By Adeola Agoro
Hannah has the baddest hips I’ve ever seen in a slim woman. The thing is she’s got a great shape. The bust is intimidating; the waist is small and the hips… W-a-o-h! When she starts walking from the floor where her office is at the ministry where she works down to the elevator and then to the car park, you can bet that most eyes are following her all the way. I have caught even women looking at her and having their eyes open with envy or admiration or both. Hannah? She’s got it all in place. I secretly call her Miss Curves.
When I met Hannah, apart from her curves, another thing that struck me about her is her great dress sense. Oh! Oh!! Hannah could d-r-e-s-s!!! Out of all the friends I’ve ever had, Hannah’s wardrobe seemed to be the best. She wore the most expensive dresses, well sewn and made to fit her imposing figure.
Hannah had other things in place and I must confess that once or twice, I wished I was like her. She was driving a very good car, which ran well due to the right servicing and care. Her rented three-bedroom bedroom flat showed class, money, good taste and a little opulence.
I later met Hannah’s son. He was chauffeur-driven to school, came back home to the warm embrace of a nanny who made sure that his afternoon bath was compulsory before having his lunch after which his lesson teacher took over.
The only thing missing about Hannah then was a man… So I thought. We never talked about it and I never asked. I enjoyed her nice nature, the good company and the regular meals we ate out which payment was alternated by both of us.
Our friendship continued like that until one day when I ran into Hannah, her son and a man at an ice-cream parlour. The man, with a hard face and not-so-clean clothes managed to say hello to me before literally pushing Hannah and the kid away from me. I was puzzled.
Hannah called me that night and almost in tears said, “Adeola, I’m in trouble. We need to see and talk”. We fixed an appointment for her office canteen the next day and that was when the whole story came rushing out.
Hannah had married this man six years before then and the marriage produced the son. He was an accountant who was managing his own unsuccessful firm. It became obvious after the birth of their son that he couldn’t fulfill his responsibilities as a father because money was not coming in. Hannah didn’t complain because she felt things were going to improve with time. They never did. She then urged him to get a regular job. That was when they began to fight.
“How could you suggest that I get a paid job when I’m already my own boss? Are you trying to take me backward?” He bellowed when she raised the idea. No woman is going to ruin my well set plans. You have a paid job and that should be enough in a family. Both of us can’t be slaving for other people. And never, ever raise this issue again.”
Of course, the thunderous look in his eyes and the stern manner with which the warning came made Hannah know that asking him to get a paid job was like asking for the mountain to start moving. She simply faced her job and assumed the responsibilities in the house. From house rent to the child’s upkeep even to the husband’s pocket money (in form of loans which were never paid back), Hannah bore it all.
It wasn’t however long after then that they got kicked out of their apartment when the rent increased and they couldn’t pay. Hannah and her son went to live with a cousin of hers while the man moved to a friend’s place.
Hannah now concentrated on her job, registered for her masters degree program and was determined to make them come together as a family again. In all that time, her husband still never took a paid job and she had to be praying earnestly that he would.
The masters degree program was taking up some of her time and so, the man was not always seeing her as he wanted. He asked her to stop. Her refusal to stop started a new chapter in their lives – the man would come to the cousin’s house to wait for her and if she dared come back home late, he would descend on her and give her the biggest beatings of her life. So much beating coupled with no benefits from the husband made Hannah decide to leave him and so she did. She simply moved to another place and started her life afresh.
Along the line, she met a middle-aged man who was recently divorced and they started a relationship. He got her the house, the car and spoilt her silly. The only snag in the relationship was that he wasn’t sure he wanted to try marriage again. He wanted them to be together forever but without any marital attachments. Hannah agreed for some time until people began to tell her that the man was selfish ad was just using her.
The boyfriend made up for not marrying her by taking her on vacations abroad, giving she and her son the best and being practically there for her. But Hannah wanted more than a relationship.
On the other hand, her husband was begging her to come back. He promised to get a job, stop beating her and be responsible. He would come occasionally to take her and the son out, and once in a while he would beat her if she dared receive any call she couldn’t explain.
They were at that stage when she called me to ask for my advice. She said she was tired of being the other man’s mistress when all they needed to do was for her to get a divorce and get married. She didn’t like the idea of them not having anything to concrete to bind them together. She would rather be married than being a mistress. She was missing the institution called marriage.
I didn’t waste time before saying, “Babe, think very well before you take this man back. Make sure he gets a job. I know how you feel about this other man and there seems to be nothing you can do about it. It’s either you go ahead with what you are already into and continue to have your life of luxury or go back to your marriage and begin to have a relapse back into what led to the breakup in the first place. He must be gainfully employed before you go back and he must prove to be able to provide accommodation for you and your son.
“If you take him back in the condition he was when you left him, it would be worse this time around. Then, you didn’t have a car, now you have. The man doesn’t have a car so your car would initially be family car to take to church etc. He can’t be standing by the road looking for a taxi while you drive this nice car. As the man of the house, he would offer to drop you at work, drop the child in school and of course take the car to do his runs. When it’s time to service the car, he would remember you own it and take it as soon as that is done.
“On the rent issue, if he moves in here, it’s a shame on you and him. But he won’t mind. He would pretend that he doesn’t know that another man rented it for you. When the rent is due, he would expect you to sort it out. Other issues like money to spend, bills to pay and so on would be passed to you. Just think twice and twice and twice before you take him back”.
After that, I stopped seeing her. She stopped calling me and all efforts to reach her became abortive. I didn’t know what was going on until I saw her last week – heavily pregnant. I was happy for her because her son has long been longing for a little brother or sister. She didn’t allow the smile on my face to stay for long when she broke down in tears.
“My friend, it has happened… everything you said has happened. I believed my husband when he said I shouldn’t worry he would get a job, all he needed was a decent place to lay his head before going to get a job. I took him in and he hasn’t bothered to go out in search of a job since then.
He drops me at work in the morning, goes out with the car. He doesn’t even come to pick me up in the afternoon and he’s never at home when I get back. Most times he’s drunk when he comes back so I dare not talk or ask questions. I pay the school fees and the rent is due now. I don’t have the money to pay. To make it worse, I’m now pregnant and this other man stopped helping me the moment he found out my husband had come back. What do I do?” she sobbed as she spoke.
Well, I know some marriages come with baggage and those baggage never seem to drop off like in Hannah’s case. What I don’t know is if she should continue to carry her load and thank God or shed it off. What do you think?