From the author of Daughters Who Walk This Path, Kilanko, comes a novella on love and marriage - Chasing Butterflies. Titilope is married to Tomide, a handsome and charismatic man. She, however, spends each day anticipating his moods; living in fear of offending him. Alone at a crossroad, Titilope must choose between duty and survival. Meet the couple.
nder the spotlight, all Tomide Ojo could see from the stage was a faint outline of his wife’s face. He’d thought Titilope would vanish through the shiny hardwood floors when he told her he was going to sign up for an open mic spot.
Tomide balanced the guitar on his lap and pulled the microphone close. “This is for my beautiful wife, Titilope. Happy Valentine’s Day, darling. Here’s to sweeter days.”
He smiled when Titilope covered her face with both hands. Tomide strummed the guitar to an acoustic version of Timi Dakolo’s “Iyawo Mi.” As his voice filled the room, Titilope’s face blurred.
When things became serious between them, he’d been upfront about what he wanted from a wife. His expectations were not unrealistic. Bottom line, he wanted a woman who knew how to take care of a man the proper way. The way his mother had taken care of his father. Titilope agreed to the terms, only to change after he’d placed a wedding band on her finger. Any sensible person would agree that Titilope’s behaviour was a breach of contract. To be fair, there’d been some good moments. He was also grateful for their son.
Tomide stood up from the stage stool and finished the song with flourish. He took a bow and stepped off the stage to enthusiastic whistles and applause. And that’s how to make a romantic statement, Tomide thought as he walked towards Titilope with hands stuck in his pockets.
“Welcome back, Mr. Superstar,” Titilope said dryly as he took a seat beside her.
He leaned into her. “I remembered our song.”
She rolled her eyes. “Darling, that was sweet of you.”
Tomide grinned. They normally didn’t use terms of endearment. Up on the stage, it had felt like the right thing to say.
The silence between them stretched as Titilope stared into her glass of water. “So, what did you think of my performance?”
Titilope bit hard on her lower lip. It was what she did when she didn’t know what to say or felt the need to embellish the truth. “It was…nice.”
Nice was just another word for mediocre. “That’s all you’ve got?”
She held his gaze. “Tomide, love is more than grand gestures.”
Her melancholy was beginning to grate on his nerves. “I don’t do anything in half measures.”
Titilope’s eyes clouded over. “No, you don’t.”
Determined to hold on to his good mood, Tomide took a deep breath. “The plan was for us to have a fun, child-free weekend. We can sit here and rehash old issues or move to the dance floor and have some fun. Your choice.”
“If only it could always be like this,” Titilope said in a wistful tone.
He gave an emphatic nod. “It can be.” Titilope snorted. “It can?”
He still believed so. “Things just get messy when we both forget to play our part.”
She searched his face and then visibly pulled herself together. “It would be a shame to waste our dinner and dance coupon.”
Tomide held out his hand. Titilope took it. “That’s my penny-pinching girl,” he said with a smile.
Chasing Butterflies will be available in bookstores nationwide from April 28, 2018.
Yejide Kilanko was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. She is a writer of poetry, fiction, and a therapist in children’s mental health. Her debut novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path, was published by Farafina Books in 2014. Yejide currently lives with her family in Ontario, Canada.
This excerpt from Yejide Kilanko's Chasing Butterflies has been pubished with permission from the publisher, Quramo Publishing. It may not be republished, modified nor stored in a retrivial system without prior written permission from the author, Yejide Kilanko or Quramo Publishing. All rights reserved.