“Mummy, I said I am not getting married on Saturday! Is there something more to this whole marriage issue? There has to be because this is very strange and also very ridiculous!”
“Olajide, are you speaking to your mother in that tone?”
He gasped, words eluding him as he stood in front of his mother there in his bedroom. She was not going to discuss why he had to get married on Saturday, she was bothered about what tone he used to speak to her.
“When did you lose respect for me? I will like to know o, because before that unbelieving child of Jezebel returned into your life you had respect for me.”
Jide watched her incredulously; she even had the nerve to be angry. She refused to see the chaos she was stirring up in his world.
He shook his head, marched to his wardrobe and started pulling out his clothes. He was leaving, he was taking a step in the direction he wanted his life for once. He had thrown all his clothes on the bed when he realized his earlier phone call was still on, he picked his phone and told her, “Suga Spice, I am leaving.”
“Do whatever works for you.” she said and hung up.
He was surprised to know she was still on the phone, waiting for him and he was further surprised that she didn’t seem excited that he was leaving his parents’ house and taking the first step towards freedom.
He grabbed his oldest traveling bag which sat on the top of his wardrobe and which he rarely used because he never left the house.
“Where are you going?” She asked him
“I will let you know when I know.”
“You are packing out of the house because I told you to get married?”
He nodded as he packed all of his things into the bag. He turned around and strode towards his shoe closet; there he grabbed his favorite pairs of brogues, patent shoes and tennis shoes.
He would have to return for those things he couldn’t take with him now.
She called but he chose not to answer. He pulled the zip on the bag, grabbed his wallet and left the room. She followed him immediately, trying to stop him by calling his name and asking numerous questions at once.
When she reached the door and realized he was not going to return into the house, she ran in to call her husband.
But by the time she returned, he was gone.
Tamilore knew what Jide was doing was the step in the right direction, he was standing up to his mother for once and being a man but she also knew that if she made him believe he was doing it for her, he would never realize how much his actions were for him.
He was the one who had never had a life of his own, he was the one who had never been allowed to be his own man and make his own decisions, he had to realize that the step he had chosen to take was for him and nobody else.
However, as she hit the sheets that night, she knew things were beginning to look up for her. The rest of her life had just begun and it was looking bright from where she was.
Aunty ‘Molola took her place on the podium and began to address the group of young women that sat in large numbers in the wide hall. She spoke on self-esteem, on being a strong woman and on refusing to be talked down by anybody.
Tamilore had not paid to be a part of this crowd but she was learning everything that was being said.
Since she returned from the UK, a creep right on her heels, she had not decided what path to follow, but here she was on a weekday, working and listening to one of the best talks of her life, realizing she wanted to be a strong woman in whatever she chose to do.
She had been hard on Jide, telling him to be bold, to stop being a coward and asking him to be strong but the truth was she hadn’t been such a strong woman herself.
She was a coward who had chosen to evade her fears, do the things she was made for and who had been too scared to go in the direction she wanted.
As her Aunt brought the talk to a close, she realized that if she wanted Jide, it was only fair to be the woman who matched up to the standards she dared demand of him.
“How did you know you wanted to be this woman who empowered the world?” Tamilore asked her during the drive back to the Office.
“After I overcame depression and realized to be strong, I didn’t only have to find my strength, I had to help others find their strength.” She adjusted herself, facing Tamilore as the car drove them to their destination. “I also found out that all the weight I was throwing around pushing my husband to be a strong man, I had to do the same to myself so I would be strong for him too.”
Tamilore nodded, listening with rapt attention.
“Then after several years of being with my late mentor, I realized that empowering myself meant empowering others and so I chose to be that person.” she smiled as she went on, “When God said love your neighbour as yourself, honey, He meant we should go all the way. Not just hand them gifts at Christmas and then wait till next Christmas before loving them again, not just pop up when something bad has happened to them and then reappear when something bad has happened again.” She tapped Tamilore gently on the arm, “Loving your neighbour as yourself means constant communication, saying great and powerful things, saying hello, checking in, telling them you care, helping them to stay strong, empowering them… so asides from wanting to stay strong, what caused me to choose this path was the fact that I wanted to obey God by loving and one of the biggest ways to love is to empower.”
The words sank deep inside of her, replacing the physical hunger she had started to feel inside of her, causing her to wonder why nobody ever thought to talk to her this way.
But then it occurred to her why, Aunty ‘Molola understood what it was to love.
Jide left from a Hotel to the Office the next morning and for the first time in thirty-three years, he actually felt liberated.
He danced through the open office to his own closed office that morning. He did not need caffeine for the rush to work; freedom was his unbranded, unpackaged form of caffeine.
He was alive through meetings, finished his work for the day at midday and placed his legs on the table to play Candy Crush.
Life couldn’t be more beautiful.
His Candy Crush level was interrupted when his father called to inform him that his mother had collapsed and was being attended to at the Hospital.
He grabbed a bottle of water, drank it and sang Out Of Eden’s Window as he danced to the car.
Tamilore was halfway through her lunch of donut and flavored water when Aunty ‘Molola appeared at her desk with a letter she wanted her to draft and an old CD.
“This CD helped me find who I should be.” she said as she drummed her fingers on it. “My favorite track on it still remains Tomorrow. You’d love it too.”
Tamilore took a closer look at the CD on the table, it was Out Of Eden.
“Can you listen to music while you work?” she inquired.
Aunty ‘Molola smirked, “Good. Because I brought this just in case.” She placed a deck on the table and plugged it. “Listen to Tomorrow. Window is also a good song. God speaks through anything, music is one of His favorite medium. That’s why He used it with one of His best friends ever, King David.”
As she walked away, Tamilore slipped the CD into the player and listened.
There are times, times we
Can be swayed so easily
Doubt can come in my mind
And I’m ready to give up this time
But I’ve got to keep on going, got to keep on movin’
Got to keep on pressing it through
Cause I know my God is able, Oh He’s more than able
Its no thing to take care of you…
It took her fourth listen to the song to realize Aunty ‘Molola knew she might be facing things she didn’t want to talk about and she understood but she also wanted her to know that God could handle it, He would handle it.
Tears stung her eyes as she started to understand the real meaning of love for the first time in her existence.
Jide stood by the entrance of the Hospital ward, refusing to step in. He watched his mother from the entrance; she was sitting up now, facing him.
As he watched her, saying nothing, he realized this scene was all too familiar. She had pulled this same stunt on him every time he tried to walk away, every time he tried to become his own person.
It was not going to work anymore. He was not going to let her selfish act drag him back into the little toddler he had remained all of his life.
He was done being remote controlled, he was done being a child.
He smiled at her, walked closer, kissed her hard on the forehead, then stuck his hands in his pockets and strode out of the ward.
Grace gaped at her son’s retreating frame in shock.