I recently ran into a friend at a filling station. I’d known Lati for years but never met his current wife. I’d known him through his second wife. Segi, with whom he was really smitten. After the usual pleasantries, I jokingly asked when he was making an honest woman of Segi by either “getting married” to er or giving her the long expected child they both wanted. Suddenly, Lati’s face clouded over.
“Segi has left me”, he told me flatly. What? How did it happen? “I don’t know what that girl really wants”, he replied, still bewildered. He is a businessman who seems to be on the road more than he is in his own home. He has a wife who’s only got one child and now, the girlfriend he’s had for about nine years has finally given up and left him because she wanted a child of her own. “God knows we tried hard enough to have a child, but sort of conjuring one, nothing happened”, he wailed.
“I’m sure if I’d been on the scene, she wouldn’t have left me so unceremoniously. I did all I could for that girl. When I first met her, the only qualification she had was the secondary school certificate and the only sparkling drink she’d ever tasted was beer. But I saw she had potentials and vowed to help her all I could. I sent her to a hair-dressing school abroad, built her a super salon here and rented her a flat. I furnished everything to my taste and the bar was always full. I never pestered her because I wasn’t always here in Nigeria. But I loved that girl. It was as if she was part of me. Whenever I travelled, half of the things I brought back were for her, including stuffs for her salon. I never even let her know how jealous or insecure |I felt. My wife knew all about us and had resigned herself to the possibility of my making her a second wife.
“For about two years, I noticed this man’s car near her flat but he was always with a suitcase full of samples of hair-dressing lotions and cosmetics. I never suspected it was all a front. I even entertained him a few times when she was out.
“About a year ago, I came home to find all the doors to her flat locked. I knew she was in because her car was outside and the air-conditioner was on. After making a racket for a long time, she finally opened the door and this silly man had the nerve to just sit there in the sitting room in his trousers and nothing else. On one of the stools were an empty beer bottle and my special mug. The bum had obviously been helping himself to my woman and my booze.
“I was hopping mad. It was as if someone was pounding me in the stomach with a hammer. I wanted to make a rush for him but I was so slight and he was heavily built. Attacking him would be suicidal. Anyway, he left after several angry stares and retorts. He threatened my girl that if she didn’t tell me about him, he was never coming round again. It was after he left that she told me she was sick and tired of seeing me only once a month. When I did come around,s he went on, lovemaking wasn’t exactly a pleasant prospect because she wanted her own child and what was more, she was no longer in love with me. I almost laughed in her face. The flat with which she’d betrayed me was in my name, so were most of the comforts in it.
“Defeated, I left the flat and went home. My wife was actually surprised to see me and a bit irritated when I asked her for supper. She’d once offered but I brushed her off that I’d already had something to eat in the office. Segi’s humiliation had followed me home! Needless to say I was enraged that if Segi had been around, I would happily have snuffed the life out of her.
“By the next day, I was clear as to what my next action would be. I first called at her landlord’s place. The man was a good friend who owed me a lot of favour. I told him what happened and that I was no longer interested in extending the lease on the flat, let’s see how she would run her salon which occupied the front of her flat.
“Since I still had the keys to the flat, I went in with some of my own and removed items I still had receipts for. I was relieved to find Segi out of the place. Her helps watched wide-eyed as most of the things in the flat were carted away. Pity she took the car. But I had the duplicate and I was intent on re-possessing that too. As soon as it was late in the night, I sent with my driver to Segi’s place, after explaining myself to the police and showing them the car’s documents. I drove my car whilst instructing the driver to drive Segi’s to he office premises. I then went back home to wait for the fireworks.
“Apparently, she’d gone to the police and had been advised to go cut her losses and go home as she had no grounds to take back all I repossessed from her. The last I heard of her, she was on her own. Lover boy, sensing that the cushy rug had been pulled from under Segi’s feet, abandoned her for greener pastures. In fairness to her, she never even asked to be taken back. She had her pride obviously. And she knew me well enough to realise that treachery like that, I wouldn’t condone lying low.
“I wish I could say that I quickly found a replacement, but I’m biding my time. I was in love with her – she was not a fling. That she rubbished all we’d built up over the years because of a fickle free-loader has made me cautious about making another commitment in a hurry”.