This story is as shared by the author with her permission. This is the second part of the story. If you missed part 1,please click here to read. We hope you all can draw strength and courage from her story. Stay tuned.
The Troubled Days
His mum had asked me to try one more time. But I retorted, ‘what if it comes out as another female child?”
I took my time to enlighten her that the main determinant of the sex of a child is the man. But that didn’t stop her. She was now living with us, and that was when things started getting worse.
Space would not permit to paint the pictures of all I went through in her hands. The peak of it all was her connivance with her daughters to paint me black before their brother. And that was how it all snowballed into me being turned a punching bag by him.
From the onset of the marriage, his sisters were living with us. Ours was a modest two bedroom apartment with three ‘umu boy’, his two sisters, and my house help living with us and the kids. No one could tell who the madam of the house was, as we all shared same space and privilege.
And for the fact that they were a quite older than me, I respected the two sisters. Even at the very expense of my comfort and privacy, I took them as my own, and never gave room for quarrels. But then, it baffled me that not for once did they call their mother to order for meddling in my marital affairs.
As our building neared completion, our two girls were set for secondary education. We had decided to enroll them in Learning Field – a reputable school in Satellite town, but there was one hurdle standing our way. How could we allow the kids to spend hours daily in traffic commuting to and fro school.
As a result, we decided to move to CBN estate 1 in Satellite town. We’d rather go through the stress of the traffic daily, than put the kids through it. Besides, Satellite town was fairly a good environment to raise kids.
However, that idea seemed not to sit well with his people. How could their son, who was now almost a landlord, go off to another area, to become a tenant. That’s the typical Igbo mentality anyway. And so, right from the day we moved to CBN, I ceased to have peace.
Of course, It was believed that the decision to move house, had emanated from me, as I was always seen as one who ‘hangs her bag where her hand can’t reach. And thus, there was pressure from all corners to see that we moved out of that very house, back to Showemimo – where we had our own house.
In the course of all these, he was summarily advised to clip my wings. And that he began to plot. Just one one morning, he came to the shop, ordered me to pick all that belonged to me and leave the shop. Nothing could be as painful, as I imagined walking out of the shop that I had built and nutured for good seven years.
At first, I played deaf, and refused to leave. But before long, he had gone around to all my relatives, the (Obijiofors) in the market and told them that if I failed to leave his shop in 30 mins, my corpse would be all that remained. They called me, and pleaded that I leave. And that was my last day in that very shop.
I left that shop without one kobo in my account. But then, the heartbreaking part of it was receiving calls from the customers who had gone to the shop to buy goods, all because of me, but wouldn’t see me. I had
to lie that my studies were getting tougher and I needed to focus more.
In deed, I cried each time I got a call from one customer, because I knew he wasn’t going to keep up with those customers for long. I had built a warm relationship with most of them, to the point that some of them would rather buy from me even if my prices were higher. But for whatever reasons, he’d preferred to lose all the customers, just to show me that he was the “man”.
The worst of it all was when he started defaulting in children’s school fees, in the mere pretext that the fees were exorbitant. But from our sales, I knew we had the capacity to pay. I actually have a great passion for quality education, and wanted the the best for my kids. I remember suggesting that we channel our rents from our house 🏠 in Showemimo to our children’s school fees.
At first, he had agreed, but later reneged, as he felt it amounted to a waste of money. He’d rather we occupy the Showemimo house, and have the kids attend any school in close proximity.
It got to a point that the children were sent home from school for not paying their fees. I ran to my very good cousin – Oz whom it was that gave me part of the school fees, to allow them write their exams.
From that point, things took turn for the worst. I needed to start doing something. My pastor then gifted me with 50,000 to start a petty business. I would go to Lagos Island, and buy ladies stock tops and t-shirts, hawk them on the streets of satellite town.
Within short time, I became a shadow of my former self from constant trekking. Of course, he had hurriedly auctioned off the small mazda sports car I was using to run around. And that nearly wrecked me,emotionally.
In fact, at a point, I contemplated ending my life, but for my love for my kids, and my faith in God. And I thank God for some wonderful friends I got here – friends that stood by me to see that I didn’t lose my sanity. Grace Ntima, Jennifer and my close friends in school whom I often confided in.
The clothes hawking business, though lucrative, couldn’t sustain me and the kids. One night, I was forced to call him for a heart to heart talk. I gently begged him to open a good business for me, or at least settle me off, for I believe I had performed better than all the boys he ever lived with.
And he replied by asking me to choose between doing another business and keeping my marriage. I stubbornly chose the former because I couldnt imagine my life as a complete house wife yet he refused to set up the electrical business in the street for me, as we had agreed.
The constant beating and humiliation continued. In fact, he stopped carrying me in his car. On Sundays, the kids would beg him to take them to church. If he ever obliged, he would carry only them, and leave me to trek, or use okada.
At nights, he would build a boundary between us with pillows. I mustn’t come near to him. In fact, at a point, I figured it was almost 5 months that we hadn’t made love, as it appeared he hated seeing or touching me. And If I dared touched him, a hot slap would reposition my hands. And so I kept my distance.
There was this very beating that made me take the ultimate decision. That one almost got me blind. He had pushed me down the stairs of the one-storey building we stayed. After I landed on the ground floor, he picked up an old motor spare rod to smash on my head, but for a neighbour who screamed out loud.
I was taken to the police post at CBN. And when he was invited over,he shockingly confessed that he had a serious urge to kill me, and possibly go in for it. Even the police man in charge of the case, advised me to run for my life that this wasnt ordinary. My neighbours had started wondering if I had relatives at all.
It was a good friend of mine that took me to Rhowill Total Care hospital at Satellite town, where I was admitted for two days. And for the two days, he didn’t show up. My brother came all the way from Onitsha, to settle the hospital bill, and take me home. He warned him about beating me, but that was like pouring water on stones.
As my brother left, he dropped a proverb at me “Onye enweghi ike na-eji ofu ike ano” ( literally meaning that I had no one to turn to, and must behave accordingly). He even threatened that he could do anything to me and get away with it, as ‘isi aputaghi ndi ba-ayi’ (my people were of no substance).
Perhaps that was the very one that provoked God. That same day, my older sister at Abuja, had called me to help her buy a car from lagos. She had just saved up her first 1 million naira and wanted to use it to buy a car. I had gone out in search of a car of that range, but all I got was between the range of 1. 3 million to 1.5 million.
When I told her, she suggested that I kept the money that pending the time she gets the extra needed. My Ex came home to give me another round of beating, in spite all the warning my brother had earlier given.
As i reported to my siblings of the incessant beatings, My sister, the one that had sent me the money for the car, had had enough! She reminded me that I needed to be alive for my kids. And she went ahead and made the greatest sacrifice of her life. The very money she had sent me to help her buy a car, she now told me to get a small apartment and start a business with it.
While all these played out, he leased out the very flat that we had just paid two years rent on, after spending only 7 months. The kids were so distraught,at the thought of having to leave the beautiful estate. But what could we do?
While he was packing to move back to Showemimo, I was making plans to leave him. I couldn’t wait to end the whole drama, yet I couldn’t imagine the thought of leaving my kids behind. And nothing could be more difficult than having to move with the kids, with no tangible source of income.
Women! I advice – Find something doing. Just don’t sit down as be a house wife!. .
He was to pack out on Wednesday but I had already moved out on the Monday😀😀 It was nothing short of hilarious, when I got a bus driver to pack my books, our clothes, one foam, one deep freezer and a tv. The bus driver saw how I was moving stealthily and ran away thinking I was trying to steal from the house.
I ran after him and pleaded that I wasn’t a house help but a maltreated wife. He took pity on me and came back. By then, I already sent my kids to my friend’s house, even though it was a school day. They had finally been sent away from school because we still owed some money. So, I would dress them up every morning, and take them to my friend’s house to cover their shame in the estate, as neighbors had begun noticing they weren’t attending school.
That fateful day, 30th of March 2009, I took a bold step and left a marriage that offered me nothing but sadness, a marriage where I was co-habiting with a stranger who saw nothing good in me.
A marriage I tried my best to build on daily basis yet he would look into my eyes and tell me that he hates me, and I was the worst thing that ever happened to him. I saw no blissful future. All I could see was a young man trying to show his authority over a conquered subject, or a mediocre who would rather pull one into the pit, than to allow them pull him up. I’d say his life revolved around objecting to anything I ever suggested.
Moreover, I think he felt threatened by my resilient personality. And I knew it could only get worse if I stayed back. As I sat down and drove past CBN Estate 1 with my load, picking up my kids up from my friend’s house, I felt a new me was born. My future laid before my very eyes.
It wasn’t going to be rosy, but my peace of mind was paramount here. It was better to raise my kids as a single mother, than to risk my life, and have my kids watch their mother being constantly abused and beaten by a father with loads of complexes.
….. Stay tuned …. the next chapter is about the birth of Nosking Global Resources ltd
As shared by Nonso N Obijiofor