The Second Wife – Episode 7
© Onyinyechukwu Mbeledogu
Housing Estate, Woji
Soki checked on her mum in her bedroom. She had thought about Dienye’s proposal during the drive home. In spite of all their flirting, he was still practically a stranger. Although she was attracted to him and had fantasised about him, she knew nothing personal about him besides the fact that he was a kind hearted widower with a good sense of humour.
He was also a good man who really wanted to help. Men like him were rare. But she couldn’t just say yes to him. Marriages should be built on love, trust and friendship. She wasn’t ready for emotional entanglements. She was too young and too inexperienced to be thinking of getting married. She hadn’t even experienced life.
Would she have felt differently if he had made a different kind of proposal? If he had propositioned her, she would most likely have given in to him considering her feelings for him but she was glad he hadn’t. Whatever his reasons, Dienye was prepared to marry her and get her out of Nze’s way. However, he was making it her decision. She would get his help no matter the decision she made. Besides, it wasn’t like Dienye was a random man she had approached for help. He was her friend and she was also friends with two of his siblings.
Like she had figured, she wasn’t getting out of this the same. She had two options open to her: to be an executive whore or the wife of a millionaire she wasn’t in love with. It looked that simple but wasn’t so simple. She would be the biggest fool ever if she accepted Nze’s offer when she had an offer for marriage. Dienye would most likely want them to get married as soon as possible. She would be ‘bought’ for the sum of N5, 870, 000.00. Who in their right minds would part with such a ridiculously high amount just to get a wife? Her parents would never approve of a riverine man for a son-in-law but there was nothing they could do about it. Her Dad had taken that decision out of their hands when he got arrested.
‘Mummy,’ she called to her mother.
Ezinne turned to look at her with dull eyes. One look into those eyes and she knew that she was right in considering Dienye’s proposal.
‘I have good news for you,’ she told her. ‘I have been able to raise the entire money.’
Ezinne sat up on the bed at the news.
‘I found someone who is willing to pay the balance of Daddy’s debt.’
For the first time in six days, there was life in Ezinne’s eyes. ‘Who is it?’
‘You remember Exquisite Hotels, where cousin Dilinna had her wedding reception a few
weeks ago?’ Her mum nodded. ‘I spoke with the CEO today. He happens to be my friend Priye’s elder brother and he promised to help.’
‘Just like that!’ her mum’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. ‘What does he want in return? No one would part with such an amount of money for the sake of someone neither related to him nor sharing his bed.’
‘Nothing mummy,’ Soki replied.
‘Don’t lie to me Nwasoka Achebe. What did he want in return?’
‘He didn’t ask me to go to bed with him, if that’s what you’re asking.’ Soki assured her evasively.
‘Perhaps he is hoping that you would be grateful enough to accept it when he finally asks that of you.’
‘Mr Daniel-Hart is not like that,’ Soki said in Dienye’s defence. ‘He is a good man.’
‘Daniel-Hart,’ her mum repeated. ‘Onye ocha (a Caucasian).’
‘No ma.’ Soki replied. ‘He’s from Bonny-’
‘Onye mba mmili (a riverine man)! Chim o! What did he want in return?’
Ezinne, like her husband, believed that riverine men couldn’t control their sexual urges and thus couldn’t stay faithful to any woman.
‘It is not important, mum. What is important is that daddy will be released tomorrow.’
‘It is not important,’ her mum repeated. ‘Why won’t you tell me what he asked for?’
‘You won’t be happy about it,’ Soki replied.
‘Tell me all the same.’
Soki took a deep breath and let it out.
‘He asked me to marry him.’
‘Tufiakwa,’ her mum spat. ‘You must be joking.’
‘I am not.’
‘I hope you did not accept his proposal? I nukwa udi ndia, okwa so akwa ka I ga na ebe maka na fa ga na ali nwanyi obunna fa fu enu (If you marry people like that, you will constantly be in tears because they would always be cheating on you with other women).
‘Really mum,’ she said exasperatedly. ‘Not every riverine man is a he-goat! Besides you have such men in every tribe, even in our own Onitsha. I haven’t accepted but I intend to do so tomorrow.’
‘You will do no such thing.’
‘I do not have a choice. If we do not have the balance of the money by noon tomorrow, dad would be handed over to the EFCC and his boss assures me that he would also file a civil suit for the outstanding amount and you can be sure that interest would be included. We do not need that kind of publicity.’
‘No, we don’t. But I will not allow you to sacrifice yourself in the process. Ejì m aka na Chukwu ga-enyelụ anyị aka (I am hopeful that God will help us out of this situation).’
‘Perhaps this is God’s way of helping us out,’ Soki told her mum.
‘I don’t think so. You are too young.’
‘O buro ife m cho, ma na uzo akpochigo. (It’s not what I want, but I am out of options).
‘Atokwanum o! (I’m in trouble) Joshua what have you done?’ her mum wailed.
‘Please stop it mum. This isn’t good for your blood pressure. I have found a solution to our problem-’
‘In a tribe known for promiscuity.’
‘That is hearsay, mum. You cannot judge an entire tribe based on the attitude of a few.’
‘I hear you. Chai!’
‘At least his proposal was decent. Nze wanted to have sex with me for 3 years in exchange for the money.’
‘Otolo gbabukwa ya ebe afu,’ her mum swore. ‘Ara na agba ya (He is mad!).’
‘I know this is like being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea but Dienye’s proposal makes a lot of sense.’
‘And you are sure he doesn’t have a wife tucked somewhere. You never know with rich men…’
‘Mum! He was married once but she died a few years ago and no, he didn’t use her for money ritual. He was wealthy before he married her.’
‘And what about his children? Have you thought about that?’
‘He doesn’t have any.’
‘Oho! And you wonder why he is eager to marry a young woman?’
‘Hian! Mummy! This your mind sef.’
‘What? You never know with these men. It isn’t every time that the failure of a woman to conceive is her fault. Sometimes, the fault is from the man who has low sperm count.’
Welcome to sex education 101.
‘I seriously doubt if anything is wrong with him.’
‘Have you had sex with him before?’
‘Of course not,’ she responded, horrified.
‘Then you are not in a position to make a concluding finding.’
‘I do not need to have sex with him to be convinced that his manhood is functioning properly and that he is capable of giving me a child. He is less than 40 years and very much a youth.’
‘Who could have wasted a majority of his sperm as a hyper sexual teenager and young adult.’
Soki shook her head. Her mum was completely ready to discredit Dienye so as not to have him as a son-in-law despite his wanting to help her family.
‘I intend to marry him mum. Love will come later.’
‘That’s what foolish women say to themselves only to find themselves facing divorce or dealing with husbands openly cheating on them.’
‘I don’t think Dienye is like that.’
‘You have met the man a few times and suddenly you think you are an authority on how men behave.’
Soki sighed deeply. ‘It doesn’t matter because I am marrying him. It is either that or dad remains in custody. This is something I must do.’
‘Then once your father and I raise the money, we would secure your freedom from him,’ her mum assured her, knowing when to give up.
‘While incurring other debts, thus defeating the whole aim of my sacrifice,’ Soki reminded her mum. ‘I don’t want you interfering. You and dad would have to get used to having a riverine son-in-law.’
She slept fitfully that night, various thoughts running through her head.
To be continued