I go back to my inbox, and attach my manuscript.
Dear incomparable Tara Olu-Browne, you’ve done it again, and Mr. Jimi Akintaylor can just go ahead and kiss your lovely ass for a job well done.
I click send to email the doc to myself.
“There! All done!” I whisper lovingly to my laptop. Wow! Do I feel euphoric.
I start typing again, and I’m still on my first word when my euphoria dissipates and a dark feeling gnaws and spreads in the pit of my stomach; and no, it has nothing to do with Lara George’s song coming to an end.
It hits me!
Heck! What have I just done?
I frantically open my inbox. My email addressed to me isn’t there. Oh no! Who did I just send that email to?
I open my sent folder and my hands fly to my mouth, but the gasp of horror still manages to escape. I plead for mother earth to open up and literally swallow me. Right on the very top of the sent folder is my email, and it’s addressed to Jimi Akintaylor!
“Tara, are you okay?”
I turn stunned eyes to Mummy who apparently heard my cry of distress from her bedroom and came running.
She stares at me and shakes my shoulders. “Talk to me Tara. Are you okay?”
I turn my head in the direction of the laptop and her eyes follow my lead. She quickly scans the words on the screen.
“Tara, did you type that?” She is practically yelling. “To him?”
My head feels heavy. Please can I die now?
Because I thought I was emailing myself. But I can’t reply Mummy right now. I’m too stunned to speak.
“Utter inanity!” Mummy yells.
I’ve become a little girl again. I bite my fingers.
“If they’re doing you, should you do yourself?” Gone is intellectual Mummy. Her alter ego, a superstitious, Yoruba woman who isn’t always far away now replaces her.
“Nitori Oloun! Tara. Tara. Tara. How many times did I call you?” And my mother bursts into a flurry of Yoruba where she blames herself, blames me, and finally blames my dead father for my latest blunder. Before I know it, Tolani and the twins are in the living room, clustered around our dining table and reading the missive I’ve sent to poor Jimi.
“Kiss your lovely ass?” Tolani whispers, and in my shocked state, I manage to register my sisters’ dismayed expressions. Mummy hasn’t stopped her blame exercise by the way.
“I thought I was emailing myself,” I finally say in a small voice. Oh why, oh why do I always end up in embarrassing situations like these?
“I didn’t know I’d pressed the reply button to his last email.”
“Well, you’ve sure given the man something to think about tonight,” Tolani mutters under her breath so Mummy doesn’t hear.
“Oh. My. God,” Tumi says, and suddenly, she bursts into her all- thundering, bellowing laughter, taking all of us by surprise. I glare at her, but she ignores me. “I can just imagine the look on his face when he reads your email.”
And I don’t know why this is funny, but the rest of my family apparently thinks it is because they all erupt in howls, well, with the exception of Mummy who is still wondering aloud if someone in my father’s village is controlling me via black magic to go on a self-sabotage rampage.
“Just send an email back to him and let him know it was a mistake,” Temi- as ever, the voice of reason – says. She has recovered somewhat from the mirth. Her brows knit together with concern.
I stare helplessly at my hands. “What will I say?”
“Dear Jimi,” she says and I begin to type. “Please kindly disregard the last email I just sent you. It was accidentally emailed- ”
Accidentally emailed? I stare up at her.
She cocks her head to the side and gives me a sardonic look. “Do you have a better explanation in mind?”
I mutter “No.” For being my younger sister, she’s such a bossy, little thing sometimes. I do a finger signal for her to continue.
“- and I sincerely apologize for any negative mind-set I might have caused by it. Thank you for your kind understanding. Sincerely, Tara Olu-Browne.”
I click send and bite my index fingernail frenetically.
“Don’t worry,” Tolani’s deep voice pipes up. “Let’s go to sleep. Chances are, he’s asleep too. He probably won’t read both emails until tomorrow morning.”
As if on cue, a ping noise emanates from my laptop. My eyes widen at the sound, but it’s not just me. It’s the rest of my family.
It’s an email. From Jimi!
With a pounding heart, I open it.
Tara, no negative mind-set here. I quite enjoyed your synopsis, and the first two chapters of Lagos Blues. Can’t wait to read the rest of the MS. Keep up the good work.
President, Akintaylor Enterprises.
“Well?” I hear mummy whisper behind me, and I’m now aware that I’ve been holding my breath. Mummy has read the email too and appears calmer.
I grunt out my relieved sigh, as does my three sisters.
“No negative mind-set,” I murmur, and briefly, I wonder what that means. I’m not sure if it’s the huge amount of relief I suddenly feel, or maybe it’s the residue of mortification that still haunts my brain, but I find myself resting my head on the table, and as I do, the strangest emotion overtakes me and I erupt in the loudest, most primitive laughter I’ve ever expressed in my life.