Fiction

Grow Up

Nobody tells you how uncomfortable growing can be and how much you lose if you don’t evolve.

As you get older, what do you really want?
Over the past few months, I have been reviewing certain situations in my life and how they have been shaped.
My weekends for example are on two completely different extremes – I am either in another state or even country or I am laid up in bed watching Oga Sabinus videos with no plan at all.

I like the quiet, and the occasional dash to another city or country.
I like the feeling of warmth I get from directly interacting with my friends and loved ones. There was a time when I wanted to be liked by many. Now I crave being respected by those that matter and those I make room for in my heart.
Lately, I have been thinking about what I want now as an older man than when I was younger.
Some I would expand on, others I would just state the headline

Intentionality

I think I have written here many times that the word that truly drives me is impact. I live for impact.
I want to be impactful in all the spaces and areas of my life.
But how does that translate into my relationships?
When I was younger, I just wanted someone to listen when I spoke or when I shared. Now I want someone that listens and acts.
There has to be an intentional element of every aspect of relationships.
I have come to realize that it is not enough to just exist in our dynamics, we have to act.

There might have been a time where I just wanted a partner I could vent to. Now, I believe I want one that can act on my frustrations if needed and hold me accountable where appropriate.

Loyalty – with respect and reevaluation

Gone are the days of us staying friends because we used to go to Nigerian Student Association parties.
There requires more than that to loyalty – its the consistent trust, leaving space for growth, mistakes and all-round support of each other.
Not present? Biko shift.

Honesty and Practicality

I think it’s only right that as we grow and evolve, people are appreciate the value of honesty and communication between friends and family. Lately, I had an unexpected conversation about how I felt regarding a situation where someone hurt me. People have been calling for me to forgive and let it go but I never felt I had anything to let go of.
The conversation sparked more for me though – we spend so much energy trying to get the hurt/maligned/abused to let go of their pain.
Granted we all fall short but shouldn’t the feelings of the person hurt be protected?

I’ll use an analogy – imagine you go out of town for the weekend and you let your friend stay at your place.
You come back and find out they stole from you. Do you ever let them back in?
Oftentimes, someone hurts and steals from us but our closest friends simply ask us to leave the locks unchanged and let them back in.
No thanks.
I’m setting an alarm and a Ring system. Want to get close to me or mine again, text abeg.

Random Musings
Importance of Self Care

Over the last couple of weeks, I have spent a bit of time at the hospital. Routine checks but also following up on some concerns I had.
In that time, I realized that the value of sleep and rest should not be understated.
Many of us grind and work sooo hard for many months out of the year and sometimes look out for the big vacations we take once a year.
I don’t find that sustainable. We don’t sleep enough. I don’t sleep enough.
I am at the age now where I worry quite a bit about a few different things.
So where is the self-care?
It’s not only in the boba tea you get yourself every other week. Sorry Matcha gang!
It’s about listening to your body, and your heart, pouring into your cup in the ways you know that speak to you.
Getting enough sleep, putting sunscreen on your neck, ignoring negativity + gossip, drinking water and minding your business.
That and more is putting yourself in care.

Your Friends are Your Friends, their Friends are NOT your Friends

I love to watch how people act when relationships end. The split is actually interestingly comical. Everyone needs to go through it at least once, so you know how it goes.
Some people adore you when you are with their friends. Maybe by extension or because they really respect who you are.
But when the relationship or friendship ends, even in the most amicable ways, everyone picks sides.
And I find that fascinating because more parties are biased and they usually cap for their friends.
But if you loved your friend, you would tell them the truth.
Like if he took his eyes off the prize, tell him. Not just stop talking to her.
Sister, what if your friend was the reason the relationship ended? But now you subbing him instead of helping your own friend grow and be better?
It’s always hilarious to observe but such is life. Everybody ehn? Do better. Tainz!

Grow Up

If your default is confrontation with people all the time or feeling like you need to start shit to show how nonchalant you are, you are the one who actually needs a hug – it’s giving damaged and hurt on the inside. Do better.
Nuff said.

See you all next Wednesday. Please share this piece with your friends and family and on social media – Twitter, IG, Snapchat and so on.
Thanks!

The Wordsmith,
Master of Cliffhangers.

Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2022 #WhatTheHeckMan

Fiction

Convenient Christian 4

It’s been a minute
Since we spoke
I love how you always call
Voicemail
Redial
No fail
I love knowing you are there
All around me
But not around me
I may not call
Till my next interview
Not even before the recruiter screen
Let’s talk after the final stage
So you can work your consistent magic
Get me the best package
Fully remote
With unlimited PTO
So I can now tweet that I’m a tech bae
Tithe into your household
No way

Nobody can check me
Ignoring calls for offerings into your storehouse
Because it comes through a messenger I don’t rate
But so do my bills
Xfinity, T-mobile, and Student Loans are never late
And as you directed I do to Caesar
I give
Building fund
Who go belief
Every day between Bakare and Oyedepo
I lose
Faith in the doctrine
Their behavior is like a slap in the face
Religion no longer makes me feel like a Winner
I stand in the Chapel annoyed
But not like Jesus
Me
More rage
At a younger age
Oh Lord, why did I ever come of age?

The women bully the young girls
Forget your curves that dress must hide them
You don’t want to tempt the boys
Those ones do no wrong
They flaunt freely like gun slinging soldiers
Unhappy church women forcing marriage down the throats of young people
We know their husbands cheat
Their RN wives will never admit defeat
On the offense
Jesus is a mighty God
Another testimony
It’s my 10th anniversary with my husband this month
But it’s his 60th rent payment for mistress this month
Direct deposit
All the church does is gossip
Settle down, settle
Join the train of unhappy souls
In the place where we save lost souls

So here I sit
Disillusioned
Disconnected
Despite knowing my relationship should be with you
Not the establishment
But I need the establishment
Because within you, I am not established
Yet
Why does the church that made me love you in Bible Tales
Now make me draw my sword to protect myself from it’s absurd tales

I stay in the place of worship
Not because I hear thy voice
But because that choir hits the notes and every chord
They have the best YouTube reputation
Far and above
Nothing beats sprinkling a little legwork into my praise and worship
It’s for the kids they say
It helps us stay hip
But further lost I feel
The church no longer feels like home
When I close my eyes to pray
All I see is her on her knees
No pray
Taking deep breaths
It ain’t about faith
That wasn’t her name
This is about me and you
Honest and true
I love you
I do
But do I know you

Every day I find more ways your “word” divides people
Or those you called discriminate against your blessed people
I’m torn
I was sure that growing up
Would mean more of you
But the more they “tell me of you”
I see less of you in them
And then less of me
Because who I was before was rooted in you
Now he feels like a distant past
Long in the rearview
So here is me pouring my heart out
I hope you hear me
I’ll try to pick up when you call
Or call you back at my earliest convenience
Or when next I need you
I hope that’s still cool

I told my mom last week that I felt “tired” of my church.
Something changed – the love went out the door
It was sudden, abrupt and then just gone. I used to be the person that couldn’t wait for Sunday. Praise and worship lifted me up, even when I wasn’t singing.
I just loved being there.
It usually meant my whole day but I loved giving my time.
I am not sure what happened and I think it may just be my church because I don’t feel this when I go to others but I lost the spark.

Not just for going to church but for speaking to God – period.
It felt hard because I know I need him and he has done soooo much for me(please tell me you sang Tim Godfrey’s Nara here”
I struggle to hear him in my private bible readings but I noticed that I would always hear him in song.
In private moments of worship and praise – he would speak and I would hear.
So I know all hope is not lost, maybe I need to change my church or something in my life but I wanted to share this post with you.
It’s vulnerable, it’s not cute, it’s not Big Daddy Adewus but it is one of the layers that defines me.
I believe my faith and my upbringing in Christ has influenced a lot of the man I am.

Last week, I was trying to record a video for my IG after my workout and this song came on Oba to nja Funmi by Gbenga Akinfenwa.
I have heard it before and many times but that day, the words struck.
Despite my faithlessness and unfaithfulness, God keeps fighting for me. And he has never left me to wishes of those that do not have my best intentions at heart.
I felt vulnerable and embarrassed and I almost decided the video would never see the light of day but I see all of you that interact with the “realer” side of me. 
I know there are people the song may speak to or this caption may speak to.
So here it goes.

I hope you are happy, at peace and loved within yourself.
If any of those elements is missing and even if it is not, here is my heart to you and a hug from me to you.
I pray God keeps fighting for you and I.
Please check out my blog for my Convenient Christian series and enjoy Part 4.
It is as real as it gets.
Till next time.

Stay up!

#WordsofWednesday · Fiction

You’re Hearing Voices Again

#WordsOfWednesday

Thankfully, I have voices like yours that have cheered me into greatness. 🌹

I was standing in front of the ATM, I inserted the checks and it spat two back out.
I grumbled a bit and then I reentered them – this time around, they worked.
With a sly smile on my face, I emailed the receipt to myself and I headed out of the business/bank center.
It was one of those that doesn’t have any people – just the machines and virtual portals. I headed back to my car and before I started the car, I began to hear voices.

I know what you are thinking. What is wrong with this guy?
But it was the echoes of the songs I was playing before I went into the building. It was me singing “Ololade mi Asake” over and over in my head.
I turned on the car and the song had finished, it was now a new song but I could still hear those voices too.
We all hear those voices.

I remember one day when I was much younger, I ran upstairs to my mom and I was like “you called me?”
She frowned and said “no”
Then she added “don’t answer if you don’t see who is calling”
All my Africans or Black people in general reading this all rolled their eyes because here is a Nigerian mother telling you to be sure you see her before answering. WHERE THEY DO THAT AT????
Nope!
Mothers be wanting you to even answer while they thinking of calling you!

The whole reason I was depositing those checks is that I stopped listening to voices. The checks were some gifts given to me by members of a church I went to sing at recently.
Standing there – instead of appreciating some of the gifts that come from my gift, all I could think of was the voices that said I wasn’t good enough.
I have one friend in particular that would tell me not to sing whenever I would sing around them. So are the hundreds of people around the country that I sing, can’t they hear?
Do they not know good music?
That’s incredibly hard to believe.
The last time I sang, 4 separate people came up to me to tell me how much they loved my singing and how I carried myself.
Yet, before each time, I would hear my friend’s voice saying “no”

Truth is, we are all victims of it.
We drown out the voices of praise and amplify that of our doubters.
It is important to listen to the voices, especially the praise – you need the fuel. I am not saying doubters are always wrong, otherwise, too many people would be Soundcloud rappers. Sometimes those voices are the voice of reason and they force us to strive for better – for greatness.
So they are important in the room.
But they should not be so loud that it makes you want to stay out of the room.

There are also times that you are those voices you hear. You push yourself too hard.
You negative talk yourself. You put yourself down.
Stop it!
You are deserving of greatness, belief and the confidence of someone bound to do great things.
I am not a fan of those fake self-talk pages on IG (especially since IG is a hub for tons of negativity) but find your own source.
Pour the positive into your soul. Every chance you get.
Fill your room with enough loud voices – so the next time you are in front of a room ready to present or a church ready to sing or alone at the ATM, the only voices you hear would be of those cheering you on.

Till next time,

Stay Up!

Please COMMENT your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!

Fiction

Still Alive 🌹

Hey Smile, I pray you never leave. 🌹

It was recently brought to my attention that I haven’t written one of these audits in a while.
The last one was 2020. I think with the way the world has gone over the past few years, I can be cut some slack.
Glad to be able to pen this now and give you some insight into my world and where my mind is or has been.

I also figured I would share some of my 2022 goals with you

Big Goals for Big Daddy Adewus
1. Pray More
2. Touch more lives
3. Be kind to me
4. Enjoy life
5. Argue less, resist the urge to defend yourself


Faith:
I am a bit tired of my church. My personal relationship with God is “good” at best.
I haven’t felt too hot on certain things connected to my faith recently but thankfully I still pray and talk to God and he talks to me.
I am working on the latest edition of Convenient Christian (a piece I write, I’ll post links here for you to check them out), so look out for that. Link to the last one here.

Because I have been “running” from God a bit – I think it has affected some key things I relied on him for. Discernment, gratitude, divine guidance and so on.
The past week has been hard on my heart for various reasons but mostly because I felt I had let God down. Not in specific actions – before anyone thinks this is some “gotcha” moment but because I just wasn’t plugged in.
The lessons from the past year and this last week have been hard. But I was able to just lay it all at his feet this past Sunday. I went back home.
And while I worshipped and praised – he spoke to me.
Then the Pastor came on his sermon was EXACTLY for me.
Man, when God is with you, he is with you. I am thankful but there is still more work to be done.

2021 Final Score: D
2022 Expected Score: B+

I always felt sadness and pain detaching but looking back, God has never been wrong and my life has been better after each phase. Trust God.

Fitness:
As I write this, it has been 11days on my Green & Grown diet. Except for Chicken and Turkey – everything I have eaten over the last 11days has either been vegetables or things have grown out of the ground.
I am starting to like the way I look but I also have been going super ham at the gym lately.
I got this app called Fitbod – it basically gives you exercises every day to do and helps take away the guesswork. I love it!
At 7am every day, it tells me what workouts to do that morning and I can crush it.
All in all, I am enjoying this new phase. I decided that I want to get the body of the rest of my life, starting now.
I am tired of waiting till a week before a vacation to start detoxing or drinking smoothies.
If I want this life, I need to work at it now and I am more than determined.

2021 Final Score: C
2022 Expected Score: B+


Creativity:
I need an editor. I have so much written already.
I need to actually POST but I always get weighed down by the prospect of having to edit. If someone can help me, I will really appreciate it.
I have tons of series lined up (are you ready for the rollercoasters?!), I have the novel in motion. I want to learn how to write scripts.

I started a food IG and I now have more than 250 followers. @chefadewus
Please follow and support me if you can. AND my Pinterest page!

My podcast is back and SmallChops is a perfect fit. We need a woman to join us consistently though – preferably someone in Canada or the US. Hit me up if you know someone or you are interested.

I also need to restart my French classes + piano.

2021 Final Score: C-minus
2022 Expected Score: A


Finances:
I changed jobs in the summer of 2021. One of the biggest companies in the world came after me, aggressively. It was so humbling and validating.
Better pay, better company, sign-on bonus, better everything sha. By the end of 2021, I had hit all of my savings goals for the year – I ended up Detty Decembering some of that money away but that is not the point.
Last year, I proved to myself that I could save and I am already on my way again this year.
So I am very excited. I have big BIG goals in 2022 and 23. So man must save – I am even on a budget right now. And if you know me, you know I stick to my budget!
2022 is the year of big bags and sometimes that just means closing the big bag already in your hand.

2021 Final Score: B+
2022 Expected Score: A+


Relationships:
This is where the most learnings are for me.
Romantically, I am satisfied and happy.
Butterflies. Boarding passes. Boba Tea.

In friendships though, it has been a rough year.
March 2021 brought a friendship breakup of a friendship that was 12+years old.
When I still think about it, it stings deeply but it is what it is.
I was already nursing a difficult week and then I walked into church and this was the Pastor’s sermon (when I told you God was talking to me, I was not joking)

This past Sunday’s sermon highlighted a few different things – I actually took notes.
Watch me sing and listen to the full sermon here

Friendship is a choice
Choose friends that fill you up.
Friendship is loving
Friendship is trusting
Friendship is loyalty

This past week for me was another reminder to remember the difference between acquaintances and friends.
It sucks to think through that feeling but it is necessary.
One of the things I struggled with growing up and being bullied was that I wanted to be loved by everyone*
As I get older and wiser, I continue to realize that wanting that is toxic and actually having that is fake.
To make some relationships work, you find yourself pushing and doing more than you ever would need to. And then you find yourself empty and resentful.
Unnecessary.

I took stock recently and I should be proud. I have friends like Seyi that I have had since 2003 and people like Anthony that I have been brothers with since 2006 – 16years.
We started what is now our crew called Nifty Nine. 3 out of the band is married with kids, people are in committed relationships thriving.
I have my PDG crew expecting our next baby, two weddings are upcoming.
And I have the Ninz’s of my world, the Nnenna’s, the Renny’s, the true Brethren, and more.
I have never been one to say “No New Friends” but Omo, my squad is already deep.
So I was grateful for the reset because it allowed me to look around and appreciate what I have that is solid and these people ACTUALLY love me.
They show up for me.
They care about my person and my growth. My soul and my heart.
So while these recent times have been hard, I am thankful for my true friends.

No one gets you like your own tribe.

I am also freshly inspired to be a better friend to the ones I hold dear.
Excited for all our growth, love, accountability and friendship.

2021 Final Score – F
2022 Expected Score – B

2021 was rough in many ways – a medical diagnosis that I reject in Jesus’ name, pandemic, soaring prices of everything.
But it was also a year of newness, growth and love. I am super excited for 2022.
It already started off so great – engagements, birthdays, babies, new jobs, leaving toxic things and people. It will only get better and I am sooooo excited for it.
Thank you for reading my review and catch me in early 2023 by God’s grace for a recap on this year. In the meantime, check out my current content (below if you are on your phone and on the right side of the screen if you are on your computer).


Til next time,

Stay Up!

Thanks for reading as always!
Thank you for commenting. Here is to a fun and blessed 2022!
You are highly appreciated.

Fiction

The Musings of a Dodo Addict

WordsOfWednesday on a Thursday. 🌹

How could that even happen?

Tonight, I cried.
I was listening to the song above and I became overwhelmed with gratitude to God for everything he has done for me.
A few days ago after a long day of errands, I came back home and I was actually about to go to sleep when I heard a loud and obnoxious knock on the door.
It was late but I walked to the door and opened it.
It was my neighbor.
He came to tell me that I had left my car running for 4hours.
Can you believe that?
I completely forgot to turn off the engine. I do not know what would have happened if it kept running for more hours (about to Google it).
I was grateful that nothing catastrophic happened plus I am thankful to God for using my neighbor whom I have never spoken to beyond hi and bye, to come and ensure I didn’t lose my vehicle.

Yeahhhh, right there… on the head

If you follow me on Instagram, you will probably have seen videos of me at the gym.
I am always dancing in my recordings.
Most times to gospel music.
A few days ago, I walked up to an equipment and I bumped my head because someone shorter than me had lowered the bar.
It hurt – I see you short people, or maybe not.

But as I massaged my head, I went back to working out and dancing, people kept staring and I thought o myself, I am the weird person in their own gym life.
But I love God and singing his praises anywhere, I was not going to stop that.

Mask Off

I was in line at the grocery store when the cashier said “you know you don’t have to wear that anymore?”
He was referencing the recent mask mandate that had passed in California – we don’t have to wear masks anymore.
It felt weird hearing that. For almost two years straight, we had gotten used to wearing this thing everyday, now you are saying we don’t need to?
Can people go back to “normal”?
Do they even want to?
I kept my mask on because I still feel the panini is not over but it got me thinking, even after COVID is finally under control, will I stop wearing a mask?
Most likely not.
I will probably end up wearing it every flu season as well. Just to stay protected.
Some try to act like the masks are evil or something but guess who hasn’t had the flu in two years? Exactly.
I’m keeping ‘em on.
Will you keep wearing masks or have you already thrown them away?

Tiredness

I am tired.
Physically for the most part.
About a month ago – I was in Los Angeles and on my first night there, I laid down in my hotel bed. I had plans to link with my younger brother.
I placed my head on the bed at about 6:30pm.
I woke up at 2am – the whole night was gone.

Before I slept, I felt dizzy and like the room was shifting – I have known it for a few weeks but I struggle to rest.
Most weekends are filled with a birthday party here, a brunch there, church on this side, DIY projects on that side. It’s made for a tired me.
I need to rest and as a full adult, I am scheduling it for next weekend. Isn’t that bizarre that we now have to schedule rest?
What happened to being a child and just not going to class or sleeping and ignoring your chores?
S M H

I watched a talk the other day about relationships that said as you get deep into it and kids come into play, you have to schedule sex.
At first, listen, I thought it was bizarre but seeing how busy I am now with all I have going on and no wife and kids yet? Nah, I completely agree with that person.
Heck, I have been trying to make an appointment with my left hand for months now and no luck.
S M F H

My best friend called me a Nigerian parent because I keep finding things around the house to work on. First off all, “and soooooo”.
Secondly, “even thoughhhhhhh”
I truly am always working on something but frankly, I need rest.
In the meantime though, please follow my latest thing, my Pinterest account. Every follow, like, and share counts. Thank you!

Be Kind

Recently, I was driving and this person in front of me was moving so slowly.
I maneuvered around them and began yelling, I was so annoyed.
Then it hit me.
Why was it so hard to be kind in that moment?

I remember the first time I was ever let go from a job. I was so heartbroken that day that I drove home so slowly, I was crying and confused.
What if someone honked at me as I drove?
Would I have been able to hold it together?
Maybe, maybe not.
It was a timely reminder to be kind always. That person could have gotten word that their health was poor or just been having a bad day – you never know.
Spread kindness, not continue a chain of the hard in a world already hard enough.

Run oooooo!

10:48pm – I had been on this wave of eating earlier in the evening, in my attempt to not eat late. So I would eat my first “big” meal around 6pm and if I was up late, like on this day, I would snack on something.
The choice this night was the super delicious sausage rolls from @AllIDoIsCook.
They get shipped to my house and I get to feast on such goodness. They come in air-tight packaging. That night I decided to use a knife to open the sausage roll pack.
As I picked up the knife, my mind told me to use the scissors instead. You probably already know how this ended.
Yes, I cut myself.

I was staring at my hand and I just burst out laughing, I knew. I flipping knew and most of us know. We feel it, we see it.
The signs are clear and glaring but we go into it anyways.
The last time I dated a woman that had poor communication skills and couldn’t express herself, I knew I would eventually get hurt.
But she was soooo fine and yes, she had/had bum bum and I went inside head first. Omo _, she just made me catch feelings and started making me return to my toxic ways.
As hard as they may come, run from the things that will bring you hurt.

Stay Up, Stay Safe & Stay Strong.
I LOVE YOU!

Yours always,

The Wordsmith
Master of Cliffhangers

Please leave a comment below.

Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2022 #WhatTheHeckMan

Fiction

Do It Anyway!

#WordsOfWednesday

Did you know the city of Abeokuta gets its name from the literal meaning “under the rock”?

As I write this, I’m sitting in the owner’s corner of a 2001 or 2002 Toyota Camry heading for Olumo Rock.
For those of you that don’t know Olumo Rock is one of the major sights to see in Nigeria. Olumo Rock

Olumo in all it’s glory. During slavery raids in 1833, local residents hid in caves under the rock for 3years.

I faintly remember visiting there as a child a couple of times. Nothing that is etched in my memory or incredibly significant.

Hold on- we just got stopped by the Federal Road “Safety” people. (Watch this handoff, I haven’t seen smoother baton passing since Usain Bolt and his counterparts dominated the 4×4 relay)

Election 2023 – get your PVC.

This trip started off with 7 people interested and the plan was to rent a van to make it a fun group trip down to Ogun State and back.
But here I am, solo in the back of this ride, and as fate will have it, it’s Tems over the radio singing “you don’t need no other body”

Life has a way of teaching you subtle lessons every now and then, this one is a lesson I learned before but the reminder was great for this new chapter of my life.
Sometimes you will want to get things done and no one will follow you or be as eager as you.
Not because they don’t love you or believe in you but because oftentimes the vision you have is yours and yours alone. You see it clearer than anyone else.

The Great Mosque – it was built in 1924. Still standing.

It can be incredibly disheartening because you want your tribe to run through each experience with you.
But life is about knowing that some of those stories will be experienced and written in the back seat of a car on a dusty back road into the state capital of your home.

The key piece for me here is, do it anyway!
It may seem daunting or incredibly tasking but do it anyway. Not only will you deepen your belief in your self but you also prove to yourself that when those solo phases of your life come, you’ll be ready to brave them alone.

We just pulled up to Olumo.
It’s not busy. It’s beautiful and I’m glad I came.
Catch my full experience on my Instagram stories and highlights. @adewus4real

Till next time,

Stay Up!

Fiction

How We Show Up

For a while now, I have been thinking about the idea of things that make us who we are, things that help us show up how we do.
“That’s just how I am” is never just a stand-alone idea. We have things conscious or unconscious that shape who we become.

Some of these have similarities or bleed into each other but most are also standalone topics that should also be explored.
I thought I would write about how we (me) show up.

Promising and failing/not showing up

Most of us can relate to the world-famous phrase “if you get all A’s or do well in school, I will get you (insert incredible gift that would have made your childhood)”
All through the school year, you are busting your ass, working hard, trying harder to be the best student or child you can be with the hopes that your parents/guardians would keep their word.

Then the end of the school year rolls around, you did great but nothing. NOTHING.
Instead of getting what you were promised, you hear things that make you feel guilty for wanting what you set your mind to. Suddenly, the game changes and you were expected to be a good student anyway. Expected to be a good child anyway.
So why are you sulking?
I never knew it but it stuck with me for a while. It reinforced the idea that there was no real reward for doing good, aside from whatever you chose to reward yourself with.

So now as an adult, I take people at their word seriously. Don’t make promises you cannot keep to me.
It may seem small to you but to me, it is another nail in the coffin of mistrust and disappointment.
And as much as I have grown to expect and understand that people may mean well but will always fail, I can’t help but see the strong feelings related to being let down by the people who’s words mean a lot to you.

Going Solo

How many times have you planned a birthday trip? Or an event and expected a certain number?
Many of us know that the group chat always starts with 35 people but only 6 will end up on the trip – if you are lucky.
Quickly, you start to realize that the moments that will bring you the most happiness or joy are sometimes on the other side of lonely street.
You end up experiencing life in some ways, by yourself.

For me, this becomes problematic when you have people who genuinely would love to show up for you but because you are used to being let down, you plan without them.

Self sabotage

This can be birth out of childhood relationships or even adult friendships. I always say that the easiest person to lie to is yourself but also, no one can hurt you more than you can hurt yourself.
In anticipation of people hurting you, you push them away first. Sabotage.

A part of me knows it’s rooted in a deep sense of unworthiness. Like the love you are getting from that relationship/friendship is not deserving, so you throw it away before they can realize you are not deserving and they take it away.
It can sometimes feel like you are watching an outer body scene – like you are outside of your own skin as you watch yourself knock shit over. What is incredible is that sometimes you can feel your subconscious battling to tell you no, to tell you that you are indeed deserving but sometimes your villain streak wins.

It takes a lot of unpacking and affirming that you are deserving. I hope that we can both work on reminding ourselves that we are fully deserving of loving relationships.

Being afraid of things going right

I remember a time in my life when I would buy gas at Shell using the “credit” option on Monday, fill my tank and then pray that I came into money before the transaction would post on Thursday. 
On some cases, I would only have $1 in my account just to initiate the transaction.
It was like that for a while but as I progressed in my career and I began to make “more”, I realized that some of those habits didn’t change.

Don’t get me wrong, they are not all bad because some of those habits helped me save so far but sometimes the fear of going back to being broke prevents us from living.
We are so consumed with “what if it all goes bad?” and it prevents us from truly maximizing when things are going well.
I know some afraid to spend out of fear of being broke again. Life is about a balance, save and prepare for the worst but live for the life you want right now.

Expecting people to leave

I remember waking up one morning and my girlfriend at the time was not next to me. I checked the bathroom, the living room and the kitchen. Nothing.
I began hyperventilating.
I could feel my heart pumping out of my chest. I later found out she left in the morning without wanting to wake me up as she left to work.

Unpacking that feeling/episode, I connected it to the first time I feel abandoned.
I couldn’t have been more than 10 when my cousins who had lived with us in Nigeria for a few years were heading back to America. My parents told me I was going with them, so all day, I packed with them. One sleep later, I work up and they were gone.
I had been scammed.
It hurt.
It stung.
Still does.
I couldn’t believe that I was lied to on that scale. All I kept asking was why?

So as an adult, friends or lovers leaving would really mess with my head and my self-esteem.
Abruptly leaving or not saying bye?
Even worse.

I was able to recognize it and I have now shared it with friends and lovers, letting them know what my deep triggers are.

I understand that many of you may be able to relate to some of the personal ways that some of my trauma shows itself in my everyday.
I wanted to write this to validate US, I see you and I feel you.
Here is to seeing and addressing the situations and our realities.

Thanks for reading and please share with someone out there who may need it. Comment your thoughts below!

Til next time,

Stay Up!

Written on the flight back from London to San Francisco.
Listening to Monalisa by Lojay. Someone walking around with their child in their arm is annoying me, I know I shouldn’t care but every time I see them creep up behind me, I freak out.
Ugh.

#WhatTheHeckMan · African Stories · Fiction · Nigerian Writers · Stories · TheRantsShow

Bastards 4

PART 4

Everything was in slow motion.
It was as if we moved through the scenes in the movie Inception.
My mouth went dry.
My heart was racing.
My eyes began to water as my palms got sweaty.
I was angry, very angry.
Lost in my head trying to make sense of this but I couldn’t believe what I was staring at.
My father’s coffin in his home?
How?
I was still trying to process when I heard a sharp wail from my left hand side.

My mother dropped to her knees as she was crying uncontrollably.
“Ta ni mo se”
“Who did I offend?”

She continued to repeat as the twins tried to console her.
Inconsolable as you can imagine.
My older sister snapped into action and she said

“Dejo, how did this get here?”

Genuinely confused and fearfully of being blamed, Dejo began to shake as he responded.

“Madam, I swear to you, I no know”

“You don’t know?”

She followed.
Dejo tried his best to explain.

“Madam, I dey that side dey wash the cars when I hear wetin be like truck for outside.
I just think sey na delivery people dem dey drop something. Na when I finish come open gate, na him I see am”

As he wrapped up a small gathering of neighbors was forming.
I could see everything playing out but it was like I was and just watching everything play out and I was still.

“Oya, help us bring it inside the gate and close the gate before the whole estate knows what is happening”

My sister instructed.
Dejo, the drivers of the lawyer and my brother were joined by a few other men from the neighborhood.
The coffin was lifted into the compound and the gate closed.
My sister said

“Do we know if the body in there?”

No one answered. No one was certain.
Then she said

“Open it up”

She said.
My mother who was still on the floor crying suddenly sprung up and said

“Don’t you dare!”

Huffing and puffing, she looked enraged and possessed.
She said

“That our family name has been dragged through the mud is not enough? You want to dishonor the memory of your father?
NO WAY! That coffin stays closed and you all go about figuring out who in the hell would do such a despicable thing”

She turned around and began walking inside when I snapped out of the trance and I headed for Ivie and Kunle.
They were standing apart as you can probably imagine that the things he heard inside had rocked his world a bit.

“You did this”

I said to Ivie with conviction.
I could tell she was scared.

“You fucking did this with your diabolical ass. You did this shit like you planned all this other shit”

She froze.
I yelled

“ANSWER ME”

Kunle stepped in and put his hand across my chest
I turned and looked directly at him

“Kunle if you do not remove your hand from my body, I swear to God who made this earth, I will fucking pound in your face till you bleed to death.
Get the fuck out of my way”

He stepped back but not too far, he seemed a bit concerned about what I could do to Ivie.

“Ivie, tell us how you are months away from a wedding with me but carrying my brother’s child.
Tell us how you planned with Adesuwa to get me killed and then killed her yourself?
Or just tell us why you dug up our father’s coffin and brought it into our home?
Start anywhere”

Kehinde sprung and said

“Ivie is that true?
Please tell us it’s not true”

Ivie in tears, said

“I had nothing to do with this”

Pointing to the coffin laying in front of us all.

“And the other things?”

I asked.
She said

“I can explain honestly”

Sobbing she began to explain.

“I am sorry for lying to you Tomiwa, I really am. You did not deserve this.
I was misled but my father…”

My mother jumped in

“Chief Akpo???”

Ivie nodded.

“I was instructed to get information on Tomiwa and the family by my father. I would often listen to business conversations with Tomiwa and funnel the information to my father.
He told me to marry Tomiwa and that Chief Fehintola and he had come to an agreement to merge our families.
But I was also told to not have sex with Tomiwa. Under any circumstances.
The plan was to marry Tomiwa and ultimately get as much money from the family.
Kunle and I met before I was introduced to Tomiwa. The day we met at your family Christmas party a few years back, I actually came with Kunle.
We even had sex upstairs in the twins room while everyone was downstairs because it was the only free room.
Kunle and I had been seeing each other. He knew nothing about the rest of the plan.
And initially, all I wanted was Kunle.
But once I knew I could choose to not sleep with Tomiwa and continue having Kunle, I was fine with that. I made peace with it.
I would have the man I wanted.”

Teary eyed and flushed with tears, she rubbed her belly and said

“Kunle, your son or daughter is inside of me and I love you. And I will love this child with all of my heart.
I completely understand if after all I have done, you no longer want to be involved in our lives but I love you and I will love this child”

Kunle looked down and away. Clearly the words got to him but he was conflicted and then he said

“Did you try to get my brother killed?”

Ivie sobbed harder and looked away.

“Yes. Yes, I did
My dad told me I had to. Something had come out that would affect our plans and frankly, it seemed like a better deal to go that route and we could have just married without issues”

I was shocked.

“You wanted me out of the way. So you decided the best way was to kill me?
When you could have just asked me to leave? When you knew it was Adesuwa that I wanted to marry and she was the woman I loved???
You are evil”

I was fuming.
Kunle asked

“How can I be sure the baby is mine, with all these lies?”

Those words broke her. I could tell.
She sobbed harder and said

“Kunle, I have never been with any man but you from day one.
Only you”

He shook his head and turned away and I spoke.

“You had everything. A family that loves you, the big wedding you wanted, the houses, cars, trips around the world. All of it.
Yet you wanted me dead, as if my family had not been through enough…”

There was a honk at the gate.
All our eyes immediately shifted, who was it?


The gate swung open and a black tinted Mercedes AMG drove in.
The driver rushed out and ran around the car to open to the owner’s corner.
Out came a man that I was familiar with.
A friend of the family and someone I had watched my father spend time with as we grew up.
He was someone you could consider a true pillar of our family.
Chief Akpo. Ivie’s father.

As he stepped out of the car, I had every intention of jumping him.
But I had to contain my rage.
He smiled big as he fixed his Agbada and he said

“I know you have many questions. Let us all go inside and we can clear things up”

We all sat down in the living room. Chief glee as ever while the glum faces of all of us waited to find out what was going on.
Chief spoke first.

“I had hoped we would not get to this point but in life, some things just need to be done.
That is the truth”

He smiled as he continued speaking

“Before all of you came about, way back in the day, Chief approached me with a proposition.
He wanted me to father all of you.
I agreed out of love for the man and I wanted to make sure that he had the joy of being a father too.
But then, midway through the testing process, the Chief told me that he went with someone else.
He never said who for years.
And I could not prove who it was. I knew that if the DNA was run, it would show Chief was not the father but as far as showing who actually was, I was sure that we wouldn’t really get that luxury.
Chief asked me to join the board as one of his closest friends and when we knew international investors were coming.
I agreed but this time, because I did not trust his word, I demanded security.
I got him to commit in writing that my daughter if I had one, would marry his son.
And as you can see, God gave us what we wanted.
The deal was done.
Then you…”

He pointed at me and frowned a bit

“…You started making noise about not wanting my beautiful daughter.
Something about wanting to marry who you loved. Well who you loved gave you up pretty easily to protect her parents.
I bought out Adesuwa’s parents and simply threatened to run them into the ground. It was difficult but eventually we were able to convince her to take you out of the picture.”

I was stunned. The whole room was dead silent.

“This was simple.
If the Chief held his end of the bargain, I got a couple of legitimate grandchildren in one of the wealthiest families and life would go on smoothly.
When you started your drama, I approached Chief and reminded him that I knew his secret and it could be damaging if word got out.
At first he appeared to listen and then he did not.
I had to take matters into my own hands. I had my team working tirelessly to get the information I needed to make a move on him at the board level and take over the company.
But before I could put my plan in action, he passed away.
Around that same time, he told me that he was going to tell you all the truth after his trip.
I guess he never made it to that.
I knew that Chief was the type to not be blackmailed, so I sensed that he may have included the true identity of your fathers in the will.
Well, everyone except you.”

He pointed at me again.
Everyone sat up.
My mother who had now stopped crying looked on inquisitively as he spoke.

“What do you mean?”

She asked.

He leaned forward in his chair and said

“Everyone knows that Kunle is not yours. No surprise.
But Tomiwa is the one legitimate child of you and Chief.”

The entire room gasped.
The lawyer looked away.

Chief smiled and said

“Lawyer Williams knew.
Chief knew.
On our trip he told us about how his health was deteriorating and he might need a marrow transplant or something of the sort.
Tomiwa, remember the set of tests you went to do with your father?
I was able to acquire those from the hospital. It was in those results I found out that you were his only legitimate child. The results of the others showed what we already knew.
Again, I planned to release the information for the takeover but your father elected to die before the news could get out.

He stood up. Flashed a fake smile at most of the room as he smoothed out his clothes.
He said

“Look, I have no ill towards Chief nor will I speak ill of the dead but he chose to try and outsmart me instead of keeping his end of the agreement we had many years ago.
For that, he will not rest.
Digging up his coffin is only the start…”

Enraged I snapped up and yelled

“Say another word about my father and I will finish you here”

Lawyer Williams quickly jumped up and put his hand across my chest to stop me.
Chief Akpo chuckled mischievously and said

“Now wouldn’t that be so beautiful? To see our new CEO beating up a board member.
I dare you to do it, do it, so I can bury this family once and for all.
It’s admirable to see you have the fight chief had in him though, maybe that’s why his swimmers were able to conquer out of the many failures. He chuckled”

He smiled mischievously and waved his finger in the direction of his daughter and said

“Ivie, let’s go”

She sheepishly got up, sobbing profusely and followed him out of the room.
As the door shut.
My mother looked at Lawyer Williams and said

“You knew?”

He leaned back in the seat, almost tired and replied

“Yes but the Chief wanted to confirm. And you know I was bound by confidentiality laws”

She looked back at my siblings and said

“We are not letting any of those Bastards take what your father built.”

And she stormed out of the room.


My father was re-buried and about 6months had passed by.
The vote for reorganizing the board and the company was coming up fast.
Most of the family had settled into their routines.
Life in our new normal was going along.
My siblings returned to their various homes and lives while I prepared to officially take over for my dad. My days were strictly guarded by the security team. My mother and I were basically in an enforced lockdown.
Kunle had been mostly ostracized by the family but his impact was still being felt.
We simply were not the same family.

Two nights before the vote, I called Kunle and told him to meet with me the following night.
He asked me where and I called him to give him the address.
It was a property a friend of ours was developing.
I told him I wanted a fresh set of eyes on the property as I was considering buying it.

I was standing in the middle of the uncompleted building as night covered Ibeju-Lekki.
The building was huge and was clearly going to make a very nice home once completed.
I heard a car pull into the lot and footsteps get closer.

Kunle called out

“T, you in here?”

I replied

“Yeah, just come through the front opening here”

He walked up to me and I greeted him.

“How are you holding up bro?”

I asked him.

“I guess you can say I’ve had better days”

I shook my head and said

“I totally understand bro. Hopefully things settle soon.
So I wanted you to see this place because I was thinking of buying it and using it for corporate housing for visiting executives.
We fully operate the space with cleaning crews, a maid, a driver and the full home experience.
It saves us the millions we spend on hotels putting them up in expensive hotels when they come to town. What do you think?”

He nodded as we walked up the stairs to the second level

“Yeah this is really nice.
And we can truly curate the type of experience they have when they are here. I love the idea.
Maybe we get that interior design firm to design it for…”

He paused.
We both looked at each other.
There was a sound. It came from the first floor.
I looked at him and asked

“Did you come here with someone?”

He nodded and said

“Yeah, Ivie is in the car.
We are coming back from dinner”

He called out

“Ivy?”

She replied

“Yes”

We both headed back downstairs.
As we hit the landing area, I greeted her

“Hi Ivie, long time. How are you?”

“Fine, thank you”

She replied

“And the baby?”

“She’s doing well too”

“That’s really good”

I responded.

Bang.
Bang.
Bang.

White noise.
I could hear a loud ringing in my ears.
The shock hit me like I was drowning.
I felt my back hit the floor hard.
Staring up at the uncompleted ceiling and gasping for air, the pain coursed through my body.
I was sure I was going to die.
The pain was in my lower abdomen. I placed my hand on the source of the pain and I could feel my hand wet.
I was bleeding.
Gasping for air, I was praying that I didn’t die and I was trying to pray but the words weren’t coming.
Then a familiar voice came through.
I felt someone squat next to me and say

“Breathe baby. You are going to live”

I turned my head to my right side and through the darkness, I made out her face.
She smiled at me and said

“The police will be here soon and an ambulance.
You will be fine”

I closed my eyes and the next time I would open them, I was in the hospital.
It was also there I found out that Tunde and Ivie were dead.


It was a bright and sweltering day.
The skies were clear.
It felt like one of those good days for a perfect hike or lemonade on your backyard porch.
The day was mostly perfect. With a gentle breeze occasionally reminding you to enjoy life.
You could imagine yourself in any tropical location and it would make sense.
It was the type of day for your skin and self care routine without doing much.
The summer was announcing itself in style.
The bell rang and the space flooded.

Stepping out, I opened the door with my right hand.
They hopped in.
Sitting back down in the driver’s seat and starting the car, my friend asked

“Oya finish now. Who shot them?”

I smiled and said

“Let’s just say, mother’s know everything”

“I knew it! I knew it!”

He exclaimed.

“How did she know where you were???”

I smiled and replied

“She followed me”

“Wow”

He exclaimed again

“Do you know if she pulled the trigger herself?”

I shook my head and said

“Fam, I don’t know and in many ways, I am grateful I don’t know anything about that night. I am just grateful for my family and continuing to grow the family business from here”

I pulled out of the school parking lot as another car sped past me almost hitting my car.
I yelled out

“Bastards!”

My twin boys in the backseat both yelled out

“Daddy language!”

I looked at my friend and then at the kids in the back and said

“Sorry kids. Bad habits”

We all chuckled as I turned onto the highway and drove right into Los Angeles traffic.
The cars were backed up for miles. Traffic was notorious and ever present, not like the “forgotten” events in another overcrowded metropolis thousands of miles away.
My friend visiting from Belgium said

“What The Heck Man, is this always how bad traffic is in LA?”

I nodded and said

“Everyday.”

He looked over to me and said

“But I bet you are glad you are far away from all that drama huh?”

Feeling the twinge from the nerve damage in my abdomen from the gunshot would I suffered that night, I looked out the window and then into the rearview mirror at my kids on their iPads and I replied

“Every. Single. Day bro
Every. Single. Day”

The End.

End of the Bastards series.
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#SanmiSaturdays

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

Fiction

Memory Heart, Storage Cards

Young Adewus in 2014. Naive, in love, and just not anywhere near ready.

I don’t have a title for this post, maybe I have a theme but I don’t know.
I will like to point out that I am writing and posting this because I am committed to consistency. I also want to take this moment to apologize to everyone reading my current series “Bastards” – you are in for a shocker on Saturday.
Whew! I am so excited.

While trying to set up a computer for my best friend a few months ago, I accidentally wiped my external hard drive. All my files – pictures, documents, music and videos from almost 10years were just gone like that.
My friends call me a picture or memory hoarder.
More on that in a bit.

I bought the EaseUS Recovery software and it did a deep scan of my hard drive. I got back almost everything.
Granted things are not properly tagged and I have been spending hours trying sort through them but the fact is, I got my memories back.
But there is a thing about memories, they elicit contrasting emotions from us in many ways.
Going through the files, I saw pictures and videos of exes, ex friends, acquaintances turned family and everything else.
I laughed some and cried some.
It was truly insane.
And that is the beauty of keeping these memories, they make you feel – good or bad.

They also show growth. A unique journey to the present.
I love having memories of the past because they color our present and inform our future.
Going through the pictures, I was reminded of places where I fucked up, stood up and even places where I ran.
Unintentionally, they reminded me to be a better man today and help inform the type of man I want to be tomorrow.
It is important to feel all of it.

I have never been one to go back and read text messages but I tried that recently and I was washed with regret and sadness. Never let looking back make you feel bad for your past, even if you were lost then, you sure found your way to where you are now.
Be proud of that.
Question: have you ever viewed/read/watched/heard something from your past that made you feel or do stupid things? Let me know in the comments below.

Till Saturday y’all,

Stay Up, Stay Safe & Stay Strong.
I LOVE YOU!

Yours always,

The Wordsmith
Master of Cliffhangers

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Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

Fiction

Bastards 3

Even bastards hate other bastards.

“What the fuck do you mean my brother?”

I snarled as the car had just pulled up on the side of the road.

“I am sorry to say this sir, but from my findings it appears that your brother and your fiancée have been in a sexual relationship for sometime now.”

Lawyer Williams replied.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Findings???
What do you mean by findings?”

I queried.
My mother jumped in and said,

“Since I had known that your father was going to pass, I made sure to look into every individual joining our family.
Since you two were going to get married, I had her looked into. There wasn’t a lot on her; seems like she is an orphan, but she has been supported by a family that we know.”

Still in absolute shock, I said,

“Wow, this is crazy.
So in all the research, they couldn’t find out that we hadn’t been having sex?”

My mom chuckled and said,

“Adetomiwa, do you expect us to not assume that you two were doing all sorts of things? From all the traveling and posting pictures, I frankly assumed that you both were very in love with each other –
…okay maybe not love but at least deeply attracted to each other.”

I sighed and turned my head to the left, looking out the window.
This was just too much.

“How sure are you that it belongs to my brother?”

He responded,

“With 99% certainty, sir.”

My head dropped and my mother put her left hand around my back.

“I am sorry, son.”

I started to cry. Maybe it lasted a few minutes or maybe longer but I was so tired.
Exhausted really.
This was too much in a short span. I just wished I was in bed acting like the last few months had never even happened.
In that moment, I became annoyed with my father. His death, his insistence that I marry Ivie and my love for making him proud had all contributed to this unfortunate situation that I couldn’t figure a way out of.
As I battled the sniffles and gathered myself, I asked,

“Where is Adesuwa’s body?”

Lawyer Williams turned around to look at me and said,

“Taken care of.”

I glanced at my mom and then at him.

“Taken care of?”

I asked.
He nodded slowly and looked at my mom.
I continued,

“What are you guys up to?”

My mother spoke,

“We have notified her parents and made arrangements for a funeral.
My team of investigators and the police will get to the bottom of it. Don’t worry yourself and none of it will blow back on you.”

I was dumbfounded.
My mom told the driver to start driving and then I spoke.

“What is there to investigate? Ivie pulled the trigger.
She should be arrested and find out what the hell is going on here.”

My mom smiled and then got serious,

“Her father just motioned for a board vote. Along with all of this happening, it is safe to say that we are playing a bigger game here. And I won’t lose. Nor will I let us lose.
Let us handle it and watch me work… driver take us home. Let me call the house, so they can prepare you some food.”

It was the first time I tasted my spit. It was thick and bitter.
My appetite for food was gone; for revenge though, palpable.

________

All of my siblings had made it to Lagos by the next morning. Except my brother, obviously.
I had just come from a run down the street. My mom had the gateman run behind me just to make sure another set of eyes were present.
The run cleared my head and I felt a little bit lighter.

“Dejo, when dem build the house across the street there?”

I asked him as we stretched in front of the gate.

“Ah, oga maybe like 4 months now. I hear say them even import all the furniture from abroad.”

He said.
He laughed as he saw me laugh.

“Dejo, how you know say na from abroad?”

I teased him.
He flashed his big smile and replied,

“Me and their gateman dey watch ball together. Both of us be Chelsea fans, so we dey watch game together.”

I remember teasing him that Chelsea was not that good, as we entered the compound.
Cars were lined up.
My sisters were around.

As I entered the living room, I gave hugs and greeted everyone.
It was clear that what was troubling us was very different.
They were there for answers.
I was too, but to very different questions.

I went upstairs to take a shower while everyone got ready for breakfast.
I could smell the eggs as I returned some minutes later.
The table was set with yam and eggs with tea, juice and wine. There was also bread because Kehinde somehow didn’t like yam; weird because she ate so much of it as a child.

We all sat down and started eating.
The elephant in the room was waiting to be addressed, especially with our father’s pictures hanging from every corner of the house.
But unlike when we were kids, and couldn’t talk while eating at the table, everyone seemed to yap away including my mom.
As the table was cleared after the meal, my mom began to speak.

“So I know there was a lot that was said during the will reading. I know you all probably have questions, but let me assure you that I will do my best to answer truthfully and to the best of my knowledge.”

As she paused, my older sister Yewande asked,

“I think I speak for all of us here when I ask, was all the information from the will reading true?
Was Daddy not our father?”

My mother sipped from her coffee, placed the mug down, locked both sets of her fingers into each other and placed them on her lap. She looked up and said,

“Biologically, no.”

It was as if the whole room let out a sigh of relief.
Not at the news exactly but at the truth being spoken.

“Years ago, your father found out he was unable to have his own kids after a checkup. He had gotten very ill and we thought we were going to lose him.
We had just gotten married and everything seemed bleak. We went to a doctor in Amsterdam and it was there we found out his count was too low and he may never be able to have children.
Your father took it hard but it was no real fault of his. It was genetic.
Talking to his mother, he found out that your grandfather had the same issues, but turned to traditional medicine and some dark magic stuff.
Your father was never that type of man. He was…”

Taiwo’s phone began ringing out and my mother temporarily paused as we all gave her the stink eye.
My mother smiled and gracefully continued,

“He was never going to go that route. He believed that everything he did came from God and he had worked hard to become who he was. He was confident that he deserved whatever he got from God.
Even I in my naive mind, I tried to convince him to let us try “alternatives”
He refused.

He knew that I wanted children and I knew he did too, despite the fact that he could not have his own.
One day, after almost 5 years of being married, he came to me with a proposition.
Your father had spoken to him on one of their boys trips and he offered to father the children.
I remember cursing out your father and even leaving the house for weeks.
I was so disappointed.
I never even allowed him to explain that the eggs would be artificially inseminated. When he finally told me, I battled with it for months before I finally agreed.
We went to see a consultant in Germany and then the team that did the job was in Italy.
Seamless process.
No real questions asked.
Once I had you Inumidun, your father was the happiest man in the world. The way he loved on you was amazing.
I had never seen a man show that much love before, even though I was confident that he loved me.
When I had you Tomiwa…”

She paused and smiled hard.
Then continued,

“Anuoluwatomiwa, that was the name we chose. Your father’s family would ultimately pressure him into Adetomiwa but we knew what we chose and what it stood for.
But once we had you, the man was even more in love. He was crazy about you and your sister. No one could touch you anyhow. People had to wash their hands and if he felt their energy was off, he wouldn’t even let them near you.
It was so beautiful.

That summer, he went on his boys’ trip and came back with your brother. Knowing his situation, I was sure he didn’t get some woman pregnant but I couldn’t explain where the child was from.
He claimed to have seen him at an orphanage on a business trip and then brought him home. We named him Ayokunle because in all honesty, he brought more joy to the house.
The way Inumidun and Tomiwa took to him, it was perfect. We had the money, too much of it; who was I to stop us from taking in more children and blessing them.
We thought about having one more kid. I wanted a girl to balance the equation. Miraculously, after the eggs were inserted, we found out we were having twins.
I was overjoyed and so grateful we had kept Kunle. 3 girls, 2 boys – all from this womb.
I was grateful to God. “

She sipped her coffee before continuing,

“About 10 years after the twins were born, your ‘biological father’ passed away. He never wanted the limelight or money; despite that, your father ensured that he was an honorary member of the company and his family still gets payouts yearly. They are disguised as dividends from the company.
Telling you who he was was now moot.
However, your father planned to tell you this year. Late last year, he was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer.
It deteriorated fast, even though outwardly he was our warrior.
He never got the chance to explain, but that is the story. You all know how much he loved you.
If you will be upset with him, take it up with me as well. We are one team and we made every decision together.
You are OUR children.”

The twins started crying once my mom finished.
As you can imagine, it was a lot.
But I felt such great relief.
He never lied to us, he just never got to telling us the truth as we would understand it.
I respected him for it.

We all got up and hugged my mom.
We didn’t need the follow up questions. We knew who our father was and that was enough for us.
As we broke away, my older sister said,

“Where is Kunle?”

Teary eyed, my mother went into strategist mode.

“He’ll be with us soon. He was handling some important family business for me.”

I left and went up to the room I was staying in.
Laying on the bed and facing the ceiling with my arms spread wide on the bed, I kept thinking.
What exactly I was thinking about, I am still not sure.
Suddenly, it clicked.
I needed to get to the bottom of the Ivie and Kunle thing. Plus, why did Adesuwa pull a weapon on me?

I got up and headed to the reading table.
Adesuwa’s phone was dead. I plugged it in and waited for a few minutes. Soon enough, it lit up.

Password.
Fuck!
I played with a few variations and then I tried her card PIN number which she had shared with me many years ago.
It worked.
Oh my luck.
What I was about to see would show me that luck was nothing compared to the grace that saved my life.

_____________

IVIE: “The man will bring it to you.”

ADESUWA: I have never used one before, outside of a shooting range.

IVIE: It’s totally fine. Cook. Have sex with him. Once he is sleeping, you do it. We will come and pick up the body.

ADESUWA: Ok. But when will the money be transferred?

IVIE: A quarter has been moved. Half within 24 hours of completion and the remaining quarter after 30 days to avoid any suspicions.

ADESUWA: And you are sure this won’t come back to either of us?

IVIE: Yes.

My mouth was completely ajar as I read this full exchange between Adesuwa and Ivie.
I couldn’t even believe it.
My heart was shattered.
I couldn’t imagine what Ivie could possibly have said or offered Adesuwa that would make her willing to kill me.
My head was hurting and the betrayal was unlike anything I had ever experienced.
I was in so much pain, I never came out of my room for the rest of the day. I spent most of my time crying and sleeping.

The next morning, I got woken up by a call from a long time friend.
I didn’t know the number and I must have answered while half asleep. He just called to check in, but it was good to connect with someone from my regular life and remind me of some normalcy that I once had.
As I lay there, there was a knock on the door.

“Who is it?”

I grumbled.
It was my older sister.

“Mom wants you downstairs now.”

It felt like a school morning. I tossed for a few minutes before coming down.
As I walked down the stairs, the living room went quiet.
Emerging from the stairway, I noticed Kunle and Ivie sitting next to each other.

“What the fuck are they doing here?”

I asked broadly while almost charging at them.
Kunle stood up. Ready for whatever, he was the type.
My mother and lawyer Williams tried to calm me down.
They led me to sit down.
I stared at them for a minute and then I said,

“Ivie, I just want to know why.
Why?”

She looked down at her hands and then said,

“I am sorry. I really am.
I didn’t mean any harm.”

I was boiling

“No harm?
You didn’t mean any harm by sleeping with my brother and getting pregnant for him?
No harm????”

My sisters gasped.
Shocked.
I continued,

“Oh you guys didn’t know?
Well I just found out too and not even from you! So please tell us how you meant no harm?”

Kunle jumped in and said,

“Let me explain.”

I stood up and snapped,

“Shut up.
Don’t you say a fucking word ‘cos I swear, I will rip you apart with my bare hands.
Let her explain to us. You were supposed to be family, but I guess you are just useless and stupid.”

He postured but he knew I could probably take him.
I pressured,

“Come on Ivie, tell us why you decided to fuck my brother for YEARSSSS and then try to have me killed?”

Kunle was shocked.
He turned to her in shock and said,

“Ivie tell me he’s making this up.”

My mother was standing and reading to charge.
The whole house felt like it was about to collapse.

“Fucking tell us!!!!”

I yelled at her.

She was beginning to sob. Kunle was shocked to his core.
My guess is that he never knew the extent of her plans.
Before she could talk, Dejo ran into the house and said in the direction of my mother,

“Madam, madam!
Come see something for gate.”

“Dejo, what is it?”

She asked like he was being a nuisance.
He, panting, said,

“Madam, na wetin I never see in my life.
Please come.”

We saw the concern in his eyes and reluctantly we all followed.
We got to the gate and he pressed the controls to get it opened.

As it peeled open, what stood on the other side was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life.
I looked around as mouths and jaws were on the floor.
The WhatTheHeckMan couldn’t even be said.
All that stood on the paved concrete of Lagos was my father’s coffin.
Yes, you read that right.
The coffin my old man was buried with in Ibadan was right in front of our home in Ikoyi.

My mother was right. This was war.
But this was never the type of blow we expected.
What the actual fuck, man?

End of Part 3.
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