Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Decades II – The Fourth Decade (31-40) September 22, 2011

Filed under: Decades — Betty @ 10:00 am
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The Decades project II.

Thanks for waiting. In case you missed the preview, find it here so you know what to expect. If you’re not sure what Decades is about, kindly check the preview out.

Decades II – very much like the original Decade project – explores the wholesomeness of womanhood as lived in ten-year intervals; Girls; Ladies; Women; Mothers; grand and great-grand mothers all. They live the same life we live, experience the same joys and pains unique to their decades and maybe we can learn a thing or two from them. Find the subtle connections that link their lives together and get lost in stories told. Decades II.

Please do subscribe to the blog to follow the project. (Column to the right for PC browsers or in the comment section). Also, we hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

The Fourth Decade (31-40) by Feyisayo Hassan (@Zaffiro)


ENTER @Zaffiro
Her fortieth birthday was racing towards her like a NAScar with failed brakes; it would meet her rich, dejected and unmarried.
She could picture her cake: Olajumoke Peters is Forty! If the caterer had a sense of humour, she would scribble: ‘wrinkled and single’, under Forty. She laughed out loud the way one would at a cruel joke; she laughed so hard her eyes watered before the tears came rolling down. She wept for her loneliness.
She had aged well like fine wine. There were laugh lines around her eyes now but they only made her lovelier to behold. Her ebony skin still glowed from constant care and expensive creams; nature had been partial with her body, giving her the perfect figure.
Life for her had always been easy.
As the only child of a wealthy chief, she had grown up pampered and spoilt. She remembered being exempted from general punishments in high school because her father was their most generous donator. University had been a breeze, she held memories of partying wildly with her clique of hot nonchalant friends and paying her way through every semester. With the arrogance of one who was aware of her beauty, she had flaunted it, enjoying privileges from every guy that expressed interest. She discarded boyfriends as easily as she met them only slowing down in her mid-twenties. A ghastly accident returning from a soiree one night which landed her in a hospital bed and left her left leg in an ugly cast for 6months had caused her to reflect on her life. She pressured her father for a job and lost contact with most of her friends, save Ann, her best-friend since childhood.
Life, however, had become largely unkind to her. The dreams she had of wet diapers and tiny feet remained just that, dreams. Three men in ten years, passing through her and leaving her like they had found her…worse even. They were thieves, giving her hope and robbing her of her affections, attention and body.
She had never been short of suitors, where had she gone wrong?
At thirty-three, she had a marriage proposal secure, a 16-carat diamond ring on her engagement finger.
‘Toye’, she sighed.
They had met at Tracy’s wedding when she was thirty. She had been fresh from a shattered relationship, getting old by society’s standards and available. She remembered all too clearly his gait, the way he had approached her table like he owned the party. He had asked her to dance and when she’d politely declined sat down to chat with her the rest of the evening, leaving only once to grab her a drink when she’d expressed interest in the cocktails the waiters whizzed past.
They had exchanged numbers as they parted that night.
Toye had been an attentive lover, a thoughtful man, the –quintessential- ‘husband material’ it had seemed but for his skills as woman panel-beater. Adonis that he was, she still wondered how such contrasting attributes managed to coexist in his edible bod. The first time he had hit her she hurt more from the shock than the pain of the slap. It became more regular but she had stuck on. Heck! She was in her thirties and desperate to settle down. Barely a month after her thirty-third birthday when he proposed, he had beat her so much, she landed in a hospital. That was the last, painful straw that had almost literally broken her back. She ended the relationship and deleted him from her life. She had no desire to spend the rest of her days nursing injuries. The painful break-up with Toye couldn’t have come at a worse time: a week before Ann’s wedding where she would play bridesmaid. On the morning of Ann’s wedding, she wept. Could she bear this? With a plastic smile set in place, she stifled the tears that threatened to fall, determined not to ruin her friend’s day with her problems; it had to be the longest day of her life.
Thirty-four met her single and not quite searching. Her job was enough for her. Was marriage worth it? If it was for procreation, she could easily get pregnant. If it was for sex and companionship, married men lined up at her door ready to start illicit affairs with her.
This new attitude worried her parents, so much that it resulted in a blind date with dad’s client’s son.
‘Give it a try’, her mother urged. ‘You never know till you try’.
And try she did, meeting Nicholas in a crowded bar. She arrived first and selected a table not too far from the exit.
‘Blue shirt you say? Okay, I see you’, she said and dropped the phone as he approached the table.
The two words her cerebellum registered with the new face that night; her pulse quickened.
Sparks flew. He became ‘her Nicolas’. She wanted to carry his babies, children that would have their father’s honey brown eyes and perfectly sculpted pink lips.
Her Nicolas turned out not to be hers after all when she found out he was cheating with his secretary through a friend that worked in the same organization. She ended things instantly ignoring, her mother’s protests.
They are men, it is their way of life, give it another try, she pleaded.
A try got me into this, no thanks.
Her pleading turned into anger.
Do you think you are the hot cake you used to be in your twenties? You are in your mid thirties. Settle down, time’s not ticking backwards for you.
I haven’t forgotten mother. You remind me every day.
She picked up her car-keys and drove out of the house in rage. Moving out wasn’t an option because of the Yoruba tradition that a woman had to be married out of her father’s house; her father, being the strict traditionalist that he was, would hear nothing of her living single and alone. Who came up with those things anyway? Insensitive bastards!
That was her biggest fight yet with her mother. Father had watched the proceedings with a sad resigned look on his face. He even went as far as setting up a reconciliatory meeting between her and Nicolas but it had ended on a sour note.
Nicolas and his ‘beloved’ secretary got married six months after. She wondered if she should have stuck it out; maybe they would be happily married now. After all Ann was on her second child.
Her zest for life was fading. Each day did not leave her without a reminder that she was unmarried. Was she cursed? Where had she missed it? She never thought she would be this, the old maid at her parent’s home waiting for a husband, the one her mother’s sister remembered in her prayer sessions at MFM. She couldn’t stand it any longer, this way her married friends looked on her with poorly disguised pity and quickly changed the topic from husbands and children when they caught themselves, to spare her some embarrassment. The dark circles from constant crying under her eyes became a permanent fixture.
At thirty-seven she stopped attending weddings. Was she ever going to be the one in the horrid white dress dancing towards her groom in delight. Hers was going to be unconventionally short, she had decided long ago. Nothing clichéd. The thought that she might never get to wear one chilled her insides.
When would it be her crowd sitting in the church pews in their brightly coloured geles and aso-ebis that fought for attention?
Her hopes were ebbing but Segun returned them. He turned out to be the ONE. He was a widower with one child. They had been introduced by a concerned Ann. The connection was instant; blame desperation if you like. They completed each other’s sentences and one never seemed to get enough of the other. They were together for eighteen blissful months before he proposed. Ah, finally! Their families met in a small introduction ceremony. She went about with a glint in her eye and a spring in her step. The wedding date was set, invitation cards were sent out, and her joy knew no bounds. She made plans for the cake, the hall, the events centre, the train, the church, so much to do with so little time. Her parents and Ann volunteered to help. Her dress and shoes were coming in from Paris, custom made by her best designer all paid for by her fiance. Her fiance. Fiance. Fiance. She repeated the word over and over again; it was music to her thirty-nine year old years.
Congratulations poured in. She would be Mrs Segun Kuforiji in a fortnight, before the dreadful words hit her on a cool Sunday evening.
‘Babe?’ Segun called and tenderly held her hands.
‘Yes, my love’, she answered with a smile.
Forgive me.
She looked at him, confused.
I can’t do this…
‘Do what?!’ she cut in, springing to her feet.
…get married to you, he blurted, tripping on his own words.
She saw red.
It wasn’t her, it was him.
Nigeria held too many painful memories of his late wife …
‘We can move abroad together and start a new life’, she suggested.
…and the upcoming wedding made him feel like he was trying to replace her.
There were gaping holes in his life it was unfair to ask her to fill.
His demons had caught up with him.
He was sorry.
‘Ah ahn, Segun! What is this?’ She whispered.
‘Why don’t you just pick up a knife and kill me now. Twist it through my heart and kill me!!! You evil bastard!!’ she screamed in rage.
And he moved abroad with his lone kid.
She could not- would not -be comforted. Sleep eluded her, pain spent each waking morning mocking her. She locked herself in her room for days refusing food and company. How did he expect her to stand the shame, How did he expect her to face people? She cursed him, the coward, running abroad and shattering her heart. She ate tears for breakfast, lunch and supper. Her parents were at a loss, they had tried everything.
In backward order, Segun, Nicolas, Toye; these men had destroyed her. She could never love again. Ever. At this point, she embraced her fate. She would never know the joy of having another’s last name.
Miss Olajumoke Demilade-Peters, she would remain. A lone soldier.
ENTER @maria_kesh
Let’s toast.
To my tears, to my hurt. Again.
Lets toast, to my pain..
My salty tears. My salty warm tears are what we would drink
Lets toast to me.
To only me.


FIND THE ART OF @Zaffiro here
N.B. The project still goes on for the following four days. Tomorrow we have The Fifth Decade by @weird_oo.
Also, Our dear AFROSAYS worked on a story in The Writer’s Roundabout, a project by our very own @d3ola, one of the Decades team members. The Writer’s Roundabout is a place for the insanely creative, silly ridiculous. Naughty! I tell you! Find it here. It’s a series of silly stories written by different writers/bloggers so be sure to start from the very top and give some feedback. AfroSays wrote the last story, Jason vs Derulo
You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column or in the comments section) to follow the project.

73 Responses to “Decades II – The Fourth Decade (31-40)”

  1. phantompages Says:

    That biological clock ish is jst african mentality if you ask me. I’ve seen women in their forties give birth so what’s the rush? Another african mentality is the marriage issue. To me, I could stay unmarried if I can’t find someone that shares my passion to certain things and I won’t be fazed. And as for men…don’t know really..time would tell. Wonderful story..well told! Didn’t know mariah wrote poems! Good job!

  2. Nate Oblivion Says:

    Hot damn!!! I really feel this woman’s pain. The writing was wonderful. Thumbs up to the writer.

  3. Jumie Says:

    Haaaaaaa. dis is sad :(. Nd her name jst had to b Jumoke! Really??!! :-(.
    Well written. Loved d poem too. So many cases like this lately tho. And yes, I believe a woman needs a man to be complete, nd vice versa. Even God thought so, thus d creation of Eve 🙂

  4. @edgothboy Says:

    The sad thing is that these things really happen. If we keep writing about it, maybe we guys will learn to do better, be better… Bien!

  5. J Says:

    I could reallly realllly relate to the poem! It says it all..and ties in with the story nicely! I liked the story-albeit a little sad! Damn, that last guy raised my hopes on her behalf 😦

  6. terdoh Says:

    Men can be something else. See them breaking hearts like karate kpako. This is why I like women. I even date them…sometimes.

  7. I like the poem. Such pain. Sometimes, Maria, you write with so much feeling that it scares me.

    As for the story… sigh. I hope that one day we wake up and realize that marriage is not a do or die affair. It’s just sad the way women are pushed into shitty marriages or end up hating their lives because of stupid societal pressures.

    An observation:
    While the male decades were about self-actualization and living a purposeful life, the female decades are about family/society pressures and being the ‘model’ woman. This is what the society has turned us into. Men that seek validation from within, and women that seek validation from the outside. It’s sad. We (women) should learn to love ourselves and live for ourselves. Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. It’s a cheesy line, but it’s true.

    I really should stop with the long comments. 🙂

  8. rachelle Says:

    Nice…Really nice!!Dat segun shall be killed tho!!

  9. PreyingMantis Says:

    Must the stories always have the same format or style? Eg: “At thirty-three, she had a marriage proposal secure”, or “At thirty-seven she stopped attending weddings” and also end with the same style, eg: “Miss Olajumoke Demilade-Peters, bla bla bla”

    29th paragraph: “this way her married friends looked on her with…” This or The?

    “Let’s toast.
    To my tears, to my hurt. Again.
    Lets toast, to my pain..
    My salty tears. My salty warm tears are what we would drink
    Lets toast to me.
    To only me.”

    What happened to the apostrophe, it took a long walk?

  10. ed, edd&eddy Says:

    nice one again. but that segun guy is such a jerk! he just had to b d one to put d final nail on the coffin. howbeit, such story could sound fictitious but true. marriage has now become a do-or-die affair in dis present age, even those who dont even understand what it means just wanna jump into it like its a trend or somfin. as someone once said: “marrriage is like a house under siege those who r in wanna get out and dos outside wanna go in”

    once again. *thumbs up*. i await d next, EAGERLY

  11. ibetapassmynebo Says:

    I actually enjoyed this one. . .

  12. Kesh Says:

    Yay! I’m up. 🙂 I liked this story. So sad. So beautiful. I agree with TecknicoleurGrl.”Men seek validation from within, women from outside” 😦 Sadly this is what we have become. I also think we women didn’t get a fair deal. But then again we are to make the best out of it. 🙂 @Zaffiro Well done.

  13. Kesh Says:

    And yeah. Thanks dupe. 🙂

  14. isetfiretotherain Says:

    I’d just like to say that I see no reason why this decades is displaying women as weak and exploited. It’s even worse because the stories are written by women.

    Yes, there are cases where these things happen, but just as well, there are so many women out there who are happy and successful; in their careers, families, friendships and/or marriages.

    A woman is a strong, beautiful creature. Please stop portraying us only in the negative.

    • Betty Says:

      Did you read yesterday’s story?

    • zaffirro Says:

      Of cos there are and while I don’t have the statistics to
      back up my claim, from what I have generally observed
      there are more unhappy women than there are happy
      women. And the decades aren’t intended to portray
      women in the negative, we are just telling people’s
      stories. Thanks for stopping by.

    • isetfiretotherain Says:

      @Betty, yes I read yesterday’s story. The subtle hint that a woman is not totally fulfilled w/out marriage wasn’t missed.

      @Zaf, I’ll just ignore your sarcasm. I have made my observation, there’s absolutely no reason to get your knickers in a twist, take it or leave it. Your choice.

  15. The poetry is just beautiful. I love the story.

  16. Marriage is a trap. Don’t fall for it.

  17. OOkpoechi Says:

    Wow I love this and d poem is awesome!

  18. awizii Says:

    I read this as soon as I got the notification but I was in a meeting so I couldn’t comment. Only one observation: Can’t the stories be about something else apart from marriage? I mean, if they can’t be inter-connected in some way and they’re going to be independent stories it’s only nice to see other dimensions to a woman’s life apart from the fuss about marriage and what not. My 2 cents. I do like the way the story was written though.

    The poem…the pain is evident no doubt, and I guess there was probably not enough room to let it all sink in…but I like it…a whole lot.

    • Intoxyka Says:

      well, it doesnt help that our society makes us believe that marriage is our “completion”, the sole reason of our existence. women tend to look forward to that time of their lives and panic when it looks like it isnt going to happen. we nees re-orientation in large doses… My thoughts.

      • Uche Says:

        @awizii: The first and second decades were not about marriage now! Didn’t you read them?

        And whether we like it or not, when women get to a certain age marriage would be an issue, whether for the woman or for the society that has certain expectations about her. Most writers, I believe, do not operate in a vacuum.

  19. Ekwe Says:

    No…the complaints about preying mantis on my TL are actually uncalled for. I was gonna ask you guys something of the sort…why do you think all your problems revolve around marriage? you are writing…explore a whole lot of other areas. We with the penises are not ya only problems you know.the talk about men and their failures and what not is getting overflogged.

    I can tentatively predict that tomorrow will bring any male woe. its a good story…but I am not talking about the story at all now.after reading four of the series,I see see a big part of the bigger picture now.I know you guys prob didn’t see all the stories before you posted them…but the numbers game has become a trademark of this decades. Everyone Is talking age shows me just what worries you.

  20. ThinkTank! Says:

    Aha! The decades proceed in good form. An interesting read.

    The poem was lovely this time. Probably my favorite so far. The pain was palpable in the words. Well done ladies.

    Again, i have to repeat my sentiment on it being another well worn storyline – the old spinster mistreated by men. *sigh*
    I was really expecting an insight into childbearing, raising, the difficulty with being a faithful wife or starting a family business or something of the sort. The first decades had more well-rounded stories I think. Touching on everything from the standard relationship issues to the more deep philosophical issues of mentorship and even redemption.

    I suppose I shall have to be patient.

    Still takes little away from the quality of the work so far. Carry on, Carry on…

  21. Ekwe Says:

    Apparently the last three comments were being written st the same time.LOL.shows you the sincerity of our opinions.
    Jes read the poem. I don’t like poems generally,but the last line made sense to me.

  22. Ekwe Says:

    Really forgot to ask why no one has spoken of single parenting and child-raising? :/

  23. kblewin Says:

    IMO there are more unhappy women than happy women in this world. So I kinda understand the angle taken by this writer. but I agree with @ThinkTank on this: “i have to repeat my sentiment on it being another well worn storyline – the old spinster mistreated by men”… What about the “Joys of motherhood”?? single parenting, the stress of running a home and having a career etc etc

    The poem… *Sigh* Bravo!

  24. jay Says:

    If only she had a child! Nice but sad, no one shd go through this! I loved the way the poem connected n closed it all! *sigh*

  25. zaffirro Says:

    @ekwe @awizii @thinktank it only shows that marriage is a major part of a womans life, no excuses for not expanding on other issues that affect women tho. In other news watch out for tomorrows decade, *wink *wink.

  26. dat ibo gurl Says:

    i really don’t get the ish with plp and dis stories. its a pity but the truth is the society expects only one thing from a woman and that is marriage. no matter how much the world has evolved the society still expects that by 28 and woman should be married and if shes not then there’s something wrong with her. lets face the truth. The writer has written what is going on in a woman’s world and i totally enjoyed it.

  27. damisola Says:

    Finally ppl see what I always complain about. Just cos society expects all women to be married doesn’t mean that there aren’t women who don’t get married. No1 talked about divorce, widow-hood, single parent-hood, coping in a work environment. Achieving success within a decade in a work environment. Apart from yesterday’s story, the female decades hav been disappointing. Just cos according to ur trumped up “statistics” women are more unhappy than men, these posts should be celebrating the women that make themselves happy no matter what. Not the snivelling messes u continually show. Same thing with Vagina Monologues. *hiss*

  28. Ayaba Says:

    Nice piece. So sad tho. I especially liked the poem. Thumbs up!

  29. damilola olawepo Says:

    This is so touching and sad

  30. afrosays Says:

    In this society, it’s true, everything is secondary to a woman.
    All women want to do is get married!
    Even those that seem to put their careers first.
    Marriage is all they talk about.

    • damisola Says:

      Just cos it’s true all women want to get married doesn’t mean the writers shouldn’t write about the ones that actually are married. Come on, at 40, she should be talking about other stages of a woman’s life. The 3rd decade already had to do with the search for a husband.

  31. Oyindamola Says:

    I blame some women..that have allowed the society to run their lives. Saying stuff like “you won’t be complete if u don’t get married” is a load of crap. U can be fufilled and complete without believe it. I blame the society for forcing women into marriages because their ‘biological clock’ is ticking and making them think they have failed if they are not married by 30. I blame some men like nicholas that prey on innocent women cos they are above 30 and not married. Believe it or not..not everyone will get married.
    Wonderful story sayo 🙂

  32. kayshawy Says:

    I really wonder why una dey complain sef…I saw this was gonna happen from the beginning. Woman matter na double-double! If the guys were writing decades the ladies shd be writing ermm….2decades/series? There’s so much to womanhood jare….their wahala plenty. Let’s enjoy the stories and hope the ladies would do another decades series so they can focus on other areas…walahi e no easy to be woman, ‘complex’ has got nuffin on them *phew*

  33. […] by @Ms_Dania. Decades so far. – The first Decade – The Second Decade – The Third Decade – The Fourth Decade You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column or in the comments section) to follow the […]

  34. Kemmiiii Says:

    This story brings many thoughts to my head. Reminded me of my friend’s sister who wanted to marry a photographer. Her parents declined cuz she is a consultant and he; a photographer. Our biased society.
    I have also recently considered not getting married. Aint nothing wrong with me ensuring my own happiness.

  35. zozo Says:

    I literally had tears in ♍γ̲̣̣̥ eyes. Well done.

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