Series, based on true stories, written by Peju Akande
I have been called all kinds of names. “Husband snatcher,” “Ashawo,” “home breaker”…name it and by fellow women. Much as it hurt at the beginning, I am now the one gloating at all the name-callers, “Eat your hearts out, bitches!”
No man can snatch a woman if she isn’t willing because women are not items. In the same vein, no woman can snatch a man, if he isn’t willing because men, the last time I checked, are not items to be snapped up by anyone regardless of how beguiling you are.
I was teaching in a private School when I met this lovely boy who had challenges with reading and writing. I teach Primary 4 and 5 classes. My pupils are quite young but it is at that young age that a lot happens. If parents are not careful, if the foundation of that child isn’t solid enough, the child could have problems throughout his school years.
So David was in my Year 5 class. He was being prepared for common entrance exams in Year 6. However, as a Year 5 pupil, David struggled to read and write and it isn’t even as if the boy was dull. He was just dyslexic.
I am not sure his parents knew. I just know that when he was moved to my class from Year 3, his name and grades were quite poor. His reading and writing skills were far below his mates. His handwriting was horrible whereas his classmates were quite legible. Long story short, I called David’s mum to inform her that her son wasn’t dull but needed extra help with reading and writing.
It took a long while before she came round to the school so we could talk about it. I needed to show her his school work versus his classmates, to give her context.
She was a busy woman like most of the mothers that have children in my school and I am not blaming them for being busy, ok?
Anyway, finally when she came, the woman was like, “Ha, please teacher, help me. Can you give him extra classes after school? My driver will pick him up later.”
“It’s against the school’s policy,” I told her.
At the end after some back and forth, we agreed that I would come to their house on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 5-7 pm to teach David…just to read and write.
Well, it was that arrangement thsat led to my story.
I began to teach David and I truly loved the boy. Before I began to teach him, I knew nothing about his family.
I never saw much of his mum the times I went to teach him in the house but I met their house help and David’s dad, several times. He would sit at his computer in the living room, while I worked with David at the dining table.
It began on a Friday evening
One Friday, I had finished particularly late. I was anxious because there was petrol scarcity at that period. It was around 8 pm when I finished with David. You know kids when they don’t want to do lessons, they would be complaining about one thing or the other. They would be looking for their books, their pencils…just to waste your time. So, I was delayed that day because of this. When I walked to the gate, I met David’s father. He had just returned from work and was asking me about his son.
That wouldn’t be the first time he would inquire about his son’s progress. Then he asked me where I lived. He asked me if I was getting an Uber, I said my salary couldn’t afford an Uber and that I was going to stand at the bus stop until I got a bus.
That was when he offered to drive me home.
They lived in the Anthony area while I lived in Ogba. I jumped at the idea…because at that time, it was getting to 9pm. He didn’t try any thing funny in the car. He just asked questions about his son and I happily told him because I was also genuinely fond of David.
Well, as things turned out, there was massive traffic, even though there was petrol scarcity. you know howw crazy Lagos can get. From talking about David, we moved to politics, to sports, to life in general and he was just fun. He didn’t do or say anything to make me feel uncomfortable.
We got to know each other
He drove me home in the days that followed while the scarcity lasted. On one of those rides, he asked me whether I was married. I said no. I didn’t even have a boyfriend at that time. I had recently been dumped by a guy I was dating who worked in the Secondary school section of the school I worked in. At this point, even though we had begun to chat like old friends, I truly had no notions about dating a married man.
I knew I was playing a dangerous game when he began to call me and text me. I knew that I would be sacked from school immediately if his wife found out and reported me. I would be disgraced. So, I had to warn myself; maybe this man is just looking for someone to have sex with. I didn’t want to be the one he would use.
I could have left then, stopped going to their house but after being their son’s teacher for about six months I could see that David had greatly improved! All the other teachers were raving about his performance. I didnt want him to relapse.
I knew things weren’t going well between him and his wife. I knew for a fact at that time that they hadn’t slept in the same bedroom for years. You know children; David had mentioned it in passing. “My daddy’s bedroom is locked… maybe my book is in my mummy’s bedroom…”
Anyway, David Senior…that’s his name, and I began spending time with each other but no sex. Just touching, and talking mostly, and in talking, I knew things had gone really bad between him and his wife. He knew little about what she was doing and said he couldn’t divorce her because of his children. He did say, though, that he could marry another woman. That when he asked me whether I would consider him.
“Marry me,” he said and I said, “yes”
I was flattered because, yes, I knew he was interested…well at this point, right? But he’d never made any sexual moves. He told me he didn’t want to go about moving from girl to girl. He wanted a wife who would come home and be with him after work.
I remember asking him how come he couldn’t fix things with his wife but he said things were so bad, they couldn’t be fixed. By this time, to be fair to his wife, she had also dropped hints that things were bad at home which was why she always came back late. But marriages aren’t supposed to be a bed of roses.
This is how I knew, apart from obvious signs at home. Once, she’d asked me to write out a list of items needed to help David learn. She called me at school over the phone saying she would send me money to buy the things needed.
I knew these were quite expensive and I told her she needn’t buy everything but she replied, “David’s dad may be a horrible husband but he is a loving father to his kids. He will give us the money for these.”
She had called him “horrible.”
I told him I was worried about what his wife would do and what that would mean for my job but he just asked me to resign and come work for him.
The bigger issue was telling his wife about us.
Of course by the time I agreed to marry him…we had begun sexual relations and just one month into it, I got pregnant. So, whether I wanted to resign or not, the pregnancy was what sped things up for us.
He had to meet my parents and I had to meet his siblings because his parents are late. My parents were worried about his wife, of course, but his siblings said they had intervened for years and nothing had improved between him and the woman which is why they followed him to my parents to take a second wife.
Thankfully, I had resigned from my school then, otherwise, it would have been ugly.
Well, we had a traditional marriage ceremony when I was almost eight months old. David’s mum of course raised hell which surprised me because she had moved out of their bedroom four years prior. She and her friends would call me and insult me. But what did I expect, that they would welcome me with open arms?”
The best news today is that my husband has built me a house to ensure I am protected in case of any eventuality. Yup!
As for the kids, I try my best to be a good step mother to them, David especially… I am willing to do more only if their mother would let it happen but if not, well, I have my own life to live and I have a baby boy to take care of. We all have just one life!