“I am taking another wife” her husband nervously announced during a private dinner between the two of them that he specifically requested for.
The children were eating in the kitchen with the house-help just for tonight. It was better that way, they wouldn’t understand.
Ekpen gave no reaction. She seemed to be in deep thought. She put one finger up and opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. She dropped her finger and stared at her husband. He frowned he could feel trouble brewing he was ready to go to war with her if need be. He had heard of women who gave the fight of thier lives once they heard this type of news. Ekpen was a stubborn woman and he expected no less of her. Apparently her husband had zero intuition for if he had any he would know that she had in fact felt an overwhelming joy with the news he had just laid out.
Ekpen knew of women who in this same predicament had cried, felt like failures or felt less beautiful but not Ekpen, she was ecstatic!
Unbeknownst to Ekpens husband she despised him. She was indifferent to his existence. She had married him because her youth had begun to wither away and so had her prospects for interested suitors. At first she was excited about their own marriage but as time went on the excitement dissipated. In her opinion he was bossy, he would nag her and constantly correct her even when she knew she was right. He would often compare her to his mother and the immaculate way his mother had run her home saying that Ekpen was incompetent and lazy, not minding the fact that his mother was a stay at home mom and had never worked and run a household at the same time. She felt that he lacked affection and interest in her so eventually she stopped really caring for him and thought of him as a daft bully.
At some point she had wished that she loved him so it would make the hard parts of their marriage more bearable. She had grown tired of catering to him Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, sex, paying bills and minding the children’s affairs at the same time. Didn’t they both earn similar salaries and work the same grueling hours at their respective jobs? So why she had to bear the load of domestics on her own she never understood and eventually she had grown bitter. When her husband had gotten her some house help unexpectedly she felt a slight tinge of love for him but that didn’t last long. If not for the love she had for her children she would have regretted ever getting married and given up on the entire thing long ago. Ekpen had never believed in divorce but she was beyond annoyed with her marriage and often contemplated filing.
She had always felt a bit guilty for marrying him, she felt she had somehow deprived him of the luxury of having a wife who loved him but in this moment she was vindicated he would now have another woman to love him. Aren’t we Christians we’re not supposed to practice polygamy she thought. “Forget that” She mumbled to herself. A second Wife? Hmmm why hadn’t she thought of that solution herself? Were they in love? She didn’t know and she actually didn’t anymore.
Early in their marriage she almost dared to request that she and her husband have separate rooms. She was glad that he was now taking another wife because now she would definitely get her own bed. She thought of the sex, fiendishly plotting out how she would pass off her sexual duties to the new wife. If she were lucky maybe one day he may even take a third wife, that way she would definitely be relieved of her matrimonial duties.
Ok problem solved, no divorce neccesary she told herself.
“You can’t leave your husband for no reason” her best friend once told her. As far as her friend was concerned he was perfect because he worked hard and he didn’t beat her. Ekpen shrugged and said “He’s a good father, I’ll just manage, the children love him and they are his world, and I love them most so I refuse to leave them behind” and that had been the end of the conversation.
She almost giggled to herself contemplating on her new found hope but chose to remain stoic. What was the tradition self? Was she supposed to be sad or angry or remain poised? She opted for the latter.
He kept talking, blah blah this and blah blah that was all she had heard.
What was he even saying? She thought. She wasn’t listening. She was fantasizing about the silent nights she would have without his unbelievably loud snoring, about the distraction the new wife could be, about the help the second wife would bring with the running of the house and the extra income she would bring to the table. She was sure this woman was employed, her husband wouldn’t have it any other way. She began making preparations in her mind on how to make life completely comfortable for the new wife. She couldn’t take the chance that the woman might run off after seeing their husbands true colors. She had to stay.
Ekpen had first tried to use her children as a buffer between her and her husband. Using them as an excuse to go to bed late or run out of bed early it rarely worked but this new wife could be the answer. She wasn’t sure if her husband knew she felt this way but apparently he had because there was a second wife on the way.
“Ekpen! Ekpen! “her husband called her name he had caught her day dreaming during his speech. She asked him calmly speaking and disregarding the speech, “When will she move in?” He replied after the marriage rights in 2 months’ time. She could no longer contain her excitement she jumped up and turned to leave the room as she began mumbling things about preparations and redecorating. Her husband stared at her bewildered and called her name again. He wondered about her most times, she was a woman with her own thought process a strange woman indeed, he thought.
She turned back around and acknowledged him. He smiled nervously not knowing if her excitement was genuine or a feigned reaction to the news. He was speechless.
She needed to get this new wife’s phone number she thought to herself. What foods would she like? What kind of house girl did she want or did she want a house boy? What was her favorite color? So we can make her room perfect for her.
“May I have her number?” “May I have her name also?” She asked her husband. She wanted to call her and make sure this woman knew that she was more than welcome and perfectly safe in her new home. Ekpen would be no threat. She laid no claims on her husband and was even ready to issue title of first wife to this new wife if that is what it would take to keep her around. Her only prayer was that the woman wouldn’t turn out to be like a Nollywood character. She cringed momentarily thinking of Patience Ozokwor’s many rants in hundreds of films where she had played the crazy wife. That thought soon passed. Ekpen was focused.
Her husband was a bit dumb founded what was this woman up to he thought?
”Is she not my co-wife to be?” Ekpen asked smiling mischievously.
“Wont we all be in the same house anyway?”
He slowly nodded reading off the 10 digits of the new wife’s number to his excited wife and then her name.
As she left the room smiling and practically frolicking she realized that this entire situation could end up biting her in the arse but for now this was Ekpen’s little Miracle.