I need a plan. I definitely need one. The thing is when I told King to come home, I did it merely on instinct. The need to further protect what I had. The more I thought about it though, I realized I never really had it anyway. The marriage was doomed from the start and I did not really understand my need to save it. Okay now that I’m thinking about it, maybe getting a divorce is not so bad after all. People will gossip for a while and eventually move on to other juicy stories. The last time I felt loved by my so called husband was during our honeymoon. I have been lied to, deceived, raped, wrongly accused and insulted. I really do not see any dramatic change that will suddenly make King and I live happily ever after. I have lived in this illusion long enough and I might as well cut off this so called marriage tie before it drags on longer than this. That was exactly my state of mind when King walked in that Wednesday afternoon.
I was just resting on the sofa watching my favorite television series. I was actually in an excited mood, laughing heartily while watching. I heard the knock on the door and I was still laughing when I opened the door,
“King!” I exclaimed, quite surprised actually even though I knew he was coming. I just stood there mouth agape.
”Are you going to allow me into the house?”
Not realizing I was blocking the entrance, I quickly stepped aside as he walked in and I shut the door. He sauntered into the house looking round like the house was now beneath him. I couldn’t ignore the arrogant vibes and I really did not see the possibility of me standing this whole attitude for the next four days but for now, I could bottle all my feelings. I walked up to him and gave him the hug of a lifetime.
”I missed you baby”, I said. I was quite shocked when he hugged me back. It was like all our problems had melted away and I actually felt mushy all over.He pulled me tighter when I tried to pull away but few seconds later, he finally let me go. “Is there food to eat in this house?’’ “Yes I actually made some soup so let me just make you something to eat with it.” I quickly walked into the kitchen; I needed to gather my thoughts on what next to do so I needed the distance. About an hour later when King was getting up from the dining table, my parents arrived. I was definitely bewildered that both of them will visit me at this time of the day. There was no doubt in my mind that my mum had told dad all about my problems. After declining food, explaining that they just had lunch, dad asked us to sit down that he wanted to discuss with us. I was quite worried that King will think I planned this whole meeting. My worries were put at bay however when my dad mentioned that King had initiated the meeting. My dad started,
“Son, to be candid, I was quite surprised that you called us to your house. I expected you to have the decency to come to my home if you wanted to talk to me. I obliged only because I have recently been made aware of the sensitivity of your marriage and I don’t want to fuel things.’’
“I apologize for not coming sir, sincerely, I did not think it through’’, he said.
“Kingsley, you don’t seem to be thinking a lot of things through. The guts you have to treat my daughter like dirt after lying to us and deceiving us into giving you her hand?’’ My mum rested her hand on his laps trying to calm him down, he was visibly angry. “Esther, I can’t believe you will hide such a thing from us. You simply amaze me’’. I just kept silent not really knowing what to say. I wasn’t too happy with the direction the discussion was heading.
When I heard King speak, I looked up, “With all due respect sir, I will not sit here and be insulted. I am not going to comment on whatever I told your daughter to get her to marry me. That is between two of us. I called you to tell you I am divorcing your daughter and I will also like to return whatever dowry I paid to you.” I was so shocked, my mouth went wide open. Next minute I saw my dad charging at him and giving him punches. He was very angry. I could not even say a word. I was just watching the scene unfold as King was trying to fend off my dad with his hands. I could not handle it anymore. Stop! I screamed at the top of my voice. All three sets of eyes looked at me like I was crazy. “Dad, I want you and mum to leave please. I can handle it from here.” My dad looked like he was set to argue but my mum spoke to him silently and I guessed whatever she told him was enough to change his mind because they immediately left.
I looked up at King sitting silently on the sofa after they left and I had to ask him some questions. In spite of all his lies, there was a sweet part to the man I married and that part was buried beneath all the bitterness.
“I want to ask you some questions and I really need you to answer me sincerely. Is there someone else King?”
“No, there is nobody else.”
“Do you believe that I really had a miscarriage and I never aborted our children?”
“Yes I do, I spoke to our doctor and he told me all about it.”
“Why are you so bitter? Do you think I deserve all these?”
He was silent for a long time and I did not think he was going to answer me. Finally he said,
“I don’t know.”
I had no other questions to ask. For some unimaginable reason, I held no more grudge or bitterness in my heart for my husband. I still loved him and the distance had made it easy for me to forgive all he did. I could not force him to stay married though. So I thanked him and went into my room to lie down. I ended up taking a nap for about two hours.
By the time I came out of my room, I knew my husband was gone. I just felt that emptiness. I knew I was alone in the house. I checked his room and all his cloths were gone. There was nothing left of him. I found a note on the table,
“Sorry I could not wait till Sunday. I think it is better this way.”
I sat down on his bed and cried for all I had lost.
I stood in front of the mirror, looking at my reflection. I barely even recognized myself. I could see the aging lines but the glow in my eyes was unmistakable. It wasn’t from the make up even though that was done to perfection, it was from the joy I felt from within. My happiness truly knew no bounds. My lips were pulled into a smile that I had no control over. I smoothed down my elegant looking long yellow dress, making sure it was not wrinkled and flowed out, just like it was supposed to. I heard the door to my bedroom open behind me and looked up to see my two children, Adaobi and Uchenna walk in. At 21 and 20 years old respectively, Adaobi being the eldest, they looked so matured and had all of their father’s looks. I have always been jealous of that. They looked every inch perfect in their outfits. I smiled at them even more happy.
“You look stunning mum”, Ada said while Uchenna walked forward and gave me a peck on the cheeks. My eyes watered as I hugged him.
”Mum, please don’t start crying, you’ll ruin all the good job that make up artist did”.
”Okay, I will. I am just happy. They’re tears of joy. It has indeed been a journey. I cannot believe I am celebrating my 25 years wedding anniversary with my whole family”.
”We know mum, dad is really blessed to have you”, Adaobi said with smiles on her face. Okay we need to take you out to meet dad and the guests outside. His eyes will definitely pop when he sees you.
As we walked into the compound of our home in Ikoyi, I searched for him with my eyes among the almost 100 guests that had come to celebrate with us and there he was talking to some of his friends. After all these years, King had not lost his touch. He stood tall and proud and as soon as he saw me, he excused himself and began to walk towards me. He now had some grey hair showing. At just over 60 years old, he was definitely looking much younger. Who would believe that King and I would still be married today not to mention celebrating our silver jubilee. He gave me a peck right on the lips and our children mocked us as usual,
”Dad, please stop it already, wait till your wedding night redefined”.We all laughed at that and the master of ceremony invited us to come sit at the front, thereby starting the programme of events. There was so much food and drinks and all of our dearest friends were there. My parents had died few years ago but seeing me so happy later in life was so much fulfillment for them. I looked around at all our friends and family. We had really made so many friends over the years. Adaobi stood up to give a speech and I could not stop the flow of tears,
“Today, my brother and I are so delighted to be celebrating our parent’s marital journey. We have learnt so many lessons of life from them. From my father, I have learnt that it is never too late to get it right. He has spent all of his life since we were born instilling the right values in us. He told us about his mistakes and we know to do better. We have learnt right from wrong because he fathered us right. From our mum, we have learnt the lessons of forgiveness and perseverance. We have learnt not to give up, we have learnt the true meaning of loving even when it is not possible. We are so proud to be their children and watching them as best friends even after 25 years of marriage is such a blessing to our family. Uche and I love you both.”
Even as she ended the speech and the band started to play, my mind drifted back to so long ago when I had thought my marriage was over:
”I remember thinking that King had left my life for good when he packed all his things and left that day but I was wrong, he did not believe he deserved me so he made up his mind to start courting me again and if he could not make me happy within the three months before our divorce proceedings date, then he was going to leave me for good. For the next three months, he sent me flowers, gifts and every kind of romantic gesture I did not expect. He went to beg my family and while my mum was easily forgiving, my dad took 5 years to finally forgive him”. He sent me text messages begging me and telling me he was getting his life on track. His gifts did nothing to melt my heart but knowing he was going to be a better man was enough for me to give him a chance. King refused to go back to school, he claimed his children will have all the education he did not have and that was all he needed. He has proven that by making sure Adaobi had already started her PhD at age 21. He got some government contracts and before I knew it, there was absolutely nothing I needed to spend my money on. As soon as I started having kids, I resigned from my job. King insisted, saying he was going to spend his life taking care of me and I was to spend mine taking care of the kids. Trusting him not to lie was difficult at first, I doubted everything he said, but he never got weary of proving himself to me.”
I felt a tap on my shoulder, my attention was being called. I had totally drifted away from the party, my mind going back to the past. My husband smiled at me, helping me up as we made our way to the make shift dance floor.
“What were you thinking about? King asked as we swayed to the music”.
“Our journey”, was the only answer I could give him and he understood perfectly