MY MARRIAGE.

MY MARRIAGE.

Kpoi Kpoi
Kpoi! Gbam Gbam Gbam! Dum Dum Dum!
Those consistent and scary bangs on my door sent cold shivers throughout
my system. My heart thumped out of my chest into my belly. My palms turned wet
all of a sudden. I became restive, uneasy. I didn’t see all of these coming, at
least not now… or ever.                                    It’s barely 3
months after my dad’s demise and just 1 month after his funeral. I was not in
the right frame of mind, still battling with emotional instability at the
moment and only God knows till when.                                                                                                                                      It’s
01:00pm this hot Wednesday afternoon. I wasn’t expecting anyone, no one that my
shattered brain could recall. My husband Williams Akunnaya Oriuwa (wealthy name
for a wealthy man of his calibre), the 1st and only son of Senator
(Chief) and Lolo Daniel Okpomechina Akuuwa Oriuwa, usually comes home in the
evenings after work and meetings. Besides, the banging was a direct opposite of
his soft knocks whenever he was at the door.                                                                                                                                                    And
definitely not a friend since I had none again. They had all fled after several
rains of insults, abuses and you’re-a-friend-of-a-gold-digger type of look and
treatment all from my husband’s family.
Who was it then I thought wildly? With fear, I fidgeted towards the
door, tried opening it with my shaky hands until the visitor flung open the
door almost smashing my face with it.
My last minute guess was right afterall.
Here she is again to suck the
remainder of my blood and beat the hell out of me as was her routine. This is
neither her first, second, twentieth or thirty-sixth time. I’ve lost count. As
long as 8 years now, I have remained her punching bag. I have suffered greatly
in her merciless hands. “Margaret Thatcher” I nicknamed her. My husband’s 47 year old married eldest sister,
Mercy Adannaya Oriuwa Okuh (never agreed to remove her old surname- a mark of
royalty and recognition it was, she would always say), dived me immediately and
got a real twisting hold on my weavon, uprooting a better chunk off. Afterwards
came the hot dreaded slaps, kicks and push-arounds. The name “Mercy” was not
fitting for her.
Through
clenched teeth and a very furious-looking face, she vibrated: “What were you BARREN woman doing that you ignored my
knocks for a whole hour?”
My tear-filled eyes opened up wide in amazement to her thunderous lie. 1
hour?, I thought,   when it took me
nothing more than 8 minutes to open the door after the very first bang.
Immediately, I added lying to her numerous intimidating traits, right in my
heart. I dare not utter a word or make a move during our encounters and face
offs, else the punishment will be heightened and the beatings tripled. Out of
utter frustration, I had thought of using my kitchen pestle on her or better
still reported her constant ill-treatments to my husband who I am sure will
never for a second, side his sister. On the contrary, a 24 year old poor naïve
girl who was 16 when given out in marriage by her wealth-tasty mother cannot go
to jail for breaking an influential man’s daughter’s head, nor can she go
against her big sister-in-law whose visiting periods were not-at-homes for my
husband, and who would sternly warn clearly that no ear should ever hear what
happened. I am no match for her afterall, in age, craftiness, fierceness,
wealth, wildness, irresponsibility, wickedness, years and experience in
marriage, level of exposure,…name them.                                                                                                                                                                                                 She’s
been married for 15 years now and nothing to show for it. I hate to say that
she is barren but her intimidating visits have been a constant pain in the neck
for me to want to voice out this deep inner-calculus family secret to the whole
world, to anyone who cares to hear. The doctors say that due to her wild life,
gallivanting activities in the States, smoking, drinking, partying, several
abortions and finally, the damage of her uterus, she cannot be a mother…not in
this life.
Now I ask myself: “Does she think I indulge in similar frivolous
activities as to get my womb damaged and remain barren forever?” Or perhaps,
“Am I in anyway the cause of her misfortune?” “Did I do any wrong by marrying
her brother whom I love so dearly since high school days- my first and only
boyfriend and love?”
She ranted on: “First, it was for you to SIMPLY get pregnant for my brother. This house is just TOO big, fill it up, fill it up with
children. No, never, you have sworn not to. Your witchcraft of a mother and a
dead father will not let you conceive.”
That was the
height of it all! Bringing my dead father into this? Someone I was still
mourning- the only comforter and supporter I had besides my husband, he was
gone, gone with the wind.                                                                                                                                        Yes, I just remembered, wonderful sister-in-law
Adannaya’s trace was not seen at all at my father’s funeral. Oh dear!
“And now you are planning to keep us all away and perhaps, steal all the
treasures in this mansion, then finally sell off the structure. Else, what were
you doing that you turned deaf ears to my knocks, in my own brother’s house? Or
were you nursing your baby?”
Then ensued a wicked laughter: “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…” “I warned
him but he wouldn’t listen. I told him not to pick you from the slumps where
you rightfully belong but he insisted that he loves you. Where has the
so-called love landed us all 8 years after? Barrenness! Yes, you are so wicked that you don’t want my parents
to carry their grandchildren and for me to hug my nieces and nephews. Just take
a look at the governor’s daughter- one he was betrothed to before you showed your
ugly face in the picture, bewitched my brother and spoilt every damn thing. She
is happily married and blessed with 3 lovely kids. Those children would have
been bearing our family name. Chinasaokwu, you disgust me! Oh! Willy, Willy my
brother, if you had known…”
I was thinking that today’s beating would be less intense as her tigress
of a mother Lolo Tracy Ugo Ujunwa Akuuwa Oriuwa didn’t come with her. When it
comes to wickedness and battering, she is nothing less as the daughter. Both of
them have jointly made life a living hell for me in my own husband’s house. She
had forgotten in such a hurry that if she were not given a second chance after
4 years of a childless marriage and a whopping 19 years after her first issue, she
would not have been where she is now, wagging her mouth and flexing her aged
muscles.     Her second daughter after my
husband is a green snake in a green grass. She does not launch her own attacks
directly. Still growing up to be like her mother and big sister, I guess.
For now, I have more problems and adversaries to contend with. Hers is
still a minor case. Besides, she does not know what her own marriage will give her
as a present that’s if she finally decides to get married after having chased
away 4 well-to-do good-looking suitors, with her character and mouth. What do
you expect? The world has always been rosy and juicy for her. She gets anything
she wants at the snap of the finger. Mhmm! Umu
a muru amu, a tuuta ibe ha atuuta.
The last daughter of the Oriuwa’s who just concluded her law school
and NYSC, has been sent abroad barely a month ago by her father for her master’s
degree after which she will reside there permanently. She never treated me
badly for one day. Infact the few times she sneaked out of the family house to
see me were times she lied to her mum that she wanted to go visit her friends
and equally paid the driver in exchange for his silence. Her comforting words
were like soothing balm for my deep wounds. I admire her personality,
intelligence, industriousness, achievements, wisdom, independence,
outspokenness- just a carbon copy of her brother, my husband.
Twice in my presence, she has spoken up to her
mum and eldest sister condemning their ill treatments towards me. Now she is
out of the country. Why Debbie? Why not Lolo or Adannaya or Prisca?
Senator on his part does not seem to care at all. Anything outside his
politics, red wine, newspapers, television news and golf makes no sense to him.
Inasmuch as he wants a grandchild, he does not make a fuss about it.
What have
I not done for the Oriuwa family? Is it all the beatings and harassment that I
don’t swallow? Is it all the errands during family meetings, parties, get-togethers
and other celebrations that I don’t run willfully? Is it their sophisticated
cuisine, stylish way of dressing, elegant carriage and wealthy lifestyle that I
have not been forced to learn and adapt to, though simplicity is my watchword considering
the background I come from? In all of these, did I make the indelible mistake
of going against my late father’s wish and marrying the man I love? Why
me?

It’s
not as if it’s my fault. All the medical doctors home and abroad that we have
consulted said I have no problem at all which will prevent me from conceiving
and giving birth to as many children as we wanted, besides age was very much on
my side. The Oriuwa’s have forgotten in such a hurry that we spent virtually
the first 2 years of my marriage to their son correcting and treating an
ailment he had- staphylococcus aureus. Many thanks to technology and money, he
got cured. And now I ask: “What is still the problem?” To say that I pray at
least 10 times a day is an understatement. I pour out my heart to my God every
passing hour of the day while cooking, eating, doing the laundry, in the
market, on the road, bathing…everywhere and whatever I was doing.
“Where is
that little barren witch?” Adannaya shouted as she came downstairs. “What is
for lunch?” she asked with her hands on her hips.
“Hot
semolina and edikang ikong soup served with chilled fresh pineapple and coconut
juice” I muttered.
“Let
me have it and make it snappy.”  As I
struggled to get up from the tiled floor, my back, tummy, joints all ached
badly. I limped to the kitchen and served her at once.                            In less than 8
minutes, she had downloaded everything- 3 wraps of semolina, soup big enough
for 3 people, the meat lumps, the assorted, the fishes- stock, grilled and
fried, the fresh juice and table water with no single trace left.                                                                                                                                                                  Now
she commanded: “Go up to your room, pick up your bags I have already packed for
you and come downstairs immediately! You don’t belong here!”
It was a nice idea afterall. I
needed to get out of their sight for a while. More of the beatings could send
one into coma. It was much to bear. In previous times, I would lie to my
husband about the bruises or better still, lock myself up in my room for days
while treating my wounds. But this time, I had to go. I had a lot of
explanation for Akunnaya but that will be later.                                                                                                                                                           As
I came downstairs with my bags, she snatched my cell phone from my hands and
smashed it right in front of me. “I am just making sure that you don’t leave
this house with anything that does not belong to you, gold digger. Now get out
and never you return. Forget about my brother. Out!”                                                                                                                                                                         I didn’t want to bug my
brain with many thoughts, so I just cried home in a taxi.
For once, mum had human sympathy after seeing my condition. She insisted
on taking me to the hospital but I refused, hoping to get better and evade
hospital bills.
Willy rushed to our place that same evening looking for me, but on my
instruction, was told I was not there. These past few days and weeks were
indeed trying times- the pains, the hunger strikes.
“Chinasaokwu,
you disappoint me. See what grief, pain and poverty you’ve brought us. I
allowed you to marry that rich man’s son so I could live in a big house, ride in
a big jeep, feed well and look good. Look! Your little siblings are school
drop-outs because of you. The house rent has long expired. It was so simple,
play your cards well in that house and bring us money, raw cash, egondu. Irresponsible girl! Mtcheeewww…”
After
such downhearting words, my siblings would cuddle and sob with me, patting me
on the back.                                                                                                                                                                                              One
One Friday afternoon, I woke up to find myself on a hospital bed. The last thing I
could remember was the early morning vomits, dizziness and fever. Onyemaechi my
brother who was right beside me said I passed out that morning and was rushed
to the hospital.                  As I gradually
opened my eyes, mother, Onyema and Ogechi screamed for the doctor and nurses.
Seconds later, a pot-bellied fair old-looking man I assumed to be the doctor
walked in with a haggard-looking nurse behind him.
“Madam, your daughter needs a lot of rest, a lot of it especially in her
present condition.”                                                                                                                                         “What
condition, doctor?”
“Oh!
You don’t know. Your daughter is pregnant. She is 3 months and 2 weeks gone.
Yes, our tests confirmed that. Congratulations! Mother and daughter.”                                                As he broke the news, I didn’t have
the slightest idea what to do next, whether to leap or cry or smile. I was
speechless. I thought it was a dream. My mum and siblings were so happy and
called Williams right away.                                                                                                              With
joy and smiles all over his face, he arrived in a jiffy, hugged and kissed me,
got me transferred to a better-equipped hospital and stayed there for days with
me abandoning his work.
I took in the same night I heard of my father’s demise I counted back.
That very night, I got tipsy after sobbing profusely and taking a lot of wine.
In my hubby’s hot embrace and consoling arms, unknown to me, we made love.                                                                              He pampered me back to good
health. After regaining my strength, I narrated to him my ordeal with his
family members. At first, he was very angry that I left him in the dark all
along, then wanted to leave in order to deal with them squarely. I begged him
to allow the sleeping dog lie, but to keep me away from their sight. In 3 weeks’
time, our passports and tickets were processed and ready to fly and live
abroad- Willy, mum, Onyema, Ogechi and myself.                                                                                                                                                        In my 9 month of
pregnancy, I delivered a set of quadruplets- 2 boys and 2 girls- the exact
number of kids we wanted. 8 years, 4 children- a child for 2 years. No single
year was wasted afterall. The patience was worth it. Then I realized the real
meaning of our names: “Chinasaokwu, Onyemaechi and Ogechukwu.” God indeed has
been faithful.                       There
were family reunions, parties, celebrations and feasts. I forgave my mum, Lolo,
Adannaya and Prisca after they crawled and begged for forgiveness and were
truly repentant. Afterall, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” What more, we
are one big family and cannot afford
to be in disunity.                                                                                                     In
one of our reunions, my heart-touching speech was:                                                                “In
this life, I have learnt that when a bird is alive…it eats ants. When the bird
is dead…ants eat the bird. Time and circumstances can change at anytime. Do not
devalue or hurt anyone in life. You may be powerful today…but remember: Time is
more powerful than you. One tree makes a million match sticks but only one
match stick can burn a million trees. Be good, goodness will turn back to you
someday.”                                                                                     “God has
perfect timing, never early, never late, it takes a little patience and it
takes a lot of faith but it’s worth the wait.”
“Never look down
on anyone. Success comes regardless of who you are.”                         “Though sad, hurt,
angry, mad, disappointed. You know what? I’ll put on a happy face and move on.
It will hurt but I will survive.”

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7 thoughts on “MY MARRIAGE.

  1. This is indeed a perfect write-up concerning marriages in the African setting but child-bearing is not supposed to be the main issue, though it's important bcos of the joy it brings into the marriage. Time is a controversial thing in life in that we can achieve whatever we're poised to, regardless of the time. Just as scholars rightfully said "It's not about how far but how well". Again, "The patient dog eats the fattest bone." This is an interesting story from which people'll learn lessons just as I did. Kudos gurl!

  2. "Embedded" u say? We are what we let into us. We are the typical masterminds of our beliefs and actions. Therefore,that is not an excuse for the evil ways some have chosen to tread. Culture aside,"What is good for the goose is good for the gander." "Do unto others what you would like them to do to you." We can work towards a positive end if all hands are on deck, God help us all.

  3. That's right Clovis and it's quite barbaric. We wish we could live to see these "Igbotic" occurrences relegated to our past and never to come to limelight again. Only then can we enjoy our marriages and homes happily and in peace. Shikena!

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