Unexpected: the last 48 hours

Photo credit: Action Creation Studios

Welcome to Part 4 of the Unexpected series, which is all about how I met this young man named Sayo last year. If you need to, you can catch up on:

I apologize for the longer-than-usual delay to share this post—you’re so kind to stick with me! In response to a comment and question that I’ve received:

  • I’ve been ruthlessly cutting a good ⅓ to ½ out of each blog post because I know they’re long and people don’t read anymore, they skim, but I heard that some find the posts go by quickly so I will try not to cut as much out this time. If you find this longer post mind-numbingly dull, let me know!
  • When will this series end? It should be over before the year ends—hah! Let’s just say that I know what the next three posts will be about.

So! When I last wrote, my mom, Sayo and I had arrived in Lagos—his coming to Lagos definitely helped my decision to give long-distance a try…again.

Sayo wasn’t my only prospective suitor!

Ten to fifteen years ago (has it really been that long?), on any given Friday or Saturday night (or both), you’d find me dancing up a storm with my friends in a club. I also went to the occasional singles’ event (those targeted at Christians and not), and I had friends who hosted parties; what I’m saying is I interacted with humans of the male variety on a regular-ish basis and was kind of social but those interactions never amounted to much. No guy would ask me or my friend for my number, no guy would stalk the clubs, hoping to catch me at the same club the next weekend and finally work up the nerve to ask me to dance—these things would only happen to my friends. I thank God that I genuinely enjoyed dancing sooo much and that I can chat up a storm, otherwise my memories of my twenties and early thirties would have been quite sad. Of course, I did have those moments of “Why can’t I get any love!?” and “I hate men!” but overall, I enjoyed those years.

But.

I had noticed a peculiar thing during my trips to Nigeria. The Jummy who was not a hot commodity in Canada would get a smattering of appreciation in Nigeria. Let’s not debate whether this attention was due to my devastating good looks and sparkling wit and charm (because it was, naturally!!) or my “she’s from abroad” status; all I know is that if Nigeria were geographically closer to Canada, I would have escaped there every other weekend when I was in my twenties so that I could experience what it must feel like to be a desirable woman—I would have used those opportunities to boost my self-confidence when I was feeling like chopped liver. Last year’s trip was great from the point of view of ego boosting as I had t-h-r-e-e different guys, one of whom was Sayo, who let me know that I was kind of cool.

(I totally threw that last paragraph in to stroke my ego and to let you know that Sayo may have found me more attractive because he met two other guys who seemed to think I was awesome!)

Ok, so normally we don’t spend much time in Lagos but this time, before coming to Nigeria, I had negotiated with my mom to have an extra day in Lagos because I wanted to meet some longtime friends (who I met through this blog) in person. I had solid plans with two blog friends and I was also going to meet a guy who I had told some months back that I didn’t see a relationship happening between us. We had remained friendly despite me telling him that, and we had a mutual friend so I thought it would be rude to come to Lagos and not tell him. It was the tiniest bit awkward explaining to Sayo why I was meeting this guy, especially because I had shared our history with Sayo.

Our day in Lagos

Lagos completely intimidates me—I use a GPS to get around the city I’ve lived in for 26 years so obviously navigating around Lagos is out of the question. Thankfully Tolu, the first person I was going to meet that day, arranged for an Uber to pick me up. I asked Sayo to come with me because I didn’t want to get lost. We had a great time with Tolu and her kids and I managed to sneak a few details to Tolu about Sayo. I kept it simple: I told her we had recently met and we were going to see where things went.

When we got back to our hosts’ home, their cook had arrived with her baby. While her daughter slept on a couch across from Sayo and I, the cook got busy in the kitchen and Sayo and I chatted. One thing that absolutely made me think “Hmm, this guy would make an amazing father” is the fact that while we were talking his eyes would drift to the sleeping baby whenever she would stir. At one point he went to adjust her because he thought her stirring was due to her not being comfortable. I’m not going to lie, that earned him major points—I knew he was a caring guy but the way he was so attuned to this child we had just met, you’d think he was her dad.

The baby eventually woke up and we played with her and my mom snapped some pictures of us. Confession: I had the briefest girl-who-grew-up-reading-romance-novels deja vu of this being the future and grandma snapping a picture of us with our child, but I did not tell my mom or Sayo this!

Not long after that, Toyin showed up and I got to meet my second lovely blog friend. Then my erstwhile beau (the guy who I had told that I didn’t see a relationship with) arrived and we had a nice visit too. He was a good guy and I was glad that I met him. Sayo and my mom went for a walk during most of his visit.

Serious talk time

The time that we had together in Lagos ended up being very important for the relationship: we had more alone time than ever (the only family around was my mom, and she spent most of her time with our lovely hosts who were deliberate about giving us privacy, likely because they had gone through something similar when my sister and her husband were courting!). After my guests left, I learned that my mom and Sayo had had some serious discussions during their walk. My mom is the best mama bear and among other things, she wanted to make sure that Sayo was serious about the relationship and wasn’t trying to waste my time or my family’s time (I learned all this after the fact, of course.)

At some point during their walk, my mom asked Sayo about how he felt about me, in particular how he felt about my physical appearance. I don’t want to shock you but the only way I can call myself a size zero if I say I’m a size two-zero (20)! In the past I talked a lot about my belief that my size was a big reason (pun intended!) that I was single; for a couple of years now losing weight to get a man has been the last thing on my mind. I don’t have a problem if a guy thinks I’m too fat for him; I just don’t want him to waste my time, nor do I want him to grin and bear my weight, secretly praying that he’ll whip me into shape after dating for a while or after marriage. Instead, I expect my man to love my body as-is, so that if I suddenly get super toned and svelte, he’ll just love me more…unless he’s a chubby chaser in which case, ew.

Anyway, the point: neither my mom nor I wanted a man who was trying to waste my time. Sayo’s response was priceless—it makes me simultaneously laugh and say Aww when I think of it: apparently after my mom asked her question, he stopped beside an SUV and told my mom something along the lines of “Even if she was the size of this vehicle I’d still love her.”

First of all, I have to laugh because ok, I’m big, but come on, couldn’t he have stopped beside a two-door Honda Civic hatchback instead? Lol! But aww, his point though was well taken: his feelings for me go beyond my physical appearance but he also likes my appearance. Thankfully he had backed that up with the way he had looked at me and treated me all along; I always felt cherished and cared for by him.

The three of us also talked about the future. Holding hands and cuddling is the easy part, and I kept telling them that. As I mentioned in Part 1, Physical Touch was my top Love Language so being coupley and lovey-dovey is easy. Letting yourself get carried away with your feelings in the moment is the default that I fight against. Enduring a long-distance relationship and its many misunderstandings and frustrations is hard—been there, done that. But man, Sayo can be endearing when he’s being earnest and he had both my mom and me in tears (we’re the emotional ones of the family) as he talked plainly and sincerely about his plans for our future. Then, because we were crying, he went to get us some tissue to wipe our eyes. And then he actually wiped our eyes and hugged us both—I mean come on!

After that, my mom went to join our hosts and Sayo and I had some alone time that evening; he talked about how he would feel after saying goodbye to me at the airport and I couldn’t really imagine a tearful goodbye. I liked him but I was still so sure that all of this could fizzle in a few weeks or months, despite his good intentions and earnestness. There was that part of me that was saying “Sure Jummy, get emotional and cuddle, and revel in the sweet words, but don’t completely lose yourself.” I had been through a version of this before, and although Sayo had put more action behind his words than I was used to seeing, I’m not that naive girl anymore who believes things will just work out. But I had to fight to protect myself from the part that was ready to believe this could be it. For me, a sign of this struggle between what my spirit may have known and what my practical self was confused by was the fact that I asked him a couple of times “Are you my husband!?” I had never asked anyone that kind of question before, talk less someone I had known for a few weeks. But still I was skeptical.

I wanted pictures to remember the visit

I mentioned in Part 3 that I’m cutthroat when things end: I delete everything related to a relationship, including text messages and pictures. So early on I was thinking that if I don’t take too many pictures of Sayo and me then there will be fewer things to delete should things end. We had one “picture” that was a video that I recorded accidentally before taking the actual picture and a couple of blurry selfies but that was it.

By the time we got to Lagos I wanted us to have more pictures to remember our time together, so I snapped a couple of pictures of him at Tolu’s house, as I mentioned my mom snapped a couple of us with the cook’s baby, and we snapped more selfies.

Time to say goodbye

Our last day in Lagos was kind of bittersweet as you’d expect. My mom and I packed our luggage and Sayo and I had time to talk. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I know he tried to reassure me that all would be well, that he would keep in touch regularly, and that our relationship wouldn’t end like my previous one. Then it was off to the airport.

The Lagos airport is a national treasure (#sarcasm), between people stylishly asking you to pay them a bribe for doing their job, the lack of air conditioning while the temperature outside is well in the thirties Celsius, and oh yes: the general chaos. Our luggage was overweight (of course) so AS USUAL, we ended up opening our luggage and trying to lighten our load at the last minute, in the middle of the airport, with hundreds of other packrats. Guess who got to take all our extra belongings back to Ondo state?

The manual process of checking in our luggage took plenty of time; this is something that’s straightforward in any other airport. I kept looking back at Sayo to make sure he was ok as he was bogged down with his overnight bag, our carryon luggage and our bags of extra stuff. He was patiently bearing it all though I did get to see a side of him that I hadn’t seen before when he was talking to some guy who was throwing around the fact that he had the “power” to delay our check-in process.

Finally, we had checked in our luggage. We still had a couple of hours before the plane would take off so I thought we’d find a quiet place to sit and I’d probably have that emotional goodbye I didn’t think I would have. But within minutes we had reached the point of no return (for Sayo) and we couldn’t take the risk of another long lineup holding us up. Soon Sayo and I were saying our goodbyes, with my mom snapping a few pictures. Instead of the hour I thought we’d have to hang out, we had maybe five minutes.

And just like that, we were officially in a long-distance relationship.

40 thoughts on “Unexpected: the last 48 hours

  1. Hey! This is Sayo. I love this babe so much mehn. She is my second mother and mother to my unborn children. Nice write up there sweetie, and like I always said, u are the best mehnnnn. Hugs and much much much more love. Amen!

      • Aww, Wendy: big hugs to you—thank you for the support, encouragement, and listening ear! 💜💜💜

      • Thank you, Margaret!

        I think this is the first time Sayo’s made his way here—thank God that blog-savviness is not on my list of things I need in a man! 😀

        I don’t think he’ll be a regular reader though I do share these blog posts with him before I publish them to make sure I’m not exaggerating or putting up anything that he’d be uncomfortable with.

    • Yay! So we’ve met!!! This is Toyin.

      Looking forward to to meeting you properly. GNG this was a nice post and you look good together.

      • Yay, Toyin! I was trying to remember if he was around when you came or if that was the other guy. 😬

        Thanks for reading and for the compliment. 💜

    • …and he comments on your posts as well!?! Sayo for President…I’m so happy for you two.
      Please Sayo, take care of Jummy! So excited for you guys.

      • Ok the first part of your comment made me laugh for real—I need to tell him because I don’t know when he’ll make his way back to my blog!

        Hugs to you, Missy Tee😘: I appreciate you being happy for us!

      • Lol Berry! Sayo is too straightforward for that but let me ask if he’s trying to win more brownie points (in my opinion he almost has too many, lol 😀).

        Hugs to your little darling! 💜

    • LOL. boda sayo, we didn’t know you’re also cool!
      Jummy, as if you don;t know the protocol, how did you guys manage to pack that much extra weight?
      Sayo has had enough training with his nieces and nephews to know how to respond to a child.
      Im truly happy for you!
      Now are the blog cover images your pre-engagement pictures? Better start practicing my gele tying skills.

      • Adeola, my mom is 100% to blame for overweight luggage on the way home; in fact it needs its own blog post!

        What makes Sayo so cool o? Hehehe

        Aww, thank you so much for sharing in my happiness; I appreciate it.

        Sayo’s brother-in-law is a photographer and Sayo loves taking pictures so we totally took advantage. I want to be organized and take more pictures next time, even business pics! :)

        And yes o, start practicing gele typing skills!

    • Hello Sayo!! Nice to meet you.

      We know you will do it, but please take very good care of “our” Jummy. She deserves the best. And we know you are it!

      Congratulations to you guys!

      Jummy, please na, we dey wait for the next part. Abeg free us! Lol.

  2. IT ENDED TOO SOOON!
    I was hoping for a long read but boy did it end sooner!

    Reading this I suddenly have a flash as to why women considered overweight in western societies are better appreciated in Africa.

    Unlike in the west, we Africans link being skinny or gaunt with poverty or illness!!! Once a man comes into some affluence, his belly is expected to protrude, he is expected to gain weight, yea he is now a big man indeed!

    Women are better appreciated for being curvy, with “junks in the trunk” (the street lingo is ‘barca’ & ‘Manchester’.

    Being svelte is not necessarily all it takes to get hooked around here.

    • Lol Mr. El Haj I want you to know that this blog post was almost 1,000 words longer than the previous one but I will do better next time sir! 😀

      Good insight into the male mind but my thought is that even in Nigeria I think my weight is more than most men choose to handle; I’ve been called orobo several times by strangers so I’m kind of sensitive to it.

  3. Jummy how is this a long post???? It ended way too quickly lol. His response to the sleeping kid was just too sweet. You are a sweetheart and as such glad God sent you someone sweet!

    • I agree. This was way too short and ended way too quickly. I can’t get enough of this story. So sweet,endearing and romantic plus you tell it so well.

      You deserve great stuff and I am so glad someone amazing found you and vice versa.

      • Hugs and thanks to you, Bisola. I know that the God who answered even my halfhearted prayers from before can and will do the same for you concerning anything you desire.

    • You sure know how to make a girl feel good: this post is almost 1,000 words longer than the previous post but I will try harder (especially when you include such sweet compliments in your comment). 😀

  4. Can Sayo grab some tissues and come wipe my eyes now too? ;) Goshhhhh!

    This post also reminded me that it’s been 11 years since I’ve seen you/lived in Canada.
    What. The. Heck?! I definitely need to get in gear and remedy that.

    Hurry up with the next post, missy!
    💜💜

    • Aww, cute. 😘

      11 years: crazy right?! I think all the time we spent together back in the day makes me still feel close to you, despite the fact that we’re not at all caught up on each other’s lives anymore!

      *salutes you* Yes ma’am!

  5. Dear is the word i see to qualify your kind after reading your story although you mentioned above that it usually get you isolated when used by a just known person(a stranger)….All relationship that end up in marriage starts 1)decision to be a wife 2)continuous Good prayer to see the kind of man you want(best for you) 2seeing the person ,3)verifying the person to be your suite 4accepting the marriage proposal….Above all remember the NO man is 100%,that is no man can have all you expect from men even with your help after or before the marriage but if a man can have at list 70% of your expectations don’t be in a haste and don’t waste very much time to say YES but first pray after you have given the person your attention and willing to go-on as a good lady,pray first “ask God to show you really if you should go ahead and accept the offer for you and Sayo to leave together permanently as a good husband and wife “…just keep on exchanging massages with him studying each other but remember NEVER huck-on very much on your PAST failure relationship for it not to effect your future rather expect a brighter future and see the past as past and the future as future avoid provocative words with Sayo for him not to doubt his choosing you to be his wife…when you do these you will find out that no matter how you suffered in the past you will be able to live happier and found things fixed…This is all i have for you ‘writer’ and i know this little massage if you use it wright you shall end-up building a happy family as a good wife…Bye.

    • Thank you for making the time to comment, Uchebo Geoffery! Your words of wisdom are much appreciated and I’ve already read them more than once.

      I agree with you that moving forward with someone is all about making choices, adding God to the equation, and being realistic about things. Your other practical points are also appreciated.

      Even though I know that nobody is perfect, I had a hard time being realistic about the things that I wanted. I didn’t want to settle, yet I also had to be honest about what I was bringing to the table, so to speak.

      You have no idea how timely your comment about past relationships is; let me just say that I’m still working on that! I look forward to sharing happy updates with you. Stay blessed!

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