Emeka decided to be a man now. He camped outside my room for days until he caught me going into my room and he forcefully entered after me.
“What do you want?” I asked
“I love you. I don’t care about anything; I love you” he replied.
“It is now you realise you love me? It won’t change anything; it’s too late”
“Then come with me. Let’s travel together and never come back”
“What about my education?”
“Forget about everything and let’s go”
“I can’t. I have just two years to go. Why would I want to throw that away?”
“Now it is your turn to choose. Leave everything behind and come with me or stay back and forget everything about me”
“That is not a fair option. I am almost done with school and I should leave it behind?”
“You can study something else that has shorter academic sessions”
“All my life I have wanted to be a medical doctor. My father ensured his dream of me becoming one was kept alive. That dream I will surely fulfil. Your offer is tempting but, I can’t leave Nigeria without my degree”
“What do we do? You don’t want to be with my family and you also don’t want to go with me. Tell me what to do”
“I don’t know what to do but I do know that I can never forgive your family for losing my child and I will not give up my life here to be with you when you couldn’t even defend me when the need arose. Emeka, in as much as it hurts to say it, it won’t work. You don’t love me enough. I can’t be making all the sacrifices. I am too young for this. I am back to my parents. It was fun while it lasted”
“You didn’t love me. Akwaugo, you didn’t love”
“Emeka, you never loved me. You loved my body and the pleasures it gave you. You took pride in the fact you were my first. You sent me to the wolves; to your sisters knowing who they were. What issues does Jacinta have with you that has made her hate me so much? There must be something between both of you that has created this enmity which extended me”
“I don’t know what you are talking about. We don’t have any personal issues. We were always in competition academically that’s all”
“And she took it beyond academics?”
“Jacinta is not as bad as you think. She is just one tough cookie”
“Really? Then enjoy her. I am no more interested”
“So, what are you going to do now? You are going to move on? You will just forget me? Is it that easy? I can never forget you. I love you”
“Emeka, sometimes love isn’t enough. I am the only daughter of my parents and cannot be returned to them in a casket”
“You are being dramatic. I have proffered enough solutions but it seems your mind is made up. I will let you think about it for a while. If you come back, then I know you really love me and will make a sacrifice for me. But if you don’t then I will respect your decision and move on too”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“What sacrifice have you ever made for me? I’m wondering why I am not worth sacrificing for”
“What are you saying? I left Chisom for you. I went against Jacinta when she ill-treated you. I am here with you now”
“That’s not sacrificing. You’ve never given up anything of value for me. Never. You try to buy love by providing but put me in a place I won’t be comfortable. You’ve choked me for so long. Even when I told you I wasn’t comfortable doing those things you desire on video, you still pushed and insisted I do them. I lived for you and not myself. Now you ask me to give up my education to be with you without you giving up your family to be with me. I have read the handwriting clearly. I’m sorry Emeka, my love for you died the day my baby was killed”.
“Akwaugo you don’t understand”
“Emeka it is you that doesn’t understand. Please excuse me” I showed him the door.
“You are walking me out from a room I rented?”
“No, I am walking you out of my life, if you want the room you can have it, I will move out”
“I didn’t ask you to move out; I rented this apartment for you. It’s yours. I gave you the car, it is yours. If you had agreed to come back, the house would have been yours. Even if you want my Mercedes, it is also yours. I can never undo the past but I can try to make amends. Don’t close your mind to us; there is still hope. I believe that strongly” He turned and left.
I cried. I knew it was over. I mourned what would have been if those events didn’t take place. I genuinely had strong feelings for him. I believed he did but he was also very insecure and entangled me in a web of evil because of it.
Life indeed went on. I went back to my normal life. I didn’t have endless resources like I did when I was married because I refused to touch his money anymore. I sent him a message asking for an account to move the money left with me to, but he never replied. I sent the same message to his father. He sent a message back asking to direct the message to the rightful owner. I left the money there.
Auntie Nneoma left for the US. We had discussed my current situation and she told me to bear the scar with pride. She asked me not to be ashamed. She also told me to prepare for verbal attacks from the villagers as they had never wished me well.
The news of our separation had spread like wildfire. People gossiped about my dissolved marriage. Many believed it ended because of infidelity on my part while the news of the assault was widely publicized. Was I angry? I was beyond caring. My father told me to remain focused on my goal when I shared with him Emeka’s offer. He asked me to ignore negative and snide comments that might come my way and understand I was a victim of assault and I chose to end the marriage for my safety.
People talked. People made mockery at my return but we were not perturbed. We moved on. Surprisingly, I got more suitors coming to show interest. But this time, father insisted I finish university before settling down. He didn’t care about my age anymore. Once bitten, twice shy.
My father-in-law called me one morning. He asked me to meet him in Abakaliki to discuss something very important. I came out to meet him at the agreed location. I was surprised to meet the entire family there. No one knew about this place except my father-in-law, my father, my brother, the contractor and I.
“Emeka, your wife, her father and brother spoke with me. They felt the contractor you brought to build your house in the village was extremely expensive and the money he asked for would build two houses conveniently. I trusted her father; he is an excellent builder and has passed the skill over to his son. They decided to use the money to build your desired mansion in the village and also a house in town. I recommended a duplex to be built but your wife preferred four flats of three bedrooms each of which one flat could be used by both of you. I saw sense in her suggestion and okayed it. This is the building. I wanted to hand it over to you before you go back and also give honour to whom honour is due. Akwaugo, thank you for making this a reality. Emeka, you will never have a wife like Akwaugo again. It is a pity”
Emeka was stunned. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His mother and siblings were also very surprised. His father blessed the house before they entered. Emeka stayed back to talk to me. He was not that excited to rush into the house
and look around. He couldn’t believe what I had done. He looked at me and he said, “I f**ked up big time. I am so sorry. This isn’t my house. It is yours. I will transfer it to your name. I own the house in the village and you own this”
“I don’t want it. I did it for you. I am content with what I have. Give me your account to pay in the balance of your money”
“Use it to finish school. I owe you that much. I don’t want anything if I can’t have you”
“Did you see the look in your sisters’ eyes when I arrived? It will never change. A woman is not married to a man but to his family. I will never know peace with your family”
“I can do nothing about that. Our people say you cannot run away from your anus because it smells. It is a part of your being. Likewise family. We can’t run away from our family whether good or bad. I don’t want us to be enemies but good friends. I understand everything. If I can’t win you back, I can still be friends with you”
“That’s ok. As long as we are just friends and you wouldn’t request for activities”
“I might be tempted” he replied laughing.
“Then, I will turn you down nicely. I have to leave”
“Won’t you inspect the house with me?”
“No, I have to go back to school”
“Let me take you back”
“What of your family?”
“They will find their way”
“They will say nasty things about me”
“I don’t care, let’s go”
I went with him. I missed this fun Emeka. He took me out to a local joint to eat ‘abacha’ and stockfish with palm wine. We had fun together. We talked generally and laughed together. Later, he brought me back to my room.
“Can I kiss you?”
“I don’t think it is a good idea”
“Do you want me as much as I want you?”
“It doesn’t change anything”
“One last time. I will never ask again, I promise”
“You’ve just proved what I always thought”
“You are more interested in my body than anything else”
“Not really but you turn me on always”
“Good night Emeka”
“Good night Akwaugo”
I walked to my room, increasing my steps in case he decided to follow me. I locked the door immediately I got inside. I was tempted but I knew it was wrong. We were no longer married and it will be termed adultery.
Emeka collected the property documents and did a transfer of ownership to me. He told his family he could never pay me back enough for what happened to me. They were against it but he had made up his mind. It was as though he began to have sense after I left. His mother and sisters tried to talk him out of it but he was
adamant. Uju told me everything. The two boys told him the house was his, he should do with it whatever he willed.
Emeka was due back to his base. He visited my parents very early one morning. He came in his Mercedes while his brother drove the car Emeka gave me. the car had everything I left in Emeka’s house including my phones. They parked in the compound. He sat with my family and they exchanged pleasantries. He appreciated my father and Obinna for the house in the village and Abakaliki. He told them his father had revealed everything to him. He brought out the property documents and gave my father. He said to him,
“Papa, I owe Akwaugo so much that I would never be able to repay her. But what I can do, I will do. This the title documents to the house in Abakaliki, I have transferred the title to her. All the documents are legal; nobody can lay claim to it. Also, I have come to return her car and everything I bought for her she left behind. I gave it to her and I don’t want them back. All I want is for your family to forgive me for the role I played in the destruction of our marriage. I beg you, please find it in your hearts to forgive me”
His words touched my father’s heart. It everyone’s heart. My father prayed for him asking God to forgive him and all those that have wronged us and asked God to grant him peace as he goes back. Father didn’t want to take the documents or the car but Emeka insisted and left without them.
He came to see me the day he was leaving. He begged me to follow him to Lagos. I refused. He promised we would stay in a hotel but I wasn’t interested. He asked me to see him off to Enugu airport but I told him I had lectures.
“Do you know when next you will see me again?”
“I don’t know but I wish you well”
“Can I get a hug at least?”
He was with Chibuike in front of my department. I didn’t want to he pulled me to himself and said, “Please”. He opened his hand and I hugged him. Tears flowed
from my eyes as he held me so tightly. I wished things were different but then I had no control. He whispered into my ears “I am sorry” and then he left.