DIARY OF A PORT HARCOURT HOUSEWIFE
“A heart devoid of Love will become filled with a cacamphony of endless ramblings, a debris of dashed hopes and broken dreams.”
I was speechless, wasn’t expecting such an outburst from her. I know her husband is an unrepentant womanizer. Odenyi had long accepted it as her fate and stopped fighting over it.
She had tried all she could but Harrison had chosen his path, a public penis that was lost between the thighs of young girls. She couldn’t keep house helps because he always ended up chasing them away with his randy nature. One or two of them had succumbed to his advances.
Otele, her sister, often complained and said her brother in-law was a he goat, chasing anything in skirts. She told me how Harrison verbally abused Odenyi, telling her that her breasts had become like squeezed oranges and he went after the younger girls because their breasts were still perky and full.
It didn’t matter if the girls were ugly and dirty, all that mattered to him were the perkiness of their breasts. Sad to say but she knew before she married him. I remember her mum Aunty Kuku complaining to my mum about Odenyi’s choice of a boyfriend before they got married. She had carried out a sort of investigation on him and his background and she wasn’t pleased with her findings.
Odenyi had insisted that they loved each other, saying he was a good person who was simply misunderstood. She cried for days when her mum refused to consent to their marriage. In the end Aunty Kuku gave in against her better judgement.
This was her 1st child and it hurt to see her going through what she also went through in the hands of their father. Their dad passed away when we rather young but we were old enough to know that Uncle Festus was a chronic *”eredokibo”
His death brought my aunt more relief than grief but her grief came back in a neat package in form of Odenyi and Harrison’s marriage.
Harrison’s philandering became so excessive that Odenyi felt embarrassed even talking about him. That’s why I found her outburst that morning a bit surprising.
“Odi I know you’re my big sister but you can talk to me. It helps to speak out when you’re hurting.”
“Where do I start from Belema? Sometimes I wonder what madness led me to marry him. I must have been delusional to think he could change, I can’t satisfy him, he can’t be satisfied by one woman.”
“I am married to a mad dog! Isn’t marriage hard enough as it is? Then he decided to complicate it more by giving me hell.”
I’m devoid of loving him, besides this man doesn’t care about me He doesn’t care if I am dead or alive.
“What’s there to live for anyway ? If God doesn’t heal me then let me just die and go and rest.”
“Odenyi”! How can you speak like this? You have so much to live for, look at your kids. You’re beautiful, intelligent, you can live your life devoid of all this”.
“Belema, you won’t understand, he has hurt me so much! It’s like he derives pleasure from tormenting me.
I have begged, I have talked to him, I have quarreled, I have prayed, I have fasted, I have sulked, I have reported to his mum and his brother. I have bleached my skin at some point, struggled to stay slim, changed my looks often, bought expensive night wears and clothes.
I have no fight left in me, I have honestly given up. I have given up on everything. I gave that man 17 years of my life and this is what he gave me.
“Odi, I know you’re hurt, but please don’t let the hurt consume you. I will be there for you in every way possible.”
“This is beyond the hurt, I no longer hurt, I’m numb, I have no emotions for him, hate and anger cannot begin to describe my state. I was coping fine until he complicated my life even more with this illness.”
“Odi but you can get the best of health care. Uncle Harrison can afford to fly you out of the country.”
At this point she looked me in the eye, and she said,
“Your husband didn’t tell you? “
“Tell me what Odi? “
“I have HIV.”
Dear Diary, my world stopped when I heard those three words.
*eredokibo* – kalabari language in Rivers State Nigeria.
Ibiwari Perrin-Oglafa 2019 ®©