By Urowayino Warami
~vanguard Nigeria. Sunday, April 2, 2017
TUNDE had been separated from his wife for years. She lives abroad and they are good friends. After years of enjoying the single life, he eventually fell in love and things started going horribly wrong. His story:
"I am a medical doctor with a thriving private practice. Six years ago, I finally plucked up enough courage to ask Maureen out to lunch. She was a junior manager at the bank the hospital used and was always very friendly. Whenever interest rates on fixed deposits went up, she would advise me to push for the highest possible on our account. A professional to the core, I was very impressed with how brilliant and intelligent she was. Not to mention her smashing figure.
"She'd just helped push a soft loan I desperately needed to refurbish the hospital when I asked her to lunch as a 'thank you' gesture. To my pleasant surprise, she agreed and that was how our relationship started. I was in my fifties with two lovely children. Their mother had opted to stay behind when I wanted to relocate to the country – our marriage wasn't working and she had a job she loved with the social service. So, we parted amicably and I so much enjoyed my freedom, I wasn't really keen on getting married again- until I met Maureen.
She was a single mother of a two-year-old daughter and as I got to know her better, she told me she was thinking of leaving the bank to pursue a business in horticulture. She'd completed a horticultural course when she studied abroad and had done a bit on the side for a few clients who'd praised her efforts. I encouraged her to follow her dreams and gave her financial support to kick-start the business – she already had half of the outlay from her retirement benefits.
"Barely a year later, the business had taken off beyond our wildest dreams – thanks to elaborate decorations that are the in-thing at functions these days – weddings especially. With my clout, I was able to get her jobs from reputable companies and friends.
"It was around this time we gave a serious thought to getting married. One thing we both wanted very much was a baby of our own. For the next three years, we tried but nothing happened. In the end, I took her to a gynaecologist who was also a very good friend. He did tests upon tests until it was discovered that only one of her fallopian tubes was functioning. That, coupled with my age, had reduced our chances of having a baby. My friend then suggested we travel to Britain, giving us the address of a top IVF hospital. At first, I was reluctant, but Maureen was in her early 30s and feared her biological clock was ticking fast. And I loved her. So I agreed to go with her.
"I won't bore you with details of the tests we had to do, including my being banged up in a cubicle with pornographic materials to facilitate my ejaculating sperm into a small tube I was given. But, I gladly did all that. Maureen was then given a series of fertility injections to help her improve her chances of harvesting as many eggs as she could produce. The more eggs that were fertilized and put in her womb, the better her chances of conceiving. The cost of all these procedures was staggering.
"After we got a firm date for the IVF, we both came back to Nigeria, with my top nurse giving her the hormonal injections everyday for the duration of the treatment. We had to push our travelling a few months forward as both of us were busy. When it was eventually convenient for us to go back to the IVF clinic, Maureen began stalling – she had some fresh contracts to fill and she wanted to arrange for her daughter to be looked after by a proper relative.
"I couldn't really believe what was going on, especially when it was her idea to start a family. I was working late in the hospital that fateful day when my daughter came calling. She didn't want to live with her old man when she finished at the university, so I gave her and her older brother a flat each in a four-flat apartment I had. Bibi, my daughter, and I have always been close – closer than I was with Mike, her brother, who was on the snooty side. He'd let his studies abroad go into his head and believed the sun rose and set for him!
"When Bibi didn't hug me with the enthusiasm she used to, I knew something was wrong. But nothing prepared me for the bomb-shell she dropped. 'I don't know how to say this dad,' she began, looking into her lap, 'but I think Mike and Maureen are having an affair … ' The atmosphere was charged for seconds. Was she insane? What had Mike got to do with Maureen? She went on: "I had seen her a few times, sneaking into Mike's flat, and just last night, as I made for my car, I heard them arguing, so I stayed back to hear what was going on. Mike was threatening to tell you about them if Maureen was too scared to tell you to your face. I thought I should prepare you for whatever shock they have in stock for you.'
"It was obvious my poor daughter had given coming to me a great thought because there was this sympathetic concern on her face as she finished this sad news she'd brought. I must have looked as shattered as I felt because she offered to stay with me for a while. I was confused. How long had this been going on? Why didn't she tell me when it all started? But I couldn't really blame Bibi – she hadn't betrayed me. My son had. So had Maureen, and I intended to get to the bottom of this. I called at Maureen's shop on my way home, mentally kicking myself for not asking her to move in with me when her treatment started. I'd thought we would do that when she got pregnant – a sort of icing on our good fortunes. No wonder she'd been reluctant to go back with me for the IVF treatment, was she now planning to throw me over for my own son? Impossible!
"She was her friendly self when I got to her flat. I gave her a penetrating look when she started fussing over me, but she couldn't really meet my eyes.
'What exactly is going on between you and my son?' I asked quietly, silently hoping that she would deny being involved with him. Only, she sat down, shoulders sagging – and burst into tears, weeping profusely that I should forgive her. That when the doctors said she had only one functioning tube and that I wasn't as fertile as I used to be, she'd toyed with the idea of finding another man. Only, she'd confided in Mike once and he'd encouraged her to have an affair. If she became pregnant, the child would be passed off as mine as it would have the same genes. Now she was pregnant. Mike was reneging on his promises …
'''Now wait a minute!' I barked. 'Pregnant?' You're actually pregnant?' I didn't wait to hear more. I drove straight to Mike's and asked Bibi my daughter to join us. Quietly, I asked him what madness possessed him to get my fiancee pregnant? He looked a bit scared but tried to bluff things out. Bibi didn't even know about the pregnancy. She was gobsmsmacked.
How many blows is a man to take in one fell swoop? If I'd had a gun, I would have happily terminated the life of this traitor that called himself my son. Instead, I turned on my heels and left. What a disaster, I thought on my way home. Spending all that money, time and emotion on fertility treatments only for my son to reap the benefits of my efforts …
"It's often been said that betrayal always comes from people closest to you. Mike and Maureen eventually had a son and they're now together. They'd toyed with the idea of getting married but none of them has the guts to come and discuss anything with me. My own son and my fiancee stabbing me in the back. It is betrayal of the worst kind. It's going to take forever for me to really understand what happened and come to terms with it. I'll never trust another woman again ..".