TEMMY : Last Chance at Happiness


“I see you are beaming from ear to ear Temmy,” Funmi teased, drawing me apart from the crowd at the bar.
“Can you blame me?” I laughed. “I can’t help it! Thank you guys for doing this.”
It was Friday night; we were at my going-away party and I was indeed in a great mood. Many of my friends, colleagues at work and my family members were present, and I was enjoying all their love and attention. To my disappointment, the only person who wasn’t there was Lola. She sent me a text to say she had to go to Milton Keynes this evening to sort out some issues going on in her relationship.
“Of course we had to, you deserve a great send-off!” Funmi said. “But that’s not what I’m talking about.”
I raised an eyebrow, pretending I didn’t know what she meant.
“I’m talking ...

FOLAKE: Me, Myself & I

“My flat is ready to be moved into.” I took a gingerly sip of tea, revelling in the slightly bitter taste as it warmed its way down my throat. I had woken up earlier, my throat feeling a bit scratchy. Those were the telltale signs of the flu and right now, being sick wasn’t on my agenda. There was a lot on my plate and I needed all my strength and a clear head to work through them all.

“Are you just going to ignore the elephant in the room?”

“Elephant?” I let out a mock laugh and looked around. “What elephant?”

Michael and I were seated across from each other in the hotel room with some smooth jazz sounds, which I’d put on earlier to help me relax. I knew what he wanted to talk about but I wasn’t ready. I knew it’d been a ...

DAYO: Grinning With Clenched Teeth

I was having a bad day. Twice I had snapped at Jean. I had cut the phone on Luther and had done a good job of avoiding Blake all day. I should have called in sick, but I had already done that yesterday and it was a sissy thing to repeat anyway. Not when there were contracts waiting to be reviewed and Blake fussing about them. So I walked around with a scowl and twirled the complementary card Chikwendu gave me, wondering whether it was time to give the lawyer a ring. Wouldn’t it be callous? Folake was discharged from the clinic two days ago after the twenty-four hours observation. She was back at her hotel too. When I spoke to her yesterday evening, she sounded fine . . . and evasive. I thought I heard her ‘friend’ at the background. Such a kind man; helping me care for my wife. The bloody ...

FUNMI: Mother-In-Law Woes

“I don’t want a typical Nigerian wedding,” I blurted out to Ebuka who had a pen and notepad in his hands, trying to make notes of our plans.
“And what’s a typical Nigerian wedding my darling?” He laughed.
“I’m sure you’ve attended loads of them. The one where there are a thousand guests, five hundred of them wearing aso ebi, and mostly unknown to the couple. There’s loud music playing on one corner and the musician is busy singing praises of the list of wealthy people he can get his hands on. Typical Nigerian weddings are carnivals!” I exclaimed.
Ebuka burst into laughter.
“I think you just described a typical Yoruba wedding.” He had a glint in his eyes that signalled the beginning of a teasing episode.
“You’re just being tribalistic,” I pushed him playfully. “I have just described a typical Nigerian wedding, take it or leave it. Do ...

DOLAPO: Coffee, Papers, & Co.

Amazingly, the sliced cucumbers were executing a sort of magic on my eyes. I’d chilled them in my refrigerator for an hour and a half, and then carefully positioned the slices on top of each eye, and voila, the surge of invigoration I felt was unbelievable.

Earlier tonight, the muscles around my eyes had been so sore that I couldn’t sleep. The last thing I needed was to wake up tomorrow, on a beautiful Saturday morning, and decline offers to hang out with my favorite folks, just because of a stupid puffy-eyed morning syndrome. Kene had been telling me to go home at a decent hour, but no, Ms. Perfectionist never listens, but always tries to stay later than usual at the studio.

To try to solve the problem, I flipped through some pages in a magazine I’d selected from my rack. I was more than thrilled when I saw ...

TITI: A Play With Light and Darkness

When night falls and you are alone, the moment before you drift off to sleep can be difficult. Your life sometimes flashes through your mind. The emptiness or fullness of it; angst becomes images, worsened if you sleep in a dark room.

It is not the same for couples, I think. I imagine whatever flashes before their eyes as they close them comes with pictures of others. For me, I only have images of myself. Alone. Sometimes clutching air just before sleep takes me away and then I dream of different men; Dayo, Victor and lately Tom.

Ah, Tom, I should tell you about that weekend he visited Victor.

I woke up that Saturday morning excited, ready to start my day. I remember the events of the previous night and felt free. Sending the songs to Dayo and the follow up text is evidence that I am truly breaking away. ...

TEMMY: One Step Forward, One Step Back

Hi Temmy, pls see Mr Alderton as soon as you get in. Thanks, Lydia.
I got into the office and found the hastily scribbled post-it note on my computer. Oh dear. Lydia was my boss’ secretary, a rather scattered but nice lady. I wondered what was up as I took of my jacket and switched on my desk-top. Maybe she had forgotten to inform me of some meeting yesterday and I’d missed it. Or due to some problem or the other, I was being made redundant. I thought I should check my emails or list of tasks for any clues before going to see him. I scrolled through my messages; there was nothing unusual. Shrugging off the worried feeling in my stomach, I went to his office. But to my surprise, it was the news I had not even dared to hope I would get. My heart leapt and did ...

FOLAKE: Broken-Hearted Girl

“Sweetheart.”

My eyes fluttered open, annoyed at the hands that were shaking me awake. Assaulted immediately by the brightness of the room, I burrowed further into my duvet, covering my head in the process.

It had been a peculiar couple of weeks. I was in a weird place, where nothing else existed but my forlorn feelings. I questioned myself as a woman, which led to questioning my place and my status in everything else. Some would call it depression. The chief was getting worried. I typically speak to my father every other day but now he’d been the one doing the calling. Lately, I’d been feeling lethargic and no matter how I tried to shake off the feelings, they wouldn’t budge.

I had completed my transfer to London. My new position allowed the flexibility of working in both continents and on Michael’s advice, I wasn’t going to put up ...

DAYO: Doing The Necessary

After a depressing, self-pitying, fighting-hard-not-to-be-filled-with-regrets-about-Folake Saturday, I spent the evening at Chikwendu's house. Chikwendu was my colleague at work. We were not particularly chums, but he was throwing a birthday party for his newest wife. Too many Dominicans were going to be there, he said; he needed to invite as many Nigerians as he knew to balance the nationality. His wife, the second one, was Dominican. Chikwendu’s first marriage did not work out. I do not have the details. By the time we met at Ericsson, his divorce procedure was almost final and he was already dating Yadnus. I was not in the habit of asking colleagues questions about their personal lives. If they volunteered the information, on the other hand, I would not shut off my ears.

Chikwendu had not spoken about his relationship to me. Actually, I was surprised when I got his invitation. I was not going ...

FUNMI: A Pleasant Surprise

The last few weeks have been the best of my life. Ebuka made sure of it. One day, I woke up to a gift on my doorstep. It was kind of cool to know that even though I had spent part of the previous day with him and walked him to his car, he’d somehow found the time to sneak back and leave me a gift. The first time, it was a scarf I had mentioned that I liked while we were window shopping. Since then, I’d gotten other random gifts ranging from earrings to some beautiful hair accessories to a lovely notepad that said ‘You and I’.

Today however, I wasn’t excited about waking up. Ebuka was out of town for a week on work related business and I knew there would be no gift at my door. I got up and got ready for my day without much ...

DOLAPO: Castaway

After Lola stormed off, the rest of us tried to hack into the email for several hours. Scribbled on a yellow index card were words Funmi had shuffled, using names of Maureen's family members and favorite fashion designers. We gathered around her laptop and tried the possible combinations. Nothing worked. Rummaging through the leaves of the diary again, I searched for any outstanding words. I threw out one more possibility. Still, no luck. The wheel of fortune was certainly not spinning in our direction.

There was only one sensible option left now. We decided that we were going to hand over the diary to the Metropolitan police in the morning.


* * * * * *

A soft breeze blew into the room from the open sliding door which led to the balcony. I threw my head back to bask in its coolness as it massaged my neck and shoulders. ...

TEMMY: Getting My Groove Back


It was a Thursday and almost closing time at the IT firm where I worked as a Software Developer. I had been feeling a bit low since the fashion show and I needed to do something this weekend to perk myself up. I wasn’t feeling like my usual self, and I resented that. This morning, I decided that I had just about had enough of obsessing over Tade. I hadn’t heard from him for weeks, but last night I woke up from a dream of me and him on a date together. That was the signal I needed to shake myself. He appears to have moved on from our fling, so I’ve got to do the same. I need to reclaim the old Temmy! The Temmy who would never cry or mope around over a man. The Temmy who grabbed life by the horns and played by her own rules.

...

TITI: Saying It In Songs

When I knocked on Victor’s door for the second time, I could hear Jeremiah Gyang’s Kauna Allah playing. We had since become friends and he was constanly inviting me over. The times we chatted, I felt at ease with him and it seemed like I had known him a lot longer. My surprise must have reflected in my wide eyes when he swung the door open with a charming grin.

“What? Can’t a caramel-skinned guy listen to a Hausa song?” he teased as he took two steps backwards in a dance move and sang along with the player, letting me in.

“You’ll have to tell me that story.” I teased back with twinkling eyes and did a flirty dance move which involved flinging my hair back with a flip of my hand and swaying a little as I swung past him. His dimples were deeper in his smile ...

FOLAKE: Becoming Irreplaceable

Lounging on the chaise by the window in my hotel room, I looked outside and watched as a light rain covered the city. I ignored the homely and luxurious feel of my surroundings as I reflected on my recent actions. Situated on a top floor like I was, all I could see were the top of some high rise buildings, the slow turning of the London Eye and the gloominess that coated the city. The weather in London was definitely reflective of how I was feeling. I was remorseful over what I’d done outside the church. It was so uncharacteristic of me. I couldn’t determine which was worse: my angry tirade in Dayo’s flat or the church episode. At the time, my actions felt good, but now the adrenalin I felt then has given way to shame. Maybe I’d send Titi an anonymous check to cover her expenses and assuage ...

DAYO: The Choices You Don’t Make

I have never been one of those people who avoid complications, those who want life to move in one straight road – no unexpected twists and no road-blocks. In my case, if I do not encounter troubles, I wondered if something was right. I can’t say it has anything to do with a morbid past. My childhood was pretty much as joyous as they come, that I remember. My dad had only one wife. He and my mom were sufficiently affectionate for my sisters and I to never worry that a break-up lurked in the future. If dad kept mistresses, we weren’t aware of it either. Our home was as ‘normal’ as any could be. Mom was a home-keeper and the enforcer of discipline. She kept our house – a five bedroom duplex in what used to be an isolated area in Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos – spick and span with an ...

DOLAPO: The Revelation

My new job had me sitting in a cubicle the size of the biggest cardboard box at the post office. I hate cubicles. I hate not having my own privacy. But more than that, I don’t like colleagues who think it’s their right to poke their heads into my cubicle and ask about things that don’t concern them.

It’s been three weeks since I started this job at McMillan Insurance Company. I had sent an email to Folake Williams asking for permission to take time off from the studio for two months. I told her I needed to regroup from all the events that had unfolded. She granted me only thirty days. I hadn’t seen Kene since that night at his house, and I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing him again. I convinced myself that my dream of being on top of the music chart will come later, at ...

TEMMY: The Best Plans Go Wrong


I arrived home late, after work on Monday evening and slumped onto my love seat facing the window. I was still quite numb from all the events of the past week. Yesterday, I almost dialled Maureen’s number for our usual girl chats. I had to stop myself from going to her place like I sometimes did, after work. It was still a bit too unsettling to put the fashion show together, but I knew I had to start soon. It was scheduled for two weekends away and nothing was in place right now. I didn’t even have a venue in mind yet.

Slowly darkness descended on the flat and I started feeling cold. I got up from the seat and turned on the lights, then into the kitchen to turn on the heating. I was boiling water for a coffee when my phone buzzed; it was a text from Tade. ...

TITI: Strength is What I Need

Strength. What is that? I asked myself as I lay exhausted on my bed. The wind blew in from the slightly ajar window and moved the curtains in a way that irritated me yet I could not bring myself to get up and shut the window. All I really had to do was fold up my knees, stretch my hands and pull the window shut but no, I let it continue to grate my nerves.

It had been three days since Maureen's funeral and I wasn't sure which made me weaker. The fact that I had just buried a lovely friend, the drama over my slashed car tyres or Funmi's outburst. All three had siphoned huge doses of my strength and so I lay now, unable to deal with the sashaying of the curtain.

Logic clicked in temporarily, and I reasoned internally that I would come to accept Maureen's absence. ...

FUNMI: When It Rains, It Pours

'Maureen was a good friend to me, she was not just a friend, she was my sister. When I had any fashion crisis, she was quick to set me straight...'
A hint of a smile crossed my lips as I remembered Maureen trying to educate me on what made for fashion blunders. I looked up briefly and saw a few of the members of the congregation smile sadly. I continued.
'…When I was confused about what colours would match, all I needed to do was pick up the phone and call her. She was a great designer, a very creative young woman, probably the most creative of all my friends. She was so full of life…’

I couldn’t go on. I choked on my words as tears rushed to my eyes. I sobbed unashamedly into the microphone. My friend Maureen was gone and I would never have her back. ...

LOLA: Saying Our Goodbyes


Lola, what are you doing? I thought you were going to take your time with getting to know this guy, yet somehow he’s convinced you to spend the weekend with him in Milton Keynes! This isn’t the way to take things slow, is it? Silly girl, silly girl…
But I like him … I think it will be okay…
You gave him the key to your place!
I think I can trust him not to do anything crazy…
Like beat up someone?
Okay, I’m just going to go with my instincts on this one.


These conflicting thoughts were going on in my head as I said goodbye to Wole and walked back towards the church building. In spite of my head nagging me with thoughts of what was right or wrong, my heart was beating with excitement and anticipation. While I was crying into my pillow throughout the week, my ...