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Impossible To Love

by Tunde Oni

This particular Friday was more special than others. More so for me, Kingsley Dike because not only is it Valentine’s day, it is also my one year wedding anniversary. I made up his mind to go all out to impress my wife. She is after all the wife of my dreams. All I want to do is worship the ground she walks on.  We decided to wait for a year before having babies so I am also excited that after this anniversary, it will be a free pass. I have been home all day with no meetings to attend. I finally dressed up and left home around 2 pm.The lady I paid to come decorate the house is going to pick up the key under the mat of our lovely three bedroom flat in Festac town. I am heading out to pick the cake and buy the three-course meal like I had planned. It promises to be a memorable anniversary and valentine.

I finally got back home around 6 pm, due to traffic and the fact that I made a quick detour to a supermarket to buy her a perfume in addition to the other gifts I had gotten. Nothing is too much for Esther. She just has it all. I knew she was going to get home at any time and the decorating team had definitely exceeded my expectations with petals and candles everywhere. The bed is definitely a masterpiece and even our bathroom was not left out. All glitters and sparkles everywhere. Esther will definitely be impressed. I put the wine in the fridge and went ahead to settle the table. I decided to make sure she ate first before going to the shower and letting it go from there.

While I sat down waiting, my mind drifted back to two years ago when I met Esther. Our meeting was quite strange. Who would have thought that it was one of the many strange Nigerian situations that will bring me to my wife? We met at a petrol station during fuel scarcity. We were both in the queue trying to enter the station while a man tried to boycott the line and drove straight into her front from nowhere. Trust my wife never to be quiet when she feels cheated, she got out of her car and just would not stop raking. I watched her from behind in my car looking so beautiful and classy even though she was terribly angry. I had to get down later to calm her down but I knew from that moment I had met my wife. The sound of her car driving in jolted me out of my reverie. I looked around to make sure all was set and stood by the side so that once she opened the door she could see the candles and petals first.

The smile on my face however faded away so fast immediately she came opened the door and saw it all, she shouted,

“Kingsley, what the hell is all these bullshit?”

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 2

As it got closer and closer to closing time, the thought of valentine and my wedding anniversary I had tried pushing out of my mind all day began to creep in. I cannot believe I have been married for just a year and it had all come crashing down in my face so fast. Even though we are still together, it all seems like a facade now. I really cannot even explain why we are still together. Today is supposed to be a happy day but it makes me feel more depressed. I have been seeing flowers and gifts fly around the office all day and everyone seemed to intentionally stay out of my way. It felt like my shame was obvious to all. The walls of my marriage crashed down barely six months after the most elaborate wedding of all time.

My wedding was indeed the wedding of the century. It was one of a kind and I had everything just as I wanted it. My wedding planner made sure of that. Nothing could go wrong even after, our honeymoon was superb and it was all very beautiful until reality made me start to fall out of love with my husband. When I met Kingsley two years ago, he was the husband I had been waiting for for so long and I knew that the moment we met. I was already 33 years old and he was 35 years old so I agree I was quite eager to get married. I am the first born of four girls and three younger sisters had gotten married and had children. The questioning looks were weighing me down so I stopped being choosy. I decided that work as the Business Development Manager of one of Nigeria’s leading banks was not the height of fulfillment. I had to get married immediately and that was the mistake I made.

King ( that is my special name for him) and I met again in the cinema the Saturday afternoon after the filling station debacle. It felt like fate was bringing us together; meeting twice in one week was definitely not a coincidence. It was my first time of watching a non-Hollywood movie in the cinema and I had prepared my mind I was going to regret deciding to watch a Nollywood movie in the cinema. King sat beside me as he came inside just as the movie was about to start. He recognized me immediately and the conversation started. We shared the same sentiments about Nigerian movies but we were disappointed that day which was quite refreshing. It was my best cinema experience ever. We walked out together after the movie and decided to grab a bite. He practically took me on a date that night without planning for it. We seemed to have so much to talk about and so much in common. We talked and laughed and laughed, I ended up spending about 4 hours with him after the movie. In that short time, he told me he worked with  British American Tobacco and lived in Victoria Island. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to keep in touch.

Due to the nature of both our jobs, we usually saw only during the weekends. We hung out in different choice restaurants for the first two weekends and by the third week, he invited me over to his apartment in Victoria Island. An absolutely stunning apartment I must add. One of those flats that made me say to myself, “I had caught the right fish”. At least I was not going to be the bread winner. That had been my problem with most of the guys from my past. Falling in love with King was quite easy. He was thoughtful, kind, generous and domestic. He cooked for me when I went to his house. That day in his apartment, we decided to start a relationship, he pointed out to me that he wanted a wife and not just a girlfriend. He had already decided that he wanted something serious as he was tired of playing games. Of course, I had the same goal in mind and it seemed like I finally found a guy that was on the same page with me.

We dated for 6 months before he proposed and it was so sweet and intimate. He proposed in the privacy of my apartment. I still believe that was the last romantic moment we had. One month to our wedding, King told me he had taken his accrued annual leave to have time to plan for the wedding and relax. I was really happy about that because I was going to be working till 2 days before the wedding. About two weeks later, I asked him to come take my things to his house so I could just move straight there after the wedding but he kept giving me different excuses. The first red flag came a week to our wedding when he told me his landlord asked him to move out because he wanted to give the apartment to his brother coming into the country.

“Esther, aren’t you going home?”

The sound of my colleague’s voice cut into my thoughts, I checked the time and realized it was already 6:30 pm. I totally lost track of time. I quickly took my bag and headed for my car. Time to face another day at home. I never really know what to expect from King…

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 3

As I drove home, I began to dwell on my marriage to King and how I was so stupid and blinded by love to see the signs. After he told me he had been asked to move out of his apartment, I was so distressed but he assured me getting another apartment would not be a problem. We just had to manage and stay in my own apartment which I was planning to sublet initially. I still had 7 months to go on my rent there anyway so he moved his things over. That was how we began to live in my three bedroom flat in Festac town.

“It had always been too big for me alone anyway”, was what I told myself.

My dad called me to come over to our house in Lekki to stay with them till the wedding day. He said it was important that I left the house for the wedding venue which symbolizes blah blah blah….. I just could not wrap my head around all those sentiments. I had been living alone for 10 years. Agreeing to his wishes just made it easy since King was already settling down in my house and I did not particularly like the idea of us being in the house together. After all, they say its bad luck to see the bride before the wedding. We hardly saw each other the rest of that week since I was going to work from my parent’s house. I got home each evening to go over one thing or the other with my mom. We had our traditional wedding on Friday in my father’s compound. One of those things he insisted on even though I wanted to get a small venue. He said he did not build a house with a big compound for nothing. The event was awesome. I danced and danced and cried. My mom and dad both moved me to tears with their words of advice and prayers. King looked equally dashing and the dancing competition between us had no winner. We had all the fun. As we were rounding up the event, King said he had to discuss something important with me that could not wait till after the wedding. I remember that conversation like it was yesterday.

“What did you have to say baby that is so important?” I said just as we got into my dad’s study. It was the only empty place we found in the whole house.

“Baby, I need you to first understand that I did not mean to hurt you or be cruel, I just felt like I had no choice”. I interrupted him immediately with a really skeptical look.

“Hold it, King, I hope you’re not trying to tell me you have a child somewhere or that you cheated on me on a day like this”.

“No baby, it is nothing like that. I just want to confess some lies that I told you”.

“You lied to me? About what?

“About so many things”, he said and my heart began to beat fast. I really did not want to hear this. Not when my church wedding was just a few hours away.

“Okay let me ask you some few questions before you start your confession and I want you to just answer me yes or no. Okay?” He nodded.

“Have you ever cheated on me?”

“No”.

“Do you have a child out of wedlock?”

”No”.

”Do you have HIV?”

”No”.

”Are you gay?”

”No”.

”Are you transgender?”

”No”.

”Do you love me?”

”Yes.”

”Okay, those are the major reasons that can make me cancel this wedding this minute, anything outside these will have to wait till after the wedding okay”‘.

He simply nodded yes and I left him standing there in search of my friends to go have some girls night in my room like we planned. Whatever King had to say will have to wait till after the wedding. I did not want anything to spoil my fun. I never knew that I had asked the wrong questions that day.

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 4

I parked my car in the compound, picked my bag from the front seat and got down from my car. The exhaustion of the whole day was finally weighing down on me, more of it resulting from my emotional turmoil rather than actual office stress. I felt my phone ring from my bag as I turned to walk from the car so I just leaned on the car to take the call after I shuffled through my bag and found it.

“Good evening mom,” I said half excitedly through the phone trying to feign the enthusiasm I was not feeling just to avoid her having to worry about me.

“Hello my princess, happy wedding anniversary darling”

“Thanks, mom. How are you today?’’

“Oh I am fine dear, I actually wanted to call you earlier but I didn’t want to disturb your day at work. I spoke to your husband earlier though’’

‘’Thanks, mom. I am just getting home too. I have not even entered the house.’

‘’I am sure you’ll be so tired already. Okay, let me leave you to go rest and take care of your husband. By this time next year, by God’s grace, we’ll be celebrating with your twins in Jesus name.’’

‘’Amen.’’ I was not necessarily bubbling at the idea of having King’s babies but I could not share those sentiments with my mom.

She ended the call after reminding me to cook something special for my dear husband. I laughed when I imagined the noodles and veggies I was planning to make for dinner. That was definitely not my mom’s idea of something special. I was still lost in the euphoria of that thought when I opened my front door and I saw the romantic scene before me. Candles were all over the house and the dining room. Some of them were definitely scented because of the amazing smell that was hitting me right at the door I was standing. King was sat on the sofa obviously satisfied with himself that he had done one thing right after one year of marriage. Like this was what was going to fix this whole broken marriage.

‘’What the hell is this?’’ I must have screamed because I saw him bolt and his eyes widen in their sockets. What exactly was he expecting? A kiss and some adorable gushing like a love-struck high school girl? I walked into the house and shut the door. He still stood there just looking at me. I looked around properly. I was sure he must have gotten somebody to do all these.

‘’So how much of the money you’re not earning did you spend to do all this rubbish King?’’

‘’Babe, please take it easy. I was just trying to give us at least one special day. You haven’t allowed yourself to have one since the wedding.’’

‘’Did I just hear you say I haven’t allowed myself? You must be kidding me. So it is my fault your life is so freaking messed up and you dragged me into it?’’

‘’I did not say that babe. I…’’

I cut him short right there. “Please just hold it. I am not ready to deal with any of this crap tonight and I am not going to clean any of this up for you.’’

I walked straight into my bedroom, slammed the door shut and just sunk to the bed. Living with so much anger was so exhausting but I just hate my husband so much that calling him my husband even annoys me. After about five minutes of looking at the ceiling, I took off my shoes and changed into my usual indoor outfit of a pair of bum shorts and a tank top. Now I had even lost my appetite. I will just lie down on the bed for a while for the hunger to gnaw back at me before going to get something to eat.

I woke up with a start an hour later. I really didn’t plan to fall asleep. I opened my eyes and realized that King was actually sitting by my bedside. He must have woken me up.

‘’What are you doing in my room?’’ Yes, we started using separate bedrooms from the time we came back from our honeymoon. We haven’t slept on the same bed since then.

‘’I wanted you to have some dinner; I know you don’t usually eat much at work. I also wanted to apologize for putting you on the spot with the whole anniversary celebration. I really just thought we could give it a chance’’.

I don’t know if it was because I just woke up or my body was just tired of shouting but I actually surprised myself by speaking calmly. ‘’

You don’t need to apologize. I will get something to eat now thanks. Now about this whole thing you did? I can’t do this King, I just cannot. Every time I look at you, I see deception. I see how you took me to that apartment in Lekki and told me it was yours when in fact it was a lie and it belonged to your friend. I see how you told me you worked in British American Tobacco when you had no job and no certificate and were sent out of university in your final year. I see how you left a trail of debt in my wake for me to clear after the wedding simply because you wanted to act like a big boy to me and you borrowed almost 2 million naira from all over just to impress my family. I see how I have to lie to my parents every day because I cannot face the shame of telling them that I married wrong. I see how you still took money from me after the wedding to start a business which I gave you as a last chance and you lost it gambling. That is all I see when I look at you, King. It is why I will not sleep on the same bed or in the same room with you or have sex with you. It is why I will not smile and be happy when you use my money to plan a romantic wedding anniversary for me. How do you ever expect me to forget the text you mistakenly sent to me instead of your friend on the last day of our honeymoon saying,

‘’honeymoon is over man. I nailed it. I told you I’ll find a rich girl gullible enough to marry me and I did. Life has finally smiled on me.’’

‘’I will never forget the words of that text, my dear. Please get the hell out of my room and do not come in here again. I’ll continue to cook your food and put money in your hand since that is what you married me for. We’ll continue to smile and hold hands in public but don’t expect anything else from me aside from that.’’ I felt the surge of anger rising through me at the whole situation but I struggled to calm myself. I have been living like this for a year so there’s really no point getting angry now.

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 5

The day after my anniversary surprise gone wrong, I woke up quite late. I knew Esther would have gone to work so I took my time getting up from the bed. I eventually dragged myself out after checking the time and seeing it was already 11 am. Surprising enough, she had left breakfast on the table. She had made sandwich toast and wrapped in foil on the dining table. It was not new meeting breakfast on the table but after the previous night saga, I felt quite guilty that she still decided to make my food. I ate my breakfast after heating it up in the microwave and found a cheque for fifty thousand naira on the table. I used to feel comfortable about all that she did until today. Seeing the hurt in her eyes yesterday was a real eye opener for me. I had been counting the days for the past one year, waiting for her to just file divorce papers but she never did. Now I’m beginning to think she never will.

I rushed to the room to pick up my phone that was ringing. I could hear the sound from the living room. I saw it was my buddy, Kenny calling,

“Whats up? How did the whole surprise go?”

Not missing the hinge of sarcasm in his voice, I replied him in the same stride, ”How does it concern you?”

”Haba, oya sorry naaaa. Please give me the full gist. Did she finally forgive all your woes?”

”Kenny, seriously following your advice to set it all up was just a big mistake, she practically threw it all in my face”.

“Seriously?”

”She reminded me of all the pains, deceit and lies I have told her and how it can never be wiped by roses, candles, and food. She basically told me she was only my wife on paper and for public display”.

”Kingsley, I don’t blame her. I think it’s a step, though. Let’s just say it’s the first of many steps. You are going to need to really get your act together before you can even get to a point of reconciliation”.

”I understand that.. I just don’t get how I let you talk me into doing all that for her. Anyway, it didn’t work and we’re still on the same page if not worse”.

”You have to keep trying, that is the price to pay for loving a woman after you have messed up her life, I still cannot fathom what got into you”.

”Kenny, please don’t start crying over spilled milk. What is done is done”.

We ended the call after then and I just sat down and my mind drifted back to the times in my life when I took several wrong turns that messed me up. I used to be very brainy back in my 100 level in the university. Getting into the university was quite easy and I didn’t even face the hassles of re-writing exams to gain admission. My name came out on the merit list for Business administration. I always wanted to be a business mogul. Despite finding it easy with my academics, my life was really boring. It was all book and no play. I was still a virgin in the university when all the other guys I knew already had tons of girlfriends even from our secondary school days. My parents were neither rich nor poor, they were both level 12 civil servants with the Lagos State civil service so they had just enough to take care of my sister and I.

It was at the beginning of my 200 level that I got that call from my aunt to come home because my parents had been in an accident. I was right in the middle of a lecture but I took a cab from the campus in Lagos to our home in Surulere. I had questioned my aunt on which hospital they had taken them to but she asked me to come home so we could go to the hospital together. When I eventually got the news that both my parents and sister had died instantly in a car accident coming from Ibadan that morning, it took a long time for it to even sink in. I didn’t even know they had traveled. I didn’t know what made them take that trip. It’s a mystery I have never been able to solve. What made my whole family go to Ibadan when our whole life was in Lagos? I did not go to school for that whole semester. I was in and out of the hospital. It was the worst period of my life. My aunt assisted me in collecting my parents’ benefits that the government paid as due to them. She gave it all to me. She said I was matured enough to know what I wanted with my life. I was 19 years old.

I got back to school at the beginning of the second semester, I moved out of campus and bought myself a small car. I started drinking, smoking and the girls certainly flocked around me. I was definitely living the life. I drank and smoked weed to drown away my sorrows and I went clubbing every weekend with my new found friends. I started settling lecturers to get my grades up and I just lost all focus. As soon as money gotten from my parents finished, I started making some huge cash through cyber deals. It was in full swing and I was one of those students that made a lot of millions online. My studious calm self-became a distant memory. There was money, there was luxury and I was scaling through school with ease. Nemesis seemed to catch up in my final year when the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) somehow got entangled with me. One of their officials set his eyes on me and the guy could not be shaken off by bribery. Before I knew what was happening, I was booted out of school before our final exams. It was like a dream. It was painful but I was already making millions so I could not be bothered.

Fast forward two years out of school, business went down and the money stopped coming in. I did some other business here and there that did not yield results. The only things I refused to do was to go into robbery and drug trafficking. I needed to pay my bills somehow so I chose my girlfriends wisely. They started paying my bills one way or the other. Eventually, I met Esther, it was supposed to be another casual relationship but before I knew it, I had told her so many lies and I had already proposed. I started feeling guilty some days to the wedding and I decided to tell her about my past but she just did not want to hear of it so I just decided to enjoy the ride. I knew I liked her but the day I knew I had fallen in love was when she discovered the text I mistakenly sent to her during our honeymoon. I remember that conversation like yesterday.

We were both lying down on the bed when the text came into her phone and she read. I didn’t even check to see if I sent the text to the right person. She just sat up suddenly and said,

”I got the text you wanted to send to your friend”.

My eyes went wide when I realized what I had done, I turned to face her already forming a thousand explanations in my head but she just shook her head and said, ”You don’t need to explain, pack your bags, we’re going home”.

I expected tears, screams and even a slap or two but I got none. The silence was more deafening that I could imagine. It was my undoing. By the time we got home that evening, I was already running out of my mind. She had not said a word to me all day. I turned to her and went straight on my knees begging and telling her how much I loved her. She just looked at me, shook her head and even with the tears streaming down her face she was so strong and resilient. She set the ground rules for our marriage one by one and afterward walked into her bedroom leaving me kneeling there staring after her in shock.

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 6

It has been 6 months since our wedding anniversary and I am beginning to wonder about some changes I am seeing in King. He has not cashed the last 5 cheques I have left for him. I also noticed he has been going out more often. I don’t know what he is up to and curiosity is killing the cat. Not like I care if he gets run down by a truck but the inquisitive part of my brain doesn’t seem to desire a break. I have almost asked him a number of times but I just stop myself before I do. After all, we have never been answerable to each other. The opportunity to ask him presented itself one Saturday afternoon as I sat down on the sofa trying to catch up on some episodes of Scandal. He came to the living room and grabbed his car keys from its usual position on the center table. I could smell his perfume where I was sitting and it was obvious he had just showered.

”So is it your low life girlfriends or your shady business deals that is taking you out today?” I couldn’t help the sarcasm I was feeling. I don’t know why his going out irritated me.

“Does my wife suddenly care? Is that jealousy I hear in your voice?” He moved and sat beside me on the sofa, touching my laps.

”Get your hands off me, King, do I look like I give a damn about what you do?”

“Anyway, to answer your question babe, I do not do shady deals any longer. I told you I am going to work hard on being the man for you and I meant it. I got a contract to supply some office equipment to some ministries and that is what I have been working on. I can show you the offer letter”

”I am not interested… I quickly cut in before he decided to start pouring his heart to me”

”and to your second question, there are no girls anywhere. I am waiting patiently for the day my wife decides to let me into her bed.. although I must add that I am growing impatient.”

I didn’t even know when I started laughing, I laughed so hard, it was hard to contain…”are you freaking kidding me? You really expect that one day, by some miracle, I’ll willingly decide to sleep with you? Trust me, I am not that horny”

”Let us test that shall we?” Before I could grasp the full meaning of what he was saying, his lips closed over mine. Part of me was angry and I struggled a bit to be free not responding at first. Then he became persistent and my lips parted of their own accord. I actually felt butterflies fluttering about in my tummy. It had been so long and I could not help being lost in the moment. My hands went round his neck. I was truly enjoying the kiss and our bodies moved closer together on the sofa, his hands caressed my back. I was still enjoying it tremendously when he gently pulled away. I was so angry with myself and with him. I don’t know which one got the better of me, anger that he stopped or anger that I responded to him in the first place.

”From the way you responded, I gather I was not so wrong was I?”

I did not hesitate to give him a dirty slap, which landed right on his cheek in a swift motion. He was not expecting it. ” Do not ever touch me again, do you understand?”

He rose up from the sofa and looked at me with so much raging anger in his eyes. I had never seen him that way and I knew immediately I had awoken a beast. He turned to me with the weirdest grin and said, “It’s time you understand who you married”.

He lifted me off the sofa with such precision and I became so scared.

”King please, please put me down, I am sorry for slapping you” I pleaded but his face was unflinching.

Once he dropped me on his bed, I could not stop the tears, I tried rolling off in that instant but he immediately took off his shoes and held my two hands over my head.

”King please don’t do this. Please”

I had to shut my eyes because I could not bear to see the devil unleashed in this man I called my husband. I felt my gown being ripped apart. He could have easily lifted it up. I felt my panties as he moves them aside and rammed into me with such force I had to scream.

”It has been 18 months since I touched my own wife. I am tired and I am not taking it for one more second”

I closed my eyes as the tears continually rolled down my face. This was plain rape, this was sexual abuse. Who do I tell that my husband raped me? I knew the moment he reached his orgasm, I could feel the tension in his body. I kept my eyes closed as he slumped against me exhausted from the aftermath of his release. He lifted himself a bit and wiped the tears off my face with his fingers. I recoiled at his touch. He immediately got up but I could not bear to look at him. When I finally heard the force of the door slamming shut, I knew he had left. I laid there for hours not able to comprehend what just happened.  I thought I hated my husband after I discovered 18 months ago that he had married me for my money and lied, now what I feel for him can only be called empty.

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 7

I got up from his bed after about 2 hours. I had finally run out of tears. My leg shook of its own accord as I walked to my bedroom. I felt broken. I should have annulled our marriage after the whole honeymoon saga but I guess I felt a tiny ray of hope not to talk of the shame of telling the whole world the marriage had crashed. I took off all my clothes and dumped them in my laundry basket sitting on my bathroom floor. I filled my bathtub with water and soaked myself in it. I washed and washed until I could wash no more.
As soon as I came out of the bathroom, a text came into my phone. I walked to my bedside drawer and checked,

”Don’t wait up for me. I think we need a break from each other. I’ll be staying with my friend till I feel ready to come back home. Quite unsure about this whole marriage thing.”

I could not believe my eyes. He lied to me, raped me and now left home? What more can a person take from a so-called husband? I didn’t even know what reply to send. I ended up just writing,

”Suit yourself.”

There were no words to say and I had let out most of my anger through my tears. I went to bed early that night and for the first time in a long time, I said a little prayer for my marriage.

Two months later, my husband had still not returned home. I had gone through different phases in that time. From anger to worry to fear to anxiety to forgiveness and finally emptiness. He texted me once a week to say hello and he was sorry he had to do this and was making sure I was okay. I never replied any of his messages because to be candid I did not know what to say. I lied to my parents he had been sent to Kenya for a temporary project. I just had to throw them off somehow seeing there was no other way to excuse his absence.

As I sat in the hospital waiting room one Wednesday waiting for my medical results from the compulsory check-up the office had made us do, one thing that never occurred to me was the possibility of a pregnancy. Until the moment I saw the results, it never crossed my mind. We had sex plenty of times during our honeymoon without protection and nothing happened. This is how life plays a funny joke on you.  The moment I never wanted to be reminded of was the one that produced a baby. A lifetime constant reminder. I was pregnant and husbandless. How crazy can my life become. How do I bring a child into this non-existent marriage of mine.

I thought of calling King and telling him but what difference will that make? Will it suddenly make everything okay? Later that night, I decided to have an abortion. It was the best decision and I really did not need any complications right now, not when I was still unsure where my marriage was headed. I called a couple of hospitals I was familiar with. After being turned down by two of them, I got one that was willing to do the procedure. The pregnancy was just 6 weeks old so the risk was not so high. I booked an appointment for Saturday morning and I lost myself in work the remainder of the week.

Just as I was getting ready to head out on Saturday morning, I heard a knock on the door. I hardly had visitors because I was basically friendless. I opened the door and it was no surprise to find my mom standing there all grinning and smiling. Her driver was behind her with loads of shopping bags. She had gone to the market for me again without asking,

”Mom, I still have enough food at home”, I exclaimed which was actually the truth since I was the only one at home.

”There can never be too much food in the house darling, you need to have enough to feed that husband of yours when he comes home one of these days”.

”Mom, I told you he isn’t coming home for a while”, I said as I walked into the kitchen to arrange all the food items her driver had put on the floor. “Do you want me to make some food for you? I was actually on my way out”.

”Esther, you look like you have lost some weight.” She came over to my side and turned me to face her while looking into my eyes. Suddenly, she screamed. I jumped back not expecting the noise.

Then she started dancing and shaking her bum sideways the way it’s done in her village. I knew she had found out about the pregnancy. My mum had always been talented in spotting pregnancy in women. I waited for her to finish dancing and then she bombarded me with all the questions about my health.

”Mum, I am fine. I am eating right and yes I have registered in the hospital”, I just had to lie because I could not possibly tell her I was on my way to abort her first grandchild. I felt a pang of guilt at that but I quickly brushed it off.

”Esther, are you okay? Do you want to stay with us for a while till your husband gets back?”

”Mom, I am fine. I don’t even have any morning sickness palaver”. At least that part was true. I was not exhibiting any signs of sickness.

I was able to get my mom out of the house about 30minutes later and headed straight for the hospital. She gave me a full lecture on how to work, walk, eat, sleep and even talk. I got to the hospital 30 minutes late for my appointment and while I waited in the room in which I was asked to undress. I decided to text King and get his reaction on the pregnancy. I was so sure he was going to start calling and begging me to keep the baby. I sent the text,

”I am going into the theatre now to do an abortion. I discovered your rape made me pregnant. There is no point having a baby right?”

Not up to two minutes later, I got a shocker reply,

”Suit yourself”.

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 8

As soon as I drove back into the compound, I saw him sitting on the floor just outside the front door. He must have driven home immediately after sending me that ridiculous text message. I braced myself as soon as I parked the car. I definitely had nothing to say to him.

He started to walk up to me,

“I am sorry baby, what happened? Did you do it?” he was begging as I walked on not stopping until I reached the front door. I turned to him once I reached the door, I said,

“Like you implied in your text, it’s my choice whatever I choose to do. Do not even bother to ask me what I did’’, I walked inside and slammed the door shut.

 I waited for some time expecting him to walk in and follow me, but when I heard the sound of his car driving away; I knew he had left me again. I felt so deflated. As angry as I was, I still wanted him to beg me. I still wanted him to want to work hard on our marriage. After all, I had decided not to have an abortion in order to try and disappoint King. I figured if having an abortion was going to make him happy, he was in for a big surprise.

I woke up the next morning feeling some cramps and slight back aches. I struggled out of bed and got into the shower hoping to find some relief but it got worse. I was still in the shower when I felt the first blood clot dropping. The stomach pain was getting worse. I rushed out of the shower and hastily wore a dress. It was one of those days I truly regretted my situation. Living alone can be a nightmare. I grabbed my car keys and drove as fast as I could to the hospital. I was seriously hoping I did not just have a miscarriage. By the time I got to the hospital, I was bleeding profusely and the sanitary pads I used were absolutely inadequate. I was immediately rushed to an emergency room and everything else from that point was a blur.

 I sent a text message to my mom about my situation an hour later when I was being wheeled to the theater for an emergency dilation and curettage. I had a miscarriage and they had to clean up my insides to avoid remnants. I was informed I was actually expecting twins and to think that I just lost them both. The pain was unbearable as they did the whole procedure. I had specifically refused any anesthetics. I deserve whatever pain I was feeling, I was convinced that trying to abort my babies was what caused my abortion. They felt unwanted. I knew deep down in my mind I could never have gone through with it. Five minutes of excruciating pains later, I was wheeled into a room to rest and my mom was already waiting. I felt empty. My children had gone because they felt all the hate and negativity in my marriage. I was absolutely inconsolable. My mom sat on the hospital bed with me holding my hands and trying to tell me everything was okay and others will come.

With tears in my eyes, “mum I killed them, I killed them, I killed them….” I kept ranting till sleep took over.

 I woke up about 4 hours later still in the hospital. My mom was sitting in the chair by my bedside.

“How are you feeling now darling?”

“The pain is gone, I just feel a bit tired.”

“Don’t worry my dear; you’ll have many more children for your husband. Let us call him and tell him, give me his Kenyan number.”

“Mum you cannot call him”, the tears started afresh. I was crying for all the pain this so-called marriage had caused me.

“Why not? He needs to know and he needs to come home to his wife at this time.”

I finally got tired of all the cover ups. I had bottled up so much in the last two years and I could not do it any longer. “Mum, King is not in Kenya. He left me.”

The shock was evident on her face even though she tried her best to mask it. “What do you mean he left you?”

I started at the very beginning and began to tell her every single detail of my marriage in the last two years.

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 9

The knock on the door was quite hesitant. I wondered who it could be this early on a Tuesday when I would ordinarily have been at work. How many people know I am on leave that would warrant visitors? I just finished speaking to my mom so I knew she was not at my door.  I peeped through the window and saw a man with a parcel in his hand. I knew I was not expecting a delivery but I hesitantly opened the door.

“Good morning madam, are you Mrs. Esther Dike?’’

‘’Yes please”

‘’You have a letter”.

“I am not expecting any message but it’s fine anyway”

‘’Please sign here’’, he said as he handed me a form to append my signature. I quickly signed and said my goodbye already tearing the letter open as I closed the door. It took a while for my mind to register what I was seeing. I could not process it. King had gone to court to file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences and I was being served a notice to appear in court. How can he be asking for a divorce?

I really thought things were finally going to get better after I spoke to my mom. She took steps to see King but even though they had not seen, she had told him about the miscarriage on the phone. I haven’t heard from him and I wondered if he was not even worried about the miscarriage enough to call me. I was still waiting on that for the past two weeks but this court notice is just beyond me. I was shocked and absolutely confused. What reason could King possibly have to divorce me? I am definitely the victim in this marriage and if I am still toughing it out, why will he want to give up? I was too confused; I decided to call him on the spot. I just need to hear his thoughts. I was quite surprised that he picked on the first ring;

‘’I see you got the notice.’’ There was so much bitterness and disgust steaming from those words but I decided to keep calm and get what I need.

‘’King, why? Why do you want a divorce?’’

I was not prepared for the burst of laughter that came from him after that, I actually had to take the phone off my ear a bit. ‘’Are you seriously asking me why? You must be kidding right, Esther?’’

‘’King, I am not kidding, I need to understand why you suddenly want a divorce?’’

‘’Oh I see, well I’ll explain it to you in plain language. I will not stay married to a murderer’’

I could not hold back the tears that slipped down my face but surprisingly my voice was strong, ‘’I did not mean to kill them, King. I blame myself already for the miscarriage’’

‘’Shut up Esther, just shut it. You think I’ll fall for all that garbage you told your mother? Don’t you have any conscience? Lying to your mom you had a miscarriage when you actually killed my babies. I heard they were twins. You killed two of them!”

‘’I did not King, I really had a miscarriage’’. Even as I said it, I knew he would not believe and my heart broke with that revelation.

‘’Now that you have your reason, can you get off my phone?’’

‘’Please King wait. Please do me a favour. I want you to come home for a while.’’

‘’Why will I want to do that? Are you high?’’

‘’Please, for old time’s sake. Please just do me this last favor even if it’s over for you. I just want us to see.’’

Grudgingly he answered, ‘’fine, I’ll see you tomorrow evening and I will be leaving on Sunday. I’ll use that time to pack my things but just know that once I leave on Sunday, the next time we’ll see will be in court in 3 months.’’

He ended the call and I just sank into the sofa. I did not even realize I had been holding my breath. I debated calling my mom but I knew she could not help me. It was left to me to save my marriage by myself. No matter how wronged or sad I was feeling, I knew I had just four days to save my marriage and I did not even know where to start. Tomorrow could not come soon enough…

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 10

I need a plan. I definitely need one. The thing is when I told King to come home, I did it merely on instinct. The need to further protect what I had. The more I thought about it though, I realized I never really had it anyway. The marriage was doomed from the start and I did not really understand my need to save it. Okay now that I’m thinking about it, maybe getting a divorce is not so bad after all. People will gossip for a while and eventually move on to other juicy stories. The last time I felt loved by my so called husband was during our honeymoon. I have been lied to, deceived, raped, wrongly accused and insulted. I really do not see any dramatic change that will suddenly make King and I live happily ever after. I have lived in this illusion long enough and I might as well cut off this so-called marriage tie before it drags on longer than this. That was exactly my state of mind when King walked in that Wednesday afternoon.

I was just resting on the sofa watching my favorite television series. I was actually in an excited mood, laughing heartily while watching. I heard the knock on the door and I was still laughing when I opened the door,

“King!” I exclaimed, quite surprised actually even though I knew he was coming. I just stood there mouth agape.

”Are you going to allow me into the house?”

Not realizing I was blocking the entrance, I quickly stepped aside as he walked in and I shut the door. He sauntered into the house looking round like the house was now beneath him. I couldn’t ignore the arrogant vibes and I really did not see the possibility of me standing this whole attitude for the next four days but for now, I could bottle all my feelings. I walked up to him and gave him the hug of a lifetime.

”I missed you baby”, I said. I was quite shocked when he hugged me back. It was like all our problems had melted away and I actually felt mushy all over. He pulled me tighter when I tried to pull away but a few seconds later, he finally let me go. “Is there food to eat in this house?’’ “Yes I actually made some soup so let me just make you something to eat with it.” I quickly walked into the kitchen; I needed to gather my thoughts on what next to do so I needed the distance. About an hour later when King was getting up from the dining table, my parents arrived. I was definitely bewildered that both of them will visit me at this time of the day. There was no doubt in my mind that my mom had told dad all about my problems. After declining food, explaining that they just had lunch, dad asked us to sit down that he wanted to discuss with us. I was quite worried that King will think I planned this whole meeting. My worries were put at bay however when my dad mentioned that King had initiated the meeting. My dad started,

“Son, to be candid, I was quite surprised that you called us to your house. I expected you to have the decency to come to my home if you wanted to talk to me. I obliged only because I have recently been made aware of the sensitivity of your marriage and I don’t want to fuel things.’’ “I apologize for not coming sir, sincerely, I did not think it through’’, he said.
“Kingsley, you don’t seem to be thinking a lot of things through. The guts you have to treat my daughter like dirt after lying to us and deceiving us into giving you her hand?’’ My mom rested her hand on his laps trying to calm him down, he was visibly angry. “Esther, I can’t believe you will hide such a thing from us. You simply amaze me’’. I just kept silent not really knowing what to say. I wasn’t too happy with the direction the discussion was heading. When I heard King speak, I looked up, “With all due respect sir, I will not sit here and be insulted. I am not going to comment on whatever I told your daughter to get her to marry me. That is between two of us. I called you to tell you I am divorcing your daughter and I will also like to return whatever dowry I paid to you.” I was so shocked, my mouth went wide open. Next minute I saw my dad charging at him and giving him punches. He was very angry. I could not even say a word. I was just watching the scene unfold as King was trying to fend off my dad with his hands. I could not handle it anymore. Stop! I screamed at the top of my voice. All three sets of eyes looked at me like I was crazy. “Dad, I want you and mom to leave, please. I can handle it from here.” My dad looked like he was set to argue but my mom spoke to him silently and I guessed whatever she told him was enough to change his mind because they immediately left.

I looked up at King sitting silently on the sofa after they left and I had to ask him some questions. In spite of all his lies, there was a sweet part of the man I married and that part was buried beneath all the bitterness.

“I want to ask you some questions and I really need you to answer me sincerely. Is there someone else King?”

“No, there is nobody else.”

“Do you believe that I really had a miscarriage and I never aborted our children?”

“Yes I do, I spoke to our doctor and he told me all about it.”

“Why are you so bitter? Do you think I deserve all these?”

He was silent for a long time and  I did not think he was going to answer me. Finally, he said,

“I don’t know.”

I had no other questions to ask. For some unimaginable reason, I held no more grudge or bitterness in my heart for my husband. I still loved him and the distance had made it easy for me to forgive all he did. I could not force him to stay married, though. So I thanked him and went into my room to lie down. I ended up taking a nap for about two hours.

By the time I came out of my room, I knew my husband was gone. I just felt that emptiness. I knew I was alone in the house. I checked his room and all his cloths were gone. There was nothing left of him. I found a note on the table,

“Sorry I could not wait till Sunday. I think it is better this way.”

I sat down on his bed and cried for all I had lost.

IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE 11 (EPILOGUE)

I stood in front of the mirror, looking at my reflection. I barely even recognized myself. I could see the aging lines but the glow in my eyes was unmistakable. It wasn’t from the makeup even though that was done to perfection, it was the joy I felt from within. My happiness truly knew no bounds. My lips were pulled into a smile that I had no control over. I smoothed down my elegant looking long yellow dress, making sure it was not wrinkled and flowed out, just like it was supposed to. I heard the door to my bedroom open behind me and looked up to see my two children, Adaobi and Uchenna walk in. At 21 and 20 years old respectively, Adaobi being the eldest, they looked so matured and had all of their father’s looks. I have always been jealous of that. They looked every inch perfect in their outfits. I smiled at them even more happy.

“You look stunning mom”, Ada said while Uchenna walked forward and gave me a peck on the cheeks. My eyes watered as I hugged him.

”Mum, please don’t start crying, you’ll ruin all the good job that the makeup artist did”.

”Okay, I will. I am just happy. They’re tears of joy. It has indeed been a journey. I cannot believe I am celebrating my 25 years wedding anniversary with my whole family”.

”We know mom, dad is really blessed to have you”, Adaobi said with smiles on her face. Okay, we need to take you out to meet dad and the guests outside. His eyes will definitely pop when he sees you.

As we walked into the compound of our home in Ikoyi, I searched for him with my eyes among the almost 100 guests that had come to celebrate with us and there he was talking to some of his friends. After all these years, King had not lost his touch. He stood tall and proud and as soon as he saw me, he excused himself and began to walk towards me. He now had some grey hair showing. At just over 60 years old, he was definitely looking much younger. Who would believe that King and I would still be married today not to mention celebrating our silver jubilee. He gave me a peck right on the lips and our children mocked us as usual,

”Dad, please stop it already, wait till your wedding night redefined”.We all laughed at that and the master of ceremony invited us to come sit at the front, thereby starting the programme of events. There was so much food and drinks and all of our dearest friends were there. My parents had died few years ago but seeing me so happy later in life was so much fulfillment for them. I looked around at all our friends and family. We had really made so many friends over the years. Adaobi stood up to give a speech and I could not stop the flow of tears,

“Today, my brother and I are so delighted to be celebrating our parent’s marital journey. We have learnt so many lessons of life from them. From my father, I have learnt that it is never too late to get it right. He has spent all of his life since we were born instilling the right values in us. He told us about his mistakes and we know to do better. We have learnt right from wrong because he fathered us right. From our mum, we have learnt the lessons of forgiveness and perseverance. We have learnt not to give up, we have learnt the true meaning of loving even when it is not possible. We are so proud to be their children and watching them as best friends even after 25 years of marriage is such a blessing to our family. Uche and I love you both.”

Even as she ended the speech and the band started to play, my mind drifted back to so long ago when I had thought my marriage was over:

”I remember thinking that King had left my life for good when he packed all his things and left that day but I was wrong, he did not believe he deserved me so he made up his mind to start courting me again and if he could not make me happy within the three months before our divorce proceedings date, then he was going to leave me for good. For the next three months, he sent me flowers, gifts and every kind of romantic gesture I did not expect. He went to beg my family and while my mum was easily forgiving, my dad took 5 years to finally forgive him”. He sent me text messages begging me and telling me he was getting his life on track. His gifts did nothing to melt my heart but knowing he was going to be a better man was enough for me to give him a chance. King refused to go back to school, he claimed his children will have all the education he did not have and that was all he needed. He has proven that by making sure Adaobi had already started her PhD at age 21. He got some government contracts and before I knew it, there was absolutely nothing I needed to spend my money on. As soon as I started having kids, I resigned from my job. King insisted, saying he was going to spend his life taking care of me and I was to spend mine taking care of the kids. Trusting him not to lie was difficult at first, I doubted everything he said, but he never got weary of proving himself to me.”

I felt a tap on my shoulder, my attention was being called. I had totally drifted away from the party, my mind going back to the past. My husband smiled at me, helping me up as we made our way to the make shift dance floor.

“What were you thinking about? King asked as we swayed to the music”.

“Our journey”, was the only answer I could give him and he understood perfectly….

Author: Tunde Oni (Mrs.)

Image: Peniel_Enchill

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1 comment

cynthia opany February 9, 2017 - 2:55 pm

My situation is almost similar to this

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