He said to me “Oo ma ni ri apada si aburu. Olohun o ni je ki o fi ese rin losi ibi ti o ti wa moto lo.” (May you never go back to misery. May you never walk to the places you drove into, by God’s Grace). I knew what he meant by those prayers.

I had seen the scenarios he spoke about in just those few words first hand. Okay maybe second-hand. Alright, I had watched from a distance.

I watched …

…As a young and vibrant man who just moved into my neighbourhood walk by with his beautiful pregnant wife. ‘Word and opposite’, I said to my younger sister as I combed out her hair and tried my hardest to hold in a fart.

He was huge with “holdable” fat all around him and a towering height while she was small; very petite with so little flesh on her body. I wondered how he held her and if he feared he would break her if he held her too tightly. He was the teddy bear and she the lollipop. Maybe lollipop does not completely do her justice. Lollipops are made of a huge fat mass of sugar on a very thin stick. She was nothing like that. She was just petite- very well proportioned but for the height.

Kuburat, the iya ile ookan walked into the shop at that moment. I called her that for two reasons which described her perfectly. Like the Yoruba meaning of the phrase, she actually lived opposite my house. You could see her house from the window of the sitting room…you could see her house even better when you sit in the shop built against the fence of the house. The second reason I called her that was that she also qualified as the street gossip, again like the figurative meaning of the Yoruba phrase “iya ile ookan.”

“Na them just pack come that house wey dey the end of the street,” she said to me.

“I know.” I replied.  “The woman fine sha.”

“Abi o. She get luck sha. Her husband na banker and him like her ehn! You no see say money dey smell for their body ni? And they talk say that car wey him dey drive cost gidi gan ni o.”

“Ahn Ahn!” My sister said from between my thighs that her head was burrowed and raised her head. “How do you know? These people just moved.” My sister couldn’t be bothered to speak pidgin like us. There was also the fact that she really did suck at pidgin and Yoruba. Our parents had not given her free rein with language like they did me.

“Shebi the katika of the house is my customer. He dey come buy food for my hand well well. Na him tell me.”

I sighed when I realised what she meant to say; that the caretaker of the house is her customer.

“Hmn.” My sister responded.

I turned her head sharply back into its initial position and let out the fart I was holding before she decided to say what it was I thought she was going to say. I didn’t want her disrespecting our neighbour by calling her ‘amebo’ even though we all knew that was exactly what she was. It is the Yoruba thing to do, you see. Don’t talk about anyone’s bad habits to their face, act like it doesn’t exist and you’re good for life.

As I knew my sister would, she forgot what she wanted to say and complained only about the pungent, stomach-turning stench of my fart.

The couple walked by again, this time in the direction of their house. I assumed they went on a stroll and that now that it was over, they were going back home. I prayed for her kind of luck. I prayed for her kind of husband. A rich man who still loved his wife so much he would stroll with her.

I watched…

…As time went by and they waxed stronger in their love to the envy of both the single and the married women on our street. People’s relationship goals changed. Prayer points changed. Single women prayed to find a man like him who didn’t see it as a big deal to buy all the foodstuff they needed, help out with chores, take regular strolls with the wife. Married woman prayed their husbands did a quick and long-lasting abracadabra and become just like him. We knew about the ‘goodness’ in him. Things like that always spread like wildfire in these parts.

Of course, there were the other people who saw it as wrong. They thought she had gone to a babalawo (herbalist) or some dibia to tie his brains up in a calabash. It is wrong for an African man, a true son of the soil, to degrade himself and toil through the market or even wash plates. That is the job of the women. She had definitely given him ‘efo to eat’. There is nothing real about this, they said to themselves and whoever cared to hear, but quickly zipped up their mouths when the young couple were walking by.

And then I watched…

…As things turned and the tide changed for him- for them. First, he walked by a lot more than he did before. He could be seen strolling by around 10 a.m, sometimes later. The whispering went a notch higher when his almost always suited-up body gave way to a body only seen clad in a polo, jeans and a pair of palm slippers. Was he on leave or could it be that the worst had happened? People always thought the worst of everything and this was no different.

And then it happened…

The car went into oblivion, like the designer shirts and the expensive phones. He strolled and trekked to places he drove through before. The once always suited-up guy who wore the Armani’s of this world now walked around in clothes that seemed to have seen better days.  He started to sit under the tree that before him used to be the hang out spot of only the gbeboruns (gossips). If only he knew that those people he spent the better part of his days with needed only the fraction of a minute of his absence to table his matter before their gathering.

“Dem sack am ni! This life.” that was the voice of Kuburat telling me for the millionth time why this once vibrant young man who was the envy of all became the one who dragged dusty feet around with unkempt hair. “You no see say he don turn by-force-dada ni?”

Dreadlocks is what we call dada. I wondered why she was quick to decide his lack of a proper haircut meant he was adopting dreadlocks. I said nothing. The story was that he had lost his job after a mass lay-off at his former workplace, his dreams cut short right in front of him without warning. And so did the comfort and luxury that came with it.

So here we were, me in the shop, him here with me but at the other side of the gate. We had been discussing dreams and their death when conditions weren’t favourable.

And so when he said to me “Oo ma ni ri apada si aburu. Olohun o ni je ki o fi ese rin losi ibi ti o ti wa moto lo.” (May you never go back to misery. May you never walk to the places you drove into, by God’s Grace) I knew what he meant by those prayers.

I said “Amen” faster than my brain could even process anything else.




“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these; “it might have been”.  Maud Muller- John Greenleaf Whittier (1856)

“I swear I could slap you right now, Bayo. I’m telling you about something really serious and it seems like a joke to you, eh?” Ada said, laughing.

I love her laugh, this one. There is something about it…her laughter and then the way her lips curved and formed into the most enchanting smile I have ever seen whenever she decides to bestow us with that smile.

Ada, my friend, my companion my confidante. Looking back, I am more than grateful to whatever spirits that reside in the heavens for bringing her my way. Two years of this friendship and I wake up every day wondering how those two years would have been without her in my life.

To be honest, I probably… scratch that… most definitely would not have felt a difference. I wouldn’t have known her so there would be no way to know what I would have been missing out on. Knowing her, however, I can see what it might have been and I am more than glad.

Nne, ma binu. Sho gbo? Omo ti adiye ba ku ata la nlo.” I say to her.

“See why I don’t like you? I have told you countless times not to speak Yoruba to me. ”

“It beats me that after three years in Ibadan you still don’t understand bits and pieces of Yoruba. How can? You suppose dey cover your face.”

“Whatever. Just stop.”

O wa lara e.” She rolls those come-and-do-eyes at me and I could swear my heart stopped. This girl would be the end of me. “All I said just means, ‘no vex. You’re the child that when the fowl dies, we grind pepper for.  E dey your body.”

“Mtcheww. People would see you in a formal setting and think no one else can speak English. That was a terrible attempt at interpreting what you said in Yoruba.”

“See I can’t kill myself. This is home. I can speak whatever English elsewhere.”

“Na you sabi. But really…do you see me going back to school? I’m too old for that shit. Medicine for that matter o.”

“Oh please. You’re just 23.”

“23 is old enough to be free from your father’s clutches.” She says and I can feel her pain. My heart cries the way hers are crying…is weary the way hers are…I can see the tears welling up in her eyes. The signature swallow when she is about to cry but doesn’t want to…much like she is swallowing the tears.

“Then stay.” I urge. I can’t bring myself to tell her what I actually want to. Stay because I have somehow fallen in love with you. Stay because I know now that I can’t stand being away from you. Stay because I want to be more than just your ‘really good friend’.

None of those words leave my lips. I can’t make them. How can I when I don’t know for a fact that she feels the same way. How can I when I risk losing our friendship because I crossed the line. How? It is hard to ask a girl you have become so close to out. You are afraid of a lot…especially messing it all up.

I open my mouth and shut it again. She speaks in my stead. “I have to get going now. I have to leave very early tomorroww and I haven’t even packed.” She said and got off the side of the low fence she was sitting.

“Do you have to?”

“You talk as though you don’t know.”

It hits me then. This is it. She is actually leaving. For good. Leaving everything behind…living the life her father had planned out for her. And I have no place in that life.

See, this one’s destiny had already been made. She had derailed a bit but her father was drawing her back to The Plan. The Plan was simple; grow up, go to medical school, practice medicine and the new inclusion in the plan- marry that son of Chief Osondu that works with that big oil company.

Who is she to refuse? Who am I, a hustling Yoruba boy, to tell her to do otherwise?

So as she gets off the fence I do too. As she crosses to the other side of the road to her car, I do too. I hold her hands until we both cannot take it any more.

“I’ll call you before you leave tomorrow.” I say to her.

“I’ll call you when I get to Abuja. Don’t worry, we’ll talk every day. It would be as though I never left. You haven’t lost your best friend yet. Trust me you and I are a forever something.” she said with a sad smile. “Now go back. I want the last memory I have of you to be you sitting on that spot of ours smiling back at me.”

I do

I go back… and sit…and smile.

She doesn’t leave…she stays…and watches me.

I decide there and then. I can’t let this one go. I am not strong enough to tell the tale of the one that got away. I need to think this through. It is better to be sure she doesn’t feel the same than wonder if she did as I watch her say ‘I do’ to that other man her father endorsed.

My watch ticks…1…2… I have to tell her.

3…4…I get off and see she’s getting out of the car and walking…crying and walking towards me. It all plays in slow motion

  1. I hear it before I see it.

The sound of metal connecting with bone. The half-man, half-animal cry of pain. The screeching of tires against the tarred floor and the revving of the car. He came from nowhere and now he is nowhere. The shouts of “Ha! Ikunle abiyamo o,” from those who saw it happen

My Ada is crumpled on the floor, gasping for air. She is crying still.

I rush to her and try to get her of the floor. My hands are wet and red with her blood. My eyes are wet with tears. Why did she come back? Why didn’t I try to stop her from leaving in the first place? Why didn’t I decide five seconds earlier?

“I love you” were her last words to me. Her last words to anyone. My Ada left me that day. She left me for good.

She said it would be as though she never left. She said I hadn’t lost my best friend….yet.

Yet, she said.

But I lost her. I lost her on the same day she promised we would be together forever.



TOBI (to Wemimo)

Oh my God! What explanation could there possibly be to this? That diary has only succeeded in confusing me more than before. And the facebook page? I don’t understand how I’m the one living both Fola’s page and my page. Help me…You’re the only one who seems to have something close to an answer here. How can two existences seem like one?

I can’t get airtime here and it sucks. Considering the hour, I won’t find anywhere if I leave this place. There’s no easier way to say this and it hurts even I .
Fola does not exist.
My psychologist friend says its something called Dissociative Identity Disorder. He says there are cases where people communicate with their alters and still don’t know.
I got him to agree to meet with us by 9a.m tomorrow. I hope that’s fine?

TOBI (to Fola)
Its been 3 months since I found out you don’t exist. At least not like I thought you did. You do exist in a way. You’re a part of me.
I don’t know if you remember any of this. Wemimo and I went to see Anjola (his psychologist friend) the next day. He confirmed I have D.I.D and he’s now my psychologist…or rather our psychologist.
This experience, the sessions, the “treatment”, they’ve all been really painful and hurting. My heart breaks every time but Wemimo has been a rock. I’m glad you found that boy for us. He indeed is a friend.
It so happens the rape really did happen and so did my parents’ death and they are both connected.
Long story short, the bastard that did all this was supposed to be my uncle. I remember feeling dirty…feeling like I was the one who brought it upon myself…like I made him do all those evil things to me. Every time he came over, he always found his way into my bed without anyone knowing. How do you explain to your father that his beloved only brother was ruining your life on a steady? I’ve seen it. They blamed Kudi for “causing” the rape attempt on her…Everyone did. Kudi was our driver’s daughter. That’s how it happens with rape…everyone thinks its your fault. And if you don’t report early enough, they still say you’re lying because it took forever to come out and say.
And to make matters worse, he threatened he would kill me and whoever I told. So I kept quiet. Kept my thoughts in my head and in pages of my diary. Until mum found my diary. I swear if I had known what he was capable of that night I would have told mum a lie or something. But I was tired…fed up….done with all of it so I came out straight. Unfortunately, he came over that night. It was like a battlefield….mum was all rage…Dad was another being entirely. Dad threatened to ruin his political ambition…At that point was when all hell was let loose. Right in front of me that bastard killed my parents and shot at me too. I was lucky, they weren’t. Apparently, I was in shock for the better part after I gained consciousness. And then I forgot…everything. You probably came to life at that point. You probably were in existence before then. I can’t really tell.
Anjola says people with D.I.D can communicate with their alters. This just might be the last mail I’d be sending. Half of me hopes you’d read it but that’d mean I’m not getting better and my alter can still take over.
I found the bastard. I made him pay for every single moment of my life he ruined. And so help me God, I’ll make him continue to pay until the end of time.
Thanks for the closure. Thanks for listening when I needed that ear. Thanks for being here for me. And thank you for Wemimo. I love him more with the passing of each day.


Answer your call girl! What do you mean you killed your parents?! They travelled..You told me they did! What is going on? Reply or call me ASAP! We need to talk about this in person. Call me.

I can’t! I can’t see you! Lord I’m a murderer…I killed them….I killed my own parents! I was going through that diary I found and I can’t believe I wrote that..all of that. I don’t deserve to live…how could I have done that!

Tobi, I really need you to answer your calls. I can’t get through to Fola either. What is going on here? I really don’t understand any of this! I was going through your facebook profile and I really can’t find any logical explanation to Fola being all over your profile. You guys have met only once or twice? And I can see goodness knows how many pictures of her there. There’re only two explanations coming into my head and both of them don’t make any sense AT ALL!
Why would I find pictures of someone you’ve never met flooding your facebook profile? Why would the person I think you’re impersonating (if its even you that’s impersonating anyone) be younger than you in facebook age? Your account has been existing way before hers…This is crazy..just get in touch as soon as you can.

What the hell are you talking about?! What manner of craziness is this?! I opened this mail thinking Fola told you about my predicament and this is what I get?! What the fuck are you talking about?! The pictures I have are mine and mine alone..with exception of a couple of my friends’….do I have to start proving myself by sending you a selfie? Whatever game you’re trying to play here I’m not having any of it. I’ve got my own problems to deal with.

I mean every word I just said. I’ve compared every single picture of you both and its the same! The very same thing! How did you meet her? How did you guys start communicating? Who initiated the contact? Do me a favour. Go through her facebook profile…search the whole of cyberspace and get back to me.

Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! I can’t believe this! What is happening? This is too much for me to bear.
Fola reached out to me first. She said she’d gone to the cafe when her subscription plan was exhausted and that she found me logged in already. She logged out and then sent me a mail asking me to change my password or do something about it because I had some sensitive mails in there. She mailed me again afterwards and we’ve been in touch ever since. I don’t want to believe any of this has a sinister plot behind it. She isn’t answering her calls or replying my mails either. Why is this happening to me Wemimo? Why!

I know Fola..I’ve met with her. The lady in those pictures is Fola. I have met her. I don’t know what you look like. How can I be sure the impersonator is not you? Your picture doesn’t cut it. You could have gotten her picture from who knows where for all I know. Prove me wrong. Send me your address. I’m coming over.

Fola, I need you to reply me when you see this. Wemimo just left here talking all sort of crazies. All manner of crazies…He must have told you all already. Why do you have my pictures all over your fb profile? Are you some psychopath stalking me or something? This is dumb…its not like you’ll tell me if you are…there’s only one logical explanation for this but I don’t want to buy into it. This is crazy.

WEMIMO (to Fola and Tobi)
I had to send this mail to both of you (if there’s any such thing). After due thoughts and the little findings I made, I’ve come to a conclusion. I don’t want to impose my thoughts on you. I came back looking to see you but you weren’t home. I left your diary just by the door. I need you to go through every single page, every single word in it. Don’t just pick a page like you did before. It’d help you understand every thing that’s happening and maybe you’ll reach the same conclusion as I have.
Fola, I need to you to search your house…every part of it for an orange diary. Ideally it should be by your door but if its what I think it is, it’d be somewhere else . Search, read and digest every single word. I might be out of reach for a coupla hours. Just mail me …I’d get back to you as soon as possible



Episode 6:

I got the flashes again and they got worse this time!  A new kind I’ve never gotten before…and I saw the whole thing this time! Why is my life like this?! One moment of happiness followed by unending pain and sorrow. Why can’t I just have a normal life like every other person? I’m up today, down for the next five days. I’m really fed up! It would have been a little bearable if I was the only one but to put Wemimo through all this is really breaking my heart! We were together when the whole thing happened and he’s been with me ever since. He even thinks its his fault! Oh dear!
I called him  and asked to hang out with him this evening because he has to travel to Milan for a job tomorrow. I wish I hadn’t suggested it in the first place! Wemimo had been going on and on about wanting to watch his team’s  EPL match and we agreed he’d watch at my place. We even joked about his team’s lack of form since Moyes took over. His club lost again so we decided to just stay indoors and watch movies instead of going out. Other than the loss, every other thing was going fine. Until he tried to kiss me.
 I’m not exactly the most experienced when it comes to guys but I’ve never heard of a case where a mere kiss brings back so much pain. It was like the whole thing was happening all over! Oh my God!  The gory pictures! Everything flashed before my eyes. I’m a victim of abuse and I had no idea! Wemimo thinks I can’t remember anything because I just bottled my emotions and didn’t deal with them as I should have. I don’t know what to think anymore! How can I not know I was raped?! Is it even possible to block memories? Now I have to deal with two losses…my parents and my innocence. I remember it all except his face…it wasn’t a one-time thing…The bastard kept going at it! I can hear his voices…all the evil mean things he said…the vile things he kept saying. I swear I didn’t lead him on! He said I wanted him and I made him come get me…he said I made him do it..I didn’t! I swear I didn’t! How could I?!
I can’t deal with this anymore…I just can’t! If Wemimo wasn’t here I just might have ended it all…its not like my life is of any value. He’s been watching me think he knows what I’m thinking of doing. Where do I get strength from when he leaves! I need you here… Come meet with me…please…help me stay sane. I need you!


Episode 5:

LMFAO…again LMFAO….I’m literally laughing my flat ass out here o..WHAT?!  So you clawed  the poor dude that was only trying to help you? Haha…Lool at the Mother Gagool part…so you remember that witch in Binta My daughter (or is it Binta and friends? I forget). My nails are actually long claws…I pity the dude that tries shit with me when I have them on.
Lesson 1: NEVER in the history of Ever talk a walk in white pants! Sweetie, white and walks spell one thing DISASTER!
2: Not everyone is out to get you you know. You are too paranoid,dear. Why do you feel the world’s out to get you? I really wanna know. Plus, I’m pretty sure someone tried to tell you you had China’s map on your butt but the music was too loud…I know the feeling cos I take walks too (even though it has been a while)
So now you’ve told your Pocahontas story, don’t we deserve to know him better ni? No name, no details..hian!! You be terrible storyteller o! That sweet story and we don’t know anything about Prince Charming except he’s nice. Hope he’s not one of those gate men that call themselves GM o?! Gimme details pronto!
I totally get the “I know when a guy likes me” feeling..some of us are lucky to have that huh gift?…. I’m wondering…What are you scared of? What is pushing you away? What is making you hold back?
I KNOW you are ready to take things a notch higher with him…you already look like you’re making progess..Let your heart lead the way this time. Give your heart a chance. For the first time in your life trust your heart.
 In other news, I got good news as well! (Okay that didn’t make any sense but whatever). I took your advice and took a really long walk. I totally dig what you were saying. Morning walks….BLISS! And this time I didn’t just walk, I paid attention to mother nature ( maybe because a little part of me wanted. Your Pocahontas experience…but I should add I was smart enough to put on black pants :p). Then I realised the greatest inspiration anyone can have is from nature. I don’t know if it was the walk or if I was on my way towards recovery. But YES…for the first time in so long, my designs made sense!  I’m so proud of the sketches,I’m planning to relaunch myself into the fashion world properly! (My binge eating and wallowing in self-pity is fast reducing by the way…I’ve even started with the fruitarian diet plan). But for now I’m taking it one sketch at a time..who knows? You just might be wearing me for your wedding with Prince Charming.

I’m really sorry I left that part out. Name’s Wemimo, he’s into PR/Fashion Journalism (well he’s really into a mix of God knows what..bits and pieces of every little job. Dude even does voice-overs!) …Say! I should introduce you guys since you’re keen on getting back into the fashion world. I can only imagine his excitement when I tell him you’re planning on making a come-back! Hope you don’t mind I already told him about you? I just gave him a brief description of what we’ve got going. I don’t want him to know too much about me in too little time…I feel if we rush it we would run out of things to talk about cos I have a very boring life )
I’m scared though…He’s reaching out far too fast for me to handle. Left to him we should be talking every other hour ( I wonder what he sees in my boring talks o…abi he’s up to something ni?).
I do want to see him everyday but we have to consider his work and the fact that I only have nights to myself.  Plus I’m really scared I’m going too fast (I said this a million times already). I should stop whining and live each moment as it comes.
I’m happy you’re getting yourself back…heck! I’m glad we’re both making progress…having someone to talk to rocks! I’m gonna buy you an amazing size 10 dress when I see you (10 is your target right?).. And I would love. To have you design my wedding gown even if the wedding happens when I’m 80 and without teeth.

I’m really sorry I bailed on you these past days…it’s like I’ve been lost these days…I would love to meet Wemimo someday and work with him…just get something solid going on okay? Do it for you!
I just drank to the progress we’re making. Yes! I’m looking at a 10. I keep surprising myself… I see designs in everything..from crumpled paper to the folds in the curtains at my place. I love this life!
I found one of my old diaries…I plan on digging into it one of these days..its even got some of my old sketches. Oh my! I just had a flash of something genius! Bye love!


Episode 4:

I know I just met him and I really shouldn’t get my hopes up but I strangely feel safe with him. I can’t remember when last I was actually this free with a guy.
I should have known something good was going to come into my life. For some reason, I noticed everything (which I could say has never happened before)…the world around me..the birds…the sky… (I was lucky enough to see the beautiful sunrise and the radiance of the morning sun)…the sounds…I felt like Pocahontas! I could almost hear the wind’s voices! (Lol at the fact that I think I met my “John Smith” that day…I hope his fate doesn’t end like the original Smith who lost Pocahontas).
 That morning I needed air…I needed to feel nature so I decided to take a walk…a really long walk. And since it was like Mother nature was smiling down on me I felt almost angelic hence my choice of attire. The raining season is long gone, I thought, no need to worry about mud or dirty water. So I wriggled into a pair of fitted white denim shorts (which turned out to be a terrible choice) paired with this short pink top I hadn’t worn in a while (yet another terrible choice) and I started walking.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried walking early in the morning…if you haven’t then you should. The way the cool breeze goes into every little crevice of your body and mind is pure bliss! Headphones on, sneakers on and mind miles away, I walked on…oblivious to anything that wasn’t my thoughts, music or nature. Then it happened.
About fourty five minutes into my walk (I’m sure about the time because I had just checked)  and goodness knows how far from my house, I felt someone’s hands around my waist. My first reaction was to scream…I yelled my lungs out, started hitting this stranger until I broke free and then I ran . I ran as quickly as my already tired legs could carry me(which wasn’t fast at all)  but he was hot on my heels(he was really fast). He caught up with me too quickly. By then I had managed to attract so much attention to us. I started yelling all sorts. He just smiled (the kind of smile you’d give when you pity someone) and whispered “You’re stained”.
At that point I just stared wide-eyed at him. All my thoughts ran into one another and ended like a train wreck. I was still staring when he took off his shirt and wrapped it around my waist. Apparently,the red flag had decided to fly at full mast without prior warning (I never really got any warning…my cycle is so irregular I just stopped trying to calculate). And those evil people around couldn’t tell me! I can’t remember how many sorry’s I said but I remember repeating them.
Sweet as he was he just laughed off my earlier onslaught (even though I had scratched at his face with my Mother Gagool’s nails) , explained he had been driving by and noticed the stain on my pants and decided to help. He drove me back home and we have been great friends ever since. That’s hardly a romantic tale yeah? Lol
I’m trying to convince myself I’m making progress but the truth is I’m not. I take one step in being open with him and I regress with four steps. I’m tired really but he understands….even when I don’t. And he  hasn’t made any move to asking me out…yet. I know he will…I always do. The question now is would I be ready for him when he asks me?