Diary Of A Shoe Lover – Season 3, Episode 6 – Cheers to Happy New Beginings!!!
I was feeling all vibrant and high-spirited, and that’s how the whole week had been for me. From planning the launch of Lady Cobbler’s custom made footwear line, to celebrating the International Women’s Day with my girls, and looking forward to Mother’s day, i was bubbling with so much energy and super excited about the endless possibilities of positive vibes and progress that the future held and looking forward to happy new beginnings.
I look back at my life and all i can admit to is being truly blessed by God. Luck has nothing to do with it. I remember the years of being childless, the fear of losing my marriage, the period my dad was sick and when he eventually passed. I remember all the sleepless nights when our finances were dwindling and we literally lived from hand to mouth. It all seemed like a dead end, a never ending tunnel of perpetual darkness.
Today, i appreciate those phases in my life. They have helped to mold me into a fearless, faithful and compassionate woman. I no longer have any fear of failure or misfortune, because i know this too will eventually pass. I am fiercely faithful to the one principle of life, and that is to live it, because tomorrow is promised to no one. I am mostly compassionate to the people around me because at some point, everyone needs a shoulder to lean on.
Since the Valentine’s day reunion with Hakeem and his mum, i had become something of a semi god to him. He practically worshiped the ground i walked on and I didn’t realize how much it meant to him until…
“Hey babe”, i answered my phone on the 3rd ring. It was Hakeem.
“What are you up to, i want to take you out to lunch”, he said.
“You’re no doubt my soul mate, i was just thinking about what to eat” i replied, packing my bag almost immediately.
“You’re always thinking about food, i’d be at the store in 5 mins, come outside” He said and hung up, without waiting for me to reply.
I took a quick look at the full length mirror in the lobby and decided to touch up my make up. 4 missed calls and a text message after, i sashayed out of the store, taking slow seductive steps towards him. I leaned in to give him a kiss, slightly revealing my cleavage, as he rolled down the window, before i walked to the other side and got into the car.
“Shally, at this rate, you’d get pregnant soon o” He said his eyes full of lust.
“You know i have that effect on you baby, i said attempting to make my voice husky.
“Snap out of it , you’re giving me a hard on and i’d take you here right now, you know i will.
I laughed. We switched to talking about our days activities so far, as he drove to one of our favorite restaurants in Ikoyi, Casa Lydia. Just as i was about to take the last bite of my steak, Hakeem slipped a box across the table to me.
“Before you open that, allow me to go mushy on you for a minute”. He said as he adjusted in his seat and leaned forward to hold my hands.
“I know it’s not your birthday or our anniversary, but everyday with you is more special and significant than the last. Salewa, I love you with everything in me and everything i have. I love you for loving me, I love you just because, and most importantly, I appreciate everything you do for me. How you make me strive to be a better person, and how much of a support system you are to me. All i ask God for everyday is for the grace to always do right by you. Thank you babe and i promise as long as i live that i will do everything i can to support you and make you a genuinely happy woman.”
At this point, tears were streaming down my eyes, i couldn’t find my voice and just went ahead to open the box. My heart stopped beating for a second, I stared at the box trying hard to process what was in it, and as if on auto pilot, I rushed outside shouting “where is she, where is she?”. I stopped in my tracks, Hakeem was behind me. Fortunately for us, it was a slow day at the restaurant , so there were just a handful of people there to witness my drama.
And then I saw her, how she glistened under the sunlight, all grey and metallic, in a class of her own, my Mercedez Benz c250. I had dreamed of this day for so many years. Owning a Benz had always been top on my wish list, i had used some of the sleekest cars over the years, but our finances had not given room for the Benz.
I opened it and sat inside, taking it in all at once, oblivious of the fact that Hakeem was waiting for me to acknowledge his presence. On the passenger seat was another package, i tore it open, it was a Jimmy Choo shoe box with a hand written note in it that read,
“Take a walk in these as you inspect your new property (documents are under the shoe box) that would be the first of many Lady Cobbler branches in Nigeria”.
I couldn’t breathe, i was almost gasping for air, i struggled to reach under the shoe box and got the envelope. My hands shook as i opened it, every page had my name on it with a space for my signature. It was the same property i had showed Hakeem a few months ago on our way to church one Sunday morning.
It was just perfect for the Lady Cobbler Vision, but we couldn’t afford it or so he had said. I turned and looked up, Hakeem was smiling at me, i couldn’t hold back the tears. It was all too much for me to absorb. I hugged him so tight like if i let go, everything would disappear. I couldn’t find the right words, i couldn’t find any words at all. I just cried and held on to him.
“Mrs Olanrewaju, you’re going to get my shirt all wet with these tears. I have a meeting in the next 30 minutes. I’d leave you now. It’s all yours baby, you deserve even more and if i can bring heaven down to you, i sure will. I love you babe, see you at home and drive safely” He said as he slowly pulled me away from him.
So many things had happened since then, the property was under construction. We had put together all our resources to bring it to life so we could stop paying rent at the store. We were also trying to get it ready in time for the launch of the new footwear line, LADY COBBLER’S TIWA.
Tomorrow was mother’s day and the girls and i had planned a little soiree to celebrate the day with a few remarkable women in our lives. Hakeem’s mum was still around and his older sister had flown in about a week ago, that reunion was yet another happy one for him. With her, it was an instant connection between us, i saw a friendship beyond her being my Sis in law.
It kind of felt good having a Mother In Law and Sisters In Law, i looked forward to meeting his other sister who was also in America, heavily pregnant and just a few weeks shy of delivery. We were planning a vacation to visit them during the summer.
The clan had just become larger, with Aishat, Ivie, my brothers’ wives – Sis Moji and Misan, my mum and now my Mother in law and Sister in law – Kemi, our private little party promised to be a lot of fun with drinks, food, games, music, no kids, no husbands and a lot of love and positive energy.
“And so as women, we need to stick together and look out for each other. After my separation with Hakeem’s dad, life got really tough. I was shamed and tagged the promiscuous woman, it was the women that shamed me the most, at work and even in the church. It was one of the reasons i decided to relocate, but in the midst of my travails, i met amazing women who supported me, encouraged me and gave me a soft landing in the States.
We should strive to be these kind of women, not the ones that shame, but the ones that lift up, that show love and sow love. I want to use this opportunity to tell Salewa how much i appreciate the efforts she made in bringing Hakeem back into our lives, i pray that nothing will ever get in between you both and that your love will continue to wax stronger.”
Hakeem’s mum had just shared her experience with us as a single mother after being married for almost 15 years. The evening had turned out even better than we planned. The energy in the room that day was highly charged in a positive way and very emotional. We all connected and felt each others pains and joys through our stories.
Everyone had a story to tell to encourage the other person. I talked about my years of waiting on God for a child. My mum shared her life so far as a widow. Hakeem’s sister Kemi, shared her experiences as a breast cancer survivor. Aishat talked about her sexual abuse as a young girl and how it affected her as a woman till she met Timehin. Sister Moji and Ivie also shared their experiences dealing with and overcoming emotional abuse in marriage.
There was laughter and there were tears and then more laughter. We all talked about the highs and lows of having and raising kids, the pranks they got up to and how to deal with them at different stages. Hakeem’s mum told us hilarious stories of him as a child and my mum didn’t spare my brothers and I, in all her wit, of our growing up years.
It was at this time Aisha announced her pregnancy, she was 6 weeks pregnant and we had gone for the test together earlier in the week. It was quite a shock to us as she was over 40 years old, but the doctor had assured her that with proper monitoring, she had nothing to worry about. It was exciting news for everyone.
Ivie also chose that time to tell the group that there’d be a renewal of vows between her and Eddy. At our traditional Tuesday lunch, she had told Ai and I that she had decided to give him another chance at truly loving her wholly and faithfully and i had said a silent prayer that God will indeed be the foundation of their new love.
There was a lot to look forward, each person with her hopes and dreams. It was time to have fun, dance and enjoy some games. But first we filled our glasses and raised them up in cheers to love, strength, grace and happy new beginnings.