By Temidayo Ahanmisi
She confided that her husband could no longer keep his erections for up to a minute.
She was at her wit’s end. Hours of “heading” did nothing. It just flopped and lay morose.
He didn’t drink. He didn’t smoke. He had always found her “full body” attractive, so it wasn’t her fault, as far as she was concerned.
I thought he was stressed?
I gossiped to TH. He said it had to be “waist congestion”. Some special “agbojedi” would help.
Ah yes. My Einstein. He would apply agbojedi to any matter from marital dispute to leukaemia.
Waist congestion. I couldn’t be bothered to deal.
Then she became really chummy with her boss, a popular guber aspirant and notorious philanderer who had the reputation among Uniport and UST girls of loving menage a trois tingz a bit too much.
She would come home late, leaving the maid to tend to the children until they went to bed.
Miss Maid combined her domestic duties with her intense relationship with a “very serious boyfriend”, alongside her fashion school education.
Her pensioner mother-in-law moved in temporarily on her son’s prompting to help ease the growing tension in their home.
She lived alone in Calabar, and was lonely anyway. Her other two daughters lived abroad.
She had to travel to Uyo on an “unplanned official trip” with the boss.
She usually picked their twins from kindergarten at 1.30 pm, which she used as her break time, dropped them at home with the maid who’d be home from lectures then, before going back to work.
She had asked the maid to take a drop and pick them that day. Miss Maid went to fix her hair. It took long hours to fix “million braids”.
That day the husband received a call at about 5.30 p.m. from the school.
The 3-year olds had cried themselves hoarse. The proprietress had tried their mummy’s phones to no avail.
He had gone to Bonny for work where the oil company he worked for had offshore facilities.
The company chopper had only just landed when the call came through. Then his mother called. She was frantic. She didn’t know where the school was. Miss Maid would not pick her phone.Wife’s lines were not connecting at all.
He was seething by the time she got home at a few minutes to ten o’clock that night.
The maid was in tears. Oga had told her to pack her things and leave the next day.
I heard about this incident two days later when a mutual friend and colleague told me she was in hospital, receiving treatment for injuries sustained from the beating she got from her husband.
I stopped by to see her.
The sight of her swollen face and bruised skin still rips my heart.
I had always thought him mild mannered and cultured.
Foreign education. Old money pedigree. Thug.
She said he had dismissed her excuses, accusing her of sleeping with her boss, arguing that she must have slept off “after much” and forgotten her own kids.
She lost it. She screamed.
At least Mr. Boss could still leave a woman exhausted. So what if he was “a useless man”? At least there was “man” somewhere in his description.
The first blow dropped her to her knees.
And then things got a little more bizzarre.
He told her to stay down, else he’d kill her on the spot.
She didn’t get up. He still punched her. Over and over, splitting her lips and blacking out her eyes.
His mother’s screams and admonitions did nothing to slow the attack. When she tried to run and lock herself in the bedroom, he tackled her legs from under her, and then went for his belt.
He whipped her until she went out like a Nigerian NEPA transformer.
The noise of the generator had deafened the sound of their next door neighbour’s frantic pounding on the gate.
She said she would definitely leave him for putting his hand on her. I agreed.
She didn’t leave.
For like 5 months she didn’t speak to him. She moved into the guest room, displacing her mother-in-law to the childrens’ room.
She ignored everyone, including her children. She’d go to work early, return home at about 6 p.m; take the kids into her bedroom to play with them until she handed them to her mother-in-law for their evening bath and dinner.
She’d promptly shut herself up in the room until the next day.
Husband and M-I-L took school runs in turns.
They all suffered. The children. Thug Ali. Mrs. Wife.
Pleas from mutual friends, their pastor, mother-in-law and even Mr. Boss were futile.
He bought her the car she had been eyeing for a while to placate her. She threw the keys at him.
I couldn’t understand how.much more complicated living in a 3 bedroom flat as enemies could be.
So when I visited her at home on a sultry sunday afternoon, and listened to her go on about how she was waiting for her kids to start “Primary 1 first”; her promotion to “just go through”…the landlord to finish the lovely house she had her sights on to rent in a prime location….then she would leave “this idiot” forever…
I asked her if she knew what “waist decongesting agbojedi” was.
I promised to get her some.
Since “Mr. Bash Ali” would give anything to get her to even acknowledge his greetings these days, she could easily get him to take this, and follow the diet guidelines T H’ s “alfa” had recommended alongside.
She took a 75 cl bottle from me. She’d give it to the “idiot” to cure his madness perhaps.
Then she gave me money to “give that your alfa to make more bottles of that tea for my husband”.
It was no longer “that man” or “the idiot”.
They had another baby before moving to Calabar where her husband was transferred about a year later.
We lost touch.
She got my new phone number from Alfa, who e-mailed TH to ask. Apparently he has become a prominent feature in their home.
Alfa loves things like this. He dispenses marital counselling and medical therapy to scores of Nigerians, home and abroad from his crowded Offa home, where he swears hs three wives and ten children who fight one other from time to time are at peace.
Their tenth wedding anniversary is slated for next month.
It will be grand she tells. They will have a big thanksgiving service and party in Calabar.
Then they will jet out to Dubai for a second honeymoon.
She sent their photos via whatsapp. They look really beautiful. The kids are all grown and lovely. Her rich red lipstick doesn’t hide the scar from the stitch on her full lips. Her make up is flawless otherwise.
They look happy. The photographer is good.
She insists I must attend and I must stay at their house.
I am going to sit through a long sermon on how to keep marriage and home through “wifely submission”, patience and prayer warfare.
It’s an echo of what the tiresome Alfa l’ati Offa says, the yawning gulf between religion and philosophy notwithstanding.
No one will talk about agbojedi.
By the way I have about three different bottles in my house right now. I plan to throw them out once I get back since TH, the owner can’t seem to remember what one or the other is for again.
* Glimpses are human stories which do not seek to teach or imply any morals.
They are factual anecdotes of ordibary people in the confines of the ordinary human condition.
Any epiphany reached is at reader’s personal discretion and risk.