The conversation between Segun and Nneka that morning was bound for disaster. As soon as he raised the issue, he knew she was going to flare up but he refused to let that deter him. As far as he was concerned she was being irrational. Ever since he first raised the matter two weeks ago, she had consistently refused to listen to the voice of reason from him or her parents who he had resorted to reporting her to.
“Segun, let me say it again as I have said so many times before, it will not happen. You will not bring her to this house. This is my home and I have a right to decide who comes here, Nneka said”
“Madam, nobody said it’s not your house but it’s her house too and you both are equally important to me. No one is more important than the other so you better start getting used to the idea of living with her”.
“Oga, you are a joker. This is the problem with you Yoruba men, your stubbornness is ridiculous,” she retorted sarcastically.
“So now it has to do with tribe abi. You are not seeing the fact that you are being unnecessarily intolerant, it’s stubbornness you are seeing. Anyway, I am done with this conversation, Funsho is coming to stay in this house and you will accept it and be happy about it”. He didn’t wait for any further response before picking his car keys and leaving the house.
Nneka stared at the door for a long time after he had gone and she felt her heart break. It felt so surreal that Segun could totally break her trust just two years after marriage. There was no part of their life together they did not discuss during courtship so for him to start making changes two years after marriage was indeed a betrayal as far as she was concerned. She slowly walked back to her bedroom and she thought back to everything that led to this day. She remembered her best friend vividly warning her and telling her this day will come and she laughed as she placed a call to her best friend Toyin, to tell her that indeed the day has come.
As soon as Toyin picked the call, they sarcastically discussed the matter at hand.
“Oluwatoyin the soothsayer, the future you predicted is here,” Nneka said with sarcasm.
“Abeg which of my predictions have come to pass because you know me I always see the future in fact if I wanted to make money, I should be charging people for it”.
“Segun said he is bringing Funsho to this house to come and live with me. Just imagine. After he promised me”
Toyin laughed with so much glee as she struggled to even end her laughing bout to continue her conversation.”Madam, did I not tell you this will happen? It was just about two and half years ago when I warned you but love was clouding your brain. You were forming Segun and I are on the same page. He agrees with me. He won’t go back on his word” She said mimicking Nneka’s voice.
“Toyin please abeg, I did not call you to gloat or mock me. It’s okay. It’s the solution I need you to find for me. What do I do? ”
“Nneka, seriously what can you do? The man says he wants to bring his daughter to his house, will you say no?
“Of course I will say No. I have already told him No. We sat as a couple even before marriage and discussed it and we both agreed Funsho should keep staying with his mother like she always has and now suddenly because his mother told him the presence of a child in our house will make me pregnant he is going back on our agreement? Who is he supposed to listen to? His mother or his wife?
“If you want me to answer that question then I will say his mother. You know mother knows best. See ehn stop giving yourself headaches. What’s the worst that will happen? Let the girl come and live with you. Isn’t she your daughter by default?
“Toyin, you don’t get it. It’s not just about the girl it’s the fact that my mother-in-law wants to keep controlling her son. It’s the fact that Segun and I decided to start our life on a clean slate, a fresh start.
“See ehn, I get you Nneka, but you cannot prove a point with this matter before they label you wicked. Just relax”.
” Toyin, I have heard you but I know how to handle Segun and his mother. They will know I am a true Ibo girl.
“Madam Ibo girl no problem, just remember that you knew he had a child before you decided to marry him. He didn’t deceive you in any way. So on this one, you are truly making a mountain out of a molehill,” Toyin said as they ended the call.
Nneka began to ponder on the next step to take. She had thought Toyin was going to give her creative ideas but obviously, she was wrong. She decided to take the bull by the horns and give her mother-in-law a call.
Nneka was sure her call to her mother-in-law had settled the issue. She explained to her things were quite tight financially and bringing Funsho was going to complicate things. Of course, her mother-in-law agreed to keep taking care of the little girl till things were better.
By late evening Segun had still not arrived and Nneka had tried calling him multiple times all to no avail before deciding to go to bed. Eventually, at about 10 pm, she heard multiple voices at the front door while she laid down on the bed and she got up to check who Segun had come in with. She stood at the door with initial shock once she saw her mother-in-law and stepdaughter both bringing their bags in with her husband. She didn’t know whether to feel shock, anger, or disappointment as she greeted her mother-in-law.
The smile on the woman’s face as she returned her greeting was an assurance of things to come. Nneka went ahead to get the guests settled in their spare bedroom before raising up the brewing issue on her mind with her husband in the bedroom.
‘’Babe, it is very late already and I have had a long day so I don’t want plenty talk’’ Segun said as soon as Nneka mentioned she wanted to talk to him as he began to undress.
‘’Don’t worry I am not going to stress you, I just want to know why Funsho came here today and why your mother is with her’’ Nneka said.
‘’I am not even going to play pretense with you. You have the guts to ask me that after calling my mother to tell her rubbish? I told you my daughter was coming and you went to call my mother not to allow my daughter come here? Isn’t that the height of disrespect? Anyway, mom suggested she come here for a while to help Funsho settle in since you are not used to her,’’ Segun said as he got into the bathroom to have a shower.
Nneka followed him into the bathroom vividly angry at the turn of events. She never imagined her day was going to end like this. ‘’Did you tell your mother you cannot afford to take care of your daughter?’’
‘’What is that supposed to mean? How much is it to feed and care for a little girl?’’ Segun said.
‘’How much is it you said? Do you know how much it costs me to feed and clothe you? To take care of this house, send money to your mother and pay your child’s fees? You are now asking how much it is? Have you told your mother I am the one taking care of you all before she brought her greedy ass and moved into my house?’’ Nneka said with so much anger and bitterness.
‘’Madam financier, the next time you insult my family you will live to regret it. Are you the only woman taking care of her family because her husband is having a down time? Please spare me the lecture and let me have my shower in peace and go to sleep. It is very late’’.
Nneka quietly closed the door and went back to lay on the bed. She wondered if she had not put herself in deep trouble. Nobody truly knew her marriage struggles, not even her parents or best friend. For the first time in two years, she could feel her sacrifices coming back to haunt her.
One month after her august visitors arrived, Nneka lay on her bed on a Saturday morning wondering how she was going to come out of the hole she had dug herself into. She had not even been able to discuss with her best friend because she did not want anyone belittling her husband. Every day she asked Segun when his mother was leaving and she never got a response. Her mother-in-law was getting too comfortable. She had taken over the kitchen and refused to let Nneka cook for her husband claiming that, ”young girls of nowadays put too much spices in food”. Of course, Segun’s response to that was that Nneka should be happy his mother was helping her and she wasn’t going to stay with them forever.
Segun came in a few minutes later and sat by her side giving her a neck massage,
”Baby, mum has made breakfast, please come and have some food” he said.
”I am not hungry this morning, I have had some tea” Nneka said.
”You know mum wouldn’t be too happy about that, she said you need to keep your diet healthy” Segun cajoled.
”I need to keep my diet healthy so I can easily get pregnant right? How do you even know I want to get pregnant Segun? How do you know I want to get pregnant for a man who has not woken up to his responsibilities? Nneka shouted.
”Haba babe, I told you things were going to get better, I just need some capital to invest in this new business Wale told me about. We will go and buy some timber from the north and export them to Germany. He told me they are in high demand now”. Segun explained.
He watched in bewilderment as Nneka burst out laughing. ”Now it is timber again? she said. ” Six months ago, it was shoes, before then it was clothes, before then it was networking and before then it was ICT and…
”It’s okay madam, I get your point. I have done plenty businesses that have failed but trust me, I am reading a book that says it’s not the number of times a man falls, it’s the number of times he rises and tries again. I just have to keep trying till it works out”.
”No Segun, you don’t have to keep trying. You need to pick up your CV and get a job. Not everyone was destined to be an entrepreneur and you are part of those people. If only you had told me or discussed with me before resigning from your well paying job two weeks after our wedding, we wouldn’t be in this mess”.
”Baby, you keep going back to that time, I have told you severally I made good plans. I had enough savings to last for 6 months before quitting my job. It’s just unfortunate it has not worked out”.
”So why haven’t you told your mother about it if you are so proud of your decision. Why does she think you just got a promotion and I am lavishing your money? Nneka said.
”See I just don’t want to bother her. Anyway, babe I need your help again. This time it’s a loan. I will pay you back in less than 6 months trust me. I need just 2 million naira. I want to use 1.5 million for the business, then use N300,000 to enroll Funsho in school, you know she is already behind”.
”First of all, why is Funsho spending N300k to go to school when her school fees used to be just N60k. See why I warned you not to bring her here? Schools are expensive and you want me to foot the bill?”
”It’s a loan Nneka and if it was your child, you wouldn’t worry about how much the fees cost and before you tell me you don’t have money, I know they just paid your leave bonus so you have the money.” Segun said.
Nneka looked at her husband with awe and as he pulled her closer and kissed her while touching her softest spot. She knew she had fallen victim again and as soon as this was over, he was going to get her to sign the cheque. As he made love to her that morning, tears rolled down her face because she had never found the strength to resist him for long or say No. He knew what to do to get her to bend her will and he used it judiciously.
On Monday afternoon, Nneka had just finished attending an intense 4 hour meeting with the board of directors of a company they were partnering with. As she stood to leave with the rest of her team, the managing director asked her to stay behind and she rolled her eyes knowing exactly what he was about to discuss with her. As soon as the room cleared out, he pulled her close,
”Nneka, how long are you going to keep treating me this way? You know I love you. I have always loved you and still you won’t let me just take care of you”.
Nneka stepped out of his embrace, ”Obinna stop it. I have told you several times this cannot happen. We are both married now and I don’t need you to take care of me, my husband does that well enough”.
He moved a little bit closer to her, ”are you sure he does? I watch you closely Nneka, you don’t glow anymore, he hasn’t changed your car since you got married, I see you hustle hard. That is not a sign that he is taking care of you better than I would have done”.
”Obinna, I won’t stand here and watch you insult my husband. If you don’t have anything else to say, I will like to leave now” Nneka said.
”Okay babe, I am sorry. I will leave your darling husband out of it. I wish I didn’t let you choose him over me. I begged you to consider me but you refused and still two years after, you cannot deny there has always been a connection between us.”
”Obinna, no I could not have left Segun for you. For christ sake, I met you two weeks to my wedding. I was supposed to just cancel every thing and run away with you? Does this look like a movie? Is this what you called me for? If I remember correctly, you got married a year after me so I don’t know why you are still talking about it”
”It’s fine babe, no problem. I actually stopped you to give you this”, he said as he handed over a cheque to her.
Nneka looked at it and raised her eyebrow, ”Obinna, why are you giving me a N2 million naira cheque?”
”Nothing, I did one quick business like that and made some extra cash so I decided to be nice to my friend. Afterall, we are friends, aren’t we?”
”Well, if you put it that way, I guess we are friends” Nneka said smiling.
”See, that’s the kind of smile I love seeing on your face. Tell that husband of yours to sit up else I will come whoop his ass for you baby girl”.
Nneka gave her own retort as she laughed and walked out of Obinna’s office all smiles. She was extremely happy the money she was going to loan Segun dropped into her lap without any effort. Now she was not going to be so bitter if Segun ended up not paying the money back. However, for the first time she wondered if her life wouldn’t have been better if she had chosen Obinna instead of Segun.
Things were not getting better between Segun and Nneka. It had been six months since he took the loan to start his new business and Nneka already knew he had no plans to return it since he had spent the last two months complaining about how the business did not go as expected.
His mother and her stepdaughter still lived with her and she was beginning to feel the weight of catering for the whole family’s responsibilities by herself even with Segun’s big boy lifestyle. That morning, however, all hell broke loose as she once again refused to have sex with Segun as she had continually done in the last one month.
”See ehn, no matter the money you think you have, I am still your husband and you have no right to deny me sex. Your body is mine”. Segun said.
Nneka was quick to respond quite angrily, ”Mr husband and Mr my right, a husband is someone who is able and willing to provide for his family. No provision no husband rights. I have told you several times that having sex with you clouds my judgment. So no, I am not sleeping with you. You want sex? Write a cheque after all if you go meet a prostitute you will pay her”.
”Nneka are you mad? Are you well at all? So I should pay for sex in my own home? What kind of attitude is this? Who is teaching you this rubbish? Segun asked truly bewildered.
”Segun, trust me I am perfectly fine. Nobody has to teach me not to be foolish anymore. My bank account tells me that. In between paying for rent, feeding, giving you money for upkeep and training your child to school, I am drained and I have no strength to open legs for an irresponsible husband”.
Segun burst out laughing, he laughed so hard Nneka was confused as to what was funny. ”You really upped your game this time around madam financier. Are you not spending within your salary? Let me remind you if you have forgotten, who got you that your well-paying job in the first place? You think I got you the job so you can be selfish and spend it alone. I was thinking of our future and that future is here. By the way, I don’t understand why you are yet to pay Funsho’s school fees. The school administrator called me yesterday”.
”You know what? I am done Segun. If you want your daughter to go to school pay for it. If you want to feed your mother pay for it. I am done you selfish ingrate”.
As soon as she said those words, Segun’s mother entered the room having heard a little of their conversation.
”Iyawo, that is no way to talk to your husband”, she said. ”What is wrong with you girls of nowadays that you have no respect? When I was warning you not to marry omo Ibo, they lack respect you did not listen. See the result”, Mama said.
Nneka was so angry at her mother-in-law’s insult, she wasted no time in responding,” Mama, how can you burst into our room to intrude in a private conversation. While you were eavesdropping, did you hear the part where I mentioned how your son has not had a job since and I have been paying all the bills? Do you know he intentionally resigned and has refused to look for a job? Do you understand the pressure I am under?
Nneka, please do not insult my mother, just limit the insults to me okay? Segun told her.
”No, let her talk, Segun, je ko soro. Yes I heard that my son is in the down time of his life. the downfall of a man is not the end of his life iyawo. A wise woman will not even let a third party know she is paying the bills. A wise woman shields her husband. Have you read Proverbs 31 very well, it says the virtuous woman brings food from afar for her family. She willingly works to provide for, to clothe, and feed her family and even her servants. Go and study it very well and stop groaning. You that is praying to God for children and are complaining about paying your step daughter’s school fees”.
”Mama please, Is this your response? Is this what you have to say? I am truly shocked” Nneka said
”Don’t be shocked, go and call your mother and tell her to teach you some manners and train you how to truly be a wife because this one you are doing is child’s play. Just because I am helping you in the kitchen, you will lay down on the bed, turning me into your maid abi. I have just been watching you these past few months. O ti baje ju. You are truly spoilt. Segun, please leave her alone to think on her life and come and take me to the hospital for my check up. Imagine the effrontery even denying your husband sex” Mama said as she walked out of the room with her son in tow.
As soon as she heard the front door close signaling she was finally alone in the house, Nneka slumped on the bed. She was shocked at her mother-in-law’s response. On the other hand, she was not so shocked as Segun never does any wrong in his mother’s eyes. As far as she is concerned, her son was perfect. She knew she needed to talk to somebody so she decided to call her best friend, Toyin deciding that telling her parents will only make matters worst.
By mid-afternoon, that Saturday, Nneka was already wondering why Segun, Funsho, and his mother were not back from the hospital. She was expressing her concern to Toyin who said,
”I don’t even know why you are bothered. After everything his mother said and all you told me, you still dey form worried wife. I tire for you oooo. Maybe they decided to give you space naaaa”
Toyin had come over in the morning to hear the full story of what Nneka had been going through and was truly bewildered that Nneka had gone through so much in silence. She advised her to stop paying the bills and let everybody starve.
A few minutes later, Nneka’s phone rang and as soon as she saw her husband as the caller I.D she quickly picked the call,
”Yes, this is his wife, who is this? Where is my husband? Nneka inquired from the person on the other end of the line.
”Jesus christ, she exclaimed and shouted at whatever the person at the other end of the line told her.
”Okay where? Okay, I am on my way”.
”Oh my God, Toyin I am in trouble, Segun has been in an accident. They are in the hospital, Nneka said as tears already rolled down her eyes. She tried to grab her keys with her hands shaking and Toyin took it from her.
”Don’t worry, let us go with my car. Stop shaking Nneka, you don’t know what has happened yet. Just take a deep breath and relax. Whatever happens, when you get there, you will need your strength, okay?”
”Okay, but the man that called me said it is serious and fatal Toyin, God I said so many hurtful things to him before he left. I need to see him again. This cannot be the end for us. I love Segun so much”, Nneka said.
Nneka ran into the hospital really agitated as her friend Toyin walked closely behind her trying to get her to calm down. Immediately they walked in, she spotted Segun walking out of a room by the side with just a little plaster on his forehead. She breathed a deep sigh of relief and immediately ran to meet him.
”Oh babe, thank God you are okay. I was so worried” she said in relief while trying to check his face and body for other injuries.
Segun immediately pushed her hand away looking at her with deep revulsion.
”Are you mad? I am asking you, are you crazy?” He said.
Nneka stared on in confusion very perturbed. ”Babe, just calm down. I hope you are still not angry. Anyway, where are mummy and Funsho? How are they? What are the extent of their injuries?” She asked.
”Don’t ask me stupid questions, don’t talk to me, in fact you don’t know me because everything that happened today is on you. Keep that on your conscience” Segun said as he walked away.
Nneka and Toyin looked at each other in confusion. ” Let us ask the nurses or find the doctor to understand the situation”, Toyin said to Nneka.
Twenty minutes later as she finally listened to the doctor explain everything that had happened, Nneka crumbled on her seat in tears. Her stepdaughter was dead, she died on the spot because the collision was direct to where she was seating in the car and she broke her neck. Her mother-in-law’s case was extremely critical because both her limbs were crushed and needed immediate amputation. In between her tears, Nneka listened as the doctor analyzed the long road to treatment her mother-in-law was going to take.
”I am telling you madam, coupled with the fact that mama is already old. I cannot even assure you she will survive the treatment. We are talking not just amputation, there is prosthetics a lot of physiotherapy and rehabilitation and it is going to cost a lot and her chances of pulling through is just about 30 percent especially with her already high blood pressure. I was discussing with your husband about moving her to a government hospital which might be cheaper for you but he insisted you both can afford the cost and that you might decide to fly her outside the country. I will strongly advise against that due to her health condition. It is not safe”. the doctor said.
Nneka still groaned in pain as she could not get over the fact that her stepdaughter was dead just like that. She struggled with guilt and so much sadness at the same time but she knew she had to be strong.
”Doctor, how much money are we talking about at least to start treatment”. Toyin asked.
”Not less that N3.5 million for a start, that will go a long way in the treatment process as everything is time bound” the doctor said.
Nneka screamed again as she heard the doctor’s response.
”Toyin what am I going to do? Where am I going to start from? Segun does not have any money to contribute and he already blames me. If his mother dies, he will never forgive me” Nneka said in despair.
”Thank you so much doctor, we will be back soonest. Please just help us make sure mama is okay, let us try and gather the finances” Toyin said and let Nneka out of the room.
They got outside and looked around for Segun and he was nowhere to be found.
”Toyin, what will I do? I have just about 4 million in my account and that’s all my money in this world. Segun has made it impossible for me to have much. Our rent is already due, I was supposed to send the N2.5 million to the landlord on Monday since Segun did not come up with anything”.
”Wait, Nneka, let me ask you, are you really going to spend all your life savings on a woman that is old already and who has very low chances of survival and leave yourself homeless?” Toyin asked.
”Toyin, what am I supposed to do? Leave her to die? Nneka asked.
Nneka walked into her house that day after assurance from the Doctor that her mother in law will be given enough care and well taken care of. She made a deposit of N500,000 which she could conveniently afford and decided to go home and decide the next course of action with her husband, Segun. Mama was yet to come out of coma and would not have noticed or missed her absence in the hospital she said to herself.
She was quite surprised to meet Segun actually sat at home brooding and she did not waste time raising the urgent matter at hand.
“Baby, I am so sorry about Funsho’s death. I still can’t believe it”, she said remembering her step daughter as the tears threatened to fall.
” Nneka, let me warn you, do not ever mention Funsho’s name to me okay? Do not even disrespect her memory. Now that she is dead, at least you don’t have to pay or complain about her school fees again and I hope that makes you happy” Segun said in anger.
“Haba Segun, how can you be so mean? Don’t blame me for any of this because you were the one driving”
” and who got me angry? Who made me go out and drive in anger, let me just warn you, my mother must not die. See that money you have that is making you suddenly feel like you hold the life of the world in your hands, my mother must not die else this marriage is over”, Segun said as he went into the bedroom and locked the bedroom door leaving Nneka to find somewhere else to sleep.
That night Nneka cried till she had no more tears to shed. She began to wonder where she could get more money to sort out both their house rent and the hospital bills. She called her parents that night to inform them of their tragedy but she refused to mention her marriage troubles knowing fully well her father was going to add more fuel to the fire.
The next morning alone in her office, she still had not found a solution to her problems. She had branched the hospital that morning before heading to work and was informed her mother in law had woken up during the night in excruciating pain. She was placed on enough pain medications to knock her out for a while. The doctor also advised that she had to be taken into surgery soonest to avoid complications.
Lost in thought, she was quite unprepared for Obinna’s playfulness as he walked into her office ready for his usual banter. Immediately sensing her downcast state, Obinna pulled her up from her chair and gave her a hug and once again Nneka burst into a bout of tears this time finding comfort in Obinna’s arms. As she finally gathered her emotions together, she opened up on her pains to Obinna’s telling him everything she had been going through with Segun up until this point.
Obinna could not hold his anger, ” wow, I swear babe, your husband is plain irresponsible. What kind of man is comfortable with his wife picking up his bills?”
” Obinna please don’t insult him, he is just going through a rough time” Nneka quickly said in his defense.
” No, please don’t even try to justify his actions. How can he not take care of you, babe? I remember asking you on numerous occasions and you said you were happy, is this happiness? Obinna asked her. ” God you should be pampered ”
As he held her and looked into her eyes, they both seemed ready for the eventuality as their lips met in a kiss that seemed to have been two years overdue. As Nneka gave into their kiss for a moment, she forgot all of the problems that were causing her pain. It felt too good to be true and as the passion and chemistry spread deep within her legs, she quickly pushed him away.
“Oh God, what have I done? Obinna we can’t do that. We are married for Christ sake”.
“I am sorry babe, but I am not so sorry I kissed you, my feeling for you hasn’t changed. Anyway, let’s leave that aside, so what do you want to do now or rather how much do you need to sort this whole issue out before we talk about what you want to do about that husband of yours”.
” My dad sent me 500k this morning to assist with the bills so I guess I need about N2.5million. It’s not fair to put this on you Obinna, you shouldn’t be paying my rent or my in-law’s bills” Nneka said.
” Babe, forget about that now. You know I have the money so if it’s going to make you happy why not? I’ll get the money sent to your account, just text me your bank details” he said as he gave her a peck on her forehead and walked out of her office leaving her to breathe easier for the first time in two days.
As soon as she left work, Nneka was back in the hospital this time around with Toyin who came to support her as they took her mother-in-law to the theater for her surgery. The doctors had made a decision to still do the surgery that same evening to avoid further delay. She texted Segun about the surgery time and he came into the hospital a few minutes later.
Three of them sat down in the waiting room and Nneka prayed her heart out to God to have mercy and keep her mother-in-law. She couldn’t imagine where she will go from here if the woman died. So she prayed and she prayed and she prayed as Toyin continually held her sweaty hands calming her down and Segun looked at her with utter disdain.
It has been three months since Nneka lost her stepdaughter in that ghastly accident and her mother-in-law on the operating table. It has indeed been such a difficult time to her and her husband. Their marriage seemed to have broken down to a point of no return. They seem to have been separated but living together.
With Obinna’s help, Nneka had spent a whole lot of money giving her mother-in-law a befitting burial and putting enough money in Segun’s hands to spend in his hometown during the burial. She constantly worried how their marriage was going to survive Segun’s bitterness, blame, and anger. As she lay on her bed that Friday night, her phone suddenly beeped alerting her to a blackberry message that just came into her phone.
Obinna: Hey beautiful, let me guess, you are lying down on the bed thinking?
Nneka: lol. Stop forming you know me too well. I could be doing anything else.
Obinna: But I know you are not, I know your routine by heart now. Is your husband back?
Nneka: Okay, Mr routine omniknowest. No, he isn’t back.
Obinna: How many days this time?
Nneka: It has been two days this time around. I am telling you I don’t know how I would have kept my sanity this time around if it wasn’t for you.
Obinna: You are stronger than you know babe. Don’t let anything weigh you down.
Nneka: How’s your wife? She’s good?
Obinna: Yes she is fine. She has no worries, I am a good husband, in fact, the best ever.
Nneka: Okay, keep rubbing it in, Mr. Best Husband ever.
Obinna: Good news, though, I am going to be a dad again in about 6 months…
Nneka: Awwwww. That’s so cool. I am so happy for you guys. Congrats…
Obinna: This your plenty happy for we guys. Are you sure you are happy? It just saddens my heart how much of an ass your husband is. He doesn’t even know the value of what he has. So tell me, it has been how many months now since he touched you?
Nneka: Silly, I am happy for you no matter what. hmmmmm. What’s your business? Anyway, it has been about 4 months now. but hey.. who is counting?
Obinna: wow!!! That’s a long time. You know I am always at your service right? I would love to help you scratch that itch.
Nneka: Shut up, I am not itching anywhere. I am fine. You kissing me every time you walk into my office doesn’t particularly help matters. You know what that does.
Obinna: No I don’t, please tell me…Does it get you wet? Does it leave you high and dry?
Nneka: ***covering my eyes*** You are so raw and dirty!!! shut up, I am not high and dry. I will be fine.
Obinna: I don’t know why you keep refusing to take this further. You know how much you mean to me. You know I will do anything to make you happy. God, I can’t ever stop thinking I should have fought for you harder instead of letting you marry that scumbag..
Nneka: We both know there was nothing you could have done. My wedding was two weeks away. How would you have convinced me to leave my wedding for just an instant attraction that could fizzle away? I am not going to sleep with you. Talking about it is already bad. I won’t let you cheat on your wife with me. She hasn’t done anything wrong.
Obinna: Stop making me feel bad. Whether I do it or not, it doesn’t change the thoughts in my head. It doesn’t change the fact that I wanted to pull that your short red dress up the other day and take you over your office table. I want to make you scream my name. I want to put your legs over my shoulder and make you look into my eyes while I bury myself deep inside of you. I want you so much Nneka and I always have from the first day I saw you.
Nneka: I know you want me. I am not denying the fact that I want you too but we both made our choices marrying other people. It’s wrong to even talk about this. We can’t have it.
Obinna: No I didn’t make the choice, you made it for me. Remember, how I begged you and waited? Remember, I still came to you before my wedding and you insisted I go marry. I knew I could never get you out of my mind. I honestly don’t know why you are still staying faithful and protecting this guy. He doesn’t give a damn about you.
Nneka: It’s not even because I love him so much because I haven’t particularly felt love in my heart towards him recently. I just cannot let go. We took vows. Marriage is for better for worse. This is our worse moment. I don’t have a choice Obinna, I have to hold on. My mom will kill me if I ever talk of leaving my marriage. It has never happened in my family before.
Obinna: You can’t keep living for people. You need to find happiness.
Nneka: and where is that happiness? With you? Aren’t you happily married? Will you leave your wife?
Obinna: No, I won’t but I will make sure you are happy.
Nneka: Obinna, you cannot make that promise.
It wasn’t just about the pleasure, it was the comfort she felt in his hands as he rubbed her thighs and her back at the same time right there in the tub. How he got here she did not know and she did not care. It was great to finally feel Obinna’s arms after years of suppressing her feelings for him. The last few months had not particularly helped matters, she just knew she was horny and she was broken and she needed him.
Just as he finally touched her where she most desired, she felt his rage right from the door before she could even see him. Segun was back and she knew she was dead. If she wasn’t in trouble, she would have laughed at the way Obinna scampered out of the tub and got his very first punch from Segun before managing to escape. She knew he was coming for her and he did not disappoint, his hands went for her neck and he squeezed and squeezed, She coughed and held on to his hands on her neck as she felt herself slipping down into the water. Somewhere far away, she could hear Toyin as she screamed.
Nneka woke up with a start holding onto her neck as she remembered Segun choking her. She looked round and saw Toyin sitting on the sofa across from her with so much pity.
”Toyin, where is he? Segun choked me, he almost killed me. You met him choking me right?”
Toyin shook her head, ”No he didn’t Nneka, you must have been dreaming. You had slept off in the tub, you were shivering and about to drown when I got in, I don’t even know what made me come here so early this morning. I am so grateful to God for leading me”.
”Wow, that dream was quite vivid. Anyway, I am fine now, just a little bit cold”.
”No, you are not fine babe, did you spend the night in the tub? I worry about pneumonia, please let us go to the hospital”.
”Abeg I don’t have pneumonia joor, I must have slept off there yesterday night when taking a bath”.
”You slept off? How come Segun didn’t bring you out of the there? Didn’t he sleep at home?”
”Segun you said? Does Segun care if I live or die?”
” I don’t understand, don’t tell me you guys are still on all these issues for the past three months plus and you didn’t tell me?”
”Toyin, it has been so hard. Segun hates me. He abuses me at every opportunity, he stays out most nights and he even raped me yesterday night”.
” What do you mean he raped you?”.
As soon as she related the events of the previous night to Toyin, she did not hesitate in asking her to call her mum and take a break from Segun by going home for a while.
”Toyin, you know my mum better than that, she will not allow me to leave Segun”
You never know until you try. ”Take your phone and call her now”, Toyin said, as she leaned forward giving Nneka her phone.
Nneka’s mum picked on the first dial.
”Hello Mum, good morning”
”Hello dear, how are you and how is Segun today?
”Mum, we are not fine and I need a break, I want to come home for a bit”.
”Common keep quiet, you are fine in Jesus name. You cannot come home for a bit except if he is beating you and that is if you didn’t cause it. Tell me what happened?”
”Mum, I didn’t cause it. Segun blames me for the death of his mum and daughter, he verbally abuses me all the time. He even raped me last time”.
”Common, shut up there. How can your husband rape you? It is his right, you give him whenever he asks. You don’t wait for him to force you. So because of verbal abuse, you want to leave your home for vultures to creep in? Nneka you want to put me to shame? What do you want the neighbors to say when you bring your load home?”
”Mum, I don’t care about the neighbors, I am frustrated. Do you know I pay all the bills in this house Nneka said visibly frustrated?
”Nneka, see listen to me very carefully. What you are going through is not special. Women go through worse in their marriages. He hasn’t even turned you into a punching bag yet. He doesn’t bring women home. I know how many things your father did yet I endured. Endurance is very important if you want to have a lasting marriage. There is no going back and you have no home here to come back to. Look at your aunt Ada, her husband beat her up for years and even refused to send the kids to school, she endured it all and sent her children to school by herself. See her today, her husband has repented and is loving her for everything. You will not be different in Jesus name.”
”Mummy, is it until I kill myself before you see the gravity of what Segun is doing?”
”You will not die in Jesus name. Don’t worry, as soon as you get pregnant now, you will not even care what he does. He will love you for giving him an heir. Just take care of your husband okay?”
”Okay mummy, I have heard you”.
”Don’t listen to any stupid advice, you know I will never lead you astray. Just endure. Marriage is not a bed of roses”.
”Okay darling, greet your husband for me and cook him a special delicacy this night”.
As Nneka dropped her call, she rolled her eyes at Toyin,
”What did I tell you? Mum said marriage is to be endured and I cannot disgrace the family by leaving my husband”.
”Are you for real? That’s crazy. Will you come to my place for a while?”
”No Toyin I will be fine. I wouldn’t want Segun reporting me to my parents and mum concluding you are misleading me. I will be fine, don’t worry”.
A few minutes later, Toyin left Nneka’s house and she wasted no time dialing Obinna to give him an update on everything that happened since they last spoke.
Nneka was getting ready to leave the office for lunch at around 1 pm that Monday afternoon when Obinna peeped into her office, saw she was alone and walked in.
‘’Hey baby’’ he said as he came around her table, dropped the shopping bag he was holding and pulled her close. ‘’I am so sorry you had to go through that, God!!! I still can’t believe that son of a bitch raped you’’.
Nneka took a step back from his arms as she ran her hands through her hair in anxiety, ‘’It’s fine Obinna, he was probably just angry and horny and didn’t know how to ask nicely’’.
‘’Babe, please stop making excuses for him. He is a total ass and he doesn’t deserve you or any good woman for that matter’’.
‘’Obinna, I am not making excuses for him. I just needed to find a way to wrap my head around everything. I just wish all this could go away and he could be nice to me for just one day. It’s tiring’’ she said as her voice begins to quiver with threatening tears.
‘’Hey, hey, hey, don’t cry. What can I do to make you feel better apart from lunch which I already brought?’’
‘’Make love to me… hey, I am just kidding before you take that seriously. I just want to forget you know’’.
Obinna held her jaw with his fingers and tilted her head a little high, ‘’ Let me do this for you, babe. Let me help you forget’’ he said as he lowered his lips to hers in a kiss so passionate she was breathless.
Trying to catch her breath from the kiss, ‘’Obinna, anybody can walk in and by the way, I am supposed to be going out for lunch’’.
‘’Nobody is coming in, I locked the door when I came in, come here’’ he said as he pulled her closer and lifted her onto his laps as he sat on the chair. ‘’I’ll be nice, you are going to set the pace but enough of the torture, you deserve few minutes of pleasure’’.
No other words were needed as they got lost in passion for the next 20 minutes doing all they could possibly do in such a short time and in their corporate outfits.
SIX WEEKS LATER
Nneka had called Obinna to meet her up at ‘The Lounge’ after work and he walked in at about 6:30 pm, giving her a peck before taking his seat opposite her.
‘’Thank God you finally stopped avoiding me’’ Obinna said. ‘’Seriously, you didn’t need to run so far away just because we had mind blowing sex’’.
‘’Yes, I needed to Obinna. I have never felt so connected not even to my husband while making love. I could not let it continue. It will destroy us’’.
‘’I Know. Didn’t you notice I actually let you be? I didn’t know what we felt for each other was so real and passionate until that day. Damn girl, you got me scared and the crazy part is I don’t feel guilty. Seriously, you were meant for me’’.
‘’Well that’s too late now, we already made our choices. It’s sad I married an ass but your wife is amazing and that’s good enough for you’’.
‘’I know. She is amazing. You just keep messing with my head’’.
‘’Anyway, I am making it easy for you. I requested for a transfer and it has been approved. I am leaving this town. I am leaving Segun’’.
‘’What??? Why? Okay, I know why but why so sudden? I thought you wanted to make it work’’.
‘’I can’t make it work like this Obinna. He can’t even see what he is doing or he is seeing it and he doesn’t care. He is always drunk these days. He hasn’t bothered to work or do any business in months. The verbal abuse is unbearable and I don’t know what else to do. ‘’
‘’And I am pregnant…’’
It took a minute for Obinna to hear that.
‘’Did you just say you are pregnant? Oh, my God, you have wanted that for so long but wait Nneka, that baby could be mine’’.
‘’I know Obinna. I don’t know whose baby it is. It could be you or Segun. I am not waiting around to find out. I worked my transfer to Akwa Ibom, I am going to head the branch there. I will just start over and take care of my child. Obinna please I need to do this and you need to focus on your marriage’’.
They sat staring at each other for what seemed like an eternity.
‘’Okay’’ Obinna said. ‘’I think this will be good for you. If that baby is mine, I will ask for him/her someday, just keep that in mind. You are not just a fling. I have always loved you and will love that child. I wish and pray the child is mine. Anyway, when are you leaving? ’’
‘’In two days. I am resuming on Monday over there. I will call my parents when I get there but I expect the worst from them. You are the only one that knows where I am going to’’.
‘’Let me give you some money Nneka, you need money to settle down. You need some money to survive as a single mother’’.
‘’Obinna, I will be fine. The office is giving me some relocation allowance and I still have my job’’.
‘’It doesn’t matter, I won’t forgive myself if you ever get stranded. Thank God I brought my cheque book’’.
He wrote her a cheque of N20million and she eventually took it after much resistance. As she left some few minutes later, Obinna wondered if he will ever see her again.
True to her words, Nneka left the house two days later. She left a cheque of N5 million and a note for Segun and she hoped he will turn his life around.
FIVE YEARS LATER
‘’David, David!’’ Nneka called earnestly as she came out of the kitchen.
‘’Yes mummy, David answered, I was watching T.V’’.
‘’You know you have school tomorrow, you should be doing your homework. Anyway, will you eat spaghetti?’’
‘’No mummy, I want Indomie Noodles’’ David said immediately giving his puppy face.
‘’No baby, you’re definitely not eating noodles. Please let me make you spaghetti and I promise you some fresh orange juice’’
He immediately jumped up dancing,’’ I love orange juice. Okay I will eat spaghetti and I will do my homework’’ he said as he ran back into his room.
Nneka brought out some diced chicken from the freezer and some frozen vegetables and set to make some dinner for David and herself. She quickly wiped her hands on the kitchen towel as her phone rang and she picked her call after checking the screen and seeing Toyin’s name.
‘’Hey you! What’s up Mrs. Adebori’’.
‘’Nawa for you ooo. Will you ever call me Toyin again and drop this Mrs thing for at least a day?’’
‘’I have told you I won’t. Calling you Mrs makes me happy my bestie is happily married especially as my marriage didn’t work out’’.
‘’Biko, drop the pity party and that’s why I called by the way. Segun is coming soon’’.
‘’What do you mean Segun is coming soon? Coming where? Are you crazy?’’ Nneka said visibly shaken by this unexpected news.
‘’Babe calm down and listen. Segun is dfferent. I just refused to tell you. He has been trying to meet you again for over a year now. I refused to give him your contact until I was sure he had actually turned his life around. I have watched him for a year now and he has indeed. He even has a very good job now. He just wants to talk and I haven’t told him about David yet’’.
‘’Toyin, I am not happy about this at all. How could you have kept this for a year? For Christ sake, we talk every week if not almost every day sef. God, I am not ready for Segun’s wahala. I have been truly happy. Work is good, David is the best gift I could ever have asked for and you know I even joined the workforce in church. I am truly happy. I don’t need drama in my life’’.
‘’I know Nneka, you both need closure. I am not asking you to move in with him, just talk to him. After all, you have refused to formally file for divorce’’.
‘’Okay no problem. Thanks for the heads up though. God saved you for not letting him catch me unaware, I would have killed you’’.
‘’You know you love me. When last did you hear from your mum though?’’
‘’Oh she still called yesterday. You know talking to her grandson is her hobby and if David doesn’t hear from her, he won’t let me rest with screams of ‘’I want to talk to grandma’’.
‘’Awwww how’s my little godson though?’’
‘’He is fine and you are delaying his food. Go and take care of your husband and let me finish dinner’’.
About four days later, Segun and Nneka sat at a restaurant during her lunch hour as she listened to him give tales of how he had turned his life around and was trying to get a fresh start. She was thankful he didn’t bump into her house and confuse David who had never seen a man in their house apart from grandpa who came to see them about a year ago.
‘’Segun, I am really happy for you. I am happy you picked yourself up and cleaned up your life but that is all I feel for you, gratitude to God. What do you need from me?’’
‘’I don’t know. I was hoping we could walk things out you know. I know I really messed things up but I want to try’’.
Nneka laughed as she looked at him, ‘’No Segun, you don’t want to work things out? How do you plan to do that? Remember how you said I killed your family, all the pain, the emotional, verbal and even physical abuse. You did this. You destroyed us and I am finally happy. I have peace and marriage is definitely not for me anymore’’.
‘’I am not your baby Segun. Call me Nneka or do not call me at all’’.
‘’Okay Nneka, I am not asking you to move in with me today. I just want us to start over, you know. I am willing to put in the work. I will court you again, I will go on dates and be there for you and I will hope that you can one day fall in love with me again and want to be my wife’’.
‘’You don’t even know if you want that. You don’t know what you want’’.
‘’I do Nneka. It feels so empty without you. I still love you’’.
‘’You do? I have a four-year-old son, Segun. His name is David’’.
Segun stared with his mouth wide open. ‘’We have a son? Nneka, we have a child? Oh my God’’
‘’Segun, I don’t know if he is yours’’.
‘’I don’t get it Nneka. Are you seeing someone? Toyin told me you were still single’’.
‘’Wait, if he is four years old then he should be mine. Please explain’’.
Finally, she told him about Obinna. How they met two weeks to their wedding. How he helped her with money over and over again, how she slept with him and how she left him.
‘’I haven’t seen Obinna since then but David could be for either of you and I haven’t done a DNA yet to know’’.
Segun sat in silence for what seemed like eternity before he finally spoke.
‘’Okay what?’’ Nneka asked?
‘’Okay, can I meet my son? It doesn’t matter who fathered him, I choose to call him my son’’.
‘’No that isn’t going to happen. I am not exposing my son to uncertainties. You want to get to know me, that’s fine. I will give you the chance but you are not meeting David till I say so and that is if this works out. I don’t trust you one bit’’.
‘’Okay, that is fair enough. I understand’’.
‘’Segun, I have to get back to work okay. Call me later’’, she said as she picked up her bag and left the restaurant.
Segun sat there for a long time staring after her departure and hoping he could somehow make it work someday.
Written by Tunde Oni (Mrs.)
Photo Courtesy: @Peniel_Enchill