SCANDAL OF A FIRST LADY

The coming election was dependent on the votes of the people.

I needed the votes of these people more than anything. I needed to become the first lady. I can’t remember how long I’ve been obsessed with it, but it was something I’d always wanted to be.

Since I was a child, I watched several world presidents hold their first ladies by the hand and stand in front of everyone. It was such a thrill. I wanted it.

First lady!

The first female citizen of the state. Imagine being addressed as the First Lady. Let’s practice First Lady Mrs.

Is that how it’s said? It doesn’t sound correct.

I need to ask questions.

First Lady!

Another name that the pastor’s wife is called in church. Not really. It wasn’t the kind I wanted to be. I didn’t want to sit there and take charge of all the women in church. The ones who gossiped were the ones who were hypocritical. I wanted to be a first lady in government, and so far my husband was a senator. He had given me a great life. We lived in the suburbs. Our children went to private school. I had maids and drivers at my disposal. I had women’s brunch every month with my best friends. I served in church giving to charity and orphanages. Deeds had to be public. They had to be seen, and approved by people. I had my own YouTube channel, where I sat down and became a therapist to women in bad marriages.

The ones that needed to leave, but instead they stayed.

They stayed

i) Because of the kids.

ii) Because of what other people would say.

iii) Because they didn’t think they could find love or a better man than who they were currently with.

I feel the reasons are pathetic, but who am I to judge them?

The comment section was filled with love from my fans and hate speech from women who I felt were chasing clout. I talked about basically everything feminine. I shared my wardrobe with people. The ones filled with designer stuff, perfumes, shoes, handbags, including I also V-logged my trips to foreign countries on vacation. We were in La Rochell, France last week, and Bilboa, Spain the previous week. Montego Bay, Jamaica was the next on the list with my female friends.

My husband wasn’t in support of sharing the intimate parts of my life on my YouTube channel. He didn’t want us to be a target for getting robbed. I understood where he was coming from, but with more than twelve orderely’s in the house and other domestic staff, it would take a long time for anyone who wanted to rob me to get through.

Life was good.

It was great!
Three months ago, my husband made his intentions to run for governor known to his party members. As soon as he made that announcement, it was as if all our enemies and village people had crawled out from the woodwork. Bloggers, journalists, paid and unpaid were everywhere looking for the next best story to tell about my husband and I. There were joking for the good, the bad and the ugly. I noticed that bad and ugly news were best sellers, and those would start early. Smear campaigns, poor journalism, and the comment section were guaranteed to sell out the best stories.

My personal assistant had told me about a meeting I was supposed to be having with a new orphanage that I picked to take care of. I was getting ready in front of the mirror. My husband walked into the room. He was dressed in a suit. I hadn’t seen him in a suit in a long time. This is what campaigning does. Normally he was dressed down in a shirt and jeans, but this time he was fully dressed in a three piece suit. Today it wasn’t Sunday, so I wondered where he was going dressed like that.
“Where are you going dressed like that?” I asked.
“I have a meeting. There are a few investors coming in today from France,” he replied.

“Investors?” I asked confused. “What are they investing in?”

“It’s a project that’s ongoing. I can’t tell you the details right now. I’m looking for a yellow Manila envelope that I left on the bed yesterday. Did you see it?” he asked, looking distracted.

“A Manila envelope? No, I haven’t seen any of such. Where did you leave it?” I asked.

“It’s only both of us who are in this bedroom, except for domestic stuff that comes in here to clean. I left it on the dresser, where I leave things that are of importance to me.”

I could feel the retort in his voice. I decided to ignore it. I didn’t have time for him this morning, and I didn’t want him to spoil my morning mood.
“I haven’t seen anything like that,” I responded as I powdered my nose with the foundation. “What is in it?”

I asked curiously. It had to be money. That was the only thing you put in such envelopes. The important documents, like deeds if you ask me.

“Are you trying to sell property?” giving him a sharp look through the mirror. He wasn’t staring at me. He was busy fiddling around the drawers looking for the envelope. He kicked the right leg of the bed out of frustration.

“Arghhhhh, you ask too many questions? You are breaking my concentration,” he said. His cell phone began to ring. He threw a frustrated fist punch into the air and answered the phone.

“I can’t find the document, I am running late. It may be in the office, but I am sure I left it at home. I will head out now,” he said to whoever the caller was. I lined my lips with the lip pencil and applied lipstick.

“Honey, I have to go, I will see you later,” he said and kissed me on my forehead.

“Alright darling, have a wonderful day,” I said.

He walked out of the room.

I continued with my make-up, a few minutes later I looked out of the window and saw the huge gates open. The Mercedes Benz drove out.

I walked to my purse closet and pulled out my Hermes bag from the top shelf. I opened it and pulled out the yellow Manila envelope I hid in there. It was time to figure out the contents. I opened the envelope

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THE CHRONICLES OF A LAGOS MECHANIC

Christmas that year was meant to be fun.
There were so many “I just got back,” also known as IJGB. These were returnees from the diaspora who were home for the holidays. Most of these people either went to school or worked there. They come home on holidays during Christmas season. The economy booms during that period, there’s so much money to be spent, so many parties to attend. Every day from December 17th were Christmas parties, some sort of office parties, and family celebrations. There was the worst type of traffic one could ever imagine on both sides of the road. Most events were in the island, and when it was time to go, people who lived on the mainland would encounter traffic going in their direction. There are also a variety of accents everywhere. The British accent and the American accent most especially. It was all fun and games.

My shop was located in the highbrow area, and my target were rich folk. I became a master at fixing car engines, transmission and other small car problems. It was a lucrative business, but the prayer was to have a car breakdown everyday. The roads and traffic in Lagos contributed to frequent visits to my shop by the owners.
Mrs. Gentry stood in front of me, her hands on her waist. I had to think of a lie to tell her so she could leave. Her Lexus had been in my care for three days, and she had been blowing up my phone to know when she could get the car back. I was busy with other cars.
“You have been avoiding my calls, so I decided to show up. Is my car ready?” She asked as she towered over me in a red and yellow fabric. Her head tie was intimidating. She was married to a wealthy politician.
“The car is not ready yet,” I told her, avoiding her gaze.
“What do you mean by the car is not ready? You told me you were working on it,” she bellowed. She was using scare tactic. This was not going to work.
“Madam, when the car is ready, I will call you,” I said as I put the spanner I was holding on the floor. My hands were greasy.
“My daughter is coming back from the UK tomorrow. I want her to drive the car while she is around. Do you want me to pay you extra so the car would be ready on time?” she offered. I sensed the desperation in her voice. She didn’t look a day older than forty, and she was standing here telling me she had a daughter in the UK who is old enough to drive. In my next life, I want to be wealthy.
“No problem, anything you have I will accept,” I told her. She opened her red purse and pulled out a wad of one thousand Naira notes and handed it to me. I counted it. Ten thousand naira.
“ Tomorrow at noon, I will be here to pick up the car,” she said with an air of finality, and walked to the black Mercedes Benz with the driver sitting in the driver seat and the engine running.
As soon as she closed the door, the driver sped off, leaving behind dust that sprayed the next car.
One of the boys came out from under the hood of the car he was working on.
“Just like that,” Tajudeen said and laughed.
“My dear, I can’t complain,”
“What is wrong with the car?” He asked, walking towards the navy blue Lexus R350
“Nothing major, it just needs tune up,” I told him.
“Oh okay,” he replied and walked away briskly.
Just then Nwando walked toward the shop, she was the daughter of Mama Aku, who sold food. Nwando was the youngest and smartest. She was in her final year in the university studying law.
I made my intentions known to her, but she always called my bluff.
I hadn’t seen her in a long time, she looked beautiful. She was wearing a shirt yellow dress, which made her legs look longer.
She had a plastic bag which, held food plates.
“Where is Taju?” Nwando’s clear voice rang out.
“ Ah, Nwando, won’t you greet me?” I told her as she avoided looking in my direction.
“Taju!!!” She called out, ignoring me.
Taju ran out of the shed he had walked into a few seconds before Nwando showed up.
“Why are you shouting my name?” He asked.
“When I inquired about you, didn’t you hear me?” Nwando said, giving him the side eye.
“Sorry, don’t vex please, I just went inside now now,” he replied, trying to chide her. She didn’t crack a smile.
“Here is your food, two plates of rice and then plantains on the side,” she informed him.
“Thank you,” he said, and pulled out a five hundred naira note from his pocket. He handed it to her.
“Where is mine?” I asked playfully. Nwando looked at me and acted like she was about to smile, and frowned.
“Did you order food?” She asked, darting her eyes at me.
It was one of the things about her that made me fall in love. Her dimples and her piercing eyes.
“Can I order food now?” “ I asked. I wanted to see her again, so anything to make her come back.

Ada stood in front of me, she held her Iphone to her right ear while I stood waiting for confirmation. She mumbled a few things into her phone and hung up.

“Listen, you can’t expect me to pay thirty thousand naira. I just fixed the catalytic converter last week, and now it’s something else, I am tired,” she said exasperated.

Ada brought her Honda in, and once again, it was a minor problem. I was charging triple the amount to fix.

“No problem, let me give you the part number and you can buy it yourself,” I told her. If I could bet my last kobo, Ada would definitely not go and look for the parts.

She eyed me.

“I am not going part hunting, I am sorry. I will give you seven thousand naira, and when the car is fixed, I will pay you your balance,” she informed me sternly. In the last month and a half, Ada had spent close to one hundred and fifty thousand naira on her Honda Accord, which was about five years old. She didn’t have a man in her life. She had a good job and was the type of client I could milk dry, because not only was she a damsel in distress, she trusted my knowledge.

“Seven thousand is not enough,” I told her as I eyed the money in her wallet.

She gave me the side eye.

“Figure it out, I have a Christmas party to attend tomorrow, I will pick it up by 2pm,” she said as she stuff the wad of notes into my breast pocket and walked away.

Two cars had to be ready tomorrow. how will I make this happen?

COUNTERFEIT

COUNTERFEIT

This is one of my favorite books this summer. It addresses luxury goods.

Designer handbags are every woman’s candy from a candy shop. These days we can’t really tell which is fake and which is real. Every woman wants to look wealthy and display class. The story was set in San Francisco and China.

There was a report that the purse at a Louis Vuitton store was a knock off. Imagine paying a fortune only to find out your purse was a knock off.

This problem was addressed in this book which I thoroughly enjoyed. A new mom, Ava Wong who was a Stanford graduate an attorney and a new stay at home mom and happily married had an old friend who has showed up in town. She ran a leather manufacturing business where goods were made. Apart from the fact that it was a business, it was illegal.

Ava Wong hit a turbulent time in her marriage and turned to her friend Winnie who promised to help her, she took advantage of the situation and made her start selling her goods. Things get out of hand when a purse is discovered to be a counterfeit at a boutique store and brews an investigation.

This promises to be a good read. So much information and lessons learned.

Here is the link to buy the book.https://amzn.to/3nnMd7p

I make affiliate income from sharing the link.

THE SEX TAPE (1)

When you bury your past, avoid friends with a shovel.

I had just moved to Berkley from Arizona. I got a new job working for a lab. It wasn’t just the job that made me move to Berkely. I had met this hunk of a dude. He worked in tech, a six figure earner, and he was starting his own consultation company.

We met on Tiktok and started messaging and liking each other’s video. He planned a trip to Sedona, which was about two hours from where I lived at the time. I had a fun experience, we went hiking and also on a spa date. I didn’t want the date to end. We had a great weekend together, dining, hiking and enjoying each others company.

We decided to become exclusive. It was something I had begged for all my life. Every man I dated in the past made me feel I had to work for their affection.

This man was different. He showed care. He was empathetic. He could afford luxury.

I was on cloud nine with this man.

He lived in California, and he encouraged me to move so that I would be closer to him. I didn’t like Arizona so much. I moved to Arizona for college, and I was stuck there after college and landing my first job.

California seemed such a nice new place to start. It was a more expensive place to live in. I didn’t mind. The love of my life lived there, and I knew things would work out somehow.

I applied to several companies and got called by a biotech lab in Berkeley. I got the job. I was ecstatic.

I moved to California three weeks later.

The company paid to move me there.

The beginning of my problems started when I posted my huge win on Facebook.

“Hiya…… California, here I come. So excited to start a new life with a boyfriend and a brand new job,”

I got a lot of likes. Comments from friends and old classmates congratulating me on my huge win and new journey.

I got a private message from my old childhood friend. We lived in the same neighborhood and went to the same middle school and high school. Ari moved to New York after high school, and I never saw her again.

“Hey Cece,” she wrote.

I was excited to hear from her. I wrote back and we began chatting back and forth. She had moved to San Francisco and was working for a tech company. I was excited to have someone else I knew who lived in the same town.

“Have you heard from Jason? “ she asked me.

It reeled back a lot of memories I had vowed to forget. Jason was my first love, he was my everything. He was a tall six foot three inch fair skinned boy. He played basketball and was on the school team. He was everything, but at the time I was more into him than he was into me. I played second fiddle and loyal girlfriend while he cheated on me with Sheila, a popular cheerleader who was an only child with wealthy parents. I was angry because he cheated on me with her. I found out and got upset. He tried to play it like it was nothing. I didn’t care I wasn’t going back. It sucked because it was senior year. It was supposed to be a memorable last few weeks. He became spiteful and bitter. He probably bragged to his friends that he would get me back, and so far the plan was not working. A few days later. I found out I was pregnant. My whole world was shattered. How could I tell Jason I was pregnant with his child? He would be livid. It would end his basketball career. The career he

wanted so so bad. It was his ticket to the basketball scholarship he wanted. I told Ari about the pregnancy. She told me not to tell him. It was the biggest mistake of my life.

BREAK MY SOUL

Beyonce has done it again. She has been silent since “The Carter” album from 2018..The hiatus was long and this new song ‘Break my soul’ has the beyhive hyping it. It garnered 6.5 million plays in the US on the very first day. It is currently known as the “Great Resignation anthem”. The masses are here for motivation.

Beyonce is known to be a trailblazer. Her success on the new album is remarkable, she started in the nineties when all the album had to do was sell and is currently conquering the era where the album just has to be streamed. She is a force to be reckoned with because she has continued to do well every decade.

We can’t wait to hear the rest of the album. We are just wondering how much the tickets to the tour would cost?

CONFESSIONS OF A CHEATING WIFE (7)

Present-day

I cried so hard all through the night. I had no idea when morning came. I sat on the floor by the window, lost in my thoughts. The thoughts that flooded my mind were filled with happy memories. Yemi and I had no bad memories. All he did was make me happy, and somewhere along the line, I began to ruin it, slowly.

The devil works overtime.

Or maybe it is just a case of not knowing what you have got until it is gone.

He was gone.

He had been gone for a few days.

He didn’t say anything to me.

He didn’t eat anything I made.

I felt like a stranger in the house with him.

Every single minute felt like a thousand years away from him. This had never happened before, not even when we were dating. Was he just hurt? Or maybe I didn’t know this side of him. The side that shows passive aggression during misunderstandings. It felt terrible.

He packed up a few clothes, put them in a duffel bag, and went out of the house. I saw him pull out of the driveway in his white Tesla.

Normally he would tell me where he was going and when he would be back.

He didn’t. He didn’t owe me that anymore. There were so many questions. He asked me I had no answers to.

I was so ashamed of myself.

Normally people cheat and never get caught. They do it for so many years, but my case was different. I got caught early in the act. Maybe I’ve been doing it for longer and my sins were fast catching up with me.

I didn’t want him to tell my parents. I wanted to tell them myself.

He didn’t care. He didn’t even want to tell anyone that the marriage had crashed. He told me that two nights ago. He was sitting in the living room downstairs on his laptop. For the fifteenth time, I fought the urge to go to him to talk, and the sixteenth time, I gave in.

“Yemi,” I said as I cautiously walked towards him.

He didn’t respond.

“We can’t go on like this, can we at least talk.”

He sighed. “What is there to talk about?”

“This whole thing.”

He laughed in derision at my comment. “I am listening.”

I nervously sat beside him. I looked at him. He gave me a cold look. I deserved it. I felt tears sting my eyes, but this was not the time to be vulnerable. It felt like weakness and that was one thing I never wanted to show. He spoke highly of me to people that were near him or people who would listen and I let him down in so many ways. He was like a savior. When he appeared in my life. I was reeling from the heartbreak from someone who didn’t even deserve to see me.

Took care of everything for me. Married me and made me comfortable. It made my mates envy me. Now all that was like a memory.

“Please don’t tell my family what happened, we can fight this together,” I told him.

“There is nothing left to fight, I can’t get over the graphic image of another man having his way with you in our bed. It is a nightmare that has haunted me ever since,’ he responded.

I nodded.

I could imagine how he felt. Osas was so good in bed that I probably fell into a trance while it all happened and came out of it the moment, I realized I had been caught.

“Would you forgive me?” I asked.

“It’s too early to determine that.” He responded flatly.

I regretted asking.

“This marriage is over,’ he said. He stood up and left me sitting there speechless.

I looked at the time it was 4:07 a.m. I’ve been sitting there on the floor by the window for 24 hours. It started with me kneeling down trying to pray.

How could an adulteress sit there and talk to God and expect him to listen? I knew he would listen. He had been listening to me all my life. I only called him when I was in an emergency or dealing with stuff but never when I was happy or having the time of my life. I felt like a welfare case.

I called my childhood friend a day before and told her what had happened.

She listened. All she did was listen.

I cried.

I screamed. 
 No judgment, nothing.

“Say something,” I screamed angrily.

“You have to pull yourself together, you sunk this boat yourself.

CONFESSIONS OF A CHEATING WIFE (6)

“Let’s go to dinner.” my cousin Idara suggested.

We had been shopping for her wedding since I got off work. We were currently at a bridal shop looking at veils. The whole experience was overwhelming for me especially because Idara was very picky.

“Sounds like a great idea, we can hit the bar and have a few drinks afterwards.”

“No drinking, don’t you ever get tired of drinking?”

“Nope, you need to drink once in a while to calm your nerves.”

“My nerves are fine.” Idara said and narrowed her eyes at me. “They sound bad to me especially with this shopping, you have not picked one veil that you like since you got here, I said tired of looking at veils.”

“Yes, you are right, maybe we should leave.” Idara said and looked at the store attendant who was showing us different veils.

“Take you time, I was just kidding.”

“You sound bored, let’s go.” She said and packed up her things, putting her cell phone n her purse. She told the store attendant that she would be back to look at the veils on a different day and we left the store.

*************************************************

I had not been to Food Shack in a while. It was still the same establishment, but I noticed a lot of changes. Idara and I sat in the patio area overlooking the bridge. We watched the cars move slowly in traffic over the bridge. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to eat because I scanned through the menu several times. It also did not help matters because my phone kept ringing and I kept ignoring the calls.

The waiter walked towards us with our food. Idara moved her purse out of the way so the waiter could set the platter in front of her. The meal looked inviting. He placed my food in front of me. He asked if we needed anything else. We declined and thanked him politely. He left.

“Let’s pray.” Idara said as she put her fork in her rice.

“You should pray.” I told her.

“Sure.” She said as she recited the Grace.

We both said “Amen” after she finished reciting the Grace.

“This is nice.” I said after chewing the first fork full of food that I put in my mouth.

“I am so hungry, and the food is delicious, I am about to order a second plate.” Idara informed me.

It won’t be a bad idea, I haven’t eaten out in so long.”

“Doesn’t your friend with benefits take you out to eat?”

“Which one?”

“You have more than one?” Idara asked raising her eyebrows.

“I don’t”

“Okay, have you recently switched to someone else.”

“No, what do you mean by that?”

Idara smiled at me. I did not like the way this conversation was going, and she was really beginning to irk me.

“So, it’s still Osas right?” she asked looking coyly at me.

“Yeah,” I reluctantly replied. I hadn’t told her about Yemi yet.

“So how are things going with him?”

“I beg your pardon?” I retorted.

The fact that I was not engaged and living Idara’s current life did not make me less deserving.

“Chill I was just kidding.” she said and looked at me to weigh my response.

I rolled my eyes and put a forkful of rice into my mouth. She did the same, but her gaze was on me.

“So how is Osas doing?” she asked breaking the silence.

“He is doing great.” I said and nodded.

“Cool” she replied. She kept staring at me as if she expected me to say more.

“I mean the sex is amazing, but lately he runs home to his family.”

“He is married?” Idara asked with her eyes wide open in shock. I chuckled at her reaction.

“No”

“Are you sure?

“Yes, it’s just his siblings.”

“Doesn’t he have his own place?”

“Not yet.”

“That’s crazy.” Idara said and coughed.

“Calm down before you choke on your food.” I told her.

“I will choke on my food before you mess with a married man, what are you thinking?” she asked angrily.

“What’s your problem? He is not married, and we are just having fun, it’s just sex, calm down please.” I did not need preaching at the table. She knew what I had been through with different men and judging me was not going to help.

Idara looked upset.

“Let’s change the subject.” I offered uncomfortably. She shook her head in disagreement.

“No, I am interested in hearing more.”

“More of what? My boring life with Osas.”

“Maybe you should leave him alone.”

“Maybe he should leave me alone.” I huffed. Idara shook her head.

“Why are you shaking your head?” I asked. Idara always felt the need to say something. She was the perfect princess with the charming life.

“Why do you make poor choices when it comes to men?” she asked as she sipped from the glass in front of her.

“Poor choices?” I asked bewildered.

“Yes, you either messing with married or emotionally unavailable men, it’s crazy how you can put up with such nonsense.” Idara said.

“I don’t make poor choices, I guess those men are attracted to me and speaking of poor choices, your fiancé is someone’s ex-husband.” I spoke. Idara looked flushed.

“He is legally divorced,” she replied defensively.

“You were responsible for the end of their marriage Idara.” I told her.

CONFESSIONS OF A PASTOR

The camera crew had set up. I sat across from Ruby Regina Hewitt, one of the most popular content creators. She was interviewing me about the recent scandals I had going in my church that were splashed across the front pages of blogs and newspapers.

The church elders advised me to do an interview. It would be a form of public enlightenment and accountability for my actions. After deliberating for two weeks. I agreed. Ruby Hewitt was a tall, chocolate colored skinned thirty year old. She was a multi millionaire and owned a high profile blog. She had sent several requests to be interviewed.

I obliged. She was happy to do the interview. My secretary offered to prep me for the interview. but I declined. I was ready to speak the truth from the beginning. The image of my church was already tarnished. There was nothing left to preserve, except the image of the other innocent pastors and the congregation. My confession had a ton of consequences, which I would rather face. This game had gone on for far too long.

Ruby smiled at me and asked if I was ready.

“I am ready when you are,” I replied.

“Great,” she said and looked at the camera.

“A lovely evening to my viewers, it is 6pm and time for a brand new interview with the Head Pastor of Green Pastures Church, Pastor Lawrence. This is about the rape scandal happening in the church, and a lot of other atrocities,” she said and looked at me.

Atrocities.

Yes, I had committed a lot of them. I wanted to confess all of them. I could not sleep at night. My mind was not at peace.

The rape scandal first started as a rumor in my church and ended up on the front page of Ruby’s blog.

Muthoni, the girl who accused me of rape, was the center of attention. It should never have gone this far. She was greedy. All she wanted was a share of my money. My wife was considering divorce. Everything I had built in a short time was crumbling into pieces right before my eyes. My marriage and my ministry were my greatest investments. There was nothing I could do to stop it. It was my karma.

“Good evening Pastor Lawrence,” she greeted me. I stared at her. She was so beautiful with even the minimal makeup she had on her face.

“Good evening Ruby, and good evening viewers,” I greeted and faced the camera.

“Greener Pastures church is lit. When I say lit, it is trending on all social media platforms. As the General Overseer and Head Pastor, you have granted this interview. We want you to clear the air,” she said.

“Sure, I am ready to do so. I will tell the truth about everything.” I replied.

“So let’s start from the beginning, how did you get into ministry? If you were called to pastor a church, why are you involved in a rape case and many others that have not been discussed?” she asked.

THE BEGINNING

I never thought I would be a pastor. I cannot say I was called to be one.

I wanted to be a pastor. It was lust for me. I wanted to be a tele evangelical pastor. I wanted the good life. I wanted to fly in private jets, go on expensive trips to exotic locations. Preach in different parts of the world and get honorary. I wanted to be successful. I watched as many pastors lived their true calling, and God took care of their needs.

My parents were piss poor. We were so poor that I dug through trash to find wasted food for dinner. I got new clothing from rich relatives who came back from the Western world. My mom had six children. She was a housewife. My father was a security guard. His paycheck was good enough to feed chickens in a poultry. My mom could not work, because there would be no one to watch us. She was not educated to get a job that would pay better than my father’s security job. Life was a struggle. I attended public school, which was free at the time. All I had to do was buy textbooks and uniforms. I wore hand me downs, and so did my siblings. Some of our uniforms were hand me downs from other kids in the neighborhood.

I was in my final year in high school, when a popular preacher came for a revival.

I was amazed at how much power and authority this preacher had. It was then I decided to go into ministry. Five years later, I found myself dabbling into things just to get a shot at Evangelical fame. The financial gain was what I was after. I sold merchandise in my church. Everything that could be a resource to help a person was sold in my church. I lusted after the gifts given to pastors. Some of these gifts included cash, title deeds to landed property and cars. Brand new cars. Pastor appreciation was a big thing.

My mother was a strong Christian. She prayed a lot. Looking back, I was not sure if she prayed because she was grooming a great relationship with God, or if it was the family adversity that turned her into a prayer warrior. Her prayers didn’t put food on our table, but it kept us safe, it kept us alive. If I had a penny for every time my mother prayed, we would be living in a mansion instead of our two bedroom house that held eight people.

My father died when I was fourteen years old. He died in a bar. He went drinking and collapsed. Some said he was poisoned, others said it was a heart attack. His loss broke my mother’s heart. He had money to buy drinks when we could barely feed. His burial was shameful. We had nothing, he was dumped into the ground like an earthworm. There was no repast. We could not afford it. Debtors flocked our home, my father owed money. My older brother and sister decided to do some petty trading after school to help our mom pay off the debts. I was determined to make sure my family never suffered again. I was ready to do anything to achieve my goal.

I met someone that changed my life.

AMANDA, THE SIDE CHIC.

Charles pulled up into my driveway and put the transmission in park.

He looked at me and gave a smile. It was the kind he had after a long and fun time with me.
I had spent the day with him. He wanted us to have a special Saturday together. It started with brunch at The Tropicana, a nice upscale restaurant downtown. I always dreamed of going to eat there, but my salary made it way above my budget.

A co worker celebrated her birthday there last month. I had to get a rain check, because I wasn’t trying to check my account balance after one or more drinks. I checked the menu online, and there were a few drinks I was dying to try.

My coworkers were excessive when it came to spending. I had plans to buy a house in the next eighteen months. I had to be frugal with my spending. The reviews of the place made it sound like a bucket list for the average mind.
As soon as I suggested The Tropicana for brunch, he agreed.

Charles was happy.
I was impressed, the ambience, the service, the food was five star. The waitresses were patient and polite. The one who served us had moved from Colombia. She was exotic. I couldn’t help but stare at her. She had a beautiful smile and captivating mannerisms. I was served the best Bottomless mimosas I had ever tasted. I ordered Eggs Benedict. It was perfect. I could not help but gush over how delicious it was at the table.
Charles was happy that I was satisfied.

We ended up at the spa. Saint Stella was a small spa that only catered to a certain clientele. The one percent. Charles booked a three hour pass. It was an experience for me. We got a full body rejuvenation, which lasted an hour. Spa treatment, and the sauna. It was the best part for me.
I took a relaxing nap at the hotel afterwards. Next thing to do was shop. We were at the Plaza and went to high end stores. I had just copped a new Louis Vuitton purse and a matching wallet. We also went to shop for new clothes for me. He ended up spending over a thousand bucks at the dress store.
We had dinner outdoors in a winery. The food was delicious. Brown rice and well done steak. I was ready to call it a night.

“Thanks for such a fun day,” I said as I looked into his eyes.

“I am glad you had fun,” he replied.

“I sure did, so when is the next hang out?’

“Maybe the weekend after this,”

“Why so long, that is in fourteen days?”

“The housewarming is next weekend.”

“Oh yeah,” I said and nodded thoughtfully. He told me he bought a five bedroom home in Park Estate, a gated community for the wealthy folk. “How are the preparations for that coming along?”

“My wife is taking care of it, she hired a renowned planner to take care of the event. My job is to make payments,” he said with a smile.

“I want to attend the event,” I told him.

His eyes popped. Was he going to decline my suggestion?

“It won’t be a good idea Mandy,” he said uncomfortably.

“Why?”

“You know we already have a relationship, I don’t take my private business to my house.”

I gave him the side eye. What did he mean by private business? I almost chuckled.

“So what is wrong with inviting a friend to your house warming?” I asked assertively.

He gave a frown as the lines on his forehead wrinkled.

“Are you my friend?”

I threw my head back and gave a hearty laugh. He chuckled.

“Don’t be like that, of course I am your friend.” I replied.

“Real talk Amanda, it is not a good idea. Give me time to think about it,” he said.

“Never mind, I guess I don’t belong to your class of people to be invited to a house warming. It’s not like your wife knows who I am anyway.” I told him as I rolled my eyes.

“See, that is the problem. She doesn’t know you. I don’t want her asking any questions or snooping around to find out who you are.” He replied.

“I doubt it,” I replied.

Uber dropped me in front of the new home. It was next to a lake. The view was breathtaking. There were cars lined all the way down the street. Four cars were parked in the driveway to make room for other cars. It was a black tie event. I wore a red, halter neck dress. One of the beautiful gowns I bought when I went shopping with Charles. My hair was swept up into a bun. Emilia from Sephora did my make up. My cheekbones were highlighted, my eye shadow, my entire make up was a transformation. I hoped Charles would recognize me when he saw me.

There was a butler at the front door who handed me a glass of champagne as I walked towards him. The door was open, and I slowly waltzed in, assessing my environment. It was a beautiful house, the expensive chandeliers hung from the high ceiling, which seemed about twenty feet. Everything was beautiful. Men and women stood in corners chatting away. There was a buzz of excitement in the room.

Charles stood beside his wife by the huge siding door, talking to a couple. He made eye contact with me. I smiled. He winked at me and kept talking to the couple. I decided to find something to do by blending into the crowd. Three ladies dressed in teal dresses of different styles stood in a corner talking. As soon as one made eye contact with me, they focused their attention on me. I walked away briskly. The guests were wealthy men and women in their fifties. Some seemed to be family members, others were friends and colleagues.

Charles came up to me a few minutes later. I was standing by the huge dining room having a conversation with an attractive British man, Thomas, who was standing by my side. Men and other jealousy. It took me standing with another man to get Charles’s attention. He came scurrying over as if he would lose his job if he didn’t attend to me.

I smiled.

“Hey Amanda, welcome to my home.” he said. He acknowledged the man standing beside me.

“Thank you, beautiful home you have here.” I responded.

“Thank you, you look amazing,” he said, checking me out.

That was the point. I had to look dashing enough to land more phone numbers and also give his wife a run for her money.

“Thank you,” I said with a smile.

“Dinner will start in a bit, it is an outdoor dinner, so please get seated as soon as possible.”

“Sure.” I replied.

He smiled at me and walked away.

The backyard was set up with elegant looking chairs and tables. There were heated lamps to keep the guests warm, as the evening seemed a little chilly. I immediately found a table and sat in one of the chairs. Thomas, my British friend, joined me shortly. He was handsome. The guests slowly walked to find seats. As soon as Charles and his wife were seated, the servers began to bring the trays with the dinner. It was a three course meal. Charles gave me an occasional glance. I tried not to look in his direction. Thomas was attractive. Two ladies joined our table. They acknowledged us and carried on with their conversation. Thomas told me he worked with Charle’s wife. She was an attorney. I told Thomas that Charles was a client. I prayed my small lie won’t back fire. These little lies had a way of coming back around to bite one in the butt.

It was such a brilliant evening, a live band played while we ate dinner. People gave congratulatory speeches. Then we danced. The dancing competition broke the ice. I had a great time. I went back to sit down, because my feet hurt from doing the ‘running man’ in heels. Charles’s wife walked up to me. My heart skipped a beat. I needed to be as calm as possible. I looked around for Charles to come save me from this situation, but he was nowhere in sight.

Shit.

“Hey honey,” she said as she walked towards me.

“Good evening,” I said as I sat straight in my chair.

“You are such a beautiful woman,” she said, checking me out.

“Thank you,” I nervously responded.

Can I get your number? I think I like you.”

ON THE RUN (2)

His mother didn’t like me.

Since the first day, she laid her eyes on me.

I struggled for her acceptance, and each time it seemed like she found more and more things to not like about me.

I had to be myself and that was not enough for her. I should have left the relationship. It is one thing to date and marry a bad man, the choice is up to the individual. Having bad in-laws is a whole different ball game that you should never sign up for. The red flags came up in the dating process, but I ignored them. I believed we both loved each other and we would fight our problems together. That is another mistake-no woman or anyone should make. Once the odds are stacked high against you, you need to fold and walk away. The pain may linger for a bit, but at least you have peace of mind and sleep well at night.

I grew up in a peaceful nuclear family consisting of my parents and my two sisters. My parents were middle class. They were able to afford us what we needed. College was our parent’s goal for us and they made sure it happened for me and my sisters. Whatever life we chose after college was ours. They didn’t want to feel like they failed by not giving us a university education.

I graduated and became an engineer working for a top architectural firm. I met my husband at a conference, Akin Da Silva. He was a tall, handsome, milk chocolate, complexioned man. He came from money. Old money to be precise. His family owned a lot of investment properties and they were set for life. His father died when he was seventeen leaving his mom a massive estate in Beverly Hills. The rest of the property and money was split between him and his younger sister Bewaji. They were not allowed to have access to the money until they turned thirty-five. It was the stipulation in his father’s will so they had to make do with their monthly allowances or get a job. They had a college fund while the average kid applied for financial aid and worked twenty-four hours a week. He gave a talk at the conference. I was completely mesmerized by the way he talked and how he carried himself on stage. I stole the spotlight by directly asking him questions during the question and answer session of the conference.

He asked for my number after his talk on stage and we started dating. When I first met him, there was nothing that denoted wealth about him. He was just a regular guy who drove a 2001 Honda Civic. He lived in a moderate apartment and was going to grad school. We went on a few dates and became a couple afterward. I never met his family for the first three years. We spent the holidays with my family. My parents liked him, he was such a nice and humble man. My sisters hoped we would work out so they could have a brother. I smiled at the thought of being his wife someday if he asked me.

During Christmas, he asked me about my future plans and began to use the word “we” more often. He told me, that if things worked out for us, he wanted us to build a life together. I was happy. We were happy. I started grad school in January and took out loans to go to school. I was working on getting an MBA besides my engineering degree. It would be seen as a plus on my resume and that was what wanted.

A few months later, he proposed. I accepted his proposal. He was thirty-one, I was twenty-eight.

I knew no one is his family. He told me about his mom and sister. I had seen their photos. He told me his father had passed away. Those were the only things I knew about his family.

We had put an offer on a house, he didn’t want a big wedding. I wanted a fairy tale wedding but we had coughed up so much money on this nice house we were looking at. We had planned to get married the following year.

The progression of our relationship in hindsight was a red flag from the beginning.

Nothing prepared me for new revelations that were coming up.

One Saturday morning in November, we were snuggled in bed. We were watching TV and planting occasional kisses on our lips The doorbell rang. We looked at each other in surprise wondering who that could be. We were not expecting any guests and it was too early for Amazon delivery.

He got out of bed and threw on a white tee shirt. I got out of bed and followed after him putting on my robe.

He opened the door and a woman walked in. She seemed to be in her fifties, she was well dressed and had on sunglasses.

“You seem to be doing well for yourself Akin,” she said as she admired the house. Akin was silent. I took a closer look at her as she took her sunglasses off.

The woman was his mom. I recognized her from the pictures he had shown me.

“Who is she?” she asked him.

He looked at her and responded. “My fiancee.”

She eyed me up and down. I became uncomfortable. This was not the best way to be introduced to your future mother in law in my own opinion. I barely had any clothes on if not for covering from the bathroom robe I had on.

“So, she is the reason why you have lost touch with your family?” his mom accused.

I was shocked.