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Saturday, November 28, 2015

'She left me because I was poor. So what does she want now?' (3)


As you can imagine, my wife's abrupt and unexpected departure from our home left me confused and sad. At first, I just sat staring blankly at the wall in the living room, unable to function. Later, when the twins began crying for food, I had to get up and prepare breakfast for them. That was the beginning. From that point, I became a father, mother and nurse maid to the boys. Initially, they asked for their mother. But after a while, they stopped pestering me about when she would return from the village to visit 'Grandma' as I had told them.
 God knows I made a lot of efforts to get her back but all yielded no fruit. I even travelled to her village to inform her mother and family about what was going on in my home. They told me they had neither seen nor heard from her for months and did not know where she was. The same with her friends when I contacted them; they denied knowing where she presently lived.
 It was only one, Brenda who probably took pity on me and confessed that my wife had warned her not to tell me where she had moved to.

  "Sherri's staying with one man she calls her 'husband'. I saw her once with the man while she was still living with you but she never told me she was having an affair with him. I thought they were just friends. Anyway, I don't like what she has done and I told her so when I went to see her recently," Brenda said.
 She then gave me the address of my wife's new abode. One Saturday morning, my friend Larry drove me down to the place so we could cajole her to return home. For despite what she had done, the truth was that I still loved Sherri and I was ready to accept her back if she was willing to.

  But it was a wasted journey. Sherri, on sighting us at the door of the new-looking bungalow at the Isheri area of Lagos where she lived, started shouting that if we did not leave at once, she would call the police and 'have us locked up!'
 "Dan or whatever your name is, you have the guts to come to my new husband's home! You are not even afraid! I think the poverty afflicting you has affected your brain. You better leave before I call the police!"
 "Please, why don't you just listen to us, Sherri. Dan wants you back home. Just pack your things and let's go," said Larry.
 "Go where? This is my home now! This is where I belong. The earlier this stupid friend of yours realize our marriage is over, the better! You are lucky my husband is not home, or you people would have seen 'fire' today!"
 I spoke up then.
"It hasn't come to that, Sherri. You are still my wife and the mother of my children. The twins keep asking after you. Don't you even miss them? Why don't you come home and see them?"
 "You want me to come home! Alright, wait here let me get my bag," she said, going into the house.
 A short while later, she returned with a bucket of water which she threw on us! Worse, the water was mixed with pepper; so we were not just soaked to the skin, we had itchy skin from the pepper.
 As we walked towards the gate looking like drenched cats, Sherri kept pouring curses and invectives on us.

  "So, you are leaving? Stay now! Useless, jobless idiots! You have nothing better to do than come here to harass another man's wife so early in the day. The next time I see your 'k leg' in this compound, it's acid I will pour on you, not just 'pepper water'. Yeye people! You want to come and put 'sand sand in my garri', spoil all the fun I'm having in my new home. Nonsense!..
  Family meeting
 After that nasty experience, I did not see my wife again till some weeks later. It was at a family meeting that was convened to resolve the matter between us. At the gathering presided over by an elderly Uncle of hers who was the family head, my wife remained obdurate. The old man precisely told her that as far as the family was concerned, I was the only husband they knew; he even ordered her to move back to our home.

  "You have no excuse whatsoever for abandoning your matrimonial home and moving to another man's house. So what if he is currently having difficulties because of his failed business ventures. So? Is he the first man to fail in business and go broke? If every wife abandons her home just because the husband is broke, do you know how many broken homes we will have in the society? What kind of irresponsible behaviour is that? If your father were alive today, he will be very angry with you!

  "I don't know where you got this bad character from because women in our family don't behave in this manner. This young man was good to you and also the family when the going was good. It's your duty as a wife to stand by him now that things are rough. That is what marriage is, full of ups and downs. It's not rosy all the time! You don't run away at the slightest hint of trouble and move into another man's house!"
 "This your so-called new husband is unknown to us. We don't know that man! It's our son-in-law here, Dan we know. So, go and pack your things at once and go back to your home. Go and take care of your children and family. That is my final decision and that of this family!"
 I was very happy at the decision and was hopeful that it would put an end to our estrangement. How wrong I was! Sherri defied her family's order to return home and continued to stay with her new man. To make matters worse, she even threatened to get custody of the twins through the courts if I did not stop harassing her about returning. She already had Dina, our baby daughter and I did not want to lose my sons. It was tough bringing them up on my own but I would rather go through all that stress of raising the boys than allow them brought up in another man's home. 
 I decided to leave everything to fate and focus on my boys as well as resuscitating my business. 

 With Larry's support, things began to pick up for me gradually. A few jobs here and there enabled me acquire some capital with which I began doing business again. Then, to my joy, Larry's business partner in China finally agreed to do business with me on a credit basis based on his recommendation. That turned out to be a major breakthrough for me. I sold the first consignment of goods he shipped to me and promptly remitted the money to him. He was so happy that I met up with the contractual agreement on time that he agreed to do business with me on a long term business.
 With that connection and a few others, I started making money again. I moved out of the house we were living into a bigger place in a nicer neighbourhood. I even got a maid to take care of the house and twins who were growing fast. Then, nearly two years after my wife left me, I started seeing another lady. 

 Doreen was a member of our church. I used to see her around the church but we did not become close until we both became members of a committee set up for a building project in the church headquarters.
 All along, I had stayed away from women because of my experience with my wife. Besides, I always felt at the back of my mind that Sherri might return home one day and what would happen when that day came and another woman had taken her place. But when two years passed with no sign of her, I finally gave up especially when I heard she had had a baby for her new man. I decided to put the past behind me and forge on with my life. 
  ***
 It was at this point that Doreen and I started seeing each other. We grew to love each other and best of all, she loved my boys and was always caring towards them. After I had studied her for a while, I made up my mind and decided to marry her. Larry and all my family members were all in support of the union. 

 So, five months ago, they all accompanied me to her father's house in Benin and we did the introduction and other traditional marriage rites.
 Since then, we have been living happily together as a couple. Her coming into my life has brought so much blessings, it's like a new beginning for me. My business is doing so well that I'm nearly at the level I was three years before when my goods were seized at the ports. 
 I'm at a good place now and I'm happy. 

 The only problem now is my former wife Sherri. She suddenly resurfaced in my life after three years of absence begging me to take her back! Imagine that! This is a woman that caused me so much pain and heartache and just when things were going well for me again, she wants to return. 

  It turned out that the man she was living with had a wife who was based abroad. The woman, who owned the house and all the other properties they had been enjoying, suddenly returned to Nigeria one morning. She threw Sherri and her children out, locked up the house and took her husband with her back to her base abroad.
 With no where to go, Sherri felt she had no option but to come back to me! Anyway, I told her when she came to see me in my new office that there was no 'vacancy' at home anymore, that her place had been taken by a woman who understood what real love and marriage meant.
 She has been going about telling all my friends and family members to plead with me to forgive her and take her back. I always tell them that can only happen when 'pigs start flying', meaning never!
 Why would I take a woman back who abandoned me at my hour of need? Who almost blinded me with the water and pepper concoction she poured on my friend and I? In fact, her misdeeds are too many to mention here.
 The only concession I have is to send her an allowance regularly at least for the upkeep of my daughter so the little girl will not suffer because of her mother's bad behaviour. With time, I plan getting custody of the child so she can be with her brothers.

  I'm writing this so the young guys out there who want to marry should learn to choose their partners carefully. Look for a lady who loves you enough to remain with you even when things are not going well, not the one that will run away like my ex-wife just because I lost all my money and became poor.

  Concluded

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




















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