Toronto – November, 2015
“Hi Stacy” Dolapo greeted as she picked her call.
“Hello Dolapo” Stacy’s pronunciation of her name sounded like Dolapoe instead of Dolakpor. ” My team & I have enjoyed getting to know you during the interviews and we would like to offer you the position”
“That’s awesome! Thanks Stacy! It’s been my pleasure meeting you guys as well. This is the best news ever!”
“Happy to hear that” Stacy laughed.
They talked details of the offer and start date. Dolapo didn’t bother to negotiate the salary – the offer seemed fair enough plus she was just happy at the opportunity to get busy.
Once she got off the phone, she dialed her mother to give her the good news.
“My dear, bawo ni?” her mom sounded groggy.
Snap. She completely forgot about the time difference. It had to be about 10:30 PM in Lagos. Her parents were usually in bed at that time.
“I’m fine. I’m sorry I woke you. I just wanted to tell you – that interview I went for? I got the job”
“Halleluyah! Thank God! That is wonderful news. Congrats my dear”
“Thanks mum.” She heard a ruffling in the background and a muffled who is that? “Is dad awake?”
“Yes. Baba Dolapo, omo yin ti ri’se o. Come and talk to her”
“Uhn? She got it?”
“Yes, take the phone and talk to her.” Her mom sounded emotional and on the cusp of tears.
“That’s good news now, why are you spoiling mouth?”
“Oluwadolapo” He always used her full name.
“Congrats my dear. Is it a good place?”
“Yes daddy. It’s a great opportunity.”
“Good, good. At least you’re starting to stand on your feet again.”
More sniffling from mom.
“Obinrin yi!” Dad snapped exasperatedly at mom. “Stop with the tears already. Is this something to cry about?”
“What? Can I not cry happy tears because my child is doing well? Give me my phone back jor.”
“Oluwadolapo, We will talk again tomorrow. Let me return the phone to your mother before she blows a gasket or blubbers all over the bed.” She could hear the teasing in his voice.
“You see how your father treats me abi?” Her mom jokingly complained. Dolapo smiled. Thirty years together and they were still cute.
“I’m Switzerland mom.”
“You are yoru father’s daughter. What else would you have said?” she scoffed.
“My dear, congrats again. It shall be well with you”
“You shall be favored always. May God Almighty cause His light to shine upon you. He will bless the works of your hand.” Every call with her mom always ended with prayers. They soothed her spirit.
Being the first of three children, she’d always been close to her parents, but more so her father. She knew they were still uneasy about her move but they respected her decision. Being firstborn was also one of the initial things she and James had bonded on when they first met.
Lagos – May, 2013
“Dunni, stop arguing with me! This stubbornness is exactly your problem. Whatever you’ve done to upset mom this time around, I don’t wanna know. Just fix it.” Dolapo listened as her younger sister ranted over the phone about how mom hated her and how it was unfair that she always had to apologize, ergo the world is unfair.
Dolapo rolled her eyes. Dunni had more in common with their mom than either her and their last born, Debola. It was probably the reason they butted heads the most.
“Well, what do you expect? You’re the child, of course you have to apologize first. You’re never gonna win against her so just apologize already. I gotta go back to what I was doing. Bye!” She cut off Dunni mid protest and dropped her phone into her bag.
As she waited to complete her annual medical check up, she took in her surroundings. Rows of blue coated metal chairs sat empty in the sparsely populated waiting room of the hospital she sat in. It obviously wasn’t a busy day for them, which she guessed was a good thing, although hospital administration might disagree. A nurse in a white gown sat at a desk in the corner taking vitals. The room was brightly lit from the fluorescent lights on the ceiling. The volume of the TV mounted on the wall was turned low and she could barely make out what the presenter was saying.
“First born?” A masculine voice behind her inquired.
Dolapo turned, unsure if she was the one being addressed. Cute. That was her first thought when she saw him.
She turned her thumb in the direction of her chest. “Me?”
Really cute. That was her second thought at his smile.
“What gave me away?” She asked.
He shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the whole ‘do-as-I-say / small mummy’ thing you had going on there.”
“Ahh. That always blows my cover.” She feigned disappointment.
“Plus it takes one to know one” he added. He held out his hand for a handshake.
“Hi, I’m James. James Bond”
She snorted. “You don’t say”
From then on, friendship with him came easy.
Falling in love, inevitable.
One year and some later, she remained convinced that he was her forever one. They shared a lot of love, lots of laughs, disagreements were few and far in between. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
Till ‘J’ showed up.
When James had first expressed concern about the flowers, she’d teased him about being afraid of a little competition. He’d scoffed at that one. As the flowers and calls continued, he grew increasingly concerned.
“Let’s go to the police”
“And say what? Someone’s sending me flowers and I don’t like it? They’re not going to do anything and you know it.” she’d argued.
“I don’t like this, Dee.” She wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned in for a hug. She didn’t either.
When she’d found the single rose on her pillow, the the fear that gripped her was numbing. The thought that there could still be someone lurking in the house galvanized her into action. She grabbed the handbag she’d dropped in shock and got the hell out of dodge. She’d run halfway down her street before she realized she’d left her car behind.
James had rushed over to pick her up from the front of the supermarket she stood in front of and drove her to the police station to lodge a complaint. She knew there wasn’t going to be much help from that front when the officer had point blank asked her if she was not just overreacting to an eager suitor. After all, there was no crime in a young man admiring a pretty woman, he said.
“He came into my apartment!” she’d fairly screamed at him.
“Calm down, Aunty, don’t shout at me” the affronted officer had warned her. “This is a police station.”
“Yes we know.” James ground out angrily. “Are you not going to do anything? What if he hurts her?”
“See ehn, there’s not much we can do. Except you know who the person is and you can tell us his name.”
“Are you kidding me?” James hissed. They left the station angrily.
She stayed at James that night. Next day , while engrossed in work, she’d absentmindedly answered when her phone rang
“The police, Bunny? Really? You shouldn’t have.”