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Monday, December 14, 2015

My husband became a criminal because of my greed for wealth (2)

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Though my husband's point about the new house he was building on the outskirts of the city was valid, I still pressed on.
 I pointed out that the house might take another year or even two to be completed and what will we be doing till then? Continue to live where we were with all the noise around? I argued.

"Well, there's nothing I can do about this matter now. Instead of going to rent another house somewhere you prefer, is it not better I invest the money in our own home that I'm building?" he pointed out.
 The argument went on for a while but my husband was not ready to budge from his stand. So I left things hanging for the meantime, to be renewed another day.

To compensate, I collected a large sum of money to renew my wardrobe and those of the children. I spent most of the cash on myself as I needed to buy some new designer clothes and accessories so as to meet up with my new found friends. Runo and her friends had so much money, they did not think twice about spending half a million naira on just one pair of designer shoes and bag. I was not up to their level yet but I was working towards that.

I saw Runo regularly and her friends as well whom I had become close to. About once a month, these ladies would all meet up either in Runo's house or the home of another lady in the group. I was always invited to all the get-togethers which involved lots of eating, drinking, some dancing and chatting or 'gossiping' as my husband would say.
 On a certain month, when it was Runo's turn to play host, I got ready and drove to her house in the Lekki area of the city.

Due to the traffic on the way, I was late and the others were already there when I arrived. There were five of them including Runo. They were discussing their plans for the summer break and the only lady with kids amongst them Marie, spoke about the new place she was planning to explore that year.

"I'm thinking of taking the kids to Barbados. I heard its lovely this time of the year; want to try something new. We were in Dubai last year. We stayed a month and the kids loved it so much, they didn't want to come back. But of course, I had to return to keep an eye on that 'big flirt' and 'skirt chaser' that calls himself my husband!" Marie said with a smirk. The others laughed though I did not know what was funny about a lady calling her husband names before her friends.

"You girls are finding it funny. It's no joke o! Do you know that when the kids and I were in the States two years ago for the summer, my husband practically camped a girl in my home for weeks in my absence. It was one of the maids that spilled the beans when I called the house one day and a strange lady answered the phone. Trust me. I was on the next available flight to Nigeria!" This elicited more laughter from them all. 

Looking at these ladies, I was struck by one thing- their relaxed attitude towards life. Because of their wealth and status, they hardly worried about money; how to spend it was their main concern. Their lives revolved around their designer clothes and accessories, expensive beauty regimen, the best holiday destinations for their endless vacations, getting good domestic staff to keep their luxurious homes running smoothly so they don't have to lift a finger in doing house work, the best spots to hang out in town, the best diets to keep the 'fat at bay' and stay slim so their partners don't run after young girls with slim, svelte figures and so on...

"So, tell us Annette, where are you taking your kids to for the holidays?" asked Patra, another lady in the group, turning to me. Patra was the only daughter of a former Minister, politician and businessman, who was on the board of so many top companies in the country, even the old man had lost count of the number. 
 Suffice it say, Patra was born not just with a golden spoon but a dozen. She was rich beyond belief. Each time I saw her, she was always driving a new, exotic-looking car that looked as if it had just been delivered by the manufacturers. "Patra gets bored easily so she changes her cars like normal people change their underwear," Runo had told me once when we had been talking about her. 

"Em, I'm not too sure but my husband is thinking of taking us to London this year," I stated a bit hesitantly. 
 "London? That boring old place? Why not somewhere more interesting and exciting?" stated 
"Yes, it will be boring to you as you were born and grew up there," pointed out Runo, handing a fresh drink to her.
 "Thanks, darling. But I got out the first chance I got. After I left secondary school, I gave my dad two options: either the U.S or Nigeria for my higher education or I won't go to the University. It took him less than five seconds to decide!" Lola noted with a chuckle.

"He should have allowed you to attend a Uni in Nigeria," put in Mira, another lady in the group who had been silent all along.
"What? And spend 7 or 8 years doing a four year course with all the incessant strikes by the teachers? No, thank you!" she stated.
I sat, sipping my drink and listened as she and two of the other ladies who had schooled abroad, reminisced about their school days in foreign lands, their exploits and the fun they had had.
'You girls don't know how lucky you are for having rich parents who could send you to some of the best schools in the world,' I thought, feeling a little bit envious of them.

Back home later that day, I wondered why I had lied about my holiday plans. Thing is, I had no plans at all and never had. My family had never been on a foreign vacation. The furthest we had gone was to Hilary's village in the East two years before for the Christmas and New Year festivities. I had never travelled out of the country, though I had always wanted to. But the funds had never been available for such a trip. 

I felt this would be a good opportunity to realize my ambition of travelling out as well as 'catching up with Runo and her group' who were widely travelled and very cosmopolitan in their outlook. I so much wanted to belong, to become a 'high class' lady like them that I was ready to do anything to achieve my aim.
 So, one day, after my husband returned from work, looking worn out and stressed, I said:

"Honey, you are working too hard these days. You need to take it easy o!"
"I know my darling. But what can a man do? I have to work hard to provide well for you and our children," he said as he undressed and prepared to take a bath.
"But that should not be at the expense of your health. I don't want anything to happen to you o!" I stated, hugging him tight.

Later, as we lay in bed, I brought up the issue again, stating that it was time he took a break from work 'so we could go on a vacation' as a family.
"We could even go abroad, say to London. What do you think, dear?" I asked, sitting up.
"Sounds good. But that will cost a lot of money for five of us, with tickets, visa costs, accommodation and other expenses," he replied.

"But we could stay with your cousin, Johnny. You said he lives alone in a big house," I argued, not ready to be dissuaded from my dream of travelling abroad.
"I know. But you know these 'abroad' people. They are not as accommodating as our people here, maybe because of the many bills they pay. Anyway, I really need to sleep now as I have a busy day at work tomorrow; the auditors are coming, you know. We will talk about this some other time. Goodnight, dear," he said, planting a kiss on my lips before turning away. Within minutes, he was asleep, snoring softly.

I stayed awake, scheming and planning on ways of making my husband agree to sponsor at least the children and I for the trip. This time, I was not ready to listen to excuses...

To be continued...

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

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