My Destiny is in My Hands

My name is Brendan Udeme. I am 21. I see myself as I nonentity because I failed everyone who believed in me. I failed my mother, my father, my siblings, my teachers, my priests; I failed all of them. I write this from the hospital bed where everyone else has abandoned me to die the death I chose for myself. I regret every single act of mine that got me confined to this dungeon. I hate myself, I am useless to human race; I weep, I wish I could be given a second chance. I am truly sorry for myself for choosing this abominable path. I had all I needed in life, but greed, laziness, lack of focus, lack of inspiration, impatience, took them all from me. Now I’m left with the broken pieces of myself. Will I see the breaking of the next day? Will I be given one more chance? Will I get a life again? All of these rhetorics flash in my head, yet I know I can’t have my cake and eat it.

I was born into a rich home. My father was a business tycoon; he owned many properties in the southern and eastern part of Nigeria. My mum was a wonderful woman, but I killed her… sobbing…I killed her with a double-edged sword, the sword I buried in her loving soul and got it butchered without an iota of remorse. I have two younger siblings. All of them ran away from me because of the trauma I brought into my peaceful home. My father couldn’t bear my presumption anymore, so he threatened to disown me. But I made him change his mind after I threatened to murder him in cold blood. I did a lot of abominable things, my father got me bailed from jail numerous times, but the one that got me in this helpless state, I’m going to share with you young girls and boys so you can learn from my mistakes.

At 16, I was already in SS3 about to sit for the West African Senior Certificate Examination. I attended one of the most expensive high schools in Bayelsa. It’s a great school. Many great men and women have been produced by this school. My father enrolled me there not because he could afford it but because he wanted the best for me. In my class was this young girl, Anna. She’s currently in her finals in Anambra State University. I began crushing on her after she won an inter-school essay competition. When I approached her, she turned my offer down. My likeness for her continued to grow stronger until it ate the better part of me. One day, I met her on the street walking home, and after watching her sexiness in casual wears, I swore to make her mine at all cost. That was the beginning of my destruction.

I’m not the talkative type. I didn’t know how best to woo a lady, so, I resorted to mingling with certain boys in my street. Luckily for me, on a Saturday evening, my mum and dad weren’t back from the wedding they attended as early as expected, so I had the time to visit this street boy. Weeks after weeks, I kept paying him visits, and finally, I got what I wanted from him. He gave me tutorials on wooing a lady. I became his good friend, though I didn’t let my parents suspect I was close to him because they would object to that. One of the things I needed to have to help me woo any lady of my choice was confidence, but I lacked it. My friend in a bid to help me get Ann, taught me how to take drugs. Doing it once felt really cool, so, I continued. “I love the fact that I was growing into a big boy”, I always told myself. With time, I lost interest in Anna. I got used to the street boys I mingled with to the extent that I began developing interest in them.

The devil knows how best to destroy a promising child. Within the space of 8 months, everything about me started to change gradually. The next year, I gained admission into the university, at last, I gained freedom. Since I had become emotionally attached to Solomon, I paid him visits often. He equally reciprocated. Our friendship grew stronger as we satisfied each other’s sexual urge. With time, I became too demanding. Solomon had a group who were involved in cultism and also slept with wealthy men for money, and since my boyfriend was always demanding for money and I enjoyed his companionship, I was ever ready to give him. My parents began to wonder what I used all the money for and with time, my father attempted to stop giving me as I demanded, but I wouldn’t let him.

“Brendan, what do you need that huge sum for?”. “I’m not going to give you that amount this time”, my father yelled. “If you don’t give it to me, I’ll break the bank and get it, and you can’t stop me”. My overwhelmed father stood almost lifeless, staring at me while I walked out on him. That was the first time I confronted my father in my whole life. That night, he sent my younger brother to call me to his room, but I wasn’t in my room. They later found me sitting by the gate with the smell of Indian hemp all over me. Then, everyone realized something new about me. My father couldn’t talk to me that night seeing my utter indisposition as my eyes were smoky red. I didn’t even bother about their feelings. All I did was to get up and went upstairs and into my room. The next day, around 3am, my mum came to my room, woke me up and began to ask questions which I was never going to give answers to because I took an oath never to disclose them. All her effort to make me open up was futile.

A week later, I joined my friends in a kidnap attack. It was the home of the Chief Medical Director of Niger Foundation, Abuja. We were to rob him first to get enough money for ourselves, then finally kidnap him as ordered by our boss. We did the work perfectly; he paid the demanded random, which made our boss pay us hugely for work well done. I partook in many other robbery and kidnap attacks which put me in jail severally, but my father always jailed me, hoping that I would repent.

Four years after my admission into the university, I came home with no intention of going back. I wouldn’t talk to anyone about my rustication. I became everyone’s nightmare. All I was doing then was sleep, eat, smoke and fight everybody in the house, and when there was no money anymore for me to smoke, I went about stealing from everyone. I was good at programming, so I would steal my family’s debit cards and withdraw almost all their savings; I was terrible indeed. It got to a state that my siblings ran away from home just because of me. What led to this was my disappointing attack on my brother. That night, I barged into his room threatening that I would rape him if he refused to give me his ATM immediately. Still in surprise as he couldn’t understand what I meant, he ignored me. I had smoked that night and was ready to kill. I grabbed him off the bed, pushed him to the wall, and when I was about dragging his shorts down, my father who had had the noise came in and intervened. It was a horrible scene. I fought my dad, with all my strength, my mother came in from her room with my youngest brother calling my name, all I could do was push the poor woman to the wall, and the next thing that happened; she hit her forehead on the TV set which broke into pieces, she fell and passed out. I didn’t realize what I did until the next morning.

My father realized I had become a mental case, so forced me to the psychiatry with the help of my brothers. It was indeed a very bad moment for my once happy and peaceful home. But when my father thought it was over, I became terribly sick and was diagnosed with anal cancer.

The questions I ask myself as I sob are: Why didn’t I focus on my life goal of becoming an ICT guru? Why did I let an abominable pleasure steal me away from my promising self? Why did I take to smoking? What value did it add to me? Will my mother ever forgive me even when I die? Of what use am I? I regret every bit of my actions. Dear young ladies, young men, adolescents, I beseech you to learn from my heartbreaking story. Your destiny is in your hands; be careful not to open your hands to the devil.

I Took a Chance

So the previous day, a friend of mine brought her kids; two of them, to my house, seeking that I kindly let them be with me so she could run around for some business deals. I gladly accepted. Of course, she’s a dear friend to me and I enjoy the company of her soldiers. I kept the kids busy with their favourite TV channel while I kept myself busy with some official duties; I work from home. They never gave me a headache. While I was rounding off with my work, the power was interrupted though I didn’t notice it because my eyes and mind were fixed on my computer. I got to know the lights were off when Nelson, the oldest, about three years old, came crying to me; “Aunty! They have taken the light”. “Oh! poor child!” I thought. I gently pulled him to my bosom and asked him not to worry that I was going to take them out. He nodded with a smile. Trust me, I’m good at making that happen.

In about half an hour, I was dressed and we got ready to leave. I quickly thought about the closest place we could go where kids would have enough space to run around. Castle Hills flashed my mind. It’s the closest, however, I wasn’t comfortable enough with it because of the pool it has behind. Still with that thought, Kennedy, the youngest, he just turned two in May, called excitedly “Aunty Aunty”, pointing to the gate of Castle Hills as we walked past it. “You like us to go there”, I asked him. You needed to see the way he said yes, like he was going to see his mummy there. I quickly remembered that we’ve been there with their mum. That settled it.

Castle Hills is actually one of the best places to take kids to. Its spaciousness and sandy ground made it so. At least your kids could play really good without having bruises all over, and you don’t need to follow them around while they play to stop them from falling; when they fall, they get up and continue playing. Another good thing about it is that they sell varieties of kiddies stuff, ranging from toys, balloons of different sizes and shapes, and those brands of drinks kids enjoy. All I did was go into the kiddies section and bought lovely balloons for the kids. I knew that would keep them busy while I went through my blog site. Beside the kiddies playground was a pool. I didn’t even think of the kids going close to it because they had enough space to play in the kiddies section and there was a barricade to stop anyone from going to the pool side, also, I needed a serene atmosphere at the moment and that corner was perfect for me because the kids played without being interrupted by anyone as we were the only ones occupying the place then.

Just a few seconds after I thought about the possibility of a child going to the poolside, on raising my head and looking towards the barricade, Kennedy swiftly forced himself into the barricade and was just standing in front of the pool, and before I could fully comprehend what he was about doing and then running to the direction, he had walked into the pool. The first word that left my mouth was “God”. I couldn’t believe it, confusion set in. First, I wanted going to call the security, but “no, this boy would drown in this pool if I waste more time”, I thought. Though I had not being in the pool before and couldn’t even swim, I ran fast to the pool, jumped into it and held the boy. Luckily, it was the shallow part. How I managed to get us out of the pool is still a mystery to me. I’m grateful the boy wasn’t hurt though I had to take him to a clinic immediately.

Really, I was glad that I took the chance. If I hadn’t, worse would have happened. That experience wouldn’t stop me from taking the kids out though. I need to be more conscious, that’s just it.

What Keeps You Going When the Going Gets Tough?

When I think about my success story, I am gingered up. Truly, nothing good comes easily in life. It is either you work hard for it to tell the success story, or you give it a quit and the success story is never told. It is even more rewarding to continue because apart from the benefits you get for striving to the end, your friends who know you quite well and even people who fairly know you will tell your success story, most times, without your knowledge, because obviously, someone needs to be motivated or encouraged by people’s success stories. So, don’t give up yet! You will soon hear your success story told by a total stranger.

You may be battling with a very though challenge at the moment, it could be with your job/career, finance, education, business, etc. Your problem could be that you find it difficult to set your priorities and achieve them. Sweetheart, you are not alone in this. Others face similar or even worse challenges; please, take a deep breath, calm your nerves, tell yourself you can achieve this, believe you can, and with a joyful attitude, take those priorities one at a time; once you have achieved one, mark it done, be thankful to God, then go over to the next one on the list. Avoid letting pressure work you down;it kills. The pressure will come, but overlook it, and remain calm.

You will meet people who will discourage you from sticking to your dreams, those who will incite fear in you and tell you many others tried but didn’t succeed. My advice to you is this: do not let them get the best part of you and drag it to the mud. Tell them they have only succeeded in motivating you, and now you will prove to them that you are different from other people, after all, you are unique.

A friend of mine, after the National Youth Service Corps program, shared with his friend his intention to enroll for the Master’s program. His friend told him the tale of people enrolling for this program in a particular institution and doing the supposed 18 months program for over 3 years, with some unlucky ones never graduating even. This friend of mine did what I advice every go-getter to imitate; he boldly told his friend that he was wrong in his assertion, and that he was going to prove him wrong. He went ahead to purchase the Master’s form, and in a few months time, gained admission and began studies. Fast forward to 2016, roughly 2 years after his admission, he finished everything about his program. He made me know that part of his reason for enrolling for that program that year was to prove to his friend that he’s different. He also mentioned that he felt challenged by his friend’s assertion and needed to do something brave about it. That’s the kind of competition brave people ought to go into.

Finally, as you read to the end, I encourage you to be optimistic at all times, have a joyful attitude to life, be open minded and be good to everyone. You will succeed!

The New Bride (The END)

Michael never saw Frank and Habibat at the entrance of the airport as fate had it. The secret was never revealed to him, this was because Frank and Yvonne needed to stay low to avoid letting their parents know about their plans. Back in Lagos, in Frank’s home, the elopement agreement was signed by Frank and Yvonne. Yvonne had looked for the best opportunity to leave her unhappy marriage with Frank. She knew that he never had an iota of feelings for her, and that he was still deeply in love with Habibat, his ex. She, on the other hand, passionately hated being in the same roof with a man she hardly knew and had no affection for, the thought of Michael everyday drove her crazy. She practically made life miserable for Frank, who equally detested her even more, especially for her rejection of his love making advances. They were both from rich homes, their parents had a good rapport but that was none of her business. To her, Michael was her breath and no one could replace him. Luck shone on her the day Habibat and Frank had a cool love session at Piccadilly suites. She had seen both of them in her car on her way home from work that evening and decided to help her soul out. With the help of an attendance who she bribed enticingly, she got a video clip of Frank’s act with Habibat that evening. She duplicated the clip, entrusting one with her younger sister who she confided in. “I’m so going to let your mother know about this”, she said to Frank throwing the CD to his face. Frank hastily watched the video after receiving further threats and abuses from Yvonne. He thought about the implications of the acts in that clip, his mother’s likely insensitive reactions to it, and all the troubles it would bring him. And when Yvonne finally gave him her conditions, he had no choice but to accept it since it would favour him as well. Yvonne threatened Frank with blackmail; “it was either he lets her elope with Michael or she lets the cat out”. The later would be disastrous. Frank cleverly agreed to the former since he had not even touched her. Calling her his wife was a joke to him because she’s far from being that. They had only come to live together after their traditional marriage which was a few months old. Though their parents had practically forced them to do the church wedding which they had pretended to be planning, they saw the idea as unreasonable as both of them were only two strangers forced to live under the roof.

Their plans went perfectly. What mattered most to Yvonne was to be with her lawfully wedded husband, Michael, and since she had made Frank to let her go the hard way, she had won. She knew also that Frank wouldn’t be that stupid not to elope with Habibat as well, so, it was a game well played.

Returning from the university where Michael and Yvonne applied for Master’s program, they paid Michael’s uncle a visit before returning to their hotel. Michael’s love for Yvonne wasn’t news to him. In fact, he was partly the one who encouraged him to take Yvonne to the registry for their court marriage. They had a nice time with him. He was very happy having them around. He’s of the opinion that marriage shouldn’t be forced or coerced. He had his own share of the pain of forced marriage and wouldn’t let anyone fall into such trap, not even his nephew. Though he’s young, he’s divorced; his wife left him 5 years after their wedding for her heartthrob.

“Honey, there’s some secret I will be revealing to you now”, Yvonne said to Michael as they lay to sleep. “All right then, let the cat out, my Queen”. Yvonne continued,”I saw Frank and Habibat at the airport a few minutes before we went to the grocery shop”. Michael adjusted himself to enable him look Yvonne in the face while she talked. He looked with utter surprise and eagerness to hear the full gist. Yvonne continued,”I threatened him with his sex clip with Habibat, and made him agree to let me go, while he finds his way out of Nigeria with Habibat as well”. “That was the reason why I was able to be in Dubai”. “Inasmuch as I trusted that you would take me out of the marriage, I felt I needed to do something more to make Frank give his consent, that’s the only way I wouldn’t feel guilty at all”. Yvonne explained. Michael couldn’t believe Yvonne’s mischief and smartness, and out of excitement, he jumped down the bed and lifted her up with showers of kisses. That night, he made love to her; the first ever.

Habibat and Frank’s American citizenship made it easier for them to settle within a few months. Her baby was born in the hospital where she worked as a nurse 7 months later. At that point, they had chosen the life they wanted and there was nothing anybody could do about it. Their parents had to deal with it.

Michael and Yvonne worked part time in the same hospital Habibat worked, while doing their program. The four became a family. Yvonne and Michael’s parents had no choice but to consent to their union. “Our children forced us to become in-laws after years of enmity”,Yvonne’s mother joked as she served her husband a glass of wine.

The New Bride (Episode 3)

The conference had come to an end, and Yvonne was to meet her lover at Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai as planned. Michael arrived before Yvonne as her flight was delayed. It was a lovely moment for the lovebirds who hugged each other so passionately and in tears. They talked about life without each other’s company, work challenges, families and other interesting things. That night, after having shower and dinner, the two drank themselves to stupour just to forget about their worries and emotional pains; it wasn’t easy for them living apart. They had a good time together expressing their undying love for each other. Michael promised to get Yvonne out of that unhappy marriage; he told her his plans of eloping with her. Yvonne, who still had so much hatred for her father for forcing her to marry Frank, saw Michael’s plan as perfect and accepted to run away with him as soon as possible. Frank, on the other hand, planned to elope with Habibat.

Seven days after, Yvonne called her husband to break the news of her extending her stay, giving the reason that she fell ill and needed to recover fully before returning. He knew that their marriage was never meant to be, so decided not to force Yvonne to be with him. Michael had earlier informed Yvonne to come along with her travel documents and other necessary documents, so they were very much ready to travel to the US. Michael and Yvonne, a few months before her traditional marriage to Frank, had a court wedding. The idea was initiated by Michael but without revealing every reason for it to Yvonne. Yvonne at the time never questioned it as she had known Michael for six years and understood every step he took. With the help of his uncle, Michael and Yvonne got their visas for one month vacation in the US. Within the period, they applied for Master’s program in the University of Southern California.

The flight from Dubai to America was scheduled for 2 O’clock in the morning. It was a non-stop flight, and in about 15 hours, they landed at John F Kennedy International Airport, there, a coincidence happened.

At the entrance of the airport, stood Frank and Habibat. Yvonne smiled at Frank who smiled back at her. “Now, I’m free and will be happy ever after,” Yvonne thought and smiled. Michael took her hand as they walked towards the grocery shop. They eventually found their way to the University of Southern California where they made enquires about the Master’s program and applied. Frank and Habibat got engaged again to be wedded in the US.

The New Bride (Episode 2)

Six months later, Yvonne informed Frank about her trip for the three-day conference on Aids education which was to take place in Glasgow. Yvonne was one of the resident doctors at Lagos University Teaching Hospital. She made her husband believe that she was appointed to represent her organization. She also made plans for her trip, not forgetting to tell her husband of her intended flight to Dubai after the conference, making him believe the reason was for her to buy fashion accessories for her younger sister; she had an ulterior motive though. Frank who had gotten tired of his wife’s nonchallant attitude to their marriage but decided to watch as events unfolded, asked her how long she would be staying in Dubai. Her reply marvelled him. “Two whole weeks to buy fashion accessories?” “Are you going to buy the whole UAE?” “Anyway, do what soothes you”, Frank retorted.

Yvonne had put everything in place before finding her way to the airport on the scheduled day of departure with other resident doctors. The flight was smooth, and in 8 hours, they landed and found their way to the hotel where they lodged. “Hello, we just arrived”. “How was your day?” “Do take care of yourself”, Yvonne was on the phone with her husband. She immediately dialled another number. It was Michael’s. Michael was Yvonne’s classmate at the medical school. They dated for 6 years and hoped to get married after house job before their families tore them apart. Yvonne was Anglican; Michael; Catholic. Apart from their religious differences, their fathers had a misunderstanding that had rendered the two families perpetual enemies. Professor Cletus, Yvonne’s father who was the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka when her daughter was still a student, was accused by Professor Nwaka, Michael’s father of mismanagement of fund. That saw the end of their friendship and Professor Nwaka swore never to let his son marry Yvonne. Those differences, though it did not stop the love their children had for each other, stopped their children from getting united in marriage. Yvonne had a long talk over the phone with Michael, discussing some things. She wouldn’t like her colleagues to hear her discussion so she asked that Michael should chat her rather. Their chat was very long and engaging. She dropped the phone after 2 hours with a teardrop. Before then, Michael professed how much he loved her, while she reciprocated with “I love you too Mike”.