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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

'I married into money yet I'm so miserable' (4)


Eight years later...

The eight years Chief and I have been together have been truly remarkable ones. I must admit that the first few years were not bad. I was even happier then, especially when I gave birth to my only child Junior. While Chief was happy with the arrival of our son, he made it clear that he did not want more babies. 
"Eight children are enough for any man. I don't need more at my age," he had stated at the time. My argument that nearly all the children were from his other wives and that one was not enough for me did not make him change his mind. I felt bad because my dream was to have at least three children when I got married. And here I was now stuck with just one because my husband did not want more babies!

That was not all. While Chief was caring and loved me very much, he was hardly around. He was a workaholic who spent most of his time running his vast business empire. There was no time left for anything else, including me, his wife.
"I love to work," he would say whenever I complained of his frequent trips and absences from home. "I didn't get as rich as this by sitting at home and staring at the ceiling. You say I'm wealthy enough already and don't need more money, but my sweet girl, money is never enough!" he noted with a chuckle.

I did not find it funny at all. This was not my idea of what my married life would be like. I wanted a man who was there for me when I needed him, who spent time with his family and not one who junketed all over the world making tons of money he did not even need. He was more like an 'absentee' husband than anything else.
 Later, he explained to me that it was because of his workaholic ways that he did not allow any of his other wives to live with him. 

"They were always nagging and complaining about my being away all the time. And there's nothing I hate more than a woman's nagging. It drives me crazy. So, they had to leave for my peace of mind. I provide everything for them that money can buy so why could they not be satisfied? Why are women so difficult to please?" he had wondered in an exasperated tone of voice. 

 What he failed to understand was that money was not everything in a marriage. There was companionship for instance. When Junior was old enough for school, I would look at other women who sometimes came for school events with their spouses and would be envious of them. I wore more expensive, designer clothes, drove poshier cars and lived a more luxurious life than most of these women. But they had something lacking in my life and that's an attentive husband by my side. 

  ***
Despite his promise to be around for Junior's school anniversary programme, Chief failed to make it. He called from Europe, where he was attending to some business of his, apologizing and promising to make it up to our son and I
"We will go to Florida to spend the summer. My very good friend and business partner in the States, Mr Benny has invited us to stay with him during the holidays. So, prepare for that," he announced.

I was not too excited at the news because knowing my husband, his plans could change at the last minute and the trip would be cancelled.
"I'm just tired of the situation," I grumbled to my friend Queen who was on a visit. "He's never home. All he does is to make promises he never keeps. Sometimes, I feel like a widow," I said. It was a month since Chief travelled on his last business trip and there were no signs that he would be back soon.

Queen shook her head before stating:
"Alice, you don't know how lucky you are to have all this," her hands spread wide to indicate the large, exquisitely furnished upstairs living room where we sat. "Many women would kill to have all this wealth at their disposal, yet you are not happy. You are always miserable. What's your problem, girl?"
"You won't understand. I'm the one wearing the shoe, so I know where it hurts. I've come to realize that money is not everything. Agreed, it makes life more comfortable, but there are a lot of things money can't buy like peace of mind and happiness. I have all this wealth, this lavish lifestyle yet I'm so miserable," I pointed out.

"Well, my friend, you should have known what you were in for when you married a man like Chief with a business empire to run. He has to keep an eye on things so that means being busy all the time," stated Queen.
"Thanks for reminding me. But you know the circumstances under which I married Chief. It was my family situation back then that made me do it. Now, I wish I hadn't," I said sadly.
"Ah! It can't be that bad," said Queen, coming up to my seat and placing her hand on my shoulder. I felt so lonely and sad that to my surprise, I began to cry. Queen sat consoling me, assuring me that things would get better with time.
"Don't worry. I'm sure one of these days, Chief will have to slow down and spend more time with you. He's not a young man anymore and age will definitely catch up with him soon," she stated.

  ****
Brenda was one of my close friends who often visited me at home. We had been friends in secondary school and had kept in touch after we left school. A few days after Queen's visit, she came to see me. She looked really excited as if she had some important news to tell. She had just returned from her annual vacation, which she had spent in the U.K with her mother who lived there.

"Guess what?" she began as soon as we had exchanged greetings and she had sat down.
"What's it Brenda? You know I'm not good at the guessing game," I replied.
"You remember Nick, who was our senior in school? That boy that used to chase you all over the place and said he would marry you when we grew up?" stated Brenda.
"Of course, I remember. He never gave me breathing space and kept pestering me to be his girlfriend," I recalled. "So, what about him?"

"I met him in London, at a party. He had been in Germany for some years and just relocated to the U.K a few years ago. He has his own business and is doing quite well. He even took me shopping at M and S on Oxford street. He bought me a lot of stuff and he asked after you," she stated.
We sat chatting about Nick for a while. Brenda disclosed that he had been married to a white lady in Germany but they were divorced.

"When I spoke about you and how rich your husband was, he did not look too happy," said Brenda.
"Why? My marital status should not be his problem," I noted.
"Are you dumb? Nick still loves you. He said he still thinks about you all the time," she declared.
"What? After all these years? He should be over me by now!" I said.

"Well, its obvious he isn't. I gave him your number and he promised to call one of these days," stated Brenda.
"What for? I'm not interested in speaking with an old suitor from my school days," I said.
"What's the big deal? It's just for old times sake," she said.
It was a few weeks later that I got a call from Nick. He was a year my senior and after he left school, we had only run into each other a couple of times. Then, after he finished his degree programme at the University, I heard he had left for Europe and had been based there ever since.

We chatted about old times, our school days, his life abroad and other stuff. After that day, Nick called regularly. At a point, I began looking forward to his calls as talking with him helped relieve the tedium of my days of idleness and loneliness. I also started phoning him too, especially if I did not hear from him for a long time. 
With time, Nick confessed his love for me again, stating that though he had been in other relationships and had even married, he still loved me.
"But I'm married now," I reminded him.
"I know, baby. I was planning to return to Nigeria to look for you after my divorce when I heard you had married that old man," said Nick.
"Wow, sorry about that. But it's late now," I pointed out.
"Is it?" he asked in a wondering tone.

To be continued...

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


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