Yes, I said finishing school! According to him, that was all that could make my lack of a pedigree, somewhat, better. Imagine your father-in-law to be saying that to you in your presence. This and the fact that his mother and sisters never liked me, is why reporting him to his family was impossible. He tells his mother everything, one thing that always leaves me rolling my eyes – like when he told her the sex of our first child against my instructions, and so I know she probably already knows about her. I cannot believe that I once thought that he was a man’s man with utmost regard for his mother and by extension all women, but now I see him as no more than a 42-year-old mamas boy.
We were a very close family, not just because of the limited space we had in our one bedroom apartment but because we had love. I remember my father massaging my mothers feet while watched soap operas at night and I remember how much effort my mother put into preparing my fathers clothes and food before he went to work. Tunde and I started out in a similar fashion. I remember an instance while we were dating, when I had to go on an official trip for two days and I came back to meet a very hungry Tunde. It was no hidden fact that Tunde could not cook, but at least I expected he’ll eat at his parents. Turns out all Mr. K had eaten was Suya all under the excuse that he was looking forward to my cooking. That night, I made him my minced meat spaghetti and he did not fail to show his appreciation with the love he showered me after. I used to derive joy in cooking for him, as my mother also did. Now, I no longer cook for him on my on terms, it’s usually forced in order to save my face from another trip down to the Kola Walter-Smith gallery.
My mother was a petty trader, a business that sustained the family while we waited for my father’s employers to pay him and in times after my father had exhausted his salary. My mother never spent any of the profit she made from her business directly, instead she gave them to him first – it was like she was a shopkeeper who was paid on commission. I remember my 5-year-old self once asked her why she did that and she said “I started the business with his money, so he owns all of the profit for now”.
Iye e always preached submission to me. One day, mama Risi, who lived in the shack next to our’s was shouting at her husband accusing him of cheating, Iye e said to me in Yoruba “look how she is shouting at the poor man, I don’t blame him for cheating on her. Husbands are supposed to be Lords, so a woman should never be caught screaming at her husband”. Back then I took whatever Iye e said as gold and now, even when she is no longer around I still do and I wish I didn’t.
“She is here to stay, so you had better behave yourself” Tunde said to me the first time he brought her home. It was two weeks after the kids went to school. Initially, she was here only a couple of nights during the week and on those days I stayed in my room. That only worked until one day he told me that I had to entertain her whenever she came around. I wanted to tell him off but I remembered Iye e words and I kept mute. Every time she came around, I organised with Victor, the cook to extensively entertain her. I did not have anything against her, after all she was not the one who married me, neither is she the one who is giving the rounds of pounding.
Every time I want to voice out my opinion, I hold back because I feel it will go against what Iye e had told me. But I how long I can keep this going.