Saturday, August 29, 2009

On Life: My Summer Break

Hubby and I have been travelling to some cities in Europe, then we've had family and friends coming and going because of the summer holidays, there have also been places to go, people to see, four weddings, two birthday parties and all the other social events that increase when the weather is nice. I never thought I would say this, but I really can't wait until the holidays are over and things get back to normal so I can resume my usual routine.

The travelling has been fun though! I've definitely enjoyed lots of quality time for hubby and I to reconnect, away from the pressures of work and everything else. We've been to Eindhoven, Bremen and Paris in the past three weeks, and the lovely memories will last a life time. I finally went on the Eurostar that I had been hearing so much about, finally got to see the Eiffel Tower. Sorry I'm feeling too lazy to sort through the photos and upload them.

When I've had some downtime, I've been catching up on my reading, which is good cos I need to keep myself inspired. I've recently read two fiction novels, The Pirate's Daughter and The Outcast, and two non-fiction books: Love and Respect and One Love, Two Colours (this one I particularly enjoyed cos it was very personal but also thought provoking). It was great to be reading again. In the busyness of everyday I sometimes forget how much I love reading, how good it feels to be so absorbed in a good book that you lose track of time, how much books have the power to change your mind and even challenge your beliefs. I used to enjoy reading books, magazines or newspapers on the commute but now I have to remind myself to pick up a book occasionally.

Have a great weekend and remain favoured.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Short Story - Wrong Blogger Connection

Her blog was one of the first blogs I came across soon after I joined blogspot in 2006. She came to my blog to leave a "Welcome to Blogville!" comment, so I decided to pay her blog a visit. I enjoyed reading her archives so much that I immediately bookmarked the link. She came across as a very down-to-earth, fun-loving and intelligent person, with a great sense of humour. I started visiting her blog regularly, leaving comments and urging her to update.

From her posts, I got to know more about her. We seemed to have a lot of things in common. We were about the same age, she was a Christian like me, we had similar hobbies and interests. I found out that she lived in Lagos, had just finished her service year and was working in one of the new banks. She was single and looking to meet Mr Right. Her many tales of disastrous dates she went on kept her readers hooked. Sometimes, she wrote inspiring and encouraging posts that everyone could identify with. Her blog became very popular in blogville and I even forwarded her link to some of my friends who were not bloggers to read.

One day I wrote a sad post and she sent me an email after reading it to cheer me up. I was very grateful and soon we started corresponding by email and we became blog-pals. Then one day I got a Facebook friend request from a name I didn't recognise. I ignored it, until the same person sent me a message, and it was my blog pal! Somehow she had tracked me down and discovered my identity. I didn't mind at all, and I was actually flattered that she took the trouble to search for me on Facebook, and that she was willing to reveal her own identity too. I accepted her friend request at once, and we became Facebook pals as well. I went through her albums and I saw that she was really pretty. It turned out we even had a mutual friend who had gone to the same university as she did. We kept in touch regularly, writing on each other's walls and leaving comments on each other's photos and stuff.

Then towards the end of last year, I sent her an email:

"Hey girl, guess what? I'll be coming to Lagos for the Christmas and New Year break! I should be around for three weeks. Do you want to meet up?"

I got a reply a few hours later. She sounded excited and her reply was:

"Wow girl that's great! We must definitely see o. Let me know exactly when you'll be landing. I can't believe I'll soon meet you, gosh it feels like I've known you for ages already. My number is xxxxxxx. Give me a call when you land in my town."

I looked forward to meeting her, as I thought it would be one of the highlights of my trip.

I arrived in Lagos one Wednesday morning and was met by my aunt and uncle I would be staying with. Immediately I could, I got a sim card and bought credit to inform my friends, including blog-pal that I was in town. I had so many people to see, places to go and things to do in the three weeks I would be staying for. My aunt was also planning to celebrate her 50th birthday party on Boxing Day. She wanted it to be a grand affair so I joined her and my cousins with the running around and preparations.

After a few days, I noticed that my aunt and her husband were not on very good terms. They seemed to be either snapping at each other half the time, or ignoring each other completely.

I asked my cousin about it, one afternoon, when we were in the car together.
"Kemi, what's going on with your mum and dad?"
She looked at me and I could see she wasn't keen to explain. "Well they are having some problems."
"I noticed. What kind of problems?"
She concentrated on the road ahead of us.
"I can't explain right now" she said. "I'll give you the full gist later."
I was curious but I could sense her reluctance and I decided to let it go, hoping that my aunt and uncle would work their problems out.

Meanwhile I had been speaking to my blog-pal regularly and we finally arranged a time and place to hook up. We decided to meet at the Silverbird Galleria. I was so excited to meet her that I got my cousin to drop me there an hour early. While I waited for her to arrive, I browsed the media store, bought some books and a magazine. Then I went to the top floor, bought some popcorn and browsed the mag to while away the time. Soon I got a text from her and I texted back, telling her to meet me at the top.I recognised her immediately I saw her from her facebook profile. She was even prettier in person. We greeted each other like we were long-lost friends, which in a funny way, we were. Soon we were chatting away about this and that over lunch. We got on so well that no one observing us would guess that we were just meeting each other for the first time. I took some photos with my camera and I promised to put them on Facebook later. After the meal, we saw a movie and afterwards, she had to leave as she had a long journey back home. I wanted to meet her again if it was possible.

As we walked down the stairs, I asked her, "Are you free on Boxing Day?"
"Uhm, let me see, I've got a wedding, one of my colleagues from work. Why?"
"My aunt is celebrating her 50th birthday that day."
"Oh I see, whereabouts is the party happeneing?"
I told her the venue of the hall we were using.
"Oh that's not too far from the reception venue. I'll see if I can leave the reception early to come for the party, but I'll let you know."
"It would be great if you could make it." I said.
Outside the galleria, we hugged each other goodbye and then she got into a cab, while I waited for my cousin to come and pick me up.

On the day of my aunt's party, my cousins and I were so busy helping to set up everything and attending to guests, that I almost forgot my blog-pal sid she might come. I did notice that my aunt and uncle seemed to have put their problems aside, at least for the benefit of the guests. They were smiling and posing for the cameras throughout the party and my uncle didn't leave his wife's side for one minute. They even looked the part, when they were on the dance floor together.

While I was busy serving a particularly fussy woman, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up and I saw my blog-pal smiling at me. I was so glad she could make it.
"Hi girl!" I said. "Please take a seat, I'll join you shortly."
But then she said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I can't stay. I have to go now."
I was surprised and I said "Ah ah, you've just come now. Wait for me I'm coming."
She shook her head and took my arm. "I can't stay, I'm in a hurry. I just came to see you."
I asked a steward to attend to the woman I was serving and walked outside the hall with her. She looked uncomfortable as we made our way out of the hall. I was slightly disappointed that she couldn't stay, but I said okay and I saw her off to the exit . She waved at me and promised "I'll call you tomorrow!"
So I hugged her and waved goodbye.

I turned back to go into the hall and as I was taking the stairs at the entrance, I saw my cousin walking towards me as fast as her tight Ankara skirt and high heels would let her. She had a very angry and disgusted look on her face.
"What are you doing with that girl?" she demanded. "Where do you know her from?"
I told her that blog-pal was a good friend and a very nice girl.
My cousin looked as if she was about to slap my face.
"That girl is my dad's girlfriend!" she shouted. "She's the one causing problems in their marriage! How dare you invite her to my mum's party?"
I stared at her in shock. I could not reconcile the words she was saying with the lovely person I had just said goodbye to.
"Wh-what do you mean?" I managed to stammer.
"I said she's my dad's mistress! And you're telling me she's your friend?"
"I'm so sorry, I-I didn't know."
"You better hope my mum didn't see both of you together." My cousin hissed and turned her back to me, walking away.

I stood there, still reeling from the information I had just heard. It just didn't make sense. I couldn't believe that the girl I had been reading her blog for months, become virtual friends with, and hung out with a few days ago, was the same person dating my uncle and threatening my aunt's marriage.

I had the feeling that I wouldn't be hearing from her again.

(c) TP

Friday, August 07, 2009

Poem - Reflection

I look up into the sky
I see a dark blanket
Twinkling with hundreds of white dots
I also see the moon
Glowing silently but with pride
Knowing that even though
It has got
No light of its own
It reflects the light of one
Brighter that it
With this reflected light
It rules the night sky
Not even the stars can compete
It makes me pause and think
I have no glory of my own
I cannot shine by myself
But if I allow my emptiness
To be filled with God’s grace
My weakness
To be replaced with His strength
And my struggles
Be replaced with His ability
I would start to shine
Not of my own
But as a reflection of Him

(c) 2010 Tolulope Popoola