Nigeria's leading story blog. money, Ogbete Main Market Enugu, Switzerland, Nigeria.
TRUE LIFE STORY
“Yeye (useless) man! Look at you…you are busy wiping dust off the window panes while your mates are sending millions from abroad. They are building mansions and buying houses and you are here wiping and scratching. Go and get a house help, stupid man…that is what they are meant for!” Chinulu’s voice echoed through our apartment like waves racing through a rocky tunnel. At the same time, her words pierced through my heart like hot knife through a defenseless slab of butter. Of late, my wife Chinulu had been serving as her brother contractor. Or rather, she elbowed and punched the true contractor out of the picture by feeding all kinds of stories to her brother. Afterwards, she was handed the project – a twin four-storey building, which as rising quickly. At the same time, Chinulu was stashing as much money as she could by stealing from the project she was managing. The amount of money she saw going into the project and the lot she was stealing had gone to her head.
“You don’t have to be rude to me, Chinulu,” I cautioned her managing a thin control over my boiling anger. I am not the type to lay my hand on a woman, but quite frankly, I was tempted to do it that day. I am glad I managed to hold myself. “Shut up! How much did you make at the shop today? Money is everything, Okechukwu!!!” She shot back at me. It is often said that women marry or date bad guys with the belief that he would be nice to them – each one thinks she has the magic wand that would make a bad guy behave well. Well, that is not exclusive to women. Men do it too. I had been aware of Chinulu’s temper and appetite for money, but somehow, I told myself, blindly that she would be nice to me – I was going to tame her. How wrong I had been.
As weeks went by, Chinulu grew even more rude and disdainful of me. She poured insults on me with merciless liberality. Neighbors wondered why I did not smack her around. I don’t even know how I managed to keep from doing it because that was the only thing on my mind at the time. Then one day, Chinulu returned from the project site full of excitement. She had made bitter leaf soup for me. She served me dinner for the first time in months. Then, she sat beside me, stroking my neck. I wondered whether she was serving me my last supper before she either stabbed me to death by herself for not making enough money, or deliver me to hired killers she may have arranged to do the job for her. I watched her carefully, wondering when the knife would appear briskly towards my neck or chest.
She pulled me close to herself, giving me a kiss – a very passionate one for that matter. Her eyes were firmly shut and her hands wandered all over my body. I kept my eyes wide open, scanning the vicinity for the killer that might jump out of nowhere and lynch me to death. “I have something exciting to share with you,” she finally said. My heart was pounding wildly. You would have thought that the town crier of the olden days lived in my chest. “What is…is...is it, honey?” I stuttered. “I have saved up enough money to send you abroad,” she announced elatedly. “I have spoken to someone who can easily get you a visa to Switzerland,” she added. I was nearly forty five at this point and we had three children. I did not want to go abroad. I had little feelings for Chinulu at this point and I knew she had none for me, so all I could think of was my children. Besides, my business – I sold bags and clothing at Ogbete Main Market Enugu at the time – I was not doing badly. Yes, it was not making millions; the one thing that Chinulu wanted so badly, but we were fine.
“Really?” I asked as I flickered through my mind. “Yes. You will make a lot of money abroad,” she replied. “Let me think about it, honey,” I replied. “Come on Okey. This is a golden opportunity for our family,” she added. I could sense the anger in her. She was beginning to wonder why I would not jump at such an opportunity. “Okay, I will do it,” I answered impulsively just to prevent the impending argument and insult. Some months later, I was on a flight to Zurich Switzerland on a visiting visa. I hated life in Switzerland. Things were so expensive that I had to ask Chinulu to send me more money. After a deluge of insults, she sent the money while warning me to begin to make some and send home soon enough.
Towards the expiration of my visiting visa, I called Chinulu. “My visa is expiring soon,” I said. “I’d have to return home,” I added. “What?” She asked me as though I was the devil himself walking loudly into the church on a Sunday. “Have you no brains?” “What do you want me to do Chinulu? I cannot manufacture permanent residency. I have to return home.” “Idiot, I will kill you if you come back here. Don’t you know what other men do to survive life abroad?” “I know and that is the reason I don’t want to do it. I’d have to marry an Oyibo woman,” I answered. “Then do it!!!!” I could not believe my ears. Chinulu, my own wife was urging me to marry an Oyibo woman just to become a resident and subsequently a citizen in Switzerland so I could make a lot of money and send to her. “What did you say?” I asked wondering if I had been dreaming.
“You heard me right, Okechukwu. Be a man for once in your life. Do it. Make sure you never bring her back to Nigeria. I don’t care what you do with her. Go ahead and marry one and sort yourself out. Have no idea how much I spent to send you abroad? Do you want to return home to wipe windows in the evening like you used to? Don’t you want to be rich?” He words cut sword gorging at my heart and soul. Right there, I knew that my wife was or had become a monster. She had no feelings for me whatsoever that it did not bother her if I married another woman. I felt a pang of pain in my soul. I wondered how I had come to this point. I wondered what would become of my children. I did not want this woman who called herself my wife to raise them but I had no choice. I had to do something and fast too. “I will do it darling,” I answered. Immediately, her tone changed. I could see her blazing smile through the phone.
The next day I called to tell her that I needed to invalidate my marriage to her to the Swiss authorities before I could marry another woman in the country. “It is just a paper stating that we are divorced since I had claimed that I was married to you at the time I applied for my visa,” I explained,” “I will go to court and get one for you my dear,” Chinulu offered before I finished explaining myself. Soon, I had the document in my mailbox. She had worked at lightning speed to get me one. She sent it by DHL to make sure I got it in time. About two months later, I was walking down the aisle with another woman in my arms. She was a French Swiss girl. She beamed with smiles as we were united in holy matrimony. Each time she looked in my eyes, I could see satisfaction. She loved me beyond words. There was nothing Michelle would not do for me. For once in my life, I was loved…loved to the very marrow of my bones. With Michelle, I could do no wrong.
Shortly after the marriage, I was armed with my work permit. I began to labor away to send money for the upkeep of my children at home. “I have three children with my ex-wife at home,” I told Michelle. She was very understanding. She’d even offer me more money to send them. “One day, I will go to Nigeria with you to see them,” she would say. “Can we adopt them?” She asked me one evening, bright-eyed. She was excited at the prospect of being the stepmother of my children. How could you hurt a beautiful soul like this? Why would you leave an angel like Michelle for a money-grabbing thief like Chinulu? It was not long before I became a citizen. I had saved up money for a trip home knowing the needs waiting for me back there. Michelle and I landed at Mur’tala International airport on a hot August day. She was more excited than I could describe.
When we arrived in Enugu, I left Michelle at the airport in the care of my brother to go and see my children and Chinulu. “Honey mu (my honey),” Chinulu greeted me. She was smiling with joy. She wanted to hug me, but I would have none of it. “What is it darling?” She queried me. “I have come to see my children, Chinulu. I want nothing to do with you,” I announced matter-of-factly. “What? After I spent millions to send you abroad? You think you have enough money to squeeze me out of the picture? It is like you are beginning to enjoy the Oyibo woman too much. You have never been a real man. Please tell me you are joking. I don’t have time for expensive jokes. I hope you are ready to buy a house in Abuja?” Chinulu was till her usual self. Money and material things were the eyes through which she saw life.
I served her court documents indicating that I wanted full custody of my children. The day we appeared in court, I was with Michelle. Chinulu yelled at her like a rabid dog. “He does not love you! He married you for visa!” She shouted not knowing that I had told Michelle the entire truth. I have to admit that I greased some palms to make sure that I won the custody case in court. I wanted my children at all cost and I was going to do anything it took to get them. I succeeded in snatching them away from the evil hands of Chinulu. “Why are you doing this to me?” She cried. “Have you forgotten that you are my husband? I never meant to push you away. Please don’t take the children from me, Okey. We are in this together…remember?” “No, you were in it for money all along and I never want to have anything to do with you,” I threw back at her. I had to stay longer in Nigeria to get the paperwork to take my children back to Switzerland with me. Michele has been the best wife I could have ever dreamt of. She is an amazing mother too to my first three children and they love her to bits. Now, we have two other children.
I never dreamed to live abroad let alone to be divorced, but when Chinulu shoved it down my throat, I decided to act on my own instincts and end her evil stranglehold on my life. Maybe this was God’s way to end my torture and turmoil under the grip of Chinulu. Today, she lives alone with hardly any companion causing endless fights in her family. She chose divorce over love and family and she got what she wanted. If you are young and yet to marry, please avoid a greedy, money-loving person; be them man or woman. Michele seeks love and care first before money comes into the picture and she offers the same to those in her life without restraint. What a peace I feel in my heart today!
The above story was narrated by Okechukwu Mbanefo (actual name withheld) and was edited by moofyme.com editorial team.
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