When love turns sour (2)

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Uba Group

Uba Group

TRUE-LIFE STORIES WITH FUNMILOLA SOTUMINU

AFTER our third child, I noticed that my husband had changed from his usual self. He would go out and come back very late, not bothering about telling me when to expect him. I really did not have a choice other than to bear it all alone without even telling my mother. This was because I had ignored all threats when I insisted that, instead of going to the higher institution, I wanted to go and start a ‘proper’ life with the father of my child.

I couldn’t even tell my mother, who, against all odds, decided to give us all the support we needed to start a life. Deep inside me, I felt it was the usual challenge couples faced in their marriage and that it would soon be a thing of the past. But I was wrong because things got worse.

He left home for about six months and I had to go and tell his people that I didn’t know where he was. His mother was really worried but could not do anything about it.

I was sitting in the compound with the children, one evening, after six months, when he strolled in without a bag. Instead of pouncing on him and asking him where he had been all the while, I simply welcomed him in tears and went in to prepare a good meal for him. That night, we slept together, even though he still did not tell me where he had been.

It was weird but I was not ready to lose my husband for anything in the world, so I refused to also ask. I got pregnant again soon after that. When I told him about it, he was not happy, at first, that we were expecting another child after the three that we already had. He kept on asking me how I thought I was going to take care of all the children.

One night, we were outside after dinner to take fresh air. Suddenly, he stood up and said he wanted to see a friend about three streets away.

I asked if he couldn’t wait till the next day to do that, but he shouted at me and asked if I wanted to start controlling his life with my mother. I was shocked because that was the first time he would mention my mother in that manner. So I left him and went inside. He also went inside to change his clothes and then left. An outing, which I thought was just for a few minutes, actually lasted for five years.

Within the five years, I almost lost my sanity. I ran to my mother; I told her all what I had seen in my husband’s house and she burst into tears. She asked if I had informed his parents and I said yes. His mother had informed other family members, who came to tell me to be patient, that he would eventually return home.

Having said that, my mother told me that all we must do at the time was to make sure that I had enough to take care of the children and myself. She offered to take in my first daughter and her immediate younger brother to ease the burden on me and I was really grateful.

When my uncle, the one I had lived with in Lagos, heard that my husband had abandoned us for about three years, he asked my mother to tell me to see him in Lagos. He was not as harsh as I had expected him to be but he pointed out, in a way that made me cry, that I should have listened to his advice that I should further my education.

His wife gave me words of wisdom and said this was an opportunity for me to find my feet all alone. They also offered to train my third daughter and I was left with my last child.

I sat for the General Certificate Examination and made two more papers to complement my WAEC result. At that time, my uncle’s friend had become the Deputy Governor of our state, so he begged him to help me with a local government job. This was for me to be gainfully employed and also have the time to either study more or do some petty business on the side.

Within two months, I was employed at the local government. I did my job very well, and made sure I also took care of my looks. In no time, I was a very popular figure there. I sold shirts and women’s wears to colleagues and the business boomed. I also joined the cooperative society and rented a big shop from my first collection.

It was a very busy period for me, but I was glad that, within a year, I had a piece of land, close to where we lived. I brought back my first daughter from my mother’s house, so that she could be helping me to supervise the sales girls at the shop during the holidays. I also enrolled as a part time student in the polytechnic.

Somehow, my husband got to know about the improved situation of things and he started looking for us. Of course, we had left the house where he left us when the rent expired. One of his friends, who kept in touch with us while he was away, eventually brought him to where we moved to.

I was on my way from the office when I saw him in front of my neighbour’s house, waiting for us to return. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I asked him what he was looking for and he said us. At that point, I was really mad. I told his friend to tell him to go away or I would call in the police.

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He begged and begged on his behalf but I would not hear them out. That day, I left them there, took some clothes and went to my mother’s house to sleep.

The next day, they came to my mother’s house to beg. After about one month of begging, my mother said he had changed, that I should consider him because of the children. Reluctantly, I let him into my life again. Little did I know I was digging my grave…

To be continued…