I, Gbenga Phillips representing myself, state that: 1. The Defendant and I were married on 19th May 2008 in Silver Springs Maryland in a civil/religious ceremony. 2. I have lived in Maryland since 26th October 2003 , 3. My spouse has lived in Maryland since: 2nd May 2008. 4. The grounds for divorce occurred in the State of Maryland. 5.We have no children together – Adegboyega Philips versus Funmilayo Phillips, May 2012.
Funmi laid a well manicured finger on the third button of the series of nine buttons in the elevator; it jerked slightly and began to move smoothly upwards. There was no one else in the elevator, God, she missed human company. The soft background music irritated her and she turned to face the elevator mirror. The person in the mirror was strikingly beautiful, full soft lips, an almost Caucasian nose, large mascara lined eyes and a full head of black lustrous hair. Instinctively she looked down the front of her business suit. Even fully, formally suited, it was easy to see she had a statuesque body. How could Gbenga want none of this? As if on cue, the elevator came to a stop and the doors began to slide open. She turned just in time to see an elfin white man in sleeves and a tie reach out a hand to her. Quintessential attorney.
“Fuhnnmee Phillips?” he asked in a Texas drawl. She nodded, as she took his hand and stepped out of the elevator. She did not bother to correct his pronunciation. She was mentally worn out. She heard little of his small talk as he escorted her through very well appointed offices to a conference room where he motioned her to seat across from him. She looked at him straight in the eye.
“I realize this is a bit difficult for you, but I want you to be at ease, we are here to be of help”
Help? She wanted to scream, but she just smiled at him in stony silence. She did not want help. She wanted Gbenga. The tall, dark, dangerously handsome well built doctor she had met five years ago in Lagos. It was at the Palms, where she had gone to watch an old movie Kramer versus Kramer with her cousin Dele and his girlfriend Nneka. They had gotten there some thirty minutes early and when Dele offered to buy her a late lunch at the restaurant under the cinemas, she was glad. She had ordered brown rice with a meat sauce and hard boiled eggs. And as she turned with the plate, promptly overturned the contents of her plate on the barrel-like chest of another patron behind her.
“I am so sorry…”she began, slightly confused, to dab at the mess on his white shirt front or return the half empty plate to the counter.
“I am very angry, Miss and the only way I can be assuaged is if you have dinner with me…….” the voice was soft, with an American inflection. She looked up at his face. He towered over her, handsome, gap toothed and tiny wrinkles around his eyes as he smiled. She smiled. Who used words like assuaged? Six months later, she left her job with a telecom company and moved to Baltimore to marry, the young successful doctor. For a while it was bliss. But the only male child of his patriarchal family, wanted kids. Month after month until she began to dread the coming of her monthly cycles, year after year, she bore him no child.
“Ma’am?” the voice of the attorney jerked her back from her journey.
“What do you want us to do about the property?”
They owned a spacious beautiful town house in the suburbs, and she remembered the joy she once had, choosing carpets, floors, bottom freezer refrigerators, TV’s drapes , cutlery, and the like. It seemed like a long time ago. It didn’t matter now.
“Im not contesting, I don’t want anything of his.”
The lawyer, a veteran of many lawsuits, seemed genuinely puzzled. He was saying something but now, she wasn’t listening. There was a large screen TV behind the attorney and although the sound was very low, she could make out some of the words “…..The pilot of the ill fated flight 9J-992, Dana Air plane that crashed into a densely populated neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria, radioed that the plane was having trouble just minutes earlier, an airline official told CNN…there were no survivors…”
Her stomach contracted in fear.
“What is it Ma’am?” the attorney was asking. She dug out the Blackberry 9900 in her bag and quickly scrolled to Gbenga’s last message. “Please don’t hate me, I love you but I have to do this. Boarding flight 9J-992 on Dana to Lagos. Will call you from the international airport.” Her hands were shaking, even as now, the phone rang almost as if on cue. It was Lanre, Gbenga’s friend and her gynecologist. Her hands were still trembling when she brought the phone to her ear, but his voice was joyous.
“Iyawo, bawoni, your test results just came in a couple of moments ago. Congratulations, you’re pregnant and it’s a boy!”
She began to smile, looked at the plane crash behind the confused attorney, and started to cry, and laugh and cry all at once. She had already thought of a name. Babatunde.