Akwaugo: Episode 1 - 70 : TOPSTER STORIES

Akwaugo – Episode 68

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From the time I agreed to marry Samuel, he had everything mapped out. The funds that would sustain his mother and her sister were already in place. His mother was to run the business from the home but hand in hand with her sister. There were three streams of income; from the sale of daily food, from the supply of breakfast and lunch for some training schools and some occasions. Since we got married, his auntie had run the business all by herself and had made a success of it. Based on this, he was confident they would be well taken care of. The money was in excess.





We travelled to Abuja from Enugu for our journey. We received blessings from our mothers and went to Abuja. Samuel told his friends we were going for our honeymoon. They gave us a reception when we arrived at Abuja. We enjoyed their company and I tried to participate in their conversation. They treated us to nice food and drinks. I was careful about what I ate before our trip the next day. I observed Samuel didn’t eat much. He was more interested in conversations than food. When some lewd topics were brought up, he would wink at me and give me




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a knowing smile which was embarrassing. He would hold my hand under the table or send me a message while we sat beside each other. I looked forward to Canada; it was going to be bliss.





The next day, Amanze and Chiamaka took us to the airport. Immediately we were cleared at the immigrations in Nigeria, we released a sigh of relieve. We hugged and kissed our benefactors. Even then, Amanze put an envelope in my bag saying I should hold on to it so we don’t ever get stranded. I knew we would never be stranded; we have got each other and Samuel was a hard and smart worker. I had a good degree that would get me a very decent job. Even if I was the only one bringing in the money, I was ready to do it because I know my husband isn’t lazy.





Settling down in Canada was not as easy as we thought. We got the apartment which was in a very good location; a walking distance from both our jobs. We didn’t know anyone and we just had each other. Some nights I worked nights and Samuel was home alone. He didn’t find it funny. On my days off, I stayed home. I didn’t have any friends around and I just had to cling to Samuel.


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With time it became a problem. Samuel was restless. His job wasn’t providing enough income and it was obvious he wasn’t happy I chipped in more money. He took up other jobs to get more income. He handled all the house chores and wouldn’t let me do any saying, “I am not doing anything most nights so it is better to spend it on something useful”. I was hurt hearing him say that. The excitement of relocating was wearing off. I was tired of being alone when he wasn’t there.





Our love life became affected too. I craved the sexual activities more than he did. I was hungry for his love but he was more invested in looking for a better paying job and other opportunities. I couldn’t tell him how much I missed him but I tried to show it. It was either he wasn’t seeing the moves or he wasn’t interested.





He called me at work one evening to tell me he got a good offer at a private school. I told him congratulations and I kept quiet. I wasn’t excited because that was all he talked about. When I came home, I was surprised to find him still was awake. I had a bath and he was waiting for me. I climbed the bed to sleep.





“We need to talk. Is anything wrong? Did I offend you?” he asked.





“Offend me? Nothing is wrong with me” I answered.





“I called you with some good news but you brushed it aside. What’s the problem? I can’t sleep if you don’t tell me if I have done something wrong”





“You didn’t. I was just not in the mood when you called. I didn’t remember when I came home. Congratulations”





“Thank you. But I know you aren’t happy. What is the problem? I won’t be able to sleep if I feel you are unhappy or upset with me”





“I am not. I am not comfortable the way we are living now. When was the last time we enjoyed each other’s company without you lamenting or getting caught up with having a better job? When was the last time we had very passionate sex? It has become so mechanical when we do have sex. I have shown you signs but you either aren’t seeing them or have no interest. I don’t want to complain but since we are talking, I thought I should share”





“If you felt this way you should have mentioned it instead of acting like you were not happy for me. I felt hurt. You didn’t act like I meant anything to you. Things couldn’t have degenerated to that level if you had just said something”





“Why is it so important to you to bring in as much I did that you became miserable? I have never complained and I will never complain. I believed as we had become one, we would share everything. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t be ambitious, I am just saying don’t do it at the detriment of what we have. When was the last time you told me you loved me? When was the last time you held me in your arms and cuddled me to sleep? It is just not sex; we are lacking intimacy and we don’t have a child yet”





“Ediye, I love you. I want to give you the best. I am doing all this for you and your future. My belief in life is that a man takes care of his woman especially a woman he loves dearly, not take from her. I want us to achieve things in the shortest possible time. I want to at least bring something close to what you bring. Is it wrong for me to desire that? I accept, I wore my problems on my sleeve but you should have brought it up for discussion. I don’t ever want you to be unhappy. If you want sex, say it. Tell me. It is even more erotic when you express your desire








of wanting me. I will leave whatever I am doing and attend to you. This body is yours too as much as yours is mine. I cannot desire another”





I could understand a few things now. I accepted I should I complained earlier. I wasn’t one to complain but someone who bears things. I wasn’t someone who asked for sex. I never initiate sex. I had to learn how to do that. I understood why Dubie always insisted I ask for sex before he has sex with me. So men like it. I adjusted and hugged him. I apologized and promised to try to adjust. In return, he gave me a night that made me smile for weeks remembering it.





We contacted the owner of the apartment we took over to pay our lease. We liked the location and we were the only blacks we had seen there since we moved in. The man, Akin, invited us to his new house in another province. We went there and it was such a beautiful home. We met his wife and three children. He was setting up to barbecue at the back when we arrived. Samuel went out back to help him while I sat with the wife, Toyin, in the kitchen. She was preparing to make rice, salad, and some plantain. I helped her make the jollof rice although I told her my husband’s jollof rice was way better than mine. She concentrated on the salads while I air-fried the plantain as they were health-conscious.





The aroma of the barbecue hit us in the kitchen. It smelt so good. We went outside to see what was happening. I knew already; my man was on the grill. He did a fresh marinade, soaked the meat in it for a while before grilling and the aroma blew everyone away. We couldn’t wait to have a taste.





Much later, while we ate, Akin asked us what we did. We told him. He asked what I was earning and I told him. He advised we leave that province to another with a better paying job and I choose my schedule. I could choose how many hours a week I would work and the pay would still be better than what I was receiving. For Samuel, he told him to leave teaching and work in construction. He would earn more money. I told him Samuel had a passion for teaching. He loved mathematics and enjoyed teaching it. Then it struck me. I said to Akin, “Samuel is a chef too. He ran a catering business in Nigeria. You can see how good he is with food”





“That’s true. You can own your restaurant. The province I was talking about will be best for you. There are a lot of Africans there especially Nigerians. They throw








parties very often and if they can get someone to take the stress of cooking off their back and the person makes delicious food, you will make your money”





“We will visit next week with some food made by Samuel. If you like it, you will call him to do your cooking”





When we got home, Samuel was excited. His two passions could go hand in hand. For us to do that, we had to move to a bigger province that had Nigerians who will need such services.





“You always push me forward when opportunities arise. What will I do without you? You have birthed yet again my catering business. Just you saying it is enough for me to succeed. You are my good luck charm. My mother saw it before I did. She told me with you in my life I will only know success and she is right. Ediye, I will buy you a bigger house than Akin’s. We will ride better cars. I will buy you a diamond. The world will hear our life story. I felt so little telling them I was a teacher and loved it but you made me feel better by making them understand my passion for what I do. You believe so much in me. I will love you forever”





We took money from our savings to construct a website. He had pictures of food he had made in Nigeria and some he made in Canada, we uploaded them. We visited Akin and family the following week and they loved the white soup and bush rice he made. The wife loved Calabar food and made orders for soups in litres. He charged her and she paid. She was getting four different soups. He delivered to her and it was a hit.





We went to visit the province we intended to move into. It was a bit rowdy compared to where we lived. We checked out apartments; they were more expensive than where we lived but we saw one with a much bigger kitchen. Samuel wanted a house so he could grill at the back of the house but I insisted it should be a gradual process. I applied for a job in the Mental health facility in the province. I was contacted almost immediately. They offered me a job. I was to work thirty hours a week at a salary times three of what I was earning. I was excited and shared with Samuel. He was also very excited. He had to maintain his new job so he might have to be commuting from province to province in the meantime.








We moved into the new apartment. I worked long hours during the week and I refused to work weekends so I could be with my husband. We printed flyers and dropped in strategic locations where Nigerians and Africans visited. We also did online advertisements. Gradually the calls started coming. He did some birthday jobs, christening/ child dedication, get-togethers, and other small parties. I was in charge of the structure and finance of the business. I told him what to charge after taking into consideration all the costs. From our calculations, if we could push it, it was a lucrative business.





We made the changes in our lives to get more income for Samuel. We got an apartment with a balcony on the second floor of the building. It was perfect and the balcony was big and could accommodate his grilling. I liked the place. It was very spacious, more spacious than our former apartment. Our neighbours were young people of different nationalities. They were more friendly than those in our former apartment. We settled in nicely.





My job was interesting. It was a day job, no night duties for me and I worked for 43 hours a week and earned very good pay after taxes. Samuel reactivated his online Mathematics teaching an online class. Many students paid to be taught





Samuel didn’t want us to have a child immediately, we had been putting money aside for having the baby and caring for it. The money we put aside was much and I wondered why. But Samuel had his reasons and waited until we had been married for one year to unleash it.





For our anniversary, he cooked me a lovely dinner, we soaked together in the bathtub and had a great time with each other. Then we transferred to the bed. As we snuggled up to sleep, he said to me, “Ediye, I want to give you a present. I am an only child and our folks are asking why we haven’t had children yet. I know why I have delayed. I know your age and I don’t want to stress you. I have decided we will inseminate artificially to have twins instead of one child, a boy and a girl. Once we have them, we are not having any more children. We will love and care for them just like we were loved and cared for. What do you say?”





I didn’t know what to say. Having twins was a very good idea but having to fertilise them artificially bothered me. Also, I knew there were drugs we could take to achieve having twins without spending so much but Samuel seemed to have








done extensive research on it. The chances we won’t have both sexes was high. I told him to allow us to pray over. We added it to our daily prayers.





Two days into our prayers, Scholastica called me out of the blues. “Sister Akwaugo, I have something to tell you. I have a message for you. Please write it down and don’t play with it. I had a dream; a strange dream which I couldn’t remember when I woke. It worried me all day. I called prophetess and shared with her. She said I should tell you not to play God. God has decided what will happen and it will happen the way he has decided, science cannot take his glory. Whatever it is she is talking about, I would advise you stop and wait on God” she pondered a bit and added, “Your husband’s best man has been communicating with me ever since you travelled. He has come to Abakaliki twice. He invited me to Abuja but I am afraid to go. He promised to lodge me in a hotel and wouldn’t do anything to me but I am scared. Help me ask your husband about Alex. He has been respectful since we started talking. He has seen how I live. He knows everything about me. I know as much as he has told me about himself. I am just scared”





“Alex is a nice guy. Go to God in prayer. If he is the one, the clear path shall be shown to you. I will personally be happy for you. You deserve to be happy”





“Thank you. I wanted to know if he is serious before updating you. I will pray about it and also tell the prophetess. She will send me a way to do the prayers myself but I will still try. Your message is very important”





“I will work on it immediately”





That night, I told Samuel we wouldn’t do anything artificially. I was a very submissive wife and I allowed Samuel to make the final decision although he was one to impose but on this, he was quite passionate and wanted to know why I was relegating on our agreement of praying.





“It is because I had a bad dream. I don’t want to take God’s glory. Let us pray for the twins we want to come naturally. I won’t even take drugs. If we have only one, they can have another quickly or just have one”





“There must be a good reason. You are a doctor and you won’t base your opinion on what you dreamt about”








“Samuel, I won’t do the IVF. I want God to give me a child like other women. But I will not add anything further, let us continue to pray about it before we start anything”





We prayed about it that night and for three more days. He got the appointment with the doctor for us to see him. I had to go along although I had my plans to appeal one more time. I had handed the situation to God when I noticed Samuel was adamant and it would lead to a quarrel. I never saw or heard my parents quarrel. Whatever my father said was final.





The doctor requested I do some tests while we waited. I wasn’t happy and it showed in my countenance. Samuel kept assuring me all will be well. We were called back into the consulting room when the results were out.





“Why do you want to do an IVF?”





“We want to have children right[G1] away without wasting time as we are getting older”





“But she is pregnant. The test says so”





“She can’t be. She had her period three weeks ago, how can she be pregnant?”





“That’s what the test result says. Congratulations”





I was speechless. I was pregnant? How come? We had been careful for a year now without any slip so how did I get pregnant? We had stuck to my safe periods and using protection when I was not safe. I was scared Samuel will suspect I did something. It was just a week ago we talked about the IA thing.





Samuel was unhappy. He believed I had done something to conceive. I tried to talk to him, he behaved like some who was grieving; he wouldn’t talk to me for weeks. I was heartbroken when he moved out of the room to be alone. I was an emotional wreck and I told him continuously, I didn’t get pregnant intentionally.








It dragged for over a month. I was so worried about everything at home. Samuel began to keep late nights leaving me alone at home. He still made food for me and did most of the house chores but he kept his distance. I grew lean. I hardly touched the food he gave me. I couldn’t start ante-natal because I didn’t know if I wanted the baby. I cried. I prayed and fasted in my condition (which I knew was wrong) but what was I to do?





I went to work one day and I collapsed and began to bleed. I was rushed to the emergency and my next of kin was informed. When I woke up, I saw Samuel sitting beside me, his head was down and his mouth was moving although I couldn’t hear the words. It looked more like he was praying. I didn’t want to interrupt him so I pressed the bell. A nurse came in and on seeing me said, “O, you are awake”.





Samuel sat up immediately and all I could hear was “Thank you Jesus” and he hugged me and cried saying, “Please forgive me. I beg of you, forgive me”. It sounded strange and then it occurred to me something was wrong. I felt for my stomach, it was still flat as I hadn’t started showing but it didn’t feel like something was wrong.





The doctor came into the room. He checked me and asked some questions. I asked him what had happened to me. “You were pregnant with twins. You were anaemic and lacked the strength to carry the babies. Unfortunately, we lost one of the twins. We are hoping with bedrest we can save the other”





I was shocked and silent. I looked at Samuel and touched my stomach again. I knew it was the devil that came to steal my joy. Our joy. It wasn’t Samuel’s fault; I knew better and should have taken better care of myself. I was in the hospital for a week and Samuel turned my room to his home. I didn’t say anything about the incident although I was mourning inside me. The day I was discharged from the hospital and I came back, I started bleeding again. The amount of blood I lost made me realise I was losing the second baby. At the hospital, it was confirmed. They had to evacuate.





I was inconsolable. It was my turn not to speak with Samuel. I mourned alone. He begged me. He was being childish. He asked that I forgive him but I couldn’t bear








to look at him or talk to him. I didn’t pick up any of my calls from Nigeria. I knew he had recruited them to beg me. I stayed on my own.





One morning, I prepared to leave for work, he had made breakfast for me but I ignored it. He came to meet me at the door and went on his knees and said, “I killed our babies and I don’t deserve to be with you. I have asked God to forgive me by making you forgive me but God seems to be silent. How can he be silent at this difficult time? If I leave home will it make you feel better? If I kill myself, would you recover? Tell me how to make things right? I have packed my bags; tell me what you want. Will, my absence make you happy?





I didn’t respond to his manipulative words. I felt he was looking for a way of escape. I didn’t care where he went (I cared though). I found my way to the office and decided to focus more on work than at the grief eating me inside. I came back home and went inside my room. It took three days to realise Samuel had left; I panicked. I called his number but it was switched off. I sat down and worried. Did he have friends he could stay at their place? I didn’t know any friend.





For three days I searched for him. I went to his school and I was told he had returned to Nigeria. Why would he? Was being with me so bad he had to leave? We both behaved childishly but I was badly hurt. It meant I had lost three children due to negligence. I wanted to come back to Nigeria. I was lonely and sad. I called Scholastica and told her what happened. I cried when I was talking to her. Her reply shocked,





“You will carry your babies. God adores his word more than his name. His word will never return to him void. Stay at home, Samuel is coming back. Once he comes back, you will get pregnant again and this time the baby will stay. Believe me”






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