THE EX FACTOR #30

 “…and so the dominoes begin to fall the very moment you peeped out of your mum’s vagina. You probably might not be reading this, had you been born an hour later.”

I read over what I just typed again to see if it was error free and I could go back to what I was doing. What exactly was I doing? Packing my things and taking a break from the whole drama in this concrete jungle cos sincerely, it was needed.
Mum had attempted coming over to Lagos but I insisted travelling down south to see her. I had used that as the much needed alibi to travel and I had announced it to all my ‘friends’ at the welcome home or was it welcome back party they called the little merrying we had a couple of days ago?
I sat back in my chair, threw my head back over it and let out a deep thoughtful sigh.
“How could she?” I thought to myself. “How could Kate go as far as murder to get ‘the man of her dreams’?… How did she even know Tunde was her ideal man?… Well, I’m not in her dreams though but in every way I had tried looking at it, it has never looked right. That would be the lost classified file that would never be heard from me as far as this whole brain disturbing saga was concerned. I felt very sorry for June. We only know those who we are watching. We never can tell who’s watching us. Be fast to make acquaintances but really slow to make friends. That’s the word for June cos I’m sure she’ll slit Kate’s throat without batting an eyelid if she ever gets to know what Kate did to her.
At times, I just wouldn’t know exactly what to think of the turn of events ever since ‘Believe’ told me at that bar about the arrival of June, his uni days love and the sudden increase of Titi towards me, also her uni days love. Their relationship should definitely win or vy for an award in the top twenty most complicated relationship. I wouldn’t blame Titi that much, cos obviously, she thought the only way to get back at her fiancé who thought he was a smooth criminal was by getting involved in the same crime… with me. It was not going to work though, thanks to my self-control.
But what if Dave hadn’t gotten down with June and there hadn’t been anything scandal on ground, compounded by the fact that June was carrying Believe’s love child? Would that have made this whole story less twisted and complicated than it was? Or had I given in to Titi’s advancements and Dorothy’s dad hadn’t showed up when he did. Would that had made this whole story more twisted and complicated? 
The decisions we make today not only affect tomorrow. They can end up shaping what one’s future looks exactly like and make or mar that future. That’s the power of decisions.
I stood up from my workstation and made my way to the room, stopped at the doorway and looked at my two packed bags.
“Why do I feel like I’m running away from something? And what exactly am I even running away from?”
I guess I’m running from the smoke of the drama, the unending effort to keep everything together instead of falling apart. The unavoidable fix it Felix character who keeps trying to get everything fixed and making some thought provoking decisions. I could fix everyone’s relationship issues but my own. Everyone was back to their normal lives, settled in their spouse’s nest except me. What does that tell me? I need some lone time? Yeah, exactly.
And if that wasn’t enough, my wrecked car I saw a few days ago confirmed to me that you should rid yourself of everything that would keep plaguing your mind, irrespective of where you are and what you’re doing. Those issues would always keep your mind busy and you can only afford that luxury if you can afford a driver and drown away in thoughts at the owner’s corner before you endanger your life and the lucky ones that happen to choose to have the ride with you.
My phone rang.
“Hey Kate what’s going on?”
Kate did not reply and someone sobbing and sniffing at the other end of the line was all could hear.
“Are you alright Kate?… Can you hear me?”
“Yea… I can hear you. I… I thought about what you told me in the car the day I was bringing you home from the hospital and to be honest with you, my conscience is pricking me pretty badly. I even feel like a husband snatcher just like you said and there’s no one else to talk to. That’s why I’m calling. I’m sorry Jay. I know what I did was very stupid and can’t be heard of.”
I removed my phone from my left ear, looked at the screen and returned it back. I was a bit confused at why Kate was telling me she was sorry when I’m not the one she offended but I know that feeling when you’ve gravely offended someone and you think apologizing to someone else is going to ease the weight of the guilt you feel. It actually works sometimes and at times, it’s just a waste of time.
“I think you should call June and talk to her. Beg her, apologize to her and hope she finds a space in her heart to forgive you. That’s all I can say.”
“No please don’t!” Kate quickly cut in. “Don’t even think about it. I’m dead if June ever gets to know about this. And I beg you in the name of God. Don’t try to fix this for me and don’t forget you gave me your word not to tell anyone about this.”
“And I won’t but please don’t call me about this issue ever again. I don’t wanna hear anything about it. alright?”
“Ok sir. Take care and have a safe flight.”
“Thanks.”
If June would ever know what Kate did so she could choose her desired form of revenge, only time would tell. If Dave would ever know what Kate did so he could choose his desired form of appreciation, only time would tell. But like they always say, there are always two sides to a story. There’s always the one dying as a result of the war, and there’s always one political idiot, feeding off the war. That’s life and one of its multifaceted appearances. I had given Kate my word and won’t go back on it. so if anyone was gonna hear about Kate’s secret of being the Mother Nature we so very often talked about and appreciated for giving Believe a second chance, it would be from Kate herself but as for me, I think I’ve had enough of this already.
The best advice anyone could give me was the one Kate herself did give me. Any attempt to try to clean up her mess would not only drag me further down the tunnel but would also reveal that the whole tunnel is not a straight one but a maze where you almost can’t get out without the rippers catching up with you. I need to use my head.
I need not feel bad about Lizzy and Dorothy which almost would’ve been my only glitch but I had better be happy that I had not taken Lizzy home to meet my ‘no-nonsense’ mum after which her baby papa then shows up. Mum would’ve frustrated me to death with that scenario and painted a very ugly picture of the whole thing even though she wasn’t there. She does a very pretty job with the mixture of both her sense of humour and her sarcasm. Although I couldn’t deny that I loved both mother and daughter, I wasn’t the kind of person to put up a fight over something I want which is already owned by someone else. I’d do better to be part of their history than hurt everyone, myself especially with the happy turned sour memories. I know better than that.
3 hours later, I was seated quietly in my seat in the aircraft, gently comforted that my thoughts here would in no way endanger anyone’s life including mine. I let out a wry smile as my phone rang.
“Hello mum”
“How are you?”
“I’m fine. I’m inside the plane already. I should be home in about an hour and half.”
“Alright. Have you prayed?”
“Yes I have.”
“Safe journey my boy”
“Thanks mum.” I chuckled and shook my head. Shout out to every mum out there, all over the world.
With the announcement of the airline’s departure and the instruction for seatbelts to be fastened, I bid a good farewell to all the escapades of the last couple of months, how one event had led to ten others and cementing the fact that life itself is a stack of dominoes and that statement ‘one thing led to another’ being the briefest definintion of life in its totality. The very moment you win the race amongst the one million sperms shot into your mum’s fertility industry or reproductive region… and so the dominoes begin to fall the very moment you peeped out of your mum’s vagina. You probably might not be reading this, had you been born an hour later.”
Who will heal the doctor, teach the teacher and who will make the comedian laugh?… because we all need fixing.
Mature Minds Talk.
The Ex Factor episodes #1 to #30 are all the imaginative work of the writer Elijah Jaybee (@Jaybee_Twhy). Any correlation to events or description of any person living or dead is purely coincidental. Thank you.
T.E.F © 2014

THE EX FACTOR #29

Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. Little gathering of steps make a long journey. Little collection of mistakes make…?
The gentility of the evening breeze and the fluent flow with which it subtly caressed my face was really relieving but the relieve couldn’t be compared to the fact that in a few minutes I’m going to be leaving this hospital ward that nearly turned to the graveyard of my character except for the stunt I pulled, just in the nick of time.

I couldn’t but remember how a couple of days ago would have called time on the respect and regard my peeps had for me, even affecting the faith they had in me. But was Kate seriously about to divulge that part of this insane story to everyone?… So she would’ve told her boyfriend that we planned to make it look like she impregnated June and manipulated him into taking responsibility. He mustn’t know… or not yet, if there’s no time he won’t know. Yes!… Not yet.
I grabbed my phone.
“Hello?”
“Hi Jay, how are you?”
“I’m fine. Just said I should say thanks to you and your husband for showing up at the hospital. I really appreciate.”
“Husband?!” Lizzy laughed. “Jay, you won’t kill me. Well, you can say thanks to our faces. How about that?”
“Nah!… I honestly don’t think I’ll be driving through your route in a long time.”
“I understand, but you wouldn’t need to cos we’ve already entered the hospital. We should be in your ward in less than five minutes.”
“Okay, better. See you.”
Three minutes later, Lizzy, Tammy and Lizzy’s Fiancé entered the ward, where I sat quietly on the window side chair, staring directly at the door like some unseen beings were having a party there.
“Uncle Jay!” Tammy snatched her hand from her dad’s and ran all the way across the room into my outstretched arms. Which kind of made her dad look a bit embarrassed.
“How are you dearie?” I curled her up in my chest, kissed her forehead, and sat her down on my left lap before looking up to meet the gaze of the two adults staring.
“I’m fine. I’ve missed you”
“Aww!… I’ve missed you more sweetie.”
I greeted Lizzy, shook hands with Dorothy’s dad and started a conversation before it again occurred to me ask any of the two what happened to me the other day if anyone had any answer whatsoever.
“Liz! Do you have any idea how I got here?… I mean from driving in my car to lying down in a hospital bed. It’s crazy right?
For reasons unknown to me, Lizzy looked at me like I had just asked her if I could go home with Dorothy. She drew out her handkerchief from the right pocket of her jean and dabbed her wet eyes. She looked at me straight in the eyeball for around half a minute before she finally found her voice.
“You nearly got yourself killed Jay. You ran into a truck from behind. Road safety personnel who helped rushing you here said if the truck had been oncoming, it would’ve been another story entirely. They couldn’t even hold the truck driver for any offense since it was you who ran into him.” She sniffed, wiped her nose and continued. “You were lost in thought and probably just forgot you were even driving. You made me feel very bad about everything that happened that day. If you had died that day, it would’ve taken me a very long time to forgive myself cos I would’ve felt I had something to do with it and it also would’ve taken a lot of persuasion and convincing talks to make me feel otherwise.”
The way Lizzy bluntly said what she just did made my heart skip a bit. If I had ‘died’ damn! That was really deep and mind pricking. If I had ‘died’ like I was a chicken or a mosquito who ran out of luck. If I had ‘died’… well, thank God I didn’t die. But truth be told, I was indeed carried away that day. I’m quite a sore loser and I felt like I had lost that day. I felt a bit betrayed and all my plans for Liz and Dorothy just flew out of the window. But I didn’t get so carried away as to run behind a truck. I can’t even remember driving behind any truck but that’s plain history now. Again, thank God I didn’t die.
“Promise me you’ll never allow anything to occupy your mind while you’re driving ever again.”
“I won’t”
“No!… Promise me!… be it work, relationship, worries, anything. And anytime you’re about being engrossed with any thought while driving, you’ll always remember you made me a promise. Even if we’re not in contact anymore, Promise me Jay!”
“I promise.” I replied with an amount of soberness, looking at the floor tiles.
“When is Dave coming to pick you?” Lizzy asked.
“Any moment from now, I guess he’ll show up. I’ll call him to know when he’ll be here and where exactly he is.
The three of them kept my company for around half an hour before they called it a day. They took pictures with me and Lizzy called them reference pictures for my forum. I cracked a few jokes, Tammy did some indoor run around and Lizzy’s fiancé was the photographer of the day. In general, the day was fun and I was reveling in the just concluded event when my phone rang.
“Hey!”
“Whatsup Jay?… How are you feeling?”
“I’m good.”
“I’m on my way to pick you up. Dave called me, said he has some impromptu errands to run and that I should help in picking you from the hospital.”
“I was just about calling him now. Where exactly are you?”
“Just past Spectranet office. I’ll soon be with you. Alright?
“Alright. Please hurry. I’ve overstayed my welcome here and the smell of the whole place is beginning to disgust me.”
“Yes sir.”
Half an hour later, I was done with settling my bills, clearing myself; I had a shower and a change of clothes, then Kate helped me find my way to her car, parked not far from the facility’s main entrance.
“Thanks Kate” I said as she drove me home.
“You’re welcome” She replied without turning her head.
The silence that prevailed for the next few minutes was very disturbing and it was like we knew what each other wanted to talk about, we just didn’t want to talk about it.
Five minutes later, I shrugged of the awkwardness the discussion was going to cause and decided to talk.
“Were you really going to confess about what I thought you were gonna confess about before I spoke up?”
Kate turned, looked straight at me for around three seconds and faced the road.
“What exactly were you thinking I was gonna confess about?”
“I was thinking you were gonna confess about I, June and David’s plan to make Tunde, the etisalat guy who’s now your boyfriend…”
“Fiancé” Kate quickly cut in.
“Okay, your fiancé asking June out to finally have his way and make him believe he’s responsible for June’s pregnancy. That was the plan before nature smiled on Dave if we could call it that and she suffered her miscarriage, leading to the change of plans and you guys getting along and the level you are in your relationship now.”
“Well, that part kind of skipped my mind.”
“You mean that wasn’t what you were going to confess about?”
“Nope!”
I felt a bit stupid. So I just wasted my calculations and energy to pull off that throat defying stunt. So that wasn’t even what she was going to talk about. Imagine the fear that gripped me when she was about talking. But wait!… if that wasn’t what she was going to confess about, what is?
“Then what were you about confessing?” I asked making a face like I didn’t believe that wasn’t what she was going to talk about although I totally believed her.
“Nature didn’t smile on Dave. I felt a strong connection between Tunde and I, the very first time we spoke and suddenly felt the need to protect him and guide him out of harm’s way”
“What exactly are you trying to say?” I asked in disbelief.
“Nature didn’t make June suffer a miscarriage. I did!”
My jaw dropped.
Everything is fair in love and war. Except one is fought with the head, while the other is fought with the heart
Mature Minds Talk.

THE EX FACTOR #28

Listen to the voice of your heart. Mother Nature gives tells gives it a sign when she wants to make a joke out of you.

“…and I can’t lie I was happy when I heard the news of her miscarriage. Although a part of me felt very sorry for her, I still felt like I was being naturally given a second chance by Mother Nature.
To show my sympathy and concern, I called her and we’ve spoken around two to three times after that. She said she’s moving on with her life and she has nothing against me and I can also move on with mine, since there are no interlocking paths anymore. Well, asides that, I must confess that… errr…. Ok! I wanted to advice Jay against dating Lizzy once cos I didn’t buy the idea of him dating a single mum. No offence intended.”
Lizzy gave a slight nod.
“Asides that, I don’t think there’s anything else. Thanks guys.”
I resumed breathing after holding up for around five minutes or thereabout, just so I could faint if Dave mistakenly dropped the drop.
If I was asked who was more likely to spill the fact we conspired against our confession MC, I’ll say Dave cos asides the fact that it was his idea, he was more detailed into it and it could have easily slipped Kate’s mind and not the Albert Einstein behind the plot but I’m too smart for nature and it sense of humour. It slipped Dave’s mind means nature is about coming at me from the less likely angle and I could just let that happen. I knew I had to do something but I couldn’t possibly know what.
I was the Sacred Dove and the selfless hero in this whole story and now, I was about getting dragged into the scandal. I’ve escaped Dave’s loophole but I’m not sure about Kate’s and if it’s falling into any loophole, I would gladly choose Dave’s loophole.
“Who’s next?” Tunde asked, looking directly at Kate with a smile on his face.
“Ok, I guess I’m the last man standing or woman if you all would prefer.” Kate looked around and everybody paid rapt attention like she had a reason for talking last.
I opened my eyes slightly.
“Errr…where do I start from?… I don’t really have much to say but I hope nobody in this room would take offence at whatever it is I’ve said when I’m through saying it. Agreed guys?
Everyone nodded amidst murmurs.
“Ok, I Hope no one confirms this from Jay when he wakes up but I used to be called Jealous K. just cos I had an enormous crush on him and I was so envious of his relationship with Titi and I gave myself the take it or break it assignment.”
Kate looked at Titi and she replied with a slight nod and a smile.
“I began sending silly texts and threats but I respect this lady standing here. She didn’t allow it get to her and when she eventually caught me and my senseless pranks, I didn’t owe her more than a slap.”
Everyone chuckled.
“I need to confess that right from the time I saw Jay again in church after so many years, I still had a slight and I mean very slight crush on him but I didn’t allow myself to fantasize like I did back then but who can blame me?… Look at him lying there, isn’t this man attractive?”
Everyone chuckled again.
No one knew my eyes were not fully closed and the look on Tunde’s face nearly made me laugh. He was looking so embarrassed like a kid who got a knock for saying something silly.
“Then I want to say from the very first time I got involved in this whole saga, I knew I was doing it to save Titi’s relationship and I’ve spent time, money and energy without ever thinking of it twice cos I never had a grudge and I always felt like helping you straighten out your present relationship was a way of evening the score since I felt I owed you one.”
Titi pulled out her handkerchief and took it straight to her eyes.
“Well, I’m sorry babes but I also must confess I put a bit a more energy into the mission I tagged ‘mission save the day’ with the hope of warming back my way into Jay’s heart… but all that thoughts vanished the very moment I laid my eyes on this vibrant, young, gentle and handsome dude standing right here.”
Everyone applauded quietly and I felt like twisting Kate’s ears for making every single qualification she used for Tunde sound like those were things I was not. I’m sure I’m vibrant. Young? I guess. Gentle? Sure thing. Handsome? I’ll leave that in the middle for any debater to pick up as the topic for the next debate.
The deeper and more interesting Kate’s confession, the faster my heart beat and the more I knew I had to stop her. I kept on racking and devising a plan in my head but I wouldn’t lie about wanting to hear a bit of what Kate had to say. One way or the other, I was going to stop her once she gets to the river bank. I can’t afford getting exposed and losing the respect I had from these people in the room. Just then, a plan popped up.
“I must also confess that as part of the investigation, I became friends with June and made her trust me. That’s wasn’t that hard since I could make friends easily. But if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have met Tunde. I also acted as the informant and agent or whatever you might wanna call it. I supplied the information and gave regular updates to Jay, my mission commandant.”
Everyone chuckled again, clearly enjoying Kate’s confession session and already engrossed with the way she went about it. I was on the edge of carrying out my plan, I only pray I get my timing right unless, I’ll ruin the whole thing.
“Mission Commander indeed. Jay, The geeky commandant” Doc FM said looking at me to confirm I was asleep and didn’t it hear that.
“I think I should also confess that… Wait! Can I say this without even knowing if he’s awake cos I can’t say this twice and I’ll like him to hear it.”
“I’m sure he’s hearing us. He just can’t respond. At least he gave us a sign to ahead with this confession and here we are. So yes dear, you can continue and I’m sure he’s listening.
“You’re sure?” Kate asked looking at my face
“Yes dear, I’m sure.” Tunde nodded
“This is it!… It’s now or never!… I must act now or forever be looked at as the master in conspiracy. The stigma wouldn’t be on Dave cos he only came up with an idea I could easily have rejected then but instead, it was I who called the shot and gave the mission a go.” I thought and I wondered how 
they couldn’t notice the beating of my heart through the white sheet.
“I must confess that Jay, I and…”
“Sorry for interrupting you meeting ladies and gentlemen, but the doctor would a few minutes with the patient…” A light skinned nurse spoke, just as she opened the door and walked towards me with a slight smile playing across her lips. “…After which you guys can come back and continue. Sorry for cutting you short.”
Like students done with morning assembly, eight people filled out of my ward to my greatest relief ever. I’ve breath such deep sigh of relief in my entire life. This must be an angel in form of a nurse and if she’s truly a human nurse, then I owe her one for her perfect timing and being the unknown hero who probably just saved the day. This nurse just diffused a bomb without even knowing it. 
Incredible!
Few moments later, the doctor walked in and came straight for my face. Pulled up my left eyelid with one hand, and flashed a straight disturbing light into the eye with the other hand.
He repeated the process for the second eye and stood up.
“This man should be ready for discharge in two days alright?”
“Yes sir!” The nurse replied quickly.
He bent back down, opened my mouth slightly and squeezed a liquid that tasted like a mixture of pee and yoghourt. After the third squeeze, I had no choice but to swallow and I could say that was my first swallow since God knows when. My throat burned a little and it had the effect of peeling off the canvas tightening mechanism of a shoe.
 I coughed a bit, the nurse wiped the rest of the liquid I spilled out in the process and looked at the doctor who was busy looking at me like I was some specimen.
“Keep an eye on him and let me see your report on his progress alright?”
“Yes sir!”
They both marched out and I hoped to God the topic of these people coming back inside would be about my health. Why did I even tell them to confess about anything in the first place? I hope they’ll talk about what the doc came to do or what effect it has had on me. As everyone took their various positions, I hope they’ll want to see if I could now talk, sit up and the likes.
But instead they just took their exact positions before they went out and adjusted to continue.
“Goddamnit!… Let’s do this” I thought.
“So where was I before the nurse came in?” Kate asked.
“The confession you wanted to confirm if Jay’s awake for.” Tunde replied.
“Ok… So, as part of the mission in quote, I…”
“Dave?” I called with the highest level of endurance and strength, ignoring the pain and determined the cut Kate short.
Everyone turned in utter shock!
There has not been any great mind that has ever existed without a touch of insanity.
Mature Minds Talk.

THE EX FACTOR #27

There’s always light at the end of the tunnel… for tunnels that have an end.

“So you mean you wished I’ll never come back because you’re happy with Jay?”… “Why didn’t you tell me this before so I can disappear back to wherever it was I emerged from…?” Lizzy’s fiancé grumbled after Lizzy’s six or seven minute’s confession speech.
“Calm down bro.” Tunde cut in with a gesture. “This is why it’s called a confession. So that the air can be cleared and everyone can come clean without being chastised or crucified.”
Everyone nodded in unison.
“So who’s going in next? Tunde asked. I guess he was really enjoying his new role of the confession MC.
Everyone looked at each other. My eyes were slightly opened but no one could know and I guess they just carried on with the assumption that I was either asleep or just tired.
“I’ll go in next” Doc FM said looking down like he had been caught red handed with some illegal stuffs.
“Doc can’t have that much to say. I’m sure of that” I thought to myself and he truly didn’t. In no time he was through and I’m sure he did that to loosen the tight screw. So nobody would think they’ll leave the converted confession room without saying one thing or the other.
“I’ll talk next. But hope its having them effect on him?” Mikee looked around.
“Yes, I’m sure its having its effect.” The MC replied.
“So, I used to… and I mean used to have a crush on Titi but that’s where it stopped.”
Nobody spoke.
“Then ermm… what else? Oh boy!… I used to feel inferior to you guys and sometimes it tells on my attitude. That’s it.”
The silence that followed nearly made me deaf. For some reasons, I would’ve laughed even though nothing Mikee just said was actually funny but thank God for my condition. I’m sure neither Titi nor Dave saw that coming.
“Thanks Mike… So who’s next?”
“Me!” Kate and Titi answered at the same time.
“Now this is going to be interesting.” I thought.
“Ok you go first.” Kate said
Titi hesitated a while and began her confession that took around eight to nine minutes.
“I thought you said you stopped drinking!… Oh I can’t believe this.” Dave began ranting just as Titi said “I think that’s it”. “…And all the times with Jay. What were you thinking? Huh?!”… “Thank God for someone like this who won’t even give in to your temptations, despite the fact that you’re his ex… I found myself in similar situation and I know what it cost me.”
“I was going to tell you everything babe. I swear!… Was just waiting for this to clear off your mind.”
“I see. And if you were really waiting, what…”
“Guys!” Tunde calmly yelled at them. “Hope you can see that someone is trying to rest here.”
Thank God for this Tunde guy, cos I was going to try my best to stand up and paste a dirty slap on Dave’s cheek. Your girl confessed. So what?… why be a bitch about it?
“It’s why it’s called a confession guys, do I need repeat that over and over again? Total freedom of speech, irrespective of what’s been said. Ok?… Thank you!”
“This Tunde is a really good guy.” I thought to myself. Asides the fact that we’ve not really met and talked, I knew he was a cool headed person with sound social skills and a very polished ‘get-along’ attitude. People like this are always the live of most gathering and they make most male talkative. They can form a bond with you in no time at all and they make wonderful sales person and customer care personnel… Oh you see? He works in etisalat just as I mentioned that, I remembered. And it would really have been unfair to do what I, Kate and Dave planned to do to him. He really would have been too innocent for it and although I might or might not meet him, his soul would’ve judged me… Well, would’ve judged me, Dave, June and Titi.
Scanning with my psychic thing, I knew he was really a likeable person and just as I was beginning to feel bad about how we had planned to tie him to a stake… Boom! It dawned on me that he was going to know all about it. Not just that, he was going to know all about it right here, in this room, in a couple of minutes time, from either his own fiancée or Dave, the ranting man he just did his best to calm down and it’s all going to be the peak of the event.
This isn’t the kind of peak an enjoyable event like this should have. It’s just like whispering the death of the MC’s relative to him while anchoring an event you’ve fully paid him for. Would he drop the mic and give you a refund or just continue with the show to mourn later?
Well, I don’t know and don’t want to know.
“Oh lord, don’t let anyone of either Kate or Dave remember to add the plot against our MC to their confessions. Lord, I beg of you. I’ll forever be grateful if it can be done. I know you’re the God of all flesh and you control people’s thoughts and mindset. I know there’s nothing impossible for you to do. Please erase that part off their memory and replace it with something else. Thank you father for the answered prayers, Once again, I’ll forever be grateful and I’ll owe you one. For I pray, Amen!”
I quickly scooped some words of prayer and hoped for the best. Thanking God for the AC that won’t allow me to visibly break a sweat.
“So who’s next?”
“It’s like you’re really enjoying us talk.” Lizzy retorted
“Hahha!… Why did you say that?”
“Cos you brought up this whole confession idea in the name of it’s what Jay wants. I personally don’t know if it’s having any effect on him. He might not even be hearing us. Although I don’t know much about health and all but I was going to ask how this is going to make him feel any better or worse.”
Tunde looked down, observed me for a while and stood back up.
“He’s awake and clearly hearing us. It’s just a matter of time before he joins in this conversion.”
I kicked Tunde in the crotch thrice… In my mind.
“Join which conversation?… This guy sure adds humour to his event hosting talent. If anyone does not work in the spirit of my prayer, I’m just going to lay here like a half dead fish till you guys argue and wear yourselves out.”
“So who’s next?” Tunde rolled his eyes from Kate to Dave, back and forth like a pendulum bulb.
“Ladies first” Dave replied, now smiling like a child and making remember the picture of some kids on a queue, receiving vaccines and the only two serious people on that long queue was the weeping boy with the needle in his arm and the boy just behind him, watching in horror his fate and he was the main character in the picture tagged “It’s all fun and games until you’re next!”
Kate was obviously reluctant.
“Or… ok. Let me go first.” Dave said choicelessly.
“Here we go!” I thought, squeezing my eyes shut and hoping for the best.
Fight for what you love cos if you love it, then it’s worth fighting for. Just hope what you love loves you.
Mature Minds Talk.

THE EX FACTOR #26

“Why do bad things happen to good people?” is a question not only stating clear the irony of life, but also confirming that without ironies life is meaningless.
I opened my eyes to a whole different hospital ward unlike earlier. It was probably the heat generating from the seven people around my bed that woke me up. Dave, Titi, Doc and Mikee were on the right hand side of my bed. Kate, a black dude and most surprisingly, Lizzy’s husband, whose name will never stick to my head for unknown reasons were the spectators on the left- Lizzy wasn’t even in the room.
“He’s awake now” somebody said.
“Jay, can you hear me?” Titi bent towards my face like she wanted to plant a kiss on my lips.
“What could’ve happened?” I thought to myself. “How did I manage ending up on the hospital bed from driving back home after dejectedly leaving Lizzy’s place?”
I slowly rolled my eyes around; just to be sure my sight is okay and perfect cos if anything in the case of an accident, I can release any part of my body but my sight. Can I release my genitals?… of course I can. Just let me hold on to my sight.
I moved my fingers slowly under the spread sheet and my toes simultaneously and they moved, albeit in a whole lot of pain, especially my fingers- Fingers I’ve not seen since God knows how long.
“Jay, we’re all here” Kate said. “Please respond if you can hear us or give a sign.” Her voice was really shaky. She was choking on some quantity of tears.
“He’s scaring the shit out of me. Jah knows” Mikee chipped in.
I tried telling them all to calm down and one person should stand as the spokesperson and take up the duty of explaining what exactly is going on, where I am and precisely how I got here but I couldn’t. My throat burned and had a tearing feeling like the two sides of my throat had been glued together. So I kept on looking at everyone’s expression with a face as expressionless as possible.
Just as Doc FM placed his right hand on my chest, and told Kate to calm down, that I’ll be okay, tears quickly gathered round the corner of my eyes and slowly streamed out.
The tears were not of sadness or sorrow, neither of regret or hurt. They were tears of gratefulness mixed with pain and relief.
I was grateful I didn’t open my eyes to see my body lying lifelessly on the hospital bed, while I walk or float in the air through everything, becoming nothing but a wandering spirit with no means at all of communicating to the ones I still hold dear. I was grateful I had my life in spite of the accident I’m yet to know the details about. Although I was feeling all forms of pain- Slight, sharp, mild, whichever name could be given to pain, I still was relieved cos I believed I couldn’t ask for more than I got. I must’ve been thinking and driving and another source of relief was the fact that I could’ve killed someone like I almost did Titi the other night I only just missed an oncoming trailer but I didn’t kill anyone since I was  sure I was the only one in the car up till the last thing I remembered.
“He’s awake now. He’s a fighter. Even if he cannot respond to us now, I’m sure he can hear us. At least he’s looking at everyone.” Dave said looking straight at Doc FM… and that reminds me, in case you’re wondering why we call him Doc and all he can do is stand beside a patients bed and speculate with other speculators is cos he isn’t that kinda Doc. In fact, he is as good as any lame man when it comes to knowledge about any health related topic. He never would’ve even gotten that nickname if it wasn’t for me cos right after Femi bagged his doctorate degree in international relations or something, he changed completely on his return back to Nigeria. Femi would wear a shirt under a v-neck sweats shirt, with black pants and very shiny shoes to a club… Yup! You read that right. A club. I mean what kinda weirdo does that? So his seriousness, his dressing, his nerd glasses, his behavior, thanks to the fact that he’s the oldest amongst us made me generate the Doc suffix to his nickname and it got stamped before he even realized what was happening. It was “Doc FM” from me, round the clique and even to outsiders. The thought of having Doc FM standing beside me with no idea of what to do to make me feel better seemed like a dry joke in my mind and I couldn’t but let go of a wry smile as I shut my eyes.
“Did anyone see that?” The black dude beside Kate said, pointing like he had seen a snake or something.
“See what?” David replied.
“He smiled just now.” Dude replied. I’m sure he had his index finger pointed at my face in an annoying way.
“Yeah right.”  Mikee cut in.
“I’m sure of what I saw. I swear I’m not shitting you. Guys, I think we just need to keep saying things he needs to hear. He can hear us and maybe a conversation or jokes or whatever you guys talk about to lift your spirits would help him now. I’ve seen this kind of scenario in movies and also read about it in books. We need to lift his spirit. It’s the only way to make him respond to us.”
I think I’m gonna enjoy this. Seven grown adults, holding a rather forced and stupid conversation to keep me alive and awake. Oh boy!
I opened my eyes.
Everyone looked at one another to see if everyone was in on the act and to avoid the inevitable awkwardness that was soon to the follow.
“So what do you guys suggest we talk about?” Dave asked, looking at the black dude as if to tell him to come up with something since it was his idea in the first place.
“Tunde doesn’t know much about Jay and whatever he says or starts saying now might as well be just a mere waste of time.” Kate replied quickly.
Oh! So this was the Tunde I’ve heard quite a bit about. I thought to myself.  The Tunde we wanted to tie to a stake for David’s mistake. The Tunde who Kate, the spy was supposed to be keeping an eye on, only for her to return to fill me in on a love story rather than valuable info. Tunde the etisalat guy who would’ve fathered another man’s baby, thinking it was his. Now the same Tunde is standing over me, staring down at me and devising means and strategies of keeping me alive.
What a world of ironies.
“So what do you suggest we do then?” Titi, who has been a woman of few words this time around, spoke again.
“Where was Liz in all these drama?” I thought.
Doc looked out through the window, looked back inside and spoke up.
“I err… think we should err…..”
“Hello guys!… I’m back!”
Speak of the devil. Lizzy walked quickly through the door and straight to the head of the bed.
“Wow!… Jay’s awake guys!… when did he wake up?… Jay, can you hear me?… Jay?” She stood up and turned to the other people in the room “He’s not responding but his eyes are open.”
“Yea, Tunde said we should talk about something we think he might want to hear.”
Lizzy brought out her handkerchief, wiped the tears off her eyes and murmured something that sounded like “This is all my fault.”
Everybody took new positions round the bed and im sure if not for the top class vent system, these guys would sure have choked me to death.
“But how do we know what to talk about?” Doc asked as now, all eyes were on Tunde like he was some conjurer who only had the means of the reaching those on the other side and get messages across to the siblings and relatives they have left behind.
“We ask him. He’ll tell us what he wants us to talk about.”
“Hello?… He’s not responding, and we’re not even sure he can hear us.” Lizzy replied.
“He’ll give us a sign.” Tunde turned and faced me “What should we talk about Jay?… Sports? Girls?… Career?… Tell me if he gives a sign guys”
Everyone nodded.
“So big guy, You wanna talk about relationships?… No? Thought you were the love doctor. Ok, politics?… I should crack a few jokes?… Have you heard some dope new musical albums are out?… And yes, you’re slack on new movies too… but don’t worry, You’ll catch up.”
Tunde looked back and they all shook their heads.
“What else do you wanna talk about huh?… cos I’m sure there’s something you want to talk about… Yeah! I get it. You wanna talk about secrets and confessions?… huh?… You want us to let go of a few secrets. Isn’t it?
I blinked
“That’s it. He wants us to have a confession session!”
They all looked at me and I blinked again.
“Confession it is… So who comes clean first?” Tunde eye scanned everyone like a teacher looking for a pupil to answer the question hanging in the air.
“I’ll go first.” Lizzy cut in.
If a one eyed man is the king in the city of the blind, who’s the king in the city of people without feelings?
Mature Minds Talk


THE EX FACTOR #FLASHBACK

Welcome back to a world where there’s no escape from the twist and everything is not what they seem.
The story of the sad joker and the story of the single and searching marriage counselor… well, let someone pacify the pacifier first.
I opened my eyes my slowly like I was just waking up from a dream, looked around, felt a slow sharp pain all move from my head down like a laser scan to my feet. I looked at my hands to find a few strings attached which I traced with my eyes to the life support and oxygen tank beside me, and that was when I realized I was on a hospital bed with the pulse sensor and their other numerous gadgets attached to various parts of my body.
I groaned at the attempt to get up.
A sharp piercing pain drilled through my head from left to right and it was like my memories started syphoning into my brain and bit by bit, I could remember the happenings of the past couple of months that led to this.
For around five seconds, I felt a burning pain ignite in my chest and burned its way through my jaw and quenched.
At this point, I could remember how it all started.
Memories!
 
“Believe me when I say I’m really excited, June’s coming to Lagos next week. She told me 2 days ago that she has a 2 weeks course in preparation for her transfer from Abj to Lag” – T.E.F #1
“Having Titi sit directly opposite me in this same pub, at this same corner was like a key to the flood gate of memories. They rushed in so hard, I nearly puked some. Nobody spoke” – T.E.F #2
I dated Titi throughout her university days. We were both adventurous and we never got tired of doing things out of anyone’s wildest dreams. We were crazy about each other and we both kept things on the low in our estate.” – T.E.F #3
“Dave is the third relationship after you and I’m still hoping to find someone who’ll make me forget you and those times. Dave is trying but I’m still hoping for the best ‘cos you were the best I ever had” – #T.E.F 4
You’re thinking of a lie to tell right?… Save it. I left the door open. Just like back then. Gotcha!” she said as she swayed to the giant dressing table crouching like it was caving in from the weight of the magnificent mirror placed on it” – T.E.F #5
I heard footsteps like someone was coming towards my ward but the person just walked past.
“How could I be here all alone?”
“Where am I?… Where are my friends?
I painfully continued tracing my memory back.
As unpredictable as I am, I was not thinking of Dave, Titi, June, Doctor FM or whosoever was already in or going to get into the confession saga. I was thinking about Elizabeth or Lizzy as she introduced herself. #T.E.F 6

Making friends is easy cheesy and Lizzy’s case was easier, considering the fact that she called me first and she was naturally a comely person. She even had already asked me to come see her at home even though we just got on the same page. – #T.E.F 7

I walked into the pub and made for our regular spot. There she was, in a sky blue polo shirt a black trousers sitting opposite someone. I moved close enough and stop beside the table. A fair skinned lady sat opposite Titi. – #T.E.F 8

A drop of sweat hit the file on the table. Dave’s body system was not acknowledging the temperature of the room in the slightest.
Doctor FM was the last person that should know about this whole June issue. – #T.E.F 9

How did she change this much that I had to go through all this homework to recognize her? Isn’t this the same girl I avoided throughout my pre university and university days? The same girl who didn’t care whether I had someone I was dating or not… – #T.E.F 10

Titi began rubbing her hands all over me as I stood there like a pole with my eyes closed. I guess she must have taken that for a go ahead while I was fighting a serious fight with the large part of my inner self which was still very much under Titi’s spell. – #T.E.F 11
“Hi Dave, I heard you’re engaged. Congrats dude but you might wanna get one more ring for your baby mama. Or what do you think?… We’re having a baby. Congrats again. I’ll talk to you soon.” – #T.E.F 12
“Was I shot?”… “Did I fall victim of the outbreak?”… “Did I suffer cardiac arrest?”… or how exactly did I get here?
Soon, the questions forcefully gave way to memories and if not for the attachments on my hands, I would’ve held my hands in my hands.
Memories.
I think I’ll be Dorothy’s dad for the ‘main time’ since I know her father who to her is coming with a unicorn from Wales might never show up again. I’ve fallen in love with these two ladies I first met at the bank some months back. – #T.E.F 13
“Ok dear, what do you want me to do? Tell me anything you have in mind but like I said, no abortion… Its one of the scariest thing on a woman’ s path and I’m not ready to die for you or us. – T.E.F #14
“Hmm… Kate!” I thought. “Kate could be the person to solve this June’s scooby-doo mystery by putting my doubts to confirmation and collecting answers to most of my questions. – T.E.F #15
“Sorry, excuse me. Hi!… I’m kinda finding it hard choosing between this lavender and acqua fresh. Can you help me?” Kate held two cans of ambi pùr air fresheners in her hands, smiling childishly as the lady she asked took some thinking time herself.” – T.E.F #16
‘I thought you said we were friends Jay?… You are not my friend if you know something that can harm me and you refuse to tell me about it. Its all good and let’s just say that’s how you payback
for whatever offense I’ve committed against you. – T.E.F #17
The man who was bold enough to flex a few hours of sex with his ex and the next thing is chickening out of the resulting stress and headache without even the courage to confront his fiancée and tell her what went down and what’s going to be the way forward. – T.E.F #18 
I heard two voices talking outside my ward and I could bet one was Kate’s. I recognized her voice. I tried calling out but instead of sound, it was the emotional fluid that found its way out of my eyes.
“Why am I crying?”… “What’s my health status?”… “How bad is my condition?”
Memories returned been syphoned into my head.
Titi stood up, tears streamed straight down her eyeballs over her cheek down to her chin and just as Believe was about saying “I’m sorry” for the ninetieth time, two hot slaps landed on his face. They were quick, sharp, not noisy but they stung. – #T.E.F 19
“You both need to forgive yourselves and push out all forms of third parties so you can rebuild your love lives from the scratch. Unforgiveness would just eat away your soul and before you say Jack, you’re down with one sickness or the other. – #T.E.F 20
“What could’ve happened that Liz deemed it right to keep me away from?… What must have caused her consistent weeping?” I thought as I moved to take a squatting position in front of her. – #T.E.F 21
I’m working on getting engaged to a single mom. I’m planning missions for my crush to save my ex’s relationship. I almost lost my friend to a club brawl… Now I’m going to have to either find a way to stop Dorothy’s dad from ripping mother and daughter apart or step back to allow him do whatever he wants. – #T.E.F 22
I’m sure Dave’s testimony won’t be the first there is and won’t be the last but when nature itself decided to give u a second chance, you had better make the most of it before one mistakenly bags himself or herself a set of triplet. – #T.E.F 23
They waved to me and I awkwardly waved back what would definitely be my last wave. I started my car, took a deep sigh and screeched out of their sight… And definitely out of their mind and their life. – #T.E.F 24
Just as I remembered Lizzy, Tammy, and the events of the past few couple of weeks, a heavy blunt pain hit me right on top of my head like a sucker punch.
…And just as my room door opened, I blacked out.
Only you can call time on some pain you feel inside. You’ll enjoy it as much as you want to, until you realize you call the shots.
Mature Minds Talk.

THE EX FACTOR #24

Look into the mirror. Talk to the person you think is just a reflection and realize it’s more than what you think it is.
I lay still on my three sitter comfy couch and enjoyed 2face’s “rainbow” and then Black eyed pea’s “Don’t phunk with my heart” at the same time as I was trying my best to doze off into the dream world.
A world where your troubles and emotional burdens are not allowed. Where you could be sitting on the throne and commanding hundreds of thousands of your subjects as you want. Where nothing could stop you from pulling any stunt you want to pull. A world I could relax and re-energize before coming back to the physical, hustle filled one. Where everyone wants to go, except those being followed from their village. Those ones really get scared when they doze or its time for bed. Everybody is supposed to like sleeping… To an extent because oversleeping can attract poverty to you, or you to poverty.
I once said in one of my articles that you can never be Mr. Sleep-a-lot and be Mr. Rich-a-lot. Never!… You’ve just got to hold on to one.
I slowly dozed off and everything around me … And by everything I meant the sound coming from my LG home theatre was starting to fade out when suddenly my phone rang.
“Arrrggh!… Shit!… This is why I hate putting this stupid dumb phones around me. And who the heck is this?!” I grumbled as I picked up my phone to check who the caller was.
“Hello”
“Hello Jay!… There’s really good news. Good news!… You’ll be glad to hear this. Believe me.”
“Calm down guy!… You just disrupted my sleep. Don’t add more trouble by blabbing. What’s up?”
“It’s June bro… She just spoke to me not quite long ago and she told me I’m free to go. I really didn’t understand what she meant but she explained that she had suffered a miscarriage.”
“Like seriously?” I cut in.
“I’m not kidding you bro. She categorically told me this herself and at first I felt very bad and sorry for her but its like mother nature was on my side all along. Believe me… After the call, I looked on the bright side and realize I’m free!… Free!… Free like a bird. No more forceful ties and thinking like I’m being paid to think.”
“You’re really lucky man.”
“I’m telling you.”
“Now you can move to your next ex and select a new rendezvous for some new escapades. Isn’t it?”
“Is you mad bro?… Nah! That ain’t gon’ happen no more. Too much stress and headache. I done learn my lesson.”
I laughed at his forced, very unfitting black American English. We talked for a few more minutes and called it a call.
I laid back smiling at the sincerity in his voice although he tried to make it sound funny but he really had grabbed some lessons.
Stromae’s “formidable” was gently soothing me back to sleep when my phone rang again.
I stood up, grabbed my s4, smashed it on the floor, jumped over the pieces in small quick jumps around three or four times just to make sure and went back to sleep… In my mind.
“Hello? Who’s this?”
“Is this one alright?… Who are you asking who is this?… I have good news bro & I’m sure you want to hear it.”
“Doc, I’m trying to sleep in the afternoon for once. Didn’t you recommend siesta one time like that?”
“Mature minds don’t sleep. Hehehe!… So, guess what it is!”
Before I could tell Doc to put the gist on hold till later when I’m awake and ready to listen to him, he continued.
“My fiancée is travelling back home next week bro. She’s through with her program and that’s even since last month. She said she’s been arranging her stuffs but I know its a lie. She just doesn’t want to leave her numerous friends behind but her stay is finally over. Either she leaves or she’s been escorted out of UK. Hehehe.”
“Oh!”
“Now you can get to meet her and see who it is I’ve always talked about.” Doc continued, determined to say it all. “…and you can ask her all those your silly questions you’ve always asked me.”
“That’s great news Doc. Keep me apprised on her movements. Ok?”
“Yea, sure bro… And you know what again?”
I instantly removed the phone from my ear, rubbed on my shirt a few times and returned it back.
“Hello?… Hel… Hello? Doc, can you hear me?”
I didn’t wait as I quickly remove the phone, repeated the process and hit the red button. I lay back with a sigh, also determined to get this sleep.
“I must sleep cos I didn’t deprive my mother of sleep.”
I had not finished redressing myself in the couch when the phone rang again.
“I thought I turned this thing off… Oh no!, I didn’t. Am I’m stupid myself? Doc! Did they send you to me from the village? Arrrghh!” I was at a medium level of frustration and I stood up to switch the phone off, even if he’ll fight me later…
“Hello” I said clearing my throat.
“Hi dear, how are you?”
“I’m fine. You?”
“I’m okay”
“Dorothy?”
“She’s fine. You just bother to call me since that day. Why?… Are we quarrelling?”
“No ma’am. I’m just following instructions.”
I did the best I could to reply everything Liz said in the coldest way possible and obliged to her request of going to see her after begging me like never before. In a few minutes, I was dressed up and ready to leave. I still wouldn’t have agreed to see her except for Dorothy. Both hands on the wheel, a deep sigh of frustration at the fact that I still never got that sleep, I started my car and zoomed off.
                        ****************
As I drove back from Lizzy’s place, later that same evening, I knew that would most likely be the last time I’m going to intentionally see her. Am I still going to see her? Yes!… But it would definitely be just bumping into her maybe at an event, a mall, the cinema, or we might just both be driving by and give ourselves a distant and hypocritical wave.
“So that’s the guy!” I thought as I made a sharp left turn.
“But why?… Why make drive down all the way just to introduce me to your just returned hubby?” Truth be told to myself, It was an ambivalent feeling cos it was a really good thing when your man comes back to take responsibility for you and your child, but it’s not so cool if you’re in my shoes, already in love with a lady, looking past the fact that she’s a single mum, even already loving her daughter as your own.
I re-visualised the occurrence of the past couple of hours.
“Uncle Jay!” Dorothy screamed and ran into my arms as I lifted her up, tickled her a little and exchanged pleasantries.
“How are you Jay?” Liz said, giving me slight side hug as she collected Tammy from my arms.
She began apologising for how she had handled the events of the past few weeks, apologies not really needed cos I wasn’t even vexed. Just felt swept aside, which won’t be a strange or new feeling for me. She continued and repeated a few words over and over again and I knew something was at the brink of her lips and she wanted to say it but didn’t know how to. She beat around the bush a few more times and I decided to help out.
“So how’s your husband?” I cut in between her stammers and bush beating.
“He’s… He’s fine. He’s even inside.”
Immediately, I felt like disappearing. Not from fear but from embarrassment.
“He’s what?… Inside?”
“Yes. I’ve even told him you’re around but he’s praying and should soon join us.”
I glanced at my watch. A thousand thoughts ran through my mind and I knew I just had to get going.
“Well, maybe I’ll have to come back around to see him later then cos Doc called me a couple of hours ago and there’s a new project to attend to. My regards to him.” I stood up and grabbed my car keys.
“Always busy!… Ok then. I’ll tell him you said hi” Liz didn’t know how funny she looked with that forced smile. I chuckled inside.
Just as I grabbed the door handle, a male voice called me from behind.
“Oh no!” I said beneath my breath and turned to meet Dorothy’s dad for the first time.
“I’ve heard so much about you sir.” He said in all smiles, albeit nervous.
“Ah!… There can’t be anything much to say. I’m sure.”
I caught Liz flinch at that statement, as she was still in the scope of my peripheral vision.
We exchanged obviously nervous pleasantries and I had to fight desperately against him trying to make me stay a little bit more. I succeeded, found my way to my car, looked at the three seemingly happy beings on their entrance porch arranged like it was time for a family photograph.
They waved to me and I awkwardly waved back what would definitely be my last wave. I started my car, took a deep sigh and screeched out of their sight… And definitely out of their mind and their life.
Not on extremely rare occasions but sometimes, the only way to show you really love someone is by staying away from them.
Mature Minds Talk.


THE EX FACTOR #23

Starting a battle is not the problem. Winning the war sometimes is… because sometimes, what happens is; you win the battle and lose the war.

I focused on the road and unusually had both hands on the wheel as I drove myself home from church.
I didn’t know whether it was right for me to smile, frown, cry and jump or just feel less concerned but
as far as I was concerned, the two reports Kate gave me were good news and bad news… No don’t get it twisted. I mean each one of the two news were both good and bad.

…”Yep. So which do you wanna hear first?” She had asked, staring at me straight in the face, eager to spill something and had both palms against each other.

I thought for a while, what the good and bad news might be. I rolled my eyes, bent my back, racked my brain and got no clue. So I shrugged and replied.

“Let’s hear the bad news first.”

“Ok… Do I have to edit and sugar coat it in a way it won’t sound so bad but you’ll still get the message?”

“Ok. Ok… Give me the good news first then”

“Err… Err… Err.” She tried adding some suspense effect I guess or whatever she thought she was doing but suddenly becoming a stammerer “I’m now in a relationship!”

In a really fast instant, I had slapped Kate thrice… In my mind.

“Aww!…. I’m so happy for you.” I smiled and stretched out my hands, gave her a nice hug and continued. “…So who’s the lucky guy”

“Tunde” she replied quickly.

“And I’m supposed to know who Tunde is?” I gave her an ‘excuse me’ look.

“Yes!… The etisalat guy you’ve heard a lot about. He’s coming to lagos soon and you’ll meet him. Jay, he’s a really handsome and cool gentleman. I stayed with June throughout my stay in Abj and she was the one that introduced us. Immediately, we zinged!… I’ve never felt that way with anyone before. Not even with you, although we’ve not really not being together like that you know” She chuckled like a five year old and continued. “He’s so nice and I really like him. The chemistry between us is so unexplainable, like old buddies reconnecting. You know if…”

At that point, I realized this lady would go on and on about her new found love and I had a lot of things to do, Article’s deadlines I had to meet asides trying to squeeze out time to go see my own love too.

“Ok… Ok. Congratulations dear. I can see that you’re still in the shacking stage. Everyone’s been there. Wish u all the happiness a relationship’s got to offer.”

“Thanks darl!”

“So… To the bad news… Give it to me like it is. Don’t hold anything back.”

“The night before I was to come back to Lagos, I and June had arranged my things, gathered my bags together and called it a day. I had chosen to sleep at the guest room that night cos I didn’t want to disturb her with my late night extra packing. In the middle of the night, I heard gagged mumbling and indiscreet voices like June was struggling with someone. I opened my eyes and lay still on the bed, hoping it will stop and it did but only for a short while cos when the sound returned, it returned as noise. June was crying and my first thought was that there was someone in the house. I was scared and couldn’t even stand up to lock the door.”

I was kind of enjoying the story as I had just three possible endings to Kate’s intentionally elongated tale. I knew it had to be one but I must not ruin the moment. I knew I had to look as clueless as possible, else I’ll just knock Kate off her imaginary stage.

“Oh… Ok. So, what now happened?… Who broke into the house?”

“Calm down bro. So as I was saying. I could still hear June crying and she was saying something like No! No! No!… When I summoned up courage and began to tip-toe towards her room cos at least, if something were to happen to my home girl, let it not be said that I just hid somewhere and chickened out.
So as I walked past the dining table, I picked a knife and continued towards her room. I got to the door and opened it slowly and what I saw just made my jaw drop.
Should I continue sir?”

“Ah!… Yes!… Go on” I stole a quick glance at my watch, looked around to see how fast people were disappearing from the church compound. It was just like everyone couldn’t wait to leave cos a couple of minutes ago, the dense crowd couldn’t have been imagined to have evaporated to this level in that short period of time.

Kate gave me a slight tap and continued.

“As I entered the room, June was lying down there in bed covered in blood. My knife dropped and I rushed to where she was. Immediately and involuntarily I said ‘shit!’ Cos I knew what had happened. I rushed her to the nearest clinic. We spent the night there and came back home the next morning. I couldn’t leave that day since I had to stay with her. So I left the next day. It was so sad I swear…”

Although I couldn’t say I did not fully understand what Kate had just narrated, I fully understood it and while one part of me felt very sober, another part of me felt like jumping on Kate in celebration while singing “When Jesus says Yes, nobody can say No” but I had to keep calm and be professional about the whole thing.

“So did you notice you haven’t told me what happened?… Did you mistakenly stab Kate or the person that broke in stabbed her and escaped?”

Kate looked at me for around ten seconds without saying a word and I could bet what ran through her mind would be similar to words like “Look at this dumb guy. Someone who is pregnant slept and woke up in a pool of blood and you’re still asking what that means. You deserve a round house kick.”

“Miscarriage Jay!… Miscarriage!… June just suffered a miscarriage. That’s what happened. She’s back home though but she said she won’t tell Dave until she’s fully recovered both physically and emotionally. I feel really sorry for her and I want to ask a favour from you”

“Wow!… That’s too bad. I pray God will comfort her. What’s the favour?”

I knew she was about asking me to keep it a secret.

“Please don’t tell anyone. And by anyone, I mean anyone. You understand right?”

I nodded, checked my watch, quickly asked after her health and rounded up the conversation.

                        ****************
How many people get this lucky?… Darn!… What would’ve been the permanent stain on some people’s life. The stigma and the only regret in some’s lifetime.
Somehow, it sounded or looked like opening a cage and letting a captured bird who had one way or the other flew into the cage by itself go.
I’m sure Dave’s testimony won’t be the first there is and won’t be the last but when nature itself decided to give u a second chance, you had better make the most of it before one mistakenly bags himself or herself a set of triplet… You know what the say about mother nature and her mischievous sense of humour.

All of a sudden, I decided to do something I would almost never do on a very normal day. I parked to the side of the road and pulled out my phone and began dialling Lizzy’s number. Instantly, my psychic thing told to press the red button and go home but I refused.

“Hello. Liz… Hello?”

“Uncle Jay!”

“Tammy!… How are you?”

“I’m fine. How are you Uncle Jay?”

“I’m ok dear. I’ve missed you… Where’s your mummy?”

“I’ve missed you. She’s in the…”

“Jay!… Whatsup?” Liz snatched the phone from Dorothy and spoke up. She sounded stressed and gloomy and I could say I partially understood why.

“I’m good dear. How are you?”

“I’m fine. I’m at Aunt Sarah’s place”

“What?!… Why?… And you couldn’t tell me?” I sounded very dissatisfied with Lizzy’s decision to leave for her fortress without keeping me updated about her movements.

“I’m sorry Jay. It was impromptu and I was so scared, I couldn’t just divulge to anyone. Dorothy’s dad came to my place yesterday.”

“What?!”

“I’m telling you. Only God knows how he got my add cos all I heard was a knock on the door and there he was, standing on my entrance pouch. I stood there speechless for a few minutes and the next thing he said was. “I’m sorry”… He was looking very very different. He asked if he could enter and I ushered him in. I went to sit down and he just came straight to where I was sitting, knelt down in front of me and started crying, begging and apologising for all the times he’s been away and neglected me and Damilola. He said everything he has been saying to me over the phone is the truth and he can’t just say how sorry he is unless I let him show me.”

“So how did he get your add?”

“He said he kept asking people and he got an anonymous text from a number he didn’t bother to call back cos immediately he received it, he just got on the road. I asked him for the text and the number was my cousin’s number. I’ve called her and she said he sounded like he was about to die when they spoke. Like his life depended on reaching or seeing me someway somehow, so she was kindda choiceless and had to send my address and she’s sorry if she crossed a line or something.
I did not know what to do after he left and told me he’ll come back the next day, than to pack a few things and leave my place to stay at Aunt Sarah’s. I’m a bit confuesed and I need to clear my head. I’m unhappy and I don’t know why. Everything is just so twisted than it seems. Do you understand Jay?… Jay?!”

“Yea I understand” I understood perfectly that my love still had feelings for her ex and rightfully so, since she already had their child in her custody.

“Could you not call me till I call you?… I need some lone time to get my head straight and let this time pass.”

“Sure. Anything you say.” I replied quickly and wiped my face with my handkerchief at the realisation that I was sweating.

“I don’t know how that sounded but I’m really sorry Jay… I need you to that for me. Take care of yourself for me. ok?… Bye. I love you.” Her voice was somewhat shaky.

“Love you too. Bye.”

Physicality. Spirituality. Mentality. Emotionality.
Did you spot the odd word? Right. Never force it if you’re afraid of getting hurt.

Mature Minds Talk.


THE EX FACTOR #22

Miles unending is the depth of the mind. The world can fit in perfectly and the space left won’t hinder its going round.
“Daddy!” Dorothy shouted as she began to run towards me.
I squatted and stretched my arms forward in anticipation with a very broad smile on my face. She ran into my arms and I lifted this very beautiful and weighty demi goddess into the air with a bit more strength than I had judged from her outward appearance. She laughed, giggled and chuckled.
“Aww! Aww!… I’ve missed my princess” I managed to utter between smiles and laughs.
“Missed you too daddy”
“How have you been?”
“I’ve been okay”
We walked to a still double swing, a couple of steps away, sat down and began to talk, updating each other on what we’ve missed while we were apart. We continued one of the sweetest conversation I’ve ever had when someone tapped me from the behind.
It was dark skinned man, must be in his mid-thirties and was nicely chiseled. His wrestlers shoulders were embelished by the light V-neck shirt he wore and his arms were wide and thick. He was wearing a black jean, brown timberland boots and completed the dressing with a black porsche shade.
“Hello?” I said as I turned around and squinted a little from the effect of the sunlight.
“Hey… Are you done talking to my daughter?” He said with a husky voice and removed his shades to look straight into my eyes. The fact that I was seating and him standing, made his position somewhat intimidating. 

Dorothy didn’t say a word.

“Err… Err…” I was still stammering when my phone began to ring. “Hold on” I said and began searching for my phone. I couldn’t find it on me but I could hear it ring.
I turned to Dorothy.
“Have you seen my phone dear?”
She responded by shaking her head. The ringing got louder and louder until…
…I woke up with a start.
“Arrgghh!” I groaned. “This… is why I hate observing siesta. Your mind turns whatever you’re thinking about into a motion picture and adds some stupid, low cost scenes.”
My phone rang again.
“Hello?”
“Sup bro”
“Nothing much. How are you feeling now?”
“Never been better sir. I feel happy and I’ll be back to a hundred percent fitness in no time. Believe me.”
“Thank God for that. My regards to madam.”
“Yea. Sure. Take care bro.”
“Later man.”
I let out a huge sigh of relief and thought of how fast life had seem within the last couple of days. I’m working on getting engaged to a single mom. I’m planning missions for my crush to save my ex’s relationship. I almost lost my friend to a club brawl… Now I’m going to have to either find a way to stop Dorothy’s dad from ripping mother and daughter apart or step back to allow him do whatever he wants. Except for argument’s sake, they are his immediate nuclear family. Regardless of whether they like it or not, there is still the ties that bind.
Dorothy was spending the second week with Lizzy’s aunt. Lizzy had lost her mum two weeks after her eighteenth birthday and Aunt Sarah was the only woman to have taken responsibility for her survival first, then her education and other needed requirements to keep her body, mind and spirit together in her own capability. Liz had told me she was the only woman who was there for her when Dorothy’s dad had impregnated her and fled.  She was with her at the hospital at the point of delivery and since then, she had fallen in love with the little human being, even before she was given a name.
“…Without Aunt Sarah, I don’t know where I would’ve been.” She had said one time. When Tammy was down with fever and she wasn’t responding to treatment, she had taken her to church and brought her back hale and hearty. There was no other place she could think of for the safety of her priceless asset, since the return of the man who would just have to be tagged ‘A father’ but never ‘A dad’.
“…He suddenly called me one evening like that and I thought it was you. Then next I heard was his voice and I just couldn’t hang up although I wished to the universe that I could. Then he started apologizing and begging. Saying he realizes all his mistakes and he’s really sorry. That I should just try and forgive him. That he’s ready to make everything right and whatever I asked him to do, he’s ready to do it. I asked him if he expects me to believe what he’s saying and he said it’s true.
Although he sounded sincere and truthful, I can’t allow myself to be fooled again. So I told him I’ll need time to go think about what he said but in the meantime, he’s such an imp. The next thing he said was what scared me. He kept on insisting that whatever the price to make it right was, he’s ready to pay it.
Then I told him he can’t even start making it right from thousands of miles away and if he had just hit a big money and thinks sending money is what I’m in need of, he’s gravely mistaken cos I’m living comfortably with my daughter and giving her the best I could give. Then he said he had already taken the first step to redemption. He said he’s no more thousands of miles away and he had traveled all the way down, just to really drive home the fact that he is really sorry. I was shocked to my marrow and had I not seen something to hold on to, I would have slumped.
Jay, he’s been around for a week, searching for my contact everywhere and from everyone he knows might be able to help out, before finally contacting Bimbo. My roommate during university days. I don’t know why that one didn’t contact me first before giving him my number and allowing him back into my life. I don’t care much if he’s truly sorry but I can’t take chances with my daughter. That’s all I have in the whole world and I can’t let a wolf in sheep’s clothing come from nowhere and snatch her away from me. Not even after all he put me through.
He’s just not coming any close to my daughter and I’ll never disclose her whereabouts to a stranger cos for now, that’s what he is. I don’t know his plans, I don’t know his mission, I don’t know if he has changed or if he’s still the old screw up I knew him to be. Not like I care though but my topmost mission is to keep my daughter away from any intruder and kidnapper and I’ve explained that in details to Aunt Sarah. I’ve told her if anything happens to my baby, she’ll instantly give birth to another one for me.
If he’s sorry, let him be sorry. I’m not even angry anymore. Those days have passed and God himself has wiped my tears. What more do I want to complain of?… I live in an apartment I pay the yearly rent from my own pocket, I eat the food I want and not the one I see, I provide for my daughter whatever she needs and teach her morals and how to grow up not only to be a woman of class and high standards but to strictly avoid the mistakes I made during my own time… I’m just scared Jay. I’ve suffered and suffered over Damilola and I’ll just kill myself if anything should happen to her or if one human should come from nowhere and start claiming daughter.
If it’s to take her and run away to one remote village where nobody will see us and start our lives all over again, I would without any questions or hesitations. I’m scared… So scared Jay… So scared.”
She had busted in a fresh round of tears. And still in my silence, I drew her closer and gave her some reassuring pats while a thousand thoughts flowed through my mind.
                        ****************
“If she was not motivated about her ‘mission’, she shouldn’t have just gone AWOL. She should’ve told me and I’ll know the next step” I thought to myself as the over elongated church service was about coming to a close and I still couldn’t spot Kate in the crowd, no matter how much I twisted and turned my neck. I knew she was in the crowd somewhere but it was just like she had put herself in ‘camouflage mode’ to avoid the disturbance and inconvenience that would result from the contact of my prying eyes.
After service, I kept on walking slowly towards my car while twisting my head here and there, all to no avail. I shrugged and just as I grabbed the driver side car handle to pull back and open the door, I got a slight tap on the shoulder.
“Ah!… Kate!”
The kind of reply she gave me was indeed surprising cos without saying a word, she just drew me over and gave me a very warm hug like old buddies reconnecting after ages.
“I’m sorry bro.” She said just before she let go and allowed me to breathe.
“I was thinking you just decided to go off the grid for reasons best known to you.”
“No sir. I wouldn’t do that… I just returned from Abj on Friday.”
The look on my face was beyond astonished as I replied…
“Abj?!”
“Yes!… And I have good both good news and bad news sir”
“Really?”
“Yep. So which do you wanna hear first?”
I thought for a while, what the good and bad news might be. I rolled my eyes, bent my back, racked my brain and got no clue. So I shrugged and replied.
“Let’s hear the bad news first.”
The wailing and loss of the farmer is indeed the cream of the party for the crows.
Mature Minds Talk.

THE EX FACTOR #21

`If life throws lemons at you, catch them, make lemonades and sell it. Just pray there’s anyone to buy it.
I hate that I like to say this but not everyone really understands the true meaning of friendship. A lot of people put to foolish use, that delicate word “friend”.
Not every friend is a friend and I don’t care if you call me crazy for making this little research I’m just about sharing with you about the word ‘friend’, what it really means and how it came about.
FRIEND.
Word Definition:
1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade or companion.
Word History:
A friend is a lover, literally. The relationship between Latin word: Amïcus “friend” and Amõ “I love” is clear, as is the relationship between Greek philos “friend” and phileõ “I love.” In English, though, we have to go back a millennium before we see the verb related to friend. At that time, frëond, the Old English word for “friend,” was simply the present participle of the verb frëon, “to love.” The Germanic root behind this verb is *frï, which meant “to like, love, be friendly to.” Closely linked to these concepts is that of “peace,” and in fact Germanic made a noun from this root, *frithu-, meaning exactly that. Ultimately descended from this noun are the personal names Frederick, “peaceful ruler,” and Siegfried, “victory peace.” The root also shows up in the name of the Germanic deity Frigg, the goddess of love, who lives on today in the word Friday, “day of Frigg,” from an ancient translation of Latin Veneris diës, “day of Venus.”
I don’t want to bore you off but there are some people that do not refer to people as their friend, except in the general “my friend” term but when they call you a friend, you are definitely going to take a whole lot of effort to unfriend or defriend yourself from their little wolf pack. I am that kind of person. There are slight differences between associates, hommies, allies, comrades, brothers in arms and pals but I’m not your english language teacher am I?
There’s also a difference between a simple friend and a real friend and its disgusting how some people would keep portraying themselves as strangers and want you to call them friends. Friends are those special people you surround yourself with, those you don’t joke with and people who are just a mini step below your fam… family is what I mean by that. Although as you grow and your status changes, your friends are bound to change. Sometimes in life, you have to shed both habits and friends but some friends are closer to you than the limits of the word’s definition. They leave the status of being your friend to becoming your Alter-ego.
Apologies for my many bible references when I’m flowing in the current of emotions but I’ll  just make a small flash pass at proverbs 17:17… So before I get anyone reading this, confused and steaming off with questions like “Jay, why all these gibberish and fruity blabbering?” “Why must you think out loud and won’t stop at that, but still write it down for someone to still come read it up?” “Jay, what’s your problem?… Give your thoughts and writings some direction please and stop wasting other people’s time.”… Before my angry readers draw their weapons (their tongues, that is) I’ll just say this: If you’ve ever had a ‘friend’ or if you’ve ever been a good friend to someone, either they loved you back or it was just one sided or if you know the true meaning of friendship, stop for a few seconds and say a prayer for Dave. My friend who’s slowly slipping away into darkness on the hospital bed. The exact narration of events are still unclear, as I wasn’t there when it happened but according to “he said” and “she said”, Dave had stood up while I was out of The Stepp Inn, asked for me and left the supposedly watchful eyes of Doc FM. Next thing Doc knew was a heated argument at the near end of the club and in no time, a crowd had assembled and that was it. Our next tasks were picking our friends body from the floor, calling a cab and making our way crazily to the hospital.
Although word has it that nobody touched Dave. He was said to have slipped and hit the back of his drunk head on the edge of the ordering stool. Some said he had tried molesting a guy’s girlfriend and the guy pushed him like he was in a pushing contest, and thanks to his already drunk and staggering state, he simply went like a bowling ball into the ordering stool.
Titi nearly went crazy upon her arrival to St. Luke’s hospital. Only seeing the blood made her dizzy and she had to hold firmly unto me to stop her sinking to the ground.
“He’s strong. I’m very sure he’ll be ok.” I had told her as she broke down in tears.
“Why did you get him drunk and abandon him Jay?, why?, why?, why?, why?…” Each “why” was accompanied with a feather weight punch in the chest and I dare not let the puncher out from my grasps and embrace, before she gets her spark and does something crazy.
“I’m sorry… I’m very sorry.”
My shirt was soaked from various forms of liquid matters, water, blood, Titi’s tears and sweat took the main soaking percentage. I was really panicking but I dare not show it. Although we were told we could go home by the health personnels attending to Dave, we decided to wait to check on his progress and response.
“You guys can go home now Jay, I’ve  got my man from here” Titi later said suddenly as we all sat on the waiting couch, just after the reception. Mickey and Doc FM had made to leave in the slowest way possible but I sat still and it really got them confused as they contemplated on sitting back or leaving without me.
“I’m not asking if you wanna go home Jay. I want you guys to go. That’s what I meant. I’ll need time alone with my fiancée” Titi whispered. She sounded calmer and what she said would’ve made me dance since its obvious she had forgiven my friend but the situation on ground would not give any room for it, else I’ll just bag myself a quick mental check up.
“I’ll see you later then.” I said beneath my breath as I gathered my stuffs together, gave Doc and Mickey a “let’s go” sign with a move of my head and made for the door. Just as I got to the door, Titi called out.
“Jay!”
The three of us instantly turned back like it was rehearsed. We were looking very sorry and almost worse than Chiwetel in twelve years a slave.
“I’m not angry!”
Nobody replied. We just nodded in unison and left the reception hall.
                        ****************
I sat in the cab, partly thinking of my friend in the hospital and what it was, that Lizzy wanted to see me for. She has been behaving strangely lately though and I’ve sat down to scrutinize the chain of events between us in the past few weeks. I’ve not been able to lay hands on any spot where I’ve stepped on a mine. Probably I’ve offended her, without even knowing what I did got on her bad side. She probably must have gotten tired of hoarding whatever it is I did inside her mind, hence the reason I’m on my way to her place.
A few lines form Brymo’s ‘Down’ song sneaked into the radius of my attention and I smirked at how the artiste quickly painted life’s complication with his imaginary characters of the thief, the chief, the aboki and the theif’s neighbour’s daughter. Life itself is complicated enough. Why add females? I had read somewhere, probably from one of my very own articles. Females can paint the picture of someone with a small cut on the little finger seem like he’s about to… Or just underwent an amputation. There’s no over-sizing natural female specialties. Gossip, exaggeration, attention seeking, mood swing and overreaction. Although I’m not trying to generalize all attributes to every female but I could still carry out a female censors and my statistics would show…
“…Oga, na this junction?… Oga mi?” The cab driver interrupted my thoughts.
I jerked out of my thinking galore and realized we were almost at Lizzy’s place. For some unknown reasons, my psychic thing flashed a thought of telling the driver to turn back and drive me back home which almost made me laugh a scornful laugh.
“Turn to your right and stop in front of the fifth house by the left.” I replied as I fondled my pocket for my phone.
“Hello?”
“Hey Liz!… Whatsup dear?”
“I’m fine”
I shrugged and continued.
“I’m in front of your house. Could you come open the door?”
“Why didn’t you tell me when you were about coming instead of calling that you’re already outside my door?… What if I’m not at home?… What will you do?”
“See, young woman…” I got out of the parked cab, hooked the phone to my left ear with my shoulder, drew my wallet and handed some notes to the cab man. “I’m not in the mood for your attitudes. Just open your door if you’re at home and if you’re not, simply talk and I’ll just jump back into the cab that brought me. Can it be more complicated than that?”
She replied with something inaudible and in a few seconds, I heard movements followed by clicks on the brown HTS security door.
“Good afternoon…”
“For the record, I’m not dumb. I tried your number and it was saying switched off. Its you who knows whose call you’re avoiding that is making you switch off your phone.” I sharply cut in angrily.
“I’m sorry.” She replied as she walked back into the house.
I followed her inside wearing a very angry expresssion, shut the door behind me and just as I turned back, Liz ran into me and hugged me tight like a kid afraid of someone. She sank her head into my chest and I just stood there confused, while I ran my right fingers through her hair.
“I’m sorry darl.” She whispered.
“Its ok” I replied.
She raised her head, drew mine with both hands until our lips met. The kiss lasted a minute or two and I knew something was not right.
“I’ve been transferring aggression. I’m really sorry Jay. I must have got you feeling bad for nothing.” She said when she finally let go of me and went to sit on the left hand single seater comfy couch.
“Are you ok?”
She nodded
“… And who’s annoying you?”
“Nobody.” she replied, she shaking her head slowly.
And that was when I saw that her face was hiding a lot of sadness and fear. She had black lines under her eyes – she has been crying often of late.
“What could’ve happened that Liz deemed it right to keep me away from?… What must have caused her consistent weeping?” I thought as I moved to take a squatting position in front of her.
“Talk to me honey”
She just held my hands but didn’t reply.
…And that was when it struck me and I felt my heart skip two pulses.
“Where’s Dorothy?”
Liz bursted into uncontrollable tears and I felt so faint, I scrambled for support.
Everyone has a spot that links to their emotions… However strong and heartless they may seem. Even the stone heart has a piece of flesh in it.
Mature Minds Talk.