I met a man in my hometown. His name is Paapa. We were introduced in January. On Vals’ day that same year, he proposed. It took me three days to say yes to him. In August that same year, he came home to perform the knocking rite. In November, we got married.
Proposal. Acceptance. Knocking rite. Traditional wedding. White wedding. All happened within nine months of our meeting. We never had sex until marriage. That’s what fairy tales are made of right? They called me lucky. I counted myself as blessed. I became the standard among my friends. I was their source of motivation. When something wasn’t going right in their relationship life, I was the mirror they looked through. They said, “The right man would come along and he would make all things easier. Look at what happened to Uriel. What heartbreaks didn’t she go through? But what happened when the right man came along? Nine months. It took her just nine months to get to the altar. Something she had waited for years only happened within nine months.”
Seven months after marriage, my husband said, “I want a divorce.” He didn’t sugarcoat it. He didn’t struggle to say it. He didn’t stutter when saying it. He just went straight for it; “I want a divorce…” I was waiting for the ‘Because’ part of his statement but it didn’t come. People will usually tell you what they want and add, “Because…” at the end of their statement followed by the reason why they want what they want. Paapa didn’t add ‘because.’ He only said, “I want a divorce.” Full stop.
“Paapa, are you alright? Did you sleep well last night? Maybe you’re having a fever. Have you seen the doctor recently? Come here, let me feel your forehead. Maybe you’re running a temperature. Tell me. I’m your wife. What makes you crack a stale joke like this? Divorce is not something you joke about? It’s a word no married couple should gargle with.”
The days ahead proved that he was serious about what he was saying.
Let me take you back a little. This isn’t an easy story to tell but I will try my best to tell it the best way I can.
Five paragraphs ago I told you we never did shuperu before marriage, right? This is what happened. I think a week or so after I’d said yes to his proposal, he held me by the waist and felt my beads. He started playing with them and at some point started counting the number of beads on a thread. I asked, “Seriously?” He said, “I want to know the number so next time when it falls short by a bead, I will know.” He was fond of making jokes out of everything so I laughed. That day he wanted to bamba with the big girl but I said no. He tried but I insisted. We ended up with a kiss and went our way.
I didn’t give him any reason why I didn’t want to bamba (Yeah, today it’s called bamba. Deal with it.) I just wasn’t in the mood and wasn’t ready to allow him to push me into it. But from that day on he never tried again. We would meet and talk. We’ll go out, have fun and come back home. I went to his room often times but he never tried. The farthest he went was touching my bead and playing with them. He would put his thumb and index finger together and start pulling the beads one after the other like the catholic will fidget with the rosary. He didn’t go any further than that.
I didn’t ask questions. I wouldn’t go to him and ask why he had decided not to bamba with the big girl.
It wasn’t so long until he started talking about marriage. I was pleased. At thirty, you don’t need a man who will date you forever until he marries you. He has a good job. I have a good job too. When the two of us put resources together, there is nothing we can’t conquer. He made the plans. He made the timelines. He dictated the pace of the execution of our plans until we finally walked the aisle hand in hand as a married couple.
Our first night wasn’t anything extraordinary. Just normal and graceful. I remember him telling me, “At long last, I can see my friend (beads) physically. He asked if it’s the same beads I wore every day and I said yes. “I’ve worn it for over a year.” We had an eventless honeymoon and went home to begin life together. He moved into my place because it was bigger. We planned to look for a new place as we grow but that never happened. Maybe we didn’t have time to search or we thought what we had was enough.
At first, he was very clingy. He wanted me around all the time. After work, he would call to tell me to get home before he does. In the house, he didn’t want to see me on my phone while he was around. We didn’t touch phones when we were watching a movie and we didn’t receive calls at certain odd hours. All was beautiful until one morning, I woke up and my beads had torn and spread all over the bed. It became our source of laughter: “Why won’t it tear. The threads are weak. You wore this the day you were born and continue wearing it. Sɛ Asa!”
I swept them together and bin them. He was there when I did it.
When he talked about the divorce I needed a reason. I pressed him for one. I cried for him to give me a reason. For a month, he didn’t say anything. He came home late. He didn’t eat what I cooked. He slept in the hall, pressing his phone and loudly talking to his friends while I sleep. I realized his belongings were vanishing one after the other. Shoes will go and not come back. A bag will disappear and he wouldn’t explain. I spoke to his parents about it. They gave me the impression that it was my own problem so I should resolve it without involving them. My parents couldn’t do much because he wasn’t ready to talk to them.
I started moving to his friends one after the other, asking them if they knew what he was going through. One of them said, “Now you know me? You got married and told him to cut his friends off. Now that all is not well, you know he has friends?” I swore I never did such a thing. I told him, “If anything, he was the one who tried keeping me away from everything. I never said a word about his friends.” Finally, he told me he didn’t know anything about him because he hasn’t spoken to him after he got married.
I became a one-woman band trying to fix what was broken. I found the answer on his phone. He barely stayed in the house so that day when I got hold of his phone, I ran out of the house with it so I can have the freedom to go through everything. He was talking to his brother: “I don’t know what made me marry her up till now, I don’t even remember anything about our marriage. It’s like I woke up one day and she was my wife.” His brother said, “You didn’t check her tribe before agreeing to marry her? Those people diɛ you lie bad ooo. They’ll do you.”
He was talking to that his friend who accused me of pulling him away from his friends: “I believe that girl used juju on me because I don’t understand. Meet a woman for just nine months and I marry her? How long did I date Becky? Even her, I didn’t look at her.” His friend responded, ”It’s spiritual. That’s how come it happened too quickly. You even cut us off. My man, that’s so unlike you.”
Then he brought in the bead: “She had beads bi around her waist. I started getting my awareness back the say the bead got torn. I swear I won’t lie to you. The bead looks like it was given to her by her grandmother. Old and brittle until it got torn.” His friend sent laughing emojis. He said, “I’m not joking bro. My awareness was buried in that thing.” While I read his phone, he was busy calling it with his other number. When I got back home it turned into a huge fight. For the first time, I fought back. I talked back. I held on to my ground. “So you think I did something to you? If I had that power, I would have been married long ago. What has come over you? Why are you destroying me to your friends and family.?”
We ended up in front of his parents and my parents. He reiterated his stand. He wanted out of the marriage because he doesn’t know what came over him to get married to a woman like me. My parents felt insulted but he didn’t mind. I felt demeaned but he kept going on with that silly angle of me using my beads to enchant him. You should listen to him talk. It was embarrassing. He spoke like a ten-year-old child, ( I have to apologize to all ten-year-old children for bringing them into something this embarrassing.)
We dragged the issue for over a year, trying to find a solution to a problem that wasn’t there. His people were not helping. It looked like it was only my side of the family that needed a resolution. But at some point, tiredness happens to all those who are fighting. I got tired and decided to give him what he’s looking for.
Some fairy tales don’t end in “And they lived happily ever after.” Such is life but to lose a marriage for a reason like mine is something that goes beyond mortal comprehension. That too is part of life. They used my marriage as a point of motivation. Now, they use the same marriage as a point of caution: “Take your time and study him well oo. We all saw what happened to Uriel. “One minute, you’re the cock of the walk. The next minute, you’re just but a feather duster.” Such is life and it goes on.