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Joella read the mail over and over again, moving from the sitting room to the kitchen and finally to the bedroom. So much for being strong! Her weight became too heavy for her legs to carry. No shock absorber can ever withstand this kind of shock. Totally unable to keep up with playing the strong part, she didn’t go to church that Sunday. The last thing she wanted to do was wear a nice dress and that disarming smile necessary for welcoming people to church and showing them to their seats. All she wanted to do really was lie down on her back staring into the empty space, without any makeup to mask the dark circles that have formed under her eyes or headgear to cover the tangled mass on her head.
Before she got that mail from Dele, she was indeed worried. The word count of his mails has dropped significantly in the past few weeks. They have a practice of communicating via email daily and their daily email thread sometimes exceeds 30. The fascinating and engaging accounts given by Dele were a kind of remedy that rights every wrong that there might have been in the day and she once suggested he starts a blog. The last message he sent her before the breakup mail left her disturbed and she probed him further asking series of questions; “How long was the flight?, Who sat beside you?” and many of such questions just to appeal to his narrative side. But she got nothing from him, no reply after that initial straight-faced email that read, “landed safely”.
It was really difficult for Joella to make sense of the situation, when a man slips an engagement ring on that finger, he clears all doubts and the woman starts seeing herself going in and out of the kitchen and then wearing maternity gowns. For some time she still tried to fry this pie herself in her own oil. She told her neighbors, friends and families who cared enough to ask after Bamidele that he is indeed fine and sends his regards to them all. But at a point she realized the folly of her actions. For how long can a pregnancy be kept hidden? It is high time to at least tell the people that are nursing hopes of buying aso ebi and probably saving for a wedding already that there will be no wedding any time soon. Thankfully, she resisted the urge to flaunt her relationship with Bamidele on social media. Her relationship status on Facebook still read single, so there was no need to explain anything on Facebook or edit her profile to accommodate this change. She wanted to call her dad right away but that will translate to automatically informing her mother. The wife can still keep issues away from the husband but her father is a sweet soul really in love. Whatever he knows, his wife knows. Joella was not ready for that. She is the second child but the only daughter, so somehow her mother seems to have decided that she is her best channel for getting a grandchild. She should at least be strong enough to comfort her mum and assure her that she will surely have a baby to cuddle and dote over soon before telling her.
She thought of calling Constance. Constance has a whole lot of wacko ideas crammed in that afro punk-covered head of hers. Her opinionated views can wait. She dialed Segun’s number and he picked just when she already gave up he was not going to. “Hey Jo, what’s up with you?” His baritone boomed from the other end.
“I’m good. How are your wife and the baby?” She could have been the wife and that baby would have been the grandchild that her mother so earnestly desire but she said no. She said no when Segun asked her to be his helpmeet back then during their NYSC days. Segun had plans to answer the call of God into ministry but she was content with being just a Christian. The Pastor (Mrs.) title did not appeal to her. She wanted to experience life in her own way, not as an offshoot of her husband, to own her space, so she said no but they have remained friends ever since.
“They are good. How’s Bamidele?” She felt a sharp pain in her heart at and kept quiet for a few seconds before finally replying. “That’s why i want to see you, we need to talk. Can we see?”
She poured it all out to him, the pain gushed out like a flood and she felt deflated afterwards, the ice in a heart finally thawed and she no longer had to deal with its crushing weight. What Segun had to say really didn’t matter. Having someone who wouldn’t judge you and make you feel worse listen to your story can be really therapeutic. The glaring truth is the breakup was not Joella’s fault and Segun reinforced that. There’s nothing she could have done to save the engagement, Bamidele clearly has unresolved issues with himself and she’s just a victim of circumstances but not anymore. She will no longer remain a victim; she grabbed her phone and sent a message to Constance on BBM. “Sisi Eko! What do you say to some girl time this weekend? One of your projects can wait. Let’s meet at the salon. I need to tell you something about Bamidele. Just say yes…..bear hugs”. The reply came several hours later. “Surest office babe! Wetin Bamidele do you o? Abeg if na marriage make him chill o. At least until he starts looking the part. Anything for you sweetie. See yah.…mwaahh!”