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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

[Story] Misplaced Love – Final Episode

After the wedding, we spent two weeks in São Tomé
and
Príncipe in a hotel overlooking the sea. Dayo’s uncle
had
paid for that as his wedding gift to us. I will save
you the
details of what happened on the beach over there in
São
Tomé and Príncipe. However just five months after
our
wedding, my fairy tale romance with Dayo came
crashing
like a pack of cards. I was washing his clothes
when I
found a note in his trouser pocket which read,
“Baby, I will
be waiting for you in the hotel room. Don’t give me
any
excuses this time.” Unbelievably I stared at the note
as my
heart threatened to stop. Hot tears ran down my
face and
my head felt light. I began to cry. In the dream land
where
my kind of love evolved from, men don’t cheat and
not
one of my imaginary lovers cheated on me. With my
feet
wobbly, I stood up and reached for my phone and
called
Shola, Dayo’s younger sister who had come to be a
b—m
friend of mine.
I cried so hard on the phone she thought I was
going to
die. When she came over and saw the note I found
in her
brother’s trouser pocket, she was struck dumb. We
couldn’t reason our way around the evidence of
infidelity
before us. Dayo was out supervising work on the
house we
had acquired. Before he could get home I had
packed my
things and moved into another room. When he
returned
home and I confronted him with the note, he
vehemently
denied knowledge of it. To me his denial of having
no
knowledge of the note seemed quite genuine. He
was mad
with me for even entertaining the thought that he
could
cheat on me. My heart was in tatters, I did not know
what
to do or believe. I had never been cheated on
before.
Dayo was my first love. To save our marriage, Dayo
brought the matter to the knowledge of his family
members and mine. His efforts to save our marriage
were
impressive but the problem was that my heart had
fallen
prey to morbid fear and paranoia. I found myself
thinking
every time he was away from me that he was with
another
woman. To drive home my plight, my mind daily
tethered
on the fringes of hysteria.
Slowly I started denying him s-x occasionally and
began to
starve him at home. Before long the love I had in my
heart
for him was replaced with bitterness and disregard.
Fear
completely ate me up and I fell into darkness. To
save our
marriage I began to read his e-mails and went
through his
phone to prove to myself that he was not cheating
on me,
however the more I dug into his life, the more I
found
clues that perhaps there was another woman
somewhere
sleeping with my husband when he was not at
home.
When my heart could not take it anymore, I packed
my
stuffs and moved out of his house. He fought like a
bull to
keep me from leaving him, he cried, swore and even
threatened to commit suicide, but my heart was no
longer
with him. Living with him was driving me insane.
After I
left him, almost every night I cried myself to sleep. I
would
wake up in the morning and found my pillow wet.
Many
times I thought that I gave up too easily and
abandoned
what mattered the most to me. But I was too afraid
of
Dayo dumping me in the long run, so I slipped into
my old
self who perfected the art of rejecting men’s
advances and
cried about it all night long.
A month after I moved out of Dayo’s house I found
out I
was pregnant, so I called his mother and told her.
She
must have told Dayo, because he did everything he
could
to see me but I refused to see him, even though I
cried
about that. When I made up my mind to leave his
house, I
convinced my superiors at work to move me to
another
branch of the company both of us worked for. My
request
was swiftly considered given the good relationship I
enjoyed with my bosses. So for Dayo to see me was
difficult, and I made sure it stayed that way for long.
I
wasn’t sure if what I was doing was right. Everyone
told me
I was being stupid, including my parents. My father
was
particularly angry with me for throwing my marriage
away.
On several occasions he called demanding I move
back to
my husband’s house. Each time I tried to explain
my plight
to him he would shut me up, yelling at me. My
Mother
summoned meetings to get me to move back to
Dayo’s
house, but I wouldn’t budge. After some time, it
seemed
everyone cut me a slack and allowed me to follow
my way.
Even Dayo who called me off-the-hook, strangely
went
silent. The only person who stayed in touch with me
was
Dayo’s mum. She continued to treat me as though I
had
not left her son’s house. She was exceptionally nice
to me
and that made me feel guilty.
Things further deteriorated about the eighth month
of my
pregnancy. Dayo’s mother had called to know how I
was
doing; as usual I was in tears. She decided to drive
down
to my house to see me. I had not let any of Dayo’s
relative
know where I was living. However, because of how
much
Dayo’s mum cared for me, I sent my address to her.
About
an hour later she was in my house. She didn’t like
the way
I looked. Living alone I had to do everything for
myself.
That evening, I had not much to eat and was too
tired to
fix a meal for myself. Dayo’s mother offered to cook
for
my, but on a second thought she decided to go buy
me
food. About a minute after she left my living room, I
heard
a loud cry at the staircase. It was Dayo’s mum. I
ran out in
panic, clutching my protruding tummy. The sight I
met at
the base of the staircase was shocking; Dayo’s
mother was
lying still on the floor with a bloody gash on her
head. She
must her slipped off the staircase. I began to shout
as
loudly as I could, calling for help. Thankfully my
neighbours were already on the way to the
staircase, they
had heard my mother in-law’s cry. She was lifted
quickly
and driven off to a hospital. I ran back into my
apartment
and dialed Dayo’s number. I did not believe I would
call
him for any reason, but that was what I did in that
situation. Sadly his phone was off. I had to call his
sister,
Shola and told her what had happened.
By 10: pm in the night, doctors gave us a terrible
news.
Dayo’s mother had gone into coma; her head had
taken a
terrible hit when she tumbled on the staircase.
Strangely,
late into the night there was still no sign of Dayo.
Everyone
was at the hospital including my parents but Dayo
was
nowhere to be seen. I had to pull Shola aside and
asked
her why Dayo was not in the hospital. She was
angry with
me as was everyone. I was blamed for what
happened to
my mother in-law. They all believed that if I had
agreed to
return to my husband’s house, my mother in-law
would
not have slipped on the staircase. Judging by
Shola’s
mood, it seemed to me she was going to beat me
up. I
could tell she was having a hard time controlling her
anger. Possibly to let me realize how selfish I had
been,
Shola decided to tell me what everyone had agreed
not to
let me in on, “Runaway-wife, when you came into
our
family we thought it was for good, but as it is, when
you
came death was following behind you. If you care to
know,
Dayo has been lying sick for three months at the
hospital.
He has colon cancer. The way things are; he is not
going to
survive it.” I still can’t explain what happened next.
All I
remember was going down in a heap as my head
went
blank.
The next day I woke up in a hospital bed, crying to
see
Dayo. Everyone in the room sighed, and I could
understand why they did so. It was already late. My
failure
to forgive what actually never happened had ruined
my
marriage and the relationship I had with those in
Dayo’s
family. Nonetheless, I continued to cry, demanding
to be
taken to him. After I had recovered from my shock, I
was
taken to see Dayo at the hospital where he was.
The first
thing he said when he saw me was, “Baby, I did not
cheat
on you, and neither have I known another woman
since
the day we exchanged our marital vows.” My
parents who
had taken me to see him had to steady me. I
seemed to
totter at the sight of the gawky figure which lay on
the bed.
In just three months cancer had eaten up my love
and left
him looking like a retroviral patient. All I could say
amid
tears, as I sat next to him was, “I am sorry. I
believe you,
please forgive my stupidity.” Raising his frail hand
he ran it
on my big tummy and asked, “How is the baby?” I
could
not say a word, hot tears were gushing from my
eyes as
guilt stabbed at my heart.
In the weeks that followed, I moved back to Dayo’s
house.
I was eager to make the brief moment we had to
spend
together the most memorable ones we had spent. I
had to
go apologize to Dayo’s father and siblings for my
failure to
forgive Dayo a wrong which he consistently
confessed he
did not do. His father was quick to forgive me, but
his
siblings dragged their feet. They believed I had
ruined
their family. While I was on knees crying to be
forgiven my
phone rang, it was Esther. We worked together back
when
I worked at the same branch with Dayo. At first I
ignored
her call, but when she persisted, I had to take the
call
meaning to ask her to call me back later, but what
followed was unbelievable. I heard Esther crying and
asking me to forgive her over the phone. She
wanted to
see me immediately. When I asked her what I had to
forgive her for she said she was the one who
planted the
note which broke my marriage with Dayo and had
sent the
suspicious e-mails I read.
I was so deeply hurt that I went into labour in that
moment. Dayo’s father and siblings could not figure
out
why I cried the way I did. At first they thought that
Dayo
had passed on. Shola had to pick my phone which I
flung
in her direction to find out whom I spoke with over
the
phone and what he or she might have told me. After
I had
successfully delivered my baby, Shola gave me the
full gist
of what she had found out from Esther. Esther
happened
to have had a crush on Dayo, and had hope of
nailing him
down until I took him away. Determined to win him
for
herself, she went to work to destroy my marriage.
All
these were strange to me, I had heard stories of
women
stealing other women’s husbands, but I was too
naïve to
believe any of it. I believed that men leave their
wives
because they want to. When I mentioned Esther’s
confession to Dayo, he didn’t speak a word for over
thirty
minutes. He simply turned on his bed and faced the
wall.
It turned out that after I moved out of his house,
Esther
began to pester him to let her move into his house
so she
could take care of him. It hurt Dayo so much
because he
did not make the connection when Esther pestered
him
and threw herself at him at every chance she got.
She had
to confess what she did because a native doctor
had told
her that if she did not, she would never get married
(I do
not believe this was the reason she confessed. She
confessed only because she saw that Dayo was as
good as
dead. Perhaps guilty conscience wouldn’t let her
move on).
However the thought of Esther visiting a native
doctor for
whatever reason scared the living day out of me.
Back
where I come from I did not hear of such. I saw
girls flaunt
their bodies to catch the men they wanted, but did
not
hear of any visiting native doctors.
In all, I learnt that I was naïve about love and life.
Dreaming about love did not mean I knew jack
about it.
Right under my nose, a fellow woman took my
marriage
and smashed it on the floor. You can dream about
love all
you want, if you do not work your fingers sore and
learn
how to love and keep your man, you might lose him
to
those who want him more than you do. On the other
hand, the birth of my son seemed to give Dayo a lot
more
reason to fight and live. He did not survive the
cancer, but
he lived long enough to see his son say, “Dada.” My
mother in-law woke from coma about a month and
two
weeks after I had my son. She still treats me like an
angel
in spite of my folly. I still regret my stupidity. I
should have
believed Dayo when he swore to me that he knew
nothing
about that note. Cancer may have killed him
anyway, but
we would have lived happily all those months I left
him.
Maybe…just maybe my love would have stopped the
cancer. Someday I might get the chance to love
again, and
even if I catch my man pants down with another
woman, I
won’t throw him away, until I have heard the whole
story.
The above story was narrated by Angela Ighalo
(actual
name withheld)
THE END
By Olubunmi