos State. Born and bred in Port Harcourt where his parents currently reside. He is an entrepreneur, started his own HR consulting firm 3 years ago and is currently doing well. He consults for some big companies already. I am really impressed with all I am hearing about him. Trust me, I want a man that is focused and put together. He has asked to pick me from work on Friday so we can hang out but I told him to come pick me from home instead because I will have to go park my car before hopping into his.
I have told him some things about myself too but just the cool parts that measure up to his. I told him my name and what I do, I decided to be coded with him about the rest. The less he knows for now, the better the suspense. Okay, I know you need details since you all do not know me too: My name is Tamilore Ajayi. Everybody calls me Tammy. I am a professional make up artist. People ask me if I don’t get bored during the week but really I love my life the way it is. I am quite good at making people look beautiful. Makeup definitely pays my bills. I have been in the business for 5 years now. I started right out of University back in 2007. Today, I have my own makeup school, studio and I get enough students. It was not easy starting but now I am definitely one of the foremost in the industry. Every wedding blogger in Nigeria features my work and I am indeed blessed. Enough about me already. Friday is definitely loading………
THE MAN I MARRIED 2
I tried on 5 different outfits before I finally settled on a simple but nice short dress. I think it makes me look homely but sexy at the same time, it could just be my thought though. I decided to go with very nude make up, which always does justice to my face. Abbey already called that he was on his way so I was expecting him to knock at any moment. I had no idea where we were going but I knew it will definitely be on point. Abbey just has that look of the guy that knows how to treat a woman and my full crush on him is still as hot as the first time I saw him. We have chatted almost every minute during the past week and I feel like I know him already. Can he just knock already? So I can appear from the room like in the movies? My phone rang and he really bust my bubble when he said I should come outside because he didn’t see the need to drive in. Gosh! That is definitely the first annoying thing of the night.
We arrived at “the restaurant” and I was seriously wowed. I really thought I knew all the cool places in Abuja but this place was definitely coded, hidden somewhere on Gana Street in Maitama. I wasn’t even pissed anymore because we gisted all the way. We were practically talking like we had been best friends forever when this was really our second face to face conversation together. As per my usual habit, I left him to order. Trust me, I learnt that lesson a long time ago, I never order the meals since I never know the guy’s budget. And next I knew, Abbey asked the main question which was, “ Is there any man I should be scared of?” I laughed it off and said, yea be scared of my dad and my two brothers. That is definitely a good sign. He then held my hands and said, Tammy I know you will think it’s too early but I really like you so much already and it has just been a week. In my mind, I said if only you knew I was in love with you already. I really feel I am too matured to start hiding my feelings so I said I really like him too but will definitely want to know him better before committing to anything. He said that was good enough for him and we enjoyed the rest of the night.
Abbey and I started seeing each other like every other day after that. I kept reminding him we were not dating yet and we were still exploring friendship but that was definitely not holding him back. He would bring me lunch in my office and sometimes take me out. We had our first kiss about a month after that date in my apartment. It felt like I had never been kissed before. I fell in love with him all over again. I was so happy he didn’t try to take it beyond a kiss because the way I felt, I would probably have lost the resolve to say No. This was my first big temptation since 5 years ago that I got closer to God and decided never to sleep with any guy till my wedding night. Three months later, I was already considering making my relationship with Abbey formal when I got the most unexpected call from Toba. That was definitely one call I was not expecting. I had not seen or spoken to Toba in 7 years. Okay, let me tell you a little about Toba… Toba used to be the love of my life. In fact, he is only guy I have ever slept with….
THE MAN I MARRIED 3
I met Toba just before I got admission into the University. We loved each other so much and we knew we wanted to get married someday. Fortunately, we got admission into the same University and we decided to keep our relationship pure and not have sex till our wedding night. We dated for three years but by the end of our 200 level, Toba’s parents decided to send him to London to continue his education. It was heartbreaking for both of us. Toba begged and begged but his parents were adamant and had already paid his school fees. The day before he was to leave, he came to see me in school and I told him to take my virginity. I was so in love, I told him it was his parting gift. Toba left and I didn’t even have a phone at the time. It was still expensive. Two months after he left, I realized I had missed my period twice. That was when it fully dawned on me that I was pregnant. I could not believe it. We did not take any precautions. I knew telling my parents was tantamount to death so I confided in my best friend, Oyin. We decided having an abortion was the solution and I did that with Oyin holding my hands throughout the process. I never heard from Toba again. He seemed to have vanished into thin air. I tried finding him on Facebook and twitter but it was futile. Initially, I was angry with him for so many years, then anger turned to disappointment and then I just felt neutral. Later I realized there was no point being angry with him, it was just bad timing for us. From that time, I never had sex with any man again. I just could not dare try it.
Toba’s call took me by surprise. I had to ask again which Toba was speaking and he just laughed. He said he got back to Nigeria a year ago and had been trying to look for me. He finally just bumped into Oyin at Shoprite and got my number. He dialed my number immediately. He said he’ll call me again when he gets home. That call left me dumbfounded. I just did not know what to think. Why did he say he had been looking for me? How come he never forgot me? This was such a bad timing because until 10minutes ago, I was so sure I was in love with Abbey. God, I thought of Abbey, the man that has captivated my heart since the first time I saw him. I have never told him about Toba, despite the fact that I had told him about everything else. We had spoken about past relationships but Toba was the most important part and I left it out for reasons I could not decipher. I wondered why I was bothering myself anyway. Toba was probably looking for me like he was looking for other friends from his past. He was most likely married with kids and living a happy life and I would most likely marry Abbey, who was right now the man of my dreams. I was sure that would be the case so I put my mind to rest.
Later that day, Oyin called and gave me the gist of how she bumped into Toba and could not just believe her eyes. She gave me a full gist of how absolutely perfect he was looking. I was not surprised because Oyin usually had the tendency to exaggerate descriptions. I asked if she felt he was married or if he had a wedding band and she started teasing me to remember my love for Abbey before the appearance of Toba . She said she was sure he was not wearing a wedding ring and I just brushed it aside, after all there were many men these days that could not stand wearing a ring. Abbey came to visit me that evening and I started to contemplate whether to tell him about Toba or not. I knew in my mind not telling him was going to be a set up. I looked into Abbey’s eyes that night and knew I just could not let this guy go. I loved him sincerely. That night, we kissed and kissed and I told him I have finally decided to make our relationship formal. Just as he was about to leave, he commented that he had never seen me so mushy and that he was sure there was something on my mind. I thought about it again and decided that if I did not give Abbey all now, I just might never do so. I sat him down and told him all about Toba, every single detail. I made sure I left nothing out. Then I finished by telling him about the call I got earlier.
He sat down quietly for a long time and asked why I never mentioned this and I told him I was not sure I loved him enough to bear my soul to him yet. He then said, will you still be very sure of your feelings for me if he comes back to you? I said yes. I felt like I had to hold on to Abbey for dear life. He would make a perfect husband and I really did love him. I told him Toba was my past and I wanted him and only him in my life henceforth. He told me to tell Toba that if he calls again and to keep him informed if anything happened. It was all sweet and mushy after then as Abbey kept telling me how much he loved me and did not want to loose me. Two weeks later, I broke my promise to Abbey…
THE MAN I MARRIED 4
I was so happy about my relationship with Abbey and I just loved the direction it was headed. I had to travel for a job that weekend in Kaduna which was a three day event. It was one of those expensive Hausa weddings and trust me they paid me a whole lot for the events. Abbey came to see me before going to work on Friday morning just to give me a hug for my trip and he just did not want to let me go for a whole weekend since we see each other practically every day now. I was supposed to meet the bride’s cousin who was driving me to Kaduna with him at Drumstix in Wuse 2 at around 12 noon so I left the house that afternoon already late but looking forward to being back and spending time with my baby. I arrived the eatery around 12:30p.m. The so called cousin had been texting me to say he was waiting and I was already getting pissed. I entered and called the number that had texted me and heard it ring just few steps away from where I was looking round. I could not believe my eyes. Toba in flesh and blood had been the one texting to see if I had arrived. He was the so called cousin.
I stood transfixed at that same spot for what seemed like an eternity. I really did not know how to react. I could not smile nor scream nor shout. I just stood there staring at the handsome guy walking right up to me. The smile on his face was as heart melting as I had always known it to be. He stopped right in front of me and said, “babe, won’t you give me a hug? Is that how you say hello to your first love?” He took me in his arms and gave me a hug that lasted forever. I just had to hug him back. Thoughts started flying through my head faster than I could sort them out. He helped me with my box and led me out to the car. I did not even know what to say. I had to ask the obvious again, “Toba, are you the cousin taking me to Kaduna?” He answered me with a wink and I felt like slapping the smirk off his face. “Just imagine how interesting this trip will be”, he said.
We sat silently for what seemed like an eternity while he tried to get us out of town. I just kept thinking and going round in my head how this could have happened. The sound of my phone broke into my thoughts and I was immediately alarmed when I saw it was Abbey calling. I was already feeling guilty even though I was not doing anything wrong. I picked the phone and started talking to him so self-consciously. He asked if I had been picked up and I said yes, the cousin picked me up. I decided without even thinking about it that telling him it was Toba was not a good idea. He would probably tell me to get down from the car and if possible return the money for the job. I am too professional to let my personal issues interfere with my work. I told him I was fine and that I’ll call him from Kaduna soon enough. He said he was missing me already and I just felt so weird saying that in front of Toba that I just laughed it off and rounded off the call. I really did not see the sense in this feeling as if I was cheating on Toba.
Toba broke into my thoughts and said, is that your boyfriend? I immediately grew defensive. How is that your business? I said. Let us just get this straight, We knew each other a very long time ago and now you don’t know me and you’re not my friend so please. Toba looked at me and the next thing I knew, he burst out laughing. He said it was nice and refreshing to see that I had not stopped speaking my mind. Then he said he wanted us to talk about what happened and all that had happened since we last saw. I told him I did not see the need but then he started reminding me of how close we were even before we started dating and even if I did not want to rekindle our love, we could just mend old fences. He said he felt bad we lost contact but then I always knew he was not into social media and I did not have a phone at that time. He asked me what happened to make me so bitter after the last amazing night we had before he left and I could not help the tears. I told him about the baby, the abortion, my efforts to contact him and all. Toba immediately parked by the side of the road and started begging me.
I could see the torture in his eyes as I told him of my experience and it just reminded me of the Toba I used to know. The Toba that loved me so sincerely and I could not see anything to indicate he had changed. I could feel it coming before it even happened. The kiss was a reminder of all we used to have and a promise of what we could still have. I was lost in it for a moment before I hurriedly jerked back. He smiled at me and started driving again. Toba kept begging and begging me. He kept telling me how sorry he was for making me go through all that. After we got over all that, we started gisting like old friends. He told me he decided to come back home last year and got a job working with one of the top banks in Nigeria. We spoke about my job and about the upcoming wedding. By the time we arrived Kaduna, we had practically spoken about everything that happened during the last few years. Just as we drove into the hotel compound and parked, Toba asked me, ” babe I know you probably have a boyfriend now, I don’t have any and I feel God was keeping me for you somehow, do you still think we have a chance?” I sat there looking at him and I really did not know what to say. If he had asked me that question that morning, I would have given a definite no. Right now, I was torn and I really did not know what to say.
THE MAN I MARRIED 5
I left Toba outside there without answering his question. I just could not bring myself to betray Abbey that way. I was already running late so I went in straight to start the job.
“The least I can do is to help you with your box Tammy, it hurts to see you look at me this way”, he said just as I was walking away but I just could not spend another moment with him.
I went straight up and lost myself in my job. Making brides look beautiful is my passion so it didn’t take much effort to forget all about the men in my life for a few hours.
By the time I finally crashed in my bed that night, I was so exhausted. Abbey called and it was such a relief to hear his voice.
“I miss you so much baby, it feels like I haven’t seen you in a month”.
“You still saw me this morning love”, I laughed heartily.
“So tell me about all the eligible bachelors already checking my baby out at that wedding”.
My heart pounded at that statement. Telling him about Toba would have been the normal thing to do but I just could not stand any fight over the phone so I decided I’ll just wait till I get to Abuja to tell him about it. We spoke at length after that and he started asking my opinion about some office related issues. Next thing I knew, there was a call waiting on my phone. I quickly glanced at the phone screen and saw that it was Toba. Seriously, at this time? I was praying Abbey would not notice but he definitely did.
“Who is disturbing my baby at this time of the night” was the next thing he said.
I told him it was the wedding planner probably calling to discuss the logistics for the next day. I could not believe I had lied so effortlessly.
After he finally hung up, I thought of calling Toba to set him straight but then I just did not have the strength to fight so I decided to let it go. By the time I woke up the next morning, he had sent me this text,
” I tried calling you yesterday night just to be sure you were okay. I am not going to just give up on us Tammy, you promised me forever 10 years ago. I am going to see that you spend that forever with me. I will keep loving you till you have no choice. Tell that boyfriend of yours, I am back to claim my woman. Still loving you always- Toba”.
That text left me confused. I just decided I had to stay as far away from Toba as possible if I did not want to mess up what I had with Abbey. That decision did not stop me from reading that text over and over all day long. I just could not stop thinking of the time I really promised Toba I’ll love him forever. I was so young. It felt like there will never be anyone else. Today, I really wished those years ago did not happen because Abbey was just so perfect for me. I just could not help this lingering feeling I was having that this was going to end badly.
I avoided Toba like a plague throughout the weekend. I did not pick his calls and I went the other way every time I saw him. When it was finally time to go back to Abuja on Sunday, I decided going with Toba will be a bad idea so I quickly tagged along with some of the bride’s friends going back to Abuja that day. I called Abbey as soon as I entered Abuja and I was not surprised to see him parked outside my house waiting for me.
I got down from the cab I took home from where I had made the ladies drop me and was trying not to show my excitement at seeing Abbey waiting. He did not even give me a chance. He walked right up to me and carried me in his arms, swinging me around.
“God, I missed you so much. The next time you have a wedding out of town, I am definitely going with you”
“Very funny, In fact, you don’t even have to go with me, you can just go do the job for me”.
I was still laughing at the sad face he was giving me for making a mockery of his emotions as he called it. I loved this man so much and I faced him and told him exactly that just as we got into my apartment.
” I love you so much babe and I really missed you too”
“Are you sure you missed me? or you’re just telling me that to make me excited”
“Of course not, why would I want to make you excited? After all, making you squirm is my life’s assignment”.
“Yea, I knew that profession of love was too good to be true”
I smacked him right on the butt and he carried me and turned me round in circles. It seems having a man who is over 6 feet tall makes it easy for you to be swept off your feet. He had already brought some food with him which we ate while he asked me to tell him all about my weekend.
” I am sure I already told you all about my weekend during our nightly conversations Abbey and you already have all the pictures too”.
Saved by the doorbell, Abbey went to open the door for Oyin, who really was my saviour for that moment. We gisted till Abbey had to go. As soon as he left I turned to Oyin,
“Babe, I am in trouble. I saw Toba throughout the weekend and he wants us to get back together”.
I then told Oyin all about the weekend without leaving any details out. When I was finished, Oyin gave a deep sigh,
“Tammy, this na serious yawa, what do you want to do? Have you told Abbey?”
“No, I have not babe, I really am confused. What do you think I should do? You know me with both guys”.
“Yea I know you with both guys babe, but this is not a decision I can make for you. You have to decide who you love and who you can spend the rest of your life with. Are you falling in love with Toba again?because if you’re not, this would not be an issue”.
“I don’t know Oyin, I remember how Toba and I were years ago. It was so perfect but then it has been ages. I also keep loving Abbey by the day and he is so great”.
We sat there quietly for a while and then Oyin simply told me that if she was in my shoes, she might just stick with what she had now instead of delving into the past. It made perfect sense to follow that advice and I made up my mind to do so. We were still talking when Toba called,
“Toba, I am not your sweetie, I am in love with somebody else”
“Seriously Tammy, you saw my text the other day, I am not going to give up on us”.
We went back and forth about that and before I knew it, we were making jokes about each other.
“Okay Tammy, one date is all I ask for. One date to be friends. To talk about the last few years. I deserve that at least for old times sake”.
My head told me to tell him he deserved nothing and I owed him nothing but my mouth already said yes before I could stop it.
“I’ll pick you up tomorrow at 7 pm. Wear something sexy”.
I heard myself laughing stupidly at that and I could not believe how gullible I was acting for Toba. Oyin looked at me after I dropped the call and said, “seriously?”
“Well, let us see what tomorrow brings Oyin, I owe him at least one date just to be sure there is nothing else there. I am sure he will be out of my system after this one date”.
“For your sake, I really pray that happens”.
THE MAN I MARRIED 6
By 5 pm that evening, It was as if God was out to punish me for deciding to go on a date with Toba. I was so exhausted and frustrated that I started thinking of calling him to cancel. I was expecting delivery of some new makeup products which never came even though I waited all day for it. Then I got this nasty text from Abbey when I did not pick his calls because frankly, I did not know how to tell him I was not seeing him tonight because I had a date. I preferred to ignore the call and not have to explain. On my way home, my car was scratched by one annoying driver and by the time I finally got home, I was definitely in a sour mood. Toba’s call came in just in the nick of time.
“Hi babe, missing me already?”
“Seriously Toba, first I am not your babe and second, missing you is the last thing on my mind. I am even thinking of just staying home”.
“You know I won’t let you off so easy babe, plus I am the perfect solution for relaxing after a stressful day, you know I am still as much fun as I have always been”.
“Well, I can’t argue that hanging out with you used to be fun. Anyway, let me go get ready so I don’t keep you waiting when you come”.
As soon as I dropped the call, Oyin called and we gisted for the next 15 minutes. She kept teasing me about my date and how I was setting myself up but I was already looking forward to having fun anyway so I just told her I was going to have a good time. I got into the bathroom at 6 pm and by 6:50 pm, I was fully dressed. The knock came at that time and I was quite surprised that Toba was still as time conscious as he was all those years ago. He had always been a stickler for time. I had sent him my address earlier in the day and I did not even expect him to get it quite so easily. I opened the door for him and he was standing right there smiling so brightly and looking so dapper. I could not help the nostalgic feeling that swept over me at that moment.
His words brought me back to reality, “are you done checking me out, love”
“Toba you need to stop using all these endearments with me. I have a boyfriend and that will not get you anywhere”.
“Okay, for the sake of not pissing you off the whole night, I’ll call you Tammy or better still my Tammy”. We laughed together at that.
We got into his car and I asked where we were headed.
“I want us to have a quiet night so we can really talk so just go with the flow. Will you my Tammy?”
I could not resist those pleading eyes so I said okay. I kept wondering where we were headed even as we drove into the apartment building in Maitama. The building was quite impressive, it was a nice obviously fully serviced apartment. I kept quiet all the way up, it was already very obvious he brought me to his house. I was trying seriously to act composed and quieten the different alarm bells sounding in my head. I looked around as soon as we got in and it was simply classy. The apartment was so like him. He went to the kitchen and got us drinks. We sat down on the big sofa together and we were so quiet for a long time. I kept looking at him and at that moment I could not deny that my feelings for Toba were not dead. There were still as alive as ever. That burning sensation I was feeling could only be love. I started comparing my feelings for both men. With Abbey, it was a peaceful kind of love. Abbey made me feel secure but Toba made me feel excited.
I can’t really place when I even started kissing him but I felt him draw back and break the kiss.
“Tammy, you can’t deny what we feel for each other and we have to talk about it”.
“What do you want from me?”
“I want you to marry me. I want you to be the mother of my kids. I have loved you for as long as I can remember and I have waited 10 years to have you back in my life. I believe God brought you back in my life and I am not going to loose this chance. Marry me Tamilore”.
I looked at Toba with my eyes wide. I was expecting him to say we should give this another chance. I was expecting him to say he still loved me and all but I was definitely not expecting a marriage proposal. I never even thought a day will come that I would have to think twice about marrying Toba. For christ sake, he is and has always been the love of my life. I love Abbey too but he has not proposed after all.
“Okay, let me think about it, Toba. Give me time”
“How much time?
“Tammy, I cannot wait two weeks while you determine my fate and continue dating another guy. Two days”.
“Seriously Toba, Two days?”
“I have waited 10 years already. Two days babe”.
I knew my mind was made up already. I just needed the two days to break up with Abbey which I was dreading already. After getting all that out of the way, the night became easier. Toba has ordered some Chinese food and we ate and gisted like besties. The time seemed to fly past as there was so much catching up to do. After dinner, we started playing scrabble. I have always been good at playing and it used to be so much fun beating Toba in those days but now he had gotten so much better and he beat me by just two points. By the time I checked the clock, it was already 11 pm and I told Toba I had to leave. He did not argue. He was acting like he was really giving me the two days space. When we got to my house, he refused my offer to come in and drove straight off.
I walked into my sitting room and stopped dead in my tracks. I forgot that I had given Abbey my key the last time we saw and he was sitting there waiting for me. I had never seen him look so angry and yet so calm.
“Tammy, I am glad you are okay. I was worried when you did not pick my calls all day or bother to reply my messages”.
“I am fine, I was busy”.
“Oh yea I can see how busy you were”.
“Meaning what Abbey?”
“Meaning who was that Tammy? Was that the Toba you told me about that just dropped you off at almost midnight?”
“Yes, that was Toba”.
“You are such a pretentious slut”.
“Don’t you even dare think you can insult me in my own house Abbey. How dare you call me a slut? Get the hell out of my house and don’t ever come back”.
“Just like that, is this really about this fight because I can just see now that deception comes so easily to you. I guess I never had a chance after all. I cannot believe I almost made the mistake of asking you to marry me”.
He walked out without saying another word and I sank into the sofa and could not stop the tears. I felt so sad for breaking up with Abbey this way. He was so perfect for me until Toba showed up. I cried and cried and cried till I fell asleep.
THE MAN I MARRIED 7
I woke up the next morning with a terrible head ache. Everything came back to me. Did I really just switch from one man to the other? I remembered again when I fell in love with Abbey but then the truth is nothing can compete with my love for Toba so it is time I close that chapter of my life. I was half expecting Toba’s call that morning and I was a little disappointed he did not try to reach me but I had lessons to teach in the studio anyway so I went to work. The more I thought about being with Toba, the more I got excited and it helped reduce the pain I felt for loosing Abbey.
At about 2 pm, Abbey walked into the studio. I was really hoping to avoid any further confrontation so I just tried to smile like he did not just call me a slut the night before. I took a break from my class and we sat in my office. He sat on my table right in front of me and asked,
“Babe, what is wrong? What is happening to us?”
I really did not have any answer. How do I tell my boyfriend I am in love with somebody else.. I remember my aunt once told me that love was a decision. She said I had to just find the right man and make a decision to love him forever. With Toba, it feels like that decision was made for me. He just stole my heart years ago.
“I am sorry Abbey, I really do love you but I love him more. You never stood a chance the moment he walked into my life”.
He looked at me with eyes that were so pitiful. He stood up and said nothing and just walked out of my life. I continued my class in the hope that I had made a right choice. By evening, I was getting antsy. Toba had still not called since the previous day to even know of my decision. I needed him to make it worth it at this time so I called him. Twice it rang and he did not pick. I just really hope I have not made a mistake.
I slept quite early that night, quite worried for my future. At about 12 midnight, I was totally confused when I heard a knock on my door. I tried going back to sleep but the knock was quite persistent. I reluctantly stood up and put on my dressing gown just to check. Oyin is the only person that knocks my door at any time of the day or night. I still peeped through the window to check and I saw the lights from my window. My balcony was lit up with lights. The message was so sweet and vivid and clear. I could see that it was Toba standing there but it was quite dark. His silhouette was unmistakable though. I opened that door and could just not believe it. This was the sweetest and most romantic ever. All my doubts flew away. He went down on one knee and I can never forget the words he said:
“Tamilore Ajayi, let me love you, if not for the rest of your life, then for the rest of mine. Marry me, baby”.
I can’t remember when I said yes or everything else he said after then but he loved me and I could see that in his eyes. I was in his arms and we were hugging endlessly. We stood there forever and I still could not get over the ring. The most perfect ring ever. Stones, diamonds, and the works. It was all kisses and hugs after then. We sat outside right there and laughed and gisted till morning. We started talking about future plans. We agreed that 2 kids was just perfect. We even argued back and forth on possible names. It was the most perfect night ever. We agreed we wanted a small and intimate wedding and we needed to start making plans to see the parents. Toba’s flat for now was decent enough so getting an apartment would be the least of our worries. Of course I told him I had to add some feminine touches. The future was ahead of us and the happiness we could see was priceless. He asked about Abbey and I told him it was over. The smile on his face when he said he told me I was his was so sweet.
We met his parents the following weekend in Lagos and it was fun all the way. They remembered me from way back so it was kind of a reunion. The only damper on our plans came when we went to Ibadan to see my parents…
THE MAN I MARRIED 8
My mom called me into the bedroom few minutes after we got to the house. My dad and Toba were already talking about the Nigerian economy and politics and I could see my dad was quite impressed. I couldn’t help but notice mum’s forced smile and questioning eyes. As soon as we entered the room, she turned on me.
“So Tamilore, you have started changing men like you change bags abi. Is that the new rubbish you have started? When did you just ask me to speak to one Abbey man on the phone? Was that not two months ago? That he was saying he will meet me soon? Where did Toba suddenly crawl out from? Or you think I don’t remember him from before you entered University when you were both fooling around?
“Mum, please you need to trust me. I am making the right decision for my future. Toba is the right person for me”.
“Give me one good reason why you were not dating two months ago and suddenly you are introducing him to your father”.
“Mummy, I love him and I have known him since forever”.
“You have known him is different from you used to know him, my dear. I am saying my own oooooo madam. I will not run up and down over any child’s marital problem”.
“Mum don’t worry, Toba is the one. He has always been. Abbey is gone now and I am ready to marry Toba”.
“Okay, I have said my bit. I would not move an inch from my husband’s house. You know me very well”.
The whole conversation with my mum really made me uncomfortable but by the time she spent the whole day with Toba, she was already loosening up. We spent the whole weekend in Ibadan and Toba came to our house every day from the hotel room he stayed. My parents would never have allowed me stay with him in the hotel. Before we left Ibadan, we started talking about both parents meeting and making wedding plans. My mum is a natural when it comes to wedding planning so she was definitely on a roll once she heard wedding.
Time seemed to fly and Toba and I fell into a routine. He picked me up from the studio every day and took me for lunch. I even stopped using my car most times because Toba just wouldn’t let me lift a finger. He picked me from home every morning and dropped me off after work. We never had any big fight and our lives were in such a perfect symphony. We finally agreed on dates for the wedding and we wanted it over as fast as possible so we chose December 28th for the traditional wedding and 29th for the church wedding. It has been such an eventful year indeed. I met Abbey in January this year, fell in love, dated and broke his heart and by December, I was marrying Toba. How ironic can life be? Planning a wedding within 2 months was more stressful than I thought. Most of the vendors had been booked months before and I was having to compromise on a lot of things. I was getting really frustrated. Toba didn’t seem to be interested in anything regarding the wedding except his suit which was really pissing me off. I decided not to let it get to me though. We still saw almost every day and we talked about everything. We were getting closer by the day and I loved him more and more.
A week to the wedding, I packed my things from my house to Toba’s house and headed to Ibadan. Toba was leaving Abuja on Wednesday. I was already missing him but by the time I arrived Ibadan, I was so caught up in running errands that missing him was the least on my mind. By Thursday before the wedding, I just wanted the day to come and go. I was looking forward to the honeymoon. Toba was still keeping the destination a surprise. I knew we were most likely travelling though because he collected my passport and some of my credentials from me. Oyin arrived on Thursday and with her around, I was definitely in high spirits. There is never a dull moment with my Oyinda. There was a surprise bridal shower for me that night and I started to question my decision that night. We played a game about how well I knew the groom and I found out I could not answer 70 percent of the questions. Oyin could see that I was getting uneasy and she systematically changed the game.
……We were finally able to escape into the room around 8pm on Saturday night. Toba was the only man I ever slept with and that was over ten years ago. I was so nervous and scared. We had talked about it over and over again these past three months and I was getting the feeling that Toba did not believe he was the only man I had been with. We never spoke about the abortion again though. I literally danced myself out at the wedding reception. Toba and I had always been great dancers so it was such an interesting contest deciding whether the groom or the bride danced better. We were both fagged out and Toba landed on the bed and slept off even in his cloths. By the time I got out of the bathroom and met a sleeping husband, I realized all my anxiety was for nothing. I went straight to bed.
It was such a beautiful feeling to wake up in your husband’s arms. I woke up and Toba started making jokes about how I drugged him to sleep on our wedding night to avoid my marital duties.
“I love you, my darling husband. Let us have our wedding morning instead of the usual wedding night”.
“How many such mornings have you had with Abbey and the others in the last ten years?”
I could not believe my ears… I jumped up and looked at my husband and it dawned on me that Toba might never be able to trust me. This is the man I married…
THE MAN I MARRIED 9
Our honeymoon was in Dubai. It was absolutely amazing. After that first morning, things went on very smoothly. Toba apologized for what he said. He assured me he loves me so much and could not imagine sharing me with anyone. I knew he just needed re-assurance. The only downside during the honeymoon was my menstrual period that started five days after. We had made love so many times within the five days that it didn’t hurt so much. We talked and talked about everything. We made plans for the future. We decided to open joint savings account together to save for the future.
By the time we got back home, I was really ready to settle into family life. We talked about everything and went for date night once a week. Three months down the line, I got the first of many shockers of my life…
I missed my period in February and decided to go do a hospital pregnancy test. I really wanted to wait a while before getting pregnant but Toba was all about seeing me bloated so he just refused to wait. Immediately I missed my period, I knew it had happened but Toba still wanted us to go see the doctor for a test. We were supposed to go together but he called me about an hour before he was to pick me up that a client had cornered him in the office and he had to go with him for a meeting. He told me to call him immediately I was done. I decided to call Oyin to go with me instead. People usually say that marriage distances you from your single friends but that was totally not the case with us, Oyin and I were as tight as ever.
“Babe, can you imagine Toba cannot follow me for the test ooo, let us go together naaoo, I’ll pick you up from the office”.
“You want my boss to finally give me that query he has been gunning for? No wahala, I want to be there for the good news too so I”ll meet you at the hospital in minutes. I’ll just drive down though so you don’t have to drop me off”.
In fact, I think Oyin jumped more than me when we got the news. She was so excited and neither could I contain my excitement. Even though I felt I was not ready, knowing that I am carrying my own baby for Toba again and this time at the right time made me teary. I suddenly could breathe a sigh of relief. I had always had the sub conscious feeling that the abortion could have caused some permanent damage. I started calling Toba immediately we left the hospital to tell him the good news but he was not picking his call so I just assumed the meeting was taking longer than he expected. Oyin wanted to celebrate the conception of the baby she was already calling her god-daughter.
“Abeg Oyin, I want a son joor or maybe twins sef”.
“Trust me babe, it is definitely a girl so I will spoil with all the pinkies in this world. Where are we celebrating though?
“Let me celebrate with my hubby first. I can’t get through to him though so maybe I should just go home and wait for him”.
I decided not to go back to the studio but go home and give my husband a treat. Oyin gave me a suggestion of cooking something nice and serving a candle lit dinner wearing something sexy. No better way to announce you’re pregnant, she said as if she has been married before. She even volunteered to help me in the cooking and setting up. Petals, candles and the works. We went to the supermarket together to get the candles and petals and I wanted to buy some chicken and shrimps. We decided on grilled chicken with egg and shrimps fried rice as the main course. Oyin was really in the spirit for this plan. We even got a small ready made cake and some candles to put on it. I kept reminding Oyin that Toba probably knew the result of the test anyway but nothing could slow her down.
We finally got to my house around 3pm and I still could not reach Toba. He would most likely get home around 6 pm anyway so we had three hours to cook and set up and for Oyin to go home. Oyin had started dotting on me already and said I should not even lift any shopping bag. I went to the door to open for her and what I saw left me rooted to the spot. I did not even expect to meet Toba at home because his car was not in the compound. He was right there on our sofa naked with another woman. They had obviously jumped up once the key turned in the lock but had not been able to hide fast enough. I was numb. Oyin went on a raging spree. I could see her pounce on the girl and scratch and bite but I just sat on the floor right beside the door. Toba had been cornered by this client while I went to do the pregnancy test alone and ran around town trying to plan a surprise for him……….
I could not sleep all through the night. My head was going round and round in circles. Toba walked out during the whole hassle yesterday and had still not come back. I could not even be bothered even if he went to jump into the river. We had been married for barely three months and he was already cheating right in my home. I kept running my hands on my stomach like I could not reconcile how a day that started so good ended so badly. At about 7am, I heard the key turn in the lock. Toba was obviously back. He was so drunk that I wept. I knew better than to start a fight with a drunk man so I just stared at him as he staggered and fell into bed. He was reeking of cigarette and alcohol. I decided that going to work was going to do me a lot of good so I went to the studio around noon. Oyin kept calling me but I did not even want to talk about it so I ignored her calls. I was so embarrassed that the whole scene happened right in front of her.
By the time I got to the studio, Oyin was waiting for me there. I ended up not doing any work and cried virtually the whole day. The tears won’t stop coming and my heart broke with each word of encouragement that Oyin tried to say. I started having some serious stomach pains sometime that afternoon and it started getting worse. Within an hour, I was already screaming with pain. Oyin had to rush me to the hospital and by the time we got there, I was already having a miscarriage…
THE MAN I MARRIED 10
I spent 3 days in the hospital as the doctors had to do a Dilation and Curettage procedure to clear out the remaining foetus. Oyin was with me all through. Toba came to the hospital but I instructed Oyin and all the medical staff that I did not want to see him. He was not granted entrance. Oyin kept telling me he was waiting outside all through my stay but I just refused to see him. There was absolutely nothing left to discuss. How can I possibly face the man that killed my baby? It was unforgivable and I did not even know what I was going to do next.
The day I was discharged from the hospital, he came to meet me by the car on my way out. I looked at him and the tears started afresh.
“Baby, I am sorry. Please forgive me. We need to make this work”.
“How dare you? You need to make it work by yourself. Toba, two months was all it took for you to cheat and kill our baby?”
He held my hands as I walked away and I slapped those filthy hands away. It was truly repelling.
“Toba, I am never coming back into that house”.
I got into the car with Oyin and we drove off, leaving him standing there. I looked at him as we drove out and saw tears streaming down his face. It did not move me one bit. Oyin really wanted me to go back home with Toba and work out our problems but I simply told her she could never understand this level of betrayal. I also refused her offer to accommodate me because I just needed my own space. I checked into a hotel in town. I was going to spend the next week doing absolutely nothing. I had some jobs to do that weekend so that was enough to look forward to. I still found myself crying that night for the child I had lost and the marriage I just lost too. I really could not see a future.
I got a call from the reception at about 8 pm that night that I had a visitor. The told me it was Toba. He found me so fast which was annoying but I told them I was not ready to see him and he was not to be let into my room at any time. He was to be escorted out of the premises as he was dangerous. The receptionist told me he claimed to be my husband and I denied him there and then. I did not care to know how they handled it. He did not deserve to be called my own husband or anybody’s for that matter. He killed our baby and that was unforgivable.
I decided to go to the studio the next morning after another sleepless night to pick the makeup suitcase I needed for the jobs I had this weekend. My car was packed there so I decided to take a cab down there and pick my car up. As I walked out of the hotel building having refused to take all those over priced executive cabs in the premises, I saw him sitting in his car outside the gate. It was obvious he slept there and he jumped down as he saw me. He knelt down right there in the middle of the road. Begging and begging.
“Tammy, forgive me, please. I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you”.
I kept my eyes away from him looking for a cab.
“Toba, I don’t think you get it. Our marriage is over. I will never come back into that house again”.
We saw him at the same time. His car slowed down right beside us and our eyes all locked on one another. Toba on his knees and me with tears down my eyes. It was Abbey, driving into the hotel. He had slowed down while his car was searched and he looked straight at us. His face was blank. No sign of recognition whatsoever. The shame was killing me and I never felt so embarrassed in my life. Toba got up immediately and Abbey just drove in not bothering to say a word of greeting. I had left him for this man who had turned my life inside out. The noise was resounding and befitting. It was a deserving slap that I landed on his cheeks. For the humiliation he has caused me after I gave him everything. I walked away from him and found a taxi to save me from that whole scene. Seeing Abbey however got me thinking. After having left him to marry Toba, was it not more shameful to pack it up in less than 3 months?
Toba was still in his car outside when I got back to the hotel later. I just drove past him. He was still there the next morning when I drove out early in the morning for the job I had to do. It was obvious he was jumping up at the sound of every car just to be sure it was not me. I thought he was going to follow me but he did not. He waited there and was still waiting when I got back 6 hours later. I began to wonder if he was eating. I knew he could not be getting any reasonable sleep. My heart broke at what we had become and I remembered our vows. This was the worse I promised and I owed it to myself to give him another chance. At about 7 pm, I asked one of the hotel porters to go call him into my room. I told the receptionist to allow him entrance and I ordered dinner for two.
Haggard did not begin to describe how my hubby was looking. The fact that he did not waver in his resolve to get me back showed me he loved me truly. Mistakes happen and it was still worth a chance. Immediately he came in, I asked him to get into the shower. He tried begging him again but I hushed him. He went to shower and he was looking so darn sexy even in his unshaven state. We sat down to eat and I made sure we ate in silence. After dinner, he looked at me expectantly,
“Toba, I am never coming into that house again. I cannot step into that house without remembering the humiliation”.
He looked so downcast.
“I am not finished. If you want any chance of this marriage ever working out, you need to get another apartment. We will start a new life in a place that has not been defiled”.
I expected some form of resistance but I got none. He was so agreeable even though I knew how much it will drain him to rent another place now even though we still had 5 months to go on our current rent. That was part of the price to pay for being unfaithful. I also told him, I will remain in this hotel on his bills till he got another apartment and there will be no form of intimacy between us until he had done HIV test and other sexually transmitted diseases check up. I knew it was embarrassing but it was good to make him suffer.
“Toba, if you ever cheat on me again or lie to me about anything, I will literally kill both of us”.
“Are you sure there is nothing else you are hiding from me?”
“There is nothing else my love. That was a one time mistake, I don’t know what……”
“Save it Toba, do not belittle me with your excuses”.
If only I had worked out of the marriage that day because my greatest regret came much much later in a way I never expected…….
THE MAN I MARRIED 11
We moved to a three bedroom house in an estate in Utako about a week later. I don’t know the magic Toba performed but all my things were moved to the house and perfectly arranged. He stayed with me in the hotel all through. It was like another honeymoon. We ate out, went to work and hung out most times. I still refused him sex but he was such a gentle man about everything, I believed it was a one-time mistake. The Toba I know was very considerate anyway. The new house was much better because it was quite spacious and it was just us in the compound. He went the extra mile of doing a new interior which was quite surprising as I was expecting the old things from our other apartment.
Our first night in the house, Toba made me dinner of pasta and sauce. Quite delicious I must confess. At a point I was thinking that maybe he should offend me more if this is what making up will be like. He was basically worshiping the ground I walked. It now felt like he finally understands he is married and really wants to fight to make it work. I was enjoying the praise and the lounging anyway. In the midst of all the euphoria of the new house, the amazing home cooked dinner and the body massage that night, I knew my defenses were going down faster than I could say Jack Robinson. We had decided not to mention that whole incidence anymore and have a fresh start so I was all out enjoying. Apart from the occasional pain when I remember briefly, marriage was definitely feeling like a cruise. I drifted off to sleep during the body massage and the absolute sensation coaxing through my body jerked me awake. It was those waking up moments that had me keeping my eyes closed. My husband had decided to practically worship my body, as in literally. The pretense of sleep could not even last long when I felt the wetness of his tongue going higher than I could bear. I opened my eyes and there was no resisting such effects. It ended up being an all-nighter. From the bedroom, to the bathtub and even to our sparkling living room. It was like he needed to show me who was the boss and there was just no holding back. It was the perfect start we needed.
For one full year we tried getting pregnant and nothing happened. It just did not happen.For the first six months we focused on our careers and just having fun. We had our moments and disagreements and I began to understand what marriage was all about. The whole apology and honeymoon phase ended about 2 weeks after it started when Toba saw I was beginning to grow lazy and take advantage. So we got back into a routine; went to work, came home and ate dinner, gisted, watched t.v etc. Lest I forget, Oyin got married during this one year and had to move all the way to Port Harcourt. Quite sad and made me lonely. There was nobody to gist with outside of hubby and when he went out to “hang out with the boys”, I was left alone. Oyin and I still did all the catching up on the phone but it was never the same. My job also got busier. Towards the middle/end of the year, there were more weddings which led to more brides and therefore more make overs. It also led to more money though so I could not complain. I started getting worried about 10 months later and Toba decided it was best we took a vacation. I saw it as an opportunity of all sex with no work which I felt hopefully might increase our chances. Toba was already feeling pressured about my whole -we- must- have -sex -during- ovulation -syndrome.
We went to the Paris for two weeks, that was all the time we could both afford to take off work. It also coincided with our one year wedding anniversary. It was so much fun. Toba refused to be cornered into staying indoors all day to make love like I had planned. We ended up going out all day. Visiting the Eiffel tower was number one priority on his list. In fact, it was the ultimate picture he had to have in our collection.We also visited the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre among other places. We still had all the sex I wanted and it still was a very memorable wedding anniversary get away. During the past one year, I have gotten to understand my hubby the more. He usually did not get angry as easily as myself but he was not ready to be controlled. He gave me everything I needed and some more. I never lacked surprise gifts either and the fights were beginning to reduce anyway the longer we were together.
The day after we got back to Nigeria, my mother in law called to inform me she was visiting us. I had been wondering when she was going to come anyway with her busy schedule and the fact that she had never been to our house. I was really looking forward to her stay. I told her I’ll book her ticket and all and the only downer at that time was that she said she was only staying for three days and needed to discuss urgent issues with me. Okay, I already assumed she finally decided to be concerned about the lack of children after a year. We never told her about the miscarriage. She is generally a very pleasant person and we gisted all the time so I was wondering what was so important that she had to come all the way to Abuja. I tried to tease it out of her but she would not bulge. I booked her flight for Friday morning and already made plans in my head to go pick her from the airport. I actually genuinely loved my mother in law, I always thank God I did not have issues women usually complain about. Hubby was feeling all jealous that his mum did not call him to tell him about the trip but it was a nice kind of jealousy.
I went all out in anticipation of Friday. I got new sheets for the extra room and over stocked my freezer. Hubby kept telling me to relax but I was determined to go all out to impress her. I cooked three different soups into the freezer even though I knew she will not eat half of it. I had a wedding to attend that weekend and for once I was not the one doing the makeup so I was even planning to go with her. Friday came finally and all my excitement faded……….
THE MAN I MARRIED 12
It has been a week since my mother in law came and left and I am still as dumbfounded as I was when she left. I just cannot fathom how I have come to be at this crossroad. My house feels so lonely. Toba and I have not spoken in a week, he just cannot approach me. I am still not sure what decision I want to make. Is this a marriage or not? Are we really expected to endure as many lies and deceit as this as women. I called Oyin yesterday night to pour out my heart and even she had no solution. He had obviously not cheated on me, he had done much worse. He had married me based on lies.The conversation had started in a funny way last Saturday when my mother in law came. She said, “You need to know that I love you so much and I have taken you like my daughter from the time you married Toba”
That line was obviously meant to calm me down but I have never heard a more inflaming line. It got all the seven sparks in my head flying up and down. Reminded me of all those Nollywood movies and the final scene where the families call a meeting. Could it be that Toba had impregnated somebody? I looked over at him and he seemed to be as clueless as I was.That will be the perfect Yoruba movie story. I would not even bulge if that is the case, I already told myself mentally. That will be the end of our marriage.
Toba seemed to think his mum was being overly dramatic and he was taking it all as a joke. He ignored her and was busy pressing his iPad and playing his candy crush. She came in Friday evening after several hours of flight delay and basically just ate dinner and dropped into bed. I expected us to wake up this morning and start planning for the wedding I had to attend but she said she wanted to discuss with us both. Toba’s excuse of having places to go did not fly with her and she said it was extremely important. Hence, the Nollywood retro feeling I was having.
“Tamilore dear, I could have discussed this with Toba beforehand but I don’t want to do you any disservice neither do I want any secrets in this family”.
That made Toba’s head shoot up and his face contorted with seriousness. From the time she said the first line, I knew there was no point expecting a denial from my dear husband. He immediately put his head in his hands as it was overridden with all the guilt anybody could muster. I was shocked, dumbfounded and definitely did not see this coming. She started by saying,
“Toba do you know any Cynthia Akpan?”
Since Toba gave no response to that and I already asked who that was, she decided to enlighten me. Apparently, Toba had done a whole lot in the ten years he lived in London. Cynthia is the mother of his kids and yes not just one. My dear husband has two children. A girl aged 6 and a boy aged 4. Cynthia somehow came back to Nigeria to find Toba’s parents. She was reported to have explained that she and Toba had been living together for a long time. They met few years after he arrived London. The first child was definitely unplanned and by the time the second child came, they had resolved to get married. Toba had advised her that telling his parents about the kids over the phone was a terrible idea because they did not support children out of wedlock. The plan was for him to come back to Nigeria and tell them about the family and make wedding plans. She was surprised after a few months when she stopped hearing from Toba. Next thing she saw was our wedding being featured on different Nigerian blogs . That was when she knew Toba had ditched his family and she started making plans to come back home with the children. The children were in Nigeria now and she wanted to give Toba his two children, seeing that he cannot now marry her and go back to the United Kingdom.
“Toba, please explain to your wife and I what happened because I want to believe this is a kind of set up”.
He was stupid enough to belittle me the more by saying, he had planned to marry her until he met me again and fell in love all over again. Imagine my shock at such stupid excuse. His mum started raking and shouting about how disappointed she was. She could not believe her son could abandon his two children. As for me, I could not just wrap my head round the whole story yet. What if the lady never came forward? What if I never have any more children? Am I supposed to bring two children into my home? Is this even a marriage in the first place and should I not just pack my bags and go start over? I was shedding tears but could not say a word. Toba was already begging and begging but I was just blank. How did I not see through his deception? My mother in law was telling me it was my choice whether to live with the children or leave them with her. She did not even consider the fact that leaving her son was one of my choices. I needed to clear my head so I took my car keys and left the house. None of them tried to stop me…..
I have still not made up my mind on what to do…I just do not know….
Written by Tunde Oni (Mrs.)
Fashion Illustrator: @Peniel_Enchill