My neighbour, Mummy T, calls me a whore but she doesn’t know half my story.
I refuse to divulge anything after her several inquiries because I owe her nothing. All she will do with the information I give her is to spread it around the entire estate like butter on bread. So, I promised not engage her in any form of conversation.
Mummy T, like most of the estate residents call her is a busy- body. I see her rush behind our window every time OB and I have an argument. She pretends to either be spreading laundry or checking to see they are dry but I know she is eavesdropping. It’s unlikely that she will be doing laundry every time our voices are raised. Very unlikely.
But that’s her problem, not mine. I have to face mine now and it’s kicking me right between my eyes. My husband Obatunde, of 9 years just upped and left me stranded with three children.
Ok, let me rephrase. He didn’t just up and go…no. We have been having issues. Yes, like normal married couples. We do have our issues. They will rise to the surface like foam on beer and soon disappear after a while.
‘Look we aren’t unique with our issues,’ I recall telling OB. ‘We will find a solution and move on.’
And really what were we fighting over? He wanted me to quit my job and pay attention to the family.
I love my family to the moon and back and I also love my job. I worked hard for the position I have finally got to and I won’t give it up.
Ok, true, I leave home early and get back late but so do millions of women out there in Lagos and beyond; even those not in the corporate world. So, this request from Obatunde seemed so stupid, so senseless.
I asked OB, ‘How do we feed, send the children to school, pay rent?
He replied, ‘We will manage somehow.’
‘How OB! How?’ I was screaming from frustrations. Ho does one move from comfort to “managing somehow?”
‘How else, other families are managing; change the children’s schools, put them in a model college,’ he said as calm as ever because he never raised his voice no matter what.
‘We save money on nanny and the driver and several tutors that don’t even teach the children anything, we move into a smaller apartment and start growing again,’ he continued still speaking quietly.
Huh! On what? Your meagre salary? Will the children remain kids for long? What is the long term plan? What of university? what of…
He hadn’t got it all figured out but he meant every word!
‘Take the first step,’ he said to me. “Quit, get another job that won’t take your time.’
‘Not going to happen!’
It did not even begin to make sense. I earn more, I take care of my family. So I came to one conclusion. Midlife crises! OB had just turned 50. Maybe he was suddenly feeling inadequate. Our sex life was dead even before Timmy Bobo was born…over six years ago, in fact Timmy was conceived on one of those days of paraga rush, long before then, we were just existing.
So I figured, OB not being able to get it up, perform other financial responsibilities may be the cause of this senseless request.
‘This is midlife crises,’ I told him. ‘You will soon get over it.’
I thought he would, I hoped he would. He never did. We lived like strangers until the day he moved out.
There are little details that widened the gap between us; things like him scolding me for snapping at the nanny; him taking sides with the driver over decisions I took when I found the rascal driver had run errands I didn’t send him with my car; him resenting me buying nice things for myself; him complaining I spent too much on stuff for the home. Those little things. They began to get big and make a huge difference.
I resented the crop of friends he made within the estate, imagine my own husband, drinking paraga with mechanics and plumbers! Where’s the class?
Imagine my husband, buying food from the ewa agoyin woman when we have food at home!
All of those paled when he moved out!
Suddeny, I felt I wouldn’t mind him buying a trailer load of ewa agoyin using several colourful bowls at the estate gate. No. I wouldn’t.
He will come back for me and his kids I hoped and so I told our neighbours nothing. I told his family nothing. I told his friends and mine nothing. My colleagues at work know nothing. I hide it all under several layers of Maybelline powder, layers of thick mascara, layers of heavy foundation by Iman and several coats of Iman lipstick and the mirror reflects a glam look no one can ignore…
But inside, I am broken. I am shattered into a thousand pieces. I cry myself to sleep virtually every night. I send him chats, messages, pleading that he returns to us.
Yes, we may have our differences but we will remain a family. His kids miss him. I miss him. I want my husband back.