Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Decades II – The Sixth Decade (51-60) September 24, 2011

Filed under: Decades — Betty @ 10:00 am
Tags: , ,

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 Sixth Decade (51-60) by @Ms_Dania


ENTER @Ms_Dania
Take five.
I smile. I put down the novel and close my eyes for a few minutes, trying to obey the coach in the novel who’d just told his junior league team to take five. As I expected, the thoughts came. They were so frequent and powerful these days; wrapping round my heart with their gnarled fingers, threatening to squeeze the life out.
I’m not sure.
I have a husband who loves me. My first daughter just got married, my only son is about to complete his Masters degree abroad and my baby girl (I smile as I remember the way she cringes when I call her that in public) will soon start her penultimate level in university. She’ll make a fine lawyer one day, that one.
As managing director of Mainstream Bank, it can be said that I’ve done very well for myself.
What is there to regret?
I’d always wanted to be a writer; and write I could. I remember telling my Mama whenever I finished reading a new novel that she’d brought home that I was going to grow up and write stories for the whole world to read. I excelled in essays and even won a few competitions here and there. Pre-NYSC, I did a bit of editing work and wrote for a couple of magazines. My parents were happy; they liked that my hobby made me small money on the side.
Post-NYSC, I got a bank job because everyone knows that you gotta get a real job after NYSC. Right? So I did. But I had a plan. I would work for a while then get married. If my husband wasn’t earning enough to support the family alone, I’d wait till he was and then I’d quit and venture out into my writing career properly. It was a foolproof plan.
I met Tunji right after NYSC at a friend’s birthday gig. He was…nice. He looked nice, spoke nice, smelled nice; he was the quintessential nice guy. He was a mid level employee at a small private company at that time with hopes and dreams and potential. And he loved me to bits. I was very comfortable around him and we became fast friends. From the beginning, I knew he wanted more and so when he kissed me after the movies that first day, I didn’t stop him. I didn’t kiss him back either. Somehow he didn’t give me butterflies. We kinda started dating sometime after that. We broke it off -or rather I broke it off- a couple of times but somehow we always got back together. I did love him in a way, and we were so used to each other. But he still didn’t give me butterflies. It didn’t come as a surprise to me or everyone around when he asked me to marry him three years later. We had indirectly talked about it. We had met each other’s families. I told him I needed time. He said to take all the time I needed. Nice, sweet Tunji. I didn’t have butterflies. I thought about all the other guys that wanted to marry me. Most of them had more money. One of them was heir to a fortune. I thought about my sweet, loving, considerate Tunji.
Chioma said butterflies only happened in the movies. Bimpe said no grown woman needed butterflies. My mama said what was important was that we loved each other. Biology said that, at 28, my time was running out. Why give up the man in one hand for a winged creature you haven’t even sighted yet, no matter how colourful it may seem?
Our wedding was…nice. I kept my bank job, waiting for his potential to turn into kinetic. The children started coming. I continued waiting. Diapers, cribs and preschool. Still I waited. Thirteen years into our marriage he lost his middle level job. Like a good wife, I told him not to worry that I’d cover for him while we waited for him to get another. Maybe it was God’s way of moving him to something better. Maybe I would finally quit this job that was draining the life out of me slowly. Perhaps I’d still get to write that novel. So I covered. Boarding house, tantrums and Masters Degrees. I kept covering. Covering and waiting, covering and waiting. Day after day, when he’d come home crestfallen after another day on the streets trying to get a job, I’d be there smiling with open arms, hot food and open legs. Even though I hated my job with every vein in my body, I did more than endure it; I excelled at it. I was determined to be the perfect wife and mother.
As we grew older, he stopped seeking employment and came up with all sorts of business schemes and proposals. I continued in my role as the good wife; smiling, cooking, sexing and funding the harebrained schemes.
Its 32 years after and I’m still smiling. Not as brightly though. My dreams of being a famous novelist were just that: dreams. The novel I was just reading is the first I’ve read in decades. The only reason I’m at home and have time to read it is because I had to take a compulsory leave after I collapsed at work last Tuesday. “Fatigue”, the doctor said. Unhappiness, my heart corrected. I hate my life. I love my children. My husband. I love him. And then I hate him. I hate him for being the reason my heart flutters a little each time Chinedu Ubaka comes to my office. You see, Chinedu is an extremely successful business man and one of the bank’s most important clients. He is very well spoken, well read and well travelled. He is also divorced. And he likes me. He’s put it out there but he doesn’t push it; he wants me to “take my time”. I feel him watching me whenever he comes in for a meeting. I wonder if he notices that I’m freshly made up every time. I can’t help it, I like him too. Or I like the idea of him, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the idea of his success that I like. Maybe if Tunji was successful I wouldn’t feel this way. At least if he was successful, I wouldn’t be working at the bank and I wouldn’t have met Chinedu. But I’ll never know because I can never cheat on Tunji. I think.
So I hate him. Because I love him. I hate him because I love him. Every time he looks at me with failure in his eyes I physically fight the urge the grab him by the collar and shake the lights out of him, screaming, “Get up off your sorry ass and turn your potential into kinetic, dammit! This was not the life you promised me!”
They say the ‘fairy tale’ happens only in the movies. So I settled for real life. Shouldn’t real life pay off? I did the right thing and married my ‘Nice guy’. I did not follow the other guys with their money. I could have been wife to the bloody heir to a fortune. I did not hold out for the man that would give me butterflies; I settled for common sense. I followed the rules. I should be happy.
Shouldn’t I be happy?
Doorbell rings.
I open my eyes and look at the time. My five minutes is up. It is him. Standing up, I pick my novel off the floor, smoothen out my dress and walk towards the door.
And then with my hand on the knob, I put my smile in place.
Margaret Osuji is the name I go by. The good wife is who I am. Smile is what I do.
ENTER @UcheAnne


Pour three gallons of Expectation in the pan of Potential.

Throw in your Bird In Hand, plucked and fine and ready.

Then add two Gold Bands. Leave to boil on your Hopes for years.

Next, ten pints of Disappointment and Regret, stirred in slowly.

Don’t forget all the resentment; add Bitterness to taste.

Simmer for another couple of years; then take out the fire.

Leave dish to cool on your resignation. Serve with a smile.





FIND THE ART OF @Ms_Dania here and the art of @UcheAnne here
N.B. The project still goes on for the following three days. Tomorrow we have The Seventh Decade by @BoukkieO plus a special surprise by @Aeda_ soon after.
You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column or in the comments section) to follow the project.

59 Responses to “Decades II – The Sixth Decade (51-60)”

  1. thatifygirl Says:

    Yo, wait!!! That poem!!!!!!!!!!!! Jesus Holy Christ!

  2. papyrusczar Says:

    A very vivid description of marriage, especially here in nigeria. We men forget sometimes that our women have dreams that they put aside for us and our families. It’s a reminder to pay attention to others too. Supporting your spouse is never easy.
    I like this; it’s well written.

  3. thatifygirl Says:

    OK, I enjoyed this one… You didn’t go through the intricate details of the years of the particular decade, but still you managed to convey that phase of her life… I wish it was more detailed though..
    As usual, Dania, you delivered.. well done. 🙂
    I must confess, this poem right here slayed me!
    I practically spoke in tongues. Ms Anne Uche, I’m pouring out libation to the gods for you. Amazing!
    Well done! 🙂

  4. This is probably my favourite story so far, very real, very believable, and very well written. I hope this never happens to me. So many sacrifices…

    And Uche, that poem. Yes.

  5. J Says:

    I don’t know how true it is…but I hear that yoruba men are often too ready to have the wife ‘cover’…unlike ibo men who strive to pamper their wives,no matter how little they’ve got… Oh well… Ps: Good story.. Very relatable-to.

  6. awizii Says:

    This poem right here, is the best I’ve read on the decades series by far. Kinda like a recipe for dealing with life,always remember to serve with a smile.
    I really liked the story. A woman who had “the perfect plan” all laid out and instead got a ton of lemons thrown at her on her journey. She decided to make lemonade instead by sacrificing her happiness for those she loved.

    Happiness is a myth in some peoples lives. Reality then becomes the only thing left to hold on to when ideas of the perfect life get lost in time. The truth is not everything works the way we plan.

    Guess I’ll have to take the next flight out to London to look into mama’s eyes.

    Great job Dania. I loved it.

  7. ibetapassmynebo Says:

    You could just feel d sad aura around her. . .
    D poem did justice. . Waiting for d next decade
    Feel sad already

  8. That poem! Madre de Dios! It couldnt have summarized the story any better. Ucheanne, that is why I love literature, that right there. The emotion in those few lines. Phew!
    Miss Dania and Uche, I doff my hat to the both of ya. The best poem and the second best story so far!

  9. Definitely my best!
    ‘I hate him because I love him.’ Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! I don’t know why I can relate, I maybe was like this in some past life but yeah… A different style. The most reminiscent thus far. I like that Dania has finally written something I describe as ‘bitter-sweet’.
    Plus that poem just resonates! Who is @UcheAnne? If you were gonna summarise that story, there are no better words. No amount of words can describe how I feel having read this.
    I’m very glad I came here today.

  10. MzLucyM Says:

    Wow! It just keeps gtn better. Dt poem tho! Wow! D story awesome.

  11. d3ola Says:

    Best decade story to me! Love the way Dania told it!
    The poem …. my soul the poem …. just too freaking awesome! UcheAnne, great job!!!

  12. Didi Says:

    The Poem was err… Err.. Awesome!!! Yeah, that’s the word.
    I can relate to the story pretty well.. Or let’s say, my mom.
    Well written. Loved it!

  13. thatifygirl Says:

    I’m sorry, I just came back to say that I really enjoyed this particular decade.
    And that poem right there is the truth. (Y)
    OK. I’m gone for real this time..

  14. mahnyuell Says:

    *chills* I got chills after reading every single paragraph. Been following the project and this is definitely my best
    The storyline in itself is wonderful then the writing and oh!The poem!
    I’ve said too much…beautiful work.

  15. Pha't Says:

    That poem was really really nice… Really really nice…. I love it

  16. kovieparker Says:

    Wow! That poem tho… Jst wow! I luvd dis story. Mayb cos it’s been my greatest fear 4 a while now, d almost mediocre life dat is. D dreams a lot of women have to put on hold to raise a family…

  17. That poem just slayed me. And the story was really good!!! Good job, guys.

  18. Mz_Shadee Says:

    Great story, d poem is mega scary. Kai! Sometimes matters of d heart is sooooooo complicated!

    I don’t know if I want to marry a man that doesn’t give me butterflies.

  19. Pha't Says:

    Oh n the story was well told, doesn’t seem like fiction at all. Told as a true lifestory. 4real tho how many of our plans actually work out?? Great work;the both of u

  20. PreyingMantis Says:

    Ms Dania & Ms UcheAnne, one word – Beautiful.

  21. ifeoluwa Says:

    The price to pay for love and happiness..
    Which should come first really..
    Best decades 2 I’ve read so far..
    Keep up the good work ladies

  22. Joseph Parker Says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one. The writer a personal favourite of mine, so a not-so-surprising outward display of affirmation. Re marriage, love, dreams… Live, Love, Laugh. Take your chance. We would all die, eventually. Peace.

  23. Jasmine Says:

    Great writing…

  24. Ekwe Says:

    okay..i shall be readin and commenting.

    hmmm..nice opening.

    “And he loved me to bits. I was very comfortable around him and we became fast friends”…loved you already?

    just finished the story.


    i dont know what to say.

    hold on!!!! was that poem written solely for this post?!! i thot it was culled. oh shit!! o bloody shit. i want to have a threesome with the writers. yh, threesome. one person cudnt have possibly written it. right?

  25. 'Dania Says:

    Wow! Thanks all, the response is all sorts of amazing.

    I’m glad we liked it. I fell in love with Uche’s poem as well, the first time I saw it. The babe is an amazing writer; she wrote the second decade in case you didn’t know.

    Kudos to the AfroGentleman & AfroLady for putting this project together and having me here.

    Hopefully I get to beat the gong again 🙂

  26. deevagal Says:

    Wow!iv been reading silently all thru but this is d best decades so far… Its so real, so imaginable, it chilling.. This cud be either of us in d next 30yrs or more likely any of our mothers!
    Sadly but truthfully d central theme of a woman’s life is love and marriage. Get those 2 wrong and ur life is never the same.

  27. Kelvin Says:

    *Beating konga!* Lovely ladies, come and dance with to the rhythm of my sole..let nothing inhibit you..*beats konga more* come ladies, let’s dance more..yes I love this..let’s dance for decades. #pause *arranges self*

    Y’all rock
    Waiting for my fave writer still.

  28. cogitationsofme Says:

    This is my best. Poem and all…

  29. sheSays Says:

    This didn’t seem like fiction at all…it was excellent. And the poem?? I loved every bit of it. That is exactly what poetry should be…wonderful work!

    Mr Mantis didn’t have a problem with this one??? Wow!

  30. jay Says:

    Story made me pause and get scared for a few seconds…lol! My best decade story so far!

    The poem? *a round of applause*…Love it!

  31. OOkpoechi Says:

    Love ittttttt!!:D

  32. niyoola Says:

    Fabulous read ….. wowzers …… fantastic story ……….. many of our mothers fit right into this hole 😦
    UcheAnne’s poem is fantastic, i remember her from the 2nd decade. The poem took it took it away…… very descriptive and vivid! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Goosebumps right here!!!

  33. Glory Says:

    I absolutely, totally, completely love this poem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And I love this story. The story of so many women who give up their lives for common sense. What the family wants. What society expects. In the end, how to find happiness? Guess that’s what we’re all looking for. And it’s worth any risk. (Well, any well-calculated risk).

  34. damisola Says:

    Ada, u always deliver. Marriage scares me. And now I know why. The disappointments and regrets that may come along with it.

  35. ThinkTank Says:

    Well then!

    A glimpse of what I was waiting for. Beautiful, well rounded story in every way. Stretches a bit beyond its decade but that’s what I like about it. (Y)

    As for the substance of it, I’m not a fan of people who blame others (in her case- the husband) for lack of achievement. She let herself settle and then kept waiting for fate to play her a good hand. I’m not a fan of that. You want it? Reach for it. Even if you fail. But that’s just me.

    And the poem? My favorite so far by a mile and a half. Love the recipe style delivery and the sarcastic nature of it. Sounds like something the ‘good wife’ – wannabe writer herself would write. Excellent Stuff. Concludes the story with a touch of awesomeness.

    Carry on, Carry on…

  36. 0laToxic Says:

    What is everybody gushing about? Isn’t it Dania? Uche too? What did you people expect? If it was Majela and Odina now, ehen! All the gushing would make sense but with these damsels, beautiful is what they do all the time, so here, all you gushers, ploease recline… \_______

    Dania, Uche, :*

  37. Ngufy Says:

    The Mantis has spoken. What more can i say… This was captivating!!!
    *I continued in my role as a good wife;smiling,cooking,sexing and funding the hare brained scheme* Lool but vivid and expressive. I can imagine the emotions flowing through her….

  38. phantompages Says:

    Speechless..Speechless..that’s how this made me feel..when I read it I was lost for words…*MJ’s singing style* the poem..dear me! *kowtows in awe*

  39. Kesh Says:

    Very Very smooth read. Really sad too 😦 I pity her. Lovely writing. Poem and Story

  40. marie Says:

    Dania killed it. Best decade so far. Reading this has strengthened my resolve not 2 settle 4 less, I want it all. I don’t want 2 live in regret.

  41. highlandblue Says:

    You girls are making it harder for me to feature on this blog. Banxman, what is all this excellence I see here? I just kent with you people!! 😐
    Ok. So I came to drop my own Tuale. That having been said, what should a wife do when she is married to a failure? Sighs. Can she develop the vision to look into his soul and highlight the roadblocks to his success? And help him overcome his mental failures? This raises the question, can a successful woman spend years with an unsuccessful man without impacting him positively (“upgrading him”) And if she fails at inspiring him, can she still be said to be successful? Of course, the same question applies vice versa…

  42. @s_Hotzs Says:

    Hmmmmmm…..I have got to stop trading my hapiness for other peoples least I resent them…..,ow I ask, is she really happy? Sometimes ignorance is bliss

  43. isetfiretotherain Says:


  44. Moh Says:

    (Y). I reali lik

  45. mrBabba Says:

    The whole story speaks volumes…read it like thrice over and got a different perspective each time…i usually dont get the gist of poems but even a poetic dafthead like me knows it is a masterpiece. I cut cap for this decade

  46. kay_sha1na Says:

    This is it…..we can break this particular series into 5 decades, all kinds of awesome. And that poem…hmmmm that poem…fearfully and wonderfully written

  47. @yadesesan Says:

    That POEM!!!!! **fans self**

  48. Myne Whitman Says:

    The poem was the highlight of this piece for me. While I felt the woman’s sacrifice, I didn’t see any climaxes in the decade but 32 years in soft focus. Good writing though

  49. MizB Says:

    The story n poem? Magnificiently brilliant!
    I could easily point at women in my life, perfect muses for this decade. And my fear? It’s that the future holds same. But i hope, I hope.
    @ highlandblue, maybe he would have changed/been better geared to improve himself if she hadn’t been so supoortive? Maybe not. *sigh*. Thses things are complicated.

  50. Kemmiiii Says:

    One Word : Genius no Awesome

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s