Bourdillon Night: Reality Check
The party my mother and fiancé had planned without my knowledge wasn’t half as bad as I had thought it would be. Our house in Bourdillon, Ikoyi was elegantly decorated and the food was mouthwatering. My mother had later confessed that she was expecting fifty guests. Fifty had doubled to almost a hundred and there were now people by the pool as well. It was supposed to be my homecoming party but as I had suspected I wasn’t in the spotlight. My father was…as always.
Otunba Ade Williams, my father is the kind of man who walked into a room and immediately commanded respect. He’s short, barely above five feet, dark skinned and sturdy but there is something about him that made you want to ask “who is he”? That is of course if you did not already know who he was, the founder of Unicorn Group a conglomerate that had investments in everything from manufacturing to retailing to oil and gas and even real estate.
My father at the age of 70, was a multi-billionaire. He was not the typical rag to riches story after all he had been born into a family of wealthy merchants with an uncle who was even a one-time minister of the republic but despite being born with a silver or even a gold spoon in his mouth, no one could deny that he was industrious, hardworking and shrewd.
I watched him as he poured more champagne for one of his guests. That was my father for you, humble and courteous to all. It was as though he felt my eyes on him because he looked in my direction and motioned for me to come over and I obeyed.
“Come here beauty come and say hello to my friend Dapo Oyeniyi…he is the current Chairman of Cresent Bank and…” My father was saying when I interrupted him.
“Daddy, I know who he is”! I exclaimed. I curtsied and greeted my father’s guest in Yoruba.
My father beamed with pride.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet young returnees who have not forgotten their roots”. Mr. Oyeniyi said.
I quickly greeted all the people at the table in the same manner and accepted the seat my father offered me right beside him.
“So Adesewa is your return to Nigeria a permanent one or you would be leaving us soon”? Mr. Oyeniyi asked.
I was about to respond when my father decided to bell the cat.
“Oh! it is permanent my friend. You see Adesewa is to be wed to Tunji Banjoko in a matter of months and they will settle down and start a family here”. He proudly informed his friend.
“Tunji Banjoko, you mean Rear Admiral Banjoko’s son?” Mr. Oyeniyi asked.
My father nodded rather smugly and his guest did not bother trying to hide the fact that he was impressed.
“That’s an excellent choice for a spouse Adesewa. I was reading about him in the papers only yesterday. His tech company is beginning to gain a lot of foreign attention.
I see him building Africa’s version of Silicon Valley here in Nigeria. The journalist described him as a whizkid, Nigeria’s Einstein if I recollect”. He explained to me.
I had a sarcastic response at the tip of my tongue but while I tried to find something uncontroversial to say, my father responded on my behalf once more.
“Oh! I see him building a massive empire that would out do the accomplishments of his father and even mine. I won’t be surprised if he someday controls the economy of this country either through his investments or by occupying the highest office of the land.” My father announced proudly.
I smiled at him, Tunji had obviously become one of my father’s pet projects. He had many of them.
“Speaking of Tunji, I better go and find him Dad. He was supposed to have arrived from Abuja two hours ago”. I excused herself and as I mingled with the crowd it occurred to me that not once had my father mentioned that I had just returned from a five-year sojourn during which I had obtained an MBA from a prestigious university, attended two conferences at Harvard and for the last two years worked on the investment desk of one of the biggest banks in Europe.
Apparently, none of that was to be compared to my upcoming wedding which would earn me the title Mrs. Banjoko. My father’s statement of Tunji becoming president one day suddenly flashed through my mind and I stopped in my tracks. My father wasn’t one to make unguarded statements. Had Tunji and my father had any discussions about his future? Was he really interested in becoming president? Did I see that for myself in the future…being a public figure’s wife? I was 27 years old and I felt like my life was ending even before it began. According to Onye my best friend, I was the most unenthusiastic bride she had ever met! I suddenly wished she had been able to attend the party, unfortunately, she was on a business trip out of the country and wouldn’t be back in town for another two weeks.
I eventually spotted my fiancé, he was standing at the dessert table talking to a pretty petite girl I did not recognize. I was not surprised, he always seemed to either attract pretty petite girls or they seemed to gravitate towards him, I wasn’t sure which it was yet. I wasn’t jealous, I was just worried that I may not be my fiancé’s “spec” if there was any such thing.
My older brother Adefemi always told me there was no such thing as a “spec” for men, as it was possible for a man to find a wide array of body types and skin tones attractive but I was not buying it in Tunji’s case. In his case, they all seemed the same…petite, light skinned, pretty. The exact opposite of my tall frame, full figure and dark skin.
I watched keenly as the pretty girl who held my fiancé’s attention hit him playfully on the chest. At that point, he pulled out his cellphone and handed it to the girl. She worked quickly on the keypad and I knew he had just collected her number.
I kept my eyes fixed on him, he eventually looked my way and walked towards me.
“There you are baby, I have been looking all over for you”. He said as he held his arms out a hug.
I walked into his arms and he picked me up and spun me around. Typical for Tunji to put on a show for our guests. After setting me down on my feet, I noticed I had stained his white shirt with my make-up.
“I think we should go into the house and take care of this”. I said to him pointing at the brown stain on his left shoulder.
He spotted the stain and instantly exploded. “I have told you severally how I feel about all this make up you wear that stains everything and everyone you touch”!
I could not my disgust. “If you don’t want me to stain you with my makeup then stop hugging or touching me it’s that simple”.
Tunji smiled and took my hand. “I didn’t mean to upset you baby”.
“Who was that girl you were talking to and don’t tell me nobody because I saw her give you her number” I snapped at him.
“Do we have to do this now?” Tunji asked with a wide smile on his face.
I love my fiancé, I honestly do. He is my first and only love, the only man I have ever dated and yet sometimes I am scared I don’t really know him. The fear has increased since he put the ring on my finger. After nine years of dating, the man in front of me sometimes still feels like a total stranger to me.
I tried to remove my hand from his grip but he held onto it.
“Can we not do this now? People are watching us”. Tunji said.
Why was he always so concerned about people’s perception of us and our relationship?
“Tunji, your flight was supposed to have landed hours ago, you haven’t seen me in three months and you still arrived at the party you planned behind my back late! And your first stop was the dessert table to flirt with a girl I am sure you only just met! I thought you were ready to settle down and become a married man”! I was so upset and I was trying really hard not to raise my voice.
“You always want to believe the worst of me Adesewa! I came late because I flew in from Abuja with one of the expatriates I have been working with. He was on a flight back and so we headed straight to the international airport, I had to wait till he was settled before I left the airport and then I came straight here. And the girl you think I just met is my friend Stanley’s younger sister, I haven’t seen her in a while and she happened to have come with one of your father’s employees who happens to be her friend and I collected her phone number out of courtesy. About the party, I was going to tell you but your mother suggested we keep it a secret so we could surprise you. She called me shortly after you landed to tell me she didn’t think you were happy about it, I offered to call the whole thing off but she was concerned that it may be a bit embarrassing for her. You can ask her yourself! Judging from the fact that you haven’t said a word about the wardrobe change I tried to pull off to please you,
I can tell you are not happy about it. I still have your things in storage I will have them returned to you tomorrow and you can do whatever you want with the new clothes. Would that be all or do you have any more accusations for your fiancé whom you haven’t seen in three months?’ His words left me speechless and feeling a little stupid.
He was obviously very upset with me and I couldn’t blame him. I do have a way of jumping into conclusions and being dramatic. I wanted to speak but he won’t let me…
“Save it” He said as he walked away.
I watched him as he walked away…I knew what that meant. Another couple of days spent with us giving each other the silent treatment when we were supposed to planning our wedding.
My father walked over to me, apparently he had noticed Tunji and I had been arguing.
“Is there a problem with you and Adesewa?” He asked touching my light cheek softly.
I smiled at him and sighed. Was this my opportunity to tell my dad some of my fears concerning my fiancé knowing how excited he was about my upcoming wedding?
Once again I was in a dilemma but it was nothing new to me…just another night in Bourdillon.
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