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Monday, November 09, 2015

'My cousin is married to a conman but who will tell her?'


Ella is my cousin. We actually grew up together. You see, after her father's death when she was just nine, she had come to live with us. Her mother could not cope raising the five children she had alone, so the family had decided that three of the children should be shared among the relatives of her father including my own father. That was how Ella came to live with us. She was about my age, just a few months older. Being the only girl in our family, Ella became like my sister. We did everything together and became really close.

We only got separated when I started secondary school as I was in a boarding house. But we made up for it during the holidays when we spent most of our time and did errands together. Over the years, this love and closeness between us remained even as we grew up to become young ladies with big dreams of becoming successful in life. My desire was to read Law 
like my elder brother Mike but I was unsuccessful in the JAMB examinations at my first attempt. That discouraged me and at my second attempt I chose another course and got admitted to my university of choice which made me very happy. 

As for Ella, she was more interested in business and as she used to say, 'make plenty of money'. She was concerned about her mother who had been battling some health issues and wanted to make enough money to be able to take care of her and some of her siblings who were not doing so well.
After secondary school, my father, who was willing to train her further was disappointed when Ella declined, insisting she had other plans. Anyway, she later went into the business of buying and selling of women and children's clothes and other products. That was the beginning for Ella. It was not easy for her as she struggled so much to establish her business in the competitive business terrain. But with hard work and focus, she scaled through and today, over ten years later, she can be considered a success in her chosen field. From the small business, she diversified into other areas including manufacturing with a small factory where she produces food packs and plastics.
  
Among our age group, my cousin is the richest with a few landed properties and other investments to her name. One area, however that she has not been so lucky is her love life. Ella has always faced disappointments in men, beginning from her first relationship when she was in her mid- twenties. Unlike some of our mates and I who had begun dating much earlier, Ella was a late starter. She had been so focused on her business that she had given guys and relationships a wide berth. 
That changed when she met Paddy. She fell madly in love with him and was ready to do anything for him. But Paddy did not feel the same way about her as later events proved. A year after they met, the guy left her, claiming his parents were against the relationship as they were from different tribes. He did not just leave her with a broken heart, he made away with a substantial amount of money my cousin had loaned him for a business he claimed he wanted to do. Till today, we have not seen the money nor the idiot.

Meeting Jack
Almost all the other relationships she had after that useless Paddy ended up the same way: a wounded heart and a reduced faith in the male gender. Infact, Ella had vowed never to have anything to do with any man for a long time, until she was ready to get married. However, on meeting Jack, her tune changed. Within a short time, she was head over heels in love and to the shock of nearly everyone in the family, was already planning to marry him! 
Afterall all her past experiences, I found it difficult to believe that she would be so reckless as to get engaged to a man whom she had met just five months before. Seeing that she was about to make another costly mistake, I advised her to slow down on the relationship with her new love.

"Ella, don't you think you are moving too fast with this your new man? I think five months is too short to know someone fully," I told her one day on a visit to her house. We were relaxing in her nicely furnished sitting room, watching a musical programme on the big screen TV.
At my words, Ella simply smiled then stated:
"What more is there to know, Emily? He loves me very much and that's all that matters."
But I was not ready to give up. My instincts, from the few times I had interacted with him, were not good. There was just something about him that did not click. I could not place my finger on it but I just felt it.

"Look, I'm not saying you should stop seeing him. Just take it easy a bit, a little slower so we know whether he is serious or not. Remember what happened with Paddy some years back," I pointed out.
"Please don't remind me of that asshole! Thank God, my Jack is not like him. And if you are afraid he's after my money, rest your mind. He has his own money which he even spends on me. Since we met, he has not asked me for a single dime. Besides, I've learnt my lesson and I can never spend my money on any man especially when we are not married. So, don't worry. Everything will be fine," she reassured me, smiling broadly.

Seeing how determined and confident she was about the relationship, I decided to back off. Love or whatever it was, had blinded her to all sense of reasoning and there was nothing anyone could say to make her see reason. I however prayed things would work out well and not end up like her former affairs.
Some months after our conversation, Ella and Jack got married in a lavish wedding ceremony. Sh looked so happy and radiant on her wedding day that I renewed my prayers for her, that her union with her husband would last and be filled with happiness. Everything seemed to go well and they both settled down to marital life. 

A year later, Ella gave birth to a lovely baby girl whom they named Tyra. I was happy for her, that she had found happiness at last and that perhaps I was wrong about Jack afterall. He looked devoted to Ella and doted so much on their little girl. Based on that, my earlier view of her husband changed and I began to see him in a new light. 
But as later events proved, it turned out my first instincts about Jack were right...


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




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