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Is all really fair in love and war?

By Yetunde Arebi

At one of my women’s meetings during the Christmas holiday, I was not surprised when the discussion suddenly took a turn away from the agenda and into something rather personal. This often happens at most women’s gatherings. Someone drops an information and then we find ourselves diving into our archives of experiences as we let our hairs down to share and compare notes.

Most call it gossip, but that far from the truth. There are lessons to learn from, shoulders to cry on and hearts full of compassion to encourage and cheer you on at these gatherings most of the time. Of all the stories, I was most fascinated by the account I am sharing with you today. What would you do if after an eleven year courtship, your fiance dumps you for the daughter of his boss?

As a man, what would inform your decision on who to marry should two ladies become pregnant for you at the same time? Everyone was held spellbound as Ronke, poured out her heart. I went home drained of emotions as I marveled at man’s inhumanity to one another. Indeed, love is a battle out there and it might take more than a good heart to win.

“It’s difficult to believe that after 11 years of courtship, I will be raising my child on my own. I have never felt so disappointed in myself or with life like I did when it happened. In fact, up until Remilekun was about three years old, I couldn’t bring myself to really love my child the way I do now.

Each time I looked at her, I saw something of him in her and the hatred and hurt I felt for her father would come rushing back and I just won’t feel like holding her not to mention loving her. I am only too glad that she’s a girl and not a boy. Perhaps, I would have left the child at the hospital had it been a male. Now it’s better for me.

Almost fifteen years have rolled by and I’ve been coping very well with my life. I have a job, a family, my friends and most of all, my lovely daughter who is doing great. So, when I think about it now, all those 11 years were not wasted after all. Without the years, I wouldn’t have had my daughter.

I met Bolu at a literary and debating event. We were both in Senior Secondary, SSS2 and had been part of the teams that represented our schools at events. The relationship did not however begin until we both left Secondary School. Almost everyone thought we were a perfect match.

Though not from the same State, our towns were close. But for boundary demarcations, we could just be from the same place. Though we both lived in Lagos, we were not really Lagos people in the real sense of it. We both lived with relatives in Lagos and had our roots and families firmly planted in our native towns. In other words, it will not be incorrect to say we were in Lagos in pursuit of a better life.

Unfortunately, I never knew that Bolu’s quest for his, would be my downfall. Our love burned like a house on fire. None of our friends who met at about the same time we did, had relationships that lasted as ours, and many used to envy our dedication and devotion to each other.

The relationship continued into our University days. He went to Nsukka while I was in Lagos, but despite the distance, the relationship continued. We would only meet during the holidays. During the period, nothing or no-one could separate us. Not even when we visited our parents back in the villages. We would always plan to go back there at the same time, so we could continue seeing each other.

It was all worked out between us, that we were going to get married eventually. He did date a few girls on the side. At least, I knew about two of his affairs, though he would always deny them fervently. But the knowledge didn’t hurt so badly because it was clear that I was highly preferred and respected above all of them. Besides, I only had eyes for him and wanted nothing else than to eventually be his wife.

After our graduation, I managed to pick a teaching job with the Lagos State Government almost immediately, while he was still searching for the perfect job. In fact, he was also contemplating going for a Masters degree if he did not get his choice job on time. Things were still better in the country than they are now. There was money and though he didn’t ask, I would buy him gifts freely just because I could afford them.

He finally secured a job with a communications outfit in Lagos. It’s one of the well established ones and he had good prospects too. It was only natural that our next project should be making plans towards our wedding. Since he had always insisted that his dream was to be able to provide everything for his wife and children, the first step was to secure an apartment, which we did in Ikeja area of Lagos. I can’t start recounting how much of my own money went into setting up the place, even though he paid for it.

Where do I start from? Is it the plates or cutleries? Name any kitchen utensil you can think of, I bought it. The kitchen is always the major concern of a woman as you must know and I spent a lot on what I assumed would be mine. Despite the fact that my uncle didn’t like my spending the night away from home, he would sometimes allow me to spend the weekend with him since they all knew we were going to get married eventually.

After just a year in the company, mother luck seemed to shine on him and he was made Personal Assistant to the Managing Director. His job profile included travelling outside the state or country and we were overjoyed at this. For me, everything was perfect.

It was in the course of the job that he met the MD’s daughter. This woman is even older than him oh. According to the stories that filtered to me at the time, it was the lady that threw herself at him. Being quite old at that time, she was desperate to hook any stray guy that came her way. Unfortunately, mine caught her attention for whatever reason she had.

She had returned home from England where she’d gone to study, to join her father’s company. The old man was said to be grooming her to take over the company, and so, she was also working directly in his office and under Bolu’s supervision. They must have started sleeping together during the course of working hours or thereabout. And I did not know anything until it was too late.

As fate would have it, I discovered I was pregnant. I was overjoyed because after our “little mistake” during our undergraduate years, I had not experienced such a thing until then. At a point, I had even began regretting our decision but he’d assured me that everything would be alright. So, I was really surprised when I did not see the reaction I was expecting when I broke the news to him one evening.

It was when I told him that I was going to keep the baby since we would be getting married anyway, that I saw that he was really troubled. To me, the pregnancy would only make things happen but he was obviously not as happy as I thought he should be. He seemed scared and confused, mumbled something I could not understand and I did not see him for the next two weeks. I had to go and fish him out of his hide-out, when I couldn’t stand the suspense anymore.

Still, he refused to start making plans towards our wedding like I thought he should. Then, he told me he was not ready for marriage yet and that we must abort the baby and wait a little longer. Over my dead body, I told him and a serious quarrel erupted. And though I was so scared and ashamed to tell my uncle or my parents about the development, I was determined to keep the baby and marry him.

Then one day, he invited me out, together with a close friend of his whom I had known for almost as long as we’d been dating. He then tabled his troubles before me. He told me that he’d met another girl and that the girl was also expecting his child. He said the girl had already informed her parents and they had summoned him for questioning.

He was sorry as he had already given them his consent that he would marry their daughter, and that plans were already on by the family towards the wedding. He said he was sorry he could not go back to inform them that he was no longer interested as the lady was his boss’ daughter and his job would be on the line. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to ask several questions, but I could only ask if his own family were aware and he answered yes. I just got up and took a taxi home.

And though he kept calling, it was to know if I’d made up my mind on what to do next. I kept to my guns too and told my parents what was happening. When they summoned him, he turned it into a quarrel, declaring that he would have nothing to do with the child if I kept it. His declaration made me only more rigid, like a rebellion, I told him to go to hell.

They got married and it wasn’t until after the wedding that his mother deemed it fit to seek me out. She’d heard I was in town and had come to apologise to my parents and to acknowledge my pregnancy, but in anger, my parents told her not to come around again. They’ve had two other children now while I live with my daughter as a single parent.

Over the years, he’d offered to assist with the bills and contribute to her upkeep, but I have always turned him down. When my daughter is old enough to understand, I hope to tell her everything. If she finds it possible to forgive him, then she can. But for me, he will forever remain an enemy.” Hmm!

Do have a wonderful weekend!!


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