Mrs Fadipe looked at the book in her hands and banged its cover to remove the dust that had accumulated over the years. It was one of the few relics from her former life that she stored in a box for safekeeping. The box itself used to be her hope chest from her younger days bought for her by her mum. Dust only dared encroach because the box’s cover was a casualty of beastly little moths.
Far removed from the world she used to live, she was now a founder of numerous companies with subsidiaries, married to the CEO who was the co-founder, had a number of degrees and honorary degrees under her belt, was a mother, a woman fulfilled. She smiled. She was living her dream. But it wasn’t always so.
With nostalgia, she flipped open the book she held, her diary dated over twenty years past and read an excerpt:
10th June, 1997
Dear diary, it’s over. Dele said he’s no longer interested in us and that he’s moved on, I should too. I feel so sad. Three years of our relationship gone down the drain because his boss’ daughter was interested in him. Where did his undying love go?
There was the heartbreak.
Turning the pages, another excerpt brought her to a stop:
25th August, 1997
Dear diary, it hasn’t been easy. Job interviews over the past months haven’t turned out well. They all want more than a university degree and at least three years of experience, not someone ‘whose only title was Miss’, as one of the interviewers put it. Like my university education didn’t count. Today, I had five interviews but was only able to make it to three. They didn’t seem to be favourable either. But I’m holding tight to hope. The hard hustle.
7th November 1997 read:
Dear diary, I finally landed a job! Finally! I’m so happy! I feel like dancing a jig or turning cartwheels. The salary is not much, but it’s something. I’ll be able to support Mum at the very least. Oh, I met someone too. His name is Ben Fadipe. And he happens to be a senior colleague at work. I don’t think it’s wise to go down that path yet. But a job, dear diary, a job!
The happy moments.
15th February 1998 was:
Dear diary, Mum died in her sleep today. It still doesn’t seem real. Why did she have to die now? Just yesterday, I went out with Ben and he said he’d like to meet Mum. She was so happy to receive us. I even got some winks from her as she appraised ‘my young man’ to which I told her he was only a friend. I wish this was a nightmare I could wake up from. I can’t stop crying. Oh, Mum. Dad wouldn’t walk me down the aisle and neither would she. Like Dad too, she won’t be here to see her grandchildren. She won’t be here to hold me and tell me everything will be alright. Oh Mum, oh Mum. I miss you already.
The horrors of life.
6th June 1999 read:
Dear diary, I plan to start my own company. It’s been my dream since I was little and it hasn’t changed. I spoke to Ben about it and he said he had the same thing in mind. He showed me his journal containing detailed plans for one and I pitched in my ideas too. We agreed to co-found the company and we would take it one step at a time. It’s a venture into the unknown and risky. But our minds are made up and we’ll be praying.
The hefty dream.
16th September 2000:
Dear diary, I became a Mrs today. Ben asked me to marry him six months ago and we agreed to a quiet wedding which we had today. I feel like my heart is going to burst. Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. It definitely feels like it. I’m Mrs Juliet Fadipe, nice to meet you. I love the sound of my name. Our honeymoon won’t be long, we’re still saving for the new company. When we’ve got the company going steady, we’ll go on a proper honeymoon. I can’t wait. For either.
The heart merger too.
22nd January 2001:
Dear diary, our company took off today! JB Holdings is finally a reality. It’s in a small building we bought but it’s a dream come true. Ben kissed me soundly at the inauguration and whispered in my ears, “Here’s our dream, baby. We did it.” Yes, we did! My feet weren’t on the floor, dear diary. They definitely weren’t.
The hatch of the dream egg.
The door banging shut brought Mrs Fadipe to the present. It was Ben.
“Sweetheart, I’ve been looking for you. I can’t fend off the kids alone with their inquisitions about the family trip we’re taking. What are you doing?” He looked around the storeroom as he approached her before enclosing her in his arms.
“Are you fine? What’s that in your hands?”
She smiled at her husband of twenty years. He probably didn’t notice, but the children got their curiosity from him. She held the book out, patted it fondly and replied, “A chronicle of our little beginnings.”