(STOP MY WIFE FROM SMILING)
By Opeyemi Akintunde
Life in Houston was great, the first month was welcoming. My sister and her husband who were living in a two bedroom apartment told their kids to vacate their room to accommodate my children and I Which was the usual anytime we went visiting for weeks.
I hid my relocation plans from them, even my daughters didn’t know we were relocating, all I told them was we were going to Houston for a short break.
I didn’t hint them on what was going on with their father. I just told them I needed a break and since that was not the first trip to Houston, they didn’t suspect any foul play.
However, when it was about the sixth week, I started hearing my brother in law and Sister arguing behind closed doors. I didn’t know what it was about until when my brother in law confronted me about it around the 8th week. (2 months).
“Aunt Betty, my wife and I are just managing and it’s unlike you to come to Houston and spend two months. We are running low on cash…What’s up Aunt, Are you planning to relocate?” You know how blunt Nigerians who live in America can be….
“Well…” I said while trying to find a convincing answer…
“Aunt Betty, I just want the truth” Richie said
“My husband and I are having it rough, so yes I am thinking of relocating”
“I guessed as much, it’s unlike Uncle, He would have called to thank us for hosting his family” He said
“Hmm…Aunty…I think you should go back to Nigeria and sort things out, because living in America as a single black mother with two daughters is not easy!, For starters we won’t be able to accommodate you for long ,because even as we speak the bills are way too much”
“I can always support in the bills, like I did when I first came in from Nigeria, at least I gave your wife 1000 dollars to support during my stay”
“Aunty, we have exhausted it, you know how things are here….the mortgage, the….” He said
“Ok Richie…What do you want me to do?”
“ If you plan on staying in America, I am sorry Aunty, You might need to start looking for your apartment, possibly get a Job, but my best advice is for you to go back to Africa, because even we that are established here, we wish we could return home, but the shame of going back to Africa with virtually nothing is what is keeping most of us here, imagine me Richard, a First class Graduate of Micro Biology working in a Hand car wash , washing cars in Houston…., Aunty, think very well about what you are about to do” He said
I followed the most convenient Option and used my hard earned money, my savings to be precise to buy a house in Houston. I am sure you know what it cost to buy a house in America, it was my life savings but my thought was, if accommodation was settled, every other thing was secondary.
I had little or close to nothing left.
My daughters began questioning why we were not returning to Nigeria and why dad had not joined them for the holiday as I initially said. I told them Dad was executing a project in an area where there was no network coverage. They believed that because it was not out of the norm.
As regards staying in America, they were excited as their fantasy of attending college in America was going to come to pass. All thanks to all the Hollywood college movies and series they had watched on T.V, so this was going to be living their “AMERICAN DREAM”
Isokene kept calling me to return back to Nigeria, but I kept telling her I was thinking about it. The day I bought my house in Houston, I called her very excited to share my good news with her, but she said…
“Why waste all that money in buying a house for yourself, when you have a home you need to save in Nigeria… A house in America can never be a home, if the major ingredient is absent, your husband is not in that house….If your husband was dead, it would have been understandable…
Aunty Betty, What is happening to you? my heart breaks everyday knowing you are going far away from God’s ordained plan for your life, It’s all over the news, people are asking about you as you have been missing all the programs you were invited to….Also, your disappearance from the scene has given the mistress the boldness to come out, She and your husband now walk hand in hand in public….and people are asking questions as to who she is?”
I hung up on Isokene….I didn’t want her to dampen my spirit any more than it was….My mind was made up. I was going to make America my new home, even if I didn’t have a husband. I intentionally changed my number so none of my pastor friends could reach me, the only friend I kept in contact with was a Female minister like me who had divorced her husband.
“My sister, marriage is not by force ooo, avoid the calls of hypocritical people, I mean some of our fathers and mothers in the Lord who are not also enjoying their marriage, they will tell you “for the gospel sake, pretend everything is fine”…..Abeg, won’t I live my own life?…My sister, you have made the right choice…Settle in America and if God is merciful, you marry someone else!”
This led me into looking for a job as a School counselor, as that was my area of specialization but I looked tirelessly as I never got one….
I decided to call my sister for help as I was seriously running low on cash…
“ Aunty, you can’t find such jobs here, when the real Americans are yet to get Jobs, then you a Nigerian will now get one….
Aunty before I went to Nursing School to become a nurse, I did all sorts including washing plates…. I suggest you start looking towards that area”
“What? Me? Wash plates in America?” ….I said in disbelief
To be continued…
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