It was exactly 1 am in Lagos, and the night was stillborn. I was having the worst day of my life as my favorite club Liverpool had so dramatically lost the 2018 Champions league trophy to Real Madrid yesterday, all thanks to Karius and of course Sergio Ramos who tactically dismembered our star-man Mohamed Salah to clench a smooth oppression. It had rained heavily shortly after the match-for about two hours-I guess even the heavens smelt fowl-play and decided to cry for Liverpool.
The roads were flooded with heavenly tears, but it obviously had not prevented angry Liverpool fans from finding their way home so quickly. I was walking alone, wondering what had made the night so lifeless, even after a big match-day like the UEFA champions league final, and also since they say Lagos never sleeps. Suddenly I began to hear rushing footsteps…
My heart fluttered instantly, but the real-man in me stabilized the pounding… I braced my morale, and looked on.
Few seconds later I heard some heavy breathing from a close distance. I hid myself behind an abandoned Danfo bus and narrowed my vision towards that direction, using the reflected rays from the towering street lamps that stood like some guardian angels. I saw a huge Shadow approaching me. My heart jumped out through my mouth-how on earth could whoever or whatever it may be, had figured me out-from my obscured position. I concluded; my days on this cruel world was up eventually. What do I have to lose anyways, since I have neither married nor had my own kids. Well, just my mother and only sister whom I would miss so dearly. I steadied my breathing-‘let the worst come’ I reassured myself, bidding my time, calculating the footsteps of the approaching shadow and waiting for whatever may happen next…
The silhouette suddenly transformed into a heavily pregnant woman. A dozen thoughts ran through my head. The transformation was so whimsical that I didn’t know if I should feel relieved or more scared-she was running as though for dear life… I followed her point of view as she looked behind intermittently to see whoever or whatsoever was pursuing her, (But I sooner found there was no one in pursuit).
Even so, she seemed to be running away from something. She slowed down at some point– Looked back– No one was coming– She was breathing so hard–she then lowered upon a hip of gravel obviously meant for a nearby construction site, and then slowly rested her posterior on the gravels…
Gradually, her heavy breathing stabilized. Suppressing my riveting impulse to flee to safety, I ambled hesitantly toward her, observing her closely and carefully as they would generally advise of anyone in Lagos. My heart hit my chest painfully. As soon as I was close enough, I tried to act like a security guard… but before I could utter a single query, there was a sudden power interruption… (As in total darkness).
Anyone who has lived or been to any part of Nigeria would certainly understand what I mean, and considering my current circumstances, it was share mischief. How could they black-out on me at this very crucial moment? All I expected at the point was for some wild or mystic creature to pounce on me, or rather for this mysterious woman who might be some sort of blood sucking demon to either rip me apart or suck my blood to dryness… (But neither of these hideous things happened to me).
Suddenly I heard a soft voice from within the darkness… It was the woman’s.
“Wondering what a heavily pregnant woman like me is doing on the street by this time of the night I suppose? You wouldn’t pity me if I told you who I am or what I’ve done.” She spoke in Yoruba, and I understood her very well. “I have done what no one has ever contemplated, and my sins have caught up with me… Don’t pity me! I don’t deserve your pity… ”
I was shaken by these words, and just in time, power was restored, and I could see her face clearly as she continued, in Yoruba.
“Please, what is the quickest way for a pregnant woman to die?”
Upon hearing this one, I quickly took some steps away from her. See me o. Have they sent her to tempt me or something? She sounded desperate, her voice was shaky, but her will was firm. I couldn’t respond, and so she continued…
“I know you are probably thinking I am a mad woman. No, I’m not. My name is Ose, from Edo. I am married to a man from Imo, but I reside here in Lagos with my husband. I had been married for 15 years with no issue to show for it. The world, for me, was a tinny cottage full of scorpions and vipers… and I was just in the middle of it all, counting time and waiting for the last sting or bite that might knock me out for good. The frustration gradually accrued to the acme as I perceived the cold hands of menopause clawing me gently but yet with a malignant clench. Unfortunately and to my utter dismay, my husband was not so bothered at all by my dilemma.
Things became worse when my husband’s family intensified pressure on him to take a second wife. He complicated the already-bad situation by refusing to their demands, thereby escalating the heat, and everything backfired to me. They instantly laced the whole fabric around my neck alleging that I’d pinned down their son with strong juju, to do my bidding.
My mother-in-law was the most desperate, but I understood her predicament. She was in her late sixties; and according to a popular African belief, seeing your grandchildren before death is a sure ticket to eternal bliss. From all indications, I was going to deny her of what she deserves- for this reason I became her worst enemy. She later upped her game by coming to live with us in the house; and this was the beginning of everything sorrowful. She gave me the kind of blissful married life that I wouldn’t even wish for my worst enemy. Whenever my husband travels out of town, she would throw my things out of my matrimonial bedroom until my husband returns. I kept my cool and made no fuse of anything she did. She continued this way until she had an urgent reason to return home. She really made my life a living hell, to the extent that I contemplated suicide countless times.
Titi (my best friend), suggested that we opt for adoption, but my husband utterly forbade the idea and even threatened to break the marriage if I as much as mentioned the word adoption again. He gave his reasons being that Adopted Children often come from contaminated blood lines; since they are often abandoned children. No normal person would ever leave his/her child for another man to raise, except for prostitutes who must have been impregnated by criminals and never-do-wells.
At this point, Titi again gave me an awkward advice. She told me to consider finding a lover, just for me to conceive… perhaps the problem might have been from my husband all these years. She even told me that it was how she gave birth to her four children– it had been her little secret all these years.
I had never cheated on my husband before; have never contemplated it, ever before, and my husband was indeed a champion in bed… yeah-yeah, of course he sure knows how to hammer and pleasure a woman, well-well… (Lol)… But my dilemma was deeper and darker than a mirage, because I had a very strong feeling that I was just two years away from MENOPAUSE.
For several weeks I slept and thought over it. I was in turmoil; never knew any other man except for my husband. I didn’t know how to find a man who would just sleep with me, get me pregnant, and then walk away without causing troubles.
On the other hand, I thought about God, the bible and the gospel teachings. But my mind was made up already. I have been faithful to both God and my husband for the past 15 years and yet no reward for it. I was fed up already with the whole gospel and morality sermons.
Titi advised me to choose a man I could control so there won’t be complications later. I chose my Housekeeper; a very handsome young man with an amazing personality even in his low status. Bayo was around 23yrs, but he was so matured, reasonable and irresistible. I’d always admired him a lot but kept to my distance.
When I threw my advances at him he at first declined, stating a whole bunch of reasons why it was so wrong for him to see me ‘pantless’. He left me with no option than to coerce him into it. I increased my incentives but threatened to send him back to the village should he decide to turn me down again or raise a fuse about it-oh, the poor boy… I couldn’t stand the look of his innocent face when he undressed me (because I had him do it by himself). When he eventually entered me, it felt like heaven. I swallowed every inch of his creativity, and yet craved for more.
Bayo’s skills took me through cloud-nine, down memory-lane. When I was younger, I was addicted to porn and often fantasized about being handled by Pros — he made my dreams come true. He was so good that he soon wiped the memories of my husband’s magic touch from my lustful mind. I lost control of myself; I brought him into my matrimonial bed during the day (while my husband has gone to work), and would sneak out of bed into his arms most of the nights. We constantly had unprotected sex for two straight months and I almost forgot the main reason why it had all began in the first place… I actually started enjoying my unholy relationship with him.
As the second month passed, I began to notice changes in my body. I later found out from diagnosis that I was already two months pregnant (I couldn’t believe it). Titi was the first to hear my testimony, even before my husband. She was so excited, but curious to know and meet the miracle worker. After much persuasion I let the cat out of the bag; at once she became very mad at me. She advised me again to dispose of him (as in find some way of killing him), her reasons were that the boy was a very risky loose-end for me to keep since he was an insider and might somehow find out that I had his child later in the future.
I dauntlessly tried on several occasions to poison Bayo but something held me back. I soon found out I was in love with him. Once more I sort Titi’s opinion. She offered to assist me with a “permanent” solution. I didn’t know what she meant, but I accepted with ‘thanks’. The next morning, two Assassins came to the house in form of armed robbers and made away with my Husband’s jeep. They also shot Bayo thrice, in the process… Bayo died moments later, as three of the bullets sank through his chest.
I was not happy. I definitely did not ask her to kill the innocent boy. I should have understood her undertone when she used the word “permanent”. I’d assumed she was going to kind of kidnap him and possibly coerce him to exile or something else of that nature… in fact she actually said she was going to whisk him away to exile for good. I had no idea the kind of exiling she meant. This made me brake my relationship with Titilayo from that very day, but I neither told my husband what happened between myself, Titi and Bayo nor what even led to his death.
I noticed that my husband was so aggrieved about Bayo’s death but I didn’t bother asking why. One early morning, I was in the 7th month of my pregnancy, my husband woke me up. He looked very disturbed and depressed. I asked him what the matter is, but he knelt down before me and said that he had a big confession to make.
“Honey I am so sorry, I have not been telling you the truth all these years”
I was confused… what truth is he talking about? I became curious… (Could it be that I am not the only one with a red skeleton in her cupboard?). At that point, he began his confession.
“Baby, many years ago I lived a very rough life in the university. I had contracted an STD and was too ashamed to go to the hospital. I opted for a local concoction instead, but later when I left the university, I had some medical complications… The untreated virus had already damaged my testicles and rendered me impotent forever. ”
“What! Honey?” I couldn’t contain my shock! But knowing what I had already committed, I didn’t know how best to act like I had been deceived… My husband calmed me down… he had another confession.
“Baby, please forgive me… ” he’d continued, “I didn’t know how to tell you all these years. But earlier before the infection, I had a girlfriend in school who had gotten pregnant for me. I had given her money to abort the fetus but she’d bluntly refused. I broke the relationship afterwards, but nine months later she brought a baby boy to my mother during the long vacation. I couldn’t reject the baby this time, and so my parents accepted to take the responsibility while I completed my schooling. It was the same girl that gave me the STD, but she died few years later as a result of other medical complications.”
At this point I felt my husband was drifting away from his confession, as I was not interested in what happened to the woman who got pregnant for him. I was only concerned about the wellbeing of the boy, so I asked him;
“Honey, don’t worry… I forgive you. But how is this boy now and where has he been all these years?”
My Husband paused for a very long while… moments later he drew a very long breathe, and then continued his narration.
“Honey, he has been living with us. He was Bayo our house boy… I didn’t want you to know his true identity. I was afraid you might maltreat him or even kill him like most women do to children who’re born into their matrimonial homes from another woman. I wanted to protect him since I wasn’t going to be able to get a woman pregnant in my lifetime again… ” and then he began to cry like a baby.
I froze to the spot. I didn’t know what to say or do anymore. Then to crown it all, my husband said;
“Dear, Please. I am not angry with you. I knew all these while that the baby in your womb is not my own. But I was too ashamed to confront you. Now that everything has come to the open, Please tell me, who is the father of our unborn child?”
For hours, I couldn’t say a single word to my husband. I didn’t know how to start my own confession either. How do I possible admit that I really cheated on him repeatedly, under his very nose… and how do I even admit that I did it with his own son? Worst still, how do I possibly tell him that it was my fault that his son is dead?
At this point she paused for a long beat… I waited patiently for her to continue the confession. I was so keen to hear the end of her story (at least her husbands’ reaction to her confession)… But she remained Cold, Silent, and Remorseful.
I knew she still had a lot more to say. I waited patiently for her to regain voice. Moments later she suddenly grabbed my arm and groaned;
“Promise me! Promise me you’d tell the world my story! Promise me!”
I managed to contain my shock and then replied reassuringly;
“I promise. Tell me everything, I will write a book in your name.”
She took a deep breath and then nodded twice. We stared into each other’s face. I wanted to ask her a lot of questions but couldn’t risk working her up. She took her time to narrate the remaining part of her story bit by bit, and I listened very aptly not missing a single fragment.
Her story was quite an intriguing tale. I thought of leaving her for few moments and rushing home to fetch my pen and paper. I just couldn’t afford to miss any detail. On a second thought, I considered convincing her to follow me home so we can be more comfortable. It took me a long while to calm her down and of course win her trust, but after much persuasion she obliged and followed me to my family home. My mother being very emotional, didn’t even bother inquiring about her identity-seeing her with me alone was enough to certify such curiosity-again, considering that she was heavily pregnant (as it is customary in Africa to attend to pregnant women with care and compassion devoid of class or personality (including pregnant mad-women)). After settling through the night, Ose confided in me with her history. I have taken my time to arrange all the details from the very threshold, down to the conclusion.