I live in Surulere.
Tired, I stroll home from the estate gate. Mayowa had graciously offered to pick me up every morning and drop me ever since my 5-year-old Camry decided to die on me. Thankfully, the house was only 10 minutes’ walk from the gate and I had refused Mayowa’s offer to pick from my front gate. I needed those moments of reflection. In the mornings, I would think about my To-Do list and pray as I walked to the gate and in the evening, I’d think about how much I had achieved and how my day had gone.
Today was a different day, however. I had received Bolanle’s call as early as 7 am as I walked to the gate. My ‘Ara Nbe’ ring tone blared and vibrated in my hands, rudely bringing me back to the earth as I was lost in prayers. I had been so tempted to put it on silent and ignore the call but it was Bolanle calling and since I had not spoken with her in a while, I decided to pick. I also figured that it must have been urgent for her to be calling me so early in the day.
‘Hey boo’, I said attempting to sound chirpy.
‘Wasssaaaaaap?!’, she screamed. She sure sounded excited for a 7am call and no, I was not disappointed.
‘I’m engaged. Dipo proposed’, she gushed.
I was stunned. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am always excited at news of people deciding to be together forever. But with Bolanle, I just couldn’t get past the shock and into the joy zone.
‘Molly, are you there?’.
‘Omolade?’, her voice woke me up from my reverie. I didn’t realise I had been quiet for a while.
‘Babes, I can’t lie to you. I am shocked. Like seriously? Shepe that dude has proposed, just like that?’, I asked.
‘As in Molade, I don’t know. It came as a shock to me too. I’m just like in a state of shock too. He did it last night and then my battery died and as soon as I woke up, I said to myself that I had to tell you first after my family. This kain God sha’.
‘Wow’ was all I could manage.
Bolanle, oblivious to my total shock went on,
‘There’s so much to catch up on my love. Let’s do dinner tomorrow at Cactus. I know you have issues with your car so I’ll drop you off afterwards. Is that okay by you?’
‘Cactus is fine. I’ll make sure I close early tomorrow. Can you be at my office by 6?’
And that was how we firmed up plans to go over how on earth she got proposed to so soon after a major breakup. Not only did she get proposed to, from the way she spoke, it was also a well thought out and well prayed over decision.
As I say my prayers, preparing to sleep, I still cannot get over the shock of it all. Omobolanle Ajibade? Engaged? Getting married? Wow. I can’t but remember past happenings…
Bolanle Ajibade is an amazing girl. We had met during one of the CD days at Eti Osa II LGA. She was a Batch C corper of the past year and I was a fresh Batch A corper. She was just impossible to ignore. She had been driven to the Local Government in a company car still wearing a business suit and I had wondered what she was doing there. She had tried to get some document signed but the Zonal Inspector told her she could do no such thing without the proper NYSC gear. Without arguing she left and reemerged about 10 minutes later in her khakis and white top.
I said ‘hello’ to her and asked her where she her Place of Primary Assignment was. She didn’t look like your average corper plus the fact that she had a company car and driver intrigued me even further. She mentioned one of the best consulting firms in the world with their head quarters in the US. She had already been working in the States and basically hustled/begged for a transfer to Nigeria where they had recently open shop. She looked so focus, driven and when I learned that she studied at Yale, I was blown away. We became fast friends. That was 3 years ago.
We were each other’s confidantes through series of bad relationships. She was there for me 2 years ago when I broke up with my boyfriend of 5 years. I, too, had been her shoulder to cry on when 2 serious relationships failed. Well, with Bolanle it was always a serious relationship or nothing. She was never the type to ‘sample’ or to ‘see how it goes’. She was a serious minded lady who put that into everything she did. Bolanle and I weren’t your typical ‘see each other every day or even every weekend type of friends’ but when we did see, we shared deep things that our everyday friends were not privy to.
Bolanle’s last relationship was pretty sad. She had dated Chinedum for about a year and theirs appeared to be a rock solid relationship. They were friends first and later it developed into a strong attraction. She had invited him to her Church and he managed to convert from his Catholic faith and even became an Usher in the Pentecostal Church. From Day 1, Chinedum had been honest with her about having had a child whilst in University with his then girlfriend, Princess. His son, Jonathan was about 4 when they met. At first she has struggled with the idea but after praying about it, she decided to let it go and even asked to meet him.
Princess was only 20 when she had Jonathan and he lived with her and her parents up until she finished university at UI. When it was time for her to proceed to obtain her Masters degree, he moved to Abuja to live with Chinedum’s parents. According to her, he was a cute, well-behaved young man and she could already imagine him as hers. The fact that his mom was away and that he was with his dad’s family made it easy for her to envision life as a family unit. She would always buy him toys whenever she went with Chinedum to visit his parents and she would call to speak with him often. She loved him already and it appeared the feelings were mutual.
To cut a very long tale short, Chinedum broke up with her. According to him, he wanted to make right his wrongdoing of impregnating Princess at 19 despite the fact that she was a very good girl back then thereby subjecting her to ridicule from all fronts and exposing her devout Catholic parents to shame. He said that by them getting married and raising their son together, the shame of it all would be, in a way, less impactful. Princess, he explained, was a decent girl who had prayed to God for them to get back together and had refused to even date after him.
Bolanle later discovered that Chinedum eventually returned to Catholicism as Princess is also Catholic and their young son had been raised in the Catholic faith. She was devastated and inconsolable. She would weep at every slight memory of Chinedum. But through prayers, fasting, constant support and the realisation that they could really not remain friends, she bounced back. A bit too strongly, I think.
This happened just about a year ago and last I checked, she was not serious with anyone but merely going on mild dates maybe to the movies and the occasional dinner. I really couldn’t wait to get the details of how she managed to get proposed to so quickly.
Bolanle and I planned to do dinner by 6:30pm. I work in VI and her office is in Ikoyi so the arrangement was for her to pick me up by 6pm and then we go to Cactus which is not too far from my office. By 5:30, I was all packed. My boss had given me a task at about 3:30pm that should ordinarily take about 1 and a half hours to complete but I made sure I lingered till when Bolanle pinged me that she was in the car park to send it off and then I was out.
‘Babes, how na? How was your day?’ she asked as I settled into her car.
Just there, same ol’. Yours?, I responded leaning over for a kiss on both cheeks and a tight hug. I hadn’t seen her in a while and she looked good, slightly chubbier but good all the same.
‘It was great o’, she said as she began navigating her way out of the car park.
Excitedly, I declared, ‘enough of story abeg lemme see your ring!’.
It was a single stone ring with a rectangular cut diamond sitting within a high four-claw setting, with tapered shoulders. It was beautiful. Simple. Elegant.
She was so happy and her happiness made me happy for her too but I was so scared. I had only met this dude once and I thought things were a bit rushed on his part but from the look on her face, I could tell that she was in perfect peace. It was a look of contentment, the type of look that would be found on the face of a sojourner that had arrived at his destination.
As we arrived at Cactus and she put the car in park, I held her in a tight embrace and the tears came pouring, of their free will. I was so moved by it all.
I had skipped lunch and so had built up a ravenous apetite so I had pasta whilst she had a chicken Caesar salad.
‘I’m trying to fit into a size 8 wedding dress o,’ she announced.
‘What? You guys are already talking marriage?’ I don’t why that made me surprised but it did.
‘Ahn ahn, ore, you see ring on my finger, won’t you be shocked if we are not talking marriage’. She had made a fine point.
After being overfed at Cactus with portions that look like they were designed for three, Bolanle needed no urging to come out with her tale…
‘Molade, you know it all nah. All the weeping, gnashing of teeth, sleepless nights all because of man? After that whole Chinedum episode dear, my mom gave me some sound advice and I will do you great justice to pass on these nuggets of wisdom’.
By this time, I was caught up. I couldn’t wait to receive these wise words.
‘You see’, she went on, ‘my mom never understood why I would be so into a guy thereby giving him the power to hurt me so much when it’s not like I’m married or even engaged to him. She just didn’t get it. She reminded me of how things were done in her days where different men would woo her and the only heartache or inconvenience she would face would be in deciding which of her suitors she wanted for a proper courtship.
By this time, I was enthralled though words like ‘woo’, ‘suitor’, ‘courtship’ were kind of alien to me.
She went on,
‘Mom told me I was silly for investing so much in a relationship that had no guarantees whatsoever. She said I had tried things my own way for so long and failed at it and that I should simply humour her and give her own mechanism a shot. And that my dear Molly is what I did.
I prayed to God and decided to get lost in His love instead of focusing on the love man had to offer. I decided to let Him take the wheel. Then I started going out more. I’d go for events, fashion shows, birthday parties, karaoke nights with friends and their friends, singles’ meetings and dinners, the whole works. I met loads of people, loads I say. I gave out my number and gradually started selecting the ones I could relate with properly. I ignored the faffers and the obviously crazy ones and then gradually, the ones whose craze manifested with time. All those times I was going on dates, I would go on 4 dates in a week. In three weeks, I’d have been wined and dined by 6 different guys. Eventually, over time, I whittled the number down to three: the three I liked the most.
I never lied. Never promised nothing. I let them do all the hustling over me and I did all the watching, praying, studying and of course, enjoying. I was not technically going out with them but I knew they liked me and were thinking seriously about me’.
‘There’s something I must mention, babe’, she said with a glint in her eyes. ‘Go on’, I responded, almost impatiently.
‘Their presence in my life acted as a balance as I had a tendency to hold on too tightly to someone I like. But seeing three people allowed me to be able to turn down dates, be unavailable and pretty much have a fulfilling time instead of just always being there for that one person. Since I never so much as pecked them all that while, I felt not an iota of guilt.
After three months, three became two and then it was I who was faced with deciding who I wanted to be with. I could have decided alone but I chose to decide with the help of praying people such as my parents, my pastor and his wife and my grandma. They didn’t give me any names of who is right or wrong but they told me to trust God and keep praying.
Within 2 months, my likeness for Dipo grew to deep love to almost match his for me. I gently told the other guy I was getting serious with someone else and lo and behold, on Friday after a dinner date, he proposed to me and I knew without a doubt that he is my man.
‘Wow all this under 7 months?!!!’
‘Yes oh, Molly’.
She then dropped me in front of my house gate as she wondered aloud if it would be a Kosibah gown or a Pronovias one.
It is a Monday morning.
As I walk to the estate gate to meet up with Mayowa, I reflect on events of the past few days. Could Bolanle’s mom be right? Is it okay to keep your options open even after the guy(s) has made it clear that he likes and that he wants to be with you? Is this not cheating, even if not in the strict sense? Maybe if I had practised this method with Tunji, I wouldn’t have been totally crushed when we separated.
The method does have its appeal I must agree. It helps us women not focus too much on any one guy thereby turning him to a husband before he even understands how he feels for us. It helps us maintain a happy, carefree, demeanour that isn’t overly clingy or expectant. It takes away any semblance of urgency, desperation or need to always be with one man which then gives him the ammunition to hurt you, even when he doesn’t mean to, like with Chinedum and his going back to Princess.
Now that Detola from the office is beginning to show interest, I’d go out with him and see what he is about and then on Thursday, I’ll accept Mayowa’s invite to go to the movie premiere. I’ll go with Alex and his sisters to the programme their church is organizing. By the end of next month, I should have my top 3 contenders. This definitely has its appeal.
Dedicated to all the amazing people I work with.x
Happy Easter people. If Christ rose on the 3rd day, doesn’t that mean He rose on Monday? I’m just wondering.
Original posted Easter, 2012
April 9, 2012