All of us in the room were dumbfounded. My mind raced all over the place trying to grasp an answer. Well, while my mind was racing all over, even as he was on his knee, Gloria began a thorough questioning session. “Are you gay, Femi?”
“Hell no, I heard all about that, and no, I haven’t become gay in Hollywood.”
“Are you married?”
“Never been. Couldn’t quite settle into the American culture that well.”
“Are you a woman beater? Do you have a child? Are you terminally ill or impotent?”
“No, No and Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeell No!”
“I’ll need to think about this,” I interrupted Gloria, my own voice sounding very weak even to me.
“Of course. I’ll give you time to think. You can always reach me through Biola.”
“Who is Biola?” I asked, puzzled.
“Your pastor is Biola to me,” he said with a slight chuckle as he finally stood up.
“Oh,” was all I could manage before he was out of the door and I shut it behind him. I turned around and it was just us again, me and my girls.
“So?” It was Toke.
I raised my eyebrows and said, “So, you go first, Toke.”
She shrugged her shoulders and responded without missing a breath, “There’s nothing to go on about in my case. The man haff not wanna marry again, and I am not a small child so I’m gonna have the baby. And he can go and hug a wet transformer, cos I’m not having him anywhere my child.”
“Toke, are you sure…” Gloria queried.
“I couldn’t be more certain,” she responded with a smile and then turned to me with a mischievous look on her face. “So, so?”
“All those things Gloria asked him need to be confirmed first before I can even begin to consider.”
Within minutes, Toke was on the internet and we had everything before us in black and white on Wikipedia and all the other places on the internet that keep such. No, Femi wasn’t married, had never been married and didn’t have any children. But as much as I would like to trust Wikipedia with my future, I’d rather find out the old fashioned way. And unlike Femi, I didn’t try to clear up my mess-up with Hawt Pastor by using my friends. I picked my phone and called him. He seemed to have been waiting for the call, because he picked it on the first ring. His rich voice filled the room as I put him on speaker.
“Hello Oyin,” he said
“I’m really sorry about how…” I began.
But he cut in, “It’s okay, Oyin. I understand perfectly well how you felt. I take it that Femi has come to you to speak for himself, otherwise you wouldn’t be calling me.”
I suddenly felt very shy. “Yes, he just left.” I responded.
“And?” he asked and I actually saw his eyebrow raised in my mind’s eye.
“Can I come and see you?” I asked
“What kind of pastor would it make me if I refused to see one of my own flock?”
“But I’m coming to see you, not as my pastor, but as Femi’s friend,” I stated.
“Hmmm,” he mumbled. After a brief pause, he responded, “Okay, I’m still in the office.”
With that, I hung up the call and we all jumped into my car (yes, they followed me, as they could not wait at home for gist, aproko that they are) and we were in church in minutes. Moments later, I was knocking on Hawt Pastor’s office door the second time that day and again, he unhinged the door and opened it himself.
“I see you brought the cavalry,” he said with a smile when he saw Toke and Gloria right behind me. Those girls en! “Y’all can come in though, there’s nothing we’ll say in this office that you’ll not either br bb-ing to each other online real-time or download as gist later, so you might as well hear it firsthand.”
We shuffled into his office like a file of schoolgirls and sat opposite his desk. This time, he went around to his own chair and sat facing us and then addressing me, he asked “So?”
Glo and I looked at Toke and laughed because he just stole her line.
“What?” he asked.
“That’s Toke’s way of asking for gist,” I responded.
“Ah,” he chuckled, “great minds think alike.”
*cough cough* That was me.
“Femi proposed to me, and while I should be happy, I feel more of concern. I have a thousand and one reasons to be skeptical, and frankly, after my Yomi experience, I don’t even want to consider anyone except I know all there is to know about that person. Femi’s time in America is a black box to me, and his actions the last time we saw tells me he is a different person from the Femi I dated. So, pastor, I have a few questions for you.”
“Go ahead…” he responded
“First the basics. Any baggage? Is he or was he married? Does he have any kids? Any legal issues? Any reason, ulterior to desperately want to marry me?”
He clasped his hands and looked at me seriously for the first time that evening. “He’s my friend and you are my church member. If I knew anything of that nature, I would have made sure Femi could never reach you a second time. Just so you know, after what he did the last time, we had a serious falling out. I’ve been friends with Femi for 27 years and it was the first time we quarreled that seriously. Because I felt he used the fact that you guys met again through me to win your trust so quickly and I don’t let my members be treated that way. We didn’t talk for over three months.” He paused, stood and walked over to his fridge. “My manners, I didn’t offer you any drinks.”
I slapped him inside my head. Which kind of interruption was that? Abi did I say I was thirsty ni. He took his time to bring the drinks and serve us and then went back to his seat. By this time I was literarily clawing my thigh but I kept a calm face in order not to fall hand.
“He called me around your wedding time and after apologizing to me and all, he began to continually ask if I could help him set a meeting up again. He was very disappointed when I told him you were getting married but he did not rest it. He almost came into Nigeria around that time to, in his words, fight for your hand. I firmly told him not to, since you had decided to marry Yomi.”
I let my mind roll to what would have happened if Femi had appeared at that time. I would probably have rubbed Yomi all over his face really. It was a good thing he hadn’t come.
He continued, “I didn’t tell him the story of how the wedding went until about two weeks ago. When he heard you were still single, this time he didn’t bother to tell me he was coming. He simply appeared in my house. And it took him a week of convincing me he really is serious before I reached out to you. So in my opinion, and with how well I know Femi, he has never been more serious about anything.”
When he finished speaking, the room was quiet and all the eyes, including Toke and Glo where now firmly on me.
I only hesitated a moment. “Yes,” I said, as a smile rose from inside me and spread across my face. “Yes, I will marry Femi.”
And everyone in the room gave a whoop of joy.
We did not get married immediately. Femi had been gone for years and I knew he would have changed, and I guessed he still carried the image of me of back then in his head, but I have changed too. About three months later, Oyin Clegg became Oyin Omotosho in a very small, private ceremony. Hawt Pastor joined us and the only dramatics was from my mama. She dance pass me that day sef.
And as things happened, we didn’t know that the “So?” joke of that day in Hawt Pastor’s office started something. Start something, it did. Hawt Pastor and Toke are dating! Yes. There’s drama around that though, but it’s not in Finding Hubby. Suffice to say that church members and elders did not take kindly to the fact that their pastor was courting a pregnant woman.
Gloria eventually relocated to UK. She thought it was the best thing for her to do since the pressures to marry were less there. She tells me she will eventually adopt a kid and she seems pretty happy.
This is where the curtain gets drawn on the story of the vicissitudinous quest undertaken by Oyin, Toke and Gloria in their search for better halves. It’s been amazing having you cheer them on, scorn them, love them, hate them, and commiserate with them every step of the way. I’m glad I could take ya’ll on this trip. Many thanks to Tunde Leye and to all you beautiful readers. Oyin’s journey may end here, but there are many more rides to enjoy.