Caveat- This is neither history retold nor future foretold. It is simply fiction.
…you can call me Shola for the rest of the interview, the journalist said. “He’ll be doing the writing (points at his companion who also wore their media house’s customized tee shirt).
Shola: Let’s get to meet you please?
Jaiye: (Mischievously) you already met me!
Shola: (Laughs) I mean tell us about you. Your name, family, what you do for a living…
Jaiye: (Smiles) I’m JaiyeOba Philips, nee Desoye. I’m a lawyer by profession and married to Dr Tolu Philips, an author and public speaker. We have a daughter and (exhaustedly) blah!
Shola: (Smiles) how old is Jaiye Philips?
Jaiye: (Pauses then smiles mischievously) next question please.(chuckles aloud)
Shola: (Smiling too) and I must say you’re looking very good too
Jaiye: (Smiling) thanks.
Shola: Permit me to say Tolu Philips is doing a really great job.
Jaiye: (With an air of pleasure) you can say that again. (Adds) I’ve never really been otherwise though
Shola: (Smiles in agreement) how do you feel ending up with a celebrated author and public speaker?
Jaiye: Great!(chuckles aloud)
Shola: How long have you guys been married?
Jaiye: Almost four years
Shola: Really? Times flies!
Shola: Yeah how do you feel marrying someone that old?
Jaiye: What do you mean “that old?”
Shola: I remember at that time news was that you were getting married to a man old enough to be your father.
Jaiye: Huh? (Adjusts her sitting position) Let me correct that right away, Tolu is not old enough to be my father. In fact as at the time we met, my father was seventeen years his senior
Shola: Tell me!
Jaiye: Yeah, that’s right
Shola: It’s also been said that you married him for his money and fame?
Jaiye: (Shrugs) well people will always run their mouths over other people’s business. Truth is JaiyeOba married for love.
Shola: What’s your definition of love?
Jaiye: Love is when I married Tolu. (Chuckles victoriously and Shola joins in)
Shola: So- how and when did you meet?
Jaiye: Hmm! (beams) We- met at a public lecture in my school. I was an undergraduate then…he was guest speaker for a public lecture in my faculty… you know we find love in the most unusual of places
Shola: What was the attraction?
Jaiye: For me, love- yeah, lo…
Shola: Was it love at first sight?
Jaiye: Noooo, certainly not
Shola: What exactly was it he said that swept you off your feet I mean, that made you give him a ‘yes’.
Jaiye: Well… Tolu said a lot of things. You know he’s a writer, a speaker so you can imagine how well groomed he was. He said- (whelmed) my God!, Tolu is such a beautiful lover, I cannot begin to put his words on tabloid-
Shola: Did you agree right away or did you play “hard to catch?”
Jaiye: Who wouldn’t play some game (laughs)
Shola: Is it true he was married and divorced before he met you?
Jaiye: Of course not! I’m his first and last wife!
Shola: So, tell us about your relationship before you got married.
Jaiye: Well… it was like any normal relationship, the lovey-dovey times, the not so cool times, basically, one thing led to the other and- voila!
Shola: What was your parents’ reaction when you brought him home as their son-in-law to be?
Jaiye: Well, my mum is late-
Shola: I’m so sorry about that…
Jaiye: Yeah thanks. So, when I told my dad- (laughs) at first he acted like I didn’t even tell him a thing. Then after about a year, he began to take me serious, he saw I was really into him, you know we could be chatting and I’d be like, you know Tolu said this- dad initially thought I’d been reading his books and probably had a crush- you know it happens but, overtime Tolu began to visit, with his sister. You know, I thought it was weird for him to always come to my house with his sister as if it was already introduction day but that was Tolu- even when he came to see me in school or at my hostel, he was always coming in the company of someone…anyway that’s the life of a big man- entourages. Then my dad began to ask questions, from me, from my friends behind my back, started watching me, started praying seriously for me in that direction- he always had though…sis, the story’s a long one
Shola: How did Tolu Philips finally make his intention known to him?
Jaiye: Oh! He had to come in person and it wasn’t funny at first.
Shola: You mean-
Jaiye: I mean my dad would have none of it. I was his only child and only surviving family member- mum and my little brother died in a fire accident when I was twelve-
Shola: Accept my condolences
Jaiye: Thanks. So it was really hard to believe Tolu had any good intentions at the time but then, as soon as my dad could ascertain his true intention and was convinced he wasn’t trying to use me, he gave his blessings
Shola: What do you mean by ‘trying to use you’?
Jaiye: I mean dad had to be sure he wasn’t just looking for someone he could use and dump; you know how it is with big men these days
Shola: It’s been almost four years now; do you think you made the right choice afterall?
Jaiye: Oh yes, absolutely
Shola: Would you choose him again if given another chance
Jaiye: I’d choose Tolu again and again and again…
Shola: Any regrets so far?
Jaiye: None that I can remember, in fact, no regrets at all
Shola: How about his family? Were they totally receptive? Did they not think you were a gold digger?
Jaiye: Of course not. The Philips are wonderful people, especially my one and only sister-in-law. I told you they used to come and see me together at my dad’s
Shola: What is marriage like between a lawyer and an award winning author and public speaker?
Jaiye: It’s fun. It’s a really wonderful combination. We kind of complement each other.
Shola: Do you tend to think and act like a lawyer even in the home? You know it happens, one not being able to shift from one role to the other perfectly
Jaiye: Even if I do, it’s part of the fun. Tolu is a wonderful guy. He’s completely different from the author and public speaker he is outside.
Shola: Describe your husband in one word
Jaiye: I’ll give you two, he’s a father and a friend.
Shola: Don’t you sometimes feel you’re missing out on the fun and excitement that comes with marrying a younger person? I mean someone about your age?
Jaiye: (Grinning) like you know my age, eh? Not at all, Tolu is the man for me, anytime. I’m glad I wasn’t deceived by his age. He’s much more fun to be with than his age tells of.
Shola: How do you marry your youthful exuberances with his adult serenity and collectedness?
Jaiye: How come you’re just rephrasing the same questions (laughs). Anyway, that’s why you’re a journalist. The day you ever appear as a witness in a case I’m on, I’ll sooooo drill you! (The journalists both laugh). I mean I’ve said this before, Tolu may be old age wise but he’s young at heart. I know you won’t understand but for us, age is only a number
Shola: Hmmm. I like that. Please permit me to take you back. At the time you got married, people said so many things. I personally read a piece wherein the writer thought it was paedophilia.
Jaiye: That word!
Shola: What do you think?
Jaiye: What do you think? (tries to smile). What happened to Tolu and I is love, not paedophilia
Shola: According to the writer, you two belong to different generations. As at the time you were born, he was probably about getting a first degree…
Jaiye: So what? I just do not understand why people like to make mountains out of molehills
Shola: Is that true?
Jaiye: Is what true? I think people should be more careful about their choice of words before I begin to consider instituting actions against them. What exactly are we talking about here? Paedophilia? What’s paedophilia?
Shola: Sexual attraction to children?
Jaiye: Thank you. That means it involves an adult and a child.
Shola: Not necessarily- it could be a older person who-
Jaiye: Whatever it is Shola, it involves a child. In our case, who’s the child? Me? Certainly not! Not socially, not legally. I’m an adult by all standards! Remember I’m a lawyer and I’m also very much involved in child rights advocacy so- I should know.
Shola: So you’re saying-
Jaiye: I’m saying that busybodies should henceforth be wary of their choice of words. I’m happily married and I’m loving it!
Shola: That’s the most important thing… ( looks in her notepad) Jaiye please advise young people like you who find themselves in love with older persons and-
Jaiye: I’m sorry I can’t! (she said it in such a curt yet funny way that they all burst into laughter). I-I’m serious… she said still trying to recover from the laughter.
Jaiye: It’s true. I cannot recommend what happened to me to every other person. People should just try to understand what suits them best and is in line with God’s plan for them.
Shola: Hmm, that’s quite true. (smiling) It’s been nice talking to you
Jaiye: Me too. (stands up) Thanks you guys. (Shakes both of them)
Shola: Thanks for your time, Mrs. Philips.