I didn’t know my own strength

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September 15th | Games Village

It took three days, but it took place eventually.

In the quiet, serene atmosphere of mid-morning Sunday, Esohe watched as a gold-coloured Camry halted rather abruptly in front of her mum’s ground floor flat.

Though her heart pounded ferociously against her ribcage, she was the epitome of outward calm as she rose from her mum’s usual spot and regarded Folarin unfolding from his car.

All weekend long was geared towards this moment, this looming confrontation that was a necessary evil in order to be done with her past and put Folarin firmly in his place as her ex.

She was braced for impact; her battle-ready armour consisting of thigh-high, jeans shorts; lemon-green, plain t-shirt and a short, pixie-style weave framing as well as enhancing her pretty facial features. Unknowingly cutting a picture of one ready for relaxation than engaging in a war of words and wits. 

Folarin approached briskly, his thunderous expression preceding him. He opened his mouth even before he reached her. “How dare you?” He yelled. “How dare you, eh Esohe?” Marching in and pointing wildly in front of him.

She moved a couple of steps backwards, compelling him to enter the flat properly, unwilling to provide any form of entertainment to some of her mum’s idle and nosy neighbours.

He took the bait, and followed her in, still yelling. “How dare you report me to my supervisors? Jeopardize my promotion?” He demanded furiously, closing the space between them.

Hands on her hips, legs spread wide, looking him dead in the eyes, Esohe stood unmoving; the hammering sound in her ears were her heart beats but not as loud as Folarin voice. “And how dare you threaten me, Folarin Adelakin?” Her voice was cold, chillingly so. “With my son?!”

“What’s happening’ here?” Mrs. Eweka’s voice interrupted the beginning of a stand-off, unfolding in the middle of her ante room, from her position at the connecting door to the rest of the house. Folarin’s yelling must have alerted her attention.

For a moment Folarin held himself long enough to stoop slightly, touching his knee in respect. “Ekaro ma.” Struggling to keep his voice at an even level. “This is between Esohe and I.” He explained. “Sorry for the disturbance. Please excuse us.”  

Shaking her head, Mrs. Eweka moved further into the room. “Excuse you? In my house?” She let out a derisive laugh and turned to Esohe. “Vbo na khin?/Vbo khin?”

Her daughter slanted her a look. “It’s nothing, Iye. We’re fine. Just give us a minute to sort this out. “ She assured the older woman.

Mrs. Eweka was unconvinced and it was splashed all over her features. She hesitated for an instant, threw Folarin another glance, turned and walked back the way she came.

“Do you know what you have done?” His voice a low growl, hardly waiting for his mother-in-law to exit completely. “My life’s work! My dream…how could you?! He grabbed one of her exposed arms suddenly in a vice-like grip.

Esohe reacted unconsciously, blindly, instantly; her free arm swinging of its own accord – taking with it all her hurt and frustrations of the last four years and the increasing ache of the last two weeks – and connecting soundly with the side of Folarin’s face in an opened-palm strike, stunning and sending him reeling backwards two or more steps, letting go of her arm in the process.

Momentarily, she was taken aback at herself. This was not how she had hoped the meeting would progress; she wasn’t easily given to violence neither did she subscribe to it as a solution but she had, unwittingly, jumped on that path now….

“If you ever threaten me with Osayu again, Jeff Kimble has promised to fire and blacklist you in that order.” Her voice was steel razing silk asunder. “I have it in writing, and witnessed too. Do you want a copy?” She asked suddenly, her eyes watching him. “So call off your dog who has been tailing me for weeks. Don’t come within certain prescribed yards of me or Osayu. Visitations with him will be supervised from now on at my discretion.  You lost the right to be anything to us four years ago.” She continued in a cold monotone. “If you don’t like these terms, you can return to wherever you’ve been holed up in for the last four years.” She drew a steadying breadth. “The only regret I have in all of this is letting you harm my relationship with Eddie…and coming in between Ifeanyi and you. But then, if he really is your best buddy, wouldn’t you be a different man by now, allowing his good qualities rub off on you? Instead of this tyrant you have become?”

Rendered speechless by the shock of her action, Folarin stood in front of her, a hand gripping the cheek still stinging from the slap and staring at her wide-eyed with shock.

She flung a hand, still hurting, towards the open door. “Get out!” Her voice dripped ice cubes now. “And don’t come back unless you’re invited. Feel free to tell Jeff Kimble or is it Craig Taylor? about this visit; he’d like my version of events better.”

Quietly, subdued, Folarin and his bruised ego left the flat for probably the last time.

It took a while for realization to dawn on Esohe. Folarin must have been gone for more than three minutes before she understood what had just taken place. She’d stood up to her ex for the first and only time she needed to and…won!

The shakes introduced themselves to her then, violently raking her entire slim frame, the magnitude of her deed and the encounter exhibiting in the physical forms of enormous fear and tears coursing down her face. She was this close to collapsing helplessly onto the floor only to be held up by her mum. The older woman had been behind the connecting door all the while her daughter’s ex had been present.

“It’s okay, omo mi. It’s okay. It’s over.” She locked thick, motherly, loving arms around her daughter as Esohe began to bawl out loud unreservedly, clinging to her mum for support as though her life depended on it, as though she hadn’t just single-handedly faced and overcome the one lingering thorn in her life.

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The shrill ring of her cell phone rang her awake several hours later. Her drowsy gaze picked up the time – 4.05pm –  before her fingers picked up the device; the name lighting it up read Ifeanyi.

“Whatever happened?!” His excited voice oblivious to her sleepy state neither waiting for her to speak first. “I just got a call from Folarin! I didn’t expect to hear from him after Friday night’s tirade. What did you do, Esohe?!”

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