About this writer
There was a lot of traffic on the way back from the hospital. I’d gone to see
my sister and left feeling scared and worried. She was still in a critical
condition and the consultant wasn’t giving anything away.
Now I was running dangerously low on fuel. The possibility of breaking
down in the middle of a one-way street added to my frustration, which did
nothing to help my mood. I decided to call my boyfriend, Tunde; I wanted to
hear his reassuring voice. He would know what to say to cheer me up.
I called his first mobile, but it was switched off. So I tried his second one,
which rang. I was about to sigh with relief, when the call was rejected.
Confused, I tried it again, but it was turned off. I started to wonder what was
happening, when I remembered.
Today was Sunday. Sunday was family time, when Tunde took his wife and
children to church and spent the rest of the day with them. Tunde was not
mine, really. Not today.
Then it hit me. My love was really a one-way street.
A Christmas Miracle
Spending Christmas in hospital was not how Yinka envisioned her holidays.
Hospitals were places where she received bad news: “I’m sorry your aunt is
dead”; “I’m sorry you can’t conceive children naturally “; and so on. She and
her husband, Tunde had worked hard all year, deferring all their annual
leave until two weeks before Christmas. It was supposed to be a time to get
away from it all – their busy high-powered jobs, the stress of their infertility
problems, and extended family pressures. Their flight was booked for four
days’ time, and the hotel reservation confirmation had been emailed to her
just before she left the office. But the short trip to the supermarket had ended
with her in hospital, the result of a collision with an okada driver.
When the doctor came to check on her, she decided to ask when she would
“I’m sorry Mrs Yinka, but we have to make sure you have no concussion, or
internal bleeding before we let you go.”
“But how long will that take? I’m travelling next week.”
“I’ll advise you to cancel your trip,” the doctor said firmly. “You shouldn’t be
travelling in your condition.”
“But I feel fine. The other doctor said nothing was broken.”
“You may feel okay now, but it won’t be long before the morning sickness
“You didn’t know? You’re twelve weeks pregnant.”
I was trying to get Michael to notice me throughout my presentation, but he
didn’t even look up more than once. It was getting frustrating to deal with his
nonchalance. I decided to do something drastic. As soon as I got home, I
called my salon to book an appointment.
“Hello, Christie’s Cuts.”
‘Hi Christie, it’s me, Yemi.”
“Oh hi Yemi, how are you? You need to do your hair?”
“Yes please. Have you got a slot available for tomorrow evening?”
“Let me see; is six pm okay for you?”
“Yes, that is perfect. See you then!”
The next day I arrived for my appointment and Christie was ready.
“So, your usual perm and trim?”
“No.” I smiled. “My office Christmas party is coming up. I need to shed my
‘boring accountant’ image so I would like to colour my hair, please.”
And get Michael’s attention. I added in my mind.
“At last, something different! I know a colour that would suit you perfectly.”
She got to work, mixing some potions in a bowl. When the concoction was
ready, she applied it carefully to my hair and covered it with a cap.
We sat chatting for twenty minutes while the chemicals got to work, and then
she said it was time to rinse my hair.
I closed my eyes and visualised the surprise on Michael’s face when he saw
me with a new look. I was smiling to myself when I heard Christie’s sharp
intake of breath and then she gasped “Oh no!”
I opened my eyes and stared at the mirror in horror. My hair was a mess of
bright orange curls!
I stared out of my bedroom window, facing the park. I watched a young
woman and her toddler playing on the swings. The feeling of loneliness
engulfed me again. These days, I’m lucky if I get one visitor a week. The only
regular footsteps on my path are those of the postman. But even he doesn’t
come in. He only brings me bills from the utility companies.
I long for the days when my life was full and purposeful. The days when I
would complain about the noise, the mess, disappearance of money and
everything else that came with a house full of teenagers. Now my house is
empty. All my children are grown up, married with their own kids. They live
too far away to –
My thoughts were interrupted by urgent knocks.
Curious, I shuffled in my slippers towards the front door and opened it.
My first son stood there, with his four young children running round his feet.
I noticed the luggage too.
‘Megan left me for her fitness instructor. Can we stay with you?’
These stories are the creation of Nigerian writer and author, Tolulope Popoola