As I drove home, I began to dwell on my marriage to King and how I was so stupid and blinded by love to see the signs. After he told me he had been asked to move out of his apartment, I was so distressed but he assured me getting another apartment would not be a problem. We just had to manage and stay in my own apartment which I was planning to sublet initially. I still had 7 months to go on my rent there anyway so he moved his things over. That was how we began to live in my three bedroom flat in Festac town.
“It had always been too big for me alone anyway”, was what I told myself.
My dad called me to come over to our house in Lekki to stay with them till the wedding day. He said it was important that I left the house for the wedding venue which symbolizes blah blah blah….. I just could not wrap my head around all those sentiments. I had been living alone for 10 years. Agreeing to his wishes just made it easy since King was already settling down in my house and I did not particularly like the idea of us being in the house together. After all, they say its bad luck to see the bride before the wedding. We hardly saw each other the rest of that week since I was going to work from my parent’s house. I got home each evening to go over one thing or the other with my mum. We had our traditional wedding on Friday in my father’s compound. One of those things he insisted on even though I wanted to get a small venue. He said he did not build a house with a big compound for nothing. The event was awesome. I danced and danced and cried. My mum and dad both moved me to tears with their words of advise and prayers. King looked equally dashing and the dancing competition between us had no winner. We had all the fun. As we were rounding up the event, King said he had to discuss something important with me that could not wait till after the wedding. I remember that conversation like it was yesterday.
“What did you have to say baby that is so important?” I said just as we got into my dad’s study. It was the only empty place we found in the whole house.
“Baby, I need you to first understand that I did not mean to hurt you or be cruel, I just felt like I had no choice”. I interrupted him immediately with a really skeptical look.
“Hold it King, I hope you’re not trying to tell me you have a child somewhere or that you cheated on me on a day like this”.
“No baby, it is nothing like that. I just want to confess some lies that I told you”.
“You lied to me? About what?
“About so many things”, he said and my heart began to beat fast. I really did not want to hear this. Not when my church wedding was just a few hours away.
“Okay let me ask you some few questions before you start your confession and I want you to just answer me yes or no. Okay?” He nodded.
“Have you ever cheated on me?”
“Do you have a child out of wedlock?”
”Do you have HIV?”
”Are you gay?”
”Are you transgender?”
”Do you love me?”
”Okay, those are the major reasons that can make me cancel this wedding this minute, anything outside these will have to wait till after the wedding okay”‘.
He simply nodded yes and I left him standing there in search of my friends to go have some girls night in my room like we planned. Whatever King had to say will have to wait till after the wedding. I did not want anything to spoil my fun. I never knew that I had asked the wrong questions that day.
I parked my car in the compound, picked my bag from the front seat and got down from my car. The exhaustion of the whole day was finally weighing down on me, more of it resulting from my emotional turmoil rather than actual office stress. I felt my phone ring from my bag as I turned to walk from the car so I just leaned on the car to take the call after I shuffled through my bag and found it.
“Good evening mum,” I said half excitedly through the phone trying to feign the enthusiasm I was not feeling just to avoid her having to worry about me.
“Hello my princess, happy wedding anniversary darling”
“Thanks mum. How are you today?’’
“Oh I am fine dear, I actually wanted to call you earlier but I didn’t want to disturb your day at work. I spoke to your husband earlier though’’
‘’Thanks mum. I am just getting home too. I have not even entered the house.’
‘’I am sure you’ll be so tired already. Okay let me leave you to go rest and take care of your husband. By this time next year, by God’s grace, we’ll be celebrating with your twins in Jesus name.’’
‘’Amen.’’ I was not necessarily bubbling at the idea of having King’s babies but I could not share those sentiments with my mum.
She ended the call after reminding me to cook something special for my dear husband. I laughed when I imagined the noodles and veggies I was planning to make for dinner. That was definitely not my mum’s idea of something special. I was still lost in the euphoria of that thought when I opened my front door and I saw the romantic scene before me. Candles were all over the house and the dining room. Some of them were definitely scented because of the amazing smell that was hitting me right at the door I was standing. King was sat on the sofa obviously satisfied with himself that he had done one thing right after one year of marriage. Like this was what was going to fix this whole broken marriage.
‘’What the hell is this?’’ I must have screamed because I saw him bolt and his eyes widen in their sockets. What exactly was he expecting? A kiss and some adorable gushing like a love-struck high school girl? I walked into the house and shut the door. He still stood there just looking at me. I looked around properly. I was sure he must have gotten somebody to do all these.
‘’So how much of the money you’re not earning did you spend to do all this rubbish King?’’
‘’Babe, please take it easy. I was just trying to give us at least one special day. You haven’t allowed yourself to have one since the wedding.’’
‘’Did I just hear you say I haven’t allowed myself? You must be kidding me. So it is my fault your life is so freaking messed up and you dragged me into it?’’
‘’I did not say that babe. I…’’
I cut him short right there. “Please just hold it. I am not ready to deal with any of this crap tonight and I am not going to clean any of this up for you.’’
I walked straight into my bedroom, slammed the door shut and just sunk to the bed. Living with so much anger was so exhausting but I just hate my husband so much that calling him my husband even annoys me. After about five minutes of looking at the ceiling, I took of my shoes and changed into my usual indoor outfit of a pair of bum shorts and a tank top. Now I had even lost my appetite. I will just lie down on the bed for a while for the hunger to gnaw back at me before going to get something to eat.
I woke up with a start an hour later. I really didn’t plan to fall asleep. I opened my eyes and realized that King was actually sitting by my bed side. He must have woken me up.
‘’What are you doing in my room?’’ Yes we started using separate bedrooms from the time we came back from our honeymoon. We haven’t slept on the same bed since then.
‘’I wanted you to have some dinner; I know you don’t usually eat much at work. I also wanted to apologize for putting you on the spot with the whole anniversary celebration. I really just thought we could give it a chance’’.
I don’t know if it was because I just woke up or my body was just tired of shouting but I actually surprised myself by speaking calmly. ‘’ You don’t need to apologize. I will get something to eat now thanks. Now about this whole thing you did? I can’t do this King, I just cannot. Every time I look at you, I see deception. I see how you took me to that apartment in Lekki and told me it was yours when in fact it was a lie and it belonged to your friend. I see how you told me you worked in British American Tobacco when you had no job and no certificate and were sent out of university in your final year. I see how you left a trail of debt in my wake for me to clear after the wedding simply because you wanted to act like a big boy to me and you borrowed almost 2 million naira from all over just to impress my family. I see how I have to lie to my parents every day because I cannot face the shame of telling them that I married wrong. I see how you still took money from me after the wedding to start a business which I gave you as a last chance and you lost it gambling. That is all I see when I look at you King. It is why I will not sleep on the same bed or in the same room with you or have sex with you. It is why I will not smile and be happy when you use my money to plan a romantic wedding anniversary for me. How do you ever expect me to forget the text you mistakenly sent to me instead of your friend on the last day of our honeymoon saying,
‘’honeymoon is over man. I nailed it. I told you I’ll find a rich girl gullible enough to marry me and I did. Life has finally smiled on me.’’
‘’I will never forget the words of that text my dear. Please get the hell out of my room and do not come in here again. I’ll continue to cook your food and put money in your hand since that is what you married me for. We’ll continue to smile and hold hands in public but don’t expect anything else from me aside from that.’’ I felt the surge of anger rise through me at the whole situation but I struggled to calm myself. I have been living like this for a year so there’s really no point getting angry now.
…to be continued on page 4