The Housewives I

Isn’t today our anniversary?

I remember when we first met. It was magical! Your face shone like the morning sun. Mine was like an ignition. Everything was perfect.

It’s been fifteen years!

All I’ve done is be with you. Tayo is 13, Timi is 10. Iyanu is 8. We have one happy family. Happy? Well, everyone is happy. Except me.

You asked me to give up my job in the bank- the one I loved so much- and become a housewife. You said you didn’t want me to work. ‘Why should you work when I’m making all the money for both of us? Baby, just be here, okay? I don’t want you to stress yourself’

So I’ve been here, just as you asked me to. The kids came. Promotions came. More money came.
And I’ve been here still.

A sack letter came. . .

It suddenly became hard. I was still here. I offered to work again. You said you’d bounce back and I shouldn’t worry. And sure as hell, you did bounce back.

The good life returned. And I’ve still been here.

Now I’m overweight! And you’re angry. Baby, are you really angry? I thought you said I should remain here. I’ve done exactly that. Though I find the jobless life very boring, I haven’t complained. I’ve tried weight loss programmes- they bore me!

There’s just one thing I want from you today. I’m thirty-eight and still full of life. My qualifications as an excellent economist are still valid. Tayo and Timi are now in the boarding house, and Iyanu returns by 5pm from school. My love for my job has not waned one bit. And this is all I ask of you:


Happy Anniversary!
Your ‘house’ wife.

It’s 10:52pm.

I’m waiting for him in the living room.

Yesterday, I couldn’t stay up late to know what time he got back. I had a headache. It was that day of the week when I usually did intense house cleaning. Though I’m aware that my house can’t become brand new like the ones in Clean House, I still try my best to keep it tidy. I meticulously scrub, brush, wipe, mop, scrape, scour. . .what in the world don’t I do? And after doing that, I get down with a migrain-seeming headache that spans the rest of the day. It happens all the time- every Wednessday. Today is Thursday, the day for excessive sleeping and marathon Afmag. I have all the time in the world!

And that’s why I’m waiting here for him – my husband, Obinna.

He comes in late every other day. So I give him a piece of my mind every other day. How many offices work till 10pm? That regular excuse will not work for me tonight.

He complains that I nag. Why won’t I? Just five years into married life and I see all these signs? I’ll nag till I run out of breathe o! Nobody can take what belongs to me. Tufia!

I may be a caterer without B.Sc, but those ‘yeye’ office girls with their ugly left legs in ground-breaking heels can’t take my thing from me. My Nnem!

He’s mine forever. . .
suddenly looks up, stands abruptly with hands akimbo

Obinna, why are you just coming home at this time?

The last thing I need right now, is another pregnancy.

The only reason I’m still here is Umar, my bundle of joy. As soon as he is weaned, I’m taking flight! With my first love- Osagie.

Pardon my manners, my name is Fathia, and I’m sixteen years old. I’ll be seventeen next week Monday. I was married off to pay my father’s debt. He owed Mallam Yahaya a huge sum of money, about sixty-five thousand naira. Mallam said he could forget about the money if he gave him my hand in marriage. And father assented. How sad!

I live in a small village on the outskirts of Katsina. I aspire to be a nurse, and Osagie has promised to help me become one. He has promised to pay Mallam back his money so I can be free again, and we can be married. He has promised to take me to the university in his city to study nursing and become a great woman. He has promised. . .

Osagie! He was posted to our village school to teach science during his NYSC several months ago. Being the best student of science in class two,he took special interest in me. I liked him a lot, especially when he spoke ‘big big’ grammar. We had already gotten fond of eachother when father suddenly stopped my schooling and married me off. He said I didn’t really need an education anyway.

I cried and begged for many days, but father would have none of it. Even mother did not help matters-she simply watched like she always does. When Osagie promised to help me, I became hopeful again. Then his service ended and he left, promising to come back for me.

I’m Mallam’s seventh wife. Life here has been hell! There’s strife and jealousy everywhere, and I just can’t wait to run away. But I’ve not heard from Osagie in the last six months. He used to send me letters…why has he stopped? Umar is now three months old. His birth was full of pains and rigour, I don’t want another experience anytime soon. But how can I escape it and the hard life here without Osagie? Is he ever going to return or has he forgotten me already? Am I a fool to trust the words of a stranger?

I hope not.

For some health reason, I had to leave the country. I have been in India for the past three years!

Today, finally, I’m going back home to my family. I’m sitting at my gate at the airport, waiting to be called onboard.

Three whole years!

Lanre, my husband, has been alone with our kids. We have two lovely kids together, both in elementary school. Oh,I’ve missed my jewels. Can’t wait to scoop then into my arms and bathe them with sweet kisses. And their father? I haven’t yet figured what I will do tonight, when I set my eyes on him. Will I cry? No,maybe I’ll just scream! Or faint!

I remember those words he said to me on the day I was to leave.
‘My love, you just go and get well for us, okay? We need you.I’ll be here praying for you. And don’t even worry about the kids. I’ll be me and you to them.I love you, baby.’
I hugged him hard and long,tears falling freely down my cheeks.I was totally in love with this man. And still am.

All through my stay here, Lanre has called me every day. He works in a beverage producing company, yet he bathes the kids,cooks for them,takes them to school, brings them home, helps with their home-work…he does everything.I asked him to get a maid, or call Grace, my sister,to help him out when she’s on break,but he refused.
‘You’d do same if you were in my shoes, Tonia. I don’t need anyone to help me take care of my family.’

If its about other women, I don’t have the tiniest iota of worry.I trust my Lanre. He is faithful to a fault.I had to tell him that peradventure I died during my operation, he MUST marry again. He just smiled and said I wasn’t going to die.

I really am blessed. And to think my parents didn’t want me to marry him? They said I must marry someone from my tribe instead. It took two years before they gave their consent.I know they’re convinced now- we were made for eachother.

My operations were successful.I kept seeing the doctors every week for three years, taking medications and being lonely.

Now all that will change!

Oh…I better be on my way. My flight is now.