Yetunde hated funerals. It did not matter whether the person who had died was a teenager or an old man, she just simply hated funerals. She never attended and she was usually teased by her mother for being allergic to funerals.
When she was eight, she had attended her grandmother’s funeral and had fallen terribly sick after then, she had fallen sick two other times after attending a funeral and this had made her parents to get someone to babysit her and her sisters while they attended someone’s funeral.
“But me I like funerals” Tamilore had cried one day when her parents wouldn’t take her to an old Uncle’s funeral.
Her mother had told her gently that she was strange and, “Besides, Yetunde does not like funerals.”
Tamilore had been crushed. They never did things Yetunde didn’t want to do, it did not matter to their parents whether they wanted it or not. As long as Yetunde did not want it, it was off limits.
The hatred for funerals had not gone away as Yetunde matured into a woman and now that her sister passed, she was not a part of the planning process and would not be attending.
So on the day she would be buried, Yetunde went to Church for Sunday service. When the service was over, she waited with several other people who were trying to see Mummy Jacobs, a prominent part of the Church and a member of the marriage committee.
As soon as she joined the group of people waiting to see Mummy Jacobs, she started to ask herself why she had decided to do it.
When she woke up that morning, she had told herself she needed to get out of the house and so she came to Church, telling herself she would see one of the members of the marriage committee and discuss her recent anger and disappointment at Timilehin’s attitude.
Then she had gotten there and the reason had seemed foolish to her, she looked around and decided to leave the Church. The reason she had run here was simple, she had been unwilling to go through the sadness of watching her sister buried. It was hard to see, hard to face, hard to cope with.
Her and Lamide never really got along but she was still her sweet sister and seeing her lying lifeless and cold in a coffin was very hard to see.
“Sister Yetunde, how are you? I called you when I came to your branch during the week but your number was off, shey you’re fine?”
Yetunde flashed a smile at the woman sitting near her, she was a single beautiful woman in her late thirties and she was waiting to see Mummy Jacobs as well.
“I’m fine.” Yetunde responded and then got up.
“There never used to be so many people waiting here to see Mummy Jacobs o, I wonder what happened today…” Then she continued to go on and on about nothing in particular and that bored Yetunde.
Hastily trying to avoid the gossip, which she found irritating, Yetunde muttered an excuse and tried to pass by her partner. She was still talking, didn’t seem concerned that the person she was talking to was trying to get away…
“He married her in the UK, she was a stripper. I don’t even know the girl”
That made Yetunde pause, “Who are you talking about?”
“Pastor Jide na. Haven’t you been listening?”
She hadn’t been listening but now she did. She made her way back to her seat, sat and gave the woman near her all the attention she wanted.
“You will never take me seriously would you?” He asked, pained. She shook her head in response, withdrew her hands and swallowed the mixture of Hennesy and coke she had made earlier.
“I’m falling in love with you, Tamtam.” she gulped a large quantity of the alcohlolic mixture she made when she heard that.
“I have to get ready for the funeral” She was trying to avoid him, trying not to have that conversation but he knew better and he was not taking the bait.
“I know.” They were both dressed, ready for the funeral, which was happening in an hour, and for which Tamilore was stalling on purpose. She was scared to face the moment she would finally say goodbye to her best friend and sister and so she had been mixing cocktails and downing them with vigour.
“Tamtam, you don’t have to say anything, I just want you to know.”
And she smiled, “Okay.” she said, her fingers deftly running through his face as her hands held them. She ran her fingers through his face as if she was born to touch him, all the while, her eyes gazing into his with so much intensity he wondered what she was thinking.
“Let’s go. Let’s go and bury my sister.” she muttered, her words accompanied by a blank expression.
He wished he knew what she was thinking or how she exactly she was feeling because she did not say much or show much but he was glad he was there with her, helping her through the moment.
He was glad he was the man she wanted to share the turbulent period with, not the other guy.
“Olajide, if the devil is insisting on inhabiting you, why don’t you tell him there’s no space ehn? Abi what type of carnal behavior is this?” She was livid and the words tumbled off her lips with as much anger as she had inside of her.
She had carried the night before in her mind and had not said anything until right now, after service, few minutes to dinner.
She had asked him to come to her room and they had both stepped outside to talk in the same spot she had stood the night before when she saw him.
“I’m sorry mummy but…”
“But what?” she snapped in anger, “You have a fiancée tori Olorun, why would you choose to gallivant the town with that sinful creature.”
“You’re judging her.”
“Judgment is already on her and her generation my dear because someone like that cannot make Heaven.”
That roused a feeling he couldn’t place or recognize inside of him. She was casting judgment on Tamilore like she always did with people she did not like, people she believed did not measure up to her spiritual standards.
She always casted judgment like she was God, like she had secured a seat at the VVIP table in Heaven where God and the Elders in Heaven sat.
When he was younger, he had believed that was how God worked but when he grew up and understood the scriptures well, he knew God did not work like that.
He did not condone sin but he always showed mercy.
“I am going to say this one last time, severe all ties with that girl and make sure she does not set foot in this house or anyone around you ever again. If your excuse for hanging around is to find out what she wants, then no more! I will handle that.”
“How?” he asked
“Why don’t you go on your knees and ask God for forgiveness instead of wondering how I will deal with the situation.”
He wished he could say he was not alarmed by those words, but he was.
Alero was not sure how she felt about Grace Ademola-Rogers, she was one of her mother’s newest friends and their friendship just didn’t seem right. She sensed they were with each other because of things they could benefit from each other and she also sensed her mother was the one who called the shots in the friendship.
She hated when her mother called the shots in any relationship, it reminded her of how the woman coldly controlled her own life and left no decision to her to make. And it irked her that so far, nobody had been able to beat her at her own game.
Grace sat opposite Alero in the restaurant where she had asked them to meet earlier and went straight to the point, “Do you know that verse in the bible that says, the kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent taketh it by force?”
Alero nodded, she didn’t read the Bible much because she didn’t care much about it but she knew that one.
“Good. You are going to apply it to your life now.”
Alero nodded again, she got it.
She had expected the funeral to leave her devastated, what she had not expected was for it to leave her exhausted and leaving her to want Jide.
There was suddenly a deep need for him. She wanted to see him, wanted him to rock her gently like a baby and tell her everything would be fine even if he was not sure himself.
She picked her phone and contemplated dialing him, she toyed with the idea until her mother walked into the room and told her she was leaving the next day.
Tamilore hugged her tight and then she asked her to come home with her.
Tamilore was hesitant, it was a great idea to go home but she was not sure she was prepared to.
Her mother told her to let her know if she ever changed her mind and was getting ready to leave when Yetunde walked in and announced that she had a visitor.
“Shebi you will sha tell me why you are trying to set yourself on fire after she leaves.” Yetunde whispered as the trio made it out of the room.
“She?” she quizzed, puzzled that a she was looking for her.
But her answer soon came when they walked into the sitting room and she saw Alero standing there with a smile on her face.
Her message was simple and direct, “I came to warn you to stay away from my husband and his ministry. God bless you as you listen.”
When she stepped out of the house, Yetunde faced her, “So it was you abi? You’re the one who went to destroy their marriage counseling.” she looked at their mother, “Mummy can you see your daughter? One second in Lagos and she is already breaking the city.”
“I was leaving it to you to decide before but now I am taking you home with me.” Her mother said sternly, “This is the worst you have done and I am tired of you trying to wreck your life.”
Her mother stormed out of the sitting room in annoyance, Yetunde glanced at her kid sister when she was gone, “I agree with everything she said.”
The words his mother uttered the day before tormented him all through the night, he barely slept a wink and he had a feeling that she had done something unfair to Tamilore.
He wanted to call her and ask how she was, but he decided against it. He would not call, he would find his way to her and house and ask her the questions.
Besides, since the kiss they shared in front of his house days before, while they gazed at the stars like long time lovers and while they shared childhood memories, he had been further drawn to her.
He went through the day mechanically, he was not alive. What kept him however were his thoughts that always somehow ended up with her no matter how busy he was.
When he finished with work, he drove straight to Yetunde’s house.
She opened the door but refused to let him past it, he sensed something was wrong because she wouldn’t talk.
“Tamilore, what happened?”
“Your fiancee was here and she told my mom and my sister that I was trying to ruin your lives, now my mother is taking me away from Lagos. Good news huh? If I were you, I’ll watch my back with that creep hovering around.”
Jide was boiling inside; this was what his mother had in mind when she said she would take care of the situation. “Tamilore, please don’t go.”
“Fight for me, Jide. It’s what I expect you to do.”
He knew that and he was going to fight.