Friday, May 21, 2010
People never tell you that sometimes life is not really always black or white. At least no one told me. Fred was never meant to become a pastor. In fact, he always shied away from any church activity that brought attention to himself. I was the one that encouraged him. Even prayed about it. I was the one that wanted him to be a true Man of God. If only I had known what that really meant. And the worst bit is that its not even his fault. He did not anything wrong. He only became what I had spent countless nights praying about. Even fasted for......I am the one that could not step up to the plate I had placed in front of my husband. I was the one that began to dabble into that which I ought not dabble into. I was the one that sought relief from the empty life of being a pastor's wife as I was faced with the truth that I was not really a true woman of God. Somewhere I had missed it. And I could not hack it.
The really bad things usually start off very innocent don't they? Just that one glass of wine. Just the one! I was tired and lonely that night. I was weighed down by all the emptiness my life as a pastor's wive had become. I was overwhelmed by this position I had been thrust into as the first lady of a church. It was so hard trying to be this person, this paragon, this, this....perfect picture of holiness. It never occurred to me that no on was asking me to be THAT. No one expected me to be holy like that. Well, it did not matter, I did. I expected me to be holy like that. And it has finally driven me to that place I ought not be in. That place where reality blurs and false things begin to twinkle. Fears and sorrows ebb away steadily carried on the deceitful wings of spirits. Spirits that flow into my being, my system as I sip them from a sparkling wine glass.
Yes, I, a pastor's wife, had become an alcoholic.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
So yes, she was the one he ran home to when the other woman had had enough of him and kicked him out. For Soji had become a soul-less. He even cheated on the woman with whom he was cheating with his wife! But unlike the other woman, Pamilerin was prepared to stand by her man. No matter what. For when he was happy with the one outside, he was happy with her. When all was well with his 'outside project', all was well in the home they shared. So she had come, as stupendous as it may seem, to 'appreciate' his projects and to hope they went well. For Soji lavished her with love and affection when they did. Oh dear but when, like now, they went pear-shaped, it was she, upon all her faithfulness and tolerance who still bore the back-lash. If she was not soothing him, she was the subject of his wicked tongue as his system worked on ridding itself of the pain of rejection the other woman had dealt him. Yes, it was incredible but true. And yes she knew, in her young broken heart that this REALLY ought not to be. She knew it then....and as she wiped the tears off her face and brought herself back to her 'now', to the present times, after almost 6 years of marriage, she knew it still. But she didn't care right now, Soji was kissing her. He wanted her. That was enough....for now.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
‘Who was on the phone?’ Why can’t this woman just let things be?
‘Oh, that was Femi - Reporting his wife again’. I slip my hands around her and kiss her neck and then her ears. I know what she likes, she knows what I want. ‘Busy?’ She slips out of my grasp holding my left hand captive.
‘Ohhh, Sojiiii! She exclaims. I notice wetness at the sides of her eyes and we both stop transfixed. She looks away first.
‘Its nothing. It’s the fumes from the generator… I went out to the back to get something and I got the fumes in my eyes.’ She smiles unconvincingly and rubs her face against my stubble. ‘You were suggesting something…?’ she suggests as her grasp eases. I smelt her hair and remembered my original mission.
Pamilerin is imperfectly perfect. Her smile, her face, her body, her thinking. Perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect. She has a great career, she is a wonderful mum, a social diva, a star with her friends. Everything about her is a perfect symmetry and that had been my first point of attraction.
Nine years before, I had gone with my friend Femi to the Law School to scope a catch when I literarily walked into Pamilerin and upset her takeaway, spilling rice and chicken as Femi’s date, Nkiru walked in. Apparently, they were friends.
‘Oh dear! Food is a big deal here at Law school- especially at the weekends.’
We had apologised and insisted on taking her back to Munchies with us to get another pack. She sat quietly with me at the back of the car and answered our questions with soft smiles and monosyllables. She was so proper. I liked it. Small wonder I kept going back.
Pamilerin’s family was like her- perfect. Upper class, third generation moneyed family. Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and three baby bears living quietly in a mansion. I noticed her father’s initial reservation the first time I had visited her at home. Her mother snubbed me outright. I bet she saw me as the tramp that ate their porridge and slept on her daughter’s bed. Once it turned out that I was upwardly mobile, their attitude changed and they actually made an attempt to introduce me to their social circle. After a year, I realised she was too perfect for me and tried to shed her off. Her family had been a part of the chase for me. It seemed once I had conquered her parents and she had given in to me, I needed more – and perfection was not it. I did not want perfect – I wanted woman. Whatever that was, I still cannot yet figure it out. Perfect women are hard to shed off. Pamilerin is a classic case. Nothing shook her. She had set her sight on me and was worse than a bulldog and a bone. Since she would not bulge, I started to see other girls – along with her. Something shook me though.
Pamilerin had come visiting at my flat while I had a girl over for the weekend. Picking up the spare key from under the flowerpot, she had let herself in and had come straight to the bedroom where we were lying in bed talking. I had brazenly said hi to her and introduced her to Ify – my weekend date. She had muffled some form of greeting and had gone to the kitchen where she made chicken stew and jollof rice from scratch and then left my apartment without a word. She scared me. Caught me off my move on the chessboard. She never referred to it - Never seemed to blink over it. I wanted a confrontation at the least. Zilch. Nothing I did shook her. I did eventually see a chip in her armour – I caught her crying in my bathroom at 4am one morning. I knew why. Surprisingly, it broke my heart. My compromise was marrying her.
I meant my wedding vows when I made them – forsaking all others. And I did try for a while…
Friday, April 9, 2010
Back at her desk, she saw the flashing that meant she had a new mail. Another commendation from a Senior Partner. Pamilerin was a lawyer and a good one. No, a great one and everyone knew she would be making Partner in the coming year. The writing was on the wall. She read the mail and smiled wryly, composing a ‘thank you for your kind and encouraging words' reply. If only they knew that she would trade all of that in for just the knowledge that her man, her husband was truly, really hers. She had felt that once. In the first month of their marriage. That was 7 years ago. Father in Heaven, why did you send this man my way? And why oh why do I still love him so? This cannot be life as you intended. This really ought not to be.
Her BB buzzed. She smiled again. This time her smile was genuine, reaching her eyes. And it really should not have been. It was Biyi. They had worked on this last case together and had done a fantastic job of it. As she turned round gracefully to get a file from the cabinet, she sensed his presence even before she saw him.
‘How did you get here so fast? She asked him smiling. ‘I just got your sms’.
‘You know me, I am ‘everywhere’ he said it like a ghost trying to spook someone. She smiled some more. He really was heaven to behold. Like Soji her husband but in a different way somehow.
‘Anyway, congrats to our team. We hit a home run on this one, abi?’ ‘Let’s go celebrate over lunch’ he invited.
She declined. Too quickly. He knew why.
Pamilerin and Biyi worked well together. Too well . They seemed to complement each other. The only reason why the office grapevine had not started churning out rumors about them was because everybody knew how committed to her faith and marriage Pamilerin was. She talked about her husband as if he was some kind of King. The cattier women called her a sap. She called herself a Christian wife in love. But the truth of the matter was that one night while working late, trying her best to shove aside the thoughts of Soji and his latest love interest so that she could focus on the work at hand. She crumbled. It had all come to a head and as God (or was it the enemy now) would have it, Biyi was on hand to lend a shoulder (a very muscular, Paco Rabanne smelling, comforting one) for her to cry on. It felt good. It should not have. But it did. And since then she could not get these truly un-christian thoughts out of her head. He was nice after all and if Soji was doing it, had done it all these years, why couldn't she? Did she not deserve to be happy?
But Pamilerin knew the Truth. It was this Truth that had kept her sane all these years. It was her Strength. She took a deep breath and looked up at Biyi and told him plainly.
‘You know we cannot do that Biyi. Not anymore. Because I am a Christian.‘
If that statement had come out of some other person’s mouth, Biyi would have laughed. He knew loads of ‘Christians’ and he knew what they got up to and how they behaved outside of church. But Pamilerin? No, she was the real deal. He had worked with her for 6 weeks and knew enough about her to know that her was a woman trying to emulate Christ in all she did. It only made him like her more. Respect her more. Be more sad for her. For he knew a little about the real situation at home. She had let him into her world a little. So he nodded and moved away promising to catch up with her later.
Pamilerin did not know how she would overcome these evil demons dancing around her head tauting her, making all sorts of suggestions to her but she knew one thing. She had someone on the inside of her who would always help her. Two wrongs never made a right. She would not become the madness. She would not succumb to that which she ought not to do.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
She knew when he started using the key code on his BlackBerry and the time he could not turn up for Farouk’s school play because of the ‘silly people in Abuja who called an impromptu meeting’. She knew in the way you knew the legislators spent time doing a lot of nothing and there was nothing you could do about it.
Pamilerin knew Soji was seeing someone else. She even knew who someone was. Initially she had hoped it would go away. Sometimes she cried, sometimes, she worried. Most times, she ignored it.
“Good night babes, I can’t wait to see you tomorrow”, “Neither can I.” Silence. “Babes, hang up!” “No you hang up” “It’s always like this isn’t it? No matter how much time we spend together it doesn’t seem enough! I’ll see you tomorrow, dream of me” Kirsten says hanging up.
With a smile on her lips she turns in her bed, the smile fades slowly as she imagines Soji walking in from the balcony where he tells her he takes her calls, and going into his bedroom to his wife. Though she will never suggest it, she sometimes wished he’ll leave his wife or even say something bad about her! Soji is a ‘Lagos Big Boy’ you see, always in the social pages of the newspapers with his beautiful impeccable wife! And while it works for her (sometimes!) she cannot imagine how he does it.
How he always seems to be with her, in her apartment that he rented and furnished and still spend quality time with his wife. How he goes on “business trips” with her and gets her to buy jewellery for his wife! How he seems so in love with her and yet she knows that she is not the only “her’ outside his wife. His capability for deceit must be amazing!
“Good thoughts Kirsten”, she says to herself. After all, she did not set out to date a married man, they worked in the same office and sometimes met over lunch, there was always a crowd of people at the table, but she found that in most discussions and arguments, they seemed to be on the same side and more and more she looked forward to lunch. She didn’t know he also felt the same until she went on an official trip for a couple of days. The next time he saw her at lunch, he said he’d missed her and would she go outside the office for a proper lunch? She agreed. 2 years later, they are still at it, lunch led to dinner, dinner to regular dates, where she was amazed by his wit and the fact that he noticed everything, her hair, her smell, her moods! But most of all she was amazed that such a great guy was married and faithful to his wife and able to have her as a friend without wanting more.
Soji felt the same. Kirsten was fun to talk to, beautiful, articulate and knowledgeable about very many things. He found her fascinating, in fact one of his major attractions-when he thought about it- was that she reminded him of his wife, so it all started in a good natured, good intentioned sort of way.
Until the day she got into an argument with her father and he met her crying in the corridor and decided to take her out to lunch- just to cheer her up. And one thing led to another, and another to a nice hotel room, which he remembers little of, because the passion was blinding. Two years later, they are still at it!
”This works for me” Kirsten is thinking, “when he is with me, he seems totally with me. He shows me love, we go out together- to our own spots, we travel together; in many ways I feel like part of a couple, I have companionship, money, a lovely home that we have furnished together. Maybe someday if I ask, we’ll have a child. In fact the only thing I lack is the status of a wife and what good is that if he’ll have a “me” outside.”
Then she feels that inner disquiet, “will I ever have my own real home though? Be able to show my man to my friends and family? Go out with him in this town without fear or feeling his discomfort? To stop ordering delivery and take-outs, will my children bear their father’s name? And if I decide to get married, would I ever have peace? Would my husband’s business trips not remind me of this time that I was someone’s business trips? Or of family vacations where the wife and family flew economy and I flew business class and stayed in the same hotel- flattered that he said he could not be away from me for two weeks? Will I trust my own, knowing what I know about my nature and the abilities of man?” the disquiet is too much to handle.
Kirsten turns one more time, “good thoughts, Kirsten, good thoughts” she says to herself and her smile slowly returns, she’ll see Soji tomorrow...