By Yetunde Arebi
Infidelity in relationships is an age long social vice; otherwise, God would not have included covetousness in the Ten Commandments. The adrenalin pumping excitement and power derived from this act of betrayal, oftentimes, crumbles into shame and pain when their hitherto partners discover their secrets. For the betrayed, their reaction will depend a lot on their general state of health and mind. While some partners are able to forgive, work things out and revamp their relationships, some others may resign to fate and move on to other relationships. However, there are some who may not be able to do either of the two, believing that their hearts can not be mended unless they take their pound of flesh in their own way. The story you are about to read happened over 30 years ago in one of the Ijebu towns in Ogun State. An extra marital affair between two people left a trail of death, pain, anguish and bad memories too deep to shake up. Rafiu, (52), narrates the story of how his family’s fortune and fate took a dramatic turn when his father fell in love with another man’s wife. He says though infidelity is now so high in the society, it appears people are now more tolerant of the shameful act. His story begins below. Happy reading!
THERE was nothing anyone could do about it. The family was polygamous. In fact, prior to his meeting this woman, we used to marvel at our father’s lack of interest in taking another wife.
However, no one expected him to pick such a woman. My parents were not even literate. They were petty traders and were just lucky to be able to make ends meet. So, what could he possibly want with this kind of woman, or what would the woman want with my father?
Anyway, this woman was brought in and everything changed immediately. She was given preferential treatment at everything. They attended parties together and my father lavished her with gifts and attention.He was love struck and remained in this hazy condition until he died suddenly three months after. He had returned from the market one evening and complained of a fever and headache.
Local herbal medications were prepared and administered but rather than relief, the fever got worse and he died in the early hours of the morning. He was buried according to Islamic rites amidst wailing, crying and swearing.
After all the ceremonies had been completed and the mourning period for his wives fulfilled, a meeting was called to determine what would become of his estate. These included the wives and property. Initially, the woman declined to remarry in the family saying that since she did not have a child for my father, she could still find someone of her choice elsewhere.
My mother on the other hand agreed to the family proposal and she was given to one of my father’s cousins in marriage. However, about three weeks after she turned down the proposal, this woman announced that she had changed her mind and was ready to remain in the family. We later learnt that it was my aunt that was behind the change of plans. The reason being that the house my father left behind will be managed by the men who marry the wives. It was now clear that the woman had married my father because he owned a house while her husband did not.
If she could not have a child for my father, she could still do so with whoever they give her to and still have a claim in my father’s property.
However, no sooner had this woman declared her intentions to the family, trouble broke out.
My father’s cousin who had earlier expressed desire to marry my mother made a U-turn instantly and told everyone he now wanted the woman. Two other members of the family were also interested in this woman and it became a keenly contested battle.
At the end, it was decided that my father’s cousin being the eldest of the three men should have the woman while the next to him should have my mother. This was the way that fate played its part in the lives of these men.
Not quite four months after, my father’s cousin too passed away mysteriously. He had gone to the farm and did not return home one night.
A search party went after him the next day and they discovered him lying under a tree. It was unexplainable as there had been rain storm or wind strong enough to cause a tree to fall. So, how had it happened? No one could tell.
He had lost so much blood and only God knows what else had happened to him lying there all alone by himself. He died a few days after, leaving behind six children and two wives.
The younger of the wives who was my step-mother still did not have a child for him. The man was promptly buried, the rites performed and the mourning period observed.
On the day of the family meeting to decide their fate, my step-mother willingly allowed herself to be signed off to any interested member of the family. Her reasoning being that she was so devastated and sad over what had happened and therefore ready to abide by whatever the family decided.
She would not own up to the fact that having lost two husbands in quick succession, the community would soon start suspecting her of being responsible.
However, the greedy lustful men contested again and she was promptly taken over by another cousin of my father’s. He was a younger man, closer to her age and everyone was optimistic that finally, they could settle down to a good life and bear children together.
Unfortunately, this was not to be again as the man went out to sea one day and never returned. Their boat had capsized at sea and though he was a very good swimmer, he alone did not make it back to shore.
The loss was too much to bear and it was decided that this time around, they will investigate the cause of these deaths.
The oracles were consulted and it was disclosed that the woman’s husband was responsible for all the deaths. He had been very bitter about the way my father had snatched his wife, even after he had forced himself to go and plead with him to leave her alone if only for the sake of his children.
In his rage, he employed the efficacy of some juju to avenge the wrong done to him. He had been assured that the woman would return to him after my father’s death. However, to his greatest shock another member of the family took her over. Thus, he placed a curse on her that any member of our family who sleeps with her must die.
He was not angry with his wayward wife but with our men for not being able to resist her.
The woman was finally allowed to leave after causing the death of three, able bodied men from one family. Such is the end result of greed, lack of contentment and self control, on the part of all involved.
This woman left our town for some other place after this and did not return for a very long time. Incidentally, she also did not return to her husband and children. Her husband did not have a successful married life too. No woman in town wanted to marry him after what he’d allegedly done to our family.
He got married twice to some strangers but they each left him after a few years and even went away with the children they had for him. He died of mysterious circumstances a couple of years ago too. I believe that this incident left unforgettable memories in my mind as much as it did for a lot of young men in my family. For me, no matter how beautiful or irresistible the lady is, once she is married, she becomes taboo for me. I marvel when I see young men run after married woman. It’s like playing with fire.
Even if you are not caught, your conscience should judge you if you are doing the right thing.