By Yetunde Arebi
After almost 30 years of a very turbulent and abusive marriage which produced five children; Lydia, still under 50 years, decided that she’d had enough. With all her children now old enough to care for themselves (two already graduated), it was time she concentrated on herself and spend the rest of her years in peace of mind and body. Though she’d always had a good job and could fend for herself and the kids if push came to shove, their welfare and happiness had always been her excuse for clinging on to her unhappy marriage, when family and friends suggests that she saves herself and end the relationship.
Now as a deputy director in a juicy Civil Service job, she no longer fancied the idea of wearing ridiculous sunshades to work to cover her swollen eyes from her husband’s punches, nor come up with fabulous stories of missing her steps on the staircase and tripping, or wearing long sleeved tops for several weeks to allow the bruises from the beatings heal. She’d always longed to be like some of her friends and colleagues who enjoy beautiful relationships with their spouses and even those who are single, full of life and enjoying it to the fullest.
With God’s grace, she still had ample time on her hands to enjoy the rest of her life too without the children getting hurt in the process. Besides, she’d already secured their consent and they too have began enjoying the benefits of another life outside the domineering and oppressive one with their father. She’d always known that the only solution was moving into her own house and this she’d pursued for some time. Now done, there was no stopping her. She just wants to be free and not necessarily to seek another relationship.
Only one member of the family is not happy with recent development and has not been hiding it. Vincent has been literarily climbing the roof tops and combing the valleys to tell whoever cares to listen to him that his ‘ashawo’ wife had finally garnered enough courage to show her true colours. He’d identified some of these vices in her character ever since he met and has been curbing them, which unfortunately earned him the bad reputation of an abusive man. Now that they are comfortable and should be enjoying their ‘commonwealth’, she was trying to deprive him of his investments.
If he’d left her to her herself all these years, it would have been impossible for her to get to the top of her career. As if these character assassination was not enough, Vincent has now taken his ‘spoil her at all cost’ campaign to a new level. “She was never a good cook”, he announced recently while talking to a group of friends at a party. “She can only cook regular conventional foods, nothing special that would make a man want to return home quickly after work”. Later, he was overheard telling a couple of guys at the same party that his estranged wife had no skills in bed. “She is not good in bed.
Most of the time, I have to coax (hmm!) her into it before she would accept me. Even after that, she will just lay there like a log of wood. I know how I have been managing her. Who can manage her like that. She thinks being out there is child’s play?” The latest gist we have heard is that Lydia is finished as a woman and cannot be of any good to any man who want to marry her.
Shoo!! How is this possible, I asked? By what standard can a woman or even a man be declared as finished to the opposite sex? Is it that she is no longer a woman and her sexual organs have been removed or no longer functioning? Even if that were to be the case, is sex the only basis for a successful relationship? What has happened to companionship, happiness, trust and peace of mind and body? In fact, how much sex can a married couple have in a lifetime that will warrant so much attention on this woman’s sexual ability?
There is no doubt that separation is very painful, no matter the type of relationship involved. It is even more intense when it is a documented and socially binding relationship such as marriage, especially in this parts. The one being left behind will feel the pain more because he/she is not prepared for it. But it is definitely not enough to call each other names or try to paint the other person in unpleasant colours just to vilify them. Though relationships are struck by mutual consent, it is not all the time that parting will be so.
However, we must realise that it is near impossible to keep a partner in a relationship they do not want to be in. Besides, if you love or want something so dearly, why treat it so badly in the first instance? Though we have no control over the emotions and actions of another person, we have over ours, and by showing that our partners are special and important to us, we are inadvertently telling them and showing them how important and loved they are. It is rare to find someone walk out of a very good relationship that they are happy in and enjoying.
After the marriage contract papers have been signed, It is easy for couples to begin to take each other for granted. In most instances, the one who thinks he/she has the upper hand in the relationship often tend to think that they own their partners and can get away with most things they do. Men are usually more guilty of this, as can be deduced in the case of Vincent and Lydia. That your partner is bearing all your excesses and shortcomings in silence does not mean that they are enjoying them or cannot fight back if need be. Like Lydia, they might just be waiting for the right time to do so.
Of delayed flights and empty seats
I think it is high time those responsible for our aviation industry take the issue of delayed flights more seriously. Things are just becoming more ridiculous by the day. Little wonder why those who can afford it now opt to owning their own jets and helicopters. The frequency at which flights are delayed or cancelled, and the lack of sensitivity to the plight of passengers has reached a worrisome level. The sad thing is that this practice cuts across all the airlines. I am very loyal friend until you give me reason to doubt you.
I can’t remember why I crossed to Arik airline now, but I was with them until mid last year when they failed to pay their taxes and they were grounded. I was forced to spend another night in Abuja when the earliest available flight to Lagos I could find was for 5.00pm. I don’t do local night flights for any reason. Till date, I have not heard from my agent that my money has been refunded by Arik which I have refused to board ever since.
I assumed that Dana airline, after resurrecting from the mishap would have put its acts together, better, so I switched. I got the most deadly blow sometime in October when an 11.30 am flight was delayed till 6.00pm. No adequate information was given. Request to retrieve my checked in luggage was turned down and at the end of the day, we got a tight lipped apology. It was as if they assumed we would understand and accept whatever treatment meted out to us. And we did. Some of the passengers were even making up excuses for them as if they had something to gain from the advocacy.
It was so annoying for me because I was forced to take a ridiculously overpriced lunch at one of the cafes when the rumbling in my stomach became unbearable. Though, I can’t remember clearly now, I think some passengers were later offered drinks when Dana management realised that they were crossing the line of mortally expected patience.
Once again, I dropped Dana and pitched my tent with Medview. Last Sunday, Medview gave me a dose of their own bitter pill. Not that they have not done it before, but this time, it got me on the wrong side. Even though I had an overnight bag, the plan was to return to Lagos later in the evening. The information I had was that the flight was for 9.00am and so, I was at the airport for 8.30am, only to discover that it was actually a 10.00 flight that was bought for me. Since my appointment was for 12noon, I was sure everything was still in order.
Alas! A few minutes to 10.00, they announced that the flight would be delayed for 45 minutes. Immediately, my anger level shot from zero to 90. I knew that the delay game had began and I refused to have any part of it. I made my way back to the stand of WAKANOW.com and began negotiating another ticket for any available flight while the Medview ticket should be rescheduled for my journey back to Lagos.
We were still at it when another announcement went off that boarding had commenced on Medview Lagos to Abuja. I checked my ticket and it was not my flight number. The attendant then informed me that there was an 8.00am flight that had been delayed. My own flight would leave after that. Unbelievable! I stumped all the way to the Med-view counter to confirm what I’d just heard and to insist that they find a solution to my problem. I was advised to go to the boarding gate where the man checking passengers in will attend to me. There, I met a few passengers with whom we’d been at the airport since 8.30. After boarding all the original passengers for the flight, a few of us were boarded and the others told to wait for their flight because the flight was full.
I went into all this because after all these physically and emotionally draining exercise, the plane was not full after all. Together with an elderly lady whom we’d been allowed to board, we counted a total of 35 seats empty. Yet, many passengers were begging to be boarded. The vacant seats might have plausible explanations in aviation operations, but it made no sense to us. Economically, Med-view lost over 30 passengers which could have been boarded on that flight to make space for more passengers on the next one. In terms of customer relations, they did poorly in convincing some of us that this is not what they do all the time to passengers. Perhaps owners of Med-view and their shareholders will pay more attention to what is going on with their operations.