Friday, September 5, 2014
Nonso had received the invitation by Aghogho's wife to come to their house with his heart beating. He had warned Aghogho, his colleague and bossom friend about his wife. Aghogho was a stubborn man.
Aghogho was married to an "akata" which is how they often referred to black American women. Like all women, the black Ameican woman can be good and they can be bad. Aghogho had sadly married a "bad" one and his life was made into living Hell and at 41 years Aghogho was still without child and now without a wife.
That was 14 years ago. He and Bolaji who was seated with his wife across from him had pressured Aghogho to go home to Nigeria and pick a wife. They had told him at 41, he had better start a family so his children does not call him granddad and he does not train them with his retirement benefit.
Aghogho had truly gone home and had invited them over his wedding to Ufuoma, a young twenty years old beauty. Nonso did not attend himself but instead sent Aghogho the money he would have used for plane ticket had he decided to travel.
But that is where Aghogho stopped listening to them. Upon Aghogho's return, he had enroled his wife in a community college. Nonso, Bolaji and all of his friends had asked him what his hurry was about. That he should first have ensured she was pregnant with first then second and third and had even borne the fourth one before enrolling her in college. That at 41, that should be his priority. That she was too young and beautiful for him to allow her mix with young men her age and in a University community.
Aghogho had told them that his wife was the daughter of his secondary school crush and that he promised her that he would take care of Ufuoma his wife and allow her finish school in America.
Nonso was nonplussed when Aghogho told him his wife was studying medicine as in doing her pre-requisites. He knew in America you do not study medicine straight away but do a course first and then the medicine. He wondered why he could not just make her be a nursing assistant, a Licensed practical nurse and ultimately a Registered nurse and then after of course at least 3 children.
Nonso just could not understand it as Aghogho was a security man just like him and his wife was a nursing assistant like most of their friends and only now studying to be an LPN. He came to America before Aghogho and was even the one who helped him get the job as a security guard in their company.
Now watching Ufuoma, Aghogho's wife gritting her teeth, jaw set and held in an angle of having made a major decision, he knew his worst fears had been confirmed. The medical doctor and the security guard was a strange combination. Security guard and nurse was bad enough. But security guard and doctor... Well, at least Aghogho has 2 children now and at least the courts would not make him give all his money to his wife upon the divorce as she earns more than him. Maybe Aghogho was smart after all.
Nonso is interrupted from his train of thought by their pastor Utieyin Edema Eyen....well actually he was just a junior pastor learning and earning his stripes in the ministry. The main pastor could not come so sent the young Edema to represent him.
Edema: Em praise the Lord. Having prayed and invited the presence of the Lord into this gathering, having bound whatever spirit of separation and division into the deeper recesses of Hell Fire, we will ask Dr Mrs Ufuoma to tell us all why she called us here.
Dr. Ufuoma: I greet you all and welcome you. None of you are strangers to my home. You have all even known my husband Aghogho longer than I have. It is why I have called you all to complain very very bitterly. You all will not understand where i am coming from until I tell the full story. My husband thinks it is my mother that made me marry him. NO. I saw him come and greet my mother and father and I liked him. He does not know why I was the one who walked him to his car and took his number and why I called him first and came to see him. He does not know the fight I had with my parents for them to allow me marry him. My dad wanted me to finish school in Nigeria.
Okay he is 22 years older than me but maybe it was his smell or his accent or how quiet he was or maybe that he is from America, but I fell for him and wanted to marry him. My mother told me she liked him too back in school but they were just friends and so I guess I was not the only one that liked him.
When I came here, I expected all the worst things of course and that all those promise of school was "washy" as n lies. But when I came, he truly enrolled me in school and paid everything and even when I got pregnant and wanted to stop, he made sure I continued and he helped with the baby allowing me read at night. Several times I felt like giving up but he encouraged me to finish school. I had two babies for him while schooling and you all know Edesiri and Iroro. He changed his shift to night shift so in the morning when he returns from work by 6 a.m, he will help to take care of the children, drop me off at school and then also pick them and sometimes me up. I have been a doctor for six years now.
Where is the problem you may ask, I will get to that. Please be patient. Two years after becoming a doctor, I came home very tired and did not prepare food that day. When he came home, he asked me where his food was. I shouted at him
"don't disturb me. Can't you see I am sleeping? Can't you cook?"
He said nothing and went into the kitchen and made food for himself and then brought some for me. I pretended to be sleeping but he came, woke me up, gave me tea and toast bread and said
"I know you must have had a hard day at work. Do not let it get to you. Everything is alright. Eat".
I have never eaten tea and toast bread that tasted that good in my whole life. It is the best food I have eaten; fr sweeter than Christmas rice and chicken in Nigeria. As the words left my mouth, I had expected to hear
"Okay, so because you are a doctor now, you feel you can talk to me anyhow. I am now our mate. I brought you to this America. Without me you are nothing NOTHING!!! But that day I understood what the Bible said when it said "a silent answer turneth away wrath. We had lost a child and the mother during childbirth that day and I had prepared the nice lady for the surgery. She was Yoruba and had come all the way from Nigeria to have the baby. As she was bleeding she was calling my name "Ufuoma help me, Dr. Ufuoma please help me" but we just could not stop the hemorrhage. I came home tired and did not make a meal for him. I could have apologized as this was not the first time he had come home to no food. Marrying a doctor is a strain in itself. But I replied him rudely and....
Chinansa: (Nonso's wife). Hmmmmm ask Nonso. Me, when I never get work sef I dey curse am. He kuku know my mouth.
Dr. Ufuoma: Exactly. But from what my nurses tell me, they say once they became nurses and startd earning more than their husbands, whatever they did, even when it is because they want attention from their husband with the quarrel, the husband will say "it is because you are earning more than me. You have grown wings". But my husband's behaviour to me that day made me cry tears of joy because I knew then and there that God has given me "Aghogho" which though is my husbands name, but the true meaning is JOY, Aghogho means joy and God has given me joy.
Nonso: I do not understand. So why are we here?
Dr. Ufuoma: But we are having a very serious issue. You see, my husband has refused to allow me support the home. He will say
"I did not train you to come and give me money. My salary is enough."
So practically all my salary is saved up in the bank these past six years. We are in this same two bedroom in this ...I am sorry...but....this ghetto neighbourhood. Edesiri and Iroro are in schools in this neighbourhood as you cannot enrol your child in a neighbourhood you do not live in and we all know how the schools in this area are. I have told him I will pay the rent in maybe Bethesda...
Aghogho: My wife will not pay my rent. It will not happen in this life or in heaven.
Dr. Ufuoma (crying) why not Aghogho, why not?
Aghogho: See, e get wetin no good for eye or for ear. As a man, you go dey let your wife pay your rent? Any man wey dey allow that kine thing suppose dey collect 12 strokes of koboko everyday. Look honey, it is not happening. We are staying in this house until I am able to ...
Mrs Bolaji: Pastor Edema, what is okay??? You that is not married, you want to contribute because they call you pastor abi? Pastor when you marry, you can contribute.
Edema. (laughing) That means priests cannot talk in marital matters. Even the pope cannot then advise any husband and wife following your logic.
(every claps and)
Nonso: pastor Utieyin Edema...chei! you go son break up form your church
Edema: This is a very simple matter. Mr Aghogho, you want it said you pay your rent
Aghogho: Not "said". I do not care about what people say. A man should pay his rent.
Edema: I will not bother to preach about "a man and a woman are one" as you already have heard that. So how much is the rent in this house?
Aghogho: 1000 dollars.
Edema: Okay. The spirit has put it in me that you should put that money in a bucket called RENTand give to your wife to give to the landlord. Do not bother about the cost of the new place your wife will get. Just put the 1000 dollars there every month
Aghogho : But...
Edema: I may be young but the Bible says "because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."- Mt 11:25
You see, there is a difference between pride and honour. You that cook and take care of childen refuses to allow your wife pay the rent. That is honour and not pride. However, as a man of honour, you will not allow your children have a destiny not approved by God. Their destiny is to attend better schools than this county can provide and as such God has put it in your wife's heart to insist you move to Bethesda or some other more decent neighbourhood.
Mrs Bolaji: Baby Pastor Edema.... Come and See!!!
Nonso: Emm Aghogho, reason with us. I dey even dey find how this my wife go release money. Her hand na superglue.
Chinansa: hehehehehe. Make you come use the money take go carry woman. Mba. I must make sure it is small money in your hand. If they like they can run follow you. They will not see money because as they promote you, I will increase our cost of living. When it is important, that is when I will release my own. Your own is our own. My own is my own.
Aghogho: hmmmmmm em.....
Dr. Ufuoma: (Brings out a document) See, emm... we...em... me and you, WE have bought a very fine house. Look at the picture. Iroro and Edesiri have their own rooms. Me and you our room...
Aghogho: You bought a house
Dr. Ufuoma: WE...WE ...I haven't paid. But I love it. See it. (She is kneeling in front of Aghogho with the pictures. Aghogho is looking at the pictures. Dr. Ufuoma continues) Honey, I am begging you in the name of God to let me be your helpmate. Pls. You have borne this burden alone long enough. I beg you in the name of Jesus.
Dr. Ufuoma: And....and please do not be angry. Please do not be. We have used your 1998 Camry long enough and I respect and love the car. It is what took me to school. But let me buy you a car.
Mrs Nonso: Na lie. Aghogho, na me and your wife go buy Range Rover Sport for you. Your wife say you dey look the motor everytime. Say you like am well well. Na me give am heart make she buy am.
Nonso: So you knew this was what the meeting was about and you let me be thinking...
Mr Bolaji: This is like a movie. I can't believe what is happening
Dr. Ufuoma: No oga Bolaji. Movies end up sad. In the movies, I have to be bad. I have to become a doctor and look down on my security guard husband and say
How can I Dr. Ufuoma, be married to a mere security guard. I have to turn my husband to my rag and treat him badly and then leave him. That is what sell movies. The Ibo flute has to be playing as my husband walks and shakes his head that I left him. He should be crying and crying. That is what sells movies. The picture on the desk in my office is this very one on my wall. My husband in his security outfit with the two children and myself. Colleagues ask me if that is my husband and I say yes, My husband and my security. My financial, emotional, spiritual, security. He is my guard. (looks at Aghogho) Honey you are my guard, my security. I have never felt as safe as I have with you in my life. (she is crying. Everyone is quiet. )
Aghogho: You went and bought a car for me
Edema: em...the car should not be a problem. If you do not want it, you can sow it into the church. I can get brother Ena who is saying nothing there but observing everyone to drive it behind me.
Aghogho. Em...what is the colour
Dr. Ufuoma: Guess
Dr. Ufuoma: Yes
Aghogho: Because of that day at Burger King that I walked over to that one parked right. Hmmmm.
emm....why are the rooms so many and I see two more rooms with babies marked on the door
Dr Ufuoma: (smiles) Cos I want more babies. I want more of you. More you. Honey, we do not have to live so tight anymore. Honey we are comfortable. Your wife is a doctor earning good money. It is what it is honey. Please let me take care of you as you have taken care of me.
Edema: emmm Hallelujah!!! I am assuming the White Range a block away is the car we are talking about, let us go and dedicate it unto the Lord.
Mrs Bolaji: Baby Pastor. This one is not a seed. This is the fruit. So emm... nobody is sowing anything. wait for offering on Sunday.
(they all go outside and Aghogho takes the key opens the door and sits in the drivers section)
Dr Ufuoma: See my sexy husband pulling a Range!!! She goes and hugs Aghogho who is only half seated in the car
Nonso: (to Chinansa) When you dey finish nursing school again?
Chinansa: Me go buy Range Rover for you? Na me use my hand marry second wife give you be that.
Nonso: second wife for America?
Chinansa: All these girls, if them see man with this motor, no be pregnancy and child support go dey their head? Nonso, Mba no!!! No worry.
Edema: Let us pray. In Jesus name. Oh Father in Heaven, the God that said in Phillipians 4:19 I will provide all your needs.....
(as everyone prayed and blessed the car, including my humble self Ena Ofugara who just tagged along with Pastor Edema, I could see the tears streaming down Aghogho's face and Dr Ufuoma his wife, wiping it and kissing his forehead and then lips and I realized, right then and there Mr and Dr (Mrs) Aghogho Emakpor had survived America.