Sunkanmi and I had just seen a movie, a romantic comedy that has gotten rave reviews since its release. The movie was really good and left me teary eyed although the story line wasn’t anything new, usual boy- meets -girl, the girl had given up on love because of previous heartbreaks but she found herself falling in love with boy and they lived happily ever after.
We stopped at an ice cream stand and were gisting. He invited me to his parent’s house on Boxing Day, which is three weeks away. He said his mum was eager to meet me because she had heard a lot about me.
“What did you tell your mum?” I ask.
“I told her that…”
“That what? Answer jor.” I playfully nudge him.
“I won’t answer till you have a spoon of my chocolate ice cream.”
“Bribery and corruption… you know I don’t like chocolate ice cream.” He had been trying to get me to taste his ice cream, claiming it was the best flavor. I got coconut and strawberry ice cream instead.
“Open your mouth” he urged.
“Ahn ahn that’s huge.” I protest, eyeing the large quantity he is about to feed me. I open my mouth and swallow the brown soft ice cream, it doesn’t taste too bad.
“Okay, so what did you tell her?”
“Well, I told her I was bringing my future wife home.”
“Future wife?” I asked
“Yep, Simi I want to marry you.”
I haven’t seen Susan in over a month and she blames it on Sunkanmi because we practically hang out every weekend. Today thankfully, we planned to meet up in the salon after church. I got a bus from church to the salon because my car is at the mechanic and had just gotten off the bus when she pulled up beside me.
“ Lover girl, get in!”
I get into the car and she continues driving down the street to the salon. My stomach rumbles at the sight of the roasted plantain she’s munching.
“Mehn I’m hungry.” I say.
She points at a black bag containing roasted plantain and groundnut. “I got you some.”
We get to the salon and walk towards the entrance.
“How’s our bobo naw?” She asks, referring to Sunkanmi.
“My friend is in looooooove.” She says as she opens the salon door.
We catch up on gist- I tell her about Sunkanmi, about the invitation to his house and him referring to me as his future wife.
“I like Sunkanmi, he ticks all the boxes mehn- He’s born again, focused, intelligent, loves you like crazy, gosh even the way he looks at you. I remember how he kept looking at you when we went for Buchi’s wedding.”
“I Know right?! And we have so much in common. I feel really blessed.”
“You are gurl! And he’s cute too…not on the tall side sha. Your kids might be short.” She teases.
“Na tallness I wan chop? It’s what is on the inside that counts.”
“I’m just joking…of course it’s what’s on the inside.”
“I think I’m ready to wash off the relaxer…it’s beginning to hurt.” She says to the lady who just relaxed her hair.
She goes off to wash her hair and I continue braiding mine. I get a text from Sunkanmi:
SUNKANMI: Sims how’s your hair going?
SIMI: I’m tired already and we are not halfway thru. Susan is here. What u up to?
SUNKANMI: Just chilling oo. Maybe I shd come by and see your pretty face.
SIMI: Really? You don’t have to.
He asks for the address of the salon and I send it to him. Susan comes back to blow dry her hair. She’s gisting me about a man from her church who had been disturbing her for some months.
“So after church last Sunday, he came to me and said ‘Susan, God told me you are my wife.’ I had to hold the laughter that wanted to come out and told him God hasn’t told me he’s my husband oh.”
“I know right? Since God told him why hasn’t He told you too?”
“Exactly! God is not an author of confusion.” We burst out laughing.
“But seriously though, have you prayed about it?” I ask.
“I have Simi, you know me now, I’m waiting for God’s choice and I know he is not the one.”
“You won’t believe what I found out today. You remember Irene? The one in the choir that has a beautiful voice.”
“Yeah I remember her”
“I gave her a lift home on my way here and she told me Voke told her that God told him she’s his wife too.”
“Are you serious?”
“Can you imagine?”
“Seriously though, we Christian ladies have to be very careful and prayerful because there are wolves even in the church.”
“God help us.”
Susan finishes her hair and leaves the salon and Sunkanmi comes in through the door almost immediately.
“Hi babe.” he says.
“Awwww Sunkanmi I didn’t believe you would come you know…thanks.”
“You are welcome hun.” He says hello to the guy braiding my hair and sits opposite me.
“I thought you said Susan was here.” He says looking around.
“Didn’t you see her outside? She left just before you came in.”
“No I didn’t.”
“She only relaxed her hair…I’m almost through.”
“You ladies try…”
“Yep…I’ve been at it for five hours. Like they say beauty is pain.”
I glance at the man I’ve fallen in love with who is comfortable sitting in a ladies salon. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I finally finish my hair after an hour and a half and we both leave the salon and stop to buy suya on our way to my house.
When we arrive at my house, we see Tayo and David. It looks like they are having an argument. David is leaning against his car and Tayo is standing opposite him. I can’t make out what they are saying.
“Ermmm I dunno, looks like they are having an argument or something.” Sunkanmi replies.
“I hope everything is okay?” Lately Tayo seemed distant.
“They are engaged right?” He asks.
“Yeah they are, we’ve even chosen dates for the engagement and wedding.”
We sit in silence and watch them till Tayo storms off into the house. David gets into his car, waves at us and speeds off.
Truth be told, I’ve never really like David and I couldn’t voice my thoughts to anyone else because everyone in my family seems to be smitten by him. I think he’s controlling and arrogant. I know he’s the one behind Tayo’s appearance- she stopped braiding her hair and only wears long weaves because he doesn’t like braids, she’s always fully made up because he likes make up and according to him, “she has to look on point all the time.”
I meet my parents reclining on a sofa when I walk in. Mum is leaning against dad and he has his arm around her. My mum has stopped her marriage talks because of Sunkanmi, she’s relieved that there’s a man in the picture.
My parents make marriage look so beautiful; they’ve been married for 30 years. My dad kisses her every morning before he leaves for work, they tease each other like best friends, complete each other’s sentences, go on dates and getaways- last weekend they went to Obudu cattle ranch to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. Even the few times they have misunderstandings, doesn’t last long at all.
According to them, it hasn’t always been rosy. When they got married, dad was newly employed in a struggling insurance firm and mum was a primary school teacher. They lived in a one bedroom house somewhere in Ebute Meta. Six months after the got married, my dad lost his job and roamed the streets of Lagos looking for a job. He was unemployed for the next one year; they both lived on my mum’s meager income and the little money he made from odd jobs. Dad told Tayo and I that the only thing that kept him going despite all the hardship they faced was my mother. She was his pillar; she never once complained about their poverty but believed in him and kept encouraging him. Even when they had to move out to a face –me- I face- you apartment because they could no longer afford their rent, she never complained.
He finally got a job in a bank, put in long hours, worked during weekends because he didn’t want to lose the job for any reason. He became the branch manager within a few years because of his hard work and dedication.This affected their marriage because my mum felt neglected. I remember not having my dad around while growing up, he was always out of town on business. He resigned and started his own business when his job threatened to destroy his marriage.
“Mummy good evening, dad good evening.”
“Good evening dear.”
“Simi welcome, how are you?”
“Your hair looks very fine, come closer let me see.” My mum says.
I move closer to her so she can admire my hair.
“It’s only you young ladies that can do this type of hair…se ko dun e? (Hope it doesn’t hurt?)
“Just a little, I’ll take panadol before I go to bed.”
“Pele…Please check up on your sister, she looked angry when she came in and she said nothing was wrong.”
“And how is Sunkanmi? Has he said anything about marriage yet?”
“Haba mummy…calm down!”
“Don’t mind your mother Simi.”
I leave my parents and head upstairs to Tayo’s room. She’s in the bathroom and has some wedding magazines scattered on her bed.
“Tayo what’s up?”
“I’m okay, just a bit tired.”
“Pele. How was your day? How was David’s christmas party?” She told me she was going for the end of the year party organised by David’s office.
“I wish I didn’t bother sef.”
“Why? I saw you two outside when I came back.”
“I don’t know Simi, David has been annoying me lately…really annoying me…We are always arguing about one thing or the other. Today it was about me not wearing heels-”
“You are joking right?”
“No I’m not. He said he was embarrassed that I decided to wear flats after he told me we were going for his office event after church.”
“Gosh, it’s never that serious naw . You looked gorgeous in that dress and flats you wore today oh.”
“I’m just tired. He’s so-”
“Your hair is nice…I can’t remember the last time I braided mine.”
Well, thanks to your boyfriend.
“Thanks…don’t change the topic. Don’t you think he’s a bit controlling?”
“I…I don’t really think he is…he just wants me to look great all the time.”
“Are you sure?”
“Simi…I need to get ready for the week.”
“Okay then.” That was my cue to leave her room.