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“Hey babes, I just got a call from Big Mama and they are planning sum’n for momsie’s birthday. It’s sum’n really small – family only. She said we should get there about midday.”

That was how I remembered my end of the phone conversation going.

True, she told me she had a colleague’s wedding to attend on Saturday – the same day of the ‘do’, and a fashion house opening by a friend’s sister – and in my characteristic way I had said nothing one way or the other to force her decision. But I had expected she would shuffle her social calender and prioritize events accordingly.

We were having one of our fights at the time so I did not check in with, or check up on, her as regularly as I ordinarily would have. I got to Mama’s place a bit early, so I did not think it strange that she was not there. When my siblings arrived, I got caught up in the joy of their company and did not notice time fly. That was until Big Mama pointedly looked at me and asked “Where is our wife?”

Feeling hot under the collar I said “She is attending a wedding.”

A collective gasp went up around the table. “She’s on the train…” I rushed on, but the damage was done. Looking around the gathering at everyone there, I saw each of my sibling present with their partner in tow. Even my kid brother had his homeboys with him – as he could not decide on which girlfriend to bring to the family gathering. And to think I had already brought her home and introduced her as “our wife”.

When one hour later there was still no sign of her, I called her. She had left the wedding, and was just heading out to the fashion event. Huh?!

Long story short, I was finally home when she called and said she was coming over to mine. Initially I refused, but then I considered that she eventually went to see Mama anyway, so I relented. As she launched into her apology, one thing became clear: she had no idea of the gravity or implication of her actions or the lack there of. That she did not make it over was bad in itself, but not calling any of the family women to give them a heads up was something I could not understand. And I told her as much.

“You mean there are two offences?!” Came her reply.

Mentally, I changed tracks and said instead, “Assume this was an occasion for your mum, would you honestly had gone for those functions before returning home? Without a word to anybody in the house?”

“I don’t know.” She hedged. “I don’t think so.”

“Please don’t insult me with an answer like that. We both know you wouldn’t.” I told her in a cool voice.
“I only came here to apologize, I didn’t come here to compare mothers.” She fired at me.

Even in my position, lying on my back and looking up at her, my jaw dropped to my ankles. “Breathe…” I told myself. I got up to drain my laundry and so I was at the machine when I heard the ‘koi, koi, koi’ of high heels. When she came into view she had on her shoes on her feet, handbag on her arm and purse clutched under her armpit. Although later her lips said otherwise, her body language was one of somebody ready to go – regardless of the consequence.

10 days later I told her we were through, for even though I had promised her months ago that I would never leave her unless she asked me to go, I knew I could not put up with her attitude and obvious disrespect for my family for the rest of my life.



I was either working on something really serious, or doing a good job of looking like it when my phone buzzed. It was the boyfriend. I rolled my eyes. We had been having one of our “usual” fights, and as with the other times, I was not particularly keen on being nice so I answered the phone with a sour tone.

“Hey babes, Big Mama is planning something for mumsie’s birthday and it’s this Saturday.” Came the familiar casual tone.

“I see.” I replied, sounding professional. “I have a wedding and my friend’s sister is launching her fashion house as well on that same day.” I retorted.

“Oookay. Anyway, it’s a small gathering, family only. Just wanted to let you know.”




I hung up making a mental note to plan Saturday properly so that I could at least “show face” for all three events, but it was easier said than done as the wedding alone was proving tough to ditch.

I had expected to attend only the church service, and then head over to the fashion house launch; but with all my colleagues there, it seemed odd to just turn and leave from church. So to the reception I went. “I’ll stay till the couple dance in and take their seats centre stage, and then I’ll make a run for it.” I told myself, but regretted it about forty five minutes after getting to the reception when the newlyweds still hadn’t arrived. Two hours, a soft drink, and many conversations later, I was en route to the Fashion House launch, silently chastising myself for bad time management when I felt my phone buzz.


“Where are you?”

“I’m on my way to the Fashion event. You know? The one I told you about? I left the wedding a little late and then went home to change. I am just leaving the estate, you won’t believe-”

“Are you kidding me?”

“What is it?”

“What do you mean ‘what is it?’ Didn’t I tell you today was mumsie’s birthday party?”

“Yes and I’m still going, I just have to touch this fashion event first.”

“You have got to be kidding me. I can’t believe you right now.”

“Look, but we discussed this. Why are you blowing this out of proportion? Besides, you did not tell me what time it was going to start.”

“Wha? You know what? This is me hanging up on you.” Click

“Hello? Hello?” I screamed into the phone, not because I thought he was still on the other end, but because I didn’t want to believe he actually hung up on me. We fought all the time, and I mean all the time but he had never hung up on me. I must have really pissed him off. I looked at my phone for a few seconds. Should I call back?

Then I got this message on my Blackberry: “Yes, but I hoped you were going to have enough sense to know what was more important. And quite frankly, I do not think it’s a lacking in sense, I just believe that’s you having ZERO respect for my family.”

Is that what he thought? That was certainly not my intention. Rather than call back, I felt it would be better to just speak with him in person. I needed to get to his mum’s place as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I was only minutes away from the fashion event and I had promised to be there, so I reluctantly decided to make a brief stop; but I might as well have not gone because while I was there, all I could think of were my boyfriend’s words. I couldn’t control the tremble in my voice when I arrived at his mum’s. I wondered if my boyfriend’s mother could tell I wasn’t all there when I hugged her. I only hoped she didn’t think it was a half-hearted hug. I saw a look on her face, one of those “I am glad you made it sha, but your own ‘African time’ na wa oh.” Everyone else had left – even his older brother who had given me directions to the place. I gave my well wishes, and muttered something about traffic.

To be honest, and I’m sorry to say this, I could care less. All that preoccupied my mind was my boyfriend. I have screamed, cursed, and said downright mean things to him but he had never hung up on me. I started to wonder if he had reached his breaking point. Over one hour later, and with still no word from him, I was beside myself with worry. I didn’t know if I had damaged things beyond repair, and I was not sure how to go about fixing it.

“Just call him.” His younger brother urged. He made it sound so simple. I had to give it a shot.

“So I was wondering if I can I come over…and talk?” I asked fearfully after he answered the phone. The tremor in my voice was a little embarrassing, but it didn’t matter at the moment. After playing hardball and telling me not to bother, he paused and said “Sure.”

“Okay, see you soon.” I said eagerly.

“Yeah” He hung up.

He sounded so cold, like something had died inside of him. I took a deep breath. “You’ve really done it this time.” I told myself.

My strategy was simple: start with an apology and don’t stop until he accepts. I prayed it would work.

“I’m sorry.” I let out as soon as he opened the door.

He left the door ajar for me to enter and walked away.

“Did you hear me?” I asked, a little taken aback by his demeanor as I followed him inside and closed the door behind me. “I said I’m sorry.”

“I heard you.” He said coldly, lying down on the carpeted floor.

I sat across from him. “I’m really sorry. If I had known that it was going to be that big a deal, I would have definitely gone there first.”

“You don’t get it, do you?”

I blinked in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“It’s bad enough that you missed the party, but you couldn’t even be bothered to call Big Mama or mumsie to let them know that you would be late.”

I had come to his place with the intention of apologizing but he was making it difficult.

“You mean I committed two offenses?” I groaned.

He adjusted himself on the floor. “Let’s assume this was your mum’s birthday, would you have gone to those other events before attending? And without telling anyone? Be honest!”

I sighed, looking everywhere but at him. “I don’t know…I don’t think so.”

“Please don’t insult me with that answer; we both know you wouldn’t!” He spat.

Granted, he had a point, but I did not like the fact that he was implying that I purposely chose to be inconsiderate because it wasn’t my mother.

“I only came here to apologize, and not to compare mothers.” I fired back, abandoning all the guilt I had felt only moments earlier.

He got up and went into the laundry room. I was at my wits end. Here I was, trying to apologize and he was walking around acting like a prima donna. I replayed the events in my head. He had said there was a party, his mum’s birthday party, but he didn’t specify the time so was it really my fault for assuming it would be in the evening? And for crying out loud, I told him my plans for the day, if he expected me to make his mother’s birthday top priority, he should have said something so I wasn’t entirely to blame. And if he was going to be difficult, then I wasn’t going to waste my time. I got up to leave. I hadn’t been feeling well anyway.

A day later, I came to my senses and apologized. I pinged him continuously, tried to call but to no avail. I felt so angry at myself. What was I thinking walking away like that? A combination of my nerves and hormones were driving me insane, and I was sure I was going to have a meltdown, and then he called asking to see me.

It was ten days after I saw him last and sitting in his favourite chair, he looked at me as if prompting me to say something. When I asked him to go ahead and tell me what he had on his mind, his words were swift: “It’s over.”

The world stopped.

“I…but…where is this coming from?” I said, after what seemed like forever.

“Are you serious?”

“I just…I didn’t see that coming. But then I always thought it was too good to be true.”

The room was spinning. “But you promised.” I added, my voice almost a whisper, “You promised that you weren’t going anywhere unless I asked you to leave and…and I didn’t… I haven’t.” I was stunned but was being careful not to sound too desperate. He couldn’t have my heart and my dignity too.

“I just can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.” Was all he said in response.

“You-” I stopped myself. My voice had cracked, I couldn’t let him hear the despair in it, and so I got up, and paced instead.

Moments after he left, I glanced down at, then rubbed my stomach as the tears that I had been keeping at bay formed and began to fall. Not now. This cannot be happening now…

This DUET was with Cousin M.E

Do read other DUETS here.



"Franque is in aviation, which by the way is not his job, just a lifestyle. If he ever kept a diary it would read like his articles will. Unfortunately he doesn't. Scratch that. He didn't.AIRtiquette is a walk in his shoes. Since regular isn't in his vocabulary, brace yourself for a bit of airwalking!" Follow @franque_521 on twitter.


  1. This has me caught btw a rock & a hard place as they both seem 2have genuine reasons 4acting d way they did. But most importantly, this piece ws written and felt 4m d heart. M.E,I lie prostrate whilst giving a standing ovation!

  2. Hmmm, I think you need to complete this story. Without the background history its hard to understand how one incident caused a break up tho I get how important family is. Seemed like failed communication was an issue. And then there is the “rubber her stomach”. Why?

    Hmmm nways, I have a horrible track recors with relationships. So what do I know?

    My love to Zite 🙂

  3. So family, today we come to the END of the DUEts series. iHope y’all had as much fun readin as iHad writin!
    Lemme thank, in ‘order of appearance’, my collaborators: pHisayo, Chidinma, Roli, Mateelly and M.E. It was an honour doin this with y’all.
    Now lemme got off this page and allow U tell me what y’all think of this post here – and the entire Series too.
    Peace, Love and Happyness*

  4. Okay I know I’m a girl so imma b a bit biased but guy u harsh oh! Is dat a break-up issue? I’m assuming dis was a 1st offense…anyhoo, duets is over n I gotta say I totally enjoyed d ride, ur “partners” are fabulous writers n I hope u do sth like dis again soon

  5. I can certainly relate with this although I always kept the ex’s family way above my other social engagements. I think she was wrong thoUgh. Well written. As I read, I could play out the events in my head. Great article Franque.

  6. Wow! Fantastic writing… Franque I knw I’ve told u dis b4 buh ur cousin is rily good.
    Break ups re ALWAYS hard, nd reading from both perspectives jst makes it more real. U neva rily knw wats goin on in d oda person’s head.
    I guess in d end, all dt rily matters is being true to urself.
    Sad d duets re over buh I’m sure uve got sumfin equally or more interesting 4 next month. Can’t wait.

  7. Just as the saying goes…. You do not know what you have until you lose it…… Beautiful read as usually…. Cousin ME, u r a great writer…..

  8. #Lemme gEt off this page*
    @ Mateelly: a rock and a hard place is just about right;
    @ Neefemi: it usually takes one to flip the apple cart – or so iHav been told. As for track record: iAm ahead by a nose 😀

  9. U guys did good… Cousin m.e u were fab. And ddnt allow Franque overshadow u. Kudos! ..interesting story too. 😐

  10. awesome amazing job well done and ur cousin really did sound like she was ”she” talented is all i can say. About d other ish if it was important she’d have found a way ur interpretation wasn’t wrong ladies lets b honest we know when these things happen they didnt ”just happen” she cud hav cut in first told em she had a weddin to attend n wud try n come back or simply called lets be honest she no try but we all ”no try” from time to time. That being said awesome read

  11. @stranger yeah lets be real but i can rilly see masef in her position. It doesnt mean i care less about him or his family.
    @cousin ME can only say glad i met you. love your stories and dis duet is just off the hook. I doff my heart.
    @ franque love the duets but miss AIRtiquette more. I cant see any disrepect oh just misscommunication but you know her better sha

  12. This seems like a miniature ish to cause a breakup except of course if her cup has been over fulling (pardon my English) for a while or if he never really loved her because love forgives all mistakes and sees above the blunders to the heart of the other party. Like kay said you harsh oh and I am not biased

  13. Frankscoz…*longing sigh*
    Franque… Great job as usual.this whole duets thing was a really good idea. I’m honoured to have been part of the scheme *bows*
    That said,
    Way to go you guys.

  14. FRANQUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

    Beht y??? ds is d last duet…. Y end ds duet on such a sad note

    Boo -hoo….let’s “boom”

    Nice one..hope we get anoda duet soon!

  15. Frm my point ov view, dey were both wrng. He ddnt gve her a tym or any oda info abt d gig 4 dt mattr. Nd she had tld him she had oda thngs. On d oda hand, u gotta kno dt boo’s family’s as imprtnt 2 him as urs is 2 u. So treat em d way u’d treat urs. She cud hve ditchd d fashion show aftr d 1st call. Evn if she wz lredi infrnt. Dere wz no need 2 brkup. Dey cudda simply talkd it out. Boo wz sha a bit 2 harsh.

    Anyways, Franque, big hugs 4 dese duets. God bless ur brain. All d oda writrs were off d chain. I hve 2 say ds 1 nd d 1 wiv Chidinma were my faves. Keep doin wat y’all love. xxxo

  16. i love the duest and this is my favourite maybe because i like amebo sha. This has just made me understand her own side of view and the reason behind her actions. i love the way counsin interpreted her own side.

  17. Thank you all so much for your kind words. Considering how great the other duets were, I have to admit I was a little terrified; so I am overjoyed that you enjoyed it.

    @Franque: Thanks for allowing me do this with you coz.
    @mateelly: Prostrate while standking kwa? Wow. I’m honoured, I also dobale in response 🙂
    @kay: Thank you. I look forward to another duet with my coz as well.
    @miss parker: You are so good for my ego. Thank you so much 🙂
    @ijay: Many thanks!
    @Nena: Oh my goodness, I am so rubbing that in my cousin’s face. I had accepted the fact that his writing would overshadow mine, so you can’t imagine how excited your comment made me. Thanks!
    @stranger: Thanks a lot and no be lie you talk, sometimes we just no dey try but there is usually no harm meant.
    @i know i know: Thanks, the pleasure was mine. I hope to meet you again.
    @Chidinma: You are also good for my ego. Thanks dear!
    @MzSwitz: Thank you!
    @Efe: Thank you! I think that loving amebo thing is in our blood 🙂

  18. This is my favorite tale so far. It goes to show how both sexes hear the exact same words but read meaning into them SO VERY DIFFERENTLY. But no man would break up with a girl for that single offense he either has someone else or thing’s had been building up for a while before it came to a head.
    She was most likely a social butterfly when they met so why would he expect her to suddenly change? Either way any man that dumps a woman he previously called his wife so unceremoniously doesn’t deserve her one bit. People always start relationships in the hope they can “change their partner”. But I absolutely loved this duet.

  19. Franque, you really ARE good. I’m glad I came across your work some months ago and since then, I have been an avid, though silent, reader. You write REALLY great.
    FranksCoz, fancy running into you here :-). I am a HUGE fan!!! This writing thingy obviously runs in the family. Kudos to the both of you. Franque, about her ‘rubbing her stomach’,… congrats about Zite 🙂

  20. @louisa E – Eliciting such thoughts and emotions from the readers was our intent and I’m glad it worked and that you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for your kind words, I believe my head would be swollen for the rest of the day.
    @Olaedo – I am honoured, thank you and yes, it certainly runs in the family.

    @Everybody – Thank you VERY much!

  21. Awww… Sniff!!! Its over… Beautiful ending… Saying goodbye’s always the hardest part… Good job guys… Cant wait for tuesday 🙂

  22. I’m almost a week late. Thanks to my blackberry glitch. Frank’s coz yu did a great job and Franque, words are @ d moment limiting to express myself but yu kno every now? *wink*

  23. Don’t know aw to get my gurl to read this… We r in this situation right now… Misinterpretations and misconceptions…
    Franque I’m a solid fan of ur write ups…

  24. @ Nengie: so it ended for June, but DUEts’ll come up every once in a while;
    @ R$lls: Osé;
    @ Smallz: Sure we kno every;
    @ Lanre: just send her the link. iTrust u guys’ll work ur relationship out, or walk out on it.

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