18 Aug PREVIEW: Whatever It Takes
How We Do
THERE ARE TWO TIMES in a woman’s life when she couldn’t be happier getting her period; when she’s trying not to get pregnant…
And when she is in perimenopause.
I almost want to break into song when I see a hint of red when I wipe, and I reach for the Tampon in my purse that has been sitting in wait for, well, too long.
We live to fight another day.
Walking out of the toilet stall, my best friend, Labisi is reapplying her bright pink lipstick, a shade I don’t think flatters her equally bright complexion. She looks as I dispose the plastic wrap of my tampon, our eyes meet in the mirror when she looks back up, and I stifle a smile at the fleeting look on her face.
Labisi! Ever predictable.
She had the same look on her face earlier this week when my personal shopper got me the limited-edition Christian Louboutin No. 299 Trash Heels we’ve both desired for months, last summer when an old friend from university swung for me an invite to a Sabrina Elba party, and, heck, many moons ago when my husband, Dare, proposed a clear year before hers. She is extremely competitive and hates to be bested at anything.
“You’re on your period?” she asks.
I shrug, as casual as if this is still a regular occurrence and not like it isn’t day sixty-three of my last cycle, or that the cycle before that one lasted all of fifteen days. Well, it’s day one of a new one now, so, booyah!
“Yeah, can you imagine?” I scoff, reaching for my compact powder, as if it’s an inconvenience. “Thank God I was ready for it.”
Sixty-three days ready.
“Mine is still clockwork regular,” she says, her smile smug and her eyes still holding, searching, mine. “It never surprises me. Twenty-seven days on the dot.”
I raise a brow. She’s lying and we both know it. But whatever rocks her boat. I’m not about to waste a night out analyzing my best friend’s menstrual cycle, or mine for that matter. I return my gaze to the mirror and a smug smile spreads across my face. With smooth, wrinkle-free, never-been-subjected-to-a-single-shot-of-Botox skin, with the aid of expertly applied makeup, I look two decades younger than my forty-six years of age. Forty-seven in a few months, but who is counting? So, twenty-seven days, sixty-three days, a hundred days, perimenopause has got nothing on this hot young thing. Slipping off the bejeweled band holding my hair – all mine – in place, I pull it back in its slick ponytail, rub my tongue over my teeth to be sure no lipstick has strayed there, step back and fall this short of blowing my reflection a kiss.
God sure took his time with me.
As we return to the club, I throw my hands in the air as The Game’s How We Do plays. If the saying you’re only as old as you feel is correct, then colour me twenty-one years old. Yes, that’s the age of my older child, but if the men standing around devouring me with their eyes are anything to go by, this is only a minor detail.
I am walking behind Labisi to the table where our other girlfriends are seated with, possibly, our fifth bottle of champagne, dancing as I do. I must look a lot of fun as a tall, strapping fella steps before me, his mouth upturned in a sexy smile. I smile back and offer no resistance as he leads me to the dance floor, where I go on to bend, twist, and twerk, giving the younger girls around me a run for their money. In a deep-fuchsia, satin, off-shoulder Alexander McQueen blouse over white Versace shorts and white Amina Muaddi stilettos, not only do I look hella fine, I don’t look out of place on this dance floor. It’s Detty December, and I’m prepared to enjoy every minute of…
My train of thought is broken when the guy I’m dancing with closes the gap between us, pulling my body flush with his, making me feel – ewww – his erection.
“Get your hands off me,” I say, my hand connecting with his face in a slap.
That’s the thing with these young boys. Always over-eager.
Without waiting for a response, I shove him aside and march over to where my girlfriends are seated. They, like most people in the club, saw what happened with the tall guy, who is now circling another woman.
“Why are you always so uptight?” Labisi asks as I take my seat. “Did you have to slap him?”
“Didn’t you see what he did?” I retort. “Useless small boy with no respect!”
Yeah, I play the age card when it suits me.
“Don’t you even want someone to press you small?” Labisi asks, shaking her head as if in wonder. “That guy looks like he’ll be fire under the sheets. Don’t you want someone to ride you till you scream?”
“Labisi!” I exclaim, my eyes widening. “Are you out of your mind? I’m a married woman, in case you’ve forgotten!”
She scoffs. “Sorry oh.”
I bristle as we sit in silence. Well, I’m the silent one. Labisi has gone back to singing and dancing, and when she spots Toyosi, a Unilag undergraduate and Mister Nigeria runner-up she spends an inordinate amount of time with, she waves him over. Looking around the table, I see that I’m the only one of my friends not enjoying the attention of the plethora of virile younger men in the club.
And the irony is I’m the least married of all of us.
Less than an hour later, seated in the back seat of the Mercedes Benz GLS my husband, Dare, gifted me for my last birthday, as Jide, my driver, races down the Falomo Bridge, Labisi’s words echo in my head. Ride me till I scream indeed. That hasn’t happened to me in years. Nine, if it’s the last time Dare touched me. Probably fifteen since I screamed.
Later that night, lying in my bed, I contemplate reaching for the drawer where my variety of toys are stocked. That’s how I have kept my sanity over the years, how I have kept my sexual frustration at bay. But tonight, none of them – neither the thrusting rabbit vibrators, girthy silicone dildos, nor clitoral massagers – will do. Tonight, I crave the warmth that comes from a man’s embrace. My mind drifts to the young boy from the club but the revulsion I feel confirms one thing. It isn’t just any man’s company I crave.
It is Dare’s.
My phone rings and my heart flies into my mouth the way it does when my phone rings this late. But, again, I am disappointed not to see Dare’s name. This time, however, disappointment isn’t the only thing I feel. My brow raises in surprise. Why is Rahim calling at 1am in the morning?
“Hello, beautiful,” comes his deep voice, textured with age.
I smile and shake my head. I met Rahim Sukai at a friend’s party last year. Maimuna isn’t a close friend and Labisi opted not to go for her party last minute, claiming a headache when it is a well-known fact that she hasn’t forgiven Maimuna for the affair she had with Shoga, Labisi’s husband, a few years into their marriage. Maiumuna later went on to marry a well-placed soldier from the northern part of the country, but Labisi’s resentment has lingered almost twenty years later. Wanting a chance to hobnob with the political elite Maimuna’s husband is now a part of, I went for the party alone, but ten minutes into being there, I regretted my decision. I was set to make my leave when Maimuna told me one of her husband’s friends wanted to meet me. Buoyed more by curiosity than anything else, I followed her to an inner room, a room where her husband was entertaining VVIP guests, and I recognised Rahim Sukai immediately, not only because he is one of the wealthiest and most influential men in the country but more because of his involvement with one of the most hardcore ‘runs girls’ this town has ever seen; Ife. In fact, even now that she has ditched that lifestyle, is married, and, crazily enough, one of my younger sister’s best friends, I still doff my hat to her. The girl was a legend. Tickled over receiving interest from the same Rahim who was so besotted with Ife that he went on a PR rampage to tarnish her reputation when she walked away from their dalliance, I obliged his request to sit with him for the remainder of the party, chatting and making small talk.
“Can I have your phone number, beautiful woman?” he’d asked, his surprisingly soft hand circling my wrist as I rose to leave. “I leave the country tonight, but can I call you while I’m away?”
I was bowled over to have caught the attention of the almighty Rahim Sukai. He only went after the most beautiful, the most glamorous women, and to have gingered interest from him was the biggest confidence boost I could have asked for.
“I’m a married woman,” I’d answered because, flattered though I was, I wasn’t about to become his next conquest.
“I’m not asking to marry you,” he laughed. A quarter Qatari, his silky silver hair and crow’s feet around hazel brown eyes accentuated a still-handsome face. “Just to talk to you from time to time. Surely, there’s no harm in that.”
It took only seconds for me to acquiesce. I could think of worse things than occasional phone calls, and maybe even gifts, from Rahim Sukai. And in the months that have followed, I have not regretted that decision once. Apart from thoughtful and gorgeous gifts – an eighteen-carat gold pavé diamond necklace in my initial ‘F’, a gorgeous Bottega Veneta tote for Christmas, and a continuous supply of my Crème de la Mer moisturiser – and dining with him occasionally when he is in town, his phone calls come at times I am most desirous of company.
Times like now.
“How are you, Rahim?” I say, smiling in the darkness. “I don’t know where you are, so I’m not sure whether to say good evening or morning.”
“I told you I was coming to Sur,” he answers, with a chuckle. “So, that would be good morning. It’s 4am here.”
I nod, remembering he did tell me about spending time in the home he recently acquired in the port city of the Middle Eastern country, Oman.
“It’s just me here, and I’m lonely. I wish you were here with me,” he says, and I can hear the smile in his voice.
I roll my eyes and smile at what has now become our usual banter.
“I hope I didn’t wake you, though,” he says, belatedly.
“No, I was out with Labisi and a few other friends,” I answer. “I got tired, which is why I’m home now. This is Detty December, in case you’ve forgotten. I have parties lined up for every day of the week.”
“Aren’t you a little old for Detty December, Fiyin?” he scoffs.
My nostrils flare as his words hit their mark. But two can play this game.
“The party I’m attending tomorrow is a party for Diekola Holloway’s fifty-first birthday. They were away last year for his fiftieth, so his wife has decided to throw him one now. You know her, right? Ife? An old friend of yours?”
There is silence and I cover my mouth with my hand to keep from laughing. Rahim should have learned by now that I always, always, have the last laugh. Too old for Detty December indeed!
“You know I know Ife,” he finally says. “The whole town knows Ife and I were once involved. That remains one of my biggest mistakes, loving so recklessly someone that young.” I can hear the smile returning to his voice. “You are more the kind of person I should be investing such strong emotions in.”
I roll my eyes and laugh. “Good night, Rahim.”
“Good night, habibti,” he says, blowing her a kiss. “Sweet dreams.”
I put my phone back on my bedside table, a smile on my face, Dare’s abandonment and my sex toys forgotten.
And feeling a lot better about myself.
To Be Loved
GIVING MYSELF A FINAL LOOK in the mirror, I am satisfied with what I see. In a black leather dress with a plunging neckline and thigh-high slits held in place by safety pins Liz Hurley style, I feel beautiful. Glamorous. Sexy. I almost feel like I’m wasting this very pricey Versace outfit on Diekola Holloway’s birthday party. But then again, half of Lagos will be there, so maybe not quite a waste after all.
Walking downstairs, I see my daughter, Tiwa, coming out of the kitchen. If her satin bonnet, Hello Kitty onesie, and tub of ice-cream tucked under her arm are anything to go by, a night on the town isn’t on her to-do list for the evening.
“Another party?” Tiwa remarks. “You’ve been out every night this holiday. This has got to be a record, even for you, Mom.”
“It’s Detty December and you should also be out!” I answer, smacking away her arm as she tries to pull up my dress to cover my cleavage. “You’re young and should be out partying like Laja, instead of stuffing your face with ice-cream.”
“First of all, Laja is still upstairs. Secondly, it’s January now, Mom. January the friggin fourth! Thirdly, and most importantly, Netflix is calling my name,” Tiwa grins, giving me another once-over. “But you look gorge, per usual. Is this dress…”
“The one Liz Hurley wore for the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere in 1994? It sure is!” I complete for her, grinning, never happier about my splurge. “Well, not the exact one she wore, but the same design.”
“This one’s pins are silver, not gold like the original. Nice,” Tiwa says, nodding in her approval. “Well, have fun. I intend to enjoy my last night before returning to the dreary cold.”
My smile wanes as I am reminded about what she’s returning to in London. “Have you called your father, Tiwa?”
It is Tiwa’s turn to stop smiling. “I told you I’m not going to.”
“I’m not interested in speaking to a man who doesn’t want to speak to me.”
I sigh and set my clutch on the credenza. “How are you going to survive without an allowance?” I put my hands on her shoulders as my eyes hold hers, my concern for my older child rising. “Tiwalade, I beg you, please accept the place at Imperial College like he wants…”
She shakes her head, her vehemence showing no sign of abating. “I don’t want to go to Imperial, Mom. I have my bachelors. I’ve gone as far as I want to academically. I don’t need his money to survive. My jewellery business will keep me from going hungry, so don’t worry.” She smiles and pats me on the cheek. “I’ll be fine, Mom. Abena and I have found an apartment in Bethnal Green, and as soon as I get back, I’ll move my things there.”
Laja, my younger child, walks in at that moment, and I am relieved.
“Laja, please talk to your sister,” I say to him. “She’s not thinking straight. Your father isn’t bluffing.”
But rather than chime in to support me, my nineteen-year-old son smiles. “I’m actually impressed,” he says, grinning at his sister. “I had no idea you were this ballsy. You and Abena found a flat? Sweet. I might come crash there any time I’m in London.”
I stare at my children as they talk, marveling over how incredibly naïve they are. Do they realise they are talking about East London? East London?! Sighing, I reach for my clutch. Tiwa thinks it will be as easy as the snap of a finger to go from having all her needs met to making a living from selling beads? I scoff under my breath. After one week living in squalor, she will surely come to her senses.
“Mom, please don’t let another Christmas holiday go by without you making your smoky jollof rice,” Laja says, placing his long arm over my shoulder. “Please, Mom. It’s been too long. Please say you’ll make it before we leave tomorrow night. Nobody cooks it like you do.”
“When last did you see me in the kitchen cooking anything?” I retort, shrugging his arm off. “In case you don’t know, I’ve reached the age that a minute of stress translates to at least ten wrinkles on my face.”
“You don’t have any wrinkles, Mom,” Tiwa says.
“And I’d like to keep it that way, please,” I mutter, sliding my hands down my head to make sure no wayward strands of hair are ruining my smooth ponytail. “You people will eat and digest the food in minutes, but I’ll carry the aftermath on my face for a lifetime. No thank you!”
My phone rings and I smile.
“Aunty Erin is outside. I’ll go meet her because if she comes in here, you two will detain her for another hour. And I don’t want to be late for this party.”
Not waiting for their response, I rush out of the lobby and down the hallway leading to the door. But sitting in the car with my sister, Erin, I almost regret my decision to ride with her to the party.
“I can’t spend only an hour there, don’t be silly,” Erin giggles on the phone, blowing me a kiss as I get in the back seat of her Land Rover beside her. “If you wanted to have me to yourself tonight, you could have come along.”
She giggles again as the car makes its way down Bourdillon Drive, glancing at me as if afraid I have heard whatever it is Emeka, her husband, has said, prompting an eye roll from me. Despite my outward appearance of irritation, the truth is I am amazed that, after six years married and almost eight as a couple, my sister and her husband are still into each other the way they are. By this time with Dare, fire and passion had long departed our marriage. By this time, he was already on the verge of marrying another wife.
A call on my phone is a welcome distraction, even if it is from Labisi.
“Babe, were you able to get me an entry pass?” Labisi asks, confirming my suspicion that Diekola’s party is the social event of the evening, if not this entire Christmas season.
“Hold on, let me ask Erin,” I answer. Even though Ife and my youngest sister, Ara, are best of friends, she and I are only cordial at best. As such, beside myself, I am in no position to guarantee anyone entry.
Erin turns upon hearing her name.
“It’s Labisi,” I say to my sister. “Can we get her in?”
“We’ll have to ask Ara when we get there,” Erin answers, looking just as helpless as I feel. “Ife and I aren’t close enough for me to ask for extra passes.”
I nod in perfect understanding, before returning to my call. “You can come. Ara will get you a pass.”
Erin raises a brow at me as I end the call, and I throw her a syrupy smile in response. If she thinks I’m going to pass up the chance to have my sidekick with me for laughs, then she’s having a laugh. I need Labisi there to gossip, if nothing more.
Getting to the Holloway’s Banana Island house, my suspicion about it being the place, the only place, to be seen tonight is confirmed. Everyone that is anyone in this town is here. Walking into the compound that has festive fairy lights adorning its trees, draped canopy style, we make our way to the large backyard that overlooks the Lagos Lagoon. I smile when I see Ara and her husband, C.J, embracing them as if I didn’t just have dinner with them this past Sunday. My smile wanes when I notice what my sister is wearing. A blazer over jeans and a t-shirt for this party where photographs of anyone lucky to be in attendance will go far and wide? Ara! But that’s my sister for you. Six years ago, when I succeeded in overhauling her wardrobe and revamping her image, it lasted all of five minutes before she reverted to her typical tomboyish style. But C.J. doesn’t seem to mind, so who am I to complain? At least Erin, in a black and nude mesh Thierry Mugler bodycon dress, has done me proud tonight. A score of two out of three for the Da-Silva girls isn’t a bad thing, I guess.
“Babe, please a pass for Labisi,” I say to Ara, hoping my wide eyes are doing a good job of communicating how much we – Labisi and I – need the pass.
Ara makes a face. She has never liked my friend.
“I’ll ask Ife,” she concedes. “But I hope Labisi is coming alone, and not with your usual crowd of jobless…”
“She’s coming alone, I promise,” I say, cutting her off before she reels of the choice names she has for my crowd of friends, hugging her again before she goes off in search of Ife.
I walk with Erin towards a table that has Ara’s other friends. Ginika, her best friend, is there, and as we exchange greetings, I am disappointed by her simple blazer dress. The Ginika of before was one of the very few people in this town who blew me away with their style. The Ginika of before left me in awe every time I saw her, her outfits so stylish and avant-garde, I would put all my personal shoppers to work after every encounter with her. But now, ever since she and her husband decided to give things another go, she always just looks meh!
Ara’s loud friend, Ozioma, is also seated on the table, alongside the mixed-race girl married to big shot, Karibi Graham-Hart, the man Erin would have married if she hadn’t been so hard-headed. Their spouses are also there, the Karibi included, and as I sit with Erin, I am relieved I’m not the only one unaccompanied. I exchange pleasantries with everyone and revel in their praise and compliments. I might be several years older, but I look better than everyone on this table.
Labisi soon arrives and we are loud as we embrace. Nobody would guess we didn’t part on the best of terms last night. The truth is, even though Labisi and I have very different views about marriage and the values that come with it, she’s still my goon, my girl for life.
“Fiyin the FINEST!” she hails, loud enough to elicit irritated glances from people around, Erin’s and Ara’s being the most pointed.
“Labisi the BADDEST!” I hail back, as we embrace again. “Ever looking hot! Shoga allowed you leave the house like this?”
She rolls her eyes and curls her upper lip, prompting us both to break out laughing. Even though my husband has abandoned me here in Lagos, Labisi’s lives with her in the same house but looks through her like she’s invincible. So, even if she’d come out of their house nude, he wouldn’t have noticed.
“Girl, this Versace dress is giving!” she says, twirling me around. “How much did you pay for it?”
She doesn’t want to know. It is a figure only I and the personal shopper I use for purchases like this, Yasmin, know. The price is unspeakable, but the minute Yasmin told me the dress was available, I knew I had to have it.
“I got it for a steal,” I lie, leading Labisi to the seat I have reserved for her.
“Omo, everybody is here!” she whispers in my ear, her eyes sweeping the table and the large garden. “I would have died if I didn’t get in. Thanks babe.”
As the party progresses, I ignore my sisters and their friends, and gossip with Labisi. At a point, we get up from the table and walk around to mingle and show off our killer outfits, all while ensuring our pictures are taken by the right people, ensuring that, when pictures of the party are out, our attendance will not be in question.
But later, as Diekola cuts his birthday cake, as he cups Ife’s face in his hands as he kisses her, the gossip and chatter fade into oblivion as I watch them, his love for his wife never more evident. I watch as she looks into his eyes, as they say words only both of them can hear, and the envy I feel, initially a slow climb, spreads through my body like a virus. Ife, a former runs girl has got her happy ever after.
And I’m here, married only in name.
“Na wa oh! So, this her juju has not worn off,” Labisi whispers in my ear. “I thought by now Diekola would have come to his senses. This is, what, four years?”
But I am no more in the mood to gossip.
“Let’s go sit down,” I say, taking Labisi’s hand and leading her back to our table.
It turns out to be a big mistake.
C.J. has his arm around Ara, Isioma’s head is on Karibi’s shoulder, Ginika and Dike are swaying in unison to the music, and a heavily pregnant Ozioma is giggling to something her husband, Banji, has said. And I have never felt more like a third wheel than I do now. Looking at Erin, who is back on her phone giggling like a schoolgirl with a crush, I have never felt worse about what Dare has done to our marriage.
What he has done to us.
The last time I felt this way was a few weeks ago, just before Christmas, when Ginika and Dike renewed their vows. They, too, had a marriage almost upended by scandal but eventually found their way back to each other. I grit my teeth as my resentment grows. Ginika cheated on her man, Ozioma ditched hers and married someone else, Ife slept with almost every guy in Lagos, yet here they all are, loved up and happy. I have done none of these to Dare, but I am worse off than anyone here.
For the first time in years, a lump forms in my throat. I blink furtively to push back tears. No way am I going to cry here. Not in front of my sisters and their loved-up friends. Not in front of the whole city of Lagos.
“I have a headache,” I say to Labisi, but loud enough for Erin to hear. “I need to go home.”
“I can take you,” Erin says, grabbing the out she has been given to exit early.
Noticing Labisi’s distressed look, I smile at her. “You don’t have to leave, babe. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Pele oh. Please get plenty of rest,” Labisi says, clearly relieved not to have her night prematurely cut short.
I nod, hoping my smile is convincing enough, before walking out with Erin.
“Are you okay? Do you want me to come in for a while?” Erin asks when her car pulls up in front of my house in Park View Estate.
I smile and shake my head. There might be six years between us, but my sister can read me like a book.
“I’m fine. I just…” I stop when I hear a wobble in my voice, waiting until I feel more composed before continuing. “I just want to talk to Dare.”
Erin squeezes my hand, her understanding in the gesture and not in words, which is exactly what I need.
Once out of the car and in the house, I am grateful Tiwa has retired to bed and Laja is – I presume – still out. Walking into the living room and kicking off my Jimmy Choo crystal covered Alia pumps, I don’t even sit before reaching for my phone and dialling my husband’s number. He doesn’t answer the first time and as I dial him again, I find myself praying he doesn’t ignore the call like he typically does. Tonight – especially tonight – I won’t be able to handle him ignoring me.
Thankfully, this time he doesn’t.
I smile when I hear his voice and sit up in my chair.
“Hi, babe,” I say, using an endearment I haven’t in years. “How are you?”
“Babe?” he scoffs. “This one you’re calling me babe, I better get my wallet ready for another tsunami.”
“Don’t be silly,” I say, laughing, already easing into the conversation. “You’ve always been babe to me.”
“Fiyin, I’m kind of in the middle of something now,” Dare cuts in, unable to mask his impatience. “I’m with Sadiya. She’s waiting for me.”
Sadiya. Wife number four.
I shut my eyes and sigh. Six years into our marriage, what started as a quick trip to Abuja for ‘one or two meetings’ led to him relocating his business to the capital. After only two months there, he broke the bombshell I hadn’t seen coming. He was marrying Zarau Wara, daughter of influential politician, Alhaji Sanni Wara, as a second wife.
“I have to do it, my love,” he’d said as I wept myself hoarse. “It’s the only way I can gain the inroads I need in this town. Alhaji Sanni Wara’s connections extend all the way to Aso Rock. We need his help.”
I’d cried, cussed, screamed, but he’d pleaded, convincing me it would only be a temporary measure to enable him secure the contracts he was chasing. I believed him. I convinced my parents and sisters. I put up a brave face as his marriage to another woman became common knowledge to the whole world. Because, after all, as a Muslim, he was entitled to more than one wife. That was the justification I gave when our acquaintances asked, even though deep in my heart I was waiting for when he would get the contracts he wanted, divorce Zarau, and come back to me.
But that never happened.
He got those contracts and several more, but rather than return to me, he made a permanent home in Abuja…and a permanent wife of Zarau. As his fortune grew, as he relocated the kids and I to a bigger house in Lagos, as he kept me flush with more money than I could spend, he went on to marry more wives.
The latest being Sadiya.
Over the years, I have tried to satisfy myself with the luxuries his wealth has accorded me. I have tried to convince myself it doesn’t matter that over the years, he has given me less and less of himself, getting to this point where I now have nothing left. But I can no longer do that. I want my husband. I need my husband.
“You’re with Sadiya, but what about me?” I demand, my hand holding the phone quivering. “She might be your brand-new wife, but I’m your firstwife. She might be waiting for you now, but I’ve been waiting for you for years!”
“Oh, for God’s sake!”
“It’s been almost nine years since we shared a bed, Dare!” I yell, my voice bouncing off the walls and back at me like a boomerang.
“Have you bothered coming here to see me?” Dare yells back, no longer bothered about his precious Sadiya overhearing the conversation. “You call yourself my wife, my first wife, but you have never even come to see me where I live and conduct the business that feeds us.”
This is enough to momentarily silence me, throwing me completely off balance.
“Dare, you know I have a morbid fear of flying local,” I finally answer, my voice now several decibels lower.
And it is true. I do. After losing close friends in the Bellview and Sosoliso crashes of 2005, and again in the Dana Air crash of 2012, I have not boarded a local plane. I simply cannot. It is like willfully signing a death warrant, my death warrant. I have panic attacks when my sisters and loved ones fly within Nigeria, and I am getting queasy now just thinking about it.
“Fiyin, if its more money you need, I’ll credit your account in the morning,” Dare says, his sigh signaling he is just as drained by the conversation as I am. “If there’s anything else, send me a text. I have to go now.”
I sit with the phone pressed to my ear long after the line is disconnected, my heart breaking anew with the realisation that even though I have spent all these years resenting him for his abandonment, I might actually be the one to blame. I thought he understood why, after losing six friends, getting on a local plane wasn’t an option, but as I replay the words he just threw at me, I am hit with a bitter realisation.
The realisation that I might be the one to blame for the implosion of my marriage.
Whatever It Takes, coming on August 25, 2023
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