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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Love, unforgiveness, emotional blindness, romance, love at first sight, fantasy, tethered on the fringes of hysteria, heart was no longer with him, mother in-law, cancer, hospital, did not cheat on you,.

After the wedding, we spent two weeks in São Tomé and Príncipe in a hotel overlooking the sea. Dayo’s uncle had paid for that as his wedding gift to us. I will save you the details of what happened on the beach over there in São Tomé and Príncipe. However just five months after our wedding, my fairy tale romance with Dayo came crashing like a pack of cards. I was washing his clothes when I found a note in his trouser pocket which read, “Baby, I will be waiting for you in the hotel room. Don’t give me any excuses this time.” Unbelievably I stared at the note as my heart threatened to stop. Hot tears ran down my face and my head felt light. I began to cry. In the dream land where my kind of love evolved from, men don’t cheat and not one of my imaginary lovers cheated on me. With my feet wobbly, I stood up and reached for my phone and called Shola, Dayo’s younger sister who had come to be a bosom friend of mine.

I cried so hard on the phone she thought I was going to die. When she came over and saw the note I found in her brother’s trouser pocket, she was struck dumb. We couldn’t reason our way around the evidence of infidelity before us. Dayo was out supervising work on the house we had acquired. Before he could get home I had packed my things and moved into another room. When he returned home and I confronted him with the note, he vehemently denied knowledge of it. To me his denial of having no knowledge of the note seemed quite genuine. He was mad with me for even entertaining the thought that he could cheat on me. My heart was in tatters, I did not know what to do or believe. I had never been cheated on before. Dayo was my first love. To save our marriage, Dayo brought the matter to the knowledge of his family members and mine. His efforts to save our marriage were impressive but the problem was that my heart had fallen prey to morbid fear and paranoia. I found myself thinking every time he was away from me that he was with another woman. To drive home my plight, my mind daily tethered on the fringes of hysteria.

Slowly I started denying him sex occasionally and began to starve him at home. Before long the love I had in my heart for him was replaced with bitterness and disregard. Fear completely ate me up and I fell into darkness. To save our marriage I began to read his e-mails and went through his phone to prove to myself that he was not cheating on me, however the more I dug into his life,  the more I found clues that perhaps there was another woman somewhere sleeping with my husband when he was not at home. When my heart could not take it anymore, I packed my stuffs and moved out of his house. He fought like a bull to keep me from leaving him, he cried, swore and even threatened to commit suicide, but my heart was no longer with him. Living with him was driving me insane. After I left him, almost every night I cried myself to sleep. I would wake up in the morning and found my pillow wet. Many times I thought that I gave up too easily and abandoned what mattered the most to me. But I was too afraid of Dayo dumping me in the long run, so I slipped into my old self who perfected the art of rejecting men’s advances and cried about it all night long.

A month after I moved out of Dayo’s house I found out I was pregnant, so I called his mother and told her. She must have told Dayo, because he did everything he could to see me but I refused to see him, even though I cried about that. When I made up my mind to leave his house, I convinced my superiors at work to move me to another branch of the company both of us worked for. My request was swiftly considered given the good relationship I enjoyed with my bosses. So for Dayo to see me was difficult, and I made sure it stayed that way for long. I wasn’t sure if what I was doing was right. Everyone told me I was being stupid, including my parents. My father was particularly angry with me for throwing my marriage away. On several occasions he called demanding I move back to my husband’s house. Each time I tried to explain my plight to him he would shut me up, yelling at me. My Mother summoned meetings to get me to move back to Dayo's house, but I wouldn’t budge. After some time, it seemed everyone cut me a slack and allowed me to follow my way. Even Dayo who called me off-the-hook, strangely went silent. The only person who stayed in touch with me was Dayo’s mum. She continued to treat me as though I had not left her son’s house. She was exceptionally nice to me and that made me feel guilty.

Things further deteriorated about the eighth month of my pregnancy. Dayo’s mother had called to know how I was doing; as usual I was in tears. She decided to drive down to my house to see me. I had not let any of Dayo’s relative know where I was living. However, because of how much Dayo’s mum cared for me, I sent my address to her. About an hour later she was in my house. She didn’t like the way I looked. Living alone I had to do everything for myself. That evening, I had not much to eat and was too tired to fix a meal for myself. Dayo’s mother offered to cook for my, but on a second thought she decided to go buy me food. About a minute after she left my living room, I heard a loud cry at the staircase. It was Dayo’s mum. I ran out in panic, clutching my protruding tummy. The sight I met at the base of the staircase was shocking; Dayo’s mother was lying still on the floor with a bloody gash on her head. She must her slipped off the staircase. I began to shout as loudly as I could, calling for help. Thankfully my neighbours were already on the way to the staircase, they had heard my mother in-law’s cry. She was lifted quickly and driven off to a hospital. I ran back into my apartment and dialed Dayo’s number. I did not believe I would call him for any reason, but that was what I did in that situation. Sadly his phone was off. I had to call his sister, Shola and told her what had happened.

By 10: pm in the night, doctors gave us a terrible news. Dayo’s mother had gone into coma; her head had taken a terrible hit when she tumbled on the staircase. Strangely, late into the night there was still no sign of Dayo. Everyone was at the hospital including my parents but Dayo was nowhere to be seen. I had to pull Shola aside and asked her why Dayo was not in the hospital. She was angry with me as was everyone. I was blamed for what happened to my mother in-law. They all believed that if I had agreed to return to my husband’s house, my mother in-law would not have slipped on the staircase. Judging by Shola’s mood, it seemed to me she was going to beat me up. I could tell she was having a hard time controlling her anger. Possibly to let me realize how selfish I had been, Shola decided to tell me what everyone had agreed not to let me in on, “Runaway-wife, when you came into our family we thought it was for good, but as it is, when you came death was following behind you. If you care to know, Dayo has been lying sick for three months at the hospital. He has colon cancer. The way things are; he is not going to survive it.” I still can’t explain what happened next. All I remember was going down in a heap as my head went blank.

The next day I woke up in a hospital bed, crying to see Dayo. Everyone in the room sighed, and I could understand why they did so. It was already late. My failure to forgive what actually never happened had ruined my marriage and the relationship I had with those in Dayo’s family. Nonetheless, I continued to cry, demanding to be taken to him. After I had recovered from my shock, I was taken to see Dayo at the hospital where he was. The first thing he said when he saw me was, “Baby, I did not cheat on you, and neither have I known another woman since the day we exchanged our marital vows.” My parents who had taken me to see him had to steady me. I seemed to totter at the sight of the gawky figure which lay on the bed. In just three months cancer had eaten up my love and left him looking like a retroviral patient. All I could say amid tears, as I sat next to him was, “I am sorry. I believe you, please forgive my stupidity.” Raising his frail hand he ran it on my big tummy and asked, “How is the baby?” I could not say a word, hot tears were gushing from my eyes as guilt stabbed at my heart.

In the weeks that followed, I moved back to Dayo’s house. I was eager to make the brief moment we had to spend together the most memorable ones we had spent. I had to go apologize to Dayo’s father and siblings for my failure to forgive Dayo a wrong which he consistently confessed he did not do. His father was quick to forgive me, but his siblings dragged their feet. They believed I had ruined their family. While I was on knees crying to be forgiven my phone rang, it was Esther. We worked together back when I worked at the same branch with Dayo. At first I ignored her call, but when she persisted, I had to take the call meaning to ask her to call me back later, but what followed was unbelievable. I heard Esther crying and asking me to forgive her over the phone. She wanted to see me immediately. When I asked her what I had to forgive her for she said she was the one who planted the note which broke my marriage with Dayo and had sent the suspicious e-mails I read.

I was so deeply hurt that I went into labour in that moment. Dayo’s father and siblings could not figure out why I cried the way I did. At first they thought that Dayo had passed on. Shola had to pick my phone which I flung in her direction to find out whom I spoke with over the phone and what he or she might have told me. After I had successfully delivered my baby, Shola gave me the full gist of what she had found out from Esther. Esther happened to have had a crush on Dayo, and had hope of nailing him down until I took him away. Determined to win him for herself, she went to work to destroy my marriage. All these were strange to me, I had heard stories of women stealing other women’s husbands, but I was too naïve to believe any of it. I believed that men leave their wives because they want to. When I mentioned Esther’s confession to Dayo, he didn’t speak a word for over thirty minutes. He simply turned on his bed and faced the wall. It turned out that after I moved out of his house, Esther began to pester him to let her move into his house so she could take care of him. It hurt Dayo so much because he did not make the connection when Esther pestered him and threw herself at him at every chance she got. She had to confess what she did because a native doctor had told her that if she did not, she would never get married (I do not believe this was the reason she confessed. She confessed only because she saw that Dayo was as good as dead. Perhaps guilty conscience wouldn’t let her move on). However the thought of Esther visiting a native doctor for whatever reason scared the living day out of me. Back where I come from I did not hear of such. I saw girls flaunt their bodies to catch the men they wanted, but did not hear of any visiting native doctors.

In all, I learnt that I was naïve about love and life. Dreaming about love did not mean I knew jack about it. Right under my nose, a fellow woman took my marriage and smashed it on the floor. You can dream about love all you want, if you do not work your fingers sore and learn how to love and keep your man, you might lose him to those who want him more than you do. On the other hand, the birth of my son seemed to give Dayo a lot more reason to fight and live. He did not survive the cancer, but he lived long enough to see his son say, “Dada.” My mother in-law woke from coma about a month and two weeks after I had my son. She still treats me like an angel in spite of my folly. I still regret my stupidity. I should have believed Dayo when he swore to me that he knew nothing about that note. Cancer may have killed him anyway, but we would have lived happily all those months I left him. Maybe…just maybe my love would have stopped the cancer. Someday I might get the chance to love again, and even if I catch my man pants down with another woman, I won’t throw him away, until I have heard the whole story.

The above story was narrated by Angela Ighalo (actual name withheld) and was edited by editorial team.


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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Love, unforgiveness, emotional blindness, romance, love at first sight, fantasy, tethered on the fringes of hysteria, heart was no longer with him, mother in-law, cancer, hospital, did not cheat on you,. An African Literary Blog
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