By Yetunde Arebi
She finally packed out of her matrimonial home. Remember the story about the couple whose young children were busted for practicing incest and I promised to give you the full gist at the right time? Well, the coast is clear now.
The husband finally called to inform me that his wife has carried out her threat to leave him. The couple had been at war since the beginning of the year when the eldest child, a 12 year old boy admitted having regular sex with his four year old younger sister. He’d had the boy out of wedlock, long before he married Clara, his wife. Madam is the mother of the little girl and vowed that only the eviction of the boy could appease her anger. Unable to have her way, she has finally moved out with her three children. This is Bayo’s story:
“If I knew that things would end like this, I probably would not have got married at all. I had made no secrets about my son from Clara right from the beginning, and had even arranged a meeting between them while we were still courting.
They seemed to get on well with each other, and I was grateful to God because I had always dreamt of raising him with my other children. Unfortunately, Remi, Eniola’s mother still refused to let me have him even after Clara and I got married. Clara spoke in favour of Remi, making me understand that no woman with the means to cater for her child, would hand him over to a step mother. Since both women’s argument seemed similar, I had no choice but to let things be.
My son continued to live with his mother and grandmother, while Clara and I began to raise another family. First we had a boy we named Prince, then a girl named Queen and then another boy named Duke, all now aged between six years and 17 months while Eniola is 12 years old.
The unexpected happened almost two years ago when Remi died in a ghastly motor accident on the Lagos Ibadan express road on her way back from a cousin’s wedding ceremony. It was a great shock for all of us, especially her mother whom she lived with.
The two had been as close as twins even though they had their little differences like most mother and daughter relationships. They did everything together and she had groomed Remi to take over her fabrics business being her only daughter. After the burial and mourning period was over, I informed Remi’s mother of my intention to take Eniola but she also refused, insisting he was her replacement for Remi in her life. Besides, she was too fond of him and would miss him. Once again, Clara told me to leave the boy with the old woman and that it would be wicked of us to separate them.
Unfortunately, I received a message from Mama to see her about seven months after. On getting there, Mama informed me that she had decided that I could have the boy and raise him with my other children. She had not been able to overcome the trauma of losing Remi and realised she could no longer take proper care of him.
With this, Eniola finally came to live with us. He was already in JSS1, though I felt that his education was slow. But then, it was excusable, especially when the two adults in his life had been bent on spoiling him silly. Clara did not show any sign that she did not want him with us and the boy also appeared to settle in very well.
The children got along and they all looked up to him as an older brother. For the first time in my life, I felt truly happy as a father. Everything seemed just fine. Eniola was enrolled in the secondary school of Queen’s Preparatory school. So on closing, he would pick her up and they would come home together to wait for Clara. Prince’s school has a Care Centre which Duke attends, Clara would pick them up on her way home. The three children used to attend the same school until Eniola’s arrival. Then, Queen quickly grew very fond of him and insisted on going to school with him, so we agreed to enroll her in the Junior school.
We had no idea anything was amiss until one of our family friends told my wife. Queen had gone to spend a few days with their two children during the holidays. The woman told my wife when she came to pick Queen that something very strange had happened which she would want her to investigate thoroughly.
According to her, she had walked into the children’s room only to discover Queen and her seven year old son in a very unusual position. She said she was a bit embarrassed at first and decided not to alert them, just in case she had been wrong in her judgement of the situation. But when she caught them a second time under the covers, she became convinced of what was going on. Concerned about our young daughter, she decided to deal with them separately. First, she called her son who revealed to her that they had been at it for a few days and that it was Queen who asked him to do it with her.
The boy then told his mother that Queen had told him that she does the same thing with Eniola. Queen also confirmed the story on interrogation, stressing that Eniola had told her that it was a game to be played when no one was around and that they always do it every afternoon.
I don’t need to start explaining how shocked my wife was. Lacking the tact of the other woman, Clara had hit the roof in anger, hitting the girl from every angle you can imagine. The poor child had confessed that she liked the game which was why she was doing it with our friend’s son. On getting home Clara had pounced on Eniola, cursing and swearing at him as if he was no longer a member of our family. The boy already had a huge bump on his head to show for the beating she had administered on him by the time I arrived. No sooner had I stepped into the house, than she began shouting at me.
She went on and on about what Eniola had done. How he had destroyed her daughter’s future, how she was going to kill him or maim him so he would forever remember what he had done, how his no good mother had not raised him properly and how Eniola was toeing my footsteps as a playboy. And the most annoying thing she kept on repeating was that the boy just had to leave the house. All efforts to calm her down failed, even as I cautioned her of the danger of spreading such a story within the neighbourhood. She accused me of trying to cover up for my irresponsible child and that she would make sure everybody in the neighbourhood heard, so they can keep their children away from him.
That night, we all had very little sleep. I was forced to beat the boy again and punished him all through the night despite all the beating Clara had already given him. I had hoped that by doing this, Clara would see that I was actually on her side and would allow me handle the situation, but she did no such thing.
By morning, she began to threaten me that I must return the boy to his grandmother, or else, she would pack out with the children. Initially, I thought it was just a joke, that she would soon realise the futility of her words once her anger abated and would withdraw all she’d said. I was wrong.
Clara took the matter to our church and narrated the whole thing to the pastor and his wife and soon the entire church, or so it seemed knew what had happened. It caused a big embarrassment for our family friend who I learnt later told some people that she cared less about the incident since her child is a boy.
Clara just insisted that what Eniola did to Queen had spoilt her life. Can you imagine that? Soon, she managed to convince some of our friends that the best solution was for me to return the boy.
When I asked her what she would have done if the boy were to be her son, she would just hiss and insist that it was not possible for her to have such a crook as her son. Is the boy now a crook and the worst child in the world?
Clara refused to accept all pleas in the boy’s case and even went to report him to his grandmother, accusing her and her late daughter of raising a monster.
It is not as if I am surprised at Clara’s attitude. She has always been a very volatile person, who loves to have her own way. Whenever I introduced anything she considered unnecessary, she would ensure she frustrated all my efforts. I don’t want to say things that are not relevant to this matter, but that has always been Clara’s attitude. Only this time, I told her it would not work.
Both children involved are mine, even if she doesn’t want to accept Eniola. Since I cannot do away with either of them, is it not our responsibility as parents to correct whatever is wrong in love? She simply did not want to see the boy again and I was afraid she might kill him in one of her fits. Yet, I can’t send him away because of Clara. If Remi were alive, things would have been different. Both Clara’s parents are dead too and none of her siblings seem able to talk any sense into her.
Hmm! Bayo is now left to care for Eniola alone. His dream of raising all his children together dashed once again. I do hope that Clara would rescind her decision and return home soon. Do have a wonderful weekend!!