Category Archives: Sam & Pam

01Aug/16

SAM&PAM; Ever After

ever after

(SAM)
There is no rule book for marriage but if there was one, one of the first laws would be;
Thou must not marry a musician if thou art a programmer.
But just in case you are stupid enough to fall in love with one, then you must obey this other rule;
Thou must not buy her a piano for house use.
I didn’t find this book so I broke those rules.
It was 8:30am, I stared at the laptop in front of me and sighed. I had missed the deadlines for two milestones I had set for this project and it wasn’t my fault. My Florence Nightingale would not stop singing and playing on her piano. It was fun at first, because it was once in a while. But then she got pregnant and all she did was play the piano and sing all day. I was starting to consider doing my work at the office, it was that bad.
I couldn’t complain; I couldn’t even wear a long face or else I would receive a very lengthy lecture from my grandmother. If I knew this was what I getting into, I wouldn’t have listened to Pam’s request for Grandma to live with us.
“Samuel.” My grandmother’s voice rang though the house.
I did not answer. She knew where I was, she would find me. And find me she did.
“What are you doing?” She asked, standing at the door of my library.
“Staring at my computer, wishing I could get some work done.” I said.
“Good luck with that.” She said.
“Thank you.” I said with the fakest smile I could muster.
“When was the last time you checked on your wife?”
“Checked on her? She right there in the living room, I can hear her voice as clearly as I can hear yours right now.”
“That’s not the answer to my question.”
“What do you want from me Grandma? I can’t work because she’s always singing, I can’t sleep because she always wants to talk and I can’t even be angry because she’ll just start crying.”
“You are frustrated, right?”
“That’s the word; frustrated. You can’t understand how I feel right now.”
“Do you understand how she feels?”
“Well, if the song she’s singing is anything to go by, she is very happy.”
“Do you know what it’s like to carry a baby for nine months? That’s how long she’s carried your baby; nine long months.”
I knew that. But that was no excuse to take away my peace.
“Do you realise your wedding anniversary is in a week?” She paused and coughed. “Two years of marriage and you don’t understand it yet?”
“I understand. But still, I…”
“Stop arguing with me Samuel. The key to…” She stopped and coughed again.
“Are you okay? Do you need some water?”
“I’m fine.” She said. “Just go and take care of your wife.”
My wife turned non-stop music machine. She never… wait a minute, she was no longer singing. Why wasn’t she singing?
“She stopped singing?” I said, more to myself than to my grandmother.
I looked up at her, she looked pale.
“Are you okay?” I asked again.
She nodded. Seriously though, why did Pam stop singing? I stood from my chair and walked past my grandmother, though a corridor and into the living room. Pam wasn’t sitting by her piano. I looked across the room and there she was sitting on a chair, groaning and holding her stomach.
I rushed to her side.
“Babe, are you okay?”
“I don’t know.” She said.
“How are you feeling?” I asked.
“She’s in labour.” My grandmother shouted from behind me.
“What? Labour? Are you sure? Her due date is two weeks from now.”
My grandmother joined me beside her.
“Her water has not broken.”
“So she’s not in labour then.” I said.
She couldn’t be in labour, not now, not yet, I was not ready.
“Where is your phone? Call your doctor, he will tell you what to do.” My grandmother said.
I jumped to my feet and ran to the bedroom. I entered and looked around. My wife was in labour? Was about to become a father? Me, a father? What was I looking for? My phone! It wasn’t here. I ran back to the living room and to Pam.
“Are you okay dear?”
“Yes, I’m fine.” She said. “Are you okay?”
“Of course I am. But it’s not about me right now, okay? Anything you want, just ask.” I said.
“How about you call the doctor?”
“My goodness, I forgot.”
I ran to my library and there it was, the phone was on the table. As I reached for it, it rang. It was Phemie.
I answered. “Hey bro, Pam is in labour.”
“What?”
“She’s in labour man, get here as soon as you can.”
“I’m on my way.” He said and ended the call.
I dropped the phone on the table and ran back to the living room.
“Phemie will be here in a few minutes.” I said. “I think we should pack some things and head to the hospital. Phemie can bring anything we forget.”
“Have you called the doctor?” Grandma asked.
“What’s wrong with me?”
I started to run back to the library but Pam called me.
“Come back Sam.”
I picked up her hands squeezed them gently. “What do you need babe?”
“I need you to calm down.” She said.
“What? Me? I’m calm. I just need to…”
“Sam? Listen to me, okay?”
“Yeah sure, anything for you my dear.”
Grandma smiled and walked out the living room.
“There is a bag in my room, a green bag, it has some things I need for the hospital. Bring the bag and we’ll go the hospital.”
“Okay dear.” I said.
“Is there anything you need to take?” She asked.
“No, nothing. I’ll be right back.”
I kissed her on the cheek and ran towards the bedroom.
“Stop running.” She shouted after me.
I entered the room and met my grandmother in the room. She was sitting on the bed.
“Hey Grandma, what are you doing here?”
“I was going to pick the bag for you, you looked so confused.” She said.
“The bag is here.” I said, pointing to the bag in the corner. “Why are you on the bed?”
“I just got a little tired, that’s all.”
I arched an eyebrow. “Tired? Are you okay?”
“Of course I am.” She said with a huge smile. “I’m about to become a great-grandmother. Pick the bag, stop talking with me.”
I walked to the corner and picked the bag.
“As soon as I can leave the hospital, I’ll come back to pick you.” I said.
“Alright dear.” She said. “Please be careful how you drive, you don’t appear to be very stable at the moment.”
“I am as stable as I will ever be.” I said with a smile and headed for the door.
“Samuel?”
“Yes Grandma?”
“The doctors will appreciate if you wear some trousers.”
“What?”
I looked down at my legs, I had only my boxer shorts on.

***

I paced in the hospital room while the doctor examined Pam. Why wasn’t she freaking out? I had seen videos of women giving birth, it was not funny. What was I supposed to do when the real, loud, screaming, heart-wrenching part of the labour began?
“Mr Aderemi?” The doctor called.
I looked at him.
“Your wife will be here for a while. Her contractions are still far apart and her water has not even broken yet.”
“So, what are you saying? We are not having this baby today?” I asked.
“I can’t rule it out.” The doctor said. “But it is not likely.”
“Thank you doctor.”
The doctor nodded and walked out of the room. I walked to Pam’s bed side and sat on the edge of her bed.
“I feel fine actually.” She said. “Maybe this isn’t as hard as you think it is.”
“I’ve seen the videos Pam.” I said and shuddered at the memories. “I can’t believe you are actually going to go through all of that for me.”
“It’s not just for you Sam, I’m having this baby for me too.”
I nodded. “If I could transfer the pain to myself so you won’t have to go through this, I would.”
Pam chuckled. “No, you wouldn’t.”
I paused and thought about it. “I’m sorry, you are right, I wouldn’t.”
My phone rang and I removed it from my pocket. It was Phemie. I clicked the answer button.
“Hey bro.” I said.
“Where are you Sam?”
“At the hospital.” I said. “I told you I was…”
“It’s your grandmother.”
“My grandmother, what’s up with my grandmother?”
“I don’t know man, I got here and she there on the floor in the living room gasping for breath.”
My head went light and I reached for a wall.
“Where is she Phemie? Where is my grandmother?”
“She’s in the car with me now.” He said. “We are on our way to the hospital.”
“Is she…?” I stopped and swallowed. “Is she okay?”
“She is stable for now, I think. I had Favour with me, she knew what to do. See why one of us had to marry a nurse?”
“Please get her here safe.” I said.
“Alright man.”
“Phemie please, that woman is…”
“I know Sam. We’ll be there in ten minutes.”
I looked at Pam and at my phone and I wasn’t sure what to feel.

***
“She is stable now but we are not out of the woods yet.” The doctor said. “Your friend here saved her life really. A few more minutes alone in that house and we would have had a different story.”
“Thank you Doctor.”
“We have to wait for her to regain consciousness. There’s no telling when that will be.”
I nodded and the doctor left, Favour going out with him.
“I’m sorry bro.” Phemie said.
I looked at him and nodded. I was not finding talking easy at the moment. I looked at my grandmother’s frail figure on the bed. I didn’t realise she had gotten so old.
“Phemie, could you please give me a minute alone with her.”
“Sure bro.”
I waited for him to leave the room then I drew a chair close to the bed and sat. I looked at her face, she looked so peaceful, almost as if she was dead. I shook my head, almost as if that would shake the thought off my mind.
“You are so beautiful.” I said. If Pam could be as beautiful as my grandmother was at seventy two, I would be a very happy seventy six year old man.
I pushed the chair back and sat on the edge of the bed. I picked up one of Grandma’s limp hands and held it between mine. If she could feel how sweaty my palms were, she would berate me so much I would hate myself. I smiled, why did she hate sweaty palms that much?
Pam was on another floor of the hospital and she needed me but so did my grandmother. What was I supposed to do? Which one of them was I supposed to leave? This was the kind of time I needed my grandmother’s advice.
The door of the room opened and I turned to see Phemie standing at the door.
“You need to come Sam.” He said.
“Why?”
“Pam… well, she needs you.”
I looked at my grandmother’s face again, I didn’t want to leave her. Not now, not ever.
“Sam?” Phemie called.
I kissed my grandmother’s hands and placed it carefully on the bed. I would be back for her.

***
I was several metres away when I heard her scream.
“Is that Pam?” I asked Phemie.
I didn’t wait for his reply, I ran to the door of her room and barged in.
“You are not allowed…”A nurse started to say.
“He is my husband.” Pam shouted.
Two nurses and a man – I couldn’t tell if he was a nurse or a doctor and frankly I didn’t care, were with Pam in the room. I ran to the side of the bed and Pam grabbed my hand with such force I couldn’t imagine she possessed.
“I thought you weren’t supposed to go into labour yet.” I said.
“Do you want me to close my legs? Maybe keep the baby in for a while?” Pam asked.
“What?”
“Just shut up and say nice things to me.” She shouted into my ear.
“How can I say nice things if I’m shutting up?” She gave me a look and I immediately learnt how to shut up and talk at the same time. “You are doing great baby, you are doing amazing.”
She screamed and cried and squeezed my hand and it scared me. Her labour escalated very quickly, far more quickly than what my internet searches had told me. She was screaming a lot; that was good but it didn’t look like she was making much progress.
Lord, help me please. Help us.

One hour later…

My hand was numb, I could feel nothing from my wrist up. I wasn’t sure but it looked like Pam had squeezed every drop of blood out of the hand. I looked at her face, I didn’t like what I saw. She was crying, not tears of pain but of frustration. I was not helping because fear wasn’t very much better than frustration. Pam needed me now more than any other time, I knew that.
If only I knew what to say or do.
Maybe I should sing. Of course not, idiot. I was hopeless.
“Pam? How are you feeling?”
“I feel like I just came back from a date with Leonardo DiCaprio.”
“Pam?”
“How does it look like I feel?” She shouted.
Okay, talking wasn’t helping. Maybe singing wouldn’t hurt. I cleared my throat.
“Hello, is it me you are looking for?” I started singing. “I can see it in your eyes, I see it in your smile…”
“What are you doing? You think I want my child to come into the world hearing that?”
I removed my hand from her grip and backed away from her. What did she want from me? I could not keep quiet, I could not talk, I could not sing, what on earth was I supposed to do?
“Maybe you should step out for a while.” The ‘nurse-man’ said.
“Yes, maybe you should.” Pam shouted.
“Maybe I will.” I said to myself and walked out of the room.
Whew! This was harder than I expected. I needed my grandmother and I needed her now. I started to jog towards the staircase leading to her room. Why did this have to happen to her today of all days? I jogged up the stairs, two steps at a time. I slowed to a walk as I approached her room. I was almost at the door when it swung open and Phemie stepped out.
“I was coming for you.” He said. “We are losing her Sam.”
No, we were not. I pushed past him and entered the room. She was surrounded by people; doctors and nurses, I assumed. They were talking and moving around and I could not tell what they were saying or doing.
Grandma, please.
I walked out of the room and leaned against the wall beside the door. So what now, God? You’ll give me a child and take my grandmother on the same day? I punched the wall and winced at the pain.
“God please, let me have both my grandmother and my child alive. My wife too. I can take care of all three of them. I think I can. Please God. Forgive me for all the times I complained about my wife or my grandmother. Have mercy on me and spare them.”
God please.
***
“Mr Aderemi?”
I heard my name and I opened my eyes. I fell asleep at my grandma’s door? I looked up and a doctor stood by my side. She wasn’t smiling. I jumped to my feet.
“How is she?” I asked.
“We don’t know.” She said. “Frankly I think it’s up to her now. We have done all we can, we’ll see what happens.”
“But can’t you…” I started to say.
“Sam.” I heard my name from across the corridor. It was Phemie. “Pam has delivered the baby. Come, come.”
“What?”
“Come now.”
I ran as fast as my legs could carry me to the staircase. I ran past Phemie down the stairs and across the corridor to her room. I burst through the door and stopped. Pam lay on the bed, her head on the pillow. One of the nurses held the bawling baby in her hands. Tears filled my eyes and I let them flow freely. I had a baby. I was a father.
“We need you to cut the umbilical cord please.” One of the nurses said and then added. “Your wife insisted we wait for you.”
I stumbled forward, collected the scissors and cut the cord. The nurse handed the baby to me and I looked, we had a girl. I carried the baby to Pam and handed the baby to her.
“She’s beautiful.” Pam said.
“Just like you.”
“Just like me.” Pam said and chuckled.
“What do we call her?” I asked.
“Oreoluwa.” Pam said.
“After my grandmother?” I smiled.
Pam nodded. I stood back and looked at them; my wife and my cute little angel, I could not believe they both belonged to me.
Maybe they didn’t, maybe I belonged to them.

***
I sat on the edge of Grandma’s bed, one of her hands in both of mine.
“We named the baby after you Grandma.” I said. “One day she’s going to be grown and ask why we named her Oreoluwa, don’t you want to be there to give her the answer?”
She did not answer. Of course she did not, she was unconscious. I could not let her go, I needed her more than ever before. There was no way I could raise the baby to be a great Aderemi when I was barely one myself.
“I still need you Grandma. What do I do to bring you back? Please Grandma, anything.”
Her hand moved in my hand.
“Grandma?”
She opened her eyes and looked at me. “Get your sweaty palms off my hand.”

THE END.

01Aug/16

SAM&PAM; The Wedding

the wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

(PAM)
I tried with no success to sleep through the night so at 2 a.m., Bola and I decided to watch YouTube videos and we cut cucumbers in semi circles to put under our eyes to prevent eye bags.
‘’Bola, do you think we are rushing this?’’ I asked.
‘’No, why do you ask that? I see the way you look at each other, it is the real deal.’’
‘’I have known Sam for just 18 months almost 6 days’’
‘’Pam, let us watch another one of those cool wedding videos, it would lift your spirit’’
‘’Bola you are not listening, I have written just the first five lines of my vows and they suck I tell you. How can I be marrying someone and I can’t write something romantic about him?’’
‘’You are looking for a wrinkle where there is none, I am sure Sam doesn’t care about vows.’’
‘’So when the preacher says, Pam you may now say your vows…’’
‘’You wing it, speak from the heart. Can we get back to the videos and don’t chicken out of this, my dress is too beautiful to go to waste’’
I laughed and went back to watching the videos; I lacketheseht words to communicate how I felt to Bola.
About an hour later Bola dozed off, cucumber slices lopsided on her face, I took a photo to embarrass her with later. Pen in hand I fished my journal out of my bag and was determined to work on my vows.
Five minutes later the blank page was still staring back at me, I decided to flip to the first entry of Sam in my journal. It was the night in Abuja when he showed up unannounced to one of my shows, the napkin I wrote ‘’sincere eyes’’ was tapped to the top of the page and below the napkin I wrote this;

‘’I know I should be scared about the fact that Sam showed up unannounced, but I am not. It feels like I have known him all my life and before you say it, I know it is cheesy. I want to have this endless conversation with him and keep sharing my thoughts with him and waiting to hear his sarcastic response to almost everything.
I think I should stop here, because I am getting ahead of myself, he probably wouldn’t want me around once he gets a load of my weirdness, but I will treasure this experience and maybe finish this song ‘’Sincere Eyes’’ and give muse credit to square frame glasses Sam.’’

I wasn’t afraid after reading this, I knew from the start Sam was special, an important part of my life. I must have lost sight of that with all the wedding preparation, dealing with my mum’s extravagant plans for the wedding and my sister constantly making me second guess all the decisions I made about the wedding.
I loved the reminder my journal gave me.
Maybe Bola was right, I didn’t need an elaborate and perfect vow. I would wing it, speak from my heart.
The alarm on my phone rang it was 5 a.m., I picked up my phone and called Sam.
(SAM)

I waited for the few seconds before the alarm clock would ring. I was awake already so there was no point waiting, it wasn’t like I had slept any throughout the night. It wasn’t smart to have stayed awake for most of the night, a dozing groom wasn’t a good sight anywhere.
Grrrriiiinnnnng!
The alarm rang and I shut it off. I stood from the bed and put on the light. It was 5 am, the beginning of the most important day in my life.
I was supposed to feel great but I didn’t. I looked around my clean and empty hotel room, nothing here gave me any sort of excitement. Of course, the only thing that made me excited these days was in another hotel across town. I smiled, I should be excited, I was about to get united to the one person who could breach my one man band.
My phone rang on my bedside table. I considered ignoring it, everyone should know not to call the groom at this time. I shrugged and picked the phone.
It was Pam. I smiled, why was she calling this early?
“Hello my dear.” She said.
“Isn’t it bad luck to talk to the groom the morning of the wedding before seeing him in church?” I asked.
“What? Where did you hear that?”
“I don’t know. The internet, I think.”
She chuckled. “It is the bride in her dress you are not supposed to see. According to my own internet.”
I paused and let a few seconds of silence pass. I was about to get married, I was committing to spending the rest of my life with another person. Worse still, she would be spending the rest of her life with me. I wasn’t the sort of guy anyone should spend a whole month with, talk more of a lifetime.
“Sam?”
“Yeah?”
“What are you thinking about?”
“Me? Nothing. I was just thinking about the wedding and how beautiful you’ll look.”
“Sam, I’m getting married to you, you think I don’t know when you are lying?”
“Lying? I’m not lying.” I said. “Why did you call by the way? I’m sure you wanted to tell me something.”
“I called to tell you I love you and marrying you is best decision I ever made.”
I swallowed. “You are sure about that?”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
“How do you know this is even a good decision?”
She waited a couple of seconds then said. “Why are you asking me this Sam?”
“You know how much of a loner I was before I met you. What if I can’t cope spending so much time with someone else?”
“You spend a lot of time with your grandmother.”
“Sure but that woman is the definition of long suffering.”
“I can’t believe this.” She said.
“What?”
She laughed. “Sam is getting cold feet.”
“What?”
“Isn’t it the girl who is allowed to have cold feet?”
“Cold feet? I’m raising legitimate concerns here.”
“Okay, Mr Sam. Thank you for raising your very legitimate concerns, I will put them under advisement. In the meantime, I just want to tell you, I love you, so much. And when I say ‘I do’, it will be the best two words I have ever spoken. Take care dear, see you in church.”
She ended the call and for a few seconds I stared at the phone and replayed our conversation in my mind. Cold feet? Was that what this was, cold feet?
A knock sounded on my door and I looked up. Why was anyone at my door this early? It wasn’t even 5:30 AM yet. It couldn’t the Phemie, the guy would not be up till I woke him.
I walked to the door, unlocked and opened it.
“Samuel.”
It was my grandmother.
“What are you doing here so early?” I asked.
“Will you allow me in or interrogate me first?”
I stepped aside and she walked into the room. I closed the door and followed her in.
“Seriously grandma, it’s not even 6 yet.”
“Do you realize this is the last time I will be able to enter your room this early? From tomorrow morning, your room belongs to you and your wife, off-limits to grandmothers.”
I smiled and put an arm around her shoulders.
“You will always be welcomed in my room.”
“We both know that’s not true so let me get to the point so I can be out of here.”
She sat on the edge of the bed and I sat beside her.
“I have something for you.” She said.
She pulled out an ivory box from somewhere in her long dress and handed it to me.
“Didn’t you already give me this?” I asked.
“Just open it.” She said. “You ask too many questions.”
I opened the box and inside it was a shield- shaped golden brooch.
“That belonged to your grandfather. I was going to have it buried with me, silly I know, but that was my plan.”
“It’s not silly. If this belonged to him, burying it with you many, many years from now, is what we will do.” I said.
I handed the brooch back to her but she pushed it back to me.
“I gave him this brooch on our wedding day and it was for a reason. As I pinned the brooch to his suit that morning, I said some words to him and I’m saying the same to you now.”
I sat up and looked at her old but beautiful face. Whatever she was about to tell me meant the world to her.
“Pam is leaving life as she knows it to become your wife. She will carry your troubles, she will carry your babies, she will carry you. She is going to be a lot of things to you and you will be a lot of things to her. More than anything, please be her shield; her protector. I know you’ll do a great job of this.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know about that Grandma.”
“You give yourself so little credit.” She said. “For years now, you have been my shield. Protecting me from anything that could hurt me, even myself sometimes. If you could do it for a frail old woman, I’m sure you can do it for your young beautiful wife.”
I smiled and looked at my grandmother. How on earth did I shield or protect this woman?
“I couldn’t have asked for better grandson than you Samuel. And Pam couldn’t have asked for a better husband.”
She stood and walked to the door and opened.
“Grandma.” I called out to her. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mother than you.”
She smiled and closed the door behind her.
I picked my phone and typed out a text for Pam.
My feet are as hot as hell babe, let’s do this.

***
I stood in my Tuxedo in front of the church feeling weird. Nobody seemed to care about me though, that was the great thing. The hymn had started and Pam would be walking down the aisle in a minute. I didn’t know if I was supposed to but I turned and faced the door she would come through, I couldn’t wait to see her.
A figure blocked the sunrays coming through the door and there she stood. She had a veil over her face but I could see her smile. I could feel it. If my feet were hot before, they were on fire now. I could not imagine not doing this. I felt a sudden urge to run up the aisle to hurry her to the altar but I resisted, I could wait a few more minutes.
She took forever, like I expected but finally she stood by my side. Her face was uncovered and she was beaming. She kept her eyes on the minister, avoiding mine but I couldn’t help but stare.
“Stop it.” She whispered.
“Stop what?” I whispered back.
“Stop drooling.” She said.
I wanted to, I attempted to but I couldn’t. The service was all a blur to me until they came to the part I was eagerly waiting for; the vows.
The piece of paper with my vows was safely tucked in the pocket of my suit since the night before.
I looked at Pam, she would love this. I dipped my hand in my breast pocket, where the piece of paper was hidden; there was nothing there. What? No. This was the proposal all over again? I was sure I put the paper in that pocket.
The Minister was starting to look at me weird, Pam was confused too and the congregation were beginning to stir. How on earth did I lose that paper?
“Pamilerin Ademola,” I started. “I, Samuel Aderemi take you as my…” I stopped.
The stir in the church got louder. The minister leaned close to me and whispered something, I didn’t hear it. Why couldn’t I remember what I wrote? Lord help me. Maybe I should wing this. Words weren’t my specialty but maybe I could wing this.
“Pamilerin Ademola,” I said and the church went silent. Lord help me. “Every time I sit with my computer to start on a new programming project, I ask myself an important question. Why am I doing this? More often than not, I come up with great answers. But once in a while when I don’t find any great answers, I just tell myself; ‘because of the money fool’. “The congregation laughed and Pam smiled. That was great, I could maybe pull this off. “I stand before you and this great congregation of witnesses today about to launch the most important project of my life. And I ask myself; why am I doing this? I can give you a thousand and one reasons but I’ll just stick to three. One; I love you. Two; I’d be like the moon without the sun – just another thing swimming around the universe without any usefulness to the earth.” Was that geographically correct? Who cares, I was on a roll. “Three; we are so perfect together, we owe the world to make this happen. And of course, because of the money fool.”
The church laughed again. The minister looked at me, was I done? Was I? I couldn’t end with a joke.
“Pam, I thought my life was great alone but you’ve shown me there was a reason God created Eve. And even though I don’t know when the surgery was performed, like Eve you are the bone of my bone and the flesh of my flesh. Seeing how beautiful you are, I know the flesh came from my heart and not my face.”
Pam chuckled and I winked at her.
“You are my Sun; the centre of my universe and I promise for the rest of our lives, I will stay in my orbit, my life forever revolving around you.”
I looked at Minister’s face, he didn’t quite approve of my jokes. I was sure when I watched this wedding again, I would be ashamed of myself too. For now, Pam was smiling and that made me happy.
The Minister turned to Pam. She didn’t have any paper with her. Did she memorize her vows or was she winging this too?
“My dear Sam…” She started.

(PAM)

‘’My dear Sam, thank you for showing up uninvited to Abuja. You started us on a journey that is leading us to forever and for that I would forever be grateful. Thank you for loving me with my bad mouth, tantrums and ever changing moods. Thank you for being patient, never getting tired of explaining to me how technology makes the world better place and though I’m yet to agree with you on that, you have forever to prove your case.
I felt intimidated at first with your relationship with your Grandma, how close you are to her, but you have shown me time and time again that I have a place with you. I can’t replace Grandma, but in your own words I have a special place with you. I have reached parts of you that no one has access to, so you will never let me go.
I am excited for our future, our adventures and the children that would come. I love you Sam. I promise to take care of you through thick and thin, be your number one cheerleader and constant support system.
Sam thank you.’’

(SAM)

The Minister looked at us, smiled and closed his booklet. Yeah, he was winging it too.
“As long as these children have spoken these wonderful and somewhat peculiar words from their hearts and made these promises before God and these many witnesses, by the power vested on me I now pronounce Samuel and Pamilerin, husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Pam stepped closer to me and I put my left arm around her.
“Nice to meet you, Mrs Sam.” I said.
“Would you kiss me already?”
I leaned closer to her and she closed her eyes. I paused and studied her face, she was everything I prayed for. If my parents were looking down at me, they would be proud.
I pressed my lips against hers.
In that one beautiful moment, I heard the applause of angels. Oh, maybe it was just the congregation.

01Aug/16

SAM&PAM; The Proposal

the proposal

 

 

 

 

 

 

(SAM)
“How long am I going to have this thing for?” I whispered to myself.
My door creaked open and I threw the ring under my blanket. My grandmother entered the room, a smirk on her face.
“Grandma, I’ve told you to always knock before you enter my room.” I said.
“Why?” She asked.
“What if I was naked?”
“Naked?” She scoffed. “I bathed you for years, remember?”
“Well, a lot has changed since the last time you bathed me, okay? Come on.”
“Remember when you were very sick two years ago and you vomited all over yourself, who do you think changed your clothes?” She asked. “Including your underwear.”
I closed my eyes. “Can we not talk about this anymore, please?”
“All I’m saying is, I can enter this room anytime I want.”
I shook my head and sat up on the bed.
“Okay, I hear you. What do you want?”
“May I sit?” She asked.
She sat before I replied.
“Thank you.” She said and I laughed. “I want to ask you something important.”
I moved closer to her.
“It’s been six months Samuel, what’s going on?”
I raised an eyebrow. “What’s going on with what?”
“I gave you that ring six months ago and I thought we both agreed you were ready to use it.”
I leaned back on my bed and laughed. “Are you serious? That is what you want to ask?”
“Stop laughing at something that has been giving me sleepless nights.”
“Sleepless nights? I’ve been checking on you at night and you have been sleeping soundly.”
“Okay, I have been having metaphorical sleepless nights.” She said. “I am serious Samuel, what’s going on?”
I looked at my grandmother and wondered at her. It was almost as if she was psychic, she always knew when something was disturbing me. I was not sure I wanted to discuss this with her though. I could laugh it off, buy myself a few more weeks, or maybe it was time to face this and talk to the one person who would understand.
“Samuel, I know you are thinking whether to talk about it or not.” Grandma said. “You will have to at some point, why not do it now?”
“You read my mind again.” I said.
“That’s what grandmothers do.” She moved closer to me and put a finger below my chin and pushed it up. “Talk.”
“Okay, I will.” I said. “I’ve looked at that ring every single day since you gave it to me. I know what I should do with it but I keep asking myself if the time is right.”
“And you tell yourself ‘no’?”
“Not really. I tell myself ‘I don’t know’ because I don’t. What if I think I am ready and she isn’t?”
“That’s a good point, she might not be.”
“You think so too, right?”
“But you’ll never know except you ask her.”
“That’s very risky? What if I ask and she says ‘no’? You think I have insecurities now? I will be worse than a country in the middle of a civil war.”
She laughed. “Getting a ‘no’ is not that bad. I said ‘no’ to a boy once.”
I gasped. “No way.”
“It’s a long story, definitely not for today.” She said. “Look dear, the whole idea of marriage is a risk. A lot can go right and a lot can go wrong. But unlike that useless IPad you bought me, marriage doesn’t come with warranties or guarantees, you have to take a chance.”
“Okay, first of all, never call an IPad useless, that is a sin. Secondly, if marriage is such a huge risk, why does everyone seem so eager to jump into it? The odds of dying from base-jumping from a plane are lower than the odds of getting a divorce but I don’t see many people base-jumping.”
“Please don’t ever do that thing, I’m not ready to bury little pieces of you.” She said, squeezing her face in disgust. “You want to know why everyone is jumping into marriage? Because if you get it right, if you make it work, it is the best thing in the world.”
I opened my mouth to respond but my phone rang and I reached for it. Pam was calling.
I showed Grandma the phone. “I have to take this.”
“Okay, I will leave. Just remember what I said and don’t be a sissy.”
I smiled as she walked out of my room.
I answered the call. “Sweetie.”
“Hello dear.” She sounded so excited. “So I know this is last minute and I’m so sorry but Bola is having a show today and we have to be there.”
“Wow, this is really short notice.”
“I know, I know, I’m sorry but we have to go.”
“I don’t know…” I started to say then my eye fell on the ivory box on the edge of my bed. My eyes brightened, I had an idea. “You know what, I will pick you up. Let’s do it.”
“Are you serious?” She asked.
“Yes I am. I have to go, I have to do some things real quick.”
“Okay Mister Flash, see you later then.”
She ended the call and I threw my phone on the bed. I sprang from the bed and ran through my door and to the living room. My grandmother was sitting, staring at the television.
“I’m going to do it today.” I shouted.
“Calm yourself, what are you doing today?”
“I’m going to ask her to marry me today.” I said.
“Ask who?”
I sighed. “The queen of England.”
“Isn’t she a little too old for you?”
“Come one grandma, I’m asking Pam today.”
“Are you sure? You didn’t want to just a few minutes ago.”
“It is a risk and I’m willing to take it.”
“Samuel…”
“Do you want to come?”
She shook her head. “No way, it will be too much of a risk for my heart if she says no.”
“Didn’t you just say it is good to take risks?”
“I’m old, I can’t remember what I said.” She stood and hugged me. “I’m really proud of you dear.”
“Save the hugs, I might need them more if she says no.”
I dashed towards my room but stopped and returned to the living room.
“Grandma, you really said ‘no’ to a guy?” I asked. “Not cool, not cool at all.”
I ran back into my room, picked the ivory box and put it in my trouser pocket. I really was going to do this.
***
(PAM)
‘’I don’t like the thing you do with your nose when you get frustrated.’’ Sam said.
I was navigating with google maps and he was driving, we were trying to locate the venue of Bola’s show, it was a Jazz night with a number of other Lagos based Jazz musicians.
It felt like we had being going in circles for the last 30 minutes and we were already late for the show.
‘’In 200meters take the next exit.’’ my phone chimed, I closed the Google maps app and connected my phone to the car charger.
‘’We should call a bike man.’’ I said
‘’In this century? We would be ‘dashing’ people money when we can figure it out ourselves? Please keep navigating.’’ Sam said.
‘’Sam we are already late, the map has sent us up and down this bridge three times, please can we just call a bike man?’’
‘’One more time with the map and we would call the bike man.’’
I decided to indulge him and opened the map.
‘’So the next exit?’’ He asked
‘’Yes.’’
In no time we were back on the bridge
‘’I’m sorry we are late.’’ Sam said.
‘’It is fine, as long as we get there before Bola performs.’’
The map chimed away, giving us directions. When Sam didn’t understand a direction he asked for clarification and I gave it to him.
‘’Your destination is to your right.’’ The map sounded.
I looked from my phone and out the window, this wasn’t our destination.
‘’This map is pointless.’’ I said.
Sam tapped me and pointed out the building to me
‘’The Old Hunt.’’
In usually Lagos style there was no visible parking space and it took another ten minutes to find a place to pack the car.
We walked side by side, no body contact, I made sure of it. Why didn’t he just let us call a bike man and we would have made it here in time. Sam could be so stubborn.
‘’I’m sorry we are late.’’ Sam said.
I didn’t look in his direction or acknowledge his apology. He covered the distance between us in one swift movement and draped his arm across my shoulder and drew me into a side hug and kissed the top of my head. I didn’t have the energy to be angry after that, I wrapped my hands around his waist and we made our way to ‘The Old Hunt’.
As we walked in I noticed my sister was seated at one of the tables with two of my cousins. I’d told her about the event but it as a formality because she never shows up when I invite her for events.
Sam found an empty table at the back for us to sit, my eyes met Bola’s and she came over to greet us.
‘’Where is John?’’ I asked.
‘’He is helping the sound guy, one of his guys didn’t show up.’’ she replied.
‘’I see.’’
‘’This feels different in a really good way.’’ Bola said
‘’Once you are happy I am happy.’’ I said and I meant it.
‘’I’m up next, got to go.’’ She said.
“Good luck.” Sam said.
She walked back to the stage and took her place in front of the microphone. The first song on Bola’s set was one of my favourite songs. ‘Make You Feel My Love’, I made her do a duet of the song with me in our first year of University at a departmental variety night. She’d managed to incorporate a trumpet solo into the song.
The next song was the song we used to call our break up song; ‘Blow me one Last Kiss’ by Pink. Her next two songs were original songs; we co-wrote one of the songs. The last song on the set to my surprise was ‘Where I Sleep’.
In the aftermath my big fight with Sam, this became our song. Sam loved the song, I’d never heard the song till he played it for me one evening after our visit to his parent’s burial ground. It didn’t take long for it to become my favourite song also.
Who told Bola about this song? Why was it even on her playlist?
‘’Sam, why is Bola singing our song?’’
Sam shrugged like he didn’t know what I was talking about.
I looked up and my cousins, sister, Phemie and his girlfriend materialised around our table holding up IPads with one word each on the display screen coming together to ask me the last question I expected Sam to ever ask;
Pam, Will You Marry Me?
***
SAM
Everything had gone as planned up till this point, it was my turn now. I stood away from my chair, went on one knee, my heart pounding and removed the box from my pocket. I opened the box and echoed what the IPads already asked.
“Pam, will you marry me?”
She looked at the box and looked at me and her hands went to her mouth. She stood still, looking at me for an eternity, two centuries and four days. What was going on in her head? Was she going to say no? My smile was starting to disappear and my pounding heart was starting to ache.
“Pam?” I said, my voice shaking.
“Yes Sam, of course I will.” She said.
I closed my eyes and thanked God, my ancestors and whoever else had just saved me from having a heart explosion.
“Give her the ring, you idiot.” Phemie’s voice brought me back.
I dipped my hand in the box to pick the ring, my hand found nothing. I turned the box to face me and looked at it, the ring was not in it. Oh lord, what was going on? I bowed my head, how did I blow this? Did I lose my grandmother’s ring?
“Sam?” Pam called.
I could not look up at her.
“Sam, the ring is beautiful.”
What? I looked up and there it was, the ring was on her finger. How on earth did that happen?
“I’m sorry people, my idiot grandson left the ring under his blanket at home.”
Grandma! She had saved my life once again.
She leaned close to my ear and whispered, “You better thank God for Uber and that useless IPad you bought for me.”
“Aren’t you going to stand up?” Pam asked.
I hadn’t realised I was still on my knees. I stood and drew Pam into my arms.
“Are you sure you want to marry a guy who needs his grandma to save his proposal?” I asked.
“If you have any of your grandmother’s genes in you, then I’m sure I won’t regret this.”
“I guess we will be fine then.”
I saw the way she looked at me and I was sure this was a risk worth taking.

01Aug/16

SAM&PAM; The Making

the making

 

 

 

 

 

 

(PAM)
‘’Pam I didn’t feel you emotionally in the songs.’’ The band director said to me after the first half of the set. ‘’You are getting away with it because your technique is on point, get yourself together for the rest of the set.’’
I nodded and sighed. I knew myself, to sing these songs with emotion I needed to think of Sam. This show was too important to me, I couldn’t afford to blow it.
I walked to the bar and sat on one of the stools and looked out at the crowd, I saw Bola in the crowd. She was smiling away at her date, a guy she was yet to tell me about. That was Bola, she wasn’t one to waste time moping over a guy.
‘’Is this seat taken?’’
I turned to look at the person who asked.
‘’Sam, what are you doing here?’’
‘’I couldn’t miss your first solo show, you should know that.” He said. “Do you want me to leave?’’
‘’No, Please stay.’’ I said.
We sat in silence for a few minutes and I fiddled with the cup in front of me while he stared into space.
‘’Sorry about what I said about your parents.’’ I said without looking him in the face.
‘’I deserved it.’’ He said.
I shook my head. ‘’No you didn’t, no one deserves that, ever.’’
‘’Are you still open to working on this?” he asked.
I nodded.
‘’Pam we need you.’’ The band director called out to me.
Sam held my hand and squeezed it. ‘’All the best.’’ He said and let go.
I felt ready for the second half of the set and I was. I looked at Sam’s smiling face from the first song, through all of the songs and until the very last one.
The band director walked up to me when we were done.
‘’That was beautiful Pam. You practically saved yourself from having a stillborn solo career.’’
I smiled and walked to where Sam sat on the bar stool, the stool next to him was taken, so I leaned into him and he wrapped his hand around me. We still had a lot to talk about, but it was crazy if I thought I was ready to let this guy go.

***
(SAM)
“Sam?” Grandma’s raspy voice came from behind my door.
I opened my eyes and rolled off the bed. I would have pretended to still be asleep but I knew she was sleeping too so if she was awake and waking me up, it was important. I walked to the door and opened it.
“You have a visitor.” She said.
“Who is it?” I asked.
“Come out and find out.” She said and walked away from me. “Please put on a shirt. Nobody wants to see your hairy chest.”
I closed the door and fished out a t-shirt from my wardrobe. Who was visiting me at this time? I had a date planned with Pam in two hours, I didn’t want anyone or anything messing with my plans. I walked out of my room and towards the living room.
Her perfume announced her presence before I laid eyes on her.
“Pam.” I called out as I entered the living room.
She stood and met me halfway into the living room. I stretched my hands and hugged her. Her hands went around me but didn’t go around my waist, they went up to my neck. I felt something drop on my neck and she stepped back.
I looked down at my neck and saw a chain with a somewhat large and strange pendant resting on my chest.
“What is this?” I asked.
“My way of saying, ‘I am sorry’.” She said.
I removed the chain. “Sorry for what?”
I looked at the pendant closely, it was heart-shaped and thick. It was beautiful but I felt like there was something I was missing.
“I like it.” I said, still a little unsure of what I was looking at.
“Give it to me.” She stretched her hand and I dropped it in her palm.
She pushed or maybe pulled something on the pendant and it opened. She handed it back to me.
I looked inside the pendant and I stood still. I opened my mouth then closed it. I looked up at her and my eyes teared up. I looked down at the open pendant again. On each side of the pendant were pictures of my parents in their army uniforms.
“How did you…?”
“Your grandma helped.”
“And you thought of all of this between yesterday and…?”
“And today, yes. Where there is a will…”
I chuckled and sniffled, all at the same time. I reached for a chair and sat.
“I don’t know what to say.”
“You can say you love it.” She said and sat on the arm of my chair.
I looked up at her. “I love you.”
“And you said you don’t know what to say?” Her smile was so bright. “I love you too Sam.”
I felt my heart would burst from the emotion I felt in that one moment. I looked at the pendant again, I wasn’t worthy of this.
I stood and pulled Pam to her feet. I put the necklace around her neck, it looked better on her.
“What are you doing Sam?” She asked and made to remove the necklace.
“Don’t remove it. You should wear it, I’m sure my parents would want you to.”
She smiled. “They won’t, they don’t even know me. You are their son, surely they…”
“I’m their son who hated them for years. All these years, I never thought to do what you thought about in a few hours.”
“You didn’t hate them, you were just hurt.”
“Same difference.” I said. “It’s good if you wear it. At least now they will always be close to love.”
“And love is me?” She laughed.
“You know this is a great setup for something I had planned for today.”
“Really? You planned to give me a necklace with my parents’ faces on it?”
“What?”
She laughed. “I’m kidding.”
I shook my head. “Let me get dressed and we’ll go out.”
I headed for my room, stopped and looked back at the necklace, it was the best gift I had ever received. No, she was the best gift I ever received.
***
“This is supposed to be a date Grandma.” I said, sliding the gear into park.
“Who said I can’t go on a date with my favourite grandson and his lovely girlfriend?”
“Nobody said so ma.” Pam said. She punched me on the shoulder. “Stop disturbing your grandma.”
I opened the door, stepped out of the car and looked at the gate I was about to enter. The faded sign read ‘Hope Cemetery’. I was actually grateful my grandma decided to come. I had not been here since the day my parents were buried and I had no idea how to find their graves. It was already emotionally stressful, adding the confusion of finding their grave would have made this worse.
“And don’t deceive yourself, this isn’t a date.” Grandma called from the other side of the car. “You’re simply doing what you should have done years ago.”
I smiled and watched her shuffle toward the gate. Pam came over to my side of the car and looked up at me.
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
I nodded.
“And you don’t think you should do it alone? This is personal.”
“You’re the one carrying them on your chest, they’ll be more pleased to see you.”
She smiled. “Are you sure?”
“Let’s go.”
I closed the door and we followed my grandmother.
“Do you even know where their graves are?” Pam asked.
“No. I’m so lucky grandma decided to come.”
“It’s not luck Sam. Your grandmother is a lot wiser than you are.”
She was right, Grandma probably anticipated my challenge. We walked without saying anything. Walking through a place filled with dead bodies seemed to take away any words I could have, I would save them for the car ride back home.
Grandma kept walking and I kept reading the headstones as we walked. My parents were young when they died but I saw people who died younger than they did. Some even younger than I was at the moment.
“Makes you think about how you live your life, doesn’t it?” Pam asked.
“What? The graves? Oh yeah, it does.”
Grandma stopped ahead of us and my eyes went to the headstones in front of her. I swallowed as memories came rushing back. They were not many but they were strong. People walking past me without as much as glance, all of them giving their condolences to my grandmother. The few that looked at me, shook their head in pity.
“Are you okay?” Pam asked.
“Yeah.” I said.
She ran from my side to my grandmother’s, she wasn’t talking to me. I ran after her. My grandmother was crying, her small body vibrating with each sob. Pam already had an arm around her so I just stood beside them trying my best not to join my grandmother in tears. She did not cry when they died, I wondered why she cried now.
“Should we go back to the car?” Pam asked, she looked at me with worry in her eyes. She was surprised to see Grandma cry too.
“No, no please.” Grandma said.
She wiped her eyes with the sleeves of her sweater. She stopped sobbing but the tears still flowed down her cheeks. She smiled and looked at Pam, then at me.
“Pam dear, could you please give me a moment with Samuel?” Grandma said.
“Of course.” Pam said and she walked away from us.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Why? Because I cried?”
“Yes, you never cry.”
She smiled. “My dear, I cry all the time. I’m just smart enough not to let you see me cry.”
“All this time I thought you were Wonder Woman, I didn’t know you were just …Woman.”
She slapped my wrist. “This is no time for jokes.”
We stood and stared at the headstones for a minute.
“When your parents died in that accident, they left everything they had to you.” She said.
“I know and I gave it all away.” I said. “Foolishly, I should add. I know that now.”
“You gave it all away because you were angry at your parents, so yeah, foolishly.”
“There’s no need to emphasize the foolishness, not-Wonder Woman.”
She sighed and looked at me. “I didn’t give you everything they left for you at the time.”
“What?”
“I kept something back, it was the right thing to do.”
“Are you saying I might be the owner of a property in say, Asokoro? London? It’s Dubai, isn’t it?”
“Again, you’re making jokes.”
“I’m sorry, I’m just super excited.”
“I have it here with me and I think it’s time I gave it to you.” She said.
“You have a house inside your bag? Or wait, you have the papers?”
“Stop playing around Samuel or you won’t get anything from me.”
I smiled and put my arm around her shoulder.
“Okay, I’m serious now. What is this one thing you kept?”
She dipped a hand in her bag, brought out an ivory box and handed it to me. It was small, kind of like the case of the cufflinks she got me for my birthday.
“What is this?” I asked.
“Open it.” She said.
I opened it; inside the box was a ring. I removed the ring and held it closer to my eyes.
“That ring belonged to your mother and it belonged to me once.”
My eyes watered again and this time I was not fighting the tears.
“Grandma, are you sure you want me to have this?”
“Yes, the time is right.” She said. “I promised myself not to give it to you until you were ready and believe me I would have taken it to my grave if you were never ready for it.”
“And you think I am?”
“Don’t you think you are?” She asked.
I looked beyond my grandmother to where Pam stood, looking at her phone. She looked up and saw me looking at her, she smiled and waved. I smiled and returned my gaze to Grandma.
“I am, I think I’m ready.”

01Aug/16

SAM&PAM; The Time InBetween

the time inbetween

 

 

 

 

 

 

(SAM)
I looked at my watch and shook my head.
“She’s not coming Grandma, I am so sure.” I said.
Grandma looked at me with her all-knowing eyes, shook her head and went back to watching TV.
“You’re not going to say anything? Really?”
“I said something thirty minutes ago when you started to panic, why do I need to say something now?”
“She was thirty minutes late then, now she’s one hour late.” I said.
Still she said nothing.
I was not a very time conscious person, so it wasn’t Pam’s lateness that I had a problem with. I know that much. I was scared she was going to leave me; that was Grandma said. I don’t agree with her but even if she’s right, I have a good reason to fear.
It was three months already into our relationship and things which had started really great were starting to cool down. She cancelled on dates on a whim, she always had a gig, she had practice sessions all the time; it was exhausting.
“Sam.” Grandma called me. “Sit down, you’re making me nervous.”
I sat.
“What is your problem exactly? Are you angry she is late?”
“Of course I am. One hour is a long time. And she was the one who said we should go see the play, I didn’t even want to go.”
“Have you called her?”
“No. Why should I?”
“Did you consider that she may be hurt? Stuck in traffic? Anything could be wrong.”
She was right. I had not considered that. I dialled her number and waited.
She answered. “Hello Sam, I’m sorry. I will soon be at your place.”
“Are you okay? Hurt? Stuck in traffic?” I asked.
“No, no, I left the house later than I planned. I’m sorry, I will explain when I get over there.”
She ended the call.
“That is it! I am breaking up with her.” I said.
“Really? Congratulations dear.” Grandma said.
“What?” What did she mean?
“Now you can leave her before she leaves you.” She said.
“Who said she was going to leave me?”
She waved her hand. “Don’t mind me, what do I know?”
I moved closer to her. “Grandma, why did you say she was going to leave me?”
“Because everyone leaves, don’t they?”
“You didn’t.”
“Well everyone but me.”
I stood up, I wasn’t having this conversation with her. She wasn’t Doctor Phil and I wasn’t a poor old woman in emotional turmoil. This was between my girlfriend and I, we would sort our issues.
“Have you taken your meds Grandma?”
“Stop talking to me like I’m a poor old wretched woman who doesn’t know when to take her drugs.”
“Because you aren’t?”
“Because I am not.”
“Okay.” I said. “So have you taken them?”
“Shut up.”
She rose from her seat and walked to her medicine cabinet. I shook my head and laughed. A knock sounded on the door and I went to open it. It was Pam. I opened the door and walked away from it without a word. She closed the door behind her and hurried after me. She got close and hugged me from behind.
“I’m very sorry.” She said, very softly.
This was the simple reason why I couldn’t break up with her; I couldn’t say no to her apologies. And she also smelt really good.
“What is your excuse this time?” I asked. I had to keep up my angry façade.
“Do you really want to hear it?”
“If I didn’t I wouldn’t have asked.”
“Alright sir. So I was all dressed up to come when I got a call…”
“You know what, forget it.” I wasn’t really interested in her excuse. “You of course know that the play is not an option anymore.”
“Don’t act like you’re disappointed, you didn’t want to see it anyway.”
“Well, you got that right. I believe you have now lost all right to ask me to see that play.”
Where was my Grandmother? She was taking too long with her pills.
“Hold on, I need to check Grandma.” I said.
“Is she okay?”
I didn’t respond, I walked to the kitchen where Grandma had gone to get water. She was there, leaning against a wall, cup of water in hand and tears in her eyes. When she saw me, she wiped the tears and smiled.
This was not good, I had never seen my Grandma cry, not even when I lost my parents.
“I am fine Sam, just relax.” She said before I could say a word.
“What is wrong Grandma?” My eyes were a little watery myself.
“Wrong? Nothing is wrong. I just had a moment.”
I collected the cup from her and set it on the sink. I held her tiny hands in mine.
“Grandma talk to me. If nothing’s wrong, why are you crying?” I asked.
“Not all tears are sad.”
“Grandma?”
“Okay. I saw you with Pam just now and I had a moment.”
I smiled. “You remembered Grandpa, right?”
“Not really.” She said with a smile. “I remembered your parents.”
I released her hands. My parents were not a subject I wanted to discuss very much. Pam came into the kitchen, noticed the mood in the room and stopped at the door.
“Have you told her about them?” Grandma asked, nodding at Pam.
“Could we please not talk about that now, we have a play to get to.”
“We are already too late for the play Sam.” Pam said and entered the kitchen.
“I’ve never told anyone this, not even Femi.” I said.
“What is it Sam?” Pam asked.
“I’ll leave you two.” Grandma said.
She patted me on the back and left the kitchen. I walked over to the kitchen window and stared out into my estate. I had not seen the view through my kitchen window very often and the tears in my eyes were preventing me again this time. Pam joined me by the window and put an arm around me.
“My parents died when I was three. I barely remember anything about my mom. My dad; I remember nothing of.” I said.
“I’m sorry dear.” Pam said. “How did it happen?”
“They were both in the army, can you imagine that? They just left me with Grandma most of the time. What kind of parents leaves their only child to be soldiers? Both of them!”
“I’m sure they loved you very much, it was just something they had to do.”
“You sound just like my Grandma.”
“Were they killed in a war?”
“No they weren’t. At least that would have gotten them recognition of some sort.” I stopped and fought back the tears that were threatening to burst. “They died in a car accident somewhere in Kano.”
She pulled me closer and hugged me.
“I’m so sorry dear.” She said. “At least you have an awesome grandmother to take care of you.”
“I think I’m the one who took care of her.” I said. “At three years old I was already smarter than she was.
She laughed. “I bet you were.”
She released me from the hug and cleaned the tears in my eyes with her sleeves.
“Thank you for telling me this.” She said.
I nodded and kissed her on the forehead.
I was definitely not breaking up with her now, not with the way I felt at the moment. Will I feel the same tomorrow when she cancels another date on a whim?

***
(PAM)
I was at weekly catch up lunch with my friend Bola; she plays the trumpet and is a Jazz musician.
‘’Have you picked out the songs for your solo show?’’ Bola asked.
‘’Yes, I have but I am not telling you’’ I said
‘’Come on now’’ she said batting her eyelashes at me
‘’I am not John oh! Those your eyes don’t work on me’’
‘’John and I broke up’’
‘’Ah! When? What happened?’’
‘’It just didn’t work out’’ Bola answered with an almost smile. ‘’We are changing the topic, how is Sam?’’
‘’He should be fine. I could be joining you in the singles department very soon’’ I replied
I went on to tell about how distant Sam had become since the weekend of our failed date to see the play, the one word replies he gave when we talked on the phone and it felt like he was pushing me away.
‘’You should talk to him about it.’’ Bola said.
‘’Bola you know I suck at these kind of conversations, what would I say? ‘Sam you are running away from me?’’’
‘’Do you like him?’’ she asked.
I nodded in response.
‘’Then talk to him’’ she said.
****
Things were getting worse, at least that is how they looked to me. I always wanted to visit one of the parks at Alausa in Lagos state so I practically had to drag Sam out of his house that Saturday evening. I looked at him sitting in front of me and wondered what was going on.
‘’Sam, are we fine?’’ I asked him.
‘’Where is this coming from? Are you looking for a reason to leave me?’’ he asked.
I sighed.
‘’No, only if you want me to.’’ I answered.
He looked straight ahead and didn’t say anything.
‘’We are not us, our conversation feel forced like you are holding back and I am oversharing.’’ I said. ‘’I want us to work on it.’’
He turned on the bench, looked at me and said.
‘’Everyone leaves eventually, you can exit early I wouldn’t hold it against you.’’
I looked at him; my Sam – the Sam I thought I knew, wouldn’t say that to me, I clenched my fingers and released it to keep from screaming at him.
‘’Why are you twisting my words?’’
“You are the one looking for problems where there are none, you can break up with me if that is what you want to, but stop fishing for problems’’ he said
‘’I am not going to join the army and die in an accident if that is what you are waiting for.’’ I left bench, got into my car and drove off.
When I got home I remembered that Sam didn’t have a ride home and I left my camera and journal on the table, he could walk home if he liked but I hope he didn’t read my journal and that he keeps my camera.
***
I hadn’t spoken to Sam in the last 5 days; he sent me a text to ask if I got home fine the Saturday of the fight and I just got another text from him ‘’Hello?’’
Who sends that? I thought to myself and continued reading my novel; my sister walked in and yanked it out of my hand
‘’You have chased Sam away abi? That is why you are walking around with a long face and no smile’’ She said. ‘’You and your bad mouth and shapeless dresses’’
‘’Shut up and get out.’’ I screamed at her.
She dropped my novel on the bed and walked out but not before she added. ‘’You are getting old oh. Do you want to live in our house forever?’’
I threw my novel at her and she ran out the room.
I remembered the hateful comment I said to Sam about his parents, my sister was right about one thing; I do have bad mouth. He was never going to forgive me for that, I thought. I didn’t even forgive me for that statement, he told me something personal and I threw it back in his face.
Maybe Sam was right I was looking for an easy escape, but this wasn’t just my problem, right? I hated the state I was in, seconding guessing myself.
I had a show that night; I decided to push Sam to the back of my mind and focus on the show. I would fix things with Sam.
If they were still fixable.

01Aug/16

SAM&PAM; The First Date

the first date

 

 

 

 

 

 

(PAM)

I am not sure which is worse, a guy that plays the grandmother card or mother card. I didn’t dwell on that too long, in my line of work many men hit on me and just a few of them are sincere and when I looked into Sam’s the first night I met him I knew he was. Even when he used all those smooth lines, I heard the undertone of shyness of a person out of his comfort zone.
Right after the concert that night, I began a one month long tour with my band across Nigeria. I played hard to get with Sam when he called for the first week of the tour, giving him one line answers and shutting down all his attempts to get to know me.
The tour was in Abuja that week, I was lost in the lyrics of the song I was singing when I saw him, standing right in front, his big square framed glasses hanging on the bridge of his nose. We went for drinks after the show that night.
‘’Pam, why are you shutting me down?’’ he asked with a smile. I didn’t have any good answer for him. ‘’Will you let me take you on a date when you get back to Lagos?’’
I nodded, I couldn’t find my voice, everything about him sent me into overdrive and I could hear the words to a new song forming,
You are going ahead of yourself Pam, I tried to caution myself, but I knew it was half hearted.
We talked till 1 am that night.
‘’I should go, I have long rehearsals in the morning’’ I said, but I didn’t make any move to stand up.
He didn’t either.
‘’Will you be at the show tomorrow?’’ I asked
‘’No I am going back to Lagos with the first flight.’’ he said
‘’Okay, so I have three weeks to look forward to our date then.’’
He walked me to where the cabs were packed, I got into one and watched his retreating figure and wished I could talk with him till daybreak.
****
Sam and I fell into a routine that worked, he knew all my rehearsal times, the time for all my shows. He knew when to call and we texted constantly, I made him download snapchat so I could share all the beautiful places across Nigeria I was visiting.
With the end of the tour looming, I was worried about seeing him, what if the date was a mess, what if he really wasn’t interested. I had an endless list of ‘what if’ questions to keep me company on my flight back to Lagos.
***
He picked Ocean Basket for the date, he sounded so excited about it so I didn’t have the heart to tell him I hate seafood. I changed about five times that evening and I roped my sister into helping me get ready, but in reality she wasn’t helping. She was insulting all my choices and running down all my clothes. I sent her packing when she seemed to me making me more nervous. I looked at the heap of clothes on my bed and decided on what tells a good story of all my many parts.
So I wore a buba made out of Ankara, black leggings, flat sandals and a simple side bag. I looked in the mirror and I loved what I saw.
I told Sam I would meet him at the restaurant. Even after three weeks of talking and letting my walls down, I was still in doubt. I needed the drive alone to calm my nerves and work on my gift of saying inappropriate things.
I got the the restaurant and texted Sam. After ten minutes of waiting with no responses, I called him but there was no answer. I sent another text. The other shoe had dropped I thought to myself. I left my car to get a drink to go. My phone was on silent mode, fortunately the cashier called my attention to my ringing phone. I saw the caller ID and I took a deep breath to help with the anger.
‘’I am so sorry Pam, It is my grandmother, I was ready at the door when she went into a coughing fit’’ He paused and took deep breaths.
‘’Sorry.” I said.
‘’So I had to rush her to the hospital.’’ he finished.
I know how much his grandmother means to him, we haven’t had one conversation where her name hasn’t come up.
‘’Text me the address of the hospital.’’ I said.
‘’You don’t have to come, I don’t want you to stress yourself.’’
‘’Sam just text the address and I will see you soon.’’
I ended the call before he objected again and collected my drink. I followed the direction in the text and after a few wrong turns, I arrived at the hospital.
Sam was sitting in the lobby, looking at his shoes, he looked lost and really sad. He looked up as I made my way to take the seat beside him, he smiled faintly at me.
‘’This wasn’t how I pictured our first date’’ he said and I smiled back at him
‘’How is she?’’
‘’The doctors haven’t said anything’’
I handed him my untouched drink from the restaurant. I didn’t know what to do or say to make him feel better.
He told me about his Grandma; how annoying she could be, how she pushed him to be better. I sat, listened, laughed at all the right moments and didn’t point out the fact that I already knew all these things.
‘’There is a supermarket on the next street.’’ Sam said getting up.
‘’What if the doctor comes looking for you.’’
‘’I need the walk and biscuits wouldn’t be bad.’’
I got up and he led the way to the supermarket.
‘’I know she can’t live forever, but if she goes now I don’t have any family.’’
‘’You can’t afford to think like that.’’
He shrugged. ‘’New topic, how is that song coming along?’’
‘’Still that first line, I have worked on other songs, ‘Sincere Eyes’ just isn’t coming full circle’’
‘’It will eventually’’ he said with a smile but it was lopsided, laced with worry.
We arrived at the supermarket, picked up biscuits, chocolate bars and drinks.
I don’t know what took over me but I told him about my dress choice stress, my evil sister and getting angry at him at the restaurant parking lot when I thought he ditched me and my fears about the other shoe dropping.
Sam was laughing when I finished talking; he pulled me into a side hug and said.
‘’No other shoe is dropping.’’ And in that moment I believed him.
The nurse called out to us when as we walked back into the hospital.
‘’Sam Aderemi?’’ Sam nodded in response. “The doctor was just here to give you an update, I will tell him you are back’’
We walked back to the sitting area and a few short minutes later the doctor appeared.
‘’Sam Aderemi?’’ The doctor said. I sat while he went to talk with the doctor, I tried to make out what they were saying but my lip reading skills were non-existent.
‘’Aren’t you coming?’’ Sam asked me when he was done talking with the doctor.
I got up and covered the short distance to where he was and he took my hand in his and led the way to his grandmother’s room.
She was hooked up to a quite a number of tubes, and she looked peaceful as she slept, with her grayhair framed like a halo on the pillow where her head rested. Sam sat beside her bed and held her hands in his, I lingered by the door not sure what to do.
‘’What have I told you about touching me with sweaty palms?’’ His grandmother said in a barely audible voice.

She was awake. He smiled and I couldn’t help but smile too.
***
Sam walked me back to my car. We had visited with his grandmother for a few minutes, she went back to sleep almost immediately after her comment about his sweaty palms.
We arrived at the car and he stopped and looked at me.
“Do over?”
‘’No need for one, this was just perfect’’ I said.

01Aug/16

SAM&PAM; The Meeting

the meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

(SAM)

It was Friday night and as usual I was at home alone with my grandmother. A lot of my friends tell me I don’t have a life outside work but I don’t agree. I’ve never loved the outdoors and it has affected other parts of my life. I am a programmer – a very good one, at least that’s what my pay cheques indicate, I work from home sometimes; no, I work from home all the time. This has rubbed off on my playtime too. A good adventure game, a jug of lemon juice and uninterrupted power supply and playtime is set for me.
As you can imagine, I don’t exactly have a million friends with this kind of lifestyle. I have one though; Femi or Phemie as he signs his name is the exact opposite of me. He is rarely indoors and if I wasn’t very stubborn he would probably have dragged me to every single show or party in Lagos.
He was at his troublesome best tonight. There was an Asa show that night and he had invited me. Naturally I gave him a thousand reasons why I couldn’t make it but he wasn’t letting go. So I pulled out my ace, it never fails.
“I need to be with my grandmother, she isn’t feeling too good.” I said.
And of course it worked and he let me be. I was looking forward to a night of watching the second season of ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ with my grandmother.
“Is this how we will spend Friday night?” Grandma asked as I settled into my comfy sofa.
“How would you rather spend it?” I asked, throwing freshly made popcorn in my mouth.
“Alone at home, watching Telemundo” She said.
I laughed. “Are you trying to say we should change the channel?”
“I’m saying I’m never going to have great-grandchildren if you spend every night with me.”
“Are you serious? I thought only parents are allowed to use that line.”
“Well, your mother isn’t here to use it, is she?”
A felt the lump that always formed in my throat every time anyone mentioned my late parents, my grandmother was the only person I had in the whole world and despite her objections; she was the centre of my world. I would do anything for her, including switching the channel to Telemundo.
“Any particular show you want to see on Telemundo or are you just bugging me?”
“Oh no, let’s spend our night watching crooked lawyers defend murderers instead.”
I laughed. “That’s why I picked you as my grandmother.”
“How on earth did…”
She was cut off by a knock on the door. Who could be at my door at this time? If it was my landlord’s dad trying to hit on my grandmother again, I would be the one in need of a crooked lawyer.
I stood and went to the door.
“Who is there?” I called out.
“Guy, open the door.” Phemie’s voice came from behind the door.
The dude didn’t believe me? I couldn’t blame him now, could I?
“My grandma is trying to sleep, should I just meet you outside?” I said.
“No, I’m not sleeping.” Grandma shouted.
“Open this door my friend.” Phemie said.
I sighed and opened the door. Phemie entered and walked past me without a word, I closed the door and followed him. I met him kneeing beside Grandma whispering something into her ears. This was not going to be good.
“Samuel, is this true?” Grandma said when the whispering was done.
“What?” I asked.
“You’re standing a girl up to watch ‘How to Get Away with Murder’?”
“What?”
“And you lied that I was ill?”
I looked at Phemie’s smug face and shot daggers at him with my eyes. If only the daggers were physical.
“I just wanted to spend time with the best grandma in the world.” I said with my brightest smile.
“If you don’t want to see me transform into the worst grandma in the world, go in and meet the girl who will bear me my great-grandchildren.”
“Yes Sam, she is waiting for you.” Phemie said; he was enjoying this. “Don’t you want Mama to have grandkids?”
“I am her grandchild, am I not enough?”
“Go now!” Grandma shouted, throwing the TV remote at me.
I ducked and it crashed into a wall. Well, that was the third in a month. It was the least of my worries though, Phemie was upsetting my evening. And he had seconded my grandmother into his horrible team. I looked at him and clapped; well played Phemie, well played.

***
The concert had started when we arrived. I said a silent prayer of thanks when we entered the hall; this was not like other shows Phemie had forced me to go for. The music suited me, it was the type I would listen to in my car or when I wrote my programs. Asa was one of my favourite artists, while this was not the same as being at home with my grandmother; it wasn’t going to be a terrible night.
I pulled Phemie. “Can we just sit at the back?”
“What? No, I have seats in front.”
Of course there was no point arguing with Phemie, so I followed him to our front seats. People looked at us as we took our seats; this was why I didn’t want front seats. Looking at Asa so closely made up for the embarrassment of walking all the way to the front though.
“Where is the girl that would give my grandma great-grandkids?” I asked.
“Look around you, you have a million choices, just pick one.”
He was right. If I was one of those guys who picked up girls for the fun of it, this would be paradise. I looked around at the girls seating around us, none of them interested me. It wasn’t like I was here for girls anyway.
“See anyone you like?” Phemie asked.
“They’re not my type.”
“Yeah, that’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you; what is your type?”
“What?” The question caught me off-guard.
“What is your type? A girl from Mars? A girl with wings? Seriously, what’s your type?”
I didn’t have an answer to that question because I had never sat down to think about what my type was; I just knew I had not seen it yet. I ignored Phemie and concentrated on Asa and her band. Her instrumentalists were as lively as instrumentalists came in spite of the slow tempo of the song that was playing. I looked at her backup singers, there were three of them. I couldn’t see the one in the middle; the light wasn’t hitting her at the right angle.
The song finished and we applauded.
“We will take a five minute break now and be back with more music, thank you.” Asa said.
“So, what is your type Mister Lone-Wolf?”
Asa motioned to her back-up singers and for the first time I saw the girl in the middle clearly. And like that I found my type. Or did I? I wasn’t one to be spontaneous, impulsive or jump to conclusions but I think I was right to jump this time. I had found my type.
“You like her?” Phemie broke my thoughts.
“What are you talking about?”
“You are looking at that girl on the stage; Sam doesn’t stare at girls.”
I knew Phemie, if I admitted to him that I was even mildly interested in the girl, he would be on the stage already asking her to come talk to me.
“You are right, I don’t stare at girls.” I said.
“You were just staring at one.”
“I was looking at Asa; she’s shorter than I always imagined she was.”
He paused and looked at me; he was not sure about what he saw anymore. That was great.
“If you want to talk to any of them, I could go ask her.” He said.
“That’s exactly what I feared you would do.”
“Gotcha!” Damn! I slipped. “So you like one of them, which is it?”
His phone rang before he could pester me for an answer.
“My guest just arrived.” He said.
“Your guest?”
“You didn’t think I would come here with just you, did you? Of course I got my lady coming.”
“So I was supposed to be a third wheel?”
“I’ll be right back.” He said and was gone.
I looked at the girl; she was beside the stage, pouring water into a cup. Was it her eyes? No, I couldn’t even see them properly. Her smile? She did smile a lot but I don’t think that was it? Her body? Her movement? What was it that even made the thought of her being my type cross my mind? It couldn’t be her voice because I couldn’t identify her voice from what I was hearing.
I hated not having answers to questions. Maybe I should find out instead of sitting here wondering.
I rose and walked up to her. I waited as she downed the cup of water and she set the cup on a table.
“Hi.” She said.
Okay, I liked her voice. “Hello.”
“You know I’m not Asa, right? She’s on the other side of the stage.”
I smiled. She’s got a good sense of humour too, good. “I noticed but I wasn’t planning on asking Asa for her phone number.” I said.
She laughed. “That was smooth; you must do this a lot.”
“My grandmother would say ‘not enough’.”
“So does it work? Do you get a lot of phone numbers this way?”
“It doesn’t matter as long as I get yours.”
Asa got back on the stage and took a seat in front of a microphone.
“Looks like it’s time to go back to work.”
“The phone number?”
She smiled and got back on the stage.
“At least give me a name.” I said as she walked away.
She continued smiling and walked back to her place on the stage. I didn’t have an answer; I still couldn’t place my hand on why I thought she was my type. But I was surer than ever that she is my type.
I returned to my seat and Phemie was waiting for me.
“You sly dude, that wasn’t Asa you were talking to.” Phemie said.
“Really? They must really look alike then.”
He punched me. “So did you get her number?” He asked.
“Shhh. Asa is about to begin.” I extended my knuckle to Favour, his girl and she bumped it with hers.
Asa moved closer to the microphone. “Before we continue I want to introduce my band. Right behind me is Pam, on my left and right are…”
I didn’t hear anything else she said. Pam It was probably short for Pamela or… I couldn’t think of anything else that Pam could be short for. I didn’t like the name ‘Pamela’ very much but I could live with it.
My eyes were on her for the rest of the show. Asa did a good job but I couldn’t wait for her to be done and off the stage. And finally she was done and we all rose to applaud a great musical night. But it was all prelude to what was on my mind, I needed to talk to ‘’Pamela’’ before I left. She left the stage and returned to her bottle of water and I was already there waiting for her.
“So I got the name Pam, give me the number and I will be gone before you can say ‘he’s handsome’.”
“Why would I say that?”
“I don’t know, maybe because I am.”
“What do you want my number for anyway? You can see me manager if you want to book me for a show.”
“Book you? Nah, that’s not what this, is about. This is for my grandmother. Surely you won’t refuse an old beautiful woman.”
“Now that you’ve brought your grandmother into it I can’t say no.”
She collected my phone, typed her number and saved it as Pamilerin. Oh yeah, that could be shortened to Pam too.
“My grandmother says thank you.” I said.
“And you? You have nothing to say?” She asked.
“I’ll say it all on the first date.” I said and ambled away.
Well, I had a date to look forward to, if she agreed to one. My research would continue. For now, I had good news for my Telemundo-watching grandmother. Her dreams of having great-grandchildren may not be totally hopeless.