THERE might not be anything new under the sun, as the saying goes, but when one of these stranger-than-fiction events happens to you, it leaves vou stunned; a bitter taste in your month. Rebecca and Rex had been married for close to 16 years when her husband sprung a nasty surprise on her. Rebecca, Bekky for short, was a very dependable ‘sister’ who could fix virtually anything ranging from how to effectively cost a party, no matter how large – to how to refurbish your home!
An invaluable ally, she’s always welcome in my home. I was almost out of the door on an assignment when my mobile went. I told her what I was up to and she pleaded with me to stay put as she was on her way to my flat to discuss her husband’s betrayal. Betrayal? How melodramatic can you get? The man is in his fifties for goodness sake. What escapades could he be up to that would turn Bekky into a basket case? When she walked through the door, she looked rough and wild.
She got herself a drink before I could offer then sighed. “It is Mariam O!” she wailed. Well, what about her? Mariam had been living with the family for some six years now. The poor girl was from Rex (Bekky’s husband’s) home town and had lost both parents in a village fire accident. Rex had brought her in with all her worldly goods in a tatty carrier bag. For years, Bekky had groomed her into the lovely girl she now was. Her kids adored their ‘auntie’ and she was an asset to the family. So what exactly was the problem?
“She’s no relation of Rex!” Bekky exploded. My jaw nearly hit the floor. So who exactly was she? “One of the kids saw Rex sneaking out of Mariam’s room – twice; and thought I should know. At first, I refused to believe her but I decided to turn detective. We don’t share the same bedroom and this fateful night, I was at the kitchen window after keeping vigil for four nights in a row, when I saw my husband skulking to the boys quarters. The lights in my room were off, he must have assumed that I was fast asleep. I gave him about 20 minutes then went after him. What gave me the patience to hang in there for so long still beats me to this day, but better to catch him red-handed if he was indeed having an incestuous relationship with Mariam.
“Only one of the two windows in her room was slightly opened and the fan was on full blast. As I neared the window, I was greeted by the sound of loud moaning. I peeped through only to see the most disturbing sight I’d ever laid eyes on. My husband was on top of Mariam on her dingy single bed, talking dirty to her. Involuntarily, I screamed. Both of them sprang apart, naked. The girl looked really petrified but Rex was defiant. He calmly got into his clothes and marched out of the room with me hot on his heels. “Don’t make any scene here”, he warned me nastily ‘or you want to wake up your children?’ I told him they already knew what he was up to. What type of a sick man would sleep with his own blood relation? It was then he snapped that Mariam was no relation of his.
“She was a daughter of a village family friend and he brought her to Lagos to give her a better life. He was certainly doing well in that department! So, all these years, I’d nurtured a girl I thought was an in-law not knowing I was grooming her for my husband’s pleasure! What’s with these men that decency means nothing to them once their loins take over their thinking?”
For once in a long while, I was nonplussed. Bekky said she insisted Mariam must leave the house immediately and she did. But she had this sneaky suspicion that her husband would have found her an alternate accommodation. Short of following him all over the place to find out what else he was up to, she had no way of finding out if Mariam has indeed been sent back to the village. What would she be doing there? She has already finished her secondary school education and is a trainee at a catering school. Would she throw all that away to go back to the village? Bekky has already made discreet enquiries at her new school and was told she hadn’t been attending classes, so where the heck could she be?
When Bekky finally got wind of where Mariam was, she was not only living in a one-room apartment, well furnished, she was pregnant! I warned Bekky to leave things the way they were and not let her husband cotton on to the fact she knew his secret. It would be really interesting to find out what her husband would do when he eventually become a father! Would he let the rest of the family know?!