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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Agony of a second wife (1)

They say that a mother is often her daughter's best friend, confidant and the only one you can trust in this world. Well, for me, the saying did not apply because I saw my mother more of an enemy than a friend. As a teenager in secondary school, I would often sneer at her words of advice and wisdom she gave me concerning life, especially men and how to cope with them.

"This woman and her 'talk'; she won't just let me rest!" I would often say to my friends at school and we would laugh.

You see, my mother was the strict type. She was always restricting my movements and never allowed me to stay out late. I used to envy Diane, my best friend whose parents gave her more freedom. At 15, Diane already had a boyfriend and her mother even permitted her to be sleeping over at his house. I often wished I had a liberal mother like Diane's- I thought she was cool and my own mother old-fashioned, someone that belonged to ancient times.

I was young and headstrong then, not realizing that whatever my mother was doing was for my own good. I'm only realizing that now, many years later, after so much has happened in my life, things that should not have occurred if only I had paid attention to my mother's advice.
Anyway, here I am in a situation I'm stuck in, with no hope for a solution. How did I get to this state? Well, it's a long story...

I should start my story by introducing myself. My name is Nicole and until, my marriage, I used to work as a nurse in a top private hospital in Lagos. In fact, I met Frank, my husband at work. He had fallen ill late one night and had been rushed to the hospital. I was on night duty then. After the doctor had attended to him, the matron had assigned me and a colleague to take good care of him as he was a 'very important patient.' I did not know why he should merit special treatment- it was later I found out he was a close relative of a governor in one of the states in the country.

Anyway, I did my best for the patient- maybe too much. For after he recovered and was discharged, he returned some days later to the hospital, to express gratitude to the staff for their care of him.

He told us that while he was still an admission, arrangements were being made by his family to fly him abroad. "But I told them, you guys were doing a good job and I was getting better treatment here," he stated. Before leaving, he gave us some money and also took my number and that of Anna, my colleague.

Some weeks later, he called me. I was at home resting as it was my day off.
"How's your health now?" I asked politely after the pleasantries. He was doing quite well, he said, and had even resumed work.
"I will be traveling to the U.S next week. Was wondering if I could get you something. What will you like?" he asked. 

I told him he could get me anything nice; we chatted for a while then hung up. A day before his trip, we spoke again and throughout the two weeks he was abroad. It was obvious he was interested in me. I didn't turn him down when he eventually told me he wanted to date me. I knew he was married with a daughter, but I just could not resist him. Besides being good-looking, he was very rich, from a good background and well-connected. I guess I was flattered by his attention too. What average girl today wouldn't be? 

Anyway, I started seeing Frank and it was a new beginning for me. I enjoyed being with him so much and all the good things he did for me that I dumped Gabe, my boyfriend of three years. He was very upset about it and even reported me to my mother. 

Of course, my Mum was not happy when she found out who my new boyfriend was.
"Oma," she started, calling me by my native name. "How could you? How can you been dating a married man? If what Gabe has just told me is true, you must stop this relationship at once! I did not bring you up to be wayward! This must stop. Now!" she said furiously. 

Of course, I ignored her words. I was far too gone in my relationship with Frank to end it. So, I told my mother that at 24, I was old enough to know what I wanted and it was Frank I wanted to be with.

"Can you just hear yourself? You want to be with a married man? Of what good is that? Do you want to be a home wrecker? You better mend your ways because this path you have chosen will lead you nowhere! Mark my words! Don't say I didn't warn you!" she screamed at me.
That day, I angrily stormed out of the house. 'Spoilsport,' I thought, believing that my mother did not want me to be happy and was only out to ruin my relationship with 'the love of my life,' Frank.
Meeting madam

Anyway, I continued to see Frank. As our relationship waxed stronger, so did my mother's opposition to it. My father, who was retired after many years of working as a teacher was pragmatic about the matter.

"Let her see whoever she wants to. She has to get married one day. Or you want her to stay here and get old in my house?" he asked my mother who angrily turned on him stating:  "Is that all you can say about this issue? Your daughter is running around town with a married man and you don't see anything wrong with it? Now I know where she got this behaviour from- it must be from your side of the family because we don't have wayward people in my family!"

It wasn't just my parents who were divided over my relationship with Frank. My siblings too were split along those against and those in support. I was the last born in a family of six- three girls and three boys and you can say I was spoilt being the last. At least, that's what my mother always used to say.
Whatever my family felt about Frank, I didn't care. I was having fun with him and that's what mattered. We had been seeing each other for nearly ten months when I came face to face with his wife. It happened one day when I had paid a visit to my sweetheart in his office. As usual, he was happy to see me.

"You are looking very sweet today," he said, beckoning on me to come and sit on his lap.
I moved over, sat down and he kissed me. We were sitting that way, just gisting and laughing when the door to his large office opened and a woman entered.

It was my lover's wife. I recognised her from a photo of hers I had seen in a magazine once.
A shocked look came over her face when she saw Frank and I. Coming closer, she stated furiously:
"Frank, what's going on here?"

Looking at her from head to toe, an angry look on his face, he retorted:
"And you, what are you doing here? Did I send for you, woman? You better go back home and mind your business and stop disturbing me! Busybody woman!"

I tried getting up from Frank's lap, but he held me down. So, I sat still, my heart beating fast, expecting the irate woman to pounce on me any minute...

What happened to Nicole that day? Details coming soon!

To Be Continued...

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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