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Thursday, December 10, 2015

  'I found out he was married a week before our wedding' (1)

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The banking hall was packed full with customers as I stepped into the hall that Friday morning. I was there in respect of a problem with an account of mine. A staff directed me to an office on the second floor of the building.
"What can I do for you, Madam?" an official in the customer care unit asked, taking his eyes off the computer on his desk to gaze at me. I told him about the issue with my account and how it needed to be rectified. I was expecting some money from my elder brother who lived in Europe towards his house project that I was helping him with.
The man, whose name was Stan, was very helpful to me that day. He sorted out the problem with the account in such an efficient manner that I was impressed. He was friendly as well. Perhaps it was that that made me give him my mobile number when he requested for it, something I did not normally do for total strangers. I never expected him to call anyway, so I was surprised when later that day, I got a call from him.
We chatted for sometime, with him telling me he liked me from the moment he set eyes on me at the bank. 

"Because of my job, I interact with a lot of people daily. But there was just something about you the moment I saw you," he stated. He added he would like to know me better and could he take me out sometime? He seemed a nice person so I agreed. 

The following day, he came to my house in the evening after closing from work. That day, I found out more about him. He said he was single and at 35 was ready to settle down with a nice lady and start a family.
"My mother is harassing me to find a bride," he stated. He added that the woman had told him not to visit her again 'until you have picked a woman to marry' as she put it. Stan's father had died when he was a child and he and his two siblings had been raised solely by her.

  I wondered why finding a wife should be a problem for him considering his qualities- he had a good job, was handsome with a good personality. 
 He seemed to read my mind for he said: "There are lots of ladies out there but few are wife material." 
 "Well, there are still plenty of good ones around; it's a matter of meeting the right person you believe you can share your life with," I told him.
 "You might have a point there, Nelly. And I think I have found the one for me, the lady I want to marry," he stated, looking at me keenly.

  It was obvious he was talking about me but I pretended not to notice and changed the subject. Truth was, though I liked him and found him interesting, I felt things were moving too fast. We had only known each other for a couple of days and he was already talking about marriage. I was anxious to settle down too as my family had been bugging me about my single state since I turned 27 nearly three years earlier. But that did not mean I had to accept a proposal from someone I barely knew.
 Anyway, after that day, Stan and I began to see regularly. Most days after work, he would come to my place and stay till very late. He also attended church services as he claimed to be 
a born again; in fact he worshipped at one of the faith believing churches in town that had very strict rules especially on women's dress styles and frowned on wearing of jewellery, make up,  trousers and revealing outfits. 
 Maybe it was his seriousness about his church activities, for with time I began to warm up to him. Just a month after our meeting, he said we should go to his hometown to visit his mother, that he had made up his mind about me.
 "Nelly dear, you are going to be my wife and there's nothing you will say that will make me change my mind," he announced one evening as I was seeing him off after his visit. I agreed to the trip as I was eager to meet his people and know the kind of family he came from.
 A day before we were to meet his Mother, Stan called, stating a problem had come up at the bank and he would not be able to make the trip anymore.
 "We have to postpone visiting my mother to another day as I can't get away now," he said. He promised we would go some other time when he was less busy.
 Stan was the one doing most of the visiting and I did not know his place nearly three months after we met. Anytime I raised the issue of visiting him at home, he would be evasive, stating he was squatting with a friend who did not like him bringing visitors to the house.

  "He quarrels with me anytime I bring guests home especially female ones," he said. 
 "Then why don't you get your own place? You need your privacy," I stated.
 "I have been planning to do so. I will take it more serious especially now that I have found you," he promised.
 "You need to do that. Afterall, we need a place to live after our wedding," I pointed out.
 That was not the only issue. Something else bugged me about my fiancé. For instance, his pious attitude was in sharp contrast to certain demands he made on me and some things he said.

  Right from the beginning of the relationship, I had told him we had to abstain from sex till after our marriage. But he was not keen on waiting; he kept pestering me for sex, stating that the only way I could prove my love for him was to agree to his demands.
 Despite his pestering, I stood my ground and refused to give in to him. I argued that if he was really born again as he claimed, he should not go against the bible which frowned on premarital sex.
 Maybe, it was a sixth sense or something, but I just had this feeling that Stan was not what he claimed to be. As time went on, my intuition about him turned out to be right...

To be continued...

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

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