Being Vivian: The Everyday Life Of A Lagos Big Girl (Episode 12: The Plot Thickens)
Being Segun’s girlfriend was a fun and civilized affair. When we crossed paths on a professional level, we were always formal and cordial with each other but when it was just the two of us alone, we acted like wild animals.
It was like a real life role play – innocent and exciting at the same time. Our ‘decency’ in public confused Ronke at times, and she would pull me aside to ask if Segun and I were still dating or not. Eventually, she started minding her business so we could enjoy our deliciously weird relationship.
When Christmas came, Segun invited me to his dad’s house for lunch. Of course, my first instinct was to turn him down. We’d only been dating a couple of weeks, so I didn’t need this kind of pressure just yet.
After much persuasion from him, I finally agreed to go. His family turned out to be a large one that almost rivaled the size of mine. There were uncles, aunties, cousins and other extended relatives that came visiting from different parts of the country and abroad. Apparently, Segun’s dad was the current head of the family, so every important festivity took place at his residence.
The day was going relatively well until I heard one of Segun’s aunties gossiping about me to a friend that she brought along for the lunch.
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“You know how all these Igbo girls are,” she was saying to her friend in Yoruba, “It is money that she used to repair herself like that o. She’s not a young girl.”
“Yes, I can see that,” her friend replied. “She must be about 40 years old, I’m sure.”
“If not more than,” the aunt agreed. “I’m sure she already has a child or two living in the village with her family and she’s here in Lagos pretending to be a young girl and looking for a young man to marry her.”
“You better warn your nephew to use his brain. This one is good to have as a girlfriend but not a wife. Igbo girls can’t be trusted.”
At that point, I lost my cool and turned around to face them. “I am not an Igbo girl,” I told them in Yoruba. “I am an Urhobo woman from Delta, and you have absolutely nothing to worry about. I have no intention of marrying your nephew. He’s all yours!”
I smiled in satisfaction when I saw how shocked and embarrassed they both looked knowing I’d heard and understood every single word they had said about me.
Just then, Segun showed up beside me. He saw his aunt and her friend looking like they’d seen ghosts and he wondered what the problem was.
“Is everything alright?” He asked.
I smiled sweetly. “Of course Segun, everything is fine. Your aunt and her friend here were worried you might marry an elderly Igbo woman, so I told them I wasn’t Igbo and not interested in marrying you either.”
His jaw dropped.
“Ah, it’s not like that o! I wasn’t talking about her.” His aunt denied quickly. “Did I mention your name?” She asked me.
I just shook my head and walked away.
Segun eventually caught up with me. The somber apologetic look on his face made me feel sorry for him.
“Vivian, I am so sorry,” he said tenderly. “That my aunt is fond of talking before thinking. She’s gotten into trouble many times because of her big mouth. Please, just disregard whatever nonsense she said. Please.”
“It’s ok Segun. I know her type. Every family has one of such.”
He smiled. “Thank you. You’re so gracious.”
“Don’t be silly,” I laughed.
“I don’t want anyone to ruin my chances with you at all.”
His statement puzzled me. “Your chances? What are you talking about?”
He suddenly became shy and was shuffling his feet like an embarrassed teenager.
“What?” I asked when he didn’t say anything.
“Well, you know…” he began, “I brought you here today because I knew every member of my family would be present. I wanted all of them to meet you.”
I heard a bell ringing hollowly in my head. “Why?” I asked.
“Oh come on, Vivian. You should know why – I wanted them to meet the woman I will be marrying soon.”
The ringing bell exploded. “What! Are you crazy?”
He was gobsmacked. “Vivian!”
“Did we discuss anything about marriage before you brought me here?”
“Uh…well, actually I wanted to…I mean, I was going to –“
“That’s enough!” I cut him short. “My goodness, Segun. We’ve only been dating for a few weeks, for heaven’s sake!”
“I know Vivian. But I’ve always had feelings for you before we started dating. Vivian, don’t see what’s going on here? I’m in love with you.”
“Oh my God!” I groaned. I suddenly felt faint.
“Honestly Vivian, we don’t need to date for a whole decade before I know what I want. I want to marry you, Vivian and I mean it.”
“How about what I want?” I asked him.
He looked confused. “I don’t understand. Don’t you want to get married and start a family someday?”
“As a matter of fact, I do; but not right now and definitely not with you!”
At this point, some of his family and friends who were within earshot were openly staring at us, but I didn’t care. I was too angry to give a damn.
“Listen to me Segun, I like you but I don’t love you. We may have had awesome sex a couple of times but that is not love and it’s not enough reason for me to marry you. We’re done here, Segun. I’m done with you.”
“Segun, read my lips. It is over between us!”
Maybe it was my imagination, but I could’ve sworn I heard his loudmouth aunt laughing at me as I marched out of the compound.
** To be continued in episode 13**