Her Secret – Part 1

Tala rolled up her sleeve, to check her watch for the third time that hour, 16:47. She knew Vince would eventually not show up, especially after the last public display they shared together. They hadn’t only embarrassed themselves, but had also highlighted their personal issues to their counselor and anyone who had close proximity to her office door. She looked at Dr Bailey, who had a stack of reports across her desk. Aware of her gaze, Bailey looked up and gave Tala a smile, aware that time was passing by and Vince had not yet showed up to their appointment.

Tala reached for her phone, which was wedged in her pocket and tried Vince’s cell phone for another time, cursing softly under her breath when she was directed to his voicemail again. With her annoyance rising, she began tapping her boots against the marble floor, trying to find a solution to what seemed to be a downward spiral that she had found herself to be apart of. Taking another sneak peek at her watch, she rolled her eyes knowing their appointment ended at five o’clock. She wasn’t even sure why she had waited for so long. She knew deep inside of herself that she should have taken her jacket and left as soon as Vince started playing hide ‘n’ seek. But she didn’t and it was because she was still scared of letting a relationship of nine years go to waste. She knew if she had walked out when she really wanted to, then she wouldn’t be returning. As soon as she stepped outside Bailey’s office, she would have finally given up on Vince and that wasn’t something she could do so easily after building a family with him; a family that she was bounded to. And for that reason alone, is what kept her sat in Bailey’s leather seats, constantly hoping Vince walked in.

She was never sure why she let Vince convince her in going to relationship counselling. She knew way before he did that their relationship had come to a sour end and all counselling did was make their issues more obvious. Instead of rebuilding their damaged bond, counselling in fact had strengthened Tala’s resentment towards Vince. Every night she’d found herself wondering what her life would have been like if she hadn’t met Vince that Friday night in the bar. If she hadn’t let his lies and façade paint false images of him for all those years. She probably won’t be sitting in a counselor’s office waiting for a stranger to help solve her personal problems.

Thoughts about Vince always caused her teeth to clench in anger. If only she was smarter she would have noticed the signs from early, but love had blinded her to the point that every indication of his actual self was disregarded. Then she had Deanne and things started to change. The arguing wasn’t as frequent and their focus was on their first child together, they didn’t have time to notice each other’s faults. But of course she knew it was only a matter of time before old habits slipped through the cracks of their act. It was the little things he did that caused problems, never wanting her to leave the house, making her feel like a maid instead of a mother. She hadn’t even realised when she’d stopped communicating with her friends and family. Must have been when she was still trying to please Vince and his unattainable needs. But it happened, and it meant that whenever things got too heavy for her, she had nowhere to run to apart from the bathroom, where she found herself frequently. In the same position every single time, crumpled to the ground next to the sink, crying until she felt better.

With things as bad as it was it surprised her when she found out she was pregnant again with Paige. She contemplated aborting Paige, shuddering as she feared her second baby would look at her with questions in her eyes, the same way Deanne’s had. But as soon as Vince found the pregnancy test in the bin, she was further constrained to him. So she’d brought another beautiful baby into a fragile and damaged home. There was no escape for her, because if she left she’d have to think about her daughters, think about them seeing their father, think about how they would feel, so for four years she sat, waiting till the moment was right. But it never was and here she was, sitting alone in Dr Bailey’s office.

The weight of the leather chair shifted slightly to the left side of Tala, pulling her out of her thoughts and back into reality. It was then she realised she was crying as Bailey held a box of Kleenex in her hands.

“Oh, excuse me Dr, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be ridiculous Tala, you need no reason to apologise.”

Tala took a few tissues from the box and wiped the tears that had found their way down her face. It was bad enough that she sat here alone for so long but now she’d begun crying in front of Bailey, she took time to suppress her emotions before grabbing her jacket and leaving once and for all.

“I know you’re upset Tala, it’s obvious that there’s things you’re dealing with that you haven’t shared with anyone and it’s getting too much for you to handle by yourself.” Bailey moved closer to Tala, as Tala wrapped her arms around her body remembering how alien she was in her own family.

“I have no one to speak to…”

Her words trembled as they left her lips, feeling naked to her emotions she huddled more into herself. Taking note of her stance, Bailey moved close enough to Tala that she could embrace her, using her right arm as a belt, she gently held Tala as she remained hunched and pulled her softly towards herself. Allowing Tala to understand her presence was there for her.

“I’m here Tala. You can speak to me, you can tell me what’s truly bothering you, tell me the things you hide from the world. I’m here for you.”

It’s as though Bailey’s words were filled with a key that opened a door to Tala’s vulnerability. The more Bailey spoke, the more tears continued to fall from Tala’s face and into her laps. She hadn’t felt so naked before, she made sure she stayed strong in front of everyone, even if that meant she broke down almost every day privately, she was okay with that. But here she was, feeling like a child in her mother’s arms, just looking for some guidance.

Bailey moved the box of tissues to the table in front of them then faced Tala, feeling a wave of sadness rush through her own body seeing a grown woman cry uncontrollably because of her partner. She pulled Tala to sit up, unwrapped her arms and then held Tala’s hands. With tears still streaming down her cheeks, Tala felt embarrassed for letting Bailey witness her in such a state. She looked into Bailey’s eyes hoping for an answer, or an escape but saw nothing but big brown eyes stare right back at her.

“You don’t need to cry anymore Tala, things will get better for you, I promise that.” Tala closed her eyes, her eyelashes wet from all the water and nodded, hoping Bailey’s words held more than truth but reality. She looked back at Bailey who’d watched her in pain. She didn’t want anyone’s pity, hating the feeling of being helpless, Tala released one of her hands from Bailey’s grip and made sure all tears that may still be visible were gone with the back of her hand.

“I’m sorry Dr, I should go, but…thank you.” Bailey smiled and surprisingly gave Tala a light hug. Stunned, Tala stared blankly at Bailey’s embrace. Not knowing what to do, she sat waiting for Bailey to let go, unsure of how she should take Bailey’s action, but she didn’t move. Involuntarily she found herself resting her head on Bailey’s shoulder and for once allowing herself to be looked after. She couldn’t help but enjoy the feeling of someone truly caring for her, a feeling that had become so foreign to her. She hugged Bailey back, hoping that everything she was going through was a dream and that she’d wake up and everything would return to normal.

She felt Bailey’s chest rise and fall against her own, taking note of the amount of breaths she took, noticing how her fingers penetrated warmth on her spine and how her hair smelt fresh. Something about the way Bailey was, made Tala feel safe. She didn’t want to leave the microcosm she privately built with Bailey, because she wasn’t sure when she’d return. She hummed silently as her reality slipped away and she found herself lost in Bailey’s touch. Bailey’s fingers circulated against Tala’s spine leaving small flames everywhere she touched, causing Tala to draw closer to Bailey.

Bailey knew this was beyond what a normal counselor would do for her client, but seeing Tala wait for her husband and then surprisingly start crying had triggered something deep within Bailey. Tala deserved more, she definitely deserved better, and it pained Bailey to know she could do nothing but sing empty promises in her ear. After a few minutes, she loosened her embrace on Tala. It may have felt like the right thing to do, but she was not ready to lose her job over a woman who’s husband barely cared for her.

When their eyes locked Tala felt a surge run through her. She wanted to crawl back into Tala’s arms, she wanted to remain there until things had gotten better, Bailey seemed like a secure place to lay her nest and that was what she wanted to do. But she had never felt like that with anyone. She wasn’t even completely sure if it was a sexual emotion or just raw emotions getting placed in wrong categories. But after staring at each other for longer than necessary, Tala grabbed her jacket and rushed for the door – feeling so vulnerable and exposed, she knew the only place she wanted to be was in her bathroom.

Bailey watched as Tala rushed out, trying to ignore what she knew she felt, as it was beyond inappropriate. She closed her door behind Tala and sat back at her desk, her heart beating against her chest hard. She felt her chest, disbelieving the way in which her heart seemed to crash into her when she felt the pebble beneath her shirt. Looking down ever so slightly, she saw her nipples were erect. She never mixed her personal life with work, but that hug had overstepped the mark and now Bailey knew she was going to have to have the upmost restraint if she ever met Tala again. Because Bailey not only understood her pain and wanted to resolve it, but she wanted to be the reason why Tala smiled and the way Tala held onto her, she knew Tala wanted the same.

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Toxic – Part 1

Do you ever get that feeling when you know what is wrong, and you try so hard to stay away from that – but everything in life is pulling you closer to the wrong? No matter how many times I turn away from the temptation, or ignore the constant opportunities, the more I’m faced with it, the more I feel myself growing weak. With each opportunity I pass, I feel myself opening up to the idea more and more.

I am a loyal woman, never been swayed by temptation (baring in mind I don’t get many temptations). But then he presented himself to me, and after all the pushing I did, it seemed as though I couldn’t push him no more. I knew in every part of my body that he was wrong, toxic for me. No one has ever made me question my marriage, no one has ever made me want more. Yet, here I was watching him, watch me from across the room whilst he sat with his friends.

It was a girls night out, I felt I needed the space – with my head clogged up with all this confusion, getting out and forgetting for one night didn’t seem like a bad plan. But here I was, thinking about him again. I didn’t know he’d be here. If I did, I sure as hell wouldn’t have come here, but here he was and my girls were already ordering drinks. We located a table close to where he sat amongst his friends and drank.

It wasn’t as though I could drink, I needed a sober mind if I was going to be in the same room as him. I didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardise my marriage. My girls had started to take off their jackets and began dancing to the music of the club – me on the other hand sat still, battling with my inner demons. A quiet voice screaming at me to leave, but the demons caressing my muscles telling me to stay, no harm in watching and enticing yourself with something you’d never had and never will. My best friend Clarissa tugged on my shoulder, pulling me out of my deep thoughts and forced a glass of drink in my hand.

“Oi! Stop being so boring and drink!”

I hadn’t told Clarissa about Mike. There was nothing proud about my feelings about him to share, so I made sure I’d kept him hidden, like a dark secret you didn’t want anyone knowing about, yet was always in everyone’s face. I gave her a small smile and put the cup on the table.

“Sasha what are you doing! It is your night off for once, enjoy it – why are you sitting there like a prune?” She shouted over the music. I gave her another shrug and looked away from Mike who was watching our every move. She lifted the glass off of the table and forced them near my lips.
“You will drink Sasha! You are not going to be like this throughout the night – not on my watch.”

Before I could protest, she’d found an opening with my mouth and began pouring the drink, as I tried to lean away from her offer. She almost climbed on top of me to ensure the liquid went all the way down my throat. By now, not only was Mike, but his friends also had started to watch the show. The liquid burnt my throat as it intruded its way inside my body. As it slid its way to the bottom, small flames ignited on the inside of my body causing me to feel warmer than I had a few minutes ago. Clarissa was laughing now as my face grew tense with the burn that came with the drink. Her hand fell behind her and before I knew it, she was pressing another glass cup to my lips.

I shook my head furiously, trying to push her off of me, but failed as she had now taken seat on my laps and was begging me to drink.
“For me Sasha, please drink one more and then we can have some fun.”
I looked at her and then thought of Josh, my husband. He was never too fond of Clarissa, felt as though she was always pushing me to do things I never wanted to do. And he was never too sure what her sexuality was and for that fact, he never liked to leave me alone with her for too long. He always said he saw a look in her eyes that I never seemed to notice. But I could never vouch for that – me and Clarissa had been best friends for almost ten years, and within those years I had never thought she swung for the same team.

But as she pouted and came closer to me to make me drink, I saw a flash of who Josh had been seeing all those times ago. I opened my mouth to not only receive the drink but to drown the many voices in my head that were screaming far too many things at me. After the drink had disappeared, she wiped a drop that had escaped my lips and licked her finger. Smiling, she got off and walked to where our other friends were dancing.

Too embarrassed to look at Mike, I took my jacket off to busy my hands and stared directly at the table. He was still watching me – this time I’m sure he had a look of hunger in his eyes. It had only been a second that I looked at him, but I knew how this night was going to end. I had lost the will to fight against what my body craved for, what it thought would heal it. I took a deep breath and hoped he didn’t make his way to me, but I knew sooner or later there would be nothing stopping him, and he’d come and get what he truly wanted.

After a while, the girls returned from dancing and were all hyped. I had managed to drink a glass or two more and then watched them all chatter. Then one of Mike’s friend had approached us.
“Hello ladies.”
“OOOOooooOOOO, what can we do for you today?” Aimee said, giving him what I was sure was her most alluring face.
“Well me and my friends were getting a little bored and saw how much fun you were having and wanted to see if we could come and join you?”
“NO!” Was the voice that screamed in my head, yet my lips didn’t move in reality, instead, I watched as the girls eyed up the guys and invited them over. My heart thumped so hard in my chest, I wasn’t too sure if it was drink or the fear I had of knowing Mike was walking straight towards me – either way, I knew my heart could not slow down.

All the guys had paired themselves with a lady, others making a triplet as the women were more in numbers that the men. Mike sat close, too close to me. I tried to ignore the heat that radiated off of him as our skin brushed, but all it did was make me tingle – inside and out. Everyone chatted whilst me and Mike sat silently watching the party in front of us. Then before I was aware, Mike had grabbed my waist and pulled me closer to him. The minor touch did wonders too my body, I tried to block out what it made me feel, but who was I to fight something that seemed so inevitable.

“You smell beautiful tonight Sasha.” His face pressed against my neck, so close that as he spoke his lips gently slid across my skin. I bit my lip and prayed for something to intervene, even if it was a funny look from Clarissa, anything to make me know this was a bad idea. Yet, everyone was far too enticed with their own guy to notice me. I nodded my head in thanks and felt his breath on my neck. I tried not to lean into his touch, into his warmth, into what felt like home, but before I knew it, my eyes were closed and I had leaned my head on his to feel his hair caress my cheek. He chuckled and moved to my left ear.

“You’re not fighting me off no more?”
I looked at him, watched his face analyse mine and couldn’t help but touch him. His eyes closed as my fingers trailed little touches of flames onto his skin. He opened his eyes and stared at me waiting for an answer, waiting for me to allow him to have me. Somehow, I always thought it would be him that would take me as soon as he had the chance, but here he was giving me the power, asking me whether he had permission to have me. I tried to find ‘No’ in my mind, but all I could see was ‘Yes’ and there was still a little voice within me that was telling me not to do what I wanted to do so much. I took a deep breath and came close to his lips.
“I should be fighting you off, you’re no good for me.”
A wicked smile grew on his lips and he came closer to my lips that were parted ready for him to enter inside.
“I’m no good for you now?”
“No,” I said smiling. Who had I become? Entertaining the devils dance? Knowing what was right and what was wrong. Whoever told you you’re conscious drowns out when you’re tempted was lying. The closer our lips got together, the clearer I could hear my mind scream ‘no!’ – yet it was me now that had chosen it to shut up. I forced the rebellious screams deep inside a room within my head and locked the door, leaving just my desire and Mike alone. “You are no good, but I can’t fight you off anymore.”

As the words came out my mouth in a rush, his lips met mine in a hurry. His hunger seeped through his lips and onto my own. His arm that was wrapped around my waist, had now moved towards my bum, squeezing what he could, whilst my arms found their way around his neck. I heard screams and laughter, but I couldn’t seem to pull myself away from Mike. I slipped my hands between his legs, trying to get a feel of what I was sure to come later on tonight. He moved to my neck and growled at me.
“Don’t Sasha.”
Once I had found the bulge that I had dreamt about for nearly every night for a year, I couldn’t stop myself. Rubbing on it, trying to imagine the whole length, his hand stopped mine abruptly. He pulled away from me and looked at my face. My lips now plump from the kissing, my body now scorching hot from our intimacy, now sat vibrating waiting for him to make the next move. The voice that had been screaming no in my head, was now whispering no, whilst hoping he kissed me again. If my conscious wouldn’t fight against him, what chance did I have? My inner logic had now crumpled onto the floor clutching her legs shut whilst saying no, but wanting more.

He grabbed my hand and led me outside. It was only by a second that I had managed to grab my jacket and bag and left with Mike. No one was entirely sure where we were off too, I signalled the smoking area, but neither I or Mike smoked. But who was to question when they all probably witnessed their married friend kiss another man.

Once we were outside, Mike hauled a cab and gave them an address and before I knew it, we were inside sitting in silence, but our bodies screaming for so much more. I dared to look at Mike and see that look he had on his face that showed he was going to devour every inch of my body. His hand still clutched onto mine, with a pain that oozed with ecstasy. I knew he was hanging on by a thread and if the cab man hadn’t got us to where we needed to be, Mike would take me right here.

I looked at him slowly, and was taken back when our eyes met. There was no stopping us anymore. Even if I was starting to doubt my actions, there was no way Mike would let me go. I was about to cheat on my husband with his brother and no voice of reasoning was going to stop us.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

The Big Apple – Part 1

I stumbled into the cab, vision blurred and stability definitely gone. I wasn’t too sure whether Dara gave the driver my home address or her own, but all I was aware of was that she’d gotten in with me and the cabman was driving to our destination. I was beyond embarrassed, I’d only been working with Dara for two months and already she’s seeing a side that I wasn’t even aware lived within me. She pulled my lifeless body against her own and began stroking my hair. It soothed my spinning vision and mind, I didn’t know how I was going to make it up to her, but I knew the treatment she was giving me was going to cost me a week of late nights in the office, but at that precise moment I didn’t care.

I’d embarrassed myself in front of my co-workers and my boss, all I wanted was to bury my head dead within my pillows and let this nightmare be forgotten. I closed my eyes, feeling like a little girl again and remembering the last words my mother told me before I moved out to New York ‘make sure you look after yourself.’ And here I was, a shambles. The cab stopped after a few minutes, which seemed like hours to me. Dara and the driver exchanged some words and before I knew it, she was helping me out the cab.

“Mind your left leg, the curb is close.”

I clasped her hands tight, afraid my footing would fail me and I’d land face first into the ground. Once I was upright and out of the cab, she began walking me towards some stairs that led towards a tall building. It didn’t look anything like the apartment I was staying at, but I wasn’t confident enough to believe my own eyes, so I fumbled carelessly towards the entrance, with her grip firm on my waist. I opened my pouch, in attempt to find my keys when Dara stopped me.

“What are you doing?”

“We can’t get into my place without my keys Vic!” The last words came out as a burp, causing me to cover my mouth.

“Katy, we’re at my place.”

She opened the doors with her keys and walked me through the lobby and towards the elevator. I stumbled after every few seconds, only highlighting how drunk I seemed to have been. She pressed the elevator button, causing the doors to open. We walked in, waiting for the lift to take us to her place. I wonder why she took me here? Why didn’t she just drop me home and leave me there and what floor does she live on? I leaned on Dara, feeling tired and looked up to her.

“Why’d you take me here?”

She looked at me with what seemed like a confused stare, “what do you mean ‘here’?”

I threw my arms in the air and signalled the building she lives in, instead of the building I live in.

“I wasn’t going to leave you all drunk by yourself.”

The elevator doors opened just as she answered. She guided me to her door, unlocking it with her keys, revealing a dark corridor. She led me through the darkness to what seemed like the living room. She forced me to sit on the sofa and then left me. I couldn’t believe I was drunk and in my boss’ apartment. I closed my eyes and felt the soft velvet sofa under my fingertips. The tiny hairs soothed my skin, calling me to sleep. I kicked off my heels and curled up like a ball on the sofa, ready to get lost in the call of this velvet masterpiece, when the lights flickered on. I groaned in annoyance and sat back up, confused with why it’d suddenly gotten bright.

“Before you even dare to sleep, take this tablet and drink this water.”

I obeyed her command, not thinking twice to answer back. I placed the small chalky white tablet in my mouth and then gulped the water, that I hadn’t know I’d been craving.

“Do you feel better?” She asked walking back to what I can only assume was the kitchen area.

“Why am I here Dara?” I said, looking at the light that shone opposite from where I sat.

“I told you that already Katy.”

I looked down trying to remember when she told me, but failed to remember anything passed the lights turning on and waking up from a blissful sleep I was sure to have.

“Oh sorry. Is this your place?”

The light in the kitchen turned off, turning the intensity of the light within the room down. She came out with a plate in her hand. She laid the plate on the table and sat beside me. I looked at the sandwich and my stomach flipped twice, I shut my eyes, trying to burn the image out of my head as it began making me sick.

“Yes, it is my place.”

“It’s beautiful.” She sat besides me and chuckled.

“Are you tired honey?”

I nodded, too tired to speak anymore, just wanting a bed and sheets to cover myself with. She helped me up and walked towards the bedroom. It was dark, but with the light from the living room, I was able to make out shapes from the silhouettes casted by the objects. There was a huge bed in the middle of the room, must have been double, maybe even king sized, with a few cabinets and wardrobes resting against the walls. What caught my attention was the huge window that oversaw the busy roads and buildings of New York. Little lights danced across the roads, whilst buildings stood affirm in the midst of the party of lights, like security guards. The lights started to blur ever so slightly the longer I looked at it, making my head feel dizzy. Dara must have been aware, because she pulled me towards the bed, but it was too late. The drink had finally settled and my limbs had gone to sleep, causing me to fall to the ground. She sighed and crouched down, so that we were face to face.

“You alright?” Another nod, replaced speech. She lifted me up for another time tonight and managed to get me into her bed. At first she tried to undress me, and I tried to fight her off. I was drunk, probably more than drunk. But I still had enough sense that this wasn’t a good look at all, rolling around intoxicated in her bed was bad enough, but having her unzip my dress and try and pull it off was another. What was worse was that even though I felt I was putting up a good fight in attempt to stop her, it was all futile. All she had to do was move my defensive hands with force and they never lifted again. This was definitely something I was going to regret in the morning. Once I was down to just my undies, I closed my eyes, letting the silk sheets caress my skin and drag me further into the sleep abyss that had been calling my name.

As I slowly drifted deeper into sleep, it was as though I felt Dara hover above me and watch me. I’m sure she even muttered a few indistinctive words, but after I groaned and kept saying sleep, I felt the duvet fall over my shoulders and two soft lips touch my forehead. Then I was gone.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Have you ever?

Have you ever had to analyse your emotions ten times over, just to make sure you’re not behaving or feeling emotional for an irrational reason? Have you ever had to question your own mind-set, because everyone around you doesn’t seem to grasp your way of thinking? Have you ever felt crazy because you just can’t understand whether what you feel is reasonable or not? Well I have, and it drives me insane. Why must I feel as though I am the one who has blown everything out of proportion, the one who took everything “too far”, the one who just always seems to destroy the mood with her reactions? I tell you it could make any sane human being feel crazy. Just because people fail to understand the way I process things why must that make me the odd one? I remember years ago when I studied psychology, I was learning about conforming. One thing that stuck in my mind was how incredible it was to see how people would conform to the majority group, just because the numbers were high. Even if the question was as simple as what is 2 + 2. We all know the answer is 4, but if the majority claims the answer is 5, we begin to doubt our own judgment. That is exactly how I feel write now. As I sit here, pen in my hand, scribbling subconsciously on the plain piece of paper before me, I wonder whether because people cannot understand me, I can no longer understand myself. Hence why I have to analyse everything I do ten times or even more.

It’s beyond frustrating when you find yourself in this cycle. Where you feel a way one minute, but instantly question it the next because maybe the majority is right about me. Maybe I am a little irrational. Maybe my thought process is abnormal. Or am I now conforming to the majority? Who says the minority isn’t right? Why can’t the way I think and feel be right and everyone else be wrong? It makes me chuckle slightly as I sit scratching my head, thinking about whether I’m sane or not. A mother of two, is up alone in her study room in the early hours of the morning questioning whether she is sane or not, is a headline that I can’t help but chuckle to. I should have my shit together by now. Almost thirty-five, two children and a husband and yet here I am, wondering whether I’m losing it or maybe it’s everyone else who’s losing it. What irks me is that there is no one I can discuss this with, oh well I could go to my counsellor (whom no one knows I visit) and explain it to her. But, then I might just feel even crazier that I’ve had to go counselling in order to reassure myself that I’m not crazy. Ha, the irony. There’s no freedom, there’s no escape. I’m constantly in limbo with my emotions, constantly going from zero to a thousand, because I’m not sure whether I have a right to feel the way I do or not. And it’s a tough battle. It brings a lot of dark nights, silent cries and fake smiles, because everything just doesn’t seem to add up in your mind. And having two children and being a role model for them, gives me no room to even have time to fail. So I hold everything in, make sure only me, myself and I, see this confused version of me. I make sure all the tears have run its course before I see my children, I make sure the internal battle that I face everyday, is kept at bay when I kiss my husband good morning. I make sure the crazy has gone into hiding when I see my family, because it’s bad enough that people look at you like your crazy, but when you looking at yourself and seeing a crazy person stare back at you – everything goes downhill from there.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun