Monday, March 28, 2011

Advice me on this

My neighbour’s children do not greet!
It is crazy I have to begin a post with that line. But the sooner I find a solution to this, the better I would be because I am used to being friends and at peace with my neighbours whether young or old.

I am almost 2 months old in this compound and I have a particular neighbour with grown children. A boy and three girls. I’m sure there are others from the same flat because I saw a smaller boy sweeping their balcony yesterday. Anyway, my concern is with the big boy and other girls. Initially, the youngest girl would stare at me, but having realised I’m in the compound to stay, and probably realising we are no mates at all, she greets.

Now her sisters. At first, I always saw one frequently because we meet at the gate most times so I’m either asking her if she is going out or coming in so I could lock the gate behind me. I see it as nothing to say hi to anyone, older or younger than me. So when she and her brother passes me, I nod a greeting ‘hi hello’ at them or even good afternoon. But one day, I was spreading my launderings; she came, stared past me and walked away. And her brother does same. Since then, I stopped my ‘hellos’ or any greetings because they expect it from me and I think it is wrong. So now when we see at all, we just walk past ourselves. And I still think, that is wrong.

The other day, I returned from the market to meet the boy washing his dad’s car. He stared at me without a welcome or even offering to help with my obviously heavy bags. Now, I wasn’t expecting the help but it is the polite thing to do. It is what my younger brother would do. And it is left for me to say, no don’t worry, thanks.

It takes nothing out of me to greet or say hi, but I feel if I continue at it, they will see nothing wrong in their behaviours. And these children are no mates of mine! The oldest of them would be at least six years younger than me. Seriously, maybe if I was plump or bigger a little, maybe they would know we are not mates because people find it difficult believing I am an old woman. They think I probably left secondary school 2 or 3 years ago and got married because I wear jeans and Tshirts with them. And seriously, what will I wear, how will I dress that will make me look older or at least my age? I am being harassed constantly and it is neither funny nor complimenting. I guess I will have to learn how to harden my face or something. My only refuge will be going about tying two wrappers and gele. But who can do that anyway? Everyday cannot be a traditional marriage ceremony na.

I thought the next time I saw the girl who loved to stare, I would ask her her name (don’t know any of their names) and whenever I see her, I will mention her name and greet her, since that is what she wants. But I didn’t think that approach was nice. So if you were in my shoes, what would you do?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

(Desperate Housewives) Before I lose My Husband (2)

Bukola was in a desperate situation. She didn’t have anyone she could discuss the issue with because it wasn’t a topic she would be comfortable discussing. She always thought about how to begin such a conversation? That she lost her husband because she wasn’t comfortable with sex?

Abbey moved into the guest bedroom in the ninth month of their marriage. It was a Saturday and she had gone to the market to stock up the house with foodstuff. By the time she returned, he had gone out. Although when she was leaving, he didn’t say anything about going out. That has become a new habit, where he doesn’t tell her anything about his movement. He hardly talks to her in the house and when she greets him or asks him something, he answers under his breath. But that Saturday when Bukola opened the wardrobe to change and noticed all his things gone, she knew they were heading for the end of their marriage.

She broke down and cried wondering where help would come from. She had been praying for divine intervention into the problem and nothing has happened. This wasn’t what she thought her marriage would turn into, but then she never really thought about it or understood the institution of marriage. She could only judge with her parents’ marriage, and as far as she was concerned, that was what she was hoping to get.

Bukola made up her mind to attack the issue and immediately called Abbey on the phone. It rang several times, but he didn’t pick. Various scenarios ran through her mind. It wasn’t always she gets to call him on the phone but when she does, he picks, so where could he be? Bukola waited all day for him to return and when he finally did late at night, she asked him why he didn’t take her calls. Abbey said he was at a noisy place watching football and left her in the sitting room and went to bed in his new room. No dinner.

Abbey made it impossible for her to ask him any questions. They continued this way for a week before he travelled for a course that lasted 3 months. By the time he returned, Bukola had moved his things back to their bedroom. He said nothing about it, so Bukola took it as a sign that the answers to her prayers were at work. He even bought her gifts from the trip which convinced her more that things were going to get better. But that day of his return was the first and last day they conversed for over 30 minutes since their problems began. Because soon enough, Abbey made sure he stayed out late until she had slept and he left home early. The only time things appeared normal was when they had relations visiting for the weekend. Then Abbey came home early, ate in the house and pretended with her that all was well. But it was a lie she couldn’t change or share out of shame and fear. She continued to trust God, went for prayer meetings, and never missed church. She was looking for answers but wasn’t getting them until one Sunday morning, something happened in the house.

She usually left for church earlier than Abbey because her church was further than his, and they had different services. But on this morning, she walked into the kitchen looking for him when he wasn’t in the guest bedroom and noticed him all dressed up for church. Bukola had come to tell him she was going to church and would be out till evening because she would visit her parents. Asking why he was dressed, he answered he wanted to attend his church’s first service for a change. And at that moment, she felt a deep urge to ask to follow him to his church, but she couldn’t speak. She needed ways to spend more time with him. So with a heavy heart, she returned to the bedroom to retrieve her bag and broke down crying.

Abbey heard the muffled sounds and knocked on the door before he entered. Bukola, who was turned away from the door, felt him standing at the door for a while and just looking at her. After a while, he went and held her in an embrace, their first body to body contact in a very long time.

After she quieted down, he told her he had to get going else he would be late. “Can I come with you?” Bukola asked him and he looked at her quietly for seconds and nodded.

This week's edition of 'Desperate housewives'

Before I Lose My Husband (3)
“Can I come with you?” Bukola had asked her husband, Abbey. That day was also the first in a long time they sat together in a car. And the 20mins drive to his church was in silence. She didn’t want to say the wrong thing. She didn’t know what to expect. She had no idea what was going through his mind, as she continued to steal glances at him. But he wore a very serious countenance. One she had never seen before.

All through that day’s service, Bukola’s mind was occupied with her problems, so when Abbey asked her on their way home if she enjoyed the service, she shrugged. On getting home, he reminded her she was visiting her parents. She told him they could wait that she had things to sort out. Things like what? He wanted to know but she couldn’t frame her words. What happened this morning, Buki, what is going on here? He continued to question her.

Bukola was confused. She felt he ought to know she was making a move towards solving their problems and should take the steps with her. “I’m tired,” she told her husband and he nodded and said he was also and had been sad a long time he was going to be a divorcee. “What?” she asked. “We are not ending this marriage. It is against my religion!” Abbey laughed wanly and walked away into the guest room.

Bukola sat dazed for a while and hurried after him into the room without a knock. “Can’t you see I am trying to change? You asked what happened this morning. It is me trying to tell you and not finding the words that I am tired of living this way and want a change for us and admitting I need help. I don’t know what to do or who can help me, but the last thing I want is to end this marriage and it’s not just because of religion, which hasn’t helped me despite all my prayers, but I do love you. I am willing which is why this morning and your church happened, Abbey. Say something.”

Bukola was crying then and waiting for him to say something or even look at her, but he didn’t. She went and knelt by the side of the bed where he was sitting and touched him, willing him to raise his head and look at her. When he did, she discovered he had tears in his eyes. Bukola realised at that moment that her husband had also nursed the same fears she had. He asked her to sit beside him and they sat there quietly, saying nothing but just being together, each with different thoughts.

Eventually they went to the kitchen for a late breakfast and he asked where they could start from. She said she didn’t know but felt they were doing the right thing, talking and being together. He nodded.

That Sunday was the beginning to recovering for their marriage as well as their pains. They were together the whole day and he came to sleep in their bedroom but didn’t move close to her. While they discussed their work and mutual friends, Bukola’s was anxious about what would happen next or what wouldn’t, but she had made up her mind things had to change. When she got up to turn out the light, he asked her to leave the light on.

“I want to see you and want you to see me,” he said. Bukola’s fears were back. Abbey left the bed to stand by her. “Remember what you said about change? Let’s try. You don’t have to be scared. I am your husband, you are my wife and I love you and we cannot avoid this.”

She was scared and she was expectant and she was shy but she let Abbey take her on a road she wasn’t familiar with.

Bukola described that first week beginning the Sunday they went to church together as the best week of her life. The road has been bumpy but she is rediscovering a new Abbey, their friendship growing deeper by the day. Her parents who believed she would eventually bring Abbey over to their church were shocked when she told them she was joining Abbey’s church. Everyday has become a blessing of love and friendship and surprise.

It’s been four months since that Sunday morning and Bukola is still enjoying her new found love. In another two months they will have their second wedding anniversary, but Bukola and Abbey are marking that Sunday as the most special date never to be forgotten.
The End.

The story appears as it was published in the 'Desperate Housewives' column, in Business Hallmark Newspapers last week and this week. Stories are real and are shared to educate women and also for advice. Names are changed for reasons of privacies. If you have a story to share, yours or the story of someone you know, feel free to contact me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

(Desperate Housewives) Before I Lose My Husband

The problem began on the night of her wedding and continued into the second year of marriage. She and her husband have become strangers living in the same house, not the two people who came together to be one flesh that day that everyone gathered to rejoice with them.

Bukola’s wedding was a big occasion because her family had almost given up on her when a man appeared. So when Abbey proposed, she was overjoyed and within a year of meeting each other, they were married.

She met Abbey at a singles function that was organised by her church. Being in the choir, she led the praise and worship that evening and he approached her after the programme to commend her voice. As they walked outside the church together, he told her his mission. He wasn’t exactly a member of her church but being in the media, he went around churches looking for good programmes he could get sponsorship for to air on TV. He wanted her to direct him to the right person and she did. They parted ways, exchanging information.

Bukola is a born-again Christian who basically grew up in the church because her father was one of the elders. Being a missionary’s daughter, she was brought up to understand what is proper and improper for an unmarried girl to do. Her mother always drummed it into her ears that her body was the temple of God and fornicators will be punished by God.

And in making sure that she wasn’t in any way soiled, she attended an all girls secondary school where her mother was a teacher and when it was time for her to proceed to higher institution, she was registered in the one close enough for her to commute from home daily because her parents didn’t want her to become like the girls they see, who become transformed the first year they get into the university.

Being born again, Bukola did not encourage boyfriends. Besides, she really wanted to remain a virgin till her wedding night and she could see and hear sex written all over the language of the guys who approached her. She trusted God to be faithful to bless her for trying to live a holy life.

The years after university were the most trying for her. Her parents believed she must have committed a terrible sin which was why God was punishing her by not sending her a husband. She was subjected to rigorous fasting and praying and deliverance exercises. Bukola couldn’t dare move out, so she prayed for a husband and waited.
When Abbey called her two weeks after they met to seek her opinion on a small job her church was giving him, she was surprised and glad and hoped he was a good person.
He turned out to be a good person. He was funny, outgoing and loving and she fell in love for the first time in her life. He invited her to his church but she couldn’t go because she led the choir and it shouldn’t be heard that the deacon’s daughter attended a Pentecostal church.

During their short courtship, Abbey liked to talk about very personal things she wasn’t comfortable with and he always laughed and called her shy. He even joked about his never having a virgin before and thus was encouraged to go along with her desires until they were married. He even got closer to God.

But when that night came, she remembered all she had being taught. He tried to make her relax and asked her to go along and enjoy sex. But she couldn’t. She was a Christian. She was told a lady who enjoys such pleasure is a daughter of Jezebel. All she could manage was to lie still and at the end she went into the bathroom. The next morning he tried to make her understand it was okay because they were married. Still, she couldn’t discuss such topic with him. She couldn’t be naked where he was. He asked they go for counselling in his church but she refused. His church was too different from hers.

In the early months of marriage, their nights were a repeat of their clumsy wedding night. Gradually, Abbey stopped touching her. Initially, she was relieved by it and her fears of nights were banished. But as months passed without him making any move towards her, she suddenly realised that she had lost him; the fun and outgoing Abbey was gone and replaced by a quiet and withdrawn man.

So one night, she cried her heart out to God.

To be continued next week.

The story appears as it was published in the 'Desperate Housewives' column, in Business Hallmark Newspapers last week. Stories are real and are shared to educate women and also for advice. Names are changed for reasons of privacies. If you have a story to share, yours or the story of someone you know, feel free to contact me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Didn't Go Away

Blogging has become one other thing I have gotten so lazy about. But I am still here, and still want to blog and do blog rounds but I don't know why I don't. And I'm always online. I need to make a new month or new week resolution to blog more. Hope the blog family is still very much in tact. Miss you all and this is still my space and I am stil Zayzee.

I'm off to your blog now!