As months passed, my wife, who had trained as a medical doctor hadn’t gotten a job. Even though I was working and she was eager to work too, the only opening to work as a Doctor was outside the country which my wife considered a ‘god-forbid’. She had told me she couldn’t leave her family to take up a job outside the country. I had persistently made attempts to convince her but never met any success. I eventually had to let the sleeping dog lie as this issue was beginning to make a hole in my marriage.
Our only child was about three and my wife had begun running a supermarket. She loved it but I didn’t. So I re-visited the foreign job issue again. This time it was without her knowledge and fortunately after a few months it came through. A courier personnel had brought it one Saturday evening. As I tore open the envelope to reveal its contents, she looked on with excitement but turned sad as soon as the wrapping was finally off. And this time, the only opening was in Germany.
The words that she had been saying four years ago were still fresh on her lips “I don’t want to leave my family.” I really didn’t want her to leave for the love we shared, and I hadn’t even thought of how I was going to cope without her but all the same, I wanted her to get the job; it was best for her, I thought.
I knew convincing her to do this was going to be very difficult, but I had resolved that whatever the case would be, she must accept the job and if she refused I would remind her that I was the head of the family. Luckily for me, it was not as tough as the other times. I guess she knew that I really wanted her to take the job, having revisited it after four years. It wasn’t that it was easy getting her on my side; there probably was just some level of mutual understanding.
I didn’t know or understand how much I loved my wife until the she was scheduled to travel, which was two weeks after she received the letter. At the Airport my eyes had grown big and red like someone who had smoked a bucket of weed. I tried to display my manliness as I managed to hold back tears. At that instance, I regretted ever persuading her to take the job. If I could, I would have told her to return to her supermarket.
The Airport’s checking process was over and my sweet damsel was set to depart. It was like a dream, my wife who would always insist on travelling with me was going to be away from me for months. At this point, I couldn’t hold back tears and it just came rushing out like an opened tap. Several onlookers smiled as they passed by us while some giggled. Our son who could hardly understand what was happening soon joined the chorus; we all cried like little babies. As I looked at my wife’s plane disappear in the sky I knew it was the beginning of a new world for me.
Returning home became an issue. I couldn’t believe I was going to sleep that night alone. As I drove home, the thought that I was going to be alone for many months made me cry more and more. At home, I couldn’t sleep. Staring at the wall clock was my primary assignment that night. I had calculated the time she was supposed to land and eagerly awaited her call. Soon, I suppose, her call came in, by this time I had dozed off with her picture on my chest.
I was glad to hear her voice. I just hoped she was going to tell me ‘our plane had to return to Nigeria…’ but unfortunately she was already in Germany, much before she told me how her trip went, the strange voices I heard in the background confirmed this to me. My heart was further broken. She recounted how she kept on crying on the plane and almost became a nuisance to everyone on board. I should say that she’s very fragile and emotional; crying was something she did with ease. That night we spoke until we both exhausted our call credits. We had spoken for two and a half hours but it seemed like ten minutes. I now appreciated all those petty talks we usually had at night especially before we pulled the curtains and switched off the lights.
Day after day, she kept calling, asking most of the time about my work as well as the welfare of our son. In the first few weeks our conversation always ended with her crying and me feeling sad. We eventually got used to this new order anyway.
Then sometime after our son turned seven, four years having passed since I last set eyes on my wife, my son and I agreed to pay her a surprise visit in June which would fall within the period of her birthday anniversary. He thought she would love it. I agreed.
Just a few months before our trip I received mail from a friend informing me of his intended visit to Nigeria. He was an old time secondary school buddy who was now a professional photographer in Belgium where he resided with his family. I was excited to receive his mail and soon began to make arrangements to receive my friend.
On the day of his arrival, I went to receive him at the Airport, and his first call was my newly opened office. It was fun reuniting with an old friend with so much gist to catch on up. As we laughed and ruminated over decade-old events, I noticed agitation in my friend. He was clearly struggling with a bag he had preferred to carry with him.
He wanted to show me a picture and I was excited to see them until I identified one of the faces as my wife, Shade. I was frenzy. My friend Tony had told me that he met her on one of his trips to Germany. He had gone on the invitation of one of his clients to take pictures. He said he recognised her on first sight to be my wife but later thought she had a twin when he noticed that my wife couldn’t even recognise him. His excitement was to show me how identical my wife and her twin were. While he enjoyed looking at my wife’s supposed twin, sadness ran through my heart as the woman in the picture, my wife was pregnant and had no twin. It was like Tony could read my mind when he asked ‘Does your wife really have a twin?’
Tony soon became secondary to me. He was smart enough to read the writings on the wall; he spent only one night in my place. I retrieved the picture from him and could not stop tears flow through my eyes like I did four years ago. My wife was passionately holding on to this white man with several other ladies by their sides. I assumed they were his sisters and the event was a mini-marriage ceremony. The whole picture began to make more sense to me. It explained my wife’s continuous complaint especially in the last two months when she would always have to complain about tiredness. I had never felt worse in my life, my wife in the hands of another man, it was the least I expected.
I almost cancelled my trip, but because I knew my son wouldn’t spare me if I did, I braced up and decided to make the trip. I had gotten the address of the man’s house from Tony and I decided that was where I was going to go rather than the fake address she had given me. Even though my son and I had planned to arrive at her residence the night before her birthday, this was no longer possible as we had to put up in a hotel. I had to make up some stories to Toby my son. I decided to visit on her birthday evening and as we approached the address we could hear the light sound of music and cheering from a distance. The man I claimed to be couldn’t absorb the shock as I broke down in tears. It was really happening; my heartthrob was causing me a heart ache. My son again was devastated.
I moved closer carefully, and as I made an attempt to knock, there was a rush through the door, and she came amidst smiles with her new lover and well wishers cheering behind. She was probably thinking what I was thinking and she was right, she wanted to faint but her legs were still on the ground. She was still and I felt grounded. I smiled in disgust as I told her I only came to make sure what I heard was true. My manners did not fail me as I exchanged pleasantries with everyone present and introduced myself as her former husband. They didn’t appear surprised. When she heard this, she fell on her knees and held me, with great rush. I swung my hand against her but was careful not to hit her stomach. Everyone watched us as we acted our drama. It was the last time I was going to see her. I told her my son was good and I was equally doing fine. Those were my last words as she saw me disappear into the mist.
It’s now been twenty three years and my son has kept asking for his mother everyday and I had to tell him this story. He had made a difficult request, that I should “forgive and take my mother back.” But unfortunately, this was an impossible request as his mother, my wife, was late; I had murdered her, in my heart.
I thought the worst had happened when she ‘left’ me back then until I later discovered it was nothing compared to what I heard shortly after I visited her in Germany. She had died two weeks after I saw her last. She couldn’t survive the operation, the trauma had distressed her. And she wasn’t actually pregnant. It was a fibroid.
It’s true; she had two major surgeries before leaving for Germany. I never gave her a chance to explain. For two weeks, after I left then, she kept on trying to reach me but I wasn’t answering. When I didn’t get her calls anymore I thought she had finally decided to move on. Then she was said to have been diagnosed of fibroid and laid off from work. The man I saw with her was her priest in church and the other well wishers were all her friends at church. The doctors had said she needed strength and encouragement to scale through the operation and she was doing fine until I surfaced. She recounted in the letter that when she broke down in tears the other time on seeing me, it wasn’t because of what I thought; she feared that I would be mad at her for not letting me know her state of health. She said she didn’t tell me because it was about the same time I had issues with my job and didn’t want to compound my travail.
I have lived half of my life in emptiness. It’s so interesting how a little patience could have saved my marriage. The difficult part is how I will tell my son I killed his mother.
You are all invited to the KICC Festac Singles' Conference...tagged The BOMB (Bone of my Bone) season 4,
Theme: ''Marry Me''; Why hasn't he proposed & why did she refuse when he
did + The real reasons for marital delay. Mark your calender NOW! Saturday 28th
Sept./12pm/KICC Festac...Ministering: Pst. Lyne Oladapo, Music by MO Oladapo, TJ
Daniels, Comedy by Babakhay, Stanley....Brace Yourself!!!
There will be an Intense Q&A Sessions, Red Carpet Interviews
& Photo-shoot, Music, Comedy, prayer for all singles.
Date: Saturday 28th September, 2013
Time: 12pm prompt.
Venue: KICC Festac, Ozubulu Civic Centre, 111 Road, Festac Town, Lagos.
Free Copies of Pastor Lyne's book ''Marry Me'' for the first 50 singles before 1pm. for more details check https://www.facebook.com/kicc.festac