By Monica Taiwo - Nigeria
My name is Funmi. I met my husband in Ondo State after my NCE programme. We were friends for sometime but later things started getting serious between us. Dare was very understanding and caring and, moreover, we are from the same town. This earned him my family's love.
Dare was not educated; he dropped out of school because of financial constraint. I didn’t see that as a problem because I believe Dare would go back to school when things get better for him.
In the interim, he learnt tailoring somewhere in town. The love I had for him then did not allow me to see anything wrong in what he was doing.
I got transferred to Ibadan to teach in a primary school and, after, I persuaded Dare to join me so that we could continue our relationship. He did not agree at first, but after so much persuasion, he agreed. We started living together.
For about three years, Dare could not lay his hands on anything; he was always complaining that there were no customers. When things did not get better, he said he wanted to be a cab driver, I agreed with him and we saved some money and bought him a Mistibushi car.
After some months, I discovered that I was pregnant and well, Dare did not deny this and he was ready to marry me. My parents were not happy with me because I got pregnant before marriage, but because Dare was ready to have my hand in marriage they had no choice, they conceeded. The wedding day was fixed and we started preparing.
I called my childhood friend, Funke, to inform her of my intentions and also to ask her to be my chief bride’s maid. Funke had been in Ibadan before I relocated there. She and I went for shopping in preparation for the wedding.
Funke was very supportive even after the wedding, she was a shoulder to lean on. Our friendship took another dimension after; we got closer.
I forgot to tell you that she was a fashion designer too and things were quite okay with her, so I advised her to try and get a man to settle down with and to this, we started praying for a God-sent man who would be her husband.
In due time, God answered our prayers; a brother to one of her customers showed interest in her and after some months, they did introduction and started living together; this was when I had my first baby, a girl.
Just like a true friend, Funke played a prominent role during the naming ceremony; it was as if it was her child and after some months, she also became pregnant, and my advice to her as a friend was that she should formalise the wedding so that she would not have the baby out of wedlock. She took my advice and got married.
After some years, my husband started behaving funny; he started keeping late nights. He neglected his responsibilities at home and stopped caring for the children.
I became worried over this and raised the issue with him, but all to no avail; he wouldn't bulge.
I was itching so much to pour out my mind to someone but I couldn't since Funke rarely came visiting like before and I was also very busy with my work. However, I went to our home town to report Dare to his people; I didn't know I was digging the grave for my marriage. By the time I got home, Dare had completely abandoned the children and went away.
The children later told me that he came the night I left for Ondo, asked after me and went ahead to pack some of his clothes and went out that night. I was perplexed when I heard this. Where could he have gone to?
Nobody knew his whereabouts. I tried to look for him, but to no avail. On a fateful day, Lekan, one of my children, said he saw him around Funke’s place at night. My heart beat with hope and I thought I had found my man. But the boy reported that when Dare saw him, he didn’t say anything but went in quietly into Funke’s apartment.
I was shocked and confused and wondered what he could be doing in Funke’s flat at that time of the night. When Lekan sensed I was very worried he let the cat out of the bag. He said one of Funke's sons in his school had told him secretly that Dare had been in their house all these while.
I was so confused at that piece of information that I almost ran crazy. I cried myself to sleep that night. The following morning, I decided to see Funke to confirm what Lekan had told me. To my surprise, I saw Funke with a bulging tummy! Of course, she couldn’t have been impregnated by her husband who had been in London.
She was shocked when she saw me but she summoned courage and confronted me when I asked about Dare. To my utmost shock, Funke ordered me out of her house and warned me not to come there again. She shouted on me and called me all sorts of names.
I was dumbfounded even as passersby were asking me what happened, I couldn’t say anything. I couldn't believe Dare and my best friend could connive to do this to me. I accepted my fate and pulled myself together.
I knew I needed the strength to bring up my children and to continue with my life. I got closer to God. However, I later learnt that Dare and Funke had packed out of the house to live in a street, not quite far from ours.
Funke gave birth some months after and had a baby boy. I learnt that some people in our street attended the naming ceremony. I didn't allow that to bother me as I was ready to go on with my life without him.
It wasn't long after this, that I heard the rumour that Dare was sick and was admitted to a hospital. I pitied him and wanted to go and see him, but I didn't want Funke to see me and start calling me names. Things, however, did not get better for him because he died after some weeks.
I felt terrible and cried bitterly. As if this was not enough, some weeks after, Funke also died mysteriously. Taiwo, this was the last straw that broke the camel's back. People on the street believed I did something; they accused me and called me a witch, alleging that I was the brain behind their deaths.
This was enough pain for me and my children. How could I have done a thing like that, after all he left me and my children and met his end. How am I to be blamed?