“All of her children were gold to her – male and female. It wasn’t only because she bestowed upon them wealth and beauty but because each one she called hers was special and deserving of a path in life that although wasn’t smooth, had fewer bumps, less turbulence, and fewer assholes.” – Efun.



She smells of nostalgic memories. Her chocolate skin, slender curves, and big eyes add every inch to her undeniable beauty. I may have spotted her for the first time at night, but nothing about seeing this woman for the first time prepares one for a second glance. She’s beautiful.


At the clinic’s reception, I watch her rise gently. Her husband fumes where he sits, tapping his feet restlessly as though he’s determined to annoy everyone within earshot. He came with us reluctantly, looking like he would rather watch paint dry than be here to ensure his wife is okay, and now he refuses to go and see the doctor with her.

“Thank you so much,” she says to me, offering a dimpled smile before disappearing into the exam room. I’m tempted to touch her, to stroke her cheeks and assure her that she would be fine. But that would be inappropriate. Also, the sudden desire to protect her needs to be done away with. I don’t know this woman. But like last night, I feel the overpowering need to shield her from everything the world hurls at her.

While I wait, Prince of Osogbo, Layiwola, who’s like a cousin to me and happens to run the clinic, steps out.

Layiwola glances at me and notes my concern. “She will be fine,” he says. “Also, will you be at the Ina Olojumerindinlogun ceremony this evening? Your cousins, Adelana and Morounmubo, just arrived from the UK and will be attending. It’s always a great time in Osun’s presence,” he adds.

I chuckle as one of the nurses brings my cleaned shoes. “Thanks,” I say to her, before turning back to Layi, “Lana and Mubo are always in search of a drinking partner at the sacred lamp lighting ceremony. They don’t really come for Osun.”

“Maybe if you linger a little you will find their friend interesting.”

I cock a brow and repeat the words that never fail to get me a displeased reaction from him, “Layi. I’m never getting married. 40, single, and proud.” I do a little dance that earns me a side-eye. Layi’s a few years older. He never forgets to assume the big brother role whenever he deems fit.

“40, single, and still hurting. Also, don’t forget that the Ataoja dreamed that you would find your wife this year.”

I laugh. I would argue with Layi, but it’s no use. The Ataoja is my dad’s best friend. And since my dad passed, he and Layi have been more than family to me. So, when the Ataoja’s diviner told him I would be marrying an ‘eniyan funfun’ aka a white person, he was convinced. He takes the Dad role rather seriously, especially the part where he stresses me to find a wife. Worse, he believes that I would marry one of the white women who heartily visit Osogbo during its biggest festival.

Layi and I catch up some more and shortly after he leaves to attend to another patient. I start towards the front desk, stopped in my tracks by the loud whispers coming from the room on my left. Reluctantly, I watch from the corner of my eyes as the beautiful woman’s husband yells at her. She stands, unmoved, silent but undeniably furious. I watch, charged.

“Is anything the matter?” I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. I don’t understand why anyone has to be yelled at this way.
Anger slits the man’s eyes. “No. Thanks.”

I linger but he glares at me, so I finally move. At the front desk, I pay the woman’s bills. The clinic is Layi’s way of giving back to the community when he’s in town but I like to support him in any way I can.

A call from my assistant distracts me, and I almost miss the man storming out of the clinic in fury. A few minutes later, my call ends, and without thinking much, I go to her. She is standing by the window, her hands on the burglar-proof, tension charging through her. She grips the iron bars tightly. I worry that the iron will dig into her skin.

“Are you okay?” I ask.
Moistened nut-brown eyes face me as she steels her voice. “Yes.”

I don’t leave because she’s lying. She tightens her hold on the bars, making me think that perhaps I should be worried about the burglar-proof, not her.

I call her bluff. “You are lying. The same way you did last night.”
Her face lights up and I dismiss the unfamiliar fluttering inside my stomach. “I knew I remembered you from somewhere.”

An unfamiliar twinge of pain hits me when I realize I’m not as memorable to her as she is to me. All I needed was a glance, and she was ingrained in my memory.

“My name is Adelaja Oyetunji. You can call me Laja,” I stretch out a hand.
She finally loosens her grip on the bars but she doesn’t take my hand. “Nicole Kolapo. You’re the one who wants to take our houses from us at Lakowe.”

My shoulders stiffen as her eyes steel. I can’t explain the hurt I feel knowing that she hates me for a reason.  My excuse tumbles from my lips.

“We aren’t taking the houses. The government gave us a contract. We need to carry out certain renovations—”
She cuts in, her tone frostier than the cutting weather. “Don’t explain yourself. Men never do that. Rich men even less.”

When she steps out of the hospital ward, I feel as though she takes a piece of me with her. It’s inexplicable. For the first time, the Diviner’s prophecy of finding my true love at the festival lures me into a firm belief. Except we aren’t at the festival, and she’s not a white woman. I hurry after her, ignoring the heavy rains that drench me as I catch up with her. Outside, the grounds are slippery, and her idiot husband has abandoned her here. She walks faster, waving down bikes that won’t stop.

“Let me take you home!” I holler, but she’s unyielding. I watch, sensing her frustration and perhaps tiredness not just from this moment but from a life that takes so much from her and gives little in return. “Nicole?” I am aware that my voice is barely audible but she miraculously hears me. She tosses me a frown over her shoulder. Lightning streaks across the sky, followed by roaring thunder and even then, she doesn’t cower. She’s endearing in her steadfastness.

“Go away!” she yells, jumping over a puddle as the heavens pour, the rain sticking her long hair to her face.

Goodness, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I indulge myself in taking an eyeful of her female form, long enough for me to almost miss her sliding through wet red soil. Again, my hands find her, and I grab her before she falls.

She quickly finds her footing. I get the impression that she is used to handling her business. I respect that but it makes her more appealing than she realizes.

“I’m taking you home whether you like it or not,” I say to her beneath the heavy downpour, watching as a drop of rainwater falls from her full lashes. I can tell that she wants to decline but she’s not got much of a choice.
“Fine,” she replies, as she gets into the car.

With that, I am inclined to believe that our story has only just begun.





For more of Efun’s Jazz, read Part 1 here.