Based on true experience.
He wasn’t my ideal Mr. Right. He was short, dark, and handsome anyway, but not my type. I liked my men a bit taller, because I was short, if you could call 5’5 short for a woman. But we were the same height. I wasn’t a fashion freak but I wanted to be able to wear my heels without bothering my mind whether people thought my husband was taller or not.
But Jake was a relentless goal-getter.
He joked about his height, and told me no one would notice it after a while. I wasn’t an out-going person. In fact, I was somewhat laid back. Not Jake. He was the ultimate ‘action man.’ He had friends everywhere and after rejecting his passes several times, set them loose on me like a pack of wolves.
I was working as a receptionist at the time, young enough to be freshly out of high school, but old enough to go to university. I had taken the qualifying exams only once, and failed, and was now working to get out of the house and my mother’s nagging about being a dullard, while studying to retake the exam. Jake was a fresh university graduate.
He was an engineer who was as good in mathematics as I was bad. Though I had so many suitors; I was young, naive, and I daresay, beautiful, the only man my father allowed to visit was Jake. Because on his first visit, he lied to my dad that he’d come to teach me mathematics.
Well, he did teach but his motives were not pure.
And he was justified when I passed my exams. Because he had advised me to seek admission in the north, where he was based, I did.
I could never remember the day I accepted a proposal from him because I never saw us together. I liked tall men, who were half as dark as Jake, and twice reserved, but things just followed a natural course and barely a year after I got admission into the University of Abuja, I was expecting Jake’s baby. I was alarmed. Jake was incensed.
Incensed at himself, and not me. He was my first lover, and before then, he had always used protection. He wanted us to get married but he knew my father would never agree, what with me in school and all. So he arranged for his friend to abort the baby.
At ten weeks gone, I got an abortion and the doctor informed us we had just gotten rid of twins!
Till date, I can’t forgive myself.
But worse than my anger and unforgiveness were Jake’s. He was a very temperamental being. He could never forgive a grudge till it was avenged. As outgoing as he was, he also had a depth I’d never bothered to try and reach. Until after we aborted our first pregnancy.
To avenge his anger, he insisted we got married without informing our parents. Trying to absolve myself of my own guilt, I agreed.
Though we were legally married, our family members didn't know about it. And we wanted it to remain that way till I graduated in three years’ time. It also meant we were not going to try and make any babies. So, I visited the family planning clinic where I was properly advised and placed on a contraception type that was suitable for me.
That behind, Jake and I became a sweet couple. We were the ideal formula for marriage. Jake took care of me. Except for one slip, six months after our marriage and he had a fling with a girl who was visiting a family living down the street. He confessed before I caught him anyway, so it was easy to forgive!
Then I finished university, and got a job. We did our traditional wedding ceremony, passing up going to church, and officially married, decided to take me off contraception.
Did I make any mistakes? Yes. Was I sorry? Very.
Then why could I not conceive? My inability to get pregnant began a strange journey in my life.
I went everywhere I could without getting diabolical. Jake followed me to none. He was sure there was nothing wrong with him. After all, he’d gotten me pregnant before. Test after test revealed there was nothing wrong with me. I was given drugs that boosted my fertility but nothing worked. Pastor after pastor prayed for me; asking me to do different prayer, giving and service assignments, all to no avail.
One day, five years after we were officially married, Jake asked that we visit my parents. It was not unusual for him to visit with me. He had a cordial relationship with my family, and we hadn't seen them in a while.
When we got to my parents’ home, five hundred miles away, my husband said he had to go back home on business the following day! It surprised everyone, me especially.
“But you just got here,” my father said.
“It’s important.” Jake was expressionless.
Till he left the following day, he behaved normally, insisting some business came up. I believed him. He was a freelance engineer, taking up jobs on contract. Anything could come up at anytime.
I didn't know anything was wrong till the courier service delivered my clothes and the bulk of my possessions three days later. My husband had sent them. I was devastated. To say the least.
I called him and he flatly told me to stay with my parents till he knew what to do with our marriage! He said he wanted his own children, and couldn't wait any more. He was having an affair... again. It was a terrible day for me. If I was the type, I could have taken my own life. Instead, while my parents worried their heads off about me, I sat close to a window and gazed out, feeling useless. For the past couple of years, all I had been doing was ‘looking’ for a child. Everything I had had been sacrificed on that altar, including my good job!
My parents reacted by calling on Jake’s. They asked him to take me back. And so after staying with my parents for over a month, I was back in my home. But this was just the beginning.
For the next five years, things deteriorated.
I was in and out of my parents’ house. Jake’s family became less supportive and eventually, outright hostile. Because of our Christian belief, divorce was out of it. And Jake would not hear of adopting a child...
Then right in the middle of the heat of our lives, Jake came home one day and packed up his things. He didn't want to live with me if I couldn't have a child.
I later found out he had moved into a house he leased with a divorcee with two children.
My Jake, who from no feelings at all, had become the centre of my world and my being. The reason I gave up all. I gave him everything he ever wanted. He wanted an abortion at the beginning and I gave him. Now he wanted a child, and I couldn't! Against my wish.
by Sinmisola Ogúnyinka