Years ago when I said yes to him, it wasn’t because he was the only man who had eyes for me. There were others hovering around my life looking for an opportunity to come in and share their life with me. There was Ken who promised me heaven on earth and vowed to do everything to make me his own. I didn’t like Ken so much because he was very material. He thought all it took to win the heart of a woman was to take her up on top of a mountain and show her the kingdoms of the world and say to her, “All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
Jesus didn’t fall for such temptation from the devil so her daughter wasn’t going to fall for same. I didn’t heed to Ken’s demand. I kept him around as a friend until he moved on. There were suitors but I had eyes for none until Percy came along. He was a man with few words. He didn’t say a lot but was very loud with his actions. He had started his own business and was working hard to make it established. I saw his dedication to work and his dedication to me. No matter how busy he was, he always blocked time to be with me.
One rainy day, at the corner of his hall which he had converted to office, he said to me, “I proposed to you in January. Now we are in May but you still haven’t said anything to me. You come to me and you stay around for a while. Should I take it as a yes to my proposal? Because if you didn’t like me that much, you wouldn’t spend that much time with me.” I told him, “Oh, I thought I’ve said yes to you long ago ooo. If I haven’t, then wait for a while, I will say it very soon.” That was how I said yes to the man who became my husband two years afterward.
From all indications, his business came first before all other things. He called it his first child and his first love. He spent hours at the corner of the hall, trying all he could to build a successful business. I supported him in every way that I could. I was working with a government institution. I wasn’t earning a lot of money but when he needed financial support, I gave my widow’s mite. When he needed someone to run errands for him, I was there to do it. The headquarters of his company was in the middle of our sitting room. I was the one providing cleaning service around the house so it was safe to say that I was the company’s cleaner….Hehehehehe
It’s always not easy to build a successful company but all one needs for a company to kickstart its journey to success is just one huge contract. He called it the breakthrough contract. When he prayed, he prayed for that breakthrough contract and one day when he least expected it, it happened.
Good things take time but when good things start happening in your life, they come in series. After that breakthrough contract, a series of other huge contracts followed. It was around the same time that I got pregnant with our first child. They were twins—a boy and a girl. A year and a half later, I gave birth to another girl.
Combining my work with child care was becoming difficult but it wasn’t unexpected and I never complained about it. I was only doing my best to provide a comfortable home for my three kids and their father. Some times my best wasn’t enough. I got home late some days, I served dinner late some times, and some evenings, I was too tired to bath the kids and put them to sleep so they slept without bathing.
Percy didn’t like that and started complaining.
He was not in favor of bringing in a house help because, in his mind, house helps are usually not the kind of help people need. He said to me, “Quit your job. After all, how much are you making that you have to put the family in jeopardy? You get tired, I understand so quit your job so you can take proper care of the kids and home.” I thought he was advising me to quit my job so I treated the whole thing as advice until he started demanding that I quit my job. “I’m making enough to take care of the family so just quit and stay home. For the sake of our kids. For the sake of the family.”
I said no. “This wasn’t what I signed up for when I said yes to your proposal. I’m a career woman and I have dreams of pursuing my career as far as my will and strength could carry me. I won’t allow family to cut my career short. I’m a bird who loves to soar and hunt for a living. I don’t belong to this decorated cage you want to put me in.” He insisted. I resisted. I told him on several occasions to get a nanny. He said no.
He started blaming me for all the wrongs in the family. Our child will have a headache and he will say, “You said you won’t stay home and take care of them, wait till the worse happens.” Anything that went wrong in the house was blamed on my unwillingness to become a stay-home-mother.
At some point, you get tired of dancing to the same tune over and over again so you decide to change your dancing steps if only that would cause the drummer to play a different tune. I decided to resign and stay home for my kids. I was scared at first. The future looked bleak but I was ready to take the plunge using my kids and family as the safety net.
When my resignation was approved, I showed him the letter. He said, “I trusted you will make the best decision in the end. I know it isn’t easy but I’ll make sure you don’t regret this.”
The toughest period I had to endure was the first three months of staying home. I was bored to death, especially when the kids went to school and he left for work. I was home alone. Nothing made sense. Everything that once made me happy became very boring to me. I told him one day, “Give me money. Let me start something small on the side. I can open a shop for baby stuff. If I’m doing my own work, I can go to work at any time I like and close at any time I like so I can have time to raise the kids and take care of the home.” He responded, “Give me some time to think about it.”
He never finished thinking about it until it became a source of fight between us. My parents and his parents had to come in to settle this issue for us. Even when his own parents saw the sense in what I was saying, he didn’t. He was bent on keeping me home so he can see me whenever he returned from work.
I went out one afternoon and met Ken. He was so happy to see me just as I was very happy to see him. We rekindle our friendship and started talking every now and then. He was doing very well in life and had entered into politics. He was on a pedestal and well placed in life just like he always wanted—he was in a place where his taste for material things can easily be satisfied. He still had a thing for me and was bent on making me his girlfriend. I’ve learned to let the past stay where it belongs so I can give the future an opening arm but due to his position in life, I didn’t want to discard him.
My husband’s business started suffering. He didn’t tell me but it was obvious in the kind of choices he was making in the house. His kind of business relies heavily on getting contracts every now and then so if he goes a month or two without contracts he begins to suffer. I was waiting for him to say something to me but he tried hiding it. Housekeeping money started decreasing. He easily got angry whenever I talked to him about expenditure. I believed him to turn things around but things got worse every day. I’d been home for three years already and there was nothing I could do to help.
I told him about Ken, “I have this friend who’s influential, I will discuss you with him and see if he could help.”
Ken wanted what he wanted and I wasn’t ready to give him that but my husband kept asking me if I had spoken to my influential friend. I kept answering, “Yeah I have, he said I should give him some time.” Every passing day he asked if I had spoken to him or heard from him so I told him the truth, “Ken was pursuing me just around the time you were also trying. Eventually, I said yes to you and said no to him. After all these years, he still wants me. He wants to have something to do with me before he can help.”
He looked at me as if he didn’t believe what I was saying. He asked, “Are you serious? He knows you are married and have three kids?” “Yes he knows,” I responded. He asked, “Is he not married?” I told him, “No he’s not.” He didn’t say anything again nor ask me about him again.
Then Covid-19 started making a mess of the world’s economy. His company was dying but it was Covid-19 that puts the final nail in the coffin of his company. One morning, before the lockdown, I realized he was still in bed after 10am. I went to him and asked, “Are you not going to work today?” He answered, “There’s no work to do. Nothing. I can’t waste fuel and go there just to do nothing.”
The day before that morning was the last time he went to work. We are now miserable and looking for all avenues to get something doing before the kids’ school resumes.
One morning, while in bed he asked me, “That your influential friend, are you very sure he can help us?” I answered, “He’s in the position to help and I believe he can but I don’t trust his intentions.” He said, “We need his help more than ever. All I need is one contract to keep things afloat. Talk to him. Persuade him. When push comes to shove, give him what he wants. We need to survive this.”
I was so shocked I couldn’t say a word for a while. I wanted to be sure I heard him right, so I asked, “What did you say?” He responded, “You heard me. Don’t pretend. Desperate times call for desperate measures.” I told him, “It has become very easy for you to push me under the bus just to satisfy your selfish interest. You pushed me to let go of my job just so you can feel like a man. Here we are again facing the coldest moments of our lives yet you want to burn the earth beneath my feet just to keep yourself warm. I’m done being pushed around. I’m never ever going to do that.”
He turned to me with a smiling face and said, “I was only testing you to see if you’ll do it. Don’t take it personally.”
If I didn’t know you better, I would have believed you. Testing me?
Business comes first in his worldview but to the extent that he would sacrifice me just to satisfy his business needs hurt me to the core. I decided on that day to look for a job. I haven’t been active in the corporate world for ages, but I still have my certificates and five years of working experience under my belt. I will use my network to try to get a job. If situations call for desperate measures, I’ll use Ken to get what I need. No, I’m not going to play to his terms. He’s a man who had loved me before, there should be a way I can put the beast in him to sleep so I can get what I want. My kids have to go to school when school finally resumes.
As for my husband, I can only pray for him for a miracle before he makes another wrong turn all in the name of desperate measures.