My Final Year At The University (3) - Onuoha Fay Claire

The subsequent weeks went by in a blur. I was living large, everything was perfect... Till I started falling sick in the mornings and getting dizzy and tired often. I took anti-malarial drugs but the sickness persisted and I had to go to the hospital where I tested positive to pregnancy. I was devastated at the news, knowing who was responsible for the pregnancy. I thought of aborting the baby right away in the hospital but decided to go home and think first to avoid taking rash decisions.

I called him in tears when I got home and relayed the news. I was taken aback when he screamed in delight. I had expected a reprimand and directives on how to take care of 'the problem'. He had pleaded to see me and I agreed to see him in a public place. When we met, he had asked me to keep the baby. I was shocked at first; I had thought that he would threaten to spew fire if I didn't do away with the pregnancy. His explanation however, gave me an insight into what I had gotten myself into.

He and his wife had been married for the past ten years and unfortunately for them, the union had not been blessed with children due to some complications with his wife's reproductive system. When their 'situation' clocked ten years, his wife started wearing him out with worries; that he should marry another woman to give him children. He had opposed the idea as many women were ready to be with him because of his wealth. He had confided in his friend who told him what to do and also linked him to Big Vee. His wife was to choose a lady for him, after being let in on the plan but she insisted that he stuck to just one lady as they wouldn't want different ladies bearing children for him. His wife had chosen me and I was carrying his seed in me. He already told his wife that I was pregnant and she requested to see me.

I couldn't make any sense of all I heard. Was the story a facade? I was still finding it hard to swallow the chunk I bit off when he asked if he could take me to meet his wife. I nearly collapsed. It was all too much for me. Like a sheep being led to the slaughter, I entered his car and he drove to his house. His wife was a very nice person. She made me feel at home even though I still felt a bit jittery.

There and then, arrangements were made to visit my people. When I confided in the woman about not loving her husband, she hushed me and said I will get to love  him with time. No crowd of spectators celebrating a win in a football match could match the joy my news erupted in my family. Things have been put in place; our house has been repainted, bags of rice and beans, cartons of stockfish, hefty tubers of yam, gallons of oil piled high in our kitchen store. And of course, Chief saw to it that my parents and siblings changed their wardrobes and didn't lack cash.

I'm still baffled at how a woman can welcome another with open arms into her home. Mama has asked me to be careful; to be wary of Chief's wife. I'll have to keep calm and see what fate has in stock for me. Everything about this marriage is all shades of wrong by Papa's standards but he seems very much okay with it. I'll be married off today, to someone old enough to be Papa's immediate younger brother , to become a second wife. Oh ! The power of wealth!