A young Naija bachelor sat alone in thoughts. He pondered over the next phase of his life. “I’ve come of age,” he thought, “it is high time I took the sacred path, oh, if only I could find me a wife, one that would please my heart so much and share in my dreams.” And, right there, in that moment, his mind swiftly surfed through his extensive library of feminine deposits. He talked to himself:
“Sade, my Sade, well…she’s so full, so thick, hmmm…she’s gorgeous but…OK, she won’t even let me win an argument. Hehehe…That one go turn Oga for my house o. She talks too much. No.” He sighed, then, unto the next…
“Aisha, awww…fragile Aisha. Soft work, really sweet. Hmmm…she even hardly goes out. But…kai…that girl almost cannot be by herself without these Hausa boys flocking around her. Imagine, her father won’t even let me have her unless I’m willing to be a Muslim first, how sad.” He dwells on that for a moment then…
“Ijeoma, Oh…IJ…she just has a way of making me feel like I’ve got everything in the world. She doesn’t even argue, she does exactly as she’s told, ah…very submissive! Yes! And come to think of it, she’s not spoilt like all these girls wei their eye don tear reach back. IJ no dey even commot. She’s so naive, always looking forward to pleasing me. I already caught her young. Chaiii! House wife material, one million yards. I THINK I FOUND THE ONE.”
Few months down the line and Ike was married – Oh, I forgot to introduce him, right? My bad. Of course, our bachelor’s name is Ike, and yes, he’s married now. Ijeoma cut the picture of his ideal woman and he wifed her! Walking the talk. Awesome dude, don’t ya think? Hehehe… Well…his first 5 years of marriage was nothing but blissful. IJ was the perfect house wife, the super mom – birthing 2 kids, single-handedly caring for them amidst running errands and doing the house chores – Ike provided the needed finances all these time and he believed she was happy, “after all, I give her all the money she wants,” he always thought to himself. But…err…you know…life has got a way of happening just when we think we’re getting it right.
Exactly 5 years and 3 months into the marriage – on the eve of IJ’s birthday, she decided to have a talk with him…
“Oga m. I’ve been thinking. You know I used to write before…”
“Yes…yes…yes… before we got married. So?”
“Well, I came across a book I’d scribbled most of my thoughts some weeks back…”
“Erm…I got a friend of mine to help me process my admission. I’ve decided to return to school.”
Those words, like a sudden lightening strike, they rang through Ike’s head, he couldn’t believe his ears. Quickly, he ended the conversation, promising they’ll discuss after her Birthday – truth is, he didn’t want to ruin her evening, as well as his. But…the conflict was never averted, it only had been avoided, they argued seriously over it in the weeks and months to come.
*enters the mythical doc, a bright halo around his head as he takes his seat right in front of the couple seated at the other end of the desk*
Doc: What brings you here mortals? *shinning a light in their eyes*
Ike: Errm…erm…it is her…it is…*he stuttered as IJ gave him a side eyed look*
Doc: Humans. Speak now! Speak or forever wallow in your misery! *he sneered*
IJ: Don’t mind him Doc. I gave our marriage over 5 years of my life, now he won’t let me chase my dreams. *sobbing*
Ike: What dreams? What dreams? Dreams that were never there before we got married?! *he barked at her*
IJ: Says who? You never knew me Ike. You never did. *more sobs*
Ike: Apparently that’s true. My quiet, naive, innocent IJ couldn’t have become this rebellious!
Doc: Silence! Hold your peace humans! *he cuts in, at same time bringing out a plain sheet of paper*
*They both hid their heads in shock, just like any mere man would hide in the presence of a terrifying mythical being. LOL*
IJ: S..so..sorry Doc. *Ike looks away*
*the doc looked into IJ’s eyes*
Doc: Woman! This plain sheet signifies a thing of value to you. I would like that you took a moment to dwell on exactly what the paper is to you. Feel free to think of anything important except for marriage – and of course, except for your kids. *He gave her a moment to process what he’d just asked her to do.
*Again, he turns to Ike and utters same words, “Mortal man! This plain sheet signifies a thing of value to you. I would like that you took a moment to dwell on exactly what the paper is to you. Feel free to think of anything important except for marriage – and of course, your kids.” *He pauses again, giving time for him to think about it.*
*Next, he requested they held the plain sheet between them, making sure each person held one end of it.*
Doc: Now, I will allow you about 5 minutes to make up your minds on the person that would keep this sheet without tearing it. Feel free to take any approach of your choice but once 5 minutes is exhausted, I’d truly expect that you would have reached a decision without tearing the paper.
*He addressed them both and immediately went quiet and watched right after backing up his chair a little. Ike and IJ tried engaging the doc in answering questions because he’d created an unsettling situation for them, they wanted his guidance, they asked all kinds of questions but…
Doc: I told you before, do it however you like, 5 minutes is all you’ve got to reach your decision without tearing the paper. *He observed them for the 5 minutes, watching for their weaknesses* then…
Ike: I think it’s best that I have the paper, it’s important that it’s kept safe. I can do that.
IJ: Story. I can’t give it up.
Ike: This paper is highly important, you know how organized I am, nothing would happen to it. I’m the better person to keep it.
IJ: But I’m more organized than you.
Ike: No, I’ve got a file cabinet. It’ll be safe there. I just must have it. *starting to get agitated*
IJ: I will not let go till my demands are met. *and she was going to quickly hand it over, not waiting for Ike to respond…he didn’t notice so he cuts in*
Ike: But…you know I’ve never lost anything I kept in…*and together they chorused*…”my special shoe box (Laughs)”. C’mon, I’ll keep it there.
IJ: I just don’t think I can trust that place again. Here’s what I think, I’ll make a copy of it, you’ll get your’s, I’ll get mine while I keep this safe.
Ike: Ok. Ok. Ok. Sounds like a plan.
*a few conversations later and suddenly…*
Ike: Doc. Truth is, I find it difficult to trust even my wife. I’ve been let down severally by the people closest to me – I was very close to my dad, he gave me direction, he was my star but he left when I was 11. My mother withdrew into her she’ll since then, I grew up all by myself and my only brother almost ruined me when he took a loan with my house as collateral before I got married.
Doc: So, you’re basically trying to avoid the errors in your past by turning this situation into a remake of your past?
The answer is YES! Ike soon discovered he had been scapegoating his wife for the errors in his childhood.
He soon understood the significance of the paper exercise as he dwelt on The Doc’s own words – “the paper represents each of your individual, as well as collective dreams which must be present for your marriage to work. Just like a child first starts out life thinking he/she is exactly like the parents, then slowly starts to notice his/her difference from the parents, then intentionally tries to gain his/her independence, and then finally returns fully to accepting his/her relationship with the parents, just like this, Ike, your wife is now discovering herself. JUST BEING MARRIED IS NO MORE ENOUGH.”
Ike soon learnt he ought to have been more present in his wife’s life – beyond giving money and making babies. He soon learnt he should have held her by the hand and shown her life’s glories. He soon discovered, she expected him to take her hand and whisk her away to adventures, excitement, and fun, a world of color compared to the boring bland kitchen arena she resides – now, she intends seeing it all by herself. He should have made a copy of her dreams as she did his.
Hopefully, his marriage recovers soon.
Perfect is boring, to be human is beautiful…