“Your mother said you have refused to come and check her in the Hospital and she is very worried about this, Is something the matter, Jide?”
Mummy Jacobs raised an eyebrow to accompany the question, Deacon Okpokoro just asked.
They were both sitting in his massive hotel suite, both of them having come in some fifteen minutes earlier.
Deacon Okpokoro looked tired, his eyes not as bright as Jide knew it to be, his shoulders slumped like he had carried an heavy burden all day.
As the only male member of the marriage committee, Jide found himself assuming that all the women, including his mother present in that committee were enough reasons for a man to look like that.
“Did she offend you? You know the Bible says you should forgive and no matter what she might have done, no matter how much it hurts, you have to forgive her.” Deacon Okpokoro continued to say.
“Ha what can be so serious that you cannot forgive your mother of? Is she not your mother? Even if she has done unbelievable things, she gave you life and you must forgive her!”
Jide was tempted to usher Mummy Jacobs out of his suite but he fought the temptation by resisting the urge to throw her obnoxious self out of his room.
“I will attend to her when I can” He said to Deacon Okpokoro, refusing to acknowledge Mummy Jacobs or her statement. He was also trying not to lie. He did not want to but he also knew he could not tell them the truth.
Deacon Okpokoro managed a smile, “So are you saying you will go and see her very soon?” he wanted to know if their visit had changed anything.
“I will talk to God about it and we would settle it.”
He could see Mummy Jacobs eyeing him from the corner of his eyes, she could not understand why he would behave that way towards his mother but if she knew his backstory, she would not understand either, why his mother had being the person she was to him her entire life.
Deacon Okpokoro got ready to leave; he got on his feet and walked towards the door, Mummy Jacobs following him slowly, her icy stare directed fully at Jide.
“Did you bring your car?” Jide directed the question at the elderly man, refusing to say a word to the ignorant woman near him.
“No. I took a cab.”
“Then let me drive you home.” Jide offered, going to grab his keys.
“Are you sure he was alone?” Her voice was coarse because she had been screaming when she prayed, prayers she had been offering every second since Jide walked out of the house.
“He was, that I am very sure of. I just don’t know why he would not want to come home sha… You should talk to him, Children of nowadays and their spoilt attitude…”
Grace decided it was okay, she’d heard enough and Mummy Jacobs could go now, “Thank you, Mummy Jacobs. Goodnight” and she cut her off while the other woman was still talking.
Grace paced the room, her hands on her hips while she thought of what to do to make Jide come back to his senses.
He had never behaved like that to her all his life and as much as she was mad at that stripper girl because she knew she was responsible for the rude behavior, she knew she had to do something soon.
Ademola Rogers entered the room, a large tray in his hands. “Dinner is ready” He announced with a wide smile. Grace ignored him, her feet stomping the ground as she continued to pace the room.
“Grace, he is a grown man. He should have moved out of this house a long time ago, he will come back when he feels the need to…”
The hostile look in her eyes halted his words, caused him to mutter an apology and eventually drop her food tray on a stool by the bed.
“You’re always talking like you don’t think at all. That is why your ministers don’t respect you. If not for me, I am sure they would even have stopped coming to Church.” she snapped, refusing to see the hurt her caustic words caused him.
“My son moved out of the house into a Hotel and that is what you have to say?” she hissed, stormed into a lingerie closet and fished out her bottle of vodka.
“Grace” His words came out in shock, shock that was not as a result of the way she spoke to him without feeling but shock at the bottle of Vodka she had retrieved and which she stormed out of the room, holding.
He sank into the bed, muttering a prayer for her like he always had since they got married. She was always pushing him, always trying to cause him to react in like but like he always did anytime she did that, he asked for grace – the grace to hold on.
“What do you mean the wedding might not hold? Please, please don’t start this rubbish.” she hissed, hung up and thrust the phone into her assistant’s waiting hands. “If that number calls again and you hand me the phone, you will lose your job.” she snapped and stepped into the changing room where Alero was sourly testing wedding dresses.
The store owner who helped her into the dress was more enthusiastic than Alero, she looked like she was the one who was getting married, her face bright, her lips full of smiles and her chatter, endless.
“This one looks very good on you, your husband would love to see you walking down the aisle in it…”
Alero held herself from telling her that was not the case. Her husband wouldn’t care if she walked down the aisle in black; they were not the perfect couple.
She looked at her mother’s reflection through the mirror in front of her, Agnes was not smiling, she looked like she was in a bad mood. Alero frowned, something had gone wrong and from that look which she knew very well, it was bad.
Alero did not care about her mother enough to ask what the problem was, and the closer she got to marrying a man she felt scarce nothing for, the less she did care about her mother.
There was a cheque waiting for her after she said “I do” to Jide and her inheritance would be hers after she had his first baby and that was all she cared about.
She wished she was strong, she wished she was the woman who would look at her mother, say, “Fuck you” while she lived her life refusing to take any kobo that belonged to the woman.
But she was not that woman. Everybody couldn’t be that woman.
“Would you take this one? Or should I bring another one… I think this one is fine though.”
Alero nodded absentmindedly. Any one was fine to be honest; she did not care what she was wearing down the aisle. As long as she got money from her mother, had a baby for Jide and escaped somewhere away from Agnes for the rest of her life.
“Which one? You would take this one or I should bring another one?” The storeowner asked, confused on what choice her customer was trying to make.
“Any one.” Alero replied, morose, causing the storeowner to look in intense puzzlement.
He was getting ready to leave after the midweek service, which he had slipped into, unnoticed and which he was now getting away from as early as he could when his mother knocked on his window.
He unlocked the car and she let herself in.
“Olajide what is the meaning of all of these? Are you going to act like a child forever? I have given you days to get over yourself and you still haven’t. What’s wrong with you?”
Jide looked at her and wondered if she was like that on purpose. She did not care about how he felt, she did not believe he was acting like this on his own and she clearly wanted him to do her bid for the rest of his adult life.
He found himself smiling despite how angry he was becoming. She was making him angrier by the second, refusing to respect his wishes or decisions.
He thanked God for salvation; this woman would have seen the ugly version of him she did not even realize she had created.
“Mom, I am not getting married to Alero or anybody else this Saturday. I don’t know why I allowed you drag me along with this crazy idea for this long but now that I have realized how stupid it is, I am not going ahead with it anymore.” He was so lost in his explanation that he did not see that she had begun to cry.
“I don’t love Alero, I did not get an answer from God about her, I still haven’t and God is not telling me she is the direction I should go in. I am not going to be getting married to her come Saturday, come whenever.”
She laid a hand on his shoulder, “Olajide don’t make me a laughing stock.” she said.
“Mom, this is not about you.” He tried to get himself under control but Heavens knew it was getting harder by the second.
“Mom, I have to go.” he said to her, leaned over and opened the door for her to leave.
She was startled, her tears stopped and her eyes looked at him in utmost shock.
He nodded in response. Yes, he was all grown now and the only one he was taking directions from was God.
Tamilore recognized a gift when she was given one and she knew for a fact that her Aunt was a gift from God.
She had gone home to see her that day because she’d called her to inform her there wouldn’t be work in the Office that day. She was not feeling too good and whatever work had to be done would be done from Aunty ‘Molola’s house.
“Ma binu, Tamtam. I woke up feeling slightly funny besides we don’t have much work to do from the Office today.” she turned off the shower, stepped out of it and slipped into her lilac colored bathrobe.
Tamilore followed her out of the bathroom into her cold room, thanks to the AC, which was turned on full blast. Tamilore slumped into the bed, kicking off her flats.
“Thank God. I so love my job.” she chuckled, knowing her flexible job worked for her till she got around starting her own business. Her 150k paycheck at the end of the month was also intact. Aunty ‘Molola was the best boss in the world.
Aunty ‘Molola took her seat in front of her large dressing mirror which housed several lotions, skin exfoliators and cosmetics.
“Segun was not home to pet me this morning and I am in that mood. I always sulk till he does something about it, hopefully he buys my favorite Chocolate and perfume to say sorry.” she giggled like a little girl as she picked her body lotion, a cream which smelled of fresh roses and vanilla.
“You’re bullying my Uncle abi?” Tamilore asked playfully, noticing a message from Jide on her phone. He wanted to know how she was and wanted her to actually begin to take God seriously.
“If I don’t bully him, who would?” Aunty ‘Molola was done applying her lotion to her body now. “By the way, remember that our family friend I told you about who is into vintage things like you? He’s coming to visit this weekend.”
Tamilore nodded, her attention divided.
“So get ready to take notes so you can be on your way to being a successful business mogul…” she suddenly paused, faced Tamilore and raised her body spray. “Tamtam, is it just me or is this body spray smelling somehow?” she inquired, spraying it for Tamilore to decide.
“No o. Maybe you’re pregnant.” Tamilore said and Aunty ‘Molola laughed as if she didn’t believe that could ever happen.
Tamilore did not understand why someone like her Aunt who believed so much in God and who preached Him and His word could doubt a miracle in her own life.
“Aunty ‘Molola, isn’t your behavior what the bible calls lack of faith? You’re being a Sarah right now and for all you know, God might be sending an Isaac your way.” Tamilore said to her Aunty who for some reason found the entire statement hilarious.
“Would you at least name the baby Isaac when he comes?” Tamilore asked and Aunty ‘Molola nodded. At least she agreed to that bit.
Tamilore muttered a little prayer for her, if Aunty ‘Molola could get pregnant, then she would take God seriously like Jide had asked her to.
Jide pulled the curtains in the Hotel room, moved two steps back as the sunlight that streamed into the room blinded him. He smiled in satisfaction because sunlight was the exact thing he needed.
One of his favorite Preachers was saying something on the CD he had slipped into the Home Theatre earlier and he was revelling in the power the words carried, the empowerment it gave him.
He heard a knock on the door. It had to be room service, he had ordered food earlier and it had to be what was at the door.
He opened the door and let in room service, his father was standing by the door, near the food and the hotel employee that had brought his order.
“Good morning, Dad.” he greeted his father, took in the tray of food and shut the door after the hotel employee that brought it.
His father settled into a chair opposite him, “I am sorry I did not inform you of my visit but I feared you might not want to see me or your mother.”
Jide smiled warmly at his father, his parents didn’t understand what was happening. He was not mad at either of them, he was trying to be his own man and in all honesty, he needed their support for that.
“I would always want to see you, Dad.”
His father retrieved his Bible and asked them to read a part of the Bible together. Jide grabbed his Bible and proceeded to read with his father.
It was the Saturday he was supposed to get married, the Saturday his mother had tried to unreasonably force Alero on him and as he read the part of the scripture his father asked him to, he found that peace that made him know he was doing the very right thing by not getting married.
Tamilore was quite excited by her meeting with Aunty ‘Molola’s family friend. She was looking her best and trying to be her best even though she was nervous inside.
Aunty ‘Molola and her Uncle were sitting in their sitting room when the maid announced his arrival. He walked in, exchanged greetings with both her Uncle and Aunt and when it was time for her to greet him, she found herself calling his name instead of greeting him.
“Timi” she muttered.
“Tamtam.” He grinned.
After his father left some minutes later, Jide finished his breakfast while meditating on the scriptures they had studied together.
His father had to leave early; he had some meeting to attend to.
He heard a knock on his door and strode to the door, when he opened it, two hefty men that looked like bouncers were there.
They covered his nose with a white handkerchief and the only thing he remembered thinking of before he blanked out was how the last place he saw people like that was in a club in London with Tamilore.