Our husband was a very rich man and so we all fought to bear children for him.
We are Muslims and he married us, just a few years apart, all five of us are about the same age too and all of us bore him many children, all were girls with no boy…for a long time!
Our home was very bitter, it was full of competition; we were always quarreling with one another until we heard our husband has gone to marry another woman….then the quarrel would cease for a while…
I am the third wife and I only lived under our husband’s roof for five years before I left, the bitterness in that house was too much; the quarrels were toxic, everone was fighting to have Alhaji’s attention, to be favoured, to have him practically eat out of their hands…
I had twin girls, they were the fifth and six in line. I also realized our husband would not stop taking in more women in his quest for a son, so for the sake of my life and those of my twins, I took off!
Why am I telling this story?
You didn’t see that boy that walked past?
That mad man? Abi na gbana boy?
That is our husband’s son. His one and only son!
After our husband married me, he didn’t bring the two remaining women who had children for him into the house. One, there would be no space for them not because the house wasn’t big enough but because managing all three of us under one roof was enough trouble for him and second off, when the fourth wife gave birth to a girl and the next one afterwards, he didn’t have much interest in them again; one of them was my friend, I didn’t know she had eyes for my husband…anyway that is a story for another day.
To be honest, our husband was quite ‘loaded’ so even if he didn’t want to do, many women were just trying to have children for him so he could take care of them; like that friend of mine, laslas, she gave him a girl and Alhaji left her…aha! He took care of his child but didn’t do the Nikkai for the mother.
So as I was saying, we all had girls, 9 in all for Alhaji and not that the man wasn’t happy with his girls o. He was but you know our people believe it is the boy child that will continue the family name. so that is why Alhaji kept trying his luck with many women…so one of us decided to try these alfas that promise heaven on earth. She claimed she didn’t but years later but she admitted. I always knew she did. She gave birth to the golden child, a boy, finally! But by that time, I had left Alhaji’s house.
Anyway, the second wife gave birth to a boy…come and see party for this boy’s naming ceremony! Come and see how Alhaji blocked two streets just to celebrate the birth of this boy! It was a carnival! Two popular musicians were hired to entertain, one on each street! Forget o. it ws a party of all parties.
How did I feel?
Hmm well, since I wasn’t the only one who gave him all girls, I was somewhat envious and amused too. To be honest, Alhaji doesn’t joke with his girls but to his son, he was excessively generous, as in the mother herself became like a queen among the rest of us who had children for Alhaji!
Well, since I left the main house, Alhaji still paid his daughters school fees and sent money for their upkeep; they are good children and I know the other girls too, they are doing well but the only son that Alhaji has…that’s him going, crazy as anything. I don’t know what medicine they used to bring him to earth; obviously it is working against his mother because, of all of the children Alhaji has, that boy is the most useless of the lot!
But maybe this isn’t even the boy’s fault; maybe we should ask his mother where she got the boy from; if you keep going from one alfa to another, drinking all kinds of concoctions, going to see herbalists and priests just because you want a boy child, maybe they would give you a spirit being instead of a real being. People say that is what must have happened because that boy has been a pain to his parents since he began to walk and talk; if he is not in one kind of trouble, he is spearheading one. He would steal, organize trouble at school, he was generally a problem child. No one knew exactly what the boy wanted; you know?
Why get into so much trouble?
Why beat your teacher? Rape your classmate?
He was a bad one, like from the devil itself, so when he took to drugs, no one was surprised; we don’t know if it’s the drugs making him mad or the demons pushing him to keep doing bad things…there is more to what is going on in the dark mind of that boy, only his mother knows the answer!
At the end of the day, the son Alhaji desperately wanted became the one who led him to an early grave. He wanted a son….there goes the son, a reprobate, a degenerate…now the rest of us are glad for our daughters who give us no trouble!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)