It was an ordinary day with no great expectations but the half-excitement of meeting a potential assistant in the publication and promotion of my new work titled Noise of the Market along with a possible re-edition of my previous publications, Double Jeopardy.
Victor Anoliefo, who was referred to me by a friend, turns out to be a top executive at the Society for Family Health while he anchors his own institute of Abuja Literary Society which is a transformation from Association of Nigerian Authors. Listening to the history, mission and accomplishments of ALS from him, I was convinced that participating in ALS activities will boost my writing ability as well as showcase me on a reputable platform which is principal in achieving my dream of international recognition.
The meeting took an unexpected turn when we gradually deviated, perhaps out of his calling also as a marriage counselor, and we began to talk about the challenges in our matrimony. I began to open up to him on personal family matters as he assured me he will be of help. When I was done with my narration, alarmed he blurted out.
“What are you still doing in that marriage?”
“Shall I leave then?” I asked. “Is that the solution to the problem at hand?”
“Have you heard of catharsis?” Victor asks.
“No”, I answered honestly.
Victor showed disappointment that although I claim to be a writer, I wasn’t a bank of words. He instructed me to go home and learn the word. Then he asked me a question I had answered for myself even before I knew I was going to meet him.
“If you have proof that your husband is having an affair, what will you do with that information?” Victor inquired.
Instead of obliging, I dodged the question and told him what I had been secretly fantasizing. “I need to get a steady source of income first. Then I will leave him”, I uttered confidently. “I have read a passage in the Bible that tells me that if my husband is not fulfilling his responsibility of clothing me, feeding me and meeting my emotional needs, I am at liberty to leave him”, I continued. “But I have children and I come from a broken home. I do not want my children to suffer in this situation”.
“Do you know what forgiveness is?” he asks.
I sighed. I sighed because I know this too well. It is something I pray for everyday and I know that if I do not forgive; asking for forgiveness for my own sins is otherwise being a hypocrite.
“Forgiveness is totally letting go”, I answered reluctantly.
“Do you think you have let go?” he asked.
“It is easier said than done”, I said instead. “It is difficult to forgive someone who consistently gives you pain”.
“I know. But it is for naught when you pray and fast yet you hold on to the pain”.
Then I told Victor a dream I had the previous morning.
“It will shock you to know that he is seeing more than one lady”, he concludes. “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of a married woman”, he continues. “When they take a hold of a young man, they possess completely. I know this because I have been there. It wasn’t as easy for me to pull out of it till I confessed to my wife. I had to if I wanted to the man she wants in me”.
My heartbeat doubles. My mind began to race. I couldn’t point to one particular thing I could have done wrong that could make my husband cheat on me. I revere him, I moved away from my family and friends and even left my high-earn job to be with him in a new and lonely city like Abuja. Now I stay at home with the children. Perhaps, I would not have thought of that with disdain if “the circumstance” didn’t require that I sleep separate from my husband which is now the norm since January 2013.
As emotions welled up in me, wasting no time, I began to think of what I could do to give my husband a run for his money – the “give-away token” he paid as bride-price to my parents at our engagement ceremony. Hmph!
Then Victor says, “What you need is a boyfriend?”
“Definitely not”, I objected. “You think having an affair will make things better in my marriage?”
“It’s a mind thing”, Victor assures me. “It’s just so your husband will buckle up when he knows someone else is getting your attention too”.
“I have children”, I said, looking him straight in the eye as though he was talking non-sense.
“What about your children?” he returned the look as though I were either deliberately being naïve or playing the denial game.
“How do I look them in the eye when I’m cheating on my family?” It wasn’t a question of Victor telling me how to convince myself it was no big deal. It was something I always said to myself. Above all things, holding my head up high is one thing I could never compromise.
“The notion of ‘mama and papa’ in the minds of the children are never one of showing emotions. It’s just an idea that ‘papa’ goes to work and ‘mama’ stays at home to take care of the children. Would it kill you to look your children in the eyes and make them understand the situation and that you have emotional needs that need to be met rather than starve yourself? It is not a question of if you need it. You need to be loved and cared for. Have you heard of the phrase, ‘hell hath no scorn than a woman’s fury”?
“What do you think that fury is? It is the silent pain you have bottled up all this while. You need to let it out and let it go before you literally go crazy”.
I knew he was being honest and saying it as it is. There was no point sugar-coating the issue. Bla bla bla. Victor spoke on for a while and for a better part of that while, I heard nothing he said. I wanted to concentrate but my pain wouldn’t let me focus. I fought to keep my tears in and they didn’t betray me.
“Why do we tag certain things evil? Is having sex evil?” I heard Victor say.
“If God has ordained us to have sex, then it can’t be evil”, I answered. “But if I have entered a covenant to have it with only one person for the rest of my life, then it becomes unacceptable to have it with anyone else”, I quickly added.
“But the person legally permitted to have sex with you isn’t giving it to you. Yet you need it. What will you do?”
“I will wait for God to turn his heart around to favor me”
“Yet you pray and fast with pain and vengeance in your heart”, Victor asserted.
“Even then my intentions are right. If there is a second in my existence that has ever or will ever please God, that one second where He will find me blameless, then let God use that instant as a judgment point to reward the purity of my heart.” I spoke intensely, not trying to deny the fact that pain and vengeance lurks in my heart.
I could see in Victor’s eyes that he didn’t approve of my notion to resolution. He maintained that what I needed was an affair.
“Have you heard of the nudist colony?” he asked.
I definitely had not heard of it before but putting the words together, I knew what it means. “No”, I answered wondering where he was going with that.
“It is a group of people in this 21st century who have developed a consciousness to neglect the confinement we humans have placed upon ourselves in the bid to live according to civilization. It is an international community. The Nigerian government discovered a group of people, the Koma people, in the rural areas of Sokoto state who were living in nude; men, women and children. Then government decided that it wasn’t proper and took civilization to them in the name of wrong living. What exactly is evil in the fact that some people decide to live in their natural existence?”
“Nothing”, I answered.
“So if we have been created as sex animals, should it matter where we get it?” Victor asked.
I scoffed. This can’t be right I thought to myself.
“Did you take marriage counseling classes before marriage?” he asked.
“Yes I did”.
“Who took your classes and what were you taught about sex?”
I was reluctant to answer because I remember too well what Pastor Mrs. Sola Adeoti said to my husband and I at the only sex education class we got before marriage. I remember she said in the spirit of being a sexual animal, despite external composure and public reverence, she surprised her husband with a call once while unknown to her that he was in a conference meeting and his secretary transferred her directly to him in the middle of the meeting where he, too, put her on the loud speaker. She had started telling him she was putting on this sexy new lingerie she just bought when he realized it was a private call only for his ears. Bottom line, her husband appreciated her for the effort and rushed home immediately after the meeting. I realized then that it wasn’t how old the marriage is that qualifies for how hot and spicy the relationship should be but once there is love, there should be no boundaries.
“My zonal pastor took the class and she said we are all sexual animals that needed love and attention at all times” is what I opted to say instead.
Victor gave the look to say, ‘Isn’t that the point I’m driving at?’
I shook my head. I understood what he was saying but it seemed to me that he was probably deliberately ignoring my stance.
“Are you ok?” he asked me when he realized I was getting overwhelmed with emotions.
“Do you want to cry?”
“Yes”, I said, now remembering the tears that didn’t betray me.
“Let it out”.
I breathed in deep and said instead, “I’m ok”.
“They say money makes the world go round but that’s a lie. Sex makes the world go round”, he said. I didn’t look at him. “When God created Adam and Eve, He told them to go into the world and multiply – ‘chuku chuku’. Phil Harvey is one of the most influential figures in the American sex industry. He is also a huge sponsor to the likes of this company, Society for Family Health. What is the small unit of society? The Family. What makes a family? ‘Chuku chuku. What makes society? ‘Chuku chuku. Sex makes the world go round”. Blab la bla. Again, I didn’t hear what he said thereafter.
I couldn’t seem to get past the idea that my husband was cheating on me. Then I knew I would get home and start a fight. I wanted to tell him I will give him a run for his money. I wanted to slap him across the face and make a fuss as I have always cautioned myself not to. I wanted to do something to make him realize it’s now a whole new ball game. Then I thought was he having an affair because “the circumstance” at home wasn’t very favorably? Definitely not, a sex animal would crave it when and where he felt it. If he has blood running in his veins then surely he was bound to want it and since he wasn’t asking from me, he definitely is getting it from someone else. Then the tears welled up in my eyes.
“Let it out”.
Then I began to weep. How did I get to this point with this Victor man? I had no idea. I came for business but it turned out “catharsis” was inevitable to me at some point.
“I will coach you to being alright. But first you have to forgive. Till we meet again, go home”.