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grenepages_Toyin Seth-Ogungbe TEE-WAI

On Becoming The Husband

grenepages_Toyin Seth-Ogungbe TEE-WAI_On Becoming The Husband

The grass is greener on the other side or so I thought. This was my reality for 20 years in my marriage. I had been at my best friend’s wedding, happy for him, excited to be the best man, repeatedly hitting on the Chief Brides Maid and eventually getting her to look my way. With several bottles and the high of the moment, we had our night of passion and in 9 months, I was to become a Father, very disinterested in the woman pregnant with my child and regretting drinking so much that night.

Bee girl was my sweetheart, the one woman I had spent every day waiting to be able to afford to propose to. Now that I could, I was stuck with this dilemma. As I sat across the room, I looked long and hard at Mayen; exhausted, heavily pregnant and probably alone through the pain, shame and strain on her body all these months. Ashamed of how I had denied the first time she called me and cut her off before she could go any further. Somehow, I wondered why she kept the baby, if it was meant to trap me. She had a blank stare as if in a different place. For the first time I wondered if she had her own sweetheart before our night together, how much her life had changed. Without thinking any further, I cleared my throat and said, ‘Thank you all for coming, I will marry the mother of my child and do right by her.’

My heart sunk, a soft smile formed on her face and disappeared before I could figure out what it meant. My mother looked my way shocked at my decision as she had spent the last one week trying to make me see reasons why marrying her was best for everyone. It was my mistake; I was not going to make another one.

I had just shared my decision with Bee and she could not break free from my goodbye embrace. I knew I had to leave and fast too before I changed my mind on everything. I placed a kiss on her forehead, made her sit on her sofa and walked out without looking back. I heard her scream my name aloud as I shut the door. I felt like a part of me had been shut in that room.

The wedding plan was in full gear, everyone in the family was excited. He had not seen Mayen since the meeting, yet she was carrying his baby and about to be his wife. He tried to call her many times and ended the call each time before she could pick up. Wanted to ask how this all felt for her, to know if she had her own “special somebody”, how they could attempt to know each other and probably become friends.

Mayen seemed very agreeable and easy to live with, it had been five months since their traditional wedding and joining at the registry. She scared him with her patience and dutiful disposition as he had been used to full-blown drama. Bee was a drama queen, in love today and spanking him tomorrow. This was all new to him. His friends had fallen in love with Mayen almost immediately, made jokes about how this was a blessing in disguise as he had dodged a bullet with Bee. Why was he so numb? Why did she feel like a stranger? How could he feel so much love for his little girl and want to rush home to her since the day she was born but feel nothing for her mother?

As the car parked downstairs, Mayen wiped her tears, reached for her giggling Vivian in the cot and hurried to open the door for her husband. A husband who made her feel like she was barely existing, she cried daily for the dreams she sacrificed, the love she never had and the marital bliss that may only remain in her dreams. As she opened the door, he reaches for Viv, smiles so warmly kissing his little sunshine endlessly and taps her on the shoulder as he walks past her towards the staircase. Struggling to push back the tears gathering again, Mayen headed to the kitchen to serve his dinner.

Responding to a sudden loud shout he heard coming from the kitchen, he rushed downstairs and saw her on the floor, curled up and lifeless.

He had to admit, he missed Mayen. The guilt he carried since the day the Doctor had said her blood pressure had gone up and she needed to be monitored regularly. He felt responsible; knew she deserved better, helpless as to how best to make her happier. Even much more, it had been so hard to make Viv stop crying, the house was a mess and he couldn’t keep up with all the chores as they kept piling up.

Suddenly awoken by her cry, he realized he had slept off and left Vivian in her cot. He was meant to change her diaper and somehow ended up sleeping. Waoh! He thought, mothers are made with an unusual ability. His mother had just walked in and she couldn’t have come at a better time, she looked the house over, shook her head and asked him to take a bath and go bring his wife home.

Uncertain why he had been thinking of Bola since his wife was hospitalized and as if controlled by something or someone he found himself parked in front of Bola’s house. He had stopped taking her calls, not returned her numerous chats and here he was in her compound. Unsure how to face her, yet feeling a need to see her and be with her.

Awoken in Bola’s arms by a call from the Doctor, he immediately realized how stupid he had been, four hours had passed and he was yet to pick up his already discharged wife. As he drove towards the hospital, he was certain he was over Bola for good. She had nagged so much and he was no longer used to nagging. He noticed how different she was from Mayen. How unusual Mayen was. He was going to make a better effort for Mayen’s sake, and he was now certain he didn’t exactly miss much not marrying Bola. He vowed never to cheat on his wife ever again!

It was six months to their 20th anniversary; he couldn’t believe how excited he was. Mayen was as calm as ever. All those years back he had made sure she rested more, went on vacation with the kids each year and she smiled more now. Their relationship had grown; fondness had birthed some friendship and utmost respect. How could he have missed it? She was perfect. She was so beautiful and was barely aging. Three beautiful kids and she remained gracious and balanced.

‘You have been staring David’, she said with her signature smile. ‘Yes’, he replied, ‘I think I have fallen hopelessly in love with my wife of nearly 20 years’. ‘Hmmm, that is a good thing right? Welcome aboard oga’. ‘Will you marry me?’ He asked almost shyly before realizing how that came out. ‘I mean re- marry me. I never want to take for granted any day spent with you again and I need to say it before all our loved ones’. Now genuinely shocked, Mayen sits back, looked at him long and hard, got up again and kissed him on the forehead. ‘That will be beautiful’, she replied finally, ‘can you now get up from the floor and stop being so dramatic?’

The day was just as he pictured it, how it took him this long to realize finally, he had everything and more than he had asked for and had been stuck in seeking for what was never meant to be his. Amazed at God’s humor, he looks through the crowd, thankful for faithful friends who were there for them. One who stood out was Fred, he had maintained from the word go, she was the best woman for him. He wondered if Fred had staged the whole Chief Brides Maid and Best man thing to make him move past Bola. Oh yea, he never liked Bola!

He had done many things wrong growing up, many things he wished he could take back. But this woman right here was the best mistake he ever made. Oh, she was so beautiful and yes, the honeymoon spot was her dream-come-true. Today she had same smile like those years ago when he had decided to marry her. Only this time, the smile didn’t disappear in a hurry. He couldn’t wait to be every bit the husband she deserved and more for all she had been.


 

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Toyin Seth-Ogungbe’ is a vessel with an addiction to God, his word and his creation. She has a passion for relationships and takes pride in her femininity.

Tee- Wai is inspired by every little detail  experienced in her daily living and networking with people.

Toyin co-authored with her Dad the book Chip Off The Old Block, a suspense-filled compilation of short stories, which explores the intricate details of true-to-life characters.

Chip Off The Old Block

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