A Tenant's Dilemma (1)

A Tenant's Dilemma (1)

(A man catches his wife having sex with his landlord. What should he do? How should he react? Find out what Ekene, the protagonist of this story does, both to his wife and their randy landlord!)

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I believe I should have listened to my mother before marrying Vero. She had taken one look at her, the first day I brought her home to meet my family and my mother, in her characteristically blunt manner had given her verdict. "This one will give you trouble in future. Her eyes are too sharp and they are all over the place!"

I did not understand then what she meant. To me, madly in love and deaf to all reasoning, Vero was the ideal woman I had been searching for all my life. She was a heady mix of beauty, grace and charisma. She was brilliant too.

At the time we met, Vero had just entered the university. She had wanted to study Banking and Finance but she could not make the cut-off point for that course so she settled for Business Administration instead.

This was how I met Vero who was just 20 years old then. It was the Christmas holiday season and I had gone to my village in the Eastern part of the country, to visit my parents and family members and reconnect with old friends. A few days after Xmas, I was driving to a neighboring village to see an aunt who lived there. I remember it was a market day. Along the way, I saw two girls with heavy loads on their heads. One of them looked familiar. She turned out to be Grace, a friend of one of my younger sisters.

She told me that her sister who lived with her husband in the village I was heading to, had just given birth and she was staying with her to help with the baby.

"Our mother has travelled abroad to do omugwo for another of our sisters. I'm the only one left to help her," she explained.

After she had introduced her companion, I offered to give them a ride as the sun was hot that day.

"Come in let me give you girls a ride home," I said.

I felt an immediate attraction to Vero that day. So much so that I made enquiries about her from my aunt on arriving at her place.

"That must be the daughter of Mazi Polynus. They live at the other side of the village near the primary school. I know her family very well," my Aunty, who was like a walking encyclopedia with info on nearly every family in the village and environs informed me. Then looking at me with her crafty eyes, she demanded:

"But why do you ask?"

"Nothing Aunty. I was just..." I started to say but she cut me off.

"Ekene! You think I was born yesterday? When a young man starts asking after a girl, there's always something involved! Especially during this season when city dwellers like you come home to search for wives. Do you like her?" she bluntly asked.

That was one thing she shared in common with my mother, who was her elder sister- a sharp and blunt tongue. They never minced words and always said whatever was on their minds, a trait that regularly got both of them in one trouble or the other.

I did not say anything but just smiled at her. I gave her the gifts I brought her and her family and after spending some time chatting with my cousins who were around, left for home. On my way back, I purposely drove by the primary school with the hope of seeing Vero whose house was close by. I didn't see her then but I was not worried. I knew where she lived and I knew I could always see her with the help of her friend Grace.

A few days later, I returned to my Aunty's village ostensibly to hang out with my cousins, Charlie and Jude. But my aunt was not fooled.

Giving me a sly look as I came down from my car, she stated:

"I knew you would be back! That girl must be something for this is the first time in history you are visiting me twice in the same week since you left for the city! So, shall we go and see her father and fix a date for the Igba Nkwu (traditional engagement ceremony)?" she added teasingly.

"Ah! Aunty! Not so fast! We've not reached that stage yet!" I protested, laughing.

My aunt was something else. She was already talking about engagement when I had not even made my intentions known to the girl in question, I thought as I went into the house to greet her husband...


I wanted to see Vero again before leaving for my base in the city. So, some days after the New Year festivities, I sent for her friend Grace. She agreed, after a hefty bribe from me, to arrange a meeting with her friend.

There was a popular eatery and joint in her village that was always filled with revellers particularly during festive periods like the Xmas season. That was where I met up with her and Grace.

That day, we spoke for long and I got to know her better. Some days later, before traveling back to Lagos, I saw Vero once more. We exchanged contacts and I promised to call regularly when she returned to school.

I kept to my words. Besides phone calls, I would pay her visits in school whenever I had any spare time. By this time I had fallen in love with Vero and I had made up my mind that she was going to be my wife in the future. Infact, I was even ready to marry her while she was still in school. I was that desperate to make her mine as I did not want another man to take her from me.

"My parents want me to finish with my education before thinking of marriage," she told me when I broached the idea of our tying the knot before her graduation. It was the experience of one of her sisters, she explained that made her father especially take that stand.

"One of my elder sisters got married when she was still in school some years back," she stated. The husband promised she would continue with her schooling after the ceremony but things didn't work out that way. She got pregnant almost immediately and due to the stress of coping with the pregnancy and her studies, the husband told her to stop school for a while." Ten years and four children later, the sister was yet to conclude her degree programme, she pointed out.

Though disappointed, I agreed to respect her parents' hopes for her. So, I waited patiently till her graduation...

Note: Omugwo (usually practised by the Igbos of Nigeria) refers to childbirth and care, when a mother goes to stay for a period of time with a daughter who has just delivered a baby to help her care for the newborn as well as new mother.

To be continued...
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