In recent times, her family had tried to match-make her and it had been so annoying.
First, during Baami’s Baba ijo reception in his mansion at Funbi Fagun, Uncle Adekunle, Baami’s younger brother, had introduced her to Leke, a guy that smiled like an oda – a stupid drooling fool. His dressing was awkward: red shirt, green tie, purple trousers,yellow shoes.And as if that was not enough, he walked like there was something in between his legs; like he had a calabash of water in his scrotum.
Then, Baami introduced Bamidele to her, during that reception. He was a master’s degree holder but had this terrible habit. His finger was always in his nose; afterwards he would lick the finger. She couldn’t have dated any of them for a million dollars. She was a brain surgeon. She needed a man that was up to her status; up to her class.
Next, they had called her to a family meeting and told her to sell her car.
Uncle Adekunle, Uncle Adesegha and Baami were at the car-disposing vanguard. A Highlander Jeep for a single lady whose life wasn’t yet complete was not right. It was the big life that only prostitutes live. She had flared up and had told them her life was complete without a man and that she was not a prostitute. Marriage had always been to complement, not to complete. Where did they ever get such an anachronistic idea from? Her Uncles flared up. Baami kept quiet all through the discussion. Finally, Seto walked out on them amidst shouts of “come back here!”
That night, she drove to Yaba area of the town to stay with Olamide, her friend in secondary school, who was a teacher in St Louis, where they both finished from. Olamide had advised her to try out online dating sites
Olamide was plucking ugwu leaves off long slender stalks. Her husband was out of the country.
Seto looked at her quizzically, as she sat on the short wooden stool beside her, to join her in the ugwu plucking.
“Online dating kini?”
“Online dating site! See ehn,” Olamide said, touching Seto’s thigh lightly, “I know people it has worked for.”
“I can’t marry because my people are telling me to. I would marry when the right person comes. At the end, remember, my parents would not be the ones to live with me in my husband’s house. Anything I see there, I would live with it. Marriage is forever,” Seto said, shaking her head vigorously.
“I agree with you.”
“Olamide, it’s not that I don’t want to be married, but where are the men? Where are the good men?”
Olamide dropped the ugwu leaves in her hands in a big bowl that was beside her out stretched legs. “I thought you said someone was eyeing you the other time?”
“Yes, I did! So, I didn’t brief you about how it ended?”
Olamide’s eyebrows were pulled together. “No, you did not.”
Seto dropped the ugwu stalk she held in her hand and clapped her hand po po po in the usual feminine manner. “Men are deceitful o.”
“You wouldn’t believe that guy is married and I was already falling for him!”
Olamide’s hand flew to her open mouth to cover it. “Jesus! How did you discover that?”
Seto pouted. “Mhmm…it hurts me now that something happened…” She closed her eyes. “Please don’t make me remember.”
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry.”
Seto bit her lower lip and picked an ugwu stalk. “He’s gone for good. Men are terrible creatures.”
“That’s not true, Seto. Not all men are bad. I don’t want you to have that notion in your mind. It would poison it. My husband is a great guy. God knows. There are still good men o.”
Frustrated, Seto dropped the ugwu leaves in her hands and started crying. “Why do I keep meeting the bad ones? Why? Why do I have to go through all of these? Laide, my younger brother is twenty seven; his wife is carrying the second pregnancy! Tomike, my kid sister, is twenty five. Her baby is ten months old. Laide’s first child has already started school.”
Olamide kept quiet and was looking at her. “Must we go through all these again? Must you relive this pain?” She paused. “Try the online dating site. I’m sure the result would be positive.” She touched Seto’s back and kept rubbing it. “It’s alright.”
Seto had tried the online site and had met some men. Daniel had small, horrible, brown-stained, smelly teeth that looked like that of a rat. Patrick’s hands were always on his crotch as if he was packing something up. Austin had a very terrible body odour, like that of an uncastrated male-goat, obuko. She gave up after a while.
She had to reduce the frequency of her coming to Ondo. She used her residency training in Neurosurgery as an excuse and never went home to see her parents. She kept sending money, calling them and focusing on her post graduate training in brain surgery. Two years later, Maami turned fifty and she had to go home.
Her colleague, Dr Folakemi Adekuolie, a Histopathologist, had travelled to Dubai, and had bought expensive diamond jewelry for her. She kept it for Maami’s birthday.
She went home. Baami had gone to England.
Maami had shown her Bukola Akintomowo’s wedding invitation. Bukola was also a Doctor but a lot younger than Seto.
“See Bukola’s wedding Invitation o!” Maami said in Ondo dialect, happily waving an orange envelope as they sat on the couch in the living room, watching NTA news that morning.
Seto grabbed it from her. “Wow! It’s so beautiful! She opened it. Bukola and her fiancé’s smiling faces looked back at her. “Wow! Maami! This is exquisite!”
Maami’s mood suddenly changed. She stretched out her hands and looked up, in supplication to God. “God, why have you been so wicked to me? Why would my thirty-year-old first daughter be in this house with me – no man to call her own. Why Lord?”
Seto dropped the envelope on the centre table, lowered her gaze and pouted. “God’s time is the best.” That aphorism had been her succor, her umbrella, her shield anytime her family members brought up marriage.
That sparked off a Boko Haram grenade in Maami’s head. “Shut your stinking mouth and leave God out of this!” she shouted
Seto was exasperated. The other Sunday in her church in Abuja, her pastor had announced that there was to be a deliverance night for singles, to break the curse of singleness in their lives. She had looked on with her mouth agape. Since when did it become a curse to be single?
Maami continued. “Iwo omo yi, don’t put me to shame! Get married quickly!”
Seto sighed and her jaw found a resting place in her right palm. Her fingers were close to her eyelid.
Maami started sobbing. “I had you when I was twenty. Seto, you are thirty, please, get married. If not for anything, for honour and society. Don’t you know what they are saying behind me?”
Seto’s hand flew off her jaw. “What are they saying?”
“They are saying that I used my first daughter’s marriage destiny, ori oko!”
Seto threw her head back and laughed hysterically.
Maami looked at her bewildered and from then on, they had fisticuffs of words.
“They can say anything, Maami! That’s their business!” Seto thundered.
“Not when they are spoiling my name and I’m not there to deny the allegations!” Maami stood up. “I’m looking out for your best interest!”
“You don’t have to do that! I’m old enough to do that for myself!”
Maami held Seto’s left shoulder. “I’ve always told you, you need to be Mrs something to be respected in this society of ours! Wearing a wedding band does wonders!”
Seto stood up and shook her hand off. “Who cares about societal respect, Maami, who cares?” Her voice was loud.
“It’s important my daughter! For prestige!”
Seto banged the centre table and Maami was startled. “I don’t give a heck! I don’t bloody care!”
Maami clapped her hands aggressively. “Give a heck, my dear! A woman’s life belongs to her husband!”
Seto pointed at Maami and then hit her own chest severally. “Yours might belong to Baami, but mine doesn’t belong to any man!”
“That’s how God made it!”
“God didn’t make anything like that! We, women have turned ourselves to foot mats and sex objects for the men!”
Maami adjusted her wrapper. “A woman is incomplete without a man! A husband is a woman’s crown!’
“Fat lie!” Seto screamed. “Macrosomic lie!”
“I really think your long stay in the medical school you went to coupled with the brain surgeries you do have twisted your brains. You now think with your anus. Madam Brain Surgeon, I’m so sorry for you. Shio! Oniranu!” Maami raised her hands and clapped them over Seto’s head.
“A good wife is her husband’s crown! That’s what I know of.”
And with that, Seto picked her bag and walked out. That was the first time she raised her voice at Maami. She sobbed as she walked briskly away, in anger, in frustration and in tears.
That was when she almost ran over that dog and met Dotun.
In recent times, her family had tried to match-make her and it had been so annoying.