February 11th, 2015
As Idara and I rode in the train later that evening, I asked her if she had ever run into Toun in London. She said she had, but it had been many years ago. She had run into her, and her Jamaican husband, at a mutual friend’s party, the year she had moved to London, but hadn’t seen, or heard of her, ever since. She admitted being surprised about Toun’s choice of partner, as she had seemed so prim and proper, back in our LASU days. Yet, her husband was this burly, tattooed, durag-wearing Jamaican, who cursed and swore in every sentence. To her, they had been as mismatched as night and day.
When we got to the hotel, I let myself into the room with my access card, thinking Patrick would still be in meetings, as it was just 5pm. Imagine my surprise to see my husband lying asleep on our bed, still in his clothes from yesterday. Idara had quietly excused herself, and I walked over to tap him.
When he opened his eyes and saw me, he jumped out of bed and wrapped me in such a tight embrace, it was almost painful!
“Where on earth have you been??!” he yelled, when I was finally able to break free. “Do you know what you’ve put me through today?! I didn’t even know where to start looking for you! When I couldn’t take it any longer, I had to call Phillip. He promised to get me your friend Idara’s phone number…and that’s what I’ve been waiting for!”
I looked at my disheveled husband, and my heart melted. He even had a stubble. My always perfectly groomed husband actually hadn’t bothered to shave. Now that was a first!
“You didn’t go for your meeting?” I asked lamely. Obviously, he hadn’t gone!
“How could I go for any meeting when my wife was missing on the streets of London?!”
At that moment, at that very moment, I knew I had nothing to worry about. Yes, Toun might be in touch with him…but I am the one who owns his heart.
Lying in bed that night, I told him how I didn’t want him to contact Toun ever again. He nodded, but said he had something even better for me. Then he leaned over, picked up his phone, and dialed a number.
“Hi Toun…yes, I saw your missed calls. No problem…we can see tomorrow. My wife and I will see you tomorrow…”
I sat up and stared at him, like he had gone mental. It’s like this bobo loves wahala oh!
“You are seeing her tomorrow???!!!” I yelled.
“We!!! We are seeing her tomorrow.” he responded. “I want you to see for yourself”.
Before I could say another word, he silenced me with a kiss…which led to some of the things that we had been planning to do on this our babymoon.
For that evening at least, all was well with my world!
February 12th, 2011
So, the plan was for both of us to meet up with Toun at a bar on the West End. Patrick had to go for his meetings, so I spent the morning at a nearby mall, looking for the right outfit for this evening. Ah, I was determined to hold my own against Toun oh! She might be beauty-queen gorgeous, but I had to show her that I wasn’t bad either.
In the end, I went several steps higher than my budget, and selected a designer jersey knit dress, which was figure hugging enough to be sexy, but long enough to be comfortable and functional in this cold weather. I then made my way to one of the beauty counters on the ground floor, and got a full makeover.
I was ready for her!
By the time Patrick got back, he arched a brow when he saw me.
“Are we going somewhere else?” he asked.
“Don’t be funny!” I retorted.
It was show time.
We got to the bar before her, and as we sat waiting, my heart was racing. My eyes were darting around the bar, non-stop, trying to catch the first glimpse of the mammy-water girl.
“There she is”. Patrick said, looking towards the door.
I looked in that direction, but couldn’t see her. I almost broke my neck, trying to find her. There was a woman walking in our direction, but it wasn’t her…it couldn’t be her…
Good grief! It was her.
Patrick rose to his feet, and gave her a friendly hug. “Hi Toun. It’s good to see you” he looked at me “This is my wife, Faith”
She smiled at me. “Yeah, I recognize her from LASU. Congrats on the baby.”
I had to stop myself from staring at her in pure and utter shock, and managed a smile back.
As she and Patrick made small talk, I couldn’t help but stare. I was beside myself with shock! This Toun, this woman sitting in front of me, looked nothing like that drop dead man magnet from all those years ago. This woman was like 10 times the size I remembered, and she had aged so badly, she could pass for Patrick’s Aunty. I looked at the wrinkles around her eyes and mouth, and I couldn’t believe that a 32 year old woman could look like this?! She looked at least 45! I had never really understood that phrase called ‘faded beauty’…not until today. But Toun personified it to a T! She looked washed up…in every way. Even her hair, her once lustrous mixed-race hair, hung in limp strands around her face. Na wa oh! See life!
I just couldn’t get over it! This same Toun who once had rock hard abs, was the one whose stomach was spilling out of her well-worn jeans…whose fat arms were struggling to rip a hole in the leather jacket she wore, a jacket that looked at least 10 years old! Her complexion was patchy, there were bags under her eyes, she was a missing a lower front tooth…
Ah! This is a tragedy oh!
Somehow, I was able to bring myself back to the moment, to pay attention to what she was saying. Apparently, she had finally found another job, after being unemployed for almost 2 years, and had been able to secure a better apartment for her and her kids. Her abusive ex (who apparently was responsible for the missing tooth), had been jailed for drug offences and rape, so even though she was glad he was out of the picture, she would have to find a way of coping with him not helping out financially with the kids. But thankfully, she was now coping well.
Patrick gave me an I told you so look, and I felt truly ashamed of myself. True true, this woman needs help!
With my full blessing, he had given her £1,000, and I had been the one to ask her to please not hesitate to get in touch if she needs anything. I even gave her my Nigerian number sef.
As Patrick and I made our way back to the hotel, we talked about life…and how it can go belly up when you least expect. Not in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined Toun would end up this way!
It just made me even more grateful for the life I have. Baba God, I thank You for everything oh!!!!