Read the daily, non-fictional tales of a young, unmarried Nigerian woman who lives in Lagos at this time.
Tudun and I became friends in our second year at the university. Before then, we were neighbours living in the same compound in Surulere where we both grew up. But we were never friends.
Our mothers attended the same church, worked together as nurses in the same general hospital, even had mutual friends, but they were constantly at each other’s throats like rivals who were married to the same man.
We could never explain it. Every little thing with them was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
Whenever there was a meeting between the landlord and the tenants, the two women were sure to butt heads over something as trivial as cleaning the compound or paying the security guard.
At choir meetings, it was the same thing. If my mum wanted to sing one song, you could bet that Tudun’s mum would want to sing another.
One time, my mum and I ran into Tudun’s father and a much younger woman at a supermarket, and she concluded that they were having an affair.
“How do you know, Mum?” I asked, surprised after she blurted out her suspicions to me. She did not care that I was too young to understand.
“I know. It is obvious,” she responded with glee, eyeing the man and the woman as they walked to one of the shelves.
“Don’t worry. You cannot understand,” she added, still following the two who seemed oblivious to us with her eyes.
“Mummy!” I had to nudge her elbow to get her attention.
“Yeah?” she responded without looking at me.
“Please, don’t tell Tudun’s mum,” I said. I was still not sure what was going on, but I knew it could cause a lot of trouble.
“Okay. Okay. I won’t.” My mum had an evil glint in her eye that told me she did not mean what she said.
When we got home, my mum hurried me upstairs with the things we had bought and stayed downstairs. I had no idea what she was about to do until I heard the two women’s raised voices moments later. Daddy went downstairs to see what was going on and literally had to drag my mum back upstairs.
“You are a troublemaker, Woman. The worst kind!” my dad said as soon as they stepped into the house.
“Emi? Me? A troublemaker?” was all my mum said, beating her chest.
After that night, I never saw Tudun’s father again. We heard that his wife threw his things out and he came to pick them when we were not home. Soon after, we were told that they got a divorce and he moved in with his lover. The lover, it was later rumoured, killed him with an overdose of love portion. Whether it was true or not, no one knew.
“Happy now? Are you happy now?” my dad asked my mum when the divorce happened.
I hated my mum for a long time after that. I was too young to understand it all, but I blamed her.
Maybe Tudun’s mum would have forgiven her if my mum had just apologised for her actions. But she never did. As far as she was concerned, she did the right thing.
“I was doing her a favour. She wouldn’t have known that she had a cheating husband if I hadn’t told her,” I overheard her telling one of their mutual friends one day.
“We all knew, Bisi. We all knew. No one wanted to be the one to break up her home.”
Her friend’s response shut my mum up and we did not hear of her talk about the matter again.
So it was that when we, the kids, found ourselves in the same school, we avoided each other like the plague until that day in our second year.
We had boarded the same campus shuttle and she suddenly realised that her wallet was missing. Feeling bad for her, I paid for her fare.
“Thank you!” were the words that began our friendship.
We shared every detail of our lives with each other and after graduation, NYSC in different states, we remained friends. Now, we were working with the same company. The story of how we came to work together I will share some other time.
Tudun was perfect, not flawed in any way, until she started dating Kunle. Oh, I need an entire day to tell you about him.
And my phone rings. It must be her. She suggested WhatsApp video call tonight. My friend beckons. I have to leave.
Will pick up from where we left off tomorrow.
Till then, stay out of trouble, stay indoors, stay safe.