By Bunmi Sofola
If most men could see into the future, beyond the passion that usually grips them at the sight of a possible affair, would they take a second wife? Wunmi, a bright young spark was in her teens when her dad started sending her to Teresa, a 21-year-old she called a bag of bones. She became a regular visitor to my place whenever she wanted to watch her favourite TV programmes in peace.
Her parents were always rowing, mostly over her dad’s current bit-on-the-side. “Dad has always had a roving eye”, Wunmi had confided. `As far as I knew, he was cheating on mum when mum was even skinny and fashionable. She still is trendy, only she’s plump”. I assured her that what I saw and knew of her mother still put her way ahead in the beauty department, Wunmi just shrugged. “Dad has always taken her for granted”, she continued with her moan. “He’d even left her a few times to pursue his latest find only for the girl to dump him for greener pastures.
“When I was in secondary school and at the boarding house, rumours abound about dad’s carrying-ons. He was a public figure and some of the pupils knew of his escapades and whispered and giggled behind my back, some told me to my face who my dad was currently going out with – often with someone else’s mum! Things got so frustrating once that I beat one of my tormentors to the point that my mother was hauled up to the school to be told that I was uncontrollable and was suspended for a week. My mother looked so hurt and forlorn that I couldn’t tell her why I’d resorted to violence.
“To add insult to injury, my dad gave me a sharp slap when he got home from work. Mum had told him about my behaviour, but she was alarmed at dad’s reaction. She told him off and said she was sure that whatever reasons I’d had were probably good ones. But Mr. Goody-Goody told me nothing justified resorting to physical violence and slapped me again! He really had a way of showing by example.
It was then my hatred of him took a nasty turn. He might be my dad, but as far as my mum was concerned, I believed she should get rid of him. All he had ever done was destroy her confidence. And, in all honesty, he hadn’t been much of a father to us three children. Most times, he would come to the house looking like a drilling officer, and most of the evenings, he always spent away from home, sneaking in when we were all asleep.
“What do women see in him anyway? I often looked at his beer belly and skinny legs and couldn’t help wondering why mum even bothered with him. She was still an attractive woman and I was sure that out there, somewhere, was a decent man who would love her for who she was. Instead, she complained all the time of putting on weight and getting flabby. Whenever I snorted at her harsh criticism of herself, and told her she looked ok, she always told me: `It’s because you’re looking at me as your mother and not as another woman, what you see as comforting bumps, others see as spare tyres and blubber’.
“This was all dad’s fault – if he hadn’t been such a chronic womaniser, a serial shagger, mum would never have worried about things like spare tyres, she even blamed herself for dad’s roving eyes, saying maybe he wouldn’t have looked at other women, if she hadn’t been so fat!” When next Wunmi came to my house a few years later, looking as if the world had come to an end, I feared the worst.
“Bag-of-bones is pregnant!”, she spat, and this time, dad had installed her in a flat as a second wife and did the native wedding. Mum didn’t know until it was all over, but I was amazed at her reaction. Instead of looking hurt, she said she was going ahead with her diet. She stopped enticing dad with mouth-watering meals and concentrated on her business and her children.
Months later, Wunmi had twin half brothers but said as far as she was concerned, they were no blood relations of hers. Wunmi was at the university by then, and when she graduated, she landed a good job, started dating herself. “But when I look at how nice the men I meet are, I can’t help wondering if they wouldn’t turn into the monster my dad has become in future”. I asked her to take each day as it came. That whatever bad memories she thought her mother had, there must be very good ones for her to have had three healthy children by him. No one can predict the future. Skirt-chasing men have become good fathers and taken to paternal responsibilities, while seemingly predictable men have turned into ogres their wives would have happily shot if they could get away with such crime.
“Then it happened. Wunmi’s dad started staying home more often but Wunmi had fled the nest by then. Whenever she phoned home, her mother filled her in on how attention he’d suddenly become and how he was planing on both of them going on holidays instead of the separate ones they’d had for years. I smelt a rat. I made some discreet inquiries and found out that bag-of-bones had met a rich trader and jettisoned dad. Not only that, the new money bag in her life didn’t want to be a step father. When I later visited my aunt and saw the boys, my heart went out to them. They looked nothing like my dad – nor their mum. But it wasn’t in my place to say.
“My aunt confided in me that dad was hoping to talk mum into taking the twins. To do what with them? Their mother had not only brought a rift to an otherwise happy home, she was having the time of her life with a new-found lover. Why should it be mum that was always expected to make the sacrifices? This time though, she put her foot down. She’d already raised all her kids and didn’t particularly relish the idea of a second-chance motherhood. The only compromise she made was that the twin could visit whenever they felt like. Afterall, it wasn’t their fault that their parents had turned out to be the butt of all jokes amongst their friends.
“I still resent the way dad handled things. He’s now older and wiser but not all that close to his older children. In his sober moments, would he wonder if his wild flings were worth the resigned man he now is? Was he the only man to have an affair that he had to marry an opportunist? Now that mum has her husband back, albeit as damaged good, what kind of relationship will they have?”
What you see is what you get (Humour)
A man happened to pass an old antique shop and on the spur of the moment popped inside to have a look around. On one of the top shelves, he saw an old pair of glasses and as he reached up to take them, the owner approached: “Ah, I see you’re interested in the spectacles”, he remarked. “In fact they’re very special glasses because when you look through them, you see everyone naked”. “Get away!”, laughed the man, “that’s hard to believe”. “Try them on Sir, and you will see for yourself”,. So the man did, and gasped with amazement. There was the owner standing there completely naked and as he looked out of the window, all the passers-by were naked as well. “I’ll have them!”, he said, no matter what the cost”.
So, having purchased the unique spectacles, the man decide to go home and show his wife what he had bought, before going back to work. He arrived home, entered the house, put on the glasses and walked into the front room. Sitting on the sofa was his wife and Mr. Brown from next door, both of them completely naked. “Hello, it’s me!”, he said, taking off the glasses. But the couple on the sofa remained naked. “On no!” complained the man, “N50,000 I paid for these and they’re knackered already!”