Sad Tale of a Young Nigerian
The clock struck 11 o clock. I saw that as a cue to wonder his whereabouts. “he still is not back yet” I thought loudly letting the silk fall through my fingers. I smiled as I remembered the day mum and I had gone to buy cottons for the mansion and all the experiences of being a newly wedded.
I sat down with a hiss, then I let my eyes scan the big palour, the one in the village was far bigger than this. I sat back and let my eyes roam again through the house,finally my eyes fell on the wedding picture,which had been enlarged by Ikenna. We looked so happy and prefect,where did it all go wrong? Oooh yes I know what went wrong but before I say what went wrong it’s only great if I go back to how it all started .
Fresh out of the University of Nigeria with a second class lower and a family of five to support, life was harsh, even if I had graduated with a first class it wouldn’t have made any difference, my dad worked as a driver in a primary school and not a member of the house of representatives. My mum on the other hand was a housewife with a little kiosk where she sold biscuits and soft drinks which she managed during the day while the early hours of the morning she would sit in front of the kiosk and make bean balls popularly known as Akara, of a truth hers was the best around. **********always hot out of the oil. As the first child I had alot of responsibility and the highest was to liberate my family from poverty which seems to cling on us no matter what we did. During the weekends mum would leave the house late for a night vigil and come back on Monday morning, maybe she thought if she prayed hard we would get enough money. My younger siblings Chidinma, Obinna, Kelechukwu, Joseph had at a point taken up odd jobs to assist their elder sister in university, another fallacy my family believed was that immediately after University one will get a job like the Nollywood movies protray.
But life never went as expected, a graduate of accounting ended up selling clothes at a market for someone, the closest I ever got to practice the course I studied was counting the money and subtracting it to give the customers their change. My boss Mrs Chinwe who insisted everyone should call her Chynwe was not even helping matters, everytime she had the opportunity she would taunt me and laugh, I couldn’t quit how could I? Dad will kill me,they had sent me to Abia state to stay with my aunt in Umuahia and she had found this job for me.
All my life I had been taught to always take orders, mum had told me that I had given her a hard time but immediately the doctor had said ” come out’ I had jumped out crying. So the first time I met Ikenna I was also obeying , Mrs Chynwe had asked me to deliver a cloth to the senators wife, she didn’t give me transport the only good thing she did for me was tell me to join Oga Joe so he would drop me at the junction then I could trek the rest of the journey, who was I to complain if I did she would reply me with
‘Graduate ba kwa okwu” with a very tick Ibeku accent, I too was from Ibeku Ndume to be precise but because all my life I had lived with my parents in Enugu, Ibeku accent felt like Swahili and I dare not reply her else she would top it up with
” when your mates were going for lectures,where were you? If you really went for classes will you be here selling boutique with me a Waec holder? ” and if I dare say another word she would then laugh and say ” Uwa Di uto, the world is sweet I’m your boss even with all the certificate you have ” I never tried correcting her, how could I tell her that it’s clothes we are selling and not boutique….
Oga Joe dropped me at the junction and left. He hated me, but I didn’t care, I could remember the first time we talked he had touched my breast and buttocks in a lustful manner and promised to take care of me and my family if I let him have sex
‘ we will be fast’ he begged like a small child
‘aah oga Joe, no-no you are married ‘ I said using the quickest excuse I could think of
‘ OK not full penetration but half just the tip, its not cheating if it’s half,like tip ‘ he said using he’s index finger to show me how small he would let himself in. Out of annoyance I pushed him hard and ran away.
I stood in front of the gate knocking even when the sign read “Feel free to come in and wait under the canopy ” I kept knocking until I heard someone shouting,obviously with ibeku so I couldn’t tell what exactly the person was saying expect ‘Ewu, fool ” and immediately the gate was opened by guy, tall dark skinned with a jet black hair and clean shaved beards.
‘I’m looking for Honourable ” I said angrily, how dare a fellow servant insult me? The difference between us was that he was serving an honorable and I was serving the person who gave the honourable the clothes she wore
‘ come in’ he said then he led me past people who were waiting into a room ‘ I will give it to her’ he said with a nice English accent which surprised me
‘Mba,No I was asked to deliver it to her myself ‘ I lied clutching the nylon with all my strength incase he decided to take it by force
‘fine make yourself comfortable ‘ he said signaling to one of the sofas. I looked around the room, this was the total size of all the rooms in my house at Enugu, I swallowed hard and took a sit ,while admiring the house, this kind of house was the kind I only lived in,in my dreams. I was drawn back to life when the young guy entered with the lady ‘ mum see the girl “he said. His words took me back slowly I felt strange, I had been rude him.
” aaaahhha I told chynwe not to worry ” she said laughing and taking the clothes from me. She was on a very beautiful gown with shining stones hung around her neck and hands, her ring looked very new, what even surprised me more was she was on her heels in the house.
“Ikenna lekewa, see” she said admiring one of the clothes ‘ they are fine ‘ he said with a smile then he let he’s eyes rest on me
All my life I have never been admired or looked up like the way Ikenna looked at me. I didn’t have boyfriends while growing, who wanted to date the daughter of the carpenter. At a very tender age I had been raped by one of my secondary school classmate and when I had reported to Dad atfirst he had gotten angry and made a mess of things but when he went to see Emekas father he had been offered few naira notes which shut him up forever. I was young and my pride and purity had been bought and taken with few Twist biscuits
Ikenna, became my friend, he would stop by every evening after Mrs Chynwe had left and pick me up. It felt right every time our eyes caught, it was magical what I felt everytime he held my hands, at first I didn’t want him touching me, if he touched my waist I would move his hand but after a while I let his hands linger longer on my waist. His car was comfortable with the air condition switched on. We were careful not to be caught together, whenever he dropped me at my Auntys house he would pack his car blocks away then still give me transport fare so I wouldn’t stress myself.
My wonderful fairy tale was cut short, when I received a call to come back to Enugu that Dad was dying, that evening I left meeting up with Ikenna at the park in the VIP part of Abia line Park
‘you will be back right? ‘he asked still holding my hands
‘definitely ‘ I said in a hush tone doubting myself
‘Manage this’ he said giving me an envelope . At first I refused but he insisted and I ended up breaking down with tears and for the first time he kissed me and admitted that he loves me, we hugged and I left
The first month at home was welcoming,with the little money Ikenna gave me I bought drugs that actually made dad feel better. At anything mum would praise me for been the prefect first born in the world but as the months rolled by the praises reduced as the money reduced too. To make matter worse my two best friends got married to rich men from different state which triggered everything. Mum now picked offence and in every little thing insulted me. I could remember vividly one evening I came back with my siblings who had come home for break Obinna, Kelechukwu and Joseph they too were students of the prestigious university of Nigeria studying Public Health, political economy and English respectively. We had walked into the house to meet mum and Chidinma sitting outside cooking with the firewood but mum was murmuring,i innocently greeted her and she flared
“Adaugo keep your greetings to yourself ‘ she said immediately
‘ aaah mummy Maka why’ I asked in a joking manner
‘is it not your mates that are greeting their mother in-laws? ‘ she asked with spite
‘Go to school you went and came out last, your younger sister chidinma that made first class in igbo and working, how many heads? ‘ she asked and when she saw I was speechless she fired on
‘you will be here she will marry before you’ she ended then tied the end of her wrapper then left the compound. I stood rooted on the ground, thinking and wondering where on earth I had gone wrong after a while with the help of my brothers I got myself back and went to report to my father but he said nothing. That night I called Ikenna and narrated the story time him,it gave me joy the way he defended me and eased my pain.
The next month he came with he’s people and asked for my hand in marriage, there was no engagement,no flashy dinner with him kneeling and proposing but I didn’t mind, I was too happy that at last I was leaving the house, and to top it up after he came for the first knocking he sent money and asked that my parents rebuild the house, he paid all outstanding debts that was pending, then he gave my two younger brothers political appointment He also went ahead and rebuilt our house in the village making us relocate, he bought a car for my parents and our wedding was the talk of the town for few weeks
‘ Ike in-law ya’ that was the name mum gave him
‘saviour anyi’ Dad would call him everytime he came . Things were great the first year of marriage, I was he’s wife, bestfriend and he’s gossip mate. I remember one day after we hosted the deputy governor we sat back and reminced
‘ I wanted to slap he’s head’ he said holding my waist
‘why Kwanu?’ I always pepperd my English with igbo . Actually all igbos do it, pure English when they are communicating with strangers, Igbo when they are with family ,then igbo and English when they are excited, surprised and overwhelmed .
‘ didn’t you see the way he was drooling over you’he said tinting he’s hair sideways
‘I didn’t notice ‘ I said, actually I had noticed and that was why I had been all over Ikenna,rubbing he’s back constantly and giving him kisses and laughing at even dry jokes made at the table
‘ really? ‘ he asked looking at me
‘ yesss’ I replied
‘ did I tell you how adorable you are looking? ‘ he asked leading me to the room.
‘ yeah but you could actually show me how beautiful I am ‘ I said and before I knew what was happening he’s lips crashed on mine
Things became sour after the first year of marriage, late nights became a routine for Ikenna and when I asked he would claim that the Governor had requested he’s presence, which was Surprising because the governor always loved couples coming together but I dismissed it. Then he started travelling regularly, every weekend then one week in a month, I also started noticing funny debit alert in our joint account as usual I asked but another excuse came up , he even started locking he’s smart phone. The day I can not forget in a rush was the first time he laid he’s hands on me, I think it’s where it all started. That day he came back staggering,stinking of something higher than alcohol “weed” out of anger I had questioned him
“Honey you smoke weed? ” I had asked with disbelief
“so? ” he asked sitting down
“how irresponsible can you be? ” I asked again
‘Come woman don’t disturb me, all you do is stay here and eat up my money, good for nothing ” he said. I was hurt I can remember when we had gotten married newly he had refused me working with the claim that being he’s wife was enough job
” you are just high’ I said trying to help him stand up but immediately I received a slap
” aaaaaah!” I exclaimed with tears blinding me
“Ikeenna” I said as he pushed me back with force,he hit me and in the parlor he raped me.
I heard my clothes tear up and although I tried to fight him he pounced on me Like a hungry lion, sucking my nipples with so much force causing me pain.. I screamed but help didn’t come and as I screamed he hit me then finally he forced himself into me.
This routine became normal, the beatings ,the drinking the bruises, I got tired of using the excuse that I fell from the stairs or I hit my eyes on the car wheel. Since I know I couldn’t take it anymore I decided to go home and report the matter,I didn’t want to disturb my mother in-law who since our marriage has been outside the country
” mum it’s getting worse” I said almost breaking down in front of my family.
” Ikenna cannot do a thing like this’ Kelechi said with full force
” what did you do?” Obinna asked
“Nothing o” and in with that I honestly narrated what has been happening
” it’s your fault’ I heard my father say he’s head bent
“How?” I asked now with tears
” give him a child ” my mother said emphasising on the child.
I sat back and watched my family with full interest, u expected my family to flare up or to serve him a warning but here they were blaming me for the beatings I was receiving. I had come to my comfort zone only to be chased out.
I left the house that day looking for solution, solution took me into the nearest law firm I could see, I met up with a barrister who explained to me that a woman cannot claim to be raped when she’s in a marriage, she can only claim that during judicial separation, then he used section 15 of the matrimonial cause’s Act to give me ground’s for divorce and judicial separation. I left telling him I needed to think through, which I never did because immediately I came back my husband pounced on me ,I in my stupidity had forgotten that my husband was popular and so the barrister had called him. That day hr beat the living light out of me .
I decided to take my mothers advice and get pregnant but that was the worst mistake of my life because my loving husband matched the child out of my stomach causing a miscarriage, I decided to get pregnant and this time tell him but still the same thing happened. Out of spite I called my brother Obinna and reported but he instead of getting angry shouted at me saying ” don’t come and spoil business for me oo Ikenna has showered us with so much ,don’t come and cut our blessings short” everyone in the family said the same words, so I had to stay on my own
12’oclock the clock announced, I looked at the window and this time a car drove in with full force,he was obviously angry, and that meant another beating, another yelling and the normal rape and him stepping on me, I contemplated running in to hide ,but of what use will it be for me? It will only add more salt to the injury, I had to sit and wait for my fate, by now it has dawn to me that I am the lamb of light to my family,even my father didn’t care again ,my mother was worse and my siblings were all enjoying life. I took a quick look around then stood up and immediately he walked in then staggered to my side stinking of weed and alcohol. How could so much love turn to hatred. He pulled me by my hair up to the room,and laid on me,he started tearing my clothes this time I didn’t resist unlike before where I would fight tooth and nail,and when I was lucky I would scratch he’s skin causing him pain and giving me room to run but he would still catch me,the influence of the drugs he took made him run faster don’t ask me how? And when I was lucky to hide he would stand or sit infront of the door and rain abusive words at me
Barren woman ” and sometimes when he wasn’t contented with the names he would call up he’s friends and they would party in the house, sometimes when I came out of my comfort Zone I would find him in the arms of another girl,and I knew better than to ask for answers. The first time I out of anger asked him he beat me up and literally threw me down the flight of stairs, no I didn’t die but I lost alot of blood and the four months old baby I was carrying. Ironic right? How a father and husband could be so heartless, wicked and demonic. I punched myself daily for now opening my eyes to see him for who he was. Now I was regretting it, no one believed it, no one could have believed that such a picture perfect couple, perfect man could lay hands on a woman. Whenever we managed to go on social outings together he would brag about how clumsy I was, “Always tripping and falling honey ” he would say anytime someone commented on my dark circles..
I let the tears run down my cheeks and as he thrust himself into me repeatedly I let my thoughts Wonder who was that fool that said a husband cannot rape he’s wife. My thoughts were interrupted when again he sucked my nipples with so much force like it was a fruit that had no emotion I screamed out but not as loud as usual because I knew one thing ,I wasn’t going to see the light of tomorrow, maybe God will forgive me for killing myself but if he didn’t what is hell compared to this life I was living.
© Vera David