I bet you know about Mondays in the cities. If you don’t know, you better ask somebody!
Bosun saw Titi’s name on the screen of his phone before he heard the ring tone as he climbed the stairs on his way to his office on the third floor of the office complex.
Titi slept a bit late last night after the flight and after the tiring effort to settle down in preparation for the new week, which included a few minutes of work in her study, and the ironing of a few clothes.
When Bosun woke up at about a quarter to five this morning she was on his mind as it has been from the day that he met her, and the urge to call was there; but he would rather leave her to sleep and be sufficiently refreshed, instead of waking her up with a phone call in the name of love.
Bosun kept his eyes on his phone – which was on the stool beside the bed – for a few minutes before reaching for it; and then launching straight to the internet, to check his twitter notifications, the retweets and likes in response to his latest post.
On Twitter he is a ‘public health officer’, ‘teacher of the word’, and ‘communications expert’ with 22k followers.
Bosun had at some point in the past written a Twitter thread about seeking the Lord first as it is written in the holy book, starting the day with Bible reading and prayers as a sign of giving priority to God above all things.
No one would ever know that he starts the day on Twitter, to check on the retweets and likes and comments on his posts; he would want the world to see him as this aloof seeker and speaker of truth with an uncanny sense of humour.
This Monday morning he had hoped he would be on Twitter for just ten minutes before praying for thirty minutes and reading the bible for thirty minutes. It was hope that stayed in the realm of hope.
One of the Twitter ‘influencers’ has uploaded four pictures of herself, sitting on a yellow armchair, in a green silk blouse that was like a large scarf reshaped to compensate for a lack of adequate clothes, her brown breasts glowing like doughnuts in a pan, her skirt like white bandage around her waist, barely covering her crotch, her legs gleaming as if she had rubbed vegetable oil on it. The postures were different. She didn’t really open her legs. She didn’t really close it either.
The picture was accompanied by the words: After me what else do you need?
Bosun couldn’t scroll past the pictures. His mouth watered as he admired the pictures one by one; he felt a sweet sensation between his legs; he hurried to get the Shea butter cream on the dressing table on the other side of the room.
By the time he was through with Twitter, he could only hurry to the bathroom, take the bath of a soldier expecting a sudden call to duty, and the breakfast of a soldier expecting a sudden call to duty.
He had grabbed two fried chicken drumsticks from the fridge on his way to the front door, the small office bag stayed under his arm, gripped to his side as he locked the door.
Bosun took Titi’s call – on the stairs – before the song’s (ringtone) brief intro could be heard, before the rapper – whose song he had used – could start spitting out his verses. Bosun had been busy reading a lengthy Twitter thread on male sexual health before he saw his lover’s name on the screen.
“Baby, how are you? I’m sorry I haven’t call you. I wanted you to get enough rest. I didn’t want my call to wake you up.”
“I actually just woke up. I don’t think I would have been OK if I had woken up earlier. How are you?”
“I’m well Titi. I’m sure you are well rested by now.”
“I hope so. I feel a lot better than I was when I came back yesterday. At the office already?” “Just about to settle down.”
Titi yawned. “I feel so lazy. I’m tempted to go back to bed and spend the whole day watching Money Heist.”
“Well, you are the boss. I’m sure you can get away with it.”
“Nope. I cant. The former boss didn’t work like that.”
Bosun nodded. “I’m sure you are on your way to the bathroom.”
“You know me quite well. Listen Bosun, if I remember correctly, I think I told you yesterday that I have something to tell you.”
“Yes, you did. Hope there is no problem?”
Titi waited for a few seconds. “There is no problem. Thing is, yesterday’s sermon was like a direct message to me, so I feel I should let you in on some personal issues in my life. Especially in the light of the fact that we would be married soon.”
“OK.” Bosun said, his heart now pounding in his chest in anticipation.
He would have loved to talk some more; but seeing her later in the evening would be better, he had to go now because three people were waiting for him at the reception, and his boss was also waiting beside his door with that moderate smile that is her way of asking nicely for prompt answers.
The lovers decided to meet later in the evening. They would meet at the parking lot of Chicken Republic at a quarter to five, she would cross the road to get some vegetables at Ceci Plaza, and from there they would go to his house and spend some time. She promised to cook dinner.
Titi had just completed her training as a medical doctor, and had been fresh from NYSC, and still fresh in her specialist course at the University College Hospital Ibadan when her mother died of cervical cancer, leaving her with no choice but to take over Collins Medical Centre as the Chief Medical Director.
As a child Titi was the only one interested in her mother’s profession; her elder brother became a music producer and record label executive, her younger sister became a pilot.
Her mother was an expert in relating with her staff, and the daughter was not a stranger in the place when her mother was at the helm of affairs, so Titi inherited a loyal team and a time-tested and working structure.
She did not change anything that didn’t need change.
With the sisters in the church –the Single Sisters Fellowship – Titi did not pretend as if she’s up there on some grand super-spiritual pedestal; she never gave the impression that she had been given the responsibility of leadership because of some special rare quality.
Bosun’s boss wanted to know what he has been doing with the Lassa Fever enlightenment campaign, a collaboration between the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Health. The disease has been spreading in the state because the government has not done much to alert the public on it.
Two weeks ago the state had just three cases, now it has jumped to nineteen cases and this should not be taken lightly. This is not something to be taken with slack hands.
The government approached the media and communications agency that had been handling their campaign for years.
Bosun’s team got the task last Thursday. They’ve been working day and night on it since then.
“We’ve produced four TV PSAs and three radio jingles.” He said. “We have a few graphics for the internet from the graphic team, and the TV jingles would be online too.”
“Good.” The boss said.
“Of the four PSAs, one is meant to target the youths, one in Yoruba language, one in English and one in Pidgin. The radio jingles are in English,
Yoruba and Ijaw languages. But we are working on a Pidgin radio jingle, to be ready today. By noon we would be dispatching twelve buses to tour a few major markets in the state for a direct enlightenment campaign. Then we’ve erected twenty-two billboards in strategic locations across the state, something that could give ample information in just one glance. Of course we
got funding from some charities.”
The boss nodded. “Impressive. I trust you to always deliver.”
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the team.”
“Of course. You really want to have this break?”
“I need to. I can monitor the rest of the campaign from home. I’ve not..”
The boss interrupted. “You’ve not got a break since last year. I know. You deserve it Bosun.”
“Thank you Ma.”
She stood up and gave him a pat in the back. “Well done Bosun.”
“Thank you Ma’am.”
She stopped at the door. “I watched your sermon on YouTube.”
“Yes. It was quite a timely message.”
“I didn’t know you..er..”
“I subscribed to Pastor Onyeachonam’s channel.”
Bosun didn’t know his mouth had opened until it was time to speak “Is it on his channel?”
“You didn’t know?”
“I know it was streamed live in the church’s Facebook page. I didn’t know it is on Pastor’s channel.”
“It is. Over 10 thousand views already.”
Bosun reached for his I-pad, not even aware that the boss had left, and he had to attend to the men and women waiting to see him; but before the first visitor could come in he was able to confirm what his boss just told him.
Old things Have Passed Away has been viewed 12k times on YouTube.
When Bosun told Titi about the surprising discovery in the evening as she worked in the kitchen he had to hide his disgust at the fact that she seemed unimpressed by the fame his feature on Pastor Onyeachonam’s YouTube channel would bring. She seemed unimpressed by the fact that Bosun’s boss, of all people, had been touched by the sermon. She seemed unimpressed by the fact that Pastor Onyeachonam’s prominent friends, especially other megachurch pastors, folks known for their fancy suits, private jets, and grand auditoriums, and messages about seed, now know his face.
Bosun folded his arms and kept his eyes on her, angry that she didn’t even notice his disapproval.
“Are you going to tell me this thing you wanted to tell me now?”
“Not now.” Titi said, her eyes on the carrots she was slicing. She was done with the onions, green peas, and green pepper.
The rice was on the gas cooker. Fried rice would be ready in less than an hour.
“When are you going to tell me?”
“We have to enjoy this meal first.”
“I’m not sure I would be able to enjoy any meal with the suspense.”
She stopped to meet his gaze. “Bosun, please, let’s enjoy our time together. I don’t have a terminal disease, if that is what you are afraid to hear. We shouldn’t make a mountain out of a mole hill.”
“I was just telling you about being featured on pastor’s YouTube channel, and you are acting as if it’s a small thing.”
“What is more important to you? The impact of the message you preached or the fame it is bringing to you.”
“You are speaking as if I’ve ever told you I wanted to become a preacher. I didn’t ask to be given the opportunity to preach. I was given the opportunity, and it’s a success and you can’t even share my excitement.”
“Let’s not do this now. Please. I called you yesterday to tell you how the sermon touched me and nudged me to decide on some things. You think it is because you are my lover? You think I said that to make you feel good? What you were able to do by grace goes beyond excitement and fame, and even your boss confirmed it. What more do you want me to do?”
Bosun exhaled deeply. “I’m sorry.
“You can put the chicken in the deep fryer.”
After the meal, which the man said was the most sumptuous he’s has had in recent times, he went to the fridge and brought out a bottle of wine.
“No wine for me.” Titi said.
“Common. Just a little.”
“OK. If you insist.” He drank from the wine glass as if he has been thirsty; as if what was inside the glass was water. “So, what is it you wanted to tell me?”
Titi looked into his eyes, as if she’s about to tell him she’s a mammy wata.
“When are you going to take me to your mother?”
“Is that what you wanted to tell me?”
“Just a question.”
“Are you ready to go tonight? Because I’m on my official break, and I can travel and take a few days off. If you are keen.”
“That’s good to hear. Maybe we’ll go this weekend.”
Bosun poured himself more wine. “Are you going to say what’s on your mind?”
“Are you going to calm down? You are acting as if you are depressed. You don’t normally drink like this.”
“I can’t get drunk in my own house?”
Titi narrowed her eyes. “Why would you be getting drunk when you have a visitor? Why should you even be getting drunk at all? Are you alright?”
“You are not exactly a visitor, are you?”
“I am. I don’t live here, I’m visiting.”
“OK. Let me just put this away.” He said, walking towards the fridge with what was left of the bottle of wine.
She was on the two-seater sofa in the sitting room, he sat beside her, bothered by her sober expression, wishing an abrupt end to the suspense, wishing her words would rush out of her mouth like a broken water tap.
“I was a lesbian.” She said.
“I experimented with lesbianism.”
Bosun gave her a quick glance and waited, she lowered her head.
“You are actually serious?”
“Kiki was my partner about five or six years ago.”
Bosun stared at her as if she had suddenly developed a tail. “Which Kiki?”
“Kiki from church.”
“Kiki from church?” Bosun looked away for a moment and searched the face once again, but she wasn’t looking at his face; he was hoping she would suddenly start laughing and tell him she’s joking.
“Yes. Kiki from church.”
“Oh my God, Kiki Thompson is lesbian.”
“Calm down. It’s all in the past now. We’ve not visited each other’s house in years; all our meetings are in church, and obviously she knows I’m in a relationship. She has so far not made any effort to undermine our plans for the future.”
“So all that churchy stuff you guys put up had been just an act?”
Titi exhaled and relaxed on the sofa. “That was the old me. Dead and gone old me.”
“Kiki is lesbian?”
“I knew her to be lesbian when we were together. We both got to the place of seeing things in a different light. She wanted to end things, I wanted to end it too, so we…here we are now. I’m with you.”
“You don’t believe that people are capable of changing?”
Titi folded her arms. “Or do you just believe the theory, not the reality? You think distant people that you don’t know very well can possibly change, but when it comes to people you know and have demonized in your mind and you see as morally inferior to you..…”
He interrupted her. “Could Kiki possibly still be a lesbian?”
“Why is what she is or what she’s not, so important to you? We are talking about us. Why are you acting weird?”
“Acting weird? How do you expect me to take this?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m just not expecting this from you. I was thinking your message would have touched you first before you go out there to preach it. Or should I say, perform it.”
He stood up and walked towards the window at the other end of the sitting room, he shifted the curtain looked outside, and then turned, his fists clenched.
“What exactly do lesbians do anyway? What sort of sex do they have?”
She could not help but search his face for something. “You really want to know?”
“Please, enlighten me.”
“Bosun, are you OK?”
“Do I look like I’m not?”
“You look hurt. I don’t remember ever seeing this look on your face.”
“I’m not hurt. Believe me I’m not. Please indulge me, what do lesbians do?
“It is just like a normal relationship as you know it; the only difference is the sex. Oral sex, mutual masturbation, sometimes we use dildos, sometimes we use cucumber, sometimes we just rub our crotch against each other.”
Her words started with a bit of energy but lost it all along the way to the end, as if more time of recounting the things she did with Kiki in the past could end in tears.
“Oral sex, as in each others’ genitals?”
“Bosun, I don’t want to talk about it. Please. It is because we are planning to get married, it is in the spirit of transparency as a befitting foundation for a healthy marriage that I’m telling you all this. I don’t like this condescending attitude. There are bisexual people out there, there are gay people. Get over it.”
He was not moved by the glassy sheen in her eyes.
“Bisexual and gay people can be out there in the wild sinful unbelieving world! Not in the church!”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Exactly what it means. Who would have thought the Single Sister’s
Coordinator and the choir worship leader are homosexuals!”
Titi wiped a tear that came from the corner of her eyes. “Why are you acting like a child?”
“Why are you in church when you know that your life is a far cry from way of life approved by the church?”
“And you, why are you in church when you are already perfect? Why don’t you stay far from sinners like us? Ugh? Since you are God already.”
He walked briskly towards the fridge. “I need a drink.”
“Oh, there are also drunks in the church. Folks who are weighed down by the fact that we are all flawed, more surprised than God that human beings are not angels.”
“You cannot compare drinking alcohol to premarital sex, the bible says it is the only sin against your own body, and in your case, this premarital sex is the one the Lord hates the most. You guys should get a PhD in pretense.”
“You know what? Maybe we should just end this charade of a relationship.”
“Yes. Maybe we should. I know of the mouth being used to eat, to drink, to kiss, to pray and praise God, and suck breast. Never in the bible have I seen the mouth being used to lick genitals.”
“Fool. So it is the bible that gave you the recipe for the food you’ve been eating. You see guys playing soccer in the bible? Damn! I was about to be married to an idiot.”
Titi went for her bag and her shoes and her keys on the table; she didn’t put on her shoes before walking to the door.
“Hypocrite.” She said, before slamming the door shut and walking away.
The above is an excerpt of Feyisayo Anjorin’s One Week In The Life Of A Hypocrite. Which was released on the 29th of September by Sickle &
Questionmark/Lifescripts Publishing and also available in paperback and
ebook format in the following links:
Feyisayo Anjorin is also an actor, whose film/TV credits includes MNet’s “Jacob’s Cross” and “Tinsel”, South African TV soap “Scandal”, Akin Omotoso’s “Man on Ground”, and short film “Crooked Road”. He is also the podcast host of “The Land of Gulungulun” fiction podcast.