Femi: “…more of you, more of you, more of you, Jesus, more of you….” The entire church was silent as they listened to Femi’s voice giving a rendition of Sinach’s song. Her voice, rich, powerful flowed beautifully and everyone either held their breaths or bowed their heads in prayer. When she finished, there was a standing ovation.
She climbed down from the altar in her 4 inch heels and tripped on the microphone cord to the dismay of the worshippers. Sitting at the back of the church, her aunty put her hand out as if to stop her fall, her uncle covered his eyes and her cousin crossed her legs elegantly and smirked “That can only happen to Femi”, she thought to herself.
On the altar, Femi was saved by the choir leader who had been standing beside her so she didn’t fall entirely. Nonetheless, when she got back to her seat in the section that was appointed to the choir members, she wasted no time shucking off the offending shoes. The murmured sorries from other choir members brought tears to her eyes. She hated this, really hated this. She had only bought the shoes in the first place because her cousin told her she couldn’t wear them. Now, she had proven her right and in front of the entire church too.
After the service ended, she rushed to meet her aunt and uncle and stopped to get the occasional “well-done” and “good job” from the congregants. She was almost at their seat when she noticed her aunt was arguing with Tiwalola, her cousin who turned out to be right about her klutz factor.
Aunt: “…You shouldn’t say things like that!” Her aunt scolded Tiwa, unaware of Femi’s presence, “She’s your cousin, the way you talk sometimes, people will think you hate her…..”
Tiwa: “Mummy, I can’t help how I feel, she shouldn’t have worn the shoes”, Tiwalola said defensively, “she always thinks she can do everything I can do and the truth is she can’t. I can rock those shoes because I have a good body, Femi is just fat, she should stick to slippers or flats!” She stated unapologetically.
Femi froze when she heard that. The truth was Tiwa said it all the time, heck she didn’t have to say it, Femi had a mirror, she could see. She knew in a contest of beauty, Tiwa would win. Tiwa was willowy and slim with beautiful dark skin, long natural hair, mammy water lashes, long legs and a perfectly aligned body. She on the other hand was, well, fat was the word. She had generous hips and big buttocks, small breasts and a face that was passably pretty.
In a contest of brains too, Tiwa would win. At 28, Tiwa was already a resident doctor at Saint Havers Hospital on the island in Lagos while she was just a primary school teacher. In a contest of style, Tiwa would win too. Infact, in a contest of anything, Tiwa would always come out trumps, there were just some people God blessed with everything. The only thing she really had above Tiwa was her voice and she figured God compensated her with that.
Aunt: “Tiwa, you…..” her aunt started, angry at her daughter’s thoughtless words. She stopped when she saw Femi. “Oko mi, pele, hope you’re okay?” She asked Femi stretching her hands out to hug her.
Femi: “Mummy, I’m fine…,” Femi said as she knelt to hug her aunty back. She laid her head on her aunt’s breast and breathed in the love and devotion she had always received from this special woman. She looked up to see her uncle smiling at them and she smiled at him back, feeling lucky to have both of them in her life.
Tiwa: “I’m going oh,” Tiwa said, breaking the moment, “I have an appointment to keep.”
Her aunty released her and turned to Tiwa, “Haha, won’t you come home with us and eat Sunday jollof rice?”
Tiwa: “No need oh mummy after you’ve shouted at me over Femi’s matter,” she replied, giving Femi a side eye. “Let Femi eat your jollof rice with you.”
Father: “Your mother was just encouraging you to stop talking about your cousin like that, it’s wrong and others will think we aren’t at peace…” her father explained gently
Tiwa: “Daddy, are we at peace? Have we been at peace since you brought Femi home? Please, am going, bye bye.” She said as she turned and left the church auditorium.
Father: “Ha ha!” her father exclaimed. “Oya, let’s go.”
They trudged out of the church to the carpark in time to see Tiwa driving off in her black lexus jeep. They got into her Uncles Toyota Camry and drove out quietly.
Sitting behind her uncle in the car, Femi closed her eyes and remembered once again the 11 year old girl whose mother had just committed suicide. She remembered the devastation she had felt, the loneliness and the simmering anger directed at her mother.
She had only been 4 when she realized her family wasn’t like others. Her parents were constantly fighting, that’s what people said. More often than not though, it was her father beating her mother. He would beat her and tear her clothes every time they fought. She and her elder sister who had been 3 years older would constantly follow them crying until neighbours intervened, usually her mother would be naked by that time.
She had an older brother too, Nifemi. He had been the oldest at 10. He used to try and help his mother out of the scuffles but when their father started turning on him, he abandoned ship and would run out when the fights started. By the time he was 13, he had joined the boys in their street and would constantly be seen high on weed. By the time their parents died, he was the meanest thug in the area.
She looked back and could not believe how unrelentingly stupid her mother had been. As far as she was concerned, her mother hadn’t loved them. If she had, she would have gotten out of the abusive marriage that eventually destroyed her family. She remembered seeing her uncle at their house for the first time when she was 6, apparently, he had tracked down his sister who didn’t tell any of her family members where she was staying.
It was only after she came to her uncle, she realized the whole story. Her mother had gotten pregnant for one of the neighbourhood mechanics and run off with him. She returned home years later with two children to beg for help from her family telling them the mechanic had been abusing her. Her family members were angry and demanded the father of her children come home so he could settle the issue and marry her properly. He came, looking penitent and remorseful but before they could get any solutions or fix a date for the payment of the bride price, she ran off with him again and proceeded to birth another child.
The abuse only got worse, he was out of work and was a mean drunk, he would call her a prostitute in front of the neighbours, accusing her of sleeping with her male customers whom she sold herbal drinks (agbo) to and tear off her clothes. For years, her brother kept looking for her until he tracked her down to their house. Femi remembered thinking even at her young age that he had very kind eyes and was very excited because he bought bread and biscuits for her and her sister.
Despite her brother’s pleas on behalf of the family, her mother refused to leave her father. Till date she couldn’t tell if it was pride, submissiveness or plain stupidity that had kept her mother with her father for so long. Her Uncle came several times during the next few years and even helped her establish a business and sent her 2 daughters to school. While her sister had been out, Femi had never even gone.
Her brother opening a shop for her to sell minerals caused so much problems between her p between her parents that her mother told her brother not to come to their house again. And he didn’t, not until she died.
When she was 10, Femi realized that her elder sister, who was just 13 had begun mixing with the wrong crowd. She especially liked hanging out with their brother’s crazy friends and it wasn’t long till she got pregnant. In a bid to hide it from their mother, she took the advice of a friend and mixed up the herbal remedies her mother sold and drank them. The next day while Femi went to school, their brother to his joint, their mother to her shop on the next street and their father to his favourite baba ijebu betting spot, her sister stayed home to eject her 3 months old baby.
Femi usually joined her mother in the shop after school while her sister went home to cook. Her sister hadn’t been walking from school with her for months so no one thought to look for her, just assuming she had gone home. By the time Femi and her mother cleared up and went home by 9pm, they met her sister in a pool of blood, unconscious. She was declared dead at the hospital they rushed her too.
That night had been one of the worst nights of her life. Looking at her sister’s lifeless body in the hospital, going home and having to clean the blood in their sitting room floor, crying with no comfort only the stone cold assurance that her sister was gone forever.
The next day, when her father returned home from the brothel where he had slept, it was to see neighbours gathered by his tiny face me, I face you apartment consoling his wife. When he heard the news, he was visibly shaken. He had been a terrible husband, an irresponsible father but he had cared about his daughters.
Her father normally was an unkind person but in his grief, he became an animal. He charged at her mother, accusing her of being a failure incapable of raising a child properly. He pummelled her, beat her and spat at her but that night, Femi never knew what took over her mother, she sent Femi to a neighbour’s house, locked Nifemi out of the house and went to bed, supposedly. She waited until her husband had slept and plunged a knife into his abdomen 7 times and then quietly covered him back. She then proceeded to swallow a……..
The next morning when the neighbour whom Femi had slept with tried to wake them up so Femi could go in, no one responded. After an hour, they broke down the door to meet them both dead, their initial thought was that Nifemi had killed his parents. On hearing this suspicion, instead of defending himself, Nifemi ran away. That day officially became the worst day of her life.
In the space of 3 days, she had no one left. By the time her uncle came, her tears were spent and her heart was horribly broken. The only feelings she had were fear of what she would find with her uncle. On getting to her uncle’s house in his Peugeot 504, his wife, a woman she had never met before, beautiful and kind, had rushed out, opened her arms to her and loved her wholeheartedly.
We are home, her aunty announced, rousing her from her recollections. She got out of the car and listened as her uncle complained good naturedly about hunger and his impatience for Sunday jollof rice. She then smiled and rested her head on the roof of the car, looking at them,
Yes, she thought to herself, no matter what Tiwa thought, no matter what anyone might say, this was home.
Question: What can you guess about this interesting story? Please do NOT miss any episodes.
It was Monday morning and Tiwa wasn’t having a very good day. She had woken up with a raging headache and a sore disposition, all from yesterday. She couldn’t understand it. Why was her mother always in support of Femi? Why did her mother treat her like her feelings didn’t matter? Why? Why did Femi even have to exist? She resented the hell out of her cousin.
When push came to shove though, it didn’t matter. She was 20 times the woman Femi would ever be. She was beautiful and Femi was not, she was a doctor saving lives and Femi was a teacher cleaning the butts of little children, she had her own apartment and car, while Femi was still living at home and jumping buses. She sighed at her own stupidity, wondering why she ever let the whole thing get to her, Femi wasn’t worth the though.
As she drove towards the hospital, she turned up her radio to beat FM so she could listen to a few songs and be cheered up, who cared about Femi anyway? On entering the hospital, she saw that Fiyin’s hummer was already there and she smiled to herself. Fiyinfoluwa Arowolo, her boss, her friend and soon, very soon, her husband and lover.
She remembered the first day she met him during her interview for her job 3 years ago, she had fallen instantly in love with his beautiful brown eyes, his voice that always seemed like chocolate, his big, beautiful surgeon hands, his intelligence, and when he stood up to shake her after the interview, she had gripped those hands, looked into his eyes and knew that she would never be whole again until he was completely hers.
Of course, things hadn’t worked out the way she had hoped. At that time, he was just 31 and had just lost his wife of 2 years to a fatal accident. He hadn’t been interested in a relationship with a woman and was too busy taking care of his 1 year old child. She had chafed at the time she needed to give him to grieve but realised she had to be patient with him or things were never going to work out between them.
Taking that into consideration, she had worked herself carefully and subtly into his life, using his daughter, his sister and his respect for her as a colleague. She was Aunty Tiwa to his daughter, his sister’s bestie and his father who was also a renowned surgeon and the founder of their hospital, really liked and respected her.
Recently, she knew she had gone from friend in his view to potential wife, she saw how he was beginning to look and appreciate her, she enjoyed how his eyes lighted up when he saw her and how he was always coming to talk to her over sundry and ridiculous things. She had heard from his best friend, another doctor in the hospital that he was always mentioning her name. The time was ripe,
Tiwa: Fiyin you’re mine, she thought as she stepped out of the car.
As she entered the doors of Saint Havers, she reported and signed in at the nurses’ station, made her way to her locker in the changing room, changed into her scrubs and planned how she would go see Fiyin as soon as possible. She was coming out of the locker room when she saw Seun, Fiyin’s sister, striding towards her.
Seun: “I’ve been looking for you,” she said excitedly, “I have gist oh”
Tiwa: “What happened?” Tiwa said with a little impatience, she was only friends with Seun because of Fiyin. The truth was the woman made her tired but she could not afford to close her off. She was forever having gist about irrelevant things and always had a story to tell that Tiwa didn’t want to hear. She feigned interest though, she couldn’t afford to loose Seun’s friendship at this point in the game.
Seun: “You know Tola na?” Seun asked and Tiwa nodded, even though she couldn’t care less about the 26 year old nurse who had also had her eyes on Fiyin last year. “Well, guess what?” Seun asked, the stars in her eyes winking dramatically.
Tiwa: “What happened?” Tiwa asked, trying not to bark at Seun. She couldn’t understand how a grown woman of 30, married with 2 children would take so much pleasure in talking about other people.
Seun: “Haha now, I thought we agreed you would guess,” Seun whined a bit but she saw the look in Tiwa’s eyes and decided to tell her anyway, “well, Tola, is pregnant”
Tiwa: “Really?” Tiwa asked, relieved, at least now nurse Tola will stop chasing Fiyin, not that Tola ever stood a chance anyway especially when they were put side to side. Although Tola was beautiful with good bone structure and bountiful breasts, she could turn heads and regularly did with her sexy scrubs, she fell short of the one quality Fiyin valued in women, intelligence.
Nonetheless, Tiwa had been worried about her because she had gone after Fiyin with boldness and assurance, another quality Fiyin liked in women. Then she realised she hadn’t heard who Tola was pregnant for. “Who is she pregnant for?” She asked Seun who was happy to see that her gist was well met.
Seun: “Don’t tell anybody,” Seun whispered quietly, “I think its Doctor Niyi, my sources say she was sleeping with him 2 months ago.”
Tiwa: “You and your sources!” Tiwa laughed, happy now that Seun dished necessary gist. She wondered how Seun would cope without hospital gossip to sustain her. Even though Seun was a gynaecologist and a very busy one, she still found time and energy to receive and dispense gossip.
Just then, Tola and another nurse passed beside them. The other nurse greeted both of them while Tola only greeted Seun and walked on. Tiwa shook her head and laughed, “Imagine, she still has the guts to raise her head up, w—e!”
“Haha!” Seun exclaimed, “It was probably a mistake! Don’t say that, it can happen to anyone.” While she liked observing and talking about people, she wasn’t a critical or judgemental person, she couldn’t say the same for Tiwa though, who felt she was better than everybody else.
“Not anybody abeg, it can’t happen to me! Catch ya later.” She said and walked away from Seun.
“That girl…,” Seun said to no one, “…is too proud”. It didn’t say much of Seun that she was friends with her but she was one of those people that couldn’t stand not being friends with everyone. With Tiwa though, she had doubts, she had a strong feeling that by the time Tiwa got her brother, she wouldn’t have any use for Seun again. That’s life, I guess, she told herself as she entered the lift that would take her to the 3rd floor labour room.
After her rounds to check on her patients, she made her way to Fiyin’s office on the 4th floor, she just had to see him. It had been a very long weekend as she had been on call Friday and Saturday but he hadn’t been around either day as he had a meeting in Abuja and had left on Wednesday. After the appalling way her parents had raked at her yesterday over Femi, all she needed was Fiyin’s smile and embrace.
She walked to the door that had Chief Medical Director written on it, strode in past his staring secretary, Ozioma, a complete village girl in her opinion and went directly to his door. She opened the door after hearing his deep throated “come in” to her knock.
Peeking her head in,
Tiwa: “Hi, Dr Arowolo, how do you do?” She asked and was instantly gratified when he smiled broadly at her.
Fiyin: “Tiwa!! Just the person I wanted to see…” he enthused, standing to his 6 feet 2 height and walking around his big desk to embrace her “…how are you?” He asked her.
“I’m fine, even better now that I’m seeing you.” He nodded in satisfaction at her answer. He had to agree she looked good, she was always beautiful, even without makeup.
“I missed you.” She said emotionally. He smiled at her, “I missed you too…” and turned back to his seat, “…sit down and tell me what you have been up to.”
“Nothing, I just wanted to see you.”
So they sat and talked for a while. He told her of his trip to Abuja, of seeing his father, who was currently the Nation’s minister for Health and of his daughter, Amanda’s progress in the new school she was in. She left only after her pager beeped that she was needed somewhere else.
Fiyin watched Tiwa leave and smiled to himself, he really, really liked her. She had all the qualities he liked in a woman, slim, sleek, intelligent, respectful, caring, bold and she was a real goal getter too. Just like his late wife had been.
When he had employed her 3 years ago, it was to balance out the overwhelming number of male doctors in the hospital. At the time, there were less than 4 female doctors on staff amongst about 47 male doctors. He, his father and sister, who had been the youngest female doctor at the time had felt it important to bring in fresh and young female doctors.
Truly, she had wowed him at the interviews, she had superb results, amazing grades and rave references but he figured he had met a lot of brilliant Doctors in his time so he wasn’t expecting much from her or any of the other 6 female doctors they had employed but she surprised him. Indeed, she did as she slowly but surely made herself one of the most important, hardworking and high achieving doctors in the hospital.
When she joined the hospital, he had being going through a tough time with the death of his wife and the responsibility of a young child that he hadn’t even had the time to think about women but 4 years had passed now since his wife had died in a ghastly motor accident and the thought of Helen was now a dull type of pain. As he had been told when she had first died, time only lessened the pain. And it had.
He had only started dating again in the last few months and it had not being as tiring a process as he thought it would be. He understood that he was a man and he did not want to spend the rest of his life alone. He wanted to have more children, he wanted Amanda to have a mother, he wanted to have a woman in his bed, his kitchen and to go back home to every day.
He was prepared for the step and while he had gone out with a few women, none of them seemed to fit his idea of an ideal woman as much as Tiwa, there was no other woman he respected as much, except his mother. When he travelled to Abuja, his father had advised him to snap her up, understandably, his father had always really liked her.
So, he figured it was time to take his relationship with Tiwa to the next level. Yes, it was, he nodded to himself.
Question: Do you think Tiwa will make a good wife to Fiyin?