My parents had no plan to send me to the university; all they hoped for was that someone would get me pregnant and that would be end of school for me…no they didn’t say in those words but their actions made it clear.
Every time I asked them when they would give me money for JAMB, they always said, “JAMB is for those going to the university.”
My parents didn’t think much of educating a girl child, so they concentrated on my two brothers, the ones they hoped would save them from poverty in their old age.
When I finished secondary school, I joined my parents in their canteen; my parents sold food. My mom was a great cook and our customers ranged from guys working in big offices to mechanics…so long as they had money to buy our soup.
We served different soups per day and 80 to 90% of the time, our food finished by 3pm! Everyday!
That’s how good my mum was but it didn’t translate to big money because there were six of us, I was the fourth girl.
So like my three sisters before me, I was expected to dedicate the rest of my life to fully helping in the kitchen and one day find a man who would marry me and take me away. There was no talk of me furthering my education.
When you sell food, you will have lots of male admirers…but I was looking for someone who had cash to send me to school; unlike my sisters who got pregnant and were married off.
That’s how I began to look out for someone who would sponsor my education and that’s how I met Hector.
He came in with a few friends to eat at our canteen.
He wasn’t a regular.
From the way he dressed, I knew he had money.
His nails were well manicured; his manner was gentle. His hair was well cut…he wasn’t our usual.
I had my eyes on him.
I do not fall over guys just because they have money. I am a woman, I know how to lure a man I want…so I began to work on him when he came to our canteen the second time. I knew what he liked the first time, I offered same but told him he would also like a different kind of soup.
The first time he came, he took white soup, the second time, I offered him bitter leaf soup instead. I promised him he would like it…he agreed and that’s how I began to suggest different soups and he liked them all.
After about three weeks of him coming to our canteen, I told him to take my number, so I would know when he was coming and I would reserve the soup of the day for him… and that’s how we began a relationship.
The first time we ‘met,’ it was at a guest house; after the, you know, he asked me what I wanted in life.
I told him, I wanted to go to the university but my parents couldn’t sponsor it.
He told me to go get JAMB form…I did, I sat for JAMB but didn’t pass primarily because I had no time to study. I was always busy in the kitchen or going to the market or washing plates at the backyard and many times, I was too tired to study after the day’s sales.
But the second year, Hector paid again and this time I passed…to study Psychology at UI. I knew Hector was married, like I said, I didn’t date him for marriage. I also knew his wife and kids were abroad and that he regularly sent money to them because sometimes, when I requested for money for something, he would say he was “empty,” that he had just sent money to his wife and kids abroad.
Hector and I dated for almost 5 years…though I had one boyfriend in school, you know, student boyfriend; all he came to me was for sex and money, the same money I got from Hector…I had no plans to marry him. I mean after Hector, I just couldn’t settle for a fellow student. When would he start making money to rent a house, buy a car and settle down? I would be too old for him…so I just kind of found a way to end things with my student bobo after we graduated.
Now, a few months after my NYSC, I got a job through Hector’s friend, his very good friend, Jide, who was also married then.
I met Jide the first few months Hector and I began to date. Ok, so you know, anytime Hector traveled to the US to see his family, he would tell Jide to take care of me…Jide would tease me that he was my “second husband.”
I had known Hector would finally go to join his family in the US. He said he was tired of the back and forth, his children needed him, his marriage was collapsing, etc. He told me he was leaving Nigeria finally.
I cried. Yes I knew there was no marriage for us…I could easily find another guy to replace him…but I was going to miss him.
The night he was meant to travel, I slept over at the guest house with him…his friend Jide was to drive him to the airport later the following night; his flight was for 11.30pm.
We made love that day…you know, like a sendoff…
At around 8.00 Jide came and we moved Hector’s luggage to the car and drove to the airport…I was so overwhelmed, I was just crying, Hector kissed me and said “goodbye, my darling…Jide, look after her, o.”
I cried as if Hector died that night…Jide held me in his arms and tried to console me. We got into the car park and I was so emotional…Jide was trying to console me…somehow, somehow, He kissed me and somehow we ended up having sex in the car…at the car park!
I swear, it wasn’t planned, at least I didn’t plan for that to happen.
Then he drove me back to the guest house we had just vacated and I ended up sleeping with Jide for three days!
I don’t know if he jazzed me or what.
I have always known Jide admired me…but…
Anyway, I left him the third day and three months later, I fell ill. I thought it was normal malaria but it turned out that I was pregnant, almost 13weeks gone!
I contacted Hector and told him about my pregnancy, he told me he couldn’t be responsible because he knew Jide slept with me for one week after he left…it wasn’t one week but…
They say a mother knows who the father of her child is but me I am not sure, over 11 years down the line.
My parents found out because I had to confess to them that time…they told me to tell my son that his father died a long time ago; I know they were trying to cover my shame…how do you say to your child when he asks you who his father is?
“My son, I slept with two men the night you were conceived.”
That’s the story my family maintains to date and I have maintained same to my son; “your father died a long time ago.”
Who do I think his father is, especially as the two of them denied him? How would i have dragged Hector back to Nigeria for a DNA? and Jide, who daily posts on Facebook how much he loves his wife?
Why put myself through another trauma? They are both dead to me.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)