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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Young Wife and I (3)

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Before leaving for Lagos, my wife, Mary said:
"Somebody will see 'fire' in this house if the next time I come, this girl is still here! So, don't say I didn't warn you, Nowa!"
 After her departure, I had a long talk with Timi. I told her that much as I liked her being with me, we could no longer live together as my wife was now aware of our relationship.

"I'll rent a place for you where you can stay. I will still take care of your needs and be visiting you there regularly so there's nothing for you to worry about," I assured her.
She was silent for a while.
"If I leave, what will happen to the baby then?" she asked.
"What? What are you talking about?" I queried.
She took my hand in hers.
"I wanted to tell you a few days ago, but your wife came and..." she paused before continuing:
"The thing is, I'm pregnant. It's about two months from the test results I did at the hospital," she disclosed.
I sat up at her words.
"You mean you are going to have a baby?" I asked her quickly. Though, I had thought I was done with having babies at my age, I was not averse to the idea of another child. It would be a new life, a new beginning.

"Yes," she said, glancing up at me. "What are we going to do?" she added.
"Nothing. Not at least until in seven months when you give birth," I stated, smiling at her.
"So you are ok with it?" she asked.
"Of course, my darling," I said, pinching her nose playfully and hugging her.
With Timi's pregnancy, the situation changed. There was no way I could send her away when she was carrying my baby. 
"I can't allow my child to grow up not knowing its father," I said to Taniel, one of my older brothers who had come to visit me from our hometown.
He nodded his head.
"You are right, my brother. So, when are we marrying our new wife?" he inquired.
"What"? I exclaimed.
"You are going to marry her, aren't you," he queried, with a slight frown.
I nodded.
"I've been thinking about it. But the problem is my wife. And the children. They will definitely be against such a union," I said. I could just imagine Mary's reaction on hearing that I was planning to marry the same girl she had threatened to deal with the next time she came to visit me.

  My brother was talking.
 "Look, Francis. You are the man here. And the head of your household. Mary can't dictate to you what you should do or how to live your life. What has happened is all her fault. She left you  all alone here while she remained in Lagos doing God knows what. She said she had her career and job to face. These modern women of today are too independent for my liking. They do whatever they like and are difficult to control," he said with a hiss. 
 The relationship between my wife and Taniel and some of my other family members, had never been a smooth one. My brother felt Mary was too controlling and stubborn and not submissive enough as a good wife should be. My wife on her part saw my brother as being too dictatorial and as she put it, 'always interfering in our lives, doing busybody all the time! Why can't he stay in his own house and mind his business?'
 Anyway, with encouragement from Taniel and other members of my family, I got married to Timi. As expected, there was stiff opposition from Mary and my children. 
"It will be over my dead body for you to marry that little husband snatcher! Nowa, you better come to your senses. Wake up from the spell she has cast on you!" she shouted at me angrily. We were at my house in Lagos where I had gone to break the news to them.
 Michael, my oldest child and the other children were solidly behind their mother.
  "We've always had a united family, Dad. Why do you want to break it up now? What do you need another wife for?" he had asked me. I did not respond because no matter what I said, they would never understand, about my strong need for Timi and the desire to be with her. What did they know about a man's needs and the extent he would go to get his heart's desires?

 New beginning
With all this opposition, my marriage to Timi, resultantly created a friction between me and Mary and the children. Mary no longer wanted to have anything to do with me and refused to visit me anymore. As for my children, with time though, they mellowed somewhat in their stance. Some months later, when Timi gave birth to a little girl, they all came from Lagos to see their baby sister.

  "Daddy, she looks like you," Tolani, my last child with Mary said. She was carrying the baby and admiring it with Kate, her older sister.
"And you too as she has your eyes and nose," I quipped. They both laughed and continued to fuss over the baby whom we named Bella as she was such a cute little thing.

  I saw it as their tacit way of accepting Timi and my marriage to her. Timi on her part was quite respectful to them and tried in her own way to win their affection. However, try as she could, she could not make my first wife accept her. There was a day we had travelled to Lagos when Bella was about six months old to visit Timi's parents. Later, we had gone to my house to see my first wife. She had barely acknowledged Timi's greetings and all my efforts to get the two close proved futile.
 "What were you expecting? That I would hold her hand and hug her? You know that will never happen! I only allowed her here because of the child. So, just let me be," she said curtly when I complained about her hostile attitude to Timi.
 I prayed that with time, she would calm down and accept the situation.

   I was happy with Timi and had no regrets marrying her. I tried to make her happy as well and one way I did this was by helping her parents. Timi was the first child out of seven children. Her parents were not well-to-do so looking after all that brood especially their educational needs was tough. I stepped in and assisted in training the children who were still in school. I also set her mother up in a good business and built a nice bungalow on the outskirts of the city for her father. They were all very appreciative of my assistance to the family, especially Timi who could not thank me enough.
 "Honey, thanks so much for all you've been doing for my people. God will continue to bless you and uplift you," she said one day about five years into our marriage. By this time, I had retired from my job. It was before the statutory age for retirement but I had left as I wanted to go into business. I set up a consultancy firm and within a short time, I got a lot of jobs with the contacts I had in certain circles.

 Money rolled in in great quantity and I invested a lot of it real estate and other areas. Timi had stopped working after having her second baby, a boy who unfortunately died a few weeks after birth. After she recovered, I told her to stop work and opened a large boutique for her in the city as she loved fashion so much. Life was good and I couldn't be happier.
 Then, about two years ago, my first wife, Mary fell ill. We thought it was the normal malaria but after taking drugs for sometime and the sickness persisted, she was admitted in the hospital. It was after a series of tests were conducted that the bombshell was dropped: that she had cancer! 
 The news left the whole family shocked and Mary devastated. The doctor in charge of her case stated that due to the advanced stage of the disease, the facilities at the hospital were inadequate to treat her and advised that she should be taken abroad. I duly made arrangements and had her taken to a hospital in the U.K. I accompanied her and took Kate along so she could stay by her mother's side. 
 Mary was in the hospital for a long time, over six months. The treatment she was taking seemed to be working and she continued to take them after she was discharged. I rented a flat in London and that's where she stayed with Kate to continue the treatment. Throughout this period, I was shuttling between Nigeria and the U.K to see Mary and monitor her progress. At first, Timi was understanding about my frequent trips abroad to see Mary as she stated that it showed, 'I was a caring husband.' However, when I began to spend longer periods abroad with Mary, she began to complain of neglect.
 "These days, I feel like an abandoned wife. You are hardly at home, junketing from one place to another," she grumbled one day just after I had returned from visiting Mary in London.
 "You know why I travel- its to see Mary who you are aware has been very sick. Are you expecting me to abandon her at this period when she needs me most?" I asked in an angry tone.
 "Honey, it's not that. It's just, I'm a woman too and I have needs," she said, coming to sit on my lap. I pushed her off gently and got up.
 "Mary is my wife too and as long as she's sick, it's my responsibility to take care of her. I expect you as her co-wife to understand. So, stop complaining," I stated before marching out of the room.
 "And what am I supposed to do while you are playing nurse to her? I should just sit here and live like a nun?" she shouted at me. I ignored her and picking up my car keys, left the house.
 With hindsight, I realized I should have paid more attention to her as she was probably feeling neglected and maybe a little jealous of all the attention I was giving Mary. But I could not do otherwise. Mary was my first wife, the mother of my older children. So, how could I abandon such a woman who had been with me through all the ups and downs of my life?

  Anyway, after Mary completed the last stage of her treatment, she was well enough to return to Nigeria. The children and I were all very happy that she survived such a terrible ailment and
 I travelled to the U.K to escort her back. After ensuring she was well settled at home, I went down to Port-Harcourt.
 I noticed a coolness on the part of Timi when I arrived home. Unlike before, she didn't seem too happy to see me, but I put it down to her vexation over my frequent traveling.

 When Mary was fully recovered, the children and I planned a thanksgiving service at the church for her recovery. I expected Timi to be with me at the ceremony, but to my shock, she refused to travel down to Lagos for the event.
 "Your wife hates me and has never accepted me. So, why should I go and rejoice with her on her recovery? I'm not going as I don't want any embarrassment," she stated vehemently. I tried to reason with her, but to no avail.
 So, I attended the thanksgiving alone. All went well and I stayed back with the family for about two weeks.
 Little did I know what was waiting for me on my return to Port- Harcourt!
 I did not meet Timi at home and when I asked the maid where she had gone to, the girl informed me that she had left home a few days earlier with Bella.
 "Sir, I thought she had gone to join you in Lagos as she went with a lot of bags and suitcases," she said.
 I went to our bedroom and noticed that most of her clothes were missing. The same with my daughter's things when I checked her room.

 "Where could she have gone to," I wondered as I called her parents to check if she had gone home to them. 
They told me they had not seen her and thought she was in Port-Harcourt with me.
 Later, I saw a note she had written under my pillow in the bedroom. She stated that it seemed I no longer loved her, that I had abandoned her for my first wife, Mary.

  "I've met someone who loves me very much and wants to be with me. I've left the country with him and Bella so don't bother looking for me..."
 I almost had a heart attack on reading the note.
 How could Timi do this to me, I kept thinking. After all I had done for her? I gave up so much for us to be together and this was the way she could pay me back? It was painful enough her running away with another man; but why did she have to take my daughter away as well? 

  As I write this, I've not fully recovered from Timi's betrayal and treacherous behaviour. This was a woman I loved so much and was ready to do anything for and she ended up breaking my heart. What she has done to me is truly beyond pardon.
 My experience shows you can't trust anybody, especially women as you can never know what they are planning behind your back. I just hope I can get my daughter back as I don't want her to be brought up by another man. So, Timi, if you are reading this, please bring Bella back. You can go if you want to but leave my child for me...

 The End!

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