Benny, one of the throngs of immigrants living abroad had definitely done well for herself. Within seven years, she had qualified as an accountant and landed a good job. She’s also been given the opportunity to buy the council flat allocated to her. Life was definitely looking up for her.
In her late thirties, she fled to Britain with a tourist visa when her marriage broke up, taking her two children with her. The kids were then put in the care of a dependable nanny so that Benny could concentrate on the nest-egg she was bent on having before coming back to Nigeria. What she missed really, was the love of a good man. She’d ,et a few creeps since she came to Britain and was careful about having another relationship.
“I was giving getting hitched a serious thought when I met Tom at a girlfriend’s place”, Benny said. “Tall, handsome and culture, he looked every woman’s fantasy. But my friend, who already had a serious relationship, wasn’t interested in him. “Would I be interested”, he offered jokingly. Well, would I? For an answer, I flirted outrageously with him and it was inevitable that we exchanged phone numbers.
“He certainly measured up to the standard of the type of man I wanted when we eventually started a relationship. He is a Dominican, a North American and that suited me fine. I didn’t want anything to do with Nigerians who treated you like a meal ticket and an available body.
“I am proud of the home I’d built for myself – my flat is quite sophisticated, neat and roomy. You could eat off the floor of my kitchen as I seldom cook – I hate the smell of food sticking on the curtains and lingering in the flat long after you’ve finished cooing. Tom, on the other hand, was a fantastic cook. Knowing how I felt about the flat, he would cook the means long before I came back from work. He would then open the windows and douse the flat in air-freshener. On top of which he was a stud!
“The snag was that he had no job. He’d been kicked out of the last one and was looking for another job. His last relationship had drained him of all his savings”, he said, and I felt sorry for him. I earned a good salary anyway, and for the services he rendered, it was money well spent.
“When he suggested he move into my flat, I raised no objection. He still kept his flat and he could go and come as he pleased. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to go anywhere. He was always in the flat cooking and ready to make love. There were time I would just want to crawl into bed or read a good book. But he would always put the music on and prance all over the bedroom like a love-sick school boy. With time, I started warding ff some of his sexual advances. He was a bit put out by this and complained to my friend. I made him realise that sex all of the time wasn’t healthy. That was when he turned nasty. I’d found a new lover, he accused. Why would I go off sex all of a sudden when I was virtually begging for it before? He started looking through my things and checking my mobile messages for clues to any unfaithfulness. That was it. I’d had enough and I told him to move back to his flat. It was then I noticed another side of him. He wasn’t going anywhere, he told me. He hadn’t done anything wrong and he refused to be used and dumped. I threatened to call the police and he said, I should go ahead. That the police might just be interested in knowing how current my passport was. I was trapped. In the throes of passion, I’d told him almost everything about myself.
“So began my nightmare. I continued to be responsible for the housekeeping and he moved to the spare room. It was then I noticed he had a small ju-ju shrine. I was now very frightened and when I asked him where he got it from, he said almost all the backs in the Dominican Republic had one shrine or the other – a throw-back from their African roots. He warned me never to go near his own especially when I was having a period. My friends through whom I met him came to the flat to plead with him to leave me alone but he said heatedly that he’s been short-changed. That after being a good lover and house-keeper to me, all I had to show him was ingratitude.
“In the end, I stopped buying things for the house. I also made sure that I came home late but he was always waiting for me and demanding sex. I could have easily changed the locks in the flat but he threatened to kick the door open if I did, reminding me all the time that his passport was valid. I was the illegal immigrant. I’d almost resigned myself to my fat when I came home one day to find him packing his things – he was leaving he said spitefully, because he’d found someone else who was a better lover than I would ever be and she had asked him to move in with her. I was elated but I didn’t want him to know how ecstatic I was. When he took my expensive microwave oven, I reminded him it was mine but he gave me such a threatening look that I would have given anything to get him out of my life.
“It was quite a relief to get home and not find a table romantically set for two – all of the time. Too much of anything could be quite repulsive and I’m giving relationships a miss for now. I need to get Tom and the nightmare he put me through out of my system.”