After Dubie left, auntie Nneoma dragged me into her room.
“Akwaugo, do you want to die young? What are you doing with a man who has no moral uprightness? I hope you did not have unsafe s£× with him. Did he do a test to prove he is clean?”
“Auntie, I didn’t have unsafe s£× with him”
“But you had s£× with someone who has not married you yet. Are you ok? Does going to school turn you people into s£×ual animals?”
“Auntie Nneoma, I have repented. It was because I refused having s£× with him, he went to his ex”
“That means he has no self-control. I never liked him. Please, no matter what, don’t go back to him. He will disturb you but be firm in rejecting him. I am going to convince your father not to allow the marriage to hold. It is in your best interest; you will regret for life”
I listened to auntie Nneoma and stuck to my gun. Dubie wouldn’t let me have peace. He went to report himself to my father appealing to him to convince to come back. My father told him I had the final say and if I had called off the wedding, it will remain called off.
He showed his true nature that day. He told my father he was interested in Emeka because he lived abroad and he believed he had more money. He claimed he had far more money than Emeka and his entire family. He also claimed my parents were trying to marry me off to the highest bidder. My brother Ikenna was home that day and tried to react but father stopped him and asked him to go in.
Dubie told my father he had used the life out of me and there was nothing left. He told them I only agreed to date him because he had money and dumped him when the prospect to travel abroad came forth. He said my parents wanted money that was why they supported me keeping the things Emeka gave me because they were greedy people. Dubie created a scene but my father didn’t say a word to him. He watched him react in amazement. When Dubie left they all prayed and thanked God we avoided such an in-law.
The next day Dubie was back with his mother and an elder to beg. He laid down flat on the floor apologizing for his behavior the day before. Father said he wondered if he was the same person who was spewing insults the day before that was the person asking for forgiveness.
He replied them, “I have forgiven him. Chidubem is like a son to me. That Akwaugo has refused to marry him doesn’t change the fact he is my son”
His mother spoke, “He loves Akwaugo. He has realized his mistake and wants to make her his wife quickly so he will no longer be tempted. He has fallen into temptation from missing her. Talk to her to reconsider our offer”
“I would have preferred you speak to her yourself. We have agreed we will not get involved in her relationships anymore. If she says she won’t marry Chidubem, we can’t force her to change her mind”
The elder amongst them concluded by saying, “You are right. Chidubem should go back and resolve issues with his fiancé. You cannot arm twist a graduate to agree to your terms. If she forgives you, she will communicate with her family and we will go ahead with the preparations”
When I heard what happened at home, I was heartbroken. Dubie disgraced me in the pres£nce of my parents. Accusing them of selling me to the highest bidder wors£n the situation. I knew wht would come next so I prepared myself for it. I packaged the jewellery his mother gave me and all the gifts he had ever given me, I took them to his house. I called him from outside to come downstairs.
“Why are you outside, come in” he said when he saw me; all excited.
“I didn’t come for a pleasant visit; I came to return everything you gave me so I can be sure you will not come after me. This is the jewellery your mother gave me, these are the shoes you gave me, this is the phone you gifted me…….” I took my time to show them to him while he stood and looked at me until I finished showing him everything.
‘Are you saying it is over between both of us?”
“Dubie, Isioma is better for you. She is ready to do anything to be with you and I am not. I want you to understand me. It is only a girl that truly loves you that would do all Isioma did and she will do more. She is ready to eliminate me and everyone else who will be a barrier from her having you. Marry her. Forgive her and marry her”
“You never loved me Akwaugo. Your eyes have always been on going back to your ex. Once he hears we have broken up, he will rush down to Nigeria to do the nee-dful. I love you. I disappointed you but that’s relationship, there are always ups and downs. I promised you it won’t happen again..”
“And it did. It happened again, only this time you tried to cover your tracks. If she hadn’t informed me, I would have believed we were on the right track. You tried to deceive me. You deceived me but it was short lived. I wonder what you told her whenever both of you met. Didn’t she ask about me? What did you tell her?”
“She understood I just nee-ded some relieve for that time. I didn’t see her often. Anyway, I have ended things with her and I have told I will never marry her for doing this to us. Akwaugo, forgive me and give me a last chance’
“That would be two chances. I don’t want to die young. I am the only daughter of my parents. Marry Isioma and she will make you very happy. I am on duty this night and I have to go”
“Your parents told you what happened, right?”
“Yes, they did. Don’t worry, they forgive you”
“Let me take you back”
“My cab is outside. Thank you for the offer”
“Is this goodbye?”
“I am sorry but I can’t be with you again”
“I will give you time to think about it”
“There is nothing to think about”
“I will wait. You can’t date anyone else; I won’t allow it. I will wait until you change your mind”
It was a waste of time continuing the conversation, I turned and left. On the way back to the hospital, I cried. For the first time, I cried over my stupidity. I cried because I made a hu-ge mistake when left to make a choice. Was I that stupid? Couldn’t I have chos£n better? I had guys ask me out even my fellow doctors and s£nior colleagues but I declined. I kept myself for Dubie who didn’t desi-re it. I knew it would not end easily. I knew he would put up a fight. I nee-ded to pray more. He was a mistake I can’t afford to make. The threat and insult messages had stopped coming. She had achieved her aim. I made up my mind I was going to get mature before getting involved with any man. I was going to take my time and pray before even considering him.
I knew it would not be easy for Dubie to let go. He would come to my apartment wanting to talk to me. He would want to create a scene and [email protected] me in the pres£nce of my colleagues. I had to move to Uju’s for a while to avoid him. He would come to the hospital to wait for me. I devised a method to avoid him. I was spending so much coming from Lekki to the work that I had to come back to my room. Dubie was back again. But something happened.
The next time he came and was knocking non-stop on my door, my neighbours came out and helped to [email protected] him.
“O boy, the babe say she no dey do. Find another person now. Why do you keep disturbing our peace”
“I wonder o. She doesn’t want to be with you, leave her alone”
‘Are you not a man? Must you marry a doctor by every means possible? She doesn’t want now, go your way”
Many more people commented and came around him when he ignored them and continued knocking. One of them called security while others threatened to set him and his car ablaze if he came back to disturb their peace. Before long, the entire building was on one floor. They showed him to the security and told them not to let him in anywhere near our lodge. Dubie left there [email protected] That was how I got rid of him from my accommodation. I could peacefully sleep now. I had to thank my neighbours and that was how we became friends.
For the remaining months I was there, I stood firm on my resolve. I refused any form of relationship but rather focused on discovering myself. It was not an easy task but I was ready to do it. I watched relationship between colleagues flourish and watched some others scatter. I saw many two-timers from both s£×es. I attended three weddings. My wedding would have been one of them if not for Dubie’s deceit.
I left for Youth service. I didn’t want to be posted back to Lagos to serve. I knew if I stayed back, Dubie will kill [email protected] me as he had not moved on even though I had begged him to. He still s£nt messages to me through various means. I decided not to influence my place of deployment. I wanted to go anywhere and have an experience. When the list came out, I was posted to Abuja. I was happy about it. At least, I would have free accommodation.
I called Chiamaka and Amanze to inform them. They had gotten married after Chiamaka had her second baby. Chiamaka’s father refused to collect dowry from Amanze and family claiming Chiamaka was no more his daughter. Amanze went to the court and legally married her. There was no funfair or party. He went there with his brother and mother, Chiamaka’ mother and siblings. My parents didn’t attend the wedding although they gave their blessings. They were of the opinion they should have continued to beg her father until he agreed and Amanze marries her traditionally. Chiamaka said she is waiting for her father to die then she would marry her husband. As far as everyone was concerned, she was married.
I went to camp and after camp, I was posted to a primary health centre close to where I lived. I enjoyed the work I did. I had the opportunity to help people and also learn a language. I was happy to live with Amanze, Chiamaka and their two children. I had my friend and confidante back.
When she heard what Dubie put me through, she felt sorry for me.
“I was here envying you. I said I messed up while your life was perfect. A man was ready to do anything to have you. I was jealous and didn’t appreciate what I had. From Emeka to Dubie I felt you had the best life ever. This Dubie guy that will land in Enugu at a drop of a hat was no good after all. Forget the cheating; the things he said to your parents will affect them for a long time. How can he claim they are marrying you out for money? How much did they collect from him?”
“Not a penny”
“That’s the mistake men make. When my father was giving us tough time, Amanze just went to the registry to apply for a marriage licence. We went together to fill the forms and after twenty-one days, he got me a beautiful outfit and gave me money to get look good for that day. He married me and we did our family portraits. No time to waste time. When my father heard we were now married by law, he said my mother has turned his children against him. I will never beg him again in this life; never”
‘I am happy for you”
“I am happy for me. Amanze is not a saint but he treats me with respect. Ah, he takes vey good care of us. His father wanted him to take over his business but he has refused. He helps his mother with some of the work but he is doing his contract jobs here and we are at peace”
“Amanze has matured; he is taking responsibility”
‘I was surprised when he moved to Abuja to be close to his son and then me. He is lucky I didn’t follow another man. They were coming but Amanze didn’t agree. He is a man. We have your father to thank.”
“I wish I didn’t deviate from the way my parents brought me up. From Emeka to Dubie. Dubie’s was the worse, at least I was married to Emeka”
“Only two guys you are complaining; do you know other people’s body counts? Some have gone through fifty guys; some a hundred and they are happily married”
“God forbids! Fifty men? How can any woman sleep with fifty men?”
“Go and thank your stars you had good parents. Just two men you are complaining. Some ladies give their bodies for free so they can be loved others for plenty money. This Abuja is a crazy land. The men will pursue you with money and sweet mouth for those with out money. All they want is what is between your legs. Just bear that in mind”
I wondered if I came from frying pan into fire.
Uju called me from London where she had he beautiful daughter. I promised to come around when she came back.
“I might not come back”
“My husband and I are considering starting life here. It is a better environment to raise children and the medical care is superb. You know I am not young anymore and having children at my age comes with increased risk. Also, my husband and I are both AS. We want to be here to ensure we do not have an SS child. Kiara is AA. We want to make sure the other two are also AA. We will use IVF to achieve that”
“You took a big risk. Didn’t you check your genotype?”
“I knew I was AS but we never really spoke about it until the church asked us to do the test and we found out. I was devastated but he was determined to go ahead. He is satisfied with only Kiara but I want a son; these men can’t be trusted”
“As long as both of you agreed and you know the implication of what you have done, who am I to condemn you? The chances the second child would be SS is 50%. I support you remaining there. Please take care of my daughter”
I knew I nee-ded to educate people about knowing their genotype before marriage. I observed many young girls with pregnancy at the clinic; many too young to be carrying pregnancy. I believed it was illiteracy and poverty that put them in that condition. My colleague believed it was religion and culture that was the cause.
I made it a duty to do my job diligently. I insisted on genotype test for the couple to be done and true to our guess, some of the couples were AS AS. I spoke to as many couples as I could about the implication. At a point, the management stopped me from giving those talks as the couples found it offensive and they believed any child they had was a gift from God. I rested my case.