I’d been so disappointed with Dolly, I couldn’t even think straight.
Suddenly, I realized all the clear signs I had missed. Like the re-emergence of her flashy clothes and expensive handbags. How could I have missed such a clear sign that she had returned to her old ways? Even though she earned a generous allowance as a Youth Corper with one of the New Generation banks, it was nowhere enough to pay for all of that. And Joseph’s modest allowance wouldn’t have gone that far either.
Getting home, I hadn’t even been able to share the gist with Jimi. How could I have shaped my mouth to tell him that Dolly was still the same old Dolly? Not only was I too ashamed to do that, I was worried he’d be furious enough to tell Joseph, who had become a close friend of his. And as angry as I was with my sister, that was the very last thing I wanted for her.
So I kept my lips sealed…but my eyes wide open. But as the weeks turned into months, it appeared that Dolly had made good on her word and ended things with her aristo. She and Joseph seemed as happy as ever, and things were at fever pitch as we prepared for their wedding.
Then, alas, in September, Joseph’s father died suddenly from a heart attack. At the age of 53, it had been completely unexpected and had thrown their family into deep mourning. We had all journeyed to Calabar for the funeral, and it was agreed that the wedding would be postponed, not only to allow the mourning period elapse, but also to allow the family recover from the funeral expenses. So a new date for December 2004 was fixed. Personally, I thought a year was too much of a postponement. The mourning period was only 6 months, so my thinking was that April, or at the very latest, May, would have been a more appropriate date. But if the bride didn’t mind, who was I?
And in what seemed to be a series of unfortunate events, in February 2004, Joseph lost his job. The construction firm where he worked closed shop, leaving all its employees…well…unemployed. It was a huge blow, especially as he was still trying to recover from his father’s funeral expenses.
“Can you imagine that I have to buy him recharge card sometimes?!” Dolly complained to me, about a month after the incident. “Someone that can’t even charge his phone, how will he afford to pay for a wedding?!”
“Dolly, you have to be patient with him.” I coaxed her. “He’ll get another job…and a better one too!”
From the look on her face, I knew my words had done nothing to convince her. All I could do was hope and pray that the girl wouldn’t do anything stupid.
In May, Dolly’s NYSC came to an end, and in what seemed an unprecedented move by the bank where she worked, she had been offered employment not as an Executive Trainee, which was the entry level and expected position for her, but as an Assistant Banking Officer (ABO), as a result of her ‘exemplary performance’. As everyone rejoiced with her over this feat, I immediately smelt a rat. And I was right.
Apparently, the now married Princewill had been injecting funds into the account Dolly had opened for him, in the billions. As such, she was managing more funds than people levels above her. As a result, not only was she made an ABO, she was assured the position of a Banking Officer (BO), within 6 months, if her cabal continued to grow.
I was irritated, and I made my feelings perfectly known.
“Dolapo. You told me you wouldn’t see him again!”
“I’m not seeing him! He’s married! Didn’t you see it in the news?” she had answered indignantly, referring to the much publicized wedding of the billionaire politician, whom I later realized was Dolly’s Princewill. “He’s still my friend. Or is there anything wrong in keeping him as a friend? Can’t you see how having him around has benefited me?”
I had no comeback to that, and chose to believe my sister’s claim that what she had with Princewill was now platonic.
But when Dolly showed up with a brand new Honda Accord car, I knew for a fact that she was still playing games. Everyone, her fiancé, Joseph, inclusive, bought her story of how her colleague was relocating to America and had decided to sell his brand new car for little or nothing, but I could smell a Dolapo lie from a mile off. And this was one of them.
“Dolly, you have enough money now. Why don’t you guys just get married now, instead of waiting until December?” I had suggested, hoping that getting married would put paid to her clandestine activities.
“So you want me to pay for my wedding?” she had scoffed. “You must be joking!”
By August, as Joseph still pounded the streets of Lagos, looking for a job, I found myself getting worried about the feasibility of their December wedding.
“Jimi, can’t your father help him out?” I had implored from my husband in frustration.
“Baby, I’ve asked not only him, but almost everyone I know. But the only openings that have come up have been bank jobs…and you know how Joseph feels about those.”
I had sighed in frustration, remembering how Joseph had vehemently stated his refusal to work in a bank. “It will get to a point when he’ll have to take it like that! Beggars can’t be choosers!”
And just when I thought that was our biggest problem, the mother of all catastrophes broke.
It was the last weekend in September, and everything was going pretty well. I was in a good mood, as I’d just taken out my birth control, and was looking forward to trying for a sibling for Rire. All was great in my world. On Sunday, as we got home from Church, Jimi’s phone rang.
“No, she isn’t here. No, she didn’t spend the night either. Are you sure she said she’d be here?” he’d asked. “It’s Joseph,” he said, turning to me. “Dolly seems to have gone M.I.A. all weekend. Apparently, she said she’d be here. Did she tell you anything about it?”
I shook my head, and then realization struck me in the face. Dolly was up to no good.
“No, I have no idea where she is…” I had managed to stutter, but happy that I truly didn’t know what she was up to. The less I knew, the better. “She’s probably hanging out with Tari or Emily this weekend”, I offered, referring to her friends from the bank, hoping I sounded convincing enough.
Alas, I was soon to realise that when your cup is full…it is full! God decided that it was time for Dolapo’s misdemeanor to be exposed to the world.
We would later find out how, later that same Sunday, one of Joseph’s friends called to tell him he had seen his fiancée hand-in-hand with an older man, in Eko Hotel. His friend had maintained vigil, watching Dolly have dinner with her male companion. By the time Joseph arrived at about 11pm, they had returned upstairs.
That’s how Joseph took position in the lobby, waiting for Dolly to reappear. His friend eventually left him there, and he waited there all night. Morning soon came, and he was still waiting. He knew he wouldn’t have too long to wait, as Dolly would surely have to go to work.
And he was right.
At about 7:30am, Dolly emerged from the elevator, dressed up for work. Rising to his feet, Joseph and Dolly had made eye contact, and she’d attempted to dash back into the elevator. But he’d been too quick for her, and had grabbed her by the arm. As he relayed the story to Jimi, who later relayed the story to me, he said he hadn’t been able to utter any other word but “Why?”, after which he’d turned around and left, with Dolly hot on his heels.
That was how my sister started calling everyone she could, to plead with Joseph, claiming it had all been a misunderstanding, and how she hadn’t spent the night in the hotel, but had gone there that morning, to “collect an account opening package from a potential customer”.
Oya, how come nobody could reach you all weekend now?, was the big question, to which she’d answered she was with some random friend none of us had ever heard about.
Alas, the jig was up this time. Suddenly, people were coming out of nowhere, filling Joseph’s ears with stories of Dolly’s longtime romance with Princewill. And he was furious!
“I feel like such a fool!” he had lamented to Jimi. “All this time, she’s been playing me for a fool!”
Jimi, thankfully, had also tried to plead on Dolly’s behalf, but when we were alone, I saw his own wrath.
“That sister of yours will never change!” he had muttered in disgust. “A leopard truly never changes its spots. Joseph is probably better off without her!”
Alas, as Joseph remained adamant about ending their engagement, Dolly’s desperation to get him back was at fever pitch. She literally stalked him everywhere; his house, his uncle’s house where he sometimes stayed, the business centre he frequented, Dolly was everywhere, begging, crying, weeping and pleading with him to take her back.
But the ship had well and truly sailed. It was over.
And that was when my sister transferred her aggression to us. She turned our home into her second home. Everyday after work, she would come straight to my house, and would be a weepy mess, lamenting over how she had lost the love of her life. But it was soon evident that mine wasn’t the listening ear she wanted.
It was Jimi’s…
You can catch up on Fola’s story here:
- Sister, Sister 1: Calling Me Mrs.
- Sister, Sister 2: The Odd Family
- Sister, Sister 3: Floating On Air
- Sister, Sister 4: The Many Wives of Jimi
- Sister, Sister 5: Russian Roulette
- Sister, Sister 6: So Much In Common
- Sister, Sister 7: An Unlikely Pair
- Sister, Sister 8: Longing For Her
- Sister, Sister 9: The Return