In proper Jumoke style, a small get-together meant a party with her friends, alcohol drinking, shisha smoking and loud-mouthed chatter. That was not my kind of crowd but Jumoke pleaded that I should stay. The location was a new joint in Maryland; it was a secluded hotel and lots of expatriates were in the club as well. Jumoke said her husband to be was a co-owner and she made sure all her friends, upon their arrival, knew this.
I sipped on my chapman and listened to all the girls tell one story or the other about their husbands or children or boyfriends overseas. Sigh. It was either that or one story about opening up a new business or something like that. I just sipped on chapman and listened and willed my phone to ring.
Jake was still MIA and this worried me. I had sent him a text on my way to the hotel and called a couple of times but all I got was a one-liner:
Hope you are good? When I am ready, we will talk. Don’t be too hard on u.
I was happy and sad at the same time but I could feel it deep inside, I was losing him.
“ Babes, this one that your just sipping on boring chapman and nothing else, are you okay?” She said loudly because of the music.
“Jumoke you know I have to work tomorrow and I got a text that we have a photoshoot tomorrow.” I responded.
“Chill nau. I thought you will sleep over sef.” She pouted. She looked cute but I wasn’t buying it and this crowd was just too depressing.
“ I have already booked a room for us. Just have fun and relax a little. I’d drop you off at work tomorrow. Please?” I was about to decline when she gave me a wet kiss on the cheek and got up to dance to Geoffry’s ‘Bursting My Brain’. Immediately the song came on, it reminded me of Jake; I heard the song first when we were in his car and he hummed to the song while drumming his fingers on the steering. I waved off the surging emotion and called the waiter for another glass of chapman and a plate of asun.
Finally, the small party rounded and we went upstairs. To be honest, the hotel looked really lovely but I didn’t tell Jumoke before she started another story of how she was the motivation for the hotel. Borrrrriiinnngggg! I knew the green ugly head of jealousy was at work this evening but I just kept telling myself that it would not win.
After a warm bath, we settled into the king size bed and Jumoke excitedly kicked off with the story of how her husband to be had gotten her a car. I gritted my teeth to endure the pain of hearing the same story for the umpteenth time that night.
“ You’ve told me before.” I blurted. Errmm, Dear Diary, that was meant to stay in my thoughts. I noticed the shocked look on her face. “Jummy I am sorry. Maybe I am just a little tired that’s all.”
“ It is fine babe.”
“ How is your Paris bobo nau?”
I pulled the thick duvet over my body and gave her my rehearsed answer. “ He is fine” . Jumoke pulled off the duvet and swiftly pounced on me with punches. I felt confused. “ Hey!!!! Stop Jumoke!”
“Will you talk now? Will you?”
“ I will! Stop please” I pushed her off me and then sat up and while we tried to catch our breath she started laughing. Crazy girl.
“ I can still whoop your fat ass even after how many years. Ole oshi!”
“ Whatever.” I smiled. I have missed her sha. She puffed a pillow and rested her elbows on them facing me.
“ So what’s up with this guy? Altar things or not?”
“ When did you become all marriage minded?”
“ Answer my question jare “ she slapped my laps.
I told her everything about Jake amidst tears and sobs while she sighed and nodded in understanding. When I was done, I had used up half of the box of Kleenex. Jumoke gave me time to cry because God knows I needed it.
“So now that you are done crying, let’s get to the bottom of this: why do you like this guy?”
I thought about it before giving her a response. “Because of how refreshing it feels to talk to someone mature and how he looks at me and cares for me and then-”
“All this one that you are saying, is it something someone else can’t give you?”
“What does that even mean?” I didn’t want to be defensive.
“ Because any man can look at you in a way that you like if he knows he can get sex from you. He can even listen to your boring tales about work and can totally be a gentleman, babes.”
I still didn’t get her point and I was wondering if it was my cousin, Jumoke, that was talking.
“ Stop looking at me like I am high on matches abeg. You know when a guy likes you when no matter how angry he is with you, he decides not to send you out of his house at night, he realises that ignoring you could solve the problem but will hurt you more, so he calls or picks your call. See ehn, don’t get me wrong, you fucked up big time, in short, over time sef but I don’t think all of this is entirely your fault.”
“ Hmmm.” I sighed
“ but if you want, we can still fix him up the regular way.”
“ We fit cook am na. I still have Baba Niru’s contact but it’s up to you to-“
To think I thought she has changed. “ Jumoke! It hasn’t gotten to that nau.”
“ Then that means you have to get past this guy. If it doesn’t give you peace, he is not yours.”
“ Jake just needs time and I think I should do that. I will just give him time.” I said in conclusion.
“ Well, if you want to give him time, that means you should not call him or text. Move on and live your life! You wan kill yourself for man ni? I don’t like the way you carry manissues as if your life will end in it.”
“Isn’t it easy for you to say.” I muttered.
She smiled sadly. “ You know my story already Abigail. I never thought marriage was my thing but this is a blessing from God. I think I know your problem.”
She sat up and placed the pillow between her legs.
“You are afraid of ending up like your mother. You need to stop being afraid of her Abigail. I think-“
“ I really need to sleep Jummy. Thanks for listening.” I pulled the duvet over myself again and tried to ignore the look of pity I saw in her eyes. I just want husband and not counselling. Or was I actually living in fear? To be honest, I don’t think so. I simply hate the woman and that’s all.
That night, I dreamt of my mother breast feeding my dead child. I tried to tell her the baby was dead but she looked up at me smiling and then she said.
“This wouldn’t be the last one”
I woke up in a start and did not sleep all night.