This is a love story, but not quite. I met my husband in his younger and essentially immature years. We started with what should have been the climax – sex. We knew we didn’t want a one-night stand, but we also didn’t know exactly what we wanted. So we started off by having sex. I wish I could say the sex was great, but sadly, I had had better at the time. However, I will not say the same about our future sexual encounters. Yes, it progressively got better until it was mind-blowing. My husband was cute, childish, and told terrible jokes that I laughed at anyways. We danced around the idea of a relationship for ages. There were feelings, but I wasn’t sure we needed a tag…until I fell, that is. I like to think that the exact moment I fell hopelessly for him was when he cooked for me for the first time. He made the most amazing Jollof rice (well, some would call it concoction rice). It was the best I had ever eaten. Perhaps, I should have been worried that he whipped up a concoction from a renowned herbalist considering the onslaught of feelings that came with my full belly, but the heart wants what it wants. I would later find out that really, that was all he knew how to cook. But I digress.
When we started dating, we just did. There was no official asking. We just knew we were no longer just sexual partners. There was no sudden realization or epiphany. We just started dating. So no dating anniversary. Perhaps, we should have had a dating period anniversary (no, we do not remember the exact month either) instead of a single day, but it’s too late for that now.
When we decided to get married, it was slightly different. There was an “asking” by my parents. He had visited, and my mum just went, “Makanaki, when are you guys getting married?”. To my astonishment, he replied, “I’m ready. I think we can have the wedding within the year”. And just like that, the plans commenced. I will skip the details, but the important thing is that we got married.
Fast forward to 9 years after our wedding. We had nine children at the time. Well, adopted them quite alright, but again, not quite. We took them from their respective mothers. Bola and Bala were Tokunbo’s children; Nkechi was Chidinma’s; Obiageli was Obianuju’s; Feranmi was Tosin’s; Tunde and Tunji were Tola’s beautiful twins; and Bolatito was my daughter that I adopted through an orphanage home. It was not that I was infertile. I just had one too many miscarriages – five, to be precise. What these children, save for Bolatito, had in common was their father. They were all children born to my husband. And I, the ever-forgiving wife, their adopted mother. You see, my very virile husband had a habit of having extramarital affairs while ensuring to leave sufficient evidence in his wake, usually in the forms of crying babies and their displeased mothers. Regardless, we lived happily as much as we could. Since all my children were adopted, I tried my best to love them equally. I didn’t succeed, but you’ll hardly notice any differences, I promise.
Then came the problem – my husband’s death. He had an accident after driving stone drunk. Something he wasn’t doing for the first time but would apparently be his last on that cold Monday night. While I should probably have said good riddance, his death brought me even more problems. After the death came the stripping. I was stripped of my titles – “married”, “housewife”, “mother of nine”, “mother”. Mothers came to collect their children in rapid succession, understandably so. After all, my husband was the one who kept them in check, appeasing them with gifts in cash and kind. Then we lost Bolatito. Well, I did. I lost her to asthma. She was only five. After the titles were the possessions. I never knew my husband’s relations “cared” for him so much. They were quick to take away all he had from me. Apparently, I had no claim to them since I was now without a child. I became empty, but not quite. Nothing was left but my life. The last title I was stripped of was “alive”. I took it, my life, that is, and gave it back. To whom I do not know.
This is the story of a titleless woman that used to exist, but now, not quite.