When I have malaria I dream crazy stuff. Fcuk it. I have a few hazy memories of my days as a teen, how my head would pound like a million hands were pelting pebbles at me. Or how my whole body would be hot as coal, and I’d be cold and have goose bumps over me. It was crazy.
There were so many experiences, the oddest of my malaria memories being the dreams. Once, I dreamt a man tried to rob me on a quiet path one cold, lonely evening and I tried wrestling a machete off him, with me holding the sharp ends and getting all sorts of deep cuts in my palms. That dream was almost loony, can’t even say how my character made it out of there alive.
In more recent years, I have left 3MB to swim my way home because of what looked like an irrepressible gridlock, amidst fears that a part of the bridge was caving in, leading to a tremor of sorts or something else just as incredibly odd.
I have also bought a few choice whips and cribs before, all of this in my sleep. I once married the woman of my dreams; her skin characterized by a glowing splendor and her hair something like an Arabian princess. On one afternoon, a weekend, our two little boys were playing soccer on the lush greens around the garden, adjacent to the garage; as we sat in the balcony and gazed away, each sipping lemonade and citrus on rocks, eyes behind shades.
So he’s no weirdo, the dreams aren’t about negatives only. In fact, they are only a figment of his imaginations, precipitated by plasmodium. Thank you.
However hard or long it is, at some point, we have to come to a realization that African women are some of the greatest around earth’s surface. The average African woman is a QUEEN! She is the breadwinner in many a home, she is the mother, the wife, the money manager and the bedrock. And she goes through a truckload of stress in addition to her roles.
We see, how in some cases, she is looked down upon because she didn’t go to school like her brothers, and so isn’t much of a force in society. Whereas her father didn’t think it fit to have her get same quality degree and all.
We also see cases where she experiences difficulties finding a man, not because she cannot be on her own and stuff, but because society places a massive premium on getting married and raising kids and all that. She is single and ready, but the men think because she is erudite and successful she will make no good wife. Or she will not be submissive. Trashy, halo effect tendencies.
She is the target when the newly married couple hasn’t given the parents a grandchild. Nobody talks about the man: the childlessness cannot be as a result of the man’s past mistakes. Heck, it cannot be as a result of his relative impotence. It can only be the wife’s fault. In the very ‘spiritual’ circles, she gets to see all the ‘prophets’ within reach. The family eventually finds out that she has taken in a few times so they cut her some slack because she is fertile after all. But they want a baby, at all cost. Failure to provide one means she can do no right in the presence of her in-laws.
She is jittery when they visit. She is mandated to take rounds of untold herbal concoctions. She is subjected to washing with unsavory herbal soaps and various other ‘anointed oils’ and whatnot. She has five appointments with three doctors in seven days. She is at the receiving end of all the knocks – because there has to be a baby.
In worse cases, in spite of all her efforts at silencing her critics and providing the grandchild, she is greeted with various forms of acerbic comments, different shades of snide remarks and whatchamcallit. Still, she endures. She sees her husband and she’s strong enough to face the world. If she gets all the harsh treatments and he stands strong for her then there’s nothing she won’t surmount. Alas, she is in for a rude awakening. Her husband starts to hang with some erratic colleagues from the office and before long; he is sleeping with an undergraduate chic – as suggested by the boys – who flies in from Abuja, has three piercings, one butterfly tattoo and wears a gold anklet.
No, you haven’t heard the worst: Our Uni chic is on a determined mission to dwindle his fortunes, given the young architect has taken to alcohol and womanizing. And she is pregnant for him, which means the last straw has broken the camel’s back, which also means she has considerable control over his everything.
Three straight days and John hadn’t reached the house. Only a few phone calls. Shucks. After series of lame excuses of working late, lodging and getting back to work at first light for the projects, and then eventually leaving town for a ‘meeting with two potential clients’, it dawned on Jumoke that something was amiss.
***Okon had helped get his travel bag from the house that Tuesday. John always had one packed for his trips to London, Paris and Zurich; when he really did have business meetings***
Jumoke left the marriage. No, she was ‘shamed out’ after the mistress had come through – 6 months heavy – and her mother-in-law as well as sisters-in-law had put together a grand welcome. Only Katharyn, her husband’s third sister, wasn’t a part of the movement. She was the most intuitive of the lot. She had a mind of her own. She hated bias.
The morning Jumoke first left the house, she felt like the earth was sinking beneath her. She was in the kitchen when Okon drove in the red Mercedes with John and the Uni girl. She was astonished as John stepped out, and feigned a weak attempt at being in control of things. There was a sweeping, unusual silence between all three; except the mistress who strut the living room for a bit, as though examining a property she had left and returned to.
When her mother-in-law came in a few minutes later, followed by her daughters, and then the lavish, pretentiously warm reception –alongside innuendos directed at her– all the while John avoiding her eyes, she knew shxt had hit the fan. He wasn’t even making any attempts at explaining to her. His words had failed him. Perhaps he was too at a loss for the happenings around him to come up with something to say.
Jumoke got back into the kitchen, rinsed her hands and killed the gas. She had been heating a pot of stew that now had an aroma of something she couldn’t explain. The air around her was beginning to twirl. She was broken. Misty-eyed, and scarf on her neck, she got her cell phones and iPad and rang a cabbie. Then she left.
The smoking hot Uni chic put to bed but word on the street is she was never a student of any tertiary institution at the time. Plus, our architect was not the true father of the baby. But given that money was no object, and the shame it’d have brought upon his household, John managed to conceal everything about the story of the child’s paternity considerably.
Jumoke’s is a reality in the cosmopolitan, 21st century world we live in today. The beauty in her case is she bounced back at some point. She had a tool; her education was the tool, and it was sufficient for her to go against the odds. She soon resumed work at a blue chip company following her resignation from managing John’s oil business. And then she remarried. Today, she is pregnant with her third child.
She is charred from the past experience, but she pushed on, as is typical of the African woman. She stayed unyielding and true to herself. She didn’t lose her virtues. No, she didn’t do anything out of this world to bounce back. She just led a normal life and love found her again, because in truth *everything was meant to be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.
*Excerpt of a quote by John Lennon
PS: This writing is a figment of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblances to persons living or dead are entirely coincidental.
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