May 2012 – May 2013
The relief that came with breaking up with Kese was so much more than I ever imagined. It felt like a heavy load had been taken off my chest, and I was finally able to exhale without getting the constant panic attacks that came anytime I thought about marrying him. I was finally able to be myself, and settle down into my new role as a mother, without any anxiety.
The first couple of weeks had been awkward, but afterwards Kese and I soon fell into a comfortable, friendly co-parenting routine. Forget the fact that we were no longer ‘involved’, 15 years of friendship was no joke, and it was great to have finally found a friend in my one-time love. It felt good to finally be able to laugh with him, without worrying about falling for him again, or worrying about why I wasn’t falling for him again. No, there was none of that. Instead, I finally had an awesome and complete support system…complete with a wonderful, hands-on father whom I no longer felt the need to run from. By June, when I finally moved back to my apartment, and when I no longer had the luxury of shorter hours at work, there is no way I could have coped without Kese, who helped with Alex during the week, and even some weekends when I needed a break.
He was so much better than I had expected him to be…for all of the next few months. By October, he surprised me with his decision to move back to Canada. Things weren’t working out with the business he was running with his brother, and Alex was the only thing keeping him in Nigeria.
“I don’t want to leave him…but I have to go and build a future for him. If I remain here, I’m going to be of no use to him!” had been Kese’s excuse.
Even though I wanted to argue, I knew it would be unfair not to let him go. Yes, I was enjoying having Alex’s father available at the click of a finger, but I knew it wasn’t doing his ego any good not making a decent income.
And that’s how I became a proper single mom.
But it wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be. Between Kese’s mother and my Aunty Angela, they more than made up for the gap his exit left, and life went on as normal for me. I was pretty much almost back to my old self…
Almost, because I still thought about Chuba every day…every single day. Sometimes he was my waking thought, sometimes he was my sleeping thought…sometimes he was both. I thought about him…wondered what he was up to…wondered who he was with…
Unfortunately, I had no way of finding out…because I had forbidden myself to. It hadn’t been easy, but I’d found a way not to Google him every day. I’d found a way not to stalk him on the Goldman Sachs website. I’d found a way to restrain myself from asking Ade, Gori, or my friend, Ade’s wife, Tammy, about him. Even though I was curious, I didn’t want to hear that he had gone back to Gogo, or worse still, was dating someone new. I didn’t have the courage to hear that kind of news. So, I stayed well clear of anything that could give me that kind of information.
November, Uche got married. It was bitter sweet for me. Sweet because I was ecstatic to see her married to the love of her life…but bitter because I had lost my flat mate. The wedding was beautiful, and I couldn’t help but feel envious of my best friend. To think that, this time a year ago, I’d had two men vying to marry me. But now, there I was, with nary a prospect in sight!
By Christmas, my father was finally back in Nigeria, and anyone meeting him for the first time would never have believed how ill he had been the previous year. It was awesome having him back, and with Ejeme and Ogbeide around for the holidays, it was a wonderful family Christmas. And we got a wonderful surprise that made it even better. My sister came home with an engagement ring! My 43 year old sister had finally met her dream man.
“He is everything I ever prayed for!” she gushed, as she talked about him, and by the time we met him a few days before New Year’s day, when he and his family came to Benin to see mine, I saw that he truly was. She had always prayed to marry a good looking ma, who made a good living, who had never been married, and who had to be a Nigerian. I admit that I had lost faith she would ever find such a man, especially at her age, but she had. At 40, Odianose was a few years younger, but was a devastatingly good looking doctor, with his own medical practice, who had never been married…and not only was he Nigerian, he was Ishan as well. My sister had darned well hit the husband jackpot!
Watching the families talk, I was again overwhelmed with envy, thinking how this could have been me, if I hadn’t messed it all up with Chuba. If I hadn’t grown cold feet and broken up with him, we would be getting married right about this time as well.
“Ose, I need to apologise to you…” Ejeme said later that night, when her future in-laws had left. “I’m really sorry for belittling your feelings for Chuba last year. I didn’t understand what it was you were feeling…but now I do. If I played a part in your breakup in any way, I am truly, truly sorry!”
We had hugged tearfully. In addition to still feeling wistful about losing Chuba, knowing my sister had finally found true love made me emotional.
Ejeme and Odianose got married in London, on Valentine’s Day 2013, in the most beautiful and romantic ceremony I’d ever attended in my life. Even though it was a Thursday, all their friends turned up for them, and the weather was uncharacteristically warm for that time of the year. Watching the new couple dance to Lionel Richie’s Three Times a Lady for their first dance, brought tears to my eyes. Watching them lost in their world of beautiful love made me remember what I’d once had…and all I could do was wish I could back in time and change everything.
When it was time for Ejeme to throw the bouquet, she surprised everyone by taking the microphone.
“I’m not going to throw this bouquet. Rather, I’m going to hand it over to my younger sister…because she is definitely the next bride!” and with that, she made her way to where I was cowering in a corner, and handed me the beautiful bouquet of cream, peach and orange tulips and lilies.
As embarrassed as I was by this, I was also touched, and made a prayer speaking words of life into my sister’s declaration. Except I didn’t want it to be just any man…
Alex had turned 1 in January, and the hints from my family and friends about getting back into the dating game, were getting more overt than subtle, and with the volume increasing. But the thought of dating again made me shudder. The thought of returning back to the Russian Roulette game that was dating in Lagos was not one I relished at all.
And so I dodged. I dodged when anyone had ‘someone great’ they wanted to hook me up. I dodged when admirers tried to approach me directly, or through third parties. All these I dodged, because I nowhere near ready. I needed time to recover. Or at least, that was the excuse I gave everyone. But I knew they were beginning to find that excuse well…a little old.
Life continued as normal for me, until that weekend in May, a few weeks before my 35th birthday. At the very last minute, Ade had decided to have a party to commemorate his 20th wedding anniversary to Tammy. As I dressed up for the party, I thought how wonderful it would be if Chuba was there. But considering how last minute the party had been planned, I decided it would be highly unlikely.
Getting to Ade and Tammy’s new house in Parkview, I was surprised at the crowd. I’d thought it would be an understated affair, and had dressed for that, in my casual Ankara dress. But there looked to be at least 100 people in their compound!
Sighting some of my colleagues, I quickly joined their group, as we ate canapes and chatted. In my mind, I was prepared to just hang around for about half an hour, before leaving for home. I was under dressed anyway, and was really longing for my bed.
And then I saw him.
Across the compound stood Chuba, chatting and laughing with a group of people. On seeing him, my heart jumped and I felt myself go weak in the knees. Time had done nothing to dull my feelings for him. Looking at him, it felt like we’d only been together yesterday, and not the almost 18 months it had been since we’d seen.
At that moment, he saw me, and as our eyes held, time literally stood still.
As I waved at him, and I was even more aware of my casual state. Why oh why had I not listened to the voice in my head, prompting me to dress up! Why had I listened to the other voice that made me believe dressing up for a small garden party would be a waste of my baffs. Why? Why?? Why???
He had simply waved back, without making any moves to come my way. Taking a deep breath, I started walking to him. If Mohammed wasn’t going to come to the mountain…
“Hi! I didn’t think you’d be here!” I said, with exaggerated cheer, to mask the fact that my legs were wobbling like jelly.
He had smiled, and excused himself from his group.
“Hello Ose,” he said, still with that annoying, polite smile on his face.
“How have you been? It’s been so long!” I exclaimed, struggling with the small talk. “You look great!” and he sure did. He looked rested and more toned than I could remember. No, he didn’t look like someone who’d been suffering for 16 months.
“So do you,” he commented, his face giving nothing away. “How is Alexander?”
I smiled, having not heard his name called in full in a long time. “Alex is doing great!”
“Good to know,” he said dismissively. “It was great seeing you, Ose.”
Not wanting to lose him again, I’d held his arm. “Chuba, please. There’s so much we need to say…”
He smiled again, but this time, the smile wasn’t just polite…it was bitter.
“No, we don’t, Ose.” he answered.
Just as I was about to open my mouth to talk, a woman walked up to us. From the look they exchanged, I knew they were a couple…and my stomach dropped.
“Ose, meet Doris,” he introduced. “Doris, Ose.”
The beautiful woman smiled, revealing a perfect set of sparkling white teeth, and she stretched out the daintiest of hands to shake mine. Looking at her made me regret my attire once again, and I felt like an old rolled up newspaper next to her.
“It’s nice to meet you…” I croaked, before looking at Chuba. “It was nice seeing you again…”
As I made to turn around and walk away with whatever was left of my shame, Chuba called my name.
I looked back, hopeful.
“I’d really like to see Alex, if you don’t mind. If it’s okay with you, I’d love to come visit him.”
“That would be wonderful…” I said to him, my hope rising. “You can come by tomorrow, if you want. Same house.”
He had nodded. “Thank you, Ose. That means a lot.”
As I walked away from the love of my life and his new flame, I found myself plotting how I was going to make a move for my man. He might have been coming to see Alex, but I was determined to find a way to get him back.
It was game on!
To catch up on Ose’s story, click one of the following links:
- Accidentally Knocked Up 1: The Beginning
- Accidentally Knocked Up 2: Not Quite a Razz Girl
- Accidentally Knocked Up 3: Pharaoh’s Girl
- Accidentally Knocked Up 4: Inferiority Complex
- Accidentally Knocked Up 5: Making Room
- Accidentally Knocked Up 6: No Place In Her Home
- Accidentally Knocked Up 7: Be Happy
- Accidentally Knocked Up 8: Stuck
- Accidentally Knocked Up 9: Cloud 9
- Accidentally Knocked Up 10: The Passport
- Accidentally Knocked Up 11: The Real Deal
- Accidentally Knocked Up 12: Reluctant Virgin
- Accidentally Knocked Up 13: Hurricane Kese
- Accidentally Knocked Up 14: A Fool For You
- Accidentally Knocked Up 15: Still In Love
- Accidentally Knocked Up 16: An Official Item
- Accidentally Knocked Up 17: Joy…and Pain
- Accidentally Knocked Up 18: The Exes
- Accidentally Knocked Up 19: Mr. Americana
- Accidentally Knocked Up 20: Chuba
- Accidentally Knocked Up 21: Ocean Drive
- Accidentally Knocked Up 22: Fancy Seeing you here
- Accidentally Knocked Up 23: Done For
- Accidentally Knocked Up 24: Denial
- Accidentally Knocked Up 25: Pick Up The Pieces
- Accidentally Knocked Up 26: The Breakup
- Accidentally Knocked Up 27: Complicated
- Accidentally Knocked Up 28: Threesome
- Accidentally Knocked Up 29: Playing Catch Up
- Accidentally Knocked Up 30: My Biggest Mistake
- Accidentally Knocked Up 31: Put Family First
- Accidentally Knocked Up 32: Not Good Enough
- Accidentally Knocked Up 33: My Mother’s Daughter
- Accidentally Knocked Up 34: Fighting a Losing Battle
- Accidentally Knocked Up 35: Still Running
- Accidentally Knocked Up 36: The Love We Had
- Accidentally Knocked Up 37: Bound By the Baby
- Accidentally Knocked Up 38: Intruder
- Accidentally Knocked Up 39: Thinking Rationally