Ibadan is a very large and very scattered city. I honestly don’t understand why most big cities in Nigeria are unplanned. Maybe because its Nigeria and nothing is really planned. But it is somewhat different in Ibadan. Someone could wake up one day and decide to build his house by a cliff, because, well, its their great-grandfather’s cherished land. Others might erect structures facing another structure, because they think it’s the best place to do so. There were so many anomalies in the city of Ibadan, from the way the people spoke to the kinds of businesses found there.
This was what ran through Jumoke’s thoughts as she heard that her elder sister, Toke was going to settle in Ibadan right after getting married. In fact, Toke was to get married in the scattered city. Apparently, she had done the mandatory National Youth Service Corps there and had found love there too. In all her thoughts, Jumoke hoped that Toke’s husband was not going to be the kind of “Ibadan man” their mother had said were not any good. Jumoke had thought that Toke would receive some form of resistance and opposition in from her family in her decision to get married to her “Ibadan man”. She was however, shocked when the news of Toke’s engagement was received with joy and excitement. She was happy for her sister anyways, and happy that there was no resistance because, apparently, she has succeeded in fulfilling their mother’s demands for marriage for her.
So, when two years later, Jumoke had gone to visit Sister Toke to help care for her baby, and to escape from her mother’s whining, she met Jide in this same scattered city, and they started to fall for each other, she concluded that fate had something with the girls in the family and their affinity with these Ibadan men. In a few months later, she was married to the love of her life in a ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry, and one in which she felt her mother’s happiness was more than hers, the bride.
Jumoke began with a new life with her husband, Jide in Ibadan and started working in one of the top-tier restaurants as a cook. Life with Jide initially seemed okay as she had gotten used to his constant nagging and unending sexual demands, she had no choice over. The problem came when she had work to late at the restaurant a few times. The first time she came home late was a few days to Valentine. The restaurant she worked in had been receiving orders of planned surprises and there was so much work to do. She had come home exhausted, and she had met Jide by the kitchen door, waiting for her. She greeted him, hardly sparing him a glance and was walking in to retire to bed when she got pulled back by her hair. Startled, she asked, “what is the matter Jide?”
“The matter is that my wife is just getting home” he replied in a dangerously quiet voice
“And what is wrong with that?!” Jumoke was raising her voice now, she realised and she blamed it on the pain in her scalp. She remembered her mother telling her not to ever raise her voice at her husband
Slightly angered at the raise of her voice, Jide replied “oh, you want to shout at me and talk back at me now?”
Jumoke sighed and kept quiet. Jide took it as his cue to continue talking “Listen woman, I won’t have you addressing me that way, and I won’t have you entering this house when you like. The next time you come home this late again, you will sleep outside. Do you get me now?!”
Jumoke mumbled a reply and left the kitchen.
There were more late nights on Jumoke’s part and consequently, more days for her to not sleep in the house. The night she had come late after the first one, she had knocked and begged for Jide to open the door. He did not, and she had gone to a nearby church to sleep. More late nights, and church sleeping nights for her. On one occasion, Jide had come out one night to look for her at the door, and did not find her. The following morning when she returned, he questioned her about her whereabouts and had accused her thereafter, for going to the house of her male partners to sleep. When he didn’t get any response from her, he had gone ahead to heat the electric iron and marked her with it.
According to him, he had done it so she would no longer look attractive. Jumoke had cried so much that day and skipped work that day. She nursed the wound for weeks by herself and had worn long sleeved cloths to cover up the marks. But that was just one of the other many encounters. There were severe beatings on nights when she dared to refuse him sex, and three miscarriages in all, along with constant accusations that she had sacrificed her womb for beauty and as a result, she was childless.
In about two years of marriage, Jumoke had become a complete shadow of herself. There were days when she would run to Sister Toke’s house when it was unbearable, and her sister would send her bac, with the words “you should not leave your husband for anything”. Jide did not led her parents visit her, and the day Jumoke woe up with the confidence to call her mother and tell her everything, her mother had cried, not because of the ordeals she faced at Jide’s hand, but because Jumoke was trying to disgrace her and do the unthinkable- to leave her husband. So, Jumoke had to stay and live “in peace” with her husband.
It is Jumoke and Jide’s fifth year anniversary today. The air is filled with smoke from the firewood and the smell of burning jollof rice. Chairs are being arranged in front of the house, juju music is blaring from the speaker, and little kids are seen running around, with their mothers dealing with shouting at them not to get their party dress stained and at the same time, putting things in order for the party. An hour or so later, the party commences. The groom has been seated long ago, and the crowd is waiting for the highlight of the ceremony, the welcoming of the bride. The bride comes out, and@queenestherwriter it is a very beautiful lady with glistering eyes and a happy smile. It is not Jumoke, for Jumoke had long been buried over a year ago. It is Sola, Jide’s new wife. And Jide is very excited to see her.
P.S: this is someone’s true story, tweaked only slightly
I hope you get something from this story. Don’t forget to drop your thoughts!