It rained during the entire ceremony, in some parts of the world, that might be seen as good luck but where I am from, well you can imagine.
Anything that stops Nigerians from having a full blown party out in the sunshine with jollof and dancing, is obviously an evil darkness.
I was totally unconscious as I was transported to Lagos.
I would later find out that I was in a coma.
When I opened my eyes, it was 4 days after the wedding and I was awoken by my friends who had come to check up on me.
I pestered one of the nurses into telling me if my mother and family had been over. My mother and some of my cousins had been the only people that had stopped to check on me.
Playing back that evening, I was trying to play detective and see if I had noticed anything about the men that attacked me.
Who called the hit?
My mind was racing but my heart slowed – It had gone cold.
It was very cold in the morning as I stood looking out of the window.
The sun had already risen and Lagos was already hours into its hustle.
There was a gentle knock on the door, before I could turn around to answer, my mother walked in.
“Oh you are awake?”
She said attempting to act surprised.
“Yes I am”
She smiled and said
“I just wanted to bring you some breakfast”
“I am not hungry”
I snapped back.
She placed the bowls of food on the table and said
“Well, hunger is not a stable guest. It doesn’t always announce it’s arrival.
The food will be here”
“Mummy, I don’t think you are hearing me. I do not want anything from you.”
Her smile was gone now.
She lifted her head and looked my way as she said
“Who are you talking to in that tone?”
I walked over to her and looked her dead in the eye and said
It was only a split second before she swung and almost slapped me across my left cheek.
I grabbed her hand mid-air.
She gasped and said
“So Meji, you want to fight me?
You want to hit your mother?”
I gently placed her hand back down by her side and replied
“I would never do that to you but I would like for you to leave and never talk to me”
She began to walk away, stopping right in front of the door. Turning around, she said
“I see you haven’t learned your lesson. Remember that I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it.”
I smiled and replied
“I would love to watch you try.
You already failed once”
I signed the discharge papers as the doctor went on about me taking it easy with my broken ribs.
I hate hospitals and I just wanted to be out of there as quickly as possible.
I was hauling my clothes to the parking lot outside the private hospital that my family was known to use.
Making my way into the parking lot, I didn’t see the Uber I had called.
As I looked down at my phone to determine it’s whereabouts, I heard a familiar voice call out my name.
I slowly lifted my head, it was Monsurat.
I wasn’t sure how to feel towards her.
A part of me was angry but another wanted answers to the questions that troubled me.
“Can I talk to you please?”
she quietly asked
“My ride is almost here but sure”
I replied. she began to talk when I cut her off and said
“Just tell me why you ran. Why did you run when I stepped up to express my feelings for you to the world? Why then”
She dropped her head and sighed. Then she said
“I was confused and I didn’t know what to do. My feet clicked and I just kept running”
“That’s not good enough Monsurat. It’s obvious that I was the only one in this and you couldn’t have the decency to tell me that you didn’t love me”
I snarled back.
She fired back and said
“That is the farthest from the truth and you know it!
I have never loved anyone like I love you. I only know what love is from loving you.
So you know that is not true. I just….I just didn’t see it coming and everyone was there. It was just a lot to take in”
I walked up to her and I placed my hand on her chin, lifting it up.
She leaned into my chest and said
“I have something to tell you…”
I whispered back to her.
She stepped back and said
“…but I can’t. I’m afraid”
I believe that for most people, that is one of the most annoying things ever.
I tilted her head upwards again and said
“It’s just me. Talk to me”
“Meji…I will love to spend the rest of my life with you but…but there is something I need to tell you first. I don’t want any secrets between us.
….I got an abortion.”
I stepped back as those words sailed into the open space between us.
There was a mixture of shock, confusion, and disappointment across my face.
“What are you saying Monsurat?”
She was already close to tears as she stretched out her hands and said
“Mj, wait, let me explain”
I stepped back away from her reach and said
“Tell me what you are saying…”
A single tear rolled down her left cheek as she said
“Please don’t get mad. Promise me you won’t get upset?”
I rolled my eyes as I sighed and said
“I didn’t want to. I promise you I would never do that to you.
Once I knew I was pregnant….I knew I couldn’t keep it. I had to go and take care of it…”
She cried as she forced the words out.
I didn’t let her finish her next sentence as I turned and headed out of the hospital parking lot.
I heard her shout
“Meji, you gave me your word…”
Well the word stood for nothing as I hopped into the back of the Uber.
I asked to change the address.
I knew exactly where I needed to be.
It had been three days since Monsurat came to the hospital to drop that bombshell on me.
I needed time to think, so I stayed with my friend Kamir on the Island.
Hiding and not answering my phone, I tried to make sense of everything that happened.
It made sense when I finally called Sola my cousin and asked who could have been responsible.
He initially didn’t say much because he wanted to stay out of it.
As we spoke and he realized what I was making, he let the cat out. It was a matter of setting the right dominos in motion.
I placed a call to the village and spoke to Baba Agba.
As the day broke, I was ready. A new direction for our family beckoned.
It was time to do the right thing.
Driving that morning, I became nervous as we got closer. With each kilometer, I could feel my heart racing faster.
We pulled up and I stepped out of the vehicle.
The gate was already open, so I walked up to the door and knocked.
As it opened up, it was Monsurat.
She immediately tried to slam the door shut. I placed my right leg in the doorway.
The door rammed into my foot and I let out a subdued moan.
She totally ignored my leg and said
“What do you want?”
I tried to speak and she said
“You know what? I don’t even give a fuck about what you have to say. I told you to promise me you wouldn’t react and the moment I told you, you went off to God knows where.
Only God knows what you have done. I told you and you went against everything I said!
So what the hell do you want from me?!”
I dropped my head and then said
“I am sorry.
I just felt very guilty. I had to take a step back.
I didn’t want to react harshly….I realize I could have handled it better. I am sorry”
I moved in closer and pulled her in.
My hands around her waist, she kept her head down as she tried to keep her scowl.
I lifted her head up and gave her a kiss on her lips.
I smiled and said
“I am sorry….and…I love you”
She sheepishly smiled and tried to wriggle out of my grasp. I hugged her tightly.
As I let her go, she moved back and said
“How did you know where to find me?”
I smiled and replied
“I think you underestimate how much people like me…”
She rolled her eyes and said
“Come in, let me fix you something to eat”
I pulled her left hand and said
“We can’t stay.
We have to be somewhere shortly”
She inquired as she turned around.
I nodded and she knew.
“Are you sure Mj?”
she queried me.
I again nodded and then I said
“I am sure but I am not sure about that morning breath of yours tho. Whew!”
She shyly turned to scurry off but not until she said
“You know you are not okay right?”
Smiles on both our faces. She disappeared up the stairs.
In the back of Sola’s car, she pressed me about where we were headed but I told her to drop the subject.
As we waited outside a gate in Ikoyi, she asked again,
“who lives here?”
The gateman came to open the gate and let us in, as we parked, she scanned the compound and it clicked.
“This is Aunty Bunmi’s house”
I smiled but said nothing.
As we exited the car, she seemed nervous. I motioned to her, as she neared me, I whispered,
“I got this.”
I turned to the gateman and said
“A Previa van will be coming in about 15 minutes, let them through”
He nodded and said
As we made our way into the house, it was clear what was happening.
A family meeting had been called.
Baba Agba who made the trek that morning was seated amongst other elders. My mother and aunt to my right and Juwon standing closest to the door in the far left.
Jola was already on her honeymoon.
I greeted everyone and thanked them for coming before I said
“I reached out to the elders to call this meeting because there are few things that I want to address and end once and for all.
I will do most of the talking but feel free to stop me if you have any questions…
…Aunty Bunmi, let me start by again apologizing for what I did during the wedding. My outburst was irresponsible and ill timed, I hope you can forgive me.
Mummy, thank you so much for showing me the true value of family. It means a lot that I have a telling picture that shows me what families should always look like
To the bigger family, this is an announcement, I will be getting married to Monsurat here. She joined our family years ago and she has never left my heart. So I will make our hearts a home and I would love to eventually share that with some of you.”
Baba Agba and a few others clapped in acknowledgment.
And I continued
“The real reason we are here is to put some things to bed. As you may all know, on the eve of Jola’s wedding, I was attacked and badly beaten.
We thank God for recovery but it put things in perspective for me.
The man I am and who I want to become…
…As a family and culture, we are accustomed to accepting secrecy as loyalty and it is not so.
In many cases, we see the evil within our homes and we turn a blind eye.
Cheating, infidelity, rape, incest… to just name a few that we are familiar.
In this family, I have been able to experience most of that up close.
As a child, Juwon and his siblings would make Monsurat and I have sex with each other for pleasure.
It didn’t make sense then but the scars have stayed on decades later.
So today as a family, I urge us to forgive each other and move forward to a brighter day…”
I stopped talking as 5 bulky men walked into the sitting room.
Immediately two stationed next to Juwon.
He seemed confused and so I continued
“These men as my friends, just her to support me as best as possible but back to what I was saying.
I want you as a family to know that I have forgiven you all.
And to make that clear, I called this meeting.
Monsurat is my fiancee and this animal Juwon raped and impregnated her. And did not have the decency to ensure she was well after she completed an abortion that he requested.
Now I know I just let you know that I forgive you all but even the most forgivable acts have consequences.
I know who called the hit on my life and I know how much you have tried to break me.
I once heard a saying that a man without a shadow has no soul.
But for a man to not cast a shadow, you must be illuminated from all angles. I have a shadow and a dark past and an even brighter future without a family like that who pulls one down.
So here is what is going to happen, in your own home Juwon, these 5 men will dish out double of what I went through last week.
And your blood will stain your home.
Your mother will shed tears, not for your pain but for the sins she has allowed over the years.
I cannot get rid of my mother because God chose her for me, but she can rest assured this is the last we will ever speak.
If you have any questions in the near future, please email me.
Thank you all for being here. It’s been a pleasure”
Baba Agba rose to stop the men as they grabbed Juwon, one of the elders pulled him back to his seat.
As I began to walk out, I stopped right in the doorway, turned and said
“In case you were wondering, these men as special forces members of the Army.
Don’t bother calling the police, they hold jurisdiction here.
Oh and Juwon, fuck you”
As I sat in the back of the car driving out of the compound, Monsurat reached for my hand and cupped it.
She smiled and I smiled before putting my sunglasses on.
It was a bright day for a new journey. A new dawn for a lost soul.
I looked back to the left as a the driver turned the corner, straight into Monsurat’s eyes. The driver tried to press the brakes and caught air, he gasped and called the name of Jesus.
That was the last time I saw her.
I was inspired to write this series after a conversation with a friend who had a story like Meji’s. As we talked, I saw parallels in my life. My inability to let go of certain things I had experienced as a child. From bullying to watching and experiencing abuse, we are “asked” to turn the other way and let certain things go for the sake of the family.
Well, family is meant to uplift and not diminish. And as you see in this series, this family was heavily flawed and they caused a lot more damage than good to the entire body.
In Meji also standing up for Monsurat, you saw love but selfishness. Whenever hurt is shared with you, the reaction the person seeks is not always that you run and jump to their rescue. Sometimes we just need someone to hear us out and hold our truth with us.
I enjoyed writing this series and taking it in all the different directions I could. Thank you to everyone that commented and supported.
If you are reading this on Twitter and you actually haven’t read the series yet, check it out at http://www.adewus4real.com
I promise you won’t regret it.
Till the next one, Stay Up and catch my #WordsOfWednesday this Wednesday.
Thankful for this talent and blessed to share it with you. Please READ and SHARE with anyone that loves good content. Bless!
The Man, The Shadow: Diary of a Lost Soul 4 by The Wordsmith @adewus4real
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