2019; What Dreams are Made of

Tucked somewhere in Ikoyi is a quiet haven that is very easily one of Lagos’ best kept secrets. That is where I am currently hiding out for my personal retreat as I attempt to review my 2019 and prepare for 2020.

2019 was one hell of a year. In many ways, it was my best year yet and in other ways it was the year that tested me the most and grew me in ways I had never even imagined possible. I have tagged the year “What Dreams are made of” because truly, for the most of the year, it felt like I was living the dream. But this review will show the process of the journey because it is so important to me to be able to go back and see how far I have come, how my character has been moulded and shaped by my experiences and all the lessons I have learned to take me into the future. The lessons will be at the end of each month.


I ushered in the New Year with my parents in my hometown and this was the first entry in my journal for the year:

To be honest, the ‘moves’ referenced here were a CV review and job applications because I had started the year broke and without a job but entirely positive that things would work out. But two weeks would go by and I would meet up with Michael and we would decide to shoot the pilot episode of Hunter’s Game, easily the most audacious thing I have attempted in my entire life. I wrote about it here.

I also put out at least a dozen applications to law firms this month but nothing clicked. Even before the decision to make Hunter’s Game, I’d had conversations with friends who encouraged me to pick up my writing again while working on the applications. I’d been so fixated on getting a job at a Law firm and earning steady income that writing was not really top on my mind but I agreed to try nonetheless.

Oh there were blues on some days too.

It is absolutely okay to have dreams that scare you but be sure to surround yourself with people who have unyielding faith in you.


Sought funds this month. Next to December, February was my second most vulnerable month. My first journal entry for the month was “Need money for the shoot. I’m not panicked yet but the clock is ticking.” Held closed auditions for the shoot as well and it was such an exciting and rewarding process. But the money hustle? Lol!

My journal had entries like:

  • “Just here wondering at what point I’m going to admit to myself that I have bitten off more than I can chew. Lol. 2 weeks to shoot and still no money.”
  • “Abba Father, I look to you. Exactly two weeks to shoot. No money. Uncertain about election outcomes and how they will affect the shoot. But I look to you. My Source!”
  • “Really trying not to despair Abba. Really trying but it’s so hard. Still no money and all avenues for lump sums of cash aren’t looking promising. Too many disappointments so far and I’m just tired.

But towards the end of the month, just in the nick of time, the money began to flow in.

  • Started out with so much despair for money but ended with 500k in my account.”
  • “Credit alerts been pouring in all day. I have 1.1m and more to come.”

Abba came through via a solid network of friends and family that I remain eternally grateful for.

Also had a horrid job interview with the managing partner of a law firm that made me swear off applying to firms. Some people are just terrible humans with zero joy in their lives. The film prep gave me a lot of joy regardless. Secured the cast, held rehearsals and got set to shoot.

Starve your doubts, feed your faith, joy comes in the morning.


Successfully shot the pilot of Hunter’s Game and it was such a draining, exhausting yet utterly exhilarating and fulfilling process. I recall dealing a minor low on the final day of the shoot though, because as remarkable as the process had been, filmmaking had not been the immediate plan. I really just wanted to practice law. Lol. I would eventually learn while observing the Lenten season, to look past myself and my immediate desires but instead give in to the ultimate will of God and stay yielded as He worked His purpose out through me, per time.

There were hard days in March. With the shooting concluded and editing underway, there was the question of what next. I did not have a clear roadmap for my career journey and most days, I was completely mentally exhausted.

Seeing as things weren’t working out on the job front, I began applying to schools in Europe to pursue an LLM.

Go deeper with God, rise stronger.


April is usually a good month because it’s my birth month and my birthdays are typically something exciting. The birthday this year came with zero excitement and ginger. I was completely indifferent. My bestie practically had to drag me out to see a movie and bought me dinner afterwards. My cousin mentioned a law firm she thought I should apply to and even though I had sworn off applications to firms, I sent out an application, genuinely indifferent as to the outcome. I received a response same day, inviting me to an interview and I would eventually attend the interview and secure the job. A few months down the line, the job would turn out to be the second best thing to happen to me in the year and I would come to understand why it never worked with any of the other firms.

Everything good will come in its time.


Resumed my job this month and I remember reading my offer letter and pretending to be composed even though I was doing multiple backflips in my head. Lol. I worked on a film project as associate producer and the stress of combining that with working my regular job was quite something. Lots of early mornings and late nights, but I powered through. Then I cancelled plans for school, seeing as the job had finally come through.

Also released the teasers for Hunter’s Game and the anticipation for the release of the pilot was high. Had brunch with some close friends I hadn’t seen in years and it was so great. Some other close friends came through for me in a big way on the last day of the month and I was reminded yet again just how wealthy I am in relationships.

You are wealthy in relationships Oge, never forget that.


We released Hunter’s Game online this month and the reception was quite warm. I was still in debt from shooting it and was able to make some cash to clear off a portion of the debts. I held a lot of private screenings in my home and every single time, the feedback was great. People were truly impressed and I remember feeling quiet gratitude for the enormity for all that had been accomplished and all the incredible people who had partnered with me to make it happen.

Asides the gratitude, I also acknowledge the days I struggled with lows and feelings of despair and confusion on how to raise the funds for the full season. The journey remains the journey.

Take a moment to pause and give thanks for all you have.


Started the month in a writer’s room with my team for the full season of Hunter’s Game. Draining but rewarding. Also got assigned a lot of tasks at the office that stretched and grew me. July was intense and I began to burn out, mentally and emotionally.

Learn to take occasional breaks. Human not machine.


August started with quite the emotional rollercoaster that left me so, so exhausted. I was in a writer’s room for an online series and that was quite intense but rewarding. Work was light because courts were on vacation but somehow, August remains my second roughest month emotionally. Reading through my journal and I am seeing so many entries about being tired.

I am tired. And my tired is tired. And I am tired of being tired. I legit want to crawl into a hole and disappear. I am tired.”

It’s okay to be vulnerable boo. You don’t always have to have it all together.


Started the month with my dad’s retirement thanksgiving. It felt so great to have my entire family gather together in one place again, the first time in years. Was also an absolute joy to see my niece. That little munchkin has my entire heart! It was also the last time I would step into the house I was born and raised in. My dad relocated afterwards and it was a bit emotional for me.

Embarked on an audacious project this month that didn’t quite turn out as I’d hoped but I was proud of myself for the courage to pull it off and the way it tested and proved my capacity as well. My dad came visiting and gave us premium content and bants with his Lagos living. Love the man so much and I remain grateful for him and my mum. Also got a big break with a private screening of Hunter’s Game and it was so, so affirming.

Take the limits off. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.


Started off the month feeling inadequate at work. There’d been so much to learn and do and I found myself wishing I was light years ahead with the requisite knowledge and experience. A small win with a task at the office and affirmation from my supervisor helped boost my confidence. Also a conversation with my mum about her journey served to inspire me and remind me of who I am really.

I must always remind myself that we are cut from the same cloth. Or rather, that I was birthed by this amazon and I have her DNA. I must ALWAYS remember who I am. Daughter of Mrs. Nwobia. Warrior. Fighter. Winner.”

Last day of the month ended with news about an uncle’s passing and it broke me. I have not cried as much as I cried that night in a very long time. Keep resting in peace Captain Ofili.

Be patient with and kinder to yourself and as you go through the process of learning and growing.


November was quite the mix. Had some great moments at work that were so encouraging and affirmed that I was in the right place. Also got to deepen my friendship with one of my top buddies and I was grateful for how this person showed up at the strangest best time to provide a breath of fresh air I didn’t know I so desperately needed, considering all the back to back pressure I had been dealing with. I remember working 20 hours days for about a week at some point, just to meet up with multiple commitments. I keep forgetting I am not a machine but my body ensured I got the memo loud and clear the following month.

People will come into your life for a reason and a season. When you realise their time in your life is done, do not be afraid to let them go.


December 2019 remains the toughest month I have ever had to live through. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the burden that was December 2019. December 8 2019, just before I drifted off to sleep, I typed this in my journal:

It’s been a rough day and I am spent… Badly in need of some urgent self-care”

I woke up the next morning to a limp right hand from the wrist, down. I have never been more terrified in my life. The days dragged by slowly with zero improvement. I could not eat, brush, wash, write, type or even pick or grip anything. I made a thread about it on twitter here (the diagnosis was radial nerve palsy), but even that thread could not adequately describe all I went through. It was hellish. My emotions were a mess, I struggled with depression and getting through each day was a miracle. I also had to make a tough call at the beginning of the month and that decision combined with the vulnerable place I was in as a result of my hand left me an utter mess. I really struggled through December and it is certainly not a month I ever want to re-live for any reason.

I am grateful for every person who knew what was going on and showed up even when I wasn’t pleasant to deal with. I am grateful to be surrounded by so much love and compassion, starting from my workplace. I do not take it for granted that I work with some of the kindest and most empathetic people. Super, super thankful. Then my parents (especially my mum), my siblings (shout-out to my sister who kept calling, despite how cranky I was on the phone each time), cousins and my friends. Yet again, I was reminded of how wealthy I am in relationships.

The hand began to heal after a couple of weeks and at this moment, it is currently at 92% functionality. I can do a whole lot of things I could not do when I woke up that morning in December. The journey to wholeness is not quite complete yet but the end is in sight.

Prioritise self-care.

So that’s how my 2019 went. The biggest lesson of the year was to pay more attention to my body and treat it with the love, care and respect she deserves. Flowing from that, my ultimate goal for 2020 is to practice mindfulness and slow, intentional living. To prioritize self-care and a little bit of selfishness too. I realise I tend to overextend myself for people sometimes and while that might seem ‘noble’, it isn’t exactly sustainable.

The strategy to achieve this goal in 2020 is simple.

  • Hire an assistant.
  • Outsource everything outsourceable.
  • Create time for a vacation this year.
  • Take one weekend off every month to unplug from the world and rest, much like this weekend.

So Happy New Year to the Yougeecash community! Thank you for reading. Perhaps this is the year I overhaul the blog and make a return. We wait to see, but I am not making any promises. Tell me how your 2019 went in the comments, if you so feel inclined. I’d love to hear from you. May 2020 be all you desire and more.

Love and Light!


Big News Coming


Hi guys!! It sure has been a while! Please forgive me. LOL. Michael will come and tell me now that I’m always saying sorry for disappearing. Haha. But this time around, it is for a good reason, I promise.

I have exciting news that will hopefully make this period of absence worth your while.

You guys remember Hunter’s Game yes? With Leela and Uzo and Ijeoma? You do? Lovely!

I’ve got great news! I’m taking Hunter’s Game to screen! Whoop whoop!

6 weeks ago, I had a meeting with an incredible friend and told him I wanted to take Hunter’s Game to screen and I wanted him to direct it. He was crazy enough to believe in the idea and in a very short time, we put together a fantastic team of cast and crew together and we got to work.

I had some amazing friends and family come together to help me raise the 7 figure sum that I needed to pull off a pilot and just like that we did it. I have been marvellously helped of God on this project through the super humans He has placed in my life and I am so so excited for this season.

Now we have shot the pilot episode, written and produced by yours truly and I cannot wait to share it with you guys. It will take a bit of time to put the final product out there but I assure you, it will be worth the wait. I’ve got some of your favourite actors in it and they are literally bringing MAGIC to your screens.

So tell your friends, family, enemies, frenemies etc Haha. Hunter’s Game is coming to screen and I hope you guys are ready.

More details will come over the next few weeks and months and you will get to meet the amazing cast and crew who were crazy enough to go on this journey with me. But I have had such an exciting and fulfilling weekend and I just had to share.

But here’s a little something for you dear reader who has journeyed with me so far:

Your dreams are truly valid and you must do everything you can to chase them tenaciously. So here’s to audacious ambitions, to valid dreams and doing it afraid.

I hope you win!


Love and Light,



2018 Review: Slow Down Baby, You’re Moving too Fast

Since I began reviewing my year in 2014, this has been the ‘hardest’ to write. Or should I say, this has been the laziest I have been to write. That’s probably because my 2018 can best be described as a slow year, a passive year even and for someone who is always about one activity or the other and constantly on the lookout for the next best thing, I didn’t quite know how to handle it. The year is winding down now and I only just getting to accept that this slow pace is okay. It’s the only way I can keep my sanity. I mean, considering how the last few years have been for me, it was as though life was saying to me “slow down baby, you’re moving too fast.”

I keep saying “slow” because the only thing I seemed to ‘accomplish’ this year was finishing Law School and getting called to the Nigerian bar. Which in itself doesn’t feel like an accomplishment, but ho knows, maybe in reading through my journal, I will find high points I may have missed.

I participated in two gratitude challenges towards the end of this year and it shocked me how hard it was to find reasons to be thankful on some days. And this is how I know 2018 was really not that ‘great’ a year. Oh well, as is my custom, I will do a monthly review and end with my goals for 2019.


The year began on a sober note. I had to do some personal assessment and I realized I was really not as infallible as I thought. LOL. And this is coming from someone who should know better. Humble pie isn’t the sweetest to eat but I think it is the healthiest. So there was that.

Attended Bestie’s brother’s wedding in the East and had a blast. But not without some close brushes with annoying local men that really had me moving mad. Your average uneducated Nigerian man is toxic and the disrespect towards women, totally unrivalled.

I returned to Lagos and settled into school work again. Hung out with close friends and was grateful for feedback that mostly everyone was doing well and winning all round. Amidst the tumult of the month, one key thing stood out:

Everyone needs a superhero once in a while.”


The month started out with me struggling and feeling overwhelmed with school work. But my parents were incredible anchors that kept me from drowning. It was also Shekinah’s birthday, one of the most amazing men I know and that turned out to be the perfect excuse to take a break from school work and let my hair down for a bit.

I’m reading through the rest of my journal entries and to be honest, I struggled quite a bit this month. There were times when I was just about ready to give up on myself even but Mercy said no. My friends came through though. There were beach hangouts and lovely dinners and willing shoulders to cry on plus ice cream and warm bear hugs without an iota of judgement.

The Lenten Season began and I resigned myself to a month of waiting on God and building spiritual capacity. An important prayer I prayed this month: “In my moments of uncertainty, Father let my hope in You be strong enough to make me wait on You. Let my heart rest sure and easy in You.”

We have an anchor that keeps the soul, steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.”


Started out on a high note with close friends pushing hard and showing up for me back to back. I was genuinely overwhelmed with love. Bubu completed his ATC course and the pride in my shoulders ehn!! All the shoulders pads in the world would not have sufficed. Didimma got engaged and I thought my heart would burst for all the love and joy that filled it.

I got a medical diagnosis and my faith took a major hit. I think the problem was largely how the doctor broke the news of the diagnosis to me, almost like it was some sort of death sentence. (I don’t have a terminal illness, so don’t worry. Lol.) The rest of the month was an endless cycle of a cocktail of emotions- frustration, faith, sadness, hurt, hope, worry, peace. Etc. But I had the support of loved ones and family and that helped a great deal.

I fasted and prayed and cried to God like I have never done before and well, I ended March with my faith and peace intact.

Even the strongest people have personal crises they deal with. Check up on all your ‘strong’ friends.”


The term ended for Law School and oh the joy that filled my soul. A great deal of the mental stress I was undergoing was a direct effect of being in that system and boy was I glad to take a break.

I find that April is generally always a good month, perhaps because it’s my birth month. But the first best thing to happen this month was Eloho’s wedding. The way my heart was sweeting me all the way to Benin ehn, you would think it was my wedding! For all the love and warmth Eloho brings to my life and the lives of others around her, it was a huge privilege and blessing to be able to share in her moment. Eloho, God bless you and uncle C. I love you both immensely!

Next was my birthday. I wasn’t particularly excited for this year’s because there was a lot about my life that I didn’t quite have figured out. But my birthday came and I was surrounded by loved ones who threw me a surprise pre-birthday dinner (that had me knocking and punching some people for their deceit in a bid to pull it off. Lol) and subsequently enjoyed a small, quiet dinner on the birthday itself. My heart was warm and full.

Two of my favourite humans returned home from Europe and we had the absolute best time!! I had not seen either of them in months (that felt like years) so we did our best to make up for lost time. Hangouts at the mall, late nights out and loooooooooong conversations. LOL. I had the best time really. Oh, my court attachment was this month too. It was interesting to observe how the Nigerian justice system works.

No one really has their life all figured out. Las las, we are all winging this thing. Relax, you’ll be alright.”


Started out with the birthdays of bestie, my twinnie and the younger brother. Back to back turn ups. Lol. I had made two applications in previous months towards the advancement of my career that fell through. The rejections didn’t sting that bad, oddly, I just kept it moving. What did manage to get me down though was the realization I was still uncertain how to tie in all my major interests in order to move forward with my ambitions after law school. Let’s just say this was something I would worry about often for the rest of the year. I began actively studying for the bar final exams.

Was on a radio show where I talked about my writing. Had a lot of fun with that. A random conversation with a friend inspired new travel plans for the year. Reviewed my adulting skills and realized I sucked at some parts of it. But that’s life, innit? As stated clearly in my journal- “See, abeg, mi ole wa ku”

Which one of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”


We welcomed my niece- Chimdiuto Munachimso. I unlocked a new level of love I could never have imagined existed. Chambers attachment was just there. More exam preparations. Raced to Zaria during the public holidays and spent the entire time glued to my niece’s cot. Enjoyed the World Cup matches and all the banter that came along with the games.

My trip up north brought a lot of nostalgia and unearthed long forgotten, buried memories. But my gratitude remained for a beautiful history that is past while I look with hope to an amazing future that is to come.

More progress with exam prep. Messed up an application for another career move and missed the deadline and I was so frustrated, I cried. It looked like the universe was conspiring to not give me anything I wanted along the lines of career advancement. Sigh. We move still.

 “Everything good will come, you just need faith and a great deal of patience.”


July began with the nastiest waves of panic attacks to ever hit me in a very long time and I was worried, very worried by the trigger. July was hard. The exams were upon me and I was dealing with stresses from multiple angles that I was not mentally equipped or prepared to handle. I didn’t die though and at the end of the month, with the MCQ part of the bar finals behind me, I was grateful to be standing.

Nothing is worth sacrificing your mental health and peace for. Absolutely nothing.”


The much anticipated bar finals exams came and I was thankful for the ease with which I wrote the exams. The pressure had been insane, I had done all I could to prepare and once the exams were done, I took a much needed and well deserved holiday to Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire with my bestie. We met up some other friends and had the best time exploring. I wrote about those trips here and here.

Times and seasons will come and go. Nothing lasts forever.”


I went back to Zaria for Muna’s dedication and resumed full time nanny duties. Lol. Shout out to mothers all over the world. Y’all are the real MVPs. I know how many times I wanted to pull out my hair because of Muna. LOL. And yet, every single time she smiled at me, I thought my heart would burst with love. My phone is filled with so many pictures of her ehn! Eish!

I started my fitfam journey this month. The thick life was really not for me. Lol, okay, maybe some parts of it but the chubby cheeks, Christian mother arms and bulging belly had to go. Plus I really couldn’t reconcile getting so close to a size 14 from a size 8. So yeah, the movement began and it was hardddd. We welcomed my goddaughter this month and my heart that was practically bursting with love expanded some more for the lil munchkin.

When your friends and loved ones win, you win too.”


Another month babysitting and watching Muna grow. Remarkable I tell you. More on the fitfam journey. I battled unforgiveness this month. I didn’t even realise I was still holding on strongly to something that had happened years ago. But I think I eventually found a way to let it go.

Results came out this month and I passed the bar. All my friends passed too but my excitement was largely for Dolapo who made it through despite the insane bricks life hurled at her throughout the Law School period. You’re still my hero darling! Shout out to you!!!

This month mostly felt slow and uneventful and there were lows but we found a way to keep it moving.

Even time needs time. This too shall pass”


November was practically more fitfam and more babysitting. The call to bar ceremony was this month and yours truly was officially a confirmed lawyer. I wasn’t over the moon with excitement. Lol. I dunno why. I guess I was bored by the fact that it was done and trying to figure out the next big thing. But the parents were very proud and hosted a small dinner reception in my honour.

Constantly find reasons to be thankful even when you don’t feel like.”


I returned to Lagos after 3 months of being away. Queen came home for Didimma’s wedding and we all had a blast. It was the first time us 3 were getting together again in over 2 years.

Made new friends at the wedding and generally had a grand time.

Travelled to the East for the holidays and it’s been nice.

December had a few lows but summarily taught me another level of contentment. I feel like every year, there are deeper levels to contentment that I unlock and this year rang so true. I learned that contentment is not merely a state of mind but a way of life. True contentment is expressed not just by the words we speak but by the actions we compel ourselves to take. It is rebelling against the natural order of things- consumerism, selfishness.  True contentment is in reminding yourself that what you have is enough and shutting down avenues that make you covetous of what belongs to others.

So I guess it wasn’t totally a bad year altogether. Not the best year yet but not so bad either. I am hopeful for 2019 though. Already making moves for the year even and my goals are simple and clear:

  1. Build capacity in my field. Take courses, attend conferences, put out those applications, and gather experience.
  2. Drop down to and maintain a size 8. 65-68kg plis dear.
  3. Travel some more. Would 4 countries be too ambitious? Well that’s the goal. Throw in a bit of local travel as well. New cities are always a great idea.
  4. Publish my ebook(s). (I can imagine some of my close friends rolling their eyes at this because they know how long this has been coming. But hold me accountable and I promise I won’t disappoint).
  5. Give back. Volunteer with Charities/NGOs.
  6. Live my best life basically.

How would you summarize your year? Share with me in the comments please. And let’s hear your goals, dreams and aspirations for 2019.

I pray the New Year is good to you. I hope you live your best life in 2019 and I hope you find all round contentment. Happy New Year guys!

Ps. If there was one thing you could do in 2019, what would that be?


Escape From Bamako by Ghandi

I still remember the day Ghandi said “I have something I want you to read.” That something turned out to be the first draft of his novel that completely blew my mind. The story held me spellbound from the beginning until the end and I doubt I have read anything that intriguing in a while. So because I am nice and I don’t sell fish, I am here to share the goodness that is Ghandi’s writing with you guys.

Escape from Bamako contains all the right amounts of adrenaline pumping action and plot twists to keep you glued to each page until the story ends. And best believe when it ends, you’ll be begging for more. Now this is the plot:

There’s a rebel uprising in Bamako, Mali and the international community gets really antsy and pressures the Nigerian President to intervene and settle both parties.
He gets there and after what everyone considers to be successful peace talks, he stays back for a state dinner organised in his honour.

The rebel leader is also invited but declines the invitation, citing fatigue. He drives out of the Malian presidential palace supposedly to go rest.

While the Nigerian President and his Malian counterpart are still at the state dinner, the rebel leader launches a full scale attack on the capital in a bid to take over the government.
News filters into the palace and back home in Nigeria and everyone is in a race to get the Nigerian President out of Bamako before the rebel leader takes over Mali.

This story really features some Hollywood action type stuff. Guns, aircrafts, espionage, fast and furious driving, explosions, the whole works.

Now that you have read the plot, I am fairly certain you are itching to read the book. It’s quite simple to make that happen, really. If you wish to purchase the ebook with your Nigerian account, you can visit the website https://ghandi.com.ng and click on the “buy from our store” button. It’s N1,100.

The book is also available on Amazon (Kindle) at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JBTQMV1 and on Kobo at https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/escape-from-bamako

Don’t hesitate to get your copy now.

You’re welcome!

Ps. I have been working on something interesting and I really can’t wait to share it with you guys. I am back to blogging now and I am so grateful to you guys for sticking around. But bear with me a little. It won’t be much longer now.

Love and Light,


Healing Begins With Salsa

He found her in Nkemakolam’s room huddled over the baby’s cot clutching a stuffed bunny. He had no idea how long she had been there but he suspected it must have been hours.


She looked up and her glazed eyes met his in silence. He stooped down and took her hands, looking into her eyes.

“Honey, what are you doing here?”

When she gave no response, he placed his arms firmly underneath her shoulders and gently lifted her up. She held tightly to the bunny as he dragged her into their bedroom and laid her on the bed. That was when he noticed the tears.

Feranmi was exhausted- completely spent. It had been a year since they returned from the hospital without Nkem. The baby that should have been their miracle child after 7 years of waiting and trying. The baby that should have ushered in perfection and joy and laughter. One year later, Ifeoma had still not recovered. She had steadily sunk into depression, refusing therapy and any other form of help.

There were days when it felt like living with a zombie. Because Ifeoma went through life as though she were in a trance. She moved out of their bedroom and into the guestroom. She began stress eating and it showed in all the folds and excess layers of fat in every part of her body. She quit her job by simply refusing to show up at the end of the 3 months maternity leave she had taken. She barely left the house even.

Feranmi had been patient, struggling with his own grief yet trying to be strong for her but she shut him out completely. He still remembered that day like it had only been a few minutes even though a full year had gone by. He had stayed by her side while she labored for hours to bring forth their son. He remembered his exultant excitement as the baby was pushed out and his echoing panic that gradually rose to a crescendo when the baby made no sound. He remembered his heart stopping momentarily when the doctor’s eyes told him what his mouth could not put in words- It was a still birth.

Now one year later, having tried everything within his means to help Ifeoma overcome their grief, he was fresh out of ideas and completely spent.  Nkem’s death at birth had taken the light out of her life and his by extension. Gone was the vibrant, energetic, passionate woman he had fallen in love with and married. This woman in his bed was a complete stranger.

Feranmi left her lying in bed, shedding silent tears and walked out of the room. He went into his study and slowly paced the length and breadth of the room. He was inches away from having a mental breakdown himself and he did not know what to do about it. He loved Ifeoma with his entire being and for a whole year, that loved had been tested and tried and he was really close to giving up on it. Was this love worth his own sanity? Was this part of the ‘for better for worse’ phrase in his wedding vows?

His right foot kicked something as he paced and he bent down to pick a book lying oddly on the floor. As he looked around shelves trying to figure out where it fit, his eyes caught a portion of a particular shelf that held some albums. He dropped the book on the table and reached for the albums, carrying them carefully to the couch. As he flipped through the wedding album and their honeymoon album, he realized just how much he missed Ifeoma’s smile and the sound of her laughter.

Everything he had tried to do before now to bring her out of depression had failed. But now his eyes lit up with a sudden realisation. There was one thing he was yet to try and even though it seemed like a brilliant and yet stupid idea at the same time, he decided he would try it anyway. He would take Ifeoma on a trip. Somewhere nice where she could enjoy the sun and put her feet up. A brilliant idea because Ifeoma enjoyed travelling and had not done much of it after they got married, yet a stupid idea because Ifeoma had refused to leave the compound since they got back from the hospital one year ago. What was to say she would want to travel?

It took Feranmi another 4 weeks to put everything in place and as he walked into Nkem’s room yet again to find Ifeoma on the floor by the baby’s cot, his heart thumped wildly in his chest. If she turned this down, there would be nothing left for them. Their marriage would be over.

“Honey, I got you something.”

Ifeoma looked up blankly and Feranmi held up the passports with the tickets in between.

“We’re going to Barcelona.” he said with an uncertain smile.

Ifeoma gave no response.

“There’s a lot we can see and do there. We can go hiking, swimming, take long walks, enjoy great meals, go dancing…”

It was the dancing that earned him a vague semblance of a smile which disappeared as quickly as it came.

“I don’t want to go anywhere without Nkem. His spirit is in this room. If we travel, he’ll be lonely and afraid.”

Feranmi’s heart rate tripled as it became evident that Ifeoma was suffering a proper mental breakdown. He gave himself a few minutes to think before responding gently.

“Honey, his spirit can come with us too. We’ll pack a small bag with his clothes and you can bring the bunny too.”

Ifeoma sighed resignedly.

“If you say so.”

Packing was a hassle. Ifeoma had several crying fits over clothes that no longer fit and Feranmi soothed her kindly, promising to buy her new clothes and anything else she wanted but hours later, they were ready.

Barcelona turned out to be a brilliant idea. After checking, into their hotel on arrival, Feranmi arranged for a spa session for Ifeoma whilst he unpack their bags. She returned two hours later and her face held a familiar glow. They ate a late lunch in their room and Ifeoma promptly fell asleep. Feranmi watched her sleep and ached to cuddle her but she had laid out a tiny blanket and pillow in between them where according to Ifeoma, Nkem lay. He stayed staring at her until he fell asleep.

Hours later, they woke up and made their way into town, taking a long stroll down La Rambla, the longest tourist street in Barcelona. Ifeoma seemed to enjoy the sights. She marveled at the dexterity of the artists who sketched caricature images of interested tourists as well as actual portraits, some with pencils, others with charcoal. There was a wax image of a woman sitting pretty and for a few minutes, Ifeoma was convinced it was an actual person. When she realized it wasn’t, she smiled and Feranmi thought his heart would burst.

At the end of the street, Feranmi grabbed Ifeoma’s arm and pointed ahead.

“Honey, look!” Ifeoma followed his finger and saw the towering sculpture of the Columbus Monument and she gasped. “Wow! It’s so huge!”

They joined a teeming crowd of tourists to admire the structure and take pictures, especially of the huge lion sculptures that surrounded it at the bottom. Two little boys ran past with their mother chasing after them and Feranmi noticed Ifeoma’s face fall. He squeezed her hand and asked that they keep moving.

“I hear there’s a mall built on water. Let’s go check it out.”

To get to the mall, they walked over a long wooden bridge surrounded by a massive expanse of water littered with numerous yachts and smaller sailing boats. At the end of the bridge, they came face to face with the Maremagnum mall and Ifeoma gaped. It was huge. They walked in and explored the various shops on the different floors. The entire place was crowded with children and for a few minutes, Feranmi thought it was a bad idea, until a cute little girl walked past with her mother and smiled at Ifeoma. Ifeoma smiled back and the little girl came back and said to her “you’re so pretty!”

Ifeoma swallowed hard and tried to stop the tears but failed. The mother quickly came back and apologised then took her little girl away. Feranmi hugged her tight, littering her forehead with a thousand kisses, all the while muttering “I’m really sorry honey.”

When she looked up at him eventually, she was smiling through her tears. “She said I was pretty.”

They spent another hour walking around the mall, catching a small rock concert that had been set up somewhere in the back. It was not Ifeoma’s cup of tea but she stayed beside Feranmi for the few minutes that he stopped to observe it before moving on.

At night, after dinner, Feranmi mentioned a club he had found online. Ifeoma was reluctant at first until he specified that it was a salsa club. Dancing salsa was Ifeoma’s absolute favourite thing to do and Feranmi was hoping she would enjoy it.

Her healing began with the salsa dance. They walked into the club in time to catch Marc Anthony’s Vivir mi vida and while they stood at the bar to order drinks, Feranmi observed her tapping her feet and swaying gently.

“Maybe we should leave the drinks first. Do you want to dance?”

“You can barely move your feet and you always say salsa isn’t your thing.” Ifeoma said.

Feranmi smiled. He took her hand and led her to the dance floor. With his right hand circled around her waist and her left hand firmly in his left hand, he began to dance, counting the steps in his head like he remembered. He had spent 4 weeks practicing because he had meant for this trip to be worth it and the surprised smile on her face as he led her in a cross body lead was fully rewarding.

He faltered a little bit and her soft giggle was even more rewarding. They danced together to the next song but his moves were basic and he could tell she was warming up for more. The moment Elvis Crespo’s Suavemente came on, he nodded to some Latino guy he had observed checking them out and the guy came and took Ifeoma’s hands. They moved so fluidly and were a delight to behold. Feranmi returned to the bar and observed them from there. The light had begun its return to Ifeoma’s eyes and he was grateful.

Just as the song ended and Ifeoma began to walk back to him with the biggest smile on her face, Don Omar’s Danza kuduro came on and everyone began cheering. Before Feranmi could figure out what was happening, the entire club lined up on the dance floor and began moving harmoniously in line with steps being proffered by a leader.

What happened next felt like magic. One minute, Ifeoma was in the second row, digging in the moves with a great deal of enthusiasm and the next minute, she was front and center leading the pack and throwing in random Nigerian dance moves with a huge smile on her face and a great deal of laughter. First there was the shoki then some shakiti bobo and finally some shaku shaku which the dancers managed to imitate fairly well. Feranmi fought back tears of gratitude. This was the woman he married. This was the woman he had loved for 10 years. She was finally back and the constellation of stars that shone brightly in her eyes were full proof of her return.

Later that night, after a warm shower back at the hotel, Feranmi cuddled his wife in bed for the first time in over a year.

“I really missed you honey,” he whispered into her ear, with her head buried in his chest. Her response came minutes later in form of soft gentle kisses that trailed from his neck to his ears and eventually to his lips. Their lovemaking was slow and passionate and that night in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Taiwo Nwachinemelu and Kehinde Kaosisochukwu were conceived.