By Yetunde Arebi
Reunion with an old friend can be quite interesting, especially if it is someone you have always longed to see again. And so it was for Gbenga and I upper week when I ran into him at a wedding reception of a friend’s son. I had not seen him in close to 20 years, after his divorce from his wife, Ade. Gbenga was the wild one, he’d come to school a full grown man after returning to the country from London, and had everything going for him.
When he chose Ade, no one gave them a chance because they were exact opposite of each other. But they got married anyways and we thought they had overcome the teething problems of their union, they suddenly parted ways. The gist from Ade was that she could no longer cope with his overbearing attitude, especially after he beat her up during an argument.
So, I couldn’t resist an opportunity to scold him for disappointing our angel after everything she went through for him. However, Gbenga had his version of the story to tell. In a long winding story which I will be sharing with you in two parts with his permission, Gbenga insists that Ade turned out a monster rather than the angel he thought he married, recalling many instances to back up his claims. Indeed, there are two sides to every story. It is an interesting piece.
“The dissolution of my seven years marriage can be attributed to two fundamental problems, Ade and her parents. This is a woman I practically ‘opened her eyes’, only for her to become wiser than me. The most ridiculous past was that she had her parents’ support. My experience has taught me never to trust anyone, no matter how old the person might be or how religious they appear. I already have enough children and as for sex, there are many willing partners out there.
When I met Ade, she did not fit into the profile of my usual babes, she was a real fresher in every sense of it. Shy, almost to the point of timidity. Though she was not a member of the scripture union society, she easily passed for one because of her dressing and appearance. However, anyone with a good eye would readily see her beauty. She was alluring with all the right potentials waiting to be tapped. My friends could not understand what I saw in her but I was hooked.
Yetunde, you know now. I was a formidable personality of recon back in those days. Being the first born of my parents, I had all the support I wanted from them, especially from my father who thought the world of me. I owned a barbeque joint which I ran with another friend, so the girls flocked around. Everyone wanted to hang out with me. In fact, you would thank your stars if I asked you out. There was money, fame and looks, but what was supposed to be a walk over became a challenge as Ade proved very difficult.
Apart from the fact that both old and new students tried to discourage her, her Apostolic Christian background was a confirmation that we were from different worlds. But after great persistence, Ade finally agreed and the relationship began. I soon confirmed that she was a virgin and this made me more committed to her. I wanted to do everything I could for her. Ade’s background was not very comfortable. Her father owned a small bungalow where they lived with their mother.
Ade was also the first child of five children who were all so scared of their father, whom I later discovered was not even as strict as they thought. He never allowed anyone visit them, but he had to bend the rules because of my consistent disturbance. Earlier, Ade had informed me that she was not allowed to have visitors. She never went out except to church which she did in the company of her other siblings. You needed to see how this man screened me on my first meeting with him.
Ade’s mother ran a small provisions shop in front of their house while her father had a plumbing business. He was really impressed by my background and personality, much so that he would have given his consent to our dating if I had asked. Of course, we’d only informed him that we were course mates and I had been drafted to assist her. You know, I had to be patient with all of them. However, I must confess that Ade influenced me greatly and I began to slow things down. I had impregnated a girlfriend during my brief stay in London. She had tried to trap me into marriage with the pregnancy, but when I refused, she followed me back to Nigeria and dumped the child for me. So, I was already a father. The child, a girl, was being cared for by my parents. You know a bit of that story now? I nodded yes.
Ade did not mind on learning about the child and took to her much to everyone’s surprise. But she begged me that it must be kept a secret between us as her parents and other members of her family must not know about it if I truly wanted to marry her. I accepted at the time because I thought it was a wise thing to do considering the opposition we were facing from almost everyone on her side.
It is needless to say that I was the first guy with Ade and she remained glued to me ever since. I don’t know how other men feel, but for me, it was a big deal. I was happy to be her first and believed I would be her only lover ever. Besides, once we did it, she ensured to constantly remind me that I had ruined her life and must marry her. It was trouble whenever she caught me with another girl. Ade would go back to archives, digging up how she had been warned by everyone not to have anything to do with me. I used to feel very sorry for her because she did not seem to understand much. By the time we got married it was not as if I was really ready but there now nothing I could do to convince her otherwise.
Ade got pregnant immediately after graduation and could not go to her NYSC posting because she was so ill. She had refused to have it terminated and a baby out of wedlock was impossible with her parents. Above all, Ade was convinced that I would renege on my promise to marry her and end the relationship if she terminated the pregnancy. You know, I lost my father shortly after my graduation so I was already heading the family business and trying to take care of my mother and siblings. So, Ade and I had to live in our family house with my mother, daughter and two sisters. We moved into my father’s apartment and Ade took over the care of my daughter who also moved in with us. She gave birth to a baby boy who was named after me and my father, becoming the third generation with the name.
Ade had studied education, but we both agreed that she would go into private business so she could have more time for the children. Besides, she hated waking up early in the morning to go anywhere. She decided to take up fashion designing and enrolled in a school somewhere on the mainland. She had our second boy two years later and finished from her fashion school. I rented a shop, equipped it for her and she settled down to business. Only after that did I begin to see the real Ade.
Yetunde, you remember how I met Ade now? I tushed her up. She no longer that Ade you all knew before she became my girl now. Ade who used to condemn people who partied or clubbed now enjoyed partying so much, especially owambe. She became so addicted that she started attending parties without me. All these did not bother me because I did not suspect her of any foul play, not even in my wildest dreams at the time. I knew she had made a lot of friends over the years, many of whom she claimed were her customers at the shop. At other times, she went with my cousins and some of our family friends. The fact that Ade knew no man before me, coupled with her somewhat strict Christian background must have hoodwinked me for a long time.
Ade first parked out of our home after a quarrel over her attitude towards the care of the children. This had in fact become a regular source of heated arguments between us by then. Ade only woke up to go to the shop and returned late in the night, sometimes after I would have returned around after 10.00pm. Right from the beginning, Ade had insisted that she could not do school runs. It was not a big deal as I was already doing it for my daughter. One would not expect too much if Ade had taken up that responsibility after the wedding, after all, she promised to take care of the girl for me. But the fact that she did not have a car at the time and I was already doing it made it okay.
But after she started the shop and I got her a car, the responsible thing was for her to take over the school run, but my wife refused, making up several frivolous excuses including the fact that she did not like the proprietress who happened to be a relative. So, I would leave the office in the afternoon to go and pick the children from school even when she had nothing to do at the shop. To even have one of her girls to pick them was a problem. They were always busy too according to her.
Being so busy all the time, one would not be wrong to assume that business was booming and money was rolling in, but that was hardly the case with Ade. She sold fashion accessories as well as children and ladies wears but her accounts were never balanced. She was always running into debts at the end of the year. Goods obtained from other people were never paid for. Many a time, I had to offset some of the debts. It is only natural that you begin to wonder how she manages to incur such huge debts when she was always busy in the shop.
Hmmm! Please keep a date with us for the concluding part of this story. Do have a wonderful weekend!!