SO NOT LOVE
On Sunday, we went to church as usual. Since my husband was a very wealthy man, we were always given a special seats at the front, along with some influential couples. He was the most sweetest creature in the church and almost everyone looked up to him. I would hear some girls tell him that our marriage was just the exact same thing they wanted because I was always radiating in my expensive clothes and accessories but no one knew that he was a p–n addict, a sadist and a woman-beater. No one knew what I was going through except the pastors. I had run to them several times to complain about my plight but all they told me was to go back home and keep praying for my husband because God was against divorce. They never called him to order because they were scared to lose such a huge contributor to the finances of the church.
In public, I’ll smile as wide as possible to mask my sorrow. I would apply enough makeup to hide a bruised face or cut lip yet other young girls in my peer group were dying to take my place. All they saw was the expensive cars and the house I lived in but they were
After waiting for close to three minutes and I noticed that he made no move to turn the key in the ignition, I gave him a puzzled look and asked, “What are we still waiting for?”
He was craning his neck to stare through the windshield and when I followed his gaze, his eyes were fixed on a fair girl who was chatting away with some friends in front of the church. “Do you know her?” He asked me without taking his eyes off the girl.
I took a cursory look at the girl and shook my head, “No, why?”
“She’s very beautiful.” He said and I frowned.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means you should get down the car and go and talk to her.” He said to me.
I drew back in shock. “What do you mean by I should go and talk to her? About what?”
He gave me a scornful look now. “Why are you so beautiful, yet daft? don’t you understand what I’m insinuating? Must I spell it out to you before you know what you are supposed to do?”
I remained adamant then stammered, “I… I don’t k..know what you want me to do o. All I know is that I don’t know that girl. I
“Alright…” He gave me an impatient look and leaned back. “Go and ask her where she’s going to, I want to give her a ride.”
“Are you indirectly asking me to go and woo a girl for you and bring her to this car?” I asked in disbelief.
“And so? Is it your father’s car?” He snapped at me.
“How can you send me on such a demeaning errand! Have you forgotten that I’m your wife? You’ve no iota of respect for me!”
He scoffed. “I don’t have time for your drama this afternoon. What good is a wife who’s never fun and is always dry. You have never been wet in your whole life. You are too rigid and it feels like I’m married to a fellow man. Tell me, why the hell should I limit myself to you?!”
“Why speak like you are not already cheating on me with different girls already?” I fired back.
“And yet what can you do? Nothing! You know that you can never leave me because I made you what you are today! You are the first graduate in your family and you owe that to my generosity. If I had not come into your life when I did, you should probably be hawking bread by now or selling Okpa at the bus stop! You are a nobody, Victoria! Read my lips, a nobody! You had better get down this car and go bring that girl here or you won’t like what you’ll get when we get home!”
I was at the verge of tears now. His insults had sunk so deep and stung me hard. “Daniel, at least if you want to cheat on me, accord me my due respect and do that far away. I have suffered enough, why would you choose to rub your infidelity in my nose? Can’t you just go do this far away? At least respect the house of God!”
“May thunder strike you and your family dead! Are you working for me? Are you the head of the family? Since when did you have the right to tell me where to do my business and where not to! In fact, I’ll not sit here another moment with you…” He leaned over and opened my door. “If you will not go and bring that girl here yourself, just don’t bother coming home, now get down!” He ordered.
“Daniel…” I called in a teary voice, my hands on my chest. “Me?”
“Who are you? You are a daughter of a nobody! A daughter of gold diggers that’s what you are! Victoria, get down now!” When I hesitated, he suddenly threatened. “Do you want me to push you down? You want to embarrass yourself here right? I said get down!”
Helplessly, I got down the car, wiped the tears that were threatening to spill down my face then walked towards the girl and her friends. When I stopped by her side, luckily, her friends were just leaving. As she turned to go, I stopped her.
“Excuse me.” I called her attention.
She paused and partially turned to me. “Me?” She asked and I nodded then she pulled closer. “Good afternoon.” She greeted and I could see how her eyes shone as she took in my dressing and hungrily eyed my gold accessories but I pretended not to notice. Her reaction to my dressing had already told me that she was an easy catch.
“Hi, my name is Victoria.” I introduced myself and I had a strong conviction that my husband was keenly watching us.
“I’m Dora.” She replied.
“I believe you were about to go home right?” I asked.
“Yes.” She nodded. “Any problem?”
“My husband and I just want to give you a ride, hope you don’t mind?” I gestured towards the car.
Immediately she saw the car, her eyes brightened then she turned to look at me. “Not at all.” She said. I simply led her to the car and she deliberately moved to my husband’s window. “Good afternoon sir.” Her accent suddenly changed. It was thinner and sexier now.
“Good afternoon my dear, how are you?” I heard my husband ask her.
“I’m fine sir.” She answered with a fake shy smile.
“I hope you enjoyed today’s service?” He asked.
“Of course sir, I was blessed.” She stated.
“Glory to God.” My husband replied then added. “Please go around, come in.” As she walked in front of the car, my husband quickly said to me. “Victoria, sit at the back.” When I gave him a defiant look, he bit his lower lip hard and gritted. “If you mess this opportunity up for me ehn, I’ll make sure I break your hand. Go to the back!”
Reluctantly, I opened the door and got into the backseat. The girl saw this and hesitated in confusion but my husband quickly assured her. “Oh, don’t worry my dear, just come in. My wife doesn’t mind. Trust me, she doesn’t even like sitting in the front.”
“Okay…” She skeptically said then took my place beside him. As we drove home, he began to ask her personal questions about her and they totally forgot I even existed. Somehow, on the course of the journey, he managed to convince her to go home with us. When she hesitated, he assured her yet again that I wouldn’t mind and she had obliged. I was angry and ashamed but there was nothing I could do. When we got home, he asked me to go prepare semovita and Egusi soup for her and that I should make sure that I stocked her plate with enough chicken. I served her at the dinning with a bottle of wine while she ate with my husband and I could hear them laughing like they had known each other for years. When they were done eating, I cleared the table and went to do the dishes. By the time I was done, I walked into the sitting room to meet a shocking sight.
Daniel was already on top of the lady doing the unthinkable on the couch. I was speechless. As I turned to go, my husband stopped me and ordered me to follow them up to our bedroom. He practically carried her up the stairs in his arms and I wondered if the girl had no shred of dignity left in her. She didn’t even have a conscience. I was sure that my husband had bought what was left of it with enough promises to make her fall at his feet.
Against my wish, I followed them up the stairs to our bedroom and watched him place her on the bed. Something he had never done to me before. He asked me to sit in the single armchair and watch how a real woman pleasured a man. I tried to leave but he threatened that if I did, I should just simply pack up my things and leave his house and knowing that I had no where to go to, that my siblings would have to drop out of school and that my parents would never forgive, I stay put, my husband went on with whatever he was doing.
It got to a stage that I almost covered my face with my hands but he called my name sternly and I quickly drew my hands away and watched him.
I was devastated. Never did I imagine that such a thing would get to happen to me in my marriage, that I would get to watch my husband make love to another woman and I could do absolutely nothing about it. It also surprised me that a single girl would agree to sleep with a married man especially before his own wife. What happened to women looking out for their fellow women? Why should women contribute to the sorrows of an unhappy marriage. I was lost in thought as I stared blankly at my husband
When he was done, he directed her to the bathroom where she had her bath after she had defied my matrimonial bed. She had her bath and came out a few minutes later clad in my towel. She soon dressed up and my husband gave her a wad of cash then ordered me to go fetch her a cab. After she left, I went to the back of the house, sat down on the floor and wept bitterly. I almost cursed my parents for forcing me into this marriage. I cried till mucus was dribbling down my nostrils. I was helpless and if this was what marriage was all about, I just wanted to go back to being single.
“God why me?!” I lamented. “Why me? What have I done to deserve this? What?”
I was still lamenting when I heard my husband’s harsh voice, “Victoria!”
Quickly, I got up, wiped my tears as best as I could with my hands and hurried to meet him…
Two weeks later, my in-laws came to spend the Easter period with us. My husband’s younger brother and his younger sister came to the house and I was almost relieved that at least with the presence of his siblings, he would minimize his ill-treatment towards me and hopefully his chronic philandering. One morning, I was cleaning the sitting room with a wet rag when the brother whom I was just a year older than came in carrying a pile of clothes in his arms.
“Victoria.” He called me and I paused my work to look at him.
“When you are done, I want you to wash these clothes.” He dropped them on the floor.
I stared at him in disbelief. “What happened to your hands?”
He frowned. “What kind of question is that?”
“Last time I checked, you are not handicapped, which means that you are well enough to do your own laundry.”
“And why would I be in my brother’s house and still wash my own clothes?” He asked.
“Why should I wash your clothes when there’s also a washing machine for you to use?”
“I don’t want the washing machine, it doesn’t wash my clothes clean.”
“Then simply use your hands. If you cannot do that, go and call your girlfriend to do it for you. I’m not your maid.”
His eyes narrowed in anger now. “The very day you married into this family was the very day we owned you. I’m your in-law and a man for that matter and you owe it to me to treat me the same way you treat my brother.”
I scoffed and then clapped my hands in disbelief. “If you are so desperate to be treated like your brother, why not go and get married. After all, your mates out there are already taking up their own responsibilities instead of feeding off their brothers.”
All of a sudden, he advanced towards me and struck me on the face with his hand. Stunned, the rag dropped from my hand as my hands flew to my face. “You slapped me?!” I asked in shock.
“Yes and you’ll get a severe beating if by the time I return and my clothes are still unwashed. You gold digger! I wonder why my brother is still putting up with you? You are classless! You should be happy that we even accepted you into our family, you wretched-s–t!”
I was about to retort when my husband came down the stairs and soon his younger sister who must have heard us, appeared from her room too. “What’s going on here?” My husband asked.
My hand was still on my face as I stared at him with tears-filled eyes. “You brother slapped me.” I told him.
He turned to his brother. “Kenny, is that true?”
His brother quickly explained to him and told him that not only had o refused to obey him, I had also insulted him. My husband simply pulled my hand away from my face and scrutinized my cheek. “It’s not that serious. He didn’t leave a mark.”
I gaped at him in shock. “Your brother just slapped me and this is all you have to say?”
“What do you want me to say? Do you want me to send him away from my house all because of a harmless slap? Is that what you want, to cause a rift in my family? Listen Victoria, before I ever married you, I had my brother and there’s no way on Earth that I’ll do anything negative to him all because of you. You are at fault here. How would you refuse to wash his clothes? What kind of wife are you? Just clothes and you are proving so stubborn.” Turning to his brother, he said, “And Kenny, you can’t just do things like this. I understand that she can be very stubborn and unnerving but next time you want to slap her or lay your hands on her, seek my permission first!” Then he dismissed his brother and simply turned and walked out of the house without another word to me while my eyes followed him in speechless shock. I knew he was going out and soon I heard his car leave the compound.
When both men were gone, I stood there numb and the sister sympathetically approached me, took my hand and led me to the couch where she made us sit and the first question she asked was, “Why are you still here?”
I gave her a confused look. “What do you mean?”
“Despite how my brother treats you, you are still choose to remain here, why?”
I sighed. “I’ve no where to go.” I mumbled.
“What do you mean by you have no where to go? Can’t you gather enough money and get out of this city? Fine, I know that he’s my brother and I have tried talking to him several times but even me cannot tolerate this nonsense that you are taking from him from any man. He doesn’t love you, he doesn’t treat you right, he cheats on you and doesn’t even care to hide it, he beats you up at the slightest provocation and yet, you’re still here, do you want to go to an early grave?! Can’t you grab any cash and disappear?!”
“I don’t have any money of mine. Your brother did not let me have a bank account of my own. He gives me only cash and for only specific reasons such as hairdo, clothes and groceries, besides that, he doesn’t give me any other money.”
“And you can’t save the least you can savage from such money he still gives you?! You are a graduate for Christ’s sake and yet you have refused to go take up a job all because my brother asked you to be a housewife and promised to give you a certain amount of money monthly, now where is that money?”
“He sends it to my parents monthly.” I answered.
She was taken aback. “What! Why would he do that?”
“It was my father’s idea. He claimed that the family needs the money more than I do since I’m already being taken care of by your brother.”
She heaved a sigh again that was of despair. “All these happening to you is the fault of your parents. And honestly, if I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t even have agreed to get married to my brother in the first place just to please my parents. I wouldn’t jeopardize my future for any body, not even my family. Look, they are over there enjoying everything, while you are being treated worse than a slave here all because your parents chose to sell you for their own selfish interest! You had better find a way out of this stupid mess you have found yourself!” She finished and rose to her feet. She walked to the spot her brother had dropped the clothes, packed them in her arms and said, “as for these stupid boy’s clothes, they are going into the washing machine. You are not his slave!” With this, she started to walk away then paused. “Victoria, a word of advice from a sister to a sister, anytime you find anyone who can make you happy or treat you better than my brother, go for it, you have my full backing. It’s better to be with a poor man and be happy than with a rich man who never fails to remind you that he picked you from the gutters!” Then she walked away.
A month’s later, on a Friday night, after my in-laws had left three weeks earlier, my husband called me from the office and asked me to dress up that we were going out for an outing. I was surprised. He specifically instructed me to wear something sexy and that was just what I did. He came home at 9:30 p.m. that night and honked outside the house and I had to go out to join him in the car. When he saw how I looked, he nodded in satisfaction and drove off.
We soon reached the the place and the way he was hailed by the bouncer and some of the men inside the place made me know that he was regular in that place. The men all gave me curious glances as we walked past them. My husband took me to a couch facing the dancefloor and the bar and asked me to sit down then he summoned a waiter to get us a bottle of wine. The place felt choky and too crowded with people. A lot of people were dancing on the dancefloor and the music was almost deafening. The different smell of sweat and perfumes had mixed up in the atmosphere to form something that would have made me light headed and faint.
I saw a lot of girls in seductive and revealing clothes. Some clothes were too tight or were almost nothing. Sensitive parts of the body could be seen through some transparent tops and showing off of navels was the reigning thing. I tried to be comfortable as I watched girls dancing seductively in front of their male partners. My husband lit a cigarette and began to smoke and I stared at him in shock because I had never seen him smoke before. He pretended not to notice my expression and simply focused on the dance floor. I realized that his eyes were fixed on three girls who had come alone without partners and were dancing on the dance floor in order to get the attention of the men.
After watching them for a while, he got up, leaned down and whispered in my ear, informing me not to leave my spot then he approached the girls. He focused on the chubby one who was very busty and began to talk to her by speaking into her ear due to the loud music. Soon, he was busy dancing with her and running his hands all around her body. I swallowed hard and tried to look for something else to get my attention off him. I sat alone for the next fifteen minutes, trying to entertain myself by watching all that was going on around me and that was when my gaze locked with his.
He was seated at one corner of that place and he held a bottle of wine between his index finger and middle finger. The way he stared at me made my stomach flip and I have never felt such a feeling in my gut for a very long time, not even for my husband. I nervously broke our gaze and tried to look away but I found myself sneaking glances his way and sometimes someone would dance into view and severe my sight of him for a moment. When the person danced off my path of direct view again, I realized that he was still staring at me. I had never seen him before and I didn’t know who he was but there was something captivating about the way he stared at me as if he could see right into my soul.
I became very conscious of my looks just then and was concerned about if I looked decent enough or like most of the other girls in the club. I was trying to pull the hem of my gown down towards my knees when I saw him rise from his stool, his eyes never leaving me. My heart began to race now as I saw him move towards my direction, gently maneuvering his way through the dance floor with his eyes still fixed on me as if I was a prey and if he dared blink, that I would disappear. My chest swelled with both dread and anticipation.
I placed my left hand on my knee so that my wedding ring was in view, hoping that he would notice it from afar and turn back but he didn’t. I doubted he even saw the ring since he wouldn’t stop staring at me right in the eye. I glanced around for my husband and discovered that he was gone with the girl. Only her two friends remained on the dancefloor and I speculated that he had probably taken her to the corner for a quickie. As the stranger drew nearer, I thought of rising and quickly dashing out of the club but somehow, a part of me refused to let my feet move so I remained put till he finally emerged from the dancefloor and I could see a clearer picture of his features now.
To Be Continued…