They say the heart of man is desperately wicked; it is.
By man, I mean mankind, not just the male specie. I was dealt a blow that many women over the years have been dealt with and to be honest, I sort of became numb and maybe in time, I would react to it
Here is my story.
I had been married for well over 25 years without a child when my husband brought in his ‘cousin’ from their town to come live with us.
The cousin, is a young orphan, who at age 21 was already pregnant. Yeye dey smell, abi? I had been married to this man for 25 years and never met this so called orphaned and now pregnant cousin. See, at my age, fighting a husband over infidelity is out of the question, beating other women who get pregnant for him was also out of the question.
The house we lived in is mine, in my name, I have all the documents and should I pass on, my next of kin are my siblings and their children…so you see, I am a woman who is well secure in her place in life, I have long accepted that not all of us would have children, just like not all of us will get married. That is just life!
So when hubby brought his ‘orphaned cousin’. I just laughed. This trick is as old as the bible itself. I welcomed the ‘cousin’ and made her comfortable and generally went about my own life. Ok, before now, I truly never believed all the stories that just pass by my ears, stories that my husband was doing some babe in some area of town…e no concern me! Our marriage had long packed up; we lived in separate bedrooms and conversed like strangers in the same house. If anyone was tired of the relationship and wanted to move out, it wouldn’t be me.
So in comes orphaned and pregnant cousin who was shy and very afraid. I tried to make her feel at home. I cooked for her and truly it was just refreshing to have someone else to talk to in the house. They told me she was a distant cousin, she had been knocked up by some jobless boy and my husband had decided she should come live with us, have her baby and go back to school.
That was their story; the real story however came out later, from the same orphaned and pregnant cousin.
She had been with us for well over two months; my mother- in- law came to visit and generally behaved like there was nothing amiss; my husband’s siblings too, came to see their lost ‘orphaned cousin’…me, I was no fool. I pretended to be one, though.
I helped to register her at the general hospital for ante natal, I was just being myself really, like said, it was refreshing to have something else to do than the usual routine I had fallen into in the last few years. more so, because I can’t have children doesn’t mean I should be a hater of those who can.
So one day, pregnant orphaned cousin knocks on my bedroom door…oh, let me call her by her name now because, I really have no grudge against the girl. Lets call her Grace. So Grace knocks on my door and when I asked her to come in, says; “Aunty, I need to tell you something but you must promise never to tell to anyone.”
I was alarmed, “What is the matter Grace? Don’t tell me you want to remove this pregnancy? Are you ok… are you…?”
She shook her head, “Aunty, it is not about me, it is about you.”
“Haa, issokay, what is it o?”
Then she opened a can of worms…
She told me she isn’t my husband’s cousin but his wife…hummn. She told me he was responsible for her pregnancy; she told me my husband was planning to relocate abroad and take her and the baby with him…hummmn.
I’ll tell you what? Half of me me knew it was true. Days after she came into our house. I pieced a few things together and knew all this orphaned pregnant cousin was a crock of shit!
Did I feel betrayed?
Well, yeah, I did but the pain wasn’t the paralyzing type. It was a confirmation of what my guts had told me a long time ago. And again, at over 50 years, I had given up having children, my marriage was a sham, so where exactly will the place of bitterness and anger towards my husband come from?
There was a case of a love child some six years earlier which I am aware of, how many more are out there?
You get what’ I’m saying?
Yeah, so, when Grace finished, I told her I had guessed that much, just that I didn’t see the relocation abroad part, I thought my husband would simply move out of the house with Grace.
Ok, so why did Grace talk to me?
My dear, I was good to this girl. I took her in without bitterness, without hate, without anger. I opened my home and heart to her and she is also a good person to see that despite our husband’s duplicity, she saw I didn’t deserve to be so treated and she didn’t want to be a part of all of these at all…well yeah, she was also still having sex with him on days I went out but I couldn’t blame her, not at all!
So, where are we today?
They have indeed relocated, not abroad, this corona prevented that but they moved to another part of town. The funny thing is, Grace and I are still very much in touch; she gossips about our husband every time she finds a new thing. Meanwhile, it is our husband who wouldn’t speak to me. He asked for a divorce which I am making sure doesn’t come easy for him. I am dragging it with him, we will be on this ‘come today come tomorrow court’ for years to come and this is not because I don’t want him to go, I am done with him, I just don’t want him to have it easy. That’s all!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)