DIVORCE DISCORD
DIVORCE DISCORD
Author: anaebih2001
DIVORCE DISCORD

DIVORCE DISCORD

PAUL HENRY EBOH

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Divorce Discord © 2020 Paul Henry Eboh

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the presenters.

Paul Henry Eboh asserts the moral right to be identified as author of this work.

Presentation by BookLeaf Publishing

Web: www.bookleafpub.com E-mail: info@bookleafpub.com

ISBN:

First edition 2020

SYNOPSIS

Divorce Discord is a tangled love affair between Charles Rogers and Vivian Harry. The pair were undergraduates of Yankee University. Their enjoinment into marital bloc ignited the fire of regrettable irregularities and frustrations accompanying a wrong choice of mate, abscond, impetuosity and excommunication, fray and frazzle, insubordination, elopement, divorce discord, re-betrothal and suicide…

PROLOGUE

…She had wounded him. Of course he had been wounded even more because of her divorce resolution and elopement strategy. Perhaps ,worst of all was that no matter how badly he was hurt, no matter how terrible his life become, or how many frictions that would arise and settle while he watched die, he never felt she has the right to divorce him. Instead of acknowledging the price he paid, she felt terrible for feeling that he paid any price at all. He hides her hurts and felt embarrassed by them. She denied that she suffered, even when her days of graduation suffered financial constraint…

…Marriage to Charles had eventually become celibate. Since she had passed the decision to divorce him, she had been living like a nun in a nunnery. She had in fact, believed that all her needs and desires for Charles had vanished somehow….

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

My thanks and gratitude go to the publishers, who bore the burden to edit this book, put it into shape, so that it may really point out the problems associated with many marriages today and the embarrassing experiences that many couples are subjected to.

All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention. The book is written in a manner of imagination; mere pose and ponder.

CHAPTER ONE

Sweetheart,

I dreamt about you. I slept in somnambulism and saw your handsomeness and loved you. I woke from noctambulism and felt in my girlish bones the warmth of your caressed love. I saw the vision of your love to me. What a constriction of soul shall be mine to sell my love to another man to merit rather than you? I shall give my love for your love. If I give it to another man, I shall obtain false bliss. Your confrontation with me made it unfit for other relationships. I know you would not hurt me; the way women were badly treated and made to suffer horrible agonies from their wicked hubbies because men tend to notice things wrong about them. Don’t disrupt the love we had achieved, which allowed us to be so achingly honest with each other. Would you be captious? Shall we be this honest face-to-face? Could we be? I doubt it not!

You are the one who sought me in the middle of the night, between the chimes and shrieks of the nocturnal insects, between the hooting of the night owls. Your words of love melted my keen heart and sounded like the voice of the loved one from the empyrean. You’re getting so involved in my life all of a sudden since our affair began to move in a romantic direction. It had occurred to me that I might actually give myself away. I am not willing to ignore the yearnings that your words of love were awakening in me. I can’t have rest of mind until I live with you.

I did not lead you into pretense in which beautiful girls like me are known. I yielded to the allurement of your interest in me; you were so struck with my beauty, and you were so eagerly bent on gaining the ends of my love. One thing I like to express is: I have no other protector or any demi-guardian. No soul can sooth me from my girlish distresses; no person can protect me from my womanly catastrophe. You are my head and glory in these days of my youthful panic and in all the days of my youthful period. I have told my parents about your sovereign love and marriage proposal and they admitted your request…

So, wrote Vivian to Charles in her first epistle. Vivian was a student of Yankee University in Yale State. She studied English Language as a single honour. One day, she met Charles on campus while they both studied English Language in the same faculty. They met during the first academic session of the first year students’ registration into the university at the registrar’s office. Charles was in his final year while Vivian was in her first year. That bright morning, Charles had walked into the Registrar’s office to pay his first academic tuition fee. Vivian had already paid her tuition fee and was making her way out of the registrar’s office when Charles ponderously passed her. She turned to walk away from him, but he couldn’t imagine where she hoped to go.

There was a magnetic attraction of love that was triggered in her heart as she smiled and passed Charles. What he couldn’t stand however, was watching her walk away from him. He couldn’t follow her to the women’s lodge. It was prohibited for men to follow women to their lodges. She had certainly been a

little distance from Charles; yet Charles was inflamed by her attractive beauty and made a wolf whistle at her. She stopped as she heard the wolf whistle, and walked few instant steps towards him and stood akimbo just outside the registrar’s office.

She wore a tight flowered pink gown reaching below her knee level and which was able to showcase her contours. She was so fitted in the gown that she appeared elegantly like a beauty pageant. Her mother bought the gown for her during her last birthday. The first time she wore the gown to school, most of her friends took photos with her either to share in her beauty or to sew or buy a similar gown. Charles made his way out of the registrar’s office and met Vivian. He reached out and caught her arm. She whirled and glared at him. The breeze tossed her long black hair, dragging strands of it across her face. She brushed them aside impatiently.

“Please, I know I have interrupted your time turning you back from the distance, I wish to express my feelings to you. I only want to say that I love you at this first sight. That’s exactly what worried me. And I couldn’t be happy until I know your mind, constitution, profile and portfolio. Would you kindly tell me your name?” Charles started with a tremulous voice of a strange lover.

She was amazed with this love request. Ever since she entered the university, no one had ever talked to her at this point. His whispers of words of passion made her to feel impossibly close to him as if they were truly one flesh; not two separate people talking to each other in a demanding love affair. The feeling of finding a young man of oneness lifted her

euphoria higher than anything she had ever thought in life. This made her feel freer than a bird on the wing. And Charles’ thoughts were racing down the same path. He was feeling good as she felt their confrontation.

“Look,” began Vivian. “Love at sight crashes eventually, but I would not hide my name from you out of shame, least I could disown and mistake a love of a true stranger. Many men have longed for my love but I rejected them. My name is Vivian Harry” she answered as she sauntered around. A faint smile creased the corners of her eyes as he saw admission of his request in her words of answer, and he sure liked it. He did not take his eyes away from her. He wasn’t sure exactly what he expected by her response, but he was surprised when she appeared to speak his mind. She looked sharply at him with her blue eyes as bright as the bay on a clear warm day. She needed a young man of his kind to love; she found herself thinking. She knew that he was deeply in a grip of paroxysm of love. He was suffering from whom to love too, therefore she reciprocated his advances.

“I admire the way the sunshine of your smile lights up your beautiful face. No one has ever made me feel so welcome. I am in this little space of time enabled by the very point you have made to prove the deep regard to what you had said to me that love at sight ends quickly. You should certainly know that I can’t frame myself in your assumption. I am not entirely the kind of person you would suspect or the person to reject the vow of true love to a beautiful girl like you. I am not a philanderer. It is not all men can promise and fail”, Charles explained.

“Which State do you hail from?” Charles asked as Vivian blushed with smile. Charles was so inquisitive to ask because he needed to avoid finding himself hug-tied to a girl who had dishonesty in identity.

“I hail from Novo State,” she explained. She was not even reluctant to disclose her state of origin to Charles. She did not argue or hide her identity. In fact, she was feeling pretty happy with herself for being so lucky to converse with a handsome man for the first time on matters of love and matrimony, since she was admitted into her projected course in Yankee University. She knew that this would not be a wild- goose chase or chasing a shifting shadow, because she did not want any affair of temporal or any hypocritical promise. She did not want any useless connection or engagement in ephemeral relationship.

“Well,” began Charles. “I had once seen your angelic figure in English Department, but I was unable to express myself to you. Though there has not been any opportune time for this; so far as our meeting today has created a limited chance, I repeat, I would want you to understand that I had been longing for you and have submitted my love to you right now. I know that you will not fail to utter praises of it. Please would you accept me on the ground of my request?” Charles requested.

He glanced at Vivian and wondered what she would be thinking of the thoughts of love gesture that were dancing across his brain. He knew that denial, pretense and disappointment are women’s strongest ally during the years of his connections and communications with them.

“Thank you Charles”, began Vivian. “I would have a second thought about your love gesture to me. I would be no wise denying whatever love you wished me. I have loved no one and have promised nobody my love. I have had many suitors but I spurned every last one of them to the dismay of my parents. As you wish to express your mind-stuff, I would in no wise let it, your love wishes, to be thrown to the dust. Before I accept your present wishes, I will certainly let my parents know about your present demand, and you would spare me the time to consider their wishes and desires, because parents are very important on matters like this,” Vivian said emphatically.

Charles really understood that it would be good for her to seek the consent of her parents before giving response to his proposals but he urged her to be firm in her decision so as not to be influenced by her parents’ notion.

“Love and marriage go hand-in-hand,” Vivian continued."Where there is no love, there will be no matrimony. Love and marriage are like husband and wife. If love fails, marriage fails too. If my parents accept your proposal, they too would acknowledge your marriage with me. But if they decline, I would at the same time reject your marriage proposal because no reasonable person would disobey his or her parents’ wishes on matters of this kind.”

“Vivian,” began Charles. “You are the kind of girl I long for. I don’t want those iron-ladies. My love and marriage is reserved for you; not for your parents. If there is any compromise or agreement on my present pursuit, it would be your private decision. In fact, private decision is more than

public acknowledgement. You should accept my courtship that would lead to our marriage and wholly count my love your joy forever. I would only espouse you if you would accept the offer; but one thing you should comprehend is that: I would not marry your parents but you. Parents do not marry their daughter. It is a taboo.”

Vivian was momentarily silent and mulled over what he said. He would not be mistaken, when he said that parents do not marry their daughters and she contemplated within her. As she turned to look at him, his face appeared lovely in the bright glow of the morning sun. The conversation was making her so euphoric; yet she felt compelled to defend the wishes of her parents from Charles’ wanton demand. She quite knew that it would be unjustifiably inappropriate to disobey and marry without their consent.

“Look, Charles,” Vivian broke her silence. “So much as you have repeated the word ‘marriage’ in this conversation; it is ideal that I shall have a re-think of your offer. I am real impressed with your request. But one thing you will consider is that parents must be aware of the wishes and desires of their daughters as regards to their choice of a life partner. They ought to know the details of the marriage plans, and the most important part of this is the possibility to find out if the suitor has any questionable character. I can’t ignore them, and that is the impression that I am trying to let you understand.”

“Vivian,” called Charles. “You shouldn’t repose all your hope on your parents’ decision about my present proposal to you. Your vow with me marries you. They only need to offer

assistance and cordial advice towards your choice and should be interested to choose a suitable companion for you but not under the autocracy of some parents which would eventually yield a negative result. I implore you to believe my words just like a child. It is very important for your parents to know that you are ready to marry me, but we agree on one thing together; happiness shall be ours.”

“Charles,” Vivian began. “I have wandered in the world more than twenty years and remained a true virgin. It had never come to my mind to give myself out to the ironical demands of men. I always feel guilty about making friends with men. Most men are full of disappointments. They hardly do what they say. The promises they make to women in the night change in the daylight. I have not known any man and have never allowed any man’s love to affect my innocence. In as much as you have made your request to me, I shall not in any way barter your promises with anything or thwart your proposed engagement.

“I must impress it upon you to keep your virginity and retain your virtue. Do not live a promiscuous life or imitate those women that wander the streets looking for alternative nonsense. I mean those women, who left their homes and roam the streets looking for men to delude and snatch every hard earned penny they had,” Charles encouraged.

“Dear Charles, your words are true. Those nude women are notorious rough group. They are strippers and could do any unpleasant thing to get money. I had never been a stripper. I was born in an oriental family with sagacity, when the rigidness was peculiar among the modern women, when infidelity was a rare phenomenon. When womanhood was

respected, and amoral love had not been common, when husbands kept their vows and when women took great care of their erred and roaming daughters. The frequent of moral decay among men and women of this modern age has driven them to the point of insanity. It has caused most of the heartaches in the world and has also led to many broken wedlock.”

“Yes,” began Charles. “Those acts of the modern women have brought up unhappy marriages and represented the ills of men and women behaviours today. Amorous behaviours are the major causes of most marital unhappiness. Frankly, nearly half of the broken marriages come from amorous acts. Most people can no longer shrug their shoulders about these acts but almost every woman in the modern world has embraced them. Now, look Vivian, if pure love worth a name, I must say you are the one. A true virgin that marries her husband and lives with him, is a blessing to the man. If you marry me, I shall sponsor your four years degree programme in the university.”

“It is a fact that an immoral woman is the lowest thing that can be contemplated in society. She is nothing but a human garbage can, agent of pollution in the society, where dirt is disposed. She is made or molded for deception. She can bend so low than any creature in the world. I’m above these classes of women. So far it is your aim to love me and make marriage proposal to me and promise to bear the burden of my life and career, I owe my love to you and would keep my virginity. I always embarrass the men into going away from me, who exert every effort to paw me,” Vivian explained.

“This, I render and desire to render you every hour, to be your lover and hubby in any condition, if you would continue to stand your ground as a virgin and virtuous girl; with devotion and true love, I solemnly desire to receive you as my devout lover and sweet wife, who is the joy of my life.” Charles said in pampered voice.

“O Charlie,” began Vivian. “I shall render to you my love and endless happiness if you would maintain your promises to a poor girl like me. I desire to keep nothing to myself but freely sacrifice myself and all that I have to you but I shall never forget that men hardly fulfill the promises they make to women in the dark.”

“So much as you have decided to accept my marriage proposal and engagement; I shall be waiting for your parents’ decisions on this matter. I shall never disappoint you or tell you lie. I would not have two-face relationship with you. I will stand my ground of promise, because a true lover stands his ground in time of trouble and yields not to the crafty persuasions of the devil,” Charles assured.

“Charles, do not be a philanderer, but let the words you have spoken to me be written on the portals of your heart. My parents shall hear about your love gesture and would consider your efforts,” Vivian promised.

“I almost instinctively knew, as well as by what I have seen with my eyes, that parents are hard to be convinced when it comes to man loving their daughter, and it is quite difficult to elude their vigilance on assumption. They are very reluctant to accept any excuse and suppositions on hearing such things as a

man courting their daughter secretly. Anything covered with a basket is always open,” Charles instructed.

“Charles, don’t cast your fears on my parents’ conviction whether they would refuse when I present it to them or not. They won’t venture to act rashly. No parent would like their daughter to live with them forever, but would appreciate a good man to court their daughter,” said Vivian. While both lovers were in the dialogue, Vivian glanced at her watch and noticed that it was time for lecture.

“Time for lecture,” she announced as she rummaged in her hand bag to ensure that her lecture note was with her. Charles listened, enthralled to her nightingale voice and remained heat up about her probable acceptance or rejection to his proposal. He was anxious because he had in the past met a beautiful young lady who sounded so nice to him just to defraud him of oodles of money. He needed answer there and then than keeping his love and mind in abeyance. “Time for lecture?” He asked rhetorically wishing that the conversation would continue for the rest of the day. He stood up rather grudgingly and went closer to embrace her in order to say good bye. Before he could embrace her, she stepped aside, leaving only her arm to be held by Charles. She really needed to defend her supposed virtue and innocence and would never allow Charles to see her falling so cheap to him. She made some strides forward toward her department walking like a Hollywood actress.

The day’s studies were over. Vivian came back to her lodge on campus. On her arrival, she entered her apartment that noon and pondered over Charles’ amazing words. She became

very happy any time the memory of her conversation with him fitted into her mind. There was no way to get away from his words of promises. She drew to him almost from the moment they met, sensing in him a kindred spirit. She was only too glad to oblige his entreaties. Nobody in her life has ever spoken to her in such lovely words. She speculated about his physique, she saw instantly that Charles was a young man of thirty years or less, six feet tall, lean and fair in completion, with a pointed nose that looks like an American. Though it had been her dream all her life to marry a young man, who would be her match, and who would care for her, and would create a good atmosphere of peace for her, and expose her in the society of noble people. She also wanted the man to be a graduate, and one who would always dance to the tune of her decisions.

She fantasized about his personality. It was interesting to speculate but she had never asked personal questions about his biography. She was not bothered this very moment to inquire into his biography. She considered him a son of a millionaire, which actually he was (a kind of person she had envisioned to espouse her). She knew intuitively that he must have been eating with silver spoon and walking in leather shoes. He must have had everything he needed in life; a man who would obviously care for her. He was the kind of husband she had dreamt years ago and told her friends and sisters that would one day come her way. Now, providence had confirmed her choice.

During her spinsterhood, she had discussed with most of her friends the kind of husband she would marry. She had envisioned and guessed her husband would not be one of those

local young men, who engage in one local job or the other, whom knives have tottered in their hands. She had controversially insisted that she would marry one of the men of affluence, or one of those first class men who work in Government offices, or in oil companies – whose salary scales were fabulous or at the topmost; just a man whose residential building would be furnished with government money. She envisioned that she would either marry a thick businessman, who rides in an airplane or a professor, a chancellor or governor of central bank.

All these years on campus, she was looking for a charming and attractive man in his thirties. She had sometimes said that she wanted a man strongly controlled in his actions, patient, extremely bright, well-liked by everyone who knows him. She had always imagined of a man who is most definitely not a beggar; who lacks anger and someone very atypical; who had not been nursing a rage all of his life. She desired someone devoid of immoral problems with what he does, leading an exemplary life; one who drives a brand-new car; a conservative person, who dresses conservatively too, probably in suits or slacks, shirt and tie… whom she would recognize at least enough to be trust worthy. She was quite happy that she had met a man on campus, who would marry her – whose definition of personal and parental financial account in both national and international banks could maintain all the panic of her life and sponsor even her future children.

She knew within herself that she was a poor church rat in terms of monetary definition. She had vowed in her life not to marry a poor person like herself with poor parental

background. “Poverty mustn’t be my portion,” she always say. She believed that if she married a poor man in her life, she would be an object of caricature among the girls of her class who married influential men, in either government services with high salary scale or influential businessmen, whose financial account amounted to millions. She never desired to marry a man who had to borrow a whole lot of money to pay for the increasing qualms of the household – if he had to borrow any at all. Her hubby would not borrow money from any Shylock – a typical name for miserable money lender. She had always added that she would not marry a lazy-go-about who would become a parasite on her salary after her graduation.

One uncanny reality remained that she did not know or affirm whether the marriage proposal which Charles made to her would materialize. She would accept him if he had really meant his word and she was beginning to feel seriously aroused, beginning to wonder if he would carry the marriage proposal all the way. She further wondered if Charles was teasing her because men always tease girls into erotic nonsense. She did remember too well how one young man, a ruffian had talked to her father to allow him marry her and how the young man claimed to be a son of a multi-millionaire. She also remembered how her parents investigated the young man’s claims, and learnt it was a lie. She remembered how she denied his courtship for the fact that the man was not a graduate; just a renegade who worked in the motor park.

She could remember how one of her eminent girlfriends, Jane John married a motor park man; a local

labourer who lied to her and deceived her parents. He simulated his identity by telling her parents that he was a thick business guy living and trading in overseas. He lied that his trips ranged from Toronto to America and London to Brazil. She remembered how this guy put Jane in a family way before their marriage was solemnized; and how Jane was so much ashamed of herself to appear before the people during her wedding ceremony. She remembered how this renegade discarded Jane as a kitchen rag, had pleasure with striptease in hotels and theaters with little amount of money he made out of the motor park.

The best part of loving and marrying Vivian, Charles thought later was that he was aware he knew her far better than he had thought before he discovered she was interested to marry him. “Now she was simply an attractive woman”, he told himself. He felt he had found someone with whom he had to share intense emotional intimacy through their marital bliss. She was a girl he found in the entire English Language department to marry.

Since she did not lie to him and loved him with all her heart; he was totally down on marriage. He wants to please his parents who were urging him to marry, and did not think he was mistaken to find Vivian as a wife. Every relationship he ever had with a woman before he found her had ended with dissatisfaction. Of course, a lot of that had to do with his taste in selection, and the way he could not be relied upon to show up as promised. When he met Vivian it was so different.

Vivian meditated on how to approach her parents on the account of Charles’ request. She reasoned that she must first

approach her mother to probe her decision before the matter would reach her father, who ought to know everything she was doing. She had to do it this way because of the fear she had for her father. She believed that it was wise for her parents to know about her emotional escapade. She knew that her parents, especially her father had a unique way of looking at things so she had to confront him mildly to get his attention on this high- handed-plan of marriage between her and Charles.

CHAPTER TWO

The usual morning sun had started peeping from the eastern blue cloud. In the eastern blue cloud, the sky was marmoreal and splendid and the great eastern trade wind blew so hard across the land. When the strong wind shook the roof of the house, Vivian woke from her sweet dream of love, in which she felt Charles physically. When she woke, she thought that Charles was with her. She looked around the room to see him but she saw nobody. She realized that she was dreaming. Her dream had not been true. With trembling hands, she pushed open the window. She looked through the window of her apartment on campus, and saw students packing their bags and making their way out of the school premises. She was really in a shock of realization that the academic session of the university was over.

When Vivian found out that most of her hostel mates had started packing their bags, she quickly started packing her belongings in her apartment. The first meditation that ran recklessly in her mind was whether Charles had gone. “Well,” she said, “He must have gone since the gate to the male hostels had been locked”. She quickly made out of the gate into the nearby motor park and boarded a bus and went home. As soon as she got home, there was a great applause of welcome as her parents and younger sisters coaxed her home with affable welcome.

“Welcome Vivian,” her mother conveyed greeting to her with enthusiastic smile, such that her old chin wrinkled revealing an old set of teeth.

“Thank you mum!” she replied exclamatorily with nostalgic thrills of smile too.

“Oh, my daughter, you have just traveled all along on dusty lanes. I am quite sure that you passed your examinations in this first academic session,” demanded Susana, Vivian’s mother.

“Yes,” Vivian began. “I came out in flying colours in all my courses. I studied hard before the examination”, Vivian replied.

“You are well indeed,” Susana began.

“Yes,” Vivian replied. “My health and peace of mind are seen.

“I received a letter through the express mail for you, and here is the letter,” Susana reported and handed the letter over to her.

Vivian received the letter from her mother. She was delighted about receiving a letter for a long time. She looked at the white envelop carefully and properly. She imagined who might have written to her this time. She had not written to anybody few months ago, and did not expect any reply from anybody. She understood after a retrospection that ran into her heart like a silken coil that she wrote a letter to one of her eminent girlfriends, whom she had most in heart last year June. She saw that the handwriting in the letter did not belong to her friend whom she wrote to last year. She further wondered who might have written the letter to her. She was bestowed with

great shock as she looked closely at the good writing that inscribed her name on the white envelope. She tore the envelop open from one end, and brought out the letter. She glanced first at the signature of the writer at the end, and saw that it was signed by Charles.

A remarkable lightening of great thrills of joy bombarded and conquered her heart. She was in a euphoric condition as she picked up the white envelope which she dropped on the table .A bank cheque fell on the floor from the envelope. She quickly picked it up. On the cheque was written: “Five million dollars.” She read the letter and the content of the letter was as follows:

Dear Vivian,

Right bride and beloved, guess the writer! I great you well! I know you will be curious enough to hear from me soonest since we did not see each other few days before the closing of the first academic session. As a matter of fact, I left the university on time owing to an unexpected consequence.

I felt so sure that you reached home safely and peacefully. This letter is to establish more of my views and opinion for the pursuit of your love and marriage that I requested from you fortnight ago. Please give my request an attention. Give my love a chance and give my admiration understanding. You informed me that you shall tell your parents about me, and the course ahead. I would be glad to hear as soon as possible from you on the present matter we have at hand. I know you will not marry another man. A bird in hand is worthy than millions in the bush.

I enclosed a five million dollar cheque that would meet your expenditures throughout your academic career in the university.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

I am, Charles.

She read and re-read the printed letter. This moment, there was a great illumination of joy that came into her soul. A profound melodious song rendered the atmosphere in the room. She picked up the cheque for the second time, the black ink in which the cheque was written consistently read: “Five million dollars.” She no longer had anything to fear about whether Charles would marry her. The letter that she had read gave her an absolute confirmation and confidence, that Charles meant his words of love and marriage which he talked about seriously.

The money on the cheque would absolutely meet all the need that would arise during her academic sessions. She knew that her parents had mortgaged everything they had to sustain her into the first academic session. The days of her poverty and financial constraints are over; time to borrow is over too. This money was good and she didn’t have to take loans to pay for her education, neither would her parents be eaten by thoughts for her educational sponsorship. She would rather be quite bold to pay in advance to the lecturers and handouts.

The most burning sorrow left in her heart after passing from college was that she engaged herself in some businesses

in order to pass through her secondary days. She was buying snails from remote villages to be sent to busy towns where the price of snails was better. From the proceeds, she paid her school fees and registered for the final examination of the school that saw her into Yankee University. Vivian was down to earth that she could stoop so low as to trade on snail, which girls at her age would never do. It is always said that it is the desire to live that makes the sick to recover. It was therefore, the desire for success that made Vivian to work diligently. Apparently, the burning sorrow of hunting snails had been a thing of the past because of Charles’ financial support.

Now, since Charles had given her the needed financial support, the stories of poverty that affected her parents during her last educational career had become an old story. On the other hand, the money given to her had changed her general school life and financial background. She meditated and realized that this huge amount of money would place her within the level of modern class of students in the university. She would then measure up with those students, who shave their brows off, put on men’s outfits, ride into the university with their boyfriends’ cars.

With this huge amount of money, the modern frolic had now an influence on her. She was about to live the same pleasurable life. Few months ago, people and undergraduates of the University and most of her academic contemporaries laughed and always mocked her for her antiquated fashion. She was always jeered and criticized by most of her girlfriends for her archaic mode of dressing. She thought about what Charles

would think about her reform or change from her former antiquated method of dressing to the vogue of modern woman.

How would Charles feel when he sees her eyebrows shaved off, and replaced with thick black-lines of eye-pencil, her long hair which fell in two thick beautiful braids at her back cut off, her eyelids painted up blue or black, her face painted up with makeup, her fingernails and foot-nails grew out like wolf’s, manicured and pedicured black and blue? How would Charles feel, when he sees her in company of those drinking and smoking class of vulgar modern women, those party ladies whose native characters and innocence were corrupt?

She further said that if she married Charles, and becomes his wife, she would be under her husband’s stride and she would not loiter about inconsequentially with modern women. Vivian noticed that if one entered the University and sees some of the girls’ general attire; one might like to emulate such. The modern women seen on the television screen these days who normally dress in a certain vogue, all of the women in the country would fashion after them. These women do thousands of gullible things a day but get away with them. People have always condemned their fashion but they appear totally unrepentant. They are abusive to the society and families which they belonged, telling them it is none of their business. Their lives have become too hardened that there is nothing anyone can do to help them change their vogue. These university girls were especially endowed. They ought to buy garments that will minimize their nudity.

Throughout these her reflections as to what would interest Charles in her present features; she arrived at one thing in her mind: what her parents would say about Charles’ request to marry her. Before sending her to the University to study English Language, her parents strictly admonished her to accomplish her academic career before thinking of marriage. Even before her admission into the institution, the only dispute she had with her parents was whether she would marry after school. There were some disagreements about whether her marriage would hold within her educational career. She said to her parents those years that she would marry while in the university and as a result she rejected her parents’ ideas.

This night, the joy of the content of Charles’ letter coupled with the money in a cheque value caused her insomnia. By the time she pulled the white laundered sheet over her body in hope of getting rest, she slept. Few hours later, it was dawn already. There was a warm sunshine and the laughter of children playing in the surf. Bright as the sun was, it still hadn’t burned off the nights chill. The cold, fresh air was a tonic that made her to wake. When she woke from her sweet sleep, she went to her mother’s bedroom. Her mother was still snoring in her bed when Vivian shook her to wake. Her father’s room was adjacent to her mother’s room. She tip-toed into her mother’s room as though she did not want her father to notice her emergence. Both of them understood each other very well, that was why she thought that a delicate matter like this needed the first attention from her mother than her father who would always want to lord over all domestic matters.

“Good morning ma. Hope you slept well last night.” Vivian began.

“Yes, my daughter, the night was a very fine one; it was full of terminology for joyful and peaceful sleep,” Susana responded as she rubbed her face with both palms.

“Yes,” said Vivian. “I have come to inform you that the letter which you gave me yesterday was written by a suitor.” She did not take her eyes from her. She wasn’t sure what would be her response. Vivian quickly sat on the bed as though she had an ant in her pants. She rubbed her eyes more eagerly as if she wanted to be sure that she was already awake from her slumber. She was not so sure if her father had gone to work.

“Who is that man?” Her mother astonishingly inquired. “He is Charles, a contemporary student in the same

English Department with me,” Vivian expressed with a shift of countenance.

“You know these days; men would always promise to marry girls and abandon them after achieving their selfish aims. Sometimes marriage deals hard blows. You do everything you could for that man, a suitor, but later he would abandon you because men do not fulfill their promises when things get hard. You could understand the story of how that man from Nazi State, who boisterously claimed to be a pilot, courted Veronica, the daughter of William, impregnated her in the course of courtship, promised her all heavens, but later abandoned her and fled. The worst is that Veronica died during the course of child birth,” Susana narrated.

“Mum, Charles is not such a person. Charles is a noble man from a noble and royal family. His façade of nobility calls

for no obscure comments. His manner befits character. He is a strikingly handsome man; an attractive mind-blowing man in his thirties. He is emotionally stable. He is patient, extremely bright, everyone is fond of him. He is a man of his words. This is the Five Million Dollars cheque he sent to me through the letter you gave me.”

Her mother glanced instantly at the cheque in amazement.

“Whether he comes from a noble and wealthy family or not should not be your major concern. You ought to investigate his family background and his personality because some men are criminals,” Susana startlingly said.

“Yes, mum, his family is one of the richest families in Yale State, he is well to do. He is not a criminal. He is definitely not a beggar. He had millions of money in dollar and pound starlings remitted in the banks for him by his parents. His father recently bought a national oil well. There wasn’t a whole lot of money in our family. We didn’t have much anything and I won’t marry any poor person like me. Poor girls shouldn’t marry poor men, and poor men shouldn’t marry poor girls with poor parental background, because it engenders severe sufferings,” Vivian joyfully stated. Susana listened more eagerly to hear more positive facts about Charles’ background from Vivian. She was excited that her facial expression could not deny that. She felt a burden lifted up from her heart as she continued to glance at the cheque in bewilderment.

“Your educational programme will be a simple catastrophe. This huge amount of money has lifted us the burden of your high tuition fees and alleviated our family’s

financial constraints. The man who proposed to you is concerned about your future if not he would not have given you this big amount of money.”

“Mum, I love Charles since I met him and would not fail to marry him. If Charles proved to be some kind of pervert and stingy man, he would not have done very much in a couple of days we have known each other,” Vivian declared emphatically.

“Your instant declaration and consideration to marry Charles would neither depend on his financial capability nor his handsomeness. It should not also depend on his nobility. You must first and foremost consider how much you loved him, and find out if he comes from a good family. We don’t want an outcast because outcast is a taboo in the society.” Susana instructed.

“Mum,” Vivian called, “good things are known by their manifestations and manifestation is the interpretation. I felt so sure that Charles meant his words when he solemnly declared to me that he loved me, and would marry me; though you can’t know a man by mere experience except you live with him.”

“My daughter, most men cannot be trusted. They speak the moral and do the immoral. At first they seem to give you genuine love but at last they pour grounded pepper into your eyes. Do you remember the story about one pleasure stricken man, who claimed to return from Portnovo? In few months he courted Gene, the daughter of Josephine living at the hill- top and later married her. Stories came back to her parents that he sleeps in hotels every night with stripteases. He doesn’t come home at night. After a year of her marriage with this barroom

man, Gene was delivered of a bouncing baby boy but both her and the baby died of hunger in the hospital bed.”

“Mum, nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced. I love Charles and would not expect him to treat me or act like Gene’s husband. Men are made in different sterner stuff. He lives an exemplary life. He is a person who holds a prominent position and he is considered a good example in the community. He looks prosperous, wealthy, but his image is the kind that would not be associated with any kind of crime. Though whatever emanates from the ardour of his attachment as my husband, I would stand it. And I believe that a true lover would definitely stand his or her ground in the midst of strenuous obstacle.” Vivian declared.

“Well my daughter, I don’t dispute your decision and choice to marry Charles. Charles would not marry me. I married to Harry your father twenty years ago. Ever then, we lived in peace and in tranquility. If trouble arises among us, we settle it without any external interference. No neighbor hears us fussing and reviling one another. We choose our own friends and had our own home, born our like, made our own plans as we wished in ordinary concern. If your father wandered across the nation, I would be doing things that would preoccupy me. We do things with a rapt concern to bring each other’s happiness. We did not get married, and institute a divorce proceeding in the law court,” Susana instructed.

“Mum, I desire with all my heart to love Charles by way of marriage. It would not be a fake relationship. Ours is a love affair that can be expressed as agape love; love that comes in the light of true love. This is because where there is no love,

there is no unity. I have affirmed that Charles cannot create despair to me nor would he be able to abandon the pure love which binds us together and do unpleasant things that would contradict our vows.”

“Vivian Susana began. “I have witnessed many incidents where different men have promised to marry some women but eventually abandoned them after they have had two to three children with them. Sometimes, a woman would love a man because he has a lot of money. When the man turns to “a poor church rat” in terms of monetary definition and potentials, his wife would seek a divorce or elope. She would in turn marry another man – who is richer than her ex-husband. Since your love is so strong in Charles and apt to marry him, I shall not prevent you from your love and wishes. But I would rather render every necessary help to you to see that you marry him and live with him in perfect peace.”

“Mum, I solicit your assistance to inform my father about my proposed marriage plan because he is against my early marriage. He had previously warned to withdraw from training me in the university if I accept any man’s marriage proposal before my graduation”.

“It is quite certain that your father must hear about it and I believe that he would give his consent to your marriage with Charles. If I don’t inform him about it, it is going to be negligence to his authorities as the head of the house. He always has solutions to every matter in the family. There is no reason for hiding this kind of matter from him; it could be so childish. Whereby he isn’t at home and had gone to work, we

would earnestly await his return. He ought to be here at any moment,” Susana said and went to the backyard.

Instantly, Vivian went back to her bedroom and sat on her bed in a pensive mood. Her decision to marry was adding up. She was so happy because she believed that her mother couldn’t refute her proposed plan with Charles. She said that she would be a font of information to her father about her proposal. She said that she would not be ashamed to tell most of her girlfriends and well-wishers about her engagement with Charles owing the fact that Charles is a handsome man; fundamentally he comes from a noble family; an undergraduate and among the first class men.

She had always been indifferent to writing and exchanging love mails as most undergraduates and other people do. She speculated that Charles would never desire to do such thing. She does not want to hurt him who had written to her with a money cheque. That cheque in particular simply shows that he was serious about what he was proposing. She said, he did not look like a person who would frustrate marital contract.

Vivian in no lesser than time felt so sure that her father would accept her plans with Charles. She remembered that her father had almost refused to send her to the university after passing out with flying colours in secondary school because of his low financial status. Her father then had decided that she would look for a man who would marry her. She remembered what her father used to say: That a woman’s education ends in the kitchen, and that she had no position out there in the government offices or some dispensable business in the offices

that belong to men. She could remember how she argued with her father about her choice to be educated and to becomes a graduate than to marry at her early age. She told her father that a woman’s education does not end in the kitchen. She told him that every university in the country was full of modern women who graduated from different disciplines and were employed in many companies; some of them were thick politicians and usurp offices of chairmen, counselors, commissioners, governors and presidents.

She remembered how one of her girlfriends became a senator, one of the national law makers. She drove a limousine car and was followed up wherever she went with a band of outriders in military uniforms. Vivian figured out that her father would be happy when he heard that a handsome man which was more than she had asked for in life from God was going to marry her. In general, Charles would carry all the burden of her educational programme.

She contemplated that if her father did not acknowledge Charles courtship with her, and do or say something unpleasant, she would instantly let him know that she must marry him. She would pack her bags and elope with Charles to any quiet side of the state; where they would span fully the gamut of love; then her father would lose the big amount of bride price which Charles would pay him and the multitude of gifts that would be apportioned to a father from an in-law. She bitterly suggested that she cannot at this time of her fortune be robbed off her luck by any person’s wrong advice not to marry Charles; she would not be influenced by the famous equivocal and ironical speeches of her father. “Nobody would ever

deprive her fortune, not even nature can rob her love for Charles,” she said meditatively.

In essence, Vivian was glad for the opportunity to marry a man whom her profound love favoured; now she would not deny his courtship. She counted her fingers and found out that seven out of the eleven girls – who were her old friends, have gotten married to most influential businessmen and politicians of some classes. Now, since she was an undergraduate and her suitor is in the final year in his course, when he passed out of the university, most likely he would be working in bureau and she would be visiting him during vacations.

She decided that she would not be visiting him like those university women laden with iniquity, and impressionable young girls who used to visit their male friends in the township uninvited; and that her visits to Charles would be always on invitation; she would not be ashamed of visiting him because he would be her mate. Her husband wasn’t going to spend his days with any stripper and striptease. She said that if she married a man that goes out with any stripper, she would lock the door on him and file for divorce. She added that “since he started courting her, she had known his character, at least two-third, and it was easier to put up with Charles’ moods, his nastiness, his bad choleric, squabbles and his unjustified accusations.

She sat for hours contemplating within her on how to inform some of her relations about her present marriage proposal and she said, “I would be proud to relate to them my preparations to leave my father’s house and get married to a

rich man; and I would brag about his accomplishments which could possibly interest them.” She further said that when any girl found a man to marry, one of the cynical remarks people or relatives often make would be whether her husband is a millionaire, a carpenter, a local yeoman, if the man sleeps under the township flyover, a wine tapper or a palm-tree- climber, a night soil-man, or does he mix concrete for builders? They would also ask if he has been in the depth of poverty. To herself, she never bothered or cared about the contemptuous statement which people usually make but her personal vision to be married to a rich man in her life was her destiny. Nobody would violet her marital right.

Vivian and her mother waited so long in the hours of the day, expecting Harry’s return from the factory work. They had eagerly awaited to break the news about his daughter’s suitor. When they did not see him at his usual arrival time towards dusk, Susana wondered why he delayed coming home on time as usual. She glanced at the wall clock and realized that it was eight-thirty pm. Harry must have gotten delayed. It is not his style of returning from work. Where was Harry? She considered calling him but yanked her hand back from the phone. She once called his cell phone but got no answer.

When the feeling of his absence got Susana so spent, she came to realize and informed Vivian that she had remembered that her father told her yesterday that he would be doing overtime in his company. Vivian had eagerly waited to see her father return from the day’s work. She had been eager to see him that night, to inform him about her final decision on marriage with Charles and to ascertain her father’s decision

about Charles’ courtship. By the time Harry returned from his company’s work, Vivian and her mother had gone to bed.

CHAPTER THREE

The still night broke into a dawn. The sun rose with great rays from the eastern wilderness; peeped from the blue cloud and created a bright coloured morning of no breeze. The birds of the air sang melodies and junket from tree to tree. The morning sun rays pierced through the parapet of the old wooden window of the room where Vivian laid. She woke from sleep and saw that the flickered rays of the sun had created a beautiful shadow in her bedroom, making all things rich like lily in the bloom. This moment, she was very angry because the time of the day must have elapsed and that her father, whom she did not see the previous day might have risen earlier before her and had gone to work again.

She quickly ran down the castle stairs, looked at the pizza and saw her parents discussing about matters suspected to be quite private. She leaned a shoulder against the wall, stuffed her hands in her pockets and looked at her parents almost admirably. She most probably thought that they were deliberating on the matters which she told her mother the previous day. Her heart settled down for the fact that she had seen her father whom she felt his absence throughout the previous day.

The only thing she knew absolutely was that she loved Charles whether her father in particular did not seem genuinely concerned about the pressing matter she wanted to present to him. She would object his controversies and convince him on the subject of her marital proposal. She was terrified that she would lose something precious if her father becomes more

aggressive on her marital plan. This is because her father would assume that the man who proposed to her would only be a friend. She could remember her father saying one time that “friendship is a delicate thing meant to be pampered and nurtured, and man-woman attraction can ruin it.”

“Good morning papa,” Vivian greeted with a tone full of happiness. She rubbed her eyes with her palms and leaned confidingly towards them. She offered a toothed smile to them. “Good morning my daughter,” Harry replied. A faint

smile creased the corners of his eyes. He saw demand in her gaze. His face brightened, and she rubbed the bristles on his chin as if he was trying to wipe away unpleasant feeling.

“Do you feel good this morning?” Harry inquired

further.


“Yes sir, I feel very good,” Vivian nodded strictly.

“I have something pressing in my heart to tell you,”

Vivian began.

“What is that? What will be the thing that troubles your heart, I feel sure there is no problem? All problems have solutions,” Harry inquired inquisitively. His voice trailed away and he looked at her the second time with his arms folded across his chest as if he was not happy with what he had just heard from his wife about Vivian’s plan. His face, a striking blend of native African and Negro, was as impassive as stone, but his blue black eyes contained some emotions that she felt was probably better left unnamed. She would not want to obey his usual barked command on matters like this…

“Yes,” Vivian began softly. “I have waited for you all the hours of yesterday to inform you about my proposed

marriage with a young man called Charles, whom I sincerely love and I am sure he loves me dearly. As a result he has proposed to me for marriage.”

A pent-up breath escaped him in a rush. He leaned forward a little and looked at Vivian’s face more eagerly, as every cell in his body seemed to leap with nervous excitement in response to her admission that she wanted to marry.

“Yes, my daughter, your mother intimated me this morning about your decision to get married. It is not a bad contemplation to find a mate whom you would hang on your desires. Though I think that it’s a good thing to find a right mate nowadays; in these days that the modern women run after men. Look, if you choose a wrong mate, you’ll deep your toes in the deep water. It would be good to marry than swallowing abortion capsules we hear about in the drug stores. You know that there are more than thirty thousand abortion cases reported in the national journals every month in this city? What about the world over? It is good to live with a husband who consents to take up your entire problem than being under my stride and start killing those saintly babies, who haven’t seen the abominations under the sky,” Harry encouraged and admonished.

“Papa, my mind has not tuned to the evil acts that the modern women were guilty of. Since I met him, he has made my whole life bright and vibrant. He has turned every day into a wonderful adventure. He has made every morning seem like Christmas to me. He is a very nice person and I am planning to have my kids with him

“Look daughter, I am not accusing you of any immoral character but all women are the same. Those modern ladies can be tough and rough. Don’t you remember Jovina, the daughter of my friend – Jenifer, who completely refused to go to school and turn herself to a bar-room girl? She danced to make money in clubs, and her parents complained, and wanted her to give up dancing but she refused their instructions and was impregnated by a crook. Don’t you remember how she aborted those twin babies and threw them into the pit? She later courted a certain man but refused to marry him because she used her body as commercial enterprise. The other day, one girl from this city slept with a dog, and the other one enjoyed herself with a trained baboon

“What an abomination, what shameful acts? I would not go that far. I can’t do without Charles, I won’t live without him. No matter what other men and women can commit, there is no story anybody will tell me about Charles. I don’t have any fence to mend with anyone and I can’t believe anyone who pokes his or her nose in my personal affairs. If dogs and baboons were women’s lovers that might apparently be their choice,” Vivian explained and retorted.

“A dog is shameless because it knows nothing about its nudity. Those street classes who walk along the road and lanes in the nude are shameless to kill the oncoming innocent young ones by abortion. Last week, an international journal and American democrat carried shocking news: one woman in her early forties gave to bed a bouncing baby boy, instead of nurturing the child she threw the child into the pit. Seeing that the child’s crying would expose her iniquity, she boiled water

to a high degree centigrade and poured it into the pit, and the child died immediately. When the force authorities apprehended her and interrogated her over the cruel crime, she said that the child would make her old while breastfeeding him. And that he would prevent her boyfriends from taking her out to party every night in Hollywood,” Harry analyzed.

“Papa,” began Vivian. “Such acts were due to unbelief of some of our modern women: the act of killing or aborting those little ones is an intentional murder. The guilt is liable to judgment and must be punished by death. They ought to have married and bore those little ones to their husbands.”

“Vivian! The beauty of a woman is her character. No man in his right mind would like to marry a woman who has aborted many times in her life. The kind of woman that any sensible man would choose to marry will reflect his ambition and character. If he chooses the wrong woman, she will reflect his life. His choice signifies what is in him. For an instance, if he would marry a theatrical girl, a street class, a striptease in the hotel, or on the road lane, she won’t be at home. It shows what he wants his future home to be because he married her to raise children by her and whatever she is, that is what her children would be. If she is a street class and gives birth to a daughter, her daughter must be like her mother. Today, the streets are full of such female children. The homes are ruined through prostitution and bastard children are raised everywhere,” Harry said.

“Papa, my ambition is to live with Charles whom I have chosen to be my husband. I have seen things that seemed particularly significant about him. He is very conservative, a

smooth-talker, one that I quite knew who doesn’t look at all threatening, very attractive, someone with a hang-up about evil manifestations. I won’t leave him and loiter about in the mid- night-parties. I will be at home to nurture my children and shoulder the responsibilities in the household,” Vivian declared.

“Look Vivian, a woman’s vow always goes out of her mind when a new thought comes and takes preeminence. She would change within a twinkle of an eye like a chameleon’s sly when things get worst. Be very careful. You are getting increasingly sick because of this man you defend and talk about. You were drawn to this man in ways that were beginning to terrify you with his love, and you refuse to acknowledge it. I don’t want you to be divorced when things get hard. Certain things that start well don’t always end well. I remember a certain girl whose father was my foreman in the company where I worked. She married a millionaire. They ate with golden plates and silver spoons. Once upon a time, the man’s business warehouse caught fire and burned to ashes. The young man became as poor as a church rat. Do you know what this girl did? She divorced the man and married another young salesman that his financial potentials were more promising than that of her ex-husband, after his business has been liquidated through the fire incident.”

“Papa, my union with Charles shall be coordinated and rooted in true love and total submission. It should not depend on his riches or poverty. I believe that any marital bond that is based on materialism would soon result in divorce. I strongly believe that our love shall make our marriage last. So marriage

doesn’t depend on big financial background but depends on love and agreement,” Vivian emphasized.

“The modern woman bases her matrimony on the financial stand and the wealth of her anticipated husband without considering the type of love that exists between them. Love must essentially be the prerogative of married couples than the issue of wealth. If a woman reposes her mind on the wealth of her husband, her love would fade whenever her husband experiences financial difficulties,” Harry instructed.

“Papa, Charles comes from a noble and wealthy family; this is the cheque of five million dollars he sent to me,” Vivian revealed. Then she swiveled the chair and looked up at him. She brought it up now for Harry to read the amount written in the cheque. Harry glanced at it suspiciously.

“Are you going to marry Charles because he gave you a cheque of five million dollars? Remember, money is neither the vehicle of marriage nor the criterion of all things. You may marry him, few years later, he could meet a setback. Would you betray your love then? Would you discard him because he is on ash-heap? Would your love remain stronger in the midst of wretchedness and strenuous obstacles? Or would you find a man richer than Charles and then divorce him?” Harry questioned seriously.

“Papa, money is not the criteria to love. Money is not the foundation of matrimony but true love. Marriage without love is a useless thing. My thought is to remain faithful to Charles and reciprocate his love to me, because love breeds love. It is so hard to love someone who doesn’t love you, who doesn’t even care about you. My ambition to marry Charles

had never been aimed at his financial background but I think that nature is uniting us together,” Vivian declared.

“Well, Vivian, the kind of man a woman would marry will reflect her ambition; sometimes the man’s character might change the woman into good or bad conduct: if the man is a bar-room hubby, it will show the kind of home to be expected in the future. If you marry a pool-room man, you won’t expect him to come home with his monthly salary. He would spend all his salary on pool. If you marry a drunk, you would expect to get him out of the gutter every night. If you marry a polygamist, you would entertain the quarrels and obstacles of polygamy. I can now remember one woman who lived in that valley. She married years ago to a renegade who was a drunk and a smoker, her first husband died in a bar-room in the bed of a prostitute. She married a second time; he deserted her and eloped with a married woman. He died in a gutter one night for drunkenness; the woman then married a pool addict who spent his monthly salary on pool. He made this woman to starve to death in her bedroom,” Harry analyzed.

“Papa,” Vivian began. “Charles is a fine man and since our companionship, I haven’t seen him involved in illicit behaviours or participated in the acts you mentioned. Though, men today are deceivers and liars; yet I know him very well. If I know things about him, I probably have nothing to fear about him any longer. I have known him only for some time but I had the ample opportunity to observe him and I have studied with him in the same faculty for several semesters. There is nothing, absolutely nothing about him that made me uneasy. I will accept him with confidence to be my hubby. I have nothing to

fear about his behaviours and the trivialities that cause marital unhappiness. I believe that Charles would not be a bar-room bravado who comes home every night with insulting remarks, disparaging words, rude action or spellbinding in crazy mood.” “My daughter, you can’t know a man by mere experience except you study him. If you want to know a man, walk as slow as he walks, run where he runs, jump where he jumps, stop where he stops, act what he acts. When you do this, you will know what he knows and understand what he understands; then you watch out for a queer thing. Anyway, there’s the story in the neighbourhood about a man who got drunk on a certain day. He assaulted her wife and chased her out into the yard. His crescendo of abusive voice woke the neighbours, threatening to kill his wife and one of the neighbours who came to separate their fight. Somebody called FBI; the cops arrived and tried to calm him down. When the cops left, something went wrong. In the midnight, he rose up and slashed his wife’s head off. When he saw that the woman

was dead, he began to scream…” Harry narrated advisedly. “Papa, I have been with Charles always. We study in

the same English department. I have tried him in many ways and his manners haven’t strayed. If I marry him; whether or not I am divorced is irrelevant. I didn’t want to get involved with anyone except Charles; period!” Vivian stated emphatically.

“Listen, Vivian, a man’s attitude is hidden within him. Only provoked situation could bring out his innermost character. He ought to live a virtuous life because character without virtue is satanic,” Harry admonished.

“Papa, would you kindly give consent to Charles’ proposal because every preparation for our wedding has been made,” Vivian solicited.

“Vivian, your marriage with Charles depends on your agreement with him and how you see him. You will recognize him to be trustworthy. I cannot be your father and also be your husband because fathers do not marry their daughters. If you consent to marry him, you must obey his principles. What I personally owe you is to give you the necessary backings expected of a father but you should know and learn to think for yourself in order to be ready to face any circumstance that may crop up along the line,” Harry insisted.

After this long dialogue, Vivian’s father excused himself. Vivian was very happy because her father gave his consent to her proposal in spite of his controversial and equivocal ideas on matters like this. She also departed and went for a rest in her bedroom. There wasn’t much argument from her father as they expected, instead he gave his consent without much ado. This was her thought afterwards. She became very excited about her bold steps to confirm to her parents about her marriage plans and her ability to defend her opinion before her uneasy-going father. The words that had never crossed her lips had crossed them now. Instead of feeling as if she has been freed from making it a secret, she had a happy sensation in her heart, and feeling of a stirring excitement. She had said it out aloud. She had informed her parents who hadn’t known.

In her bedroom, she sat down on one of those old time sofas. She became overwhelmed with joy that she would start

to inform her friends and relations both far and near about her upcoming marriage with a very handsome young man. She was also happy that she would start boasting openly to most of her girlfriends who married old men years ago and as a result are suffering from financial constraints. Her mood was euphoric because she would leave her father’s house and live with a man she loved and dreamt about.

She almost wanted her wedding with Charles to be a matter today or tomorrow. She didn’t want long courtship because out of long courtship, evil and foes criticisms and gossip follow. Foes of love would make accusations and scandals. She knew that Charles had sent her five million dollars, this she called a blessing and gift from the heart of lovable groom. She was very lucky she had a man that could afford to marry and support her financially. She frantically started making quicker preparation for her matrimony. She bought things that would be very important from the money Charles gave her. Those things she bought were for the entertainment of the train of crowd that would feature in her wedding ceremony.

Moments later, she fantasized that she would leave her father’s house and live in peace with Charles. She thought about her independence from her parents and how she would leave most of her girlfriends whom she felt most akin to and develop a new friendly interests and relations in the city of her husband. How she would befriend classes of good women, who would admire her and her hubby, whom she felt would not be threat to their new style of life. It made her feel secure to know she was going to be surrounded by good people.

She visualized how she would not move in the company of those modern women who leave their husbands’ houses and abandoned their crying children at home and go to parties staged in Hollywood. She meant those women that determined not to return from parties for days. She said that “those categories of women would spoil her good native characters, which she learnt from her mother.” She added that she would avoid those companies of spoilt women who smoke and drink alcohol, and whose businesses were to rove from nook and cranny, looking for a breakthrough to rob some women their husbands. She had wondered why this class of women were not ashamed of exposing themselves in Hollywood and accompany men who have rejected their households. She wondered why men and women should be over drunk and lay half dead in the gutters and nooks of the streets, while their young ones go about uncontrolled. Their acts have engendered a lot of juvenile delinquencies.

One other thought in Vivian’s mind was that if God blessed them with children, she would raise them in godly way to fear and love God. She in other words would train her children in the way her parents trained her. They would avoid the companies of neurotics and terrorists who filled the streets of the town with their dubious characters. Apart from that they would not be motivated by the corruptions and delinquencies of today’s corrupt children; some are strung out on drugs or drink, some are lowlifes and some of them are hoity-toity.

Vivian concluded that if Charles married her, she would remain his bride forever and she would tie to his principles and stay with him in any condition. One character she suspected in

Charles was infatuation with women like some men do. She heard last time from one of her eminent relations that most of the family pandemonium is as a result of the obscure attitude of lust and infidelity in marriage. She said that most of the divorce cases in court result from such things. In the end the man would discard his wife and marry another woman whom he thought was more beautiful than his first wife. Vivian agreed that those behaviours led many men into polygamy.

She had wondered if Charles would in future destroy their marriage vow of ‘till death we part’ – and enjoin polygamy. She dislikes marrying a polygamist. She observed that the character of a polygamist is ambiguous and brings grieves. She knew most of her town’s men who were polygamist. She understood how the polygamous families are full of malice, envy and quarrel among one another. She understood how the children of a polygamist live in fears and divided opinions; the bond of love wasn’t experienced among them. In fact, she knew how her father used to rush into a neighbour’s house every night, who was a polygamist to solicit for peace to reign among the wives and children of this man. She remembered how their noise and quarrels had often resulted into fighting and crescendo of abuses. She understood that most of these polygamist die quicker of high blood pressure because of constant pressing problems.

In her heart, she had a premonition and even affirmed that Charles would never disappoint the trust and the kind of supper love she had for him. And that he must not betray their bond and marry another girl who might look prettier. She added that he would not leave her and her future children and

rove about in Hollywood. She concluded that he would know himself and became egocentric for his new married wife. For the fact that he had sworn to keep his vow and in no time would violet it; he would not abuse her in any form.

Vivian fantasized a lot of things before the bed time. She later felt that she would inform Charles about the outcome of her parents’ wishes and decisions on his request. She felt enamoured that Charles would feel very happy when he comes by the sudden good news that her parents acknowledged his proposal to marry her. She picked up a stationary on the opposite table near her bed, a white pad, a ball-point pen and wrote to Charles the second time in the following strain:

“I dreamt and saw your nobility. I slept in somnambulism and saw your handsome physique; I woke from sleep and felt your love. What a constriction of soul shall be mine to give my love to another man rather than you. I shall exchange my love for your love. If I exchange it with another man, I shall obtain false bliss. For you were the one who found me in the middle of the night in January between the chimes and shrieks of the night insects, and between the hooting of the night owl’s keen cry and the hard blowing of the eastern trade wind, your words of love melted my keen heart. I have no other protector or any guardian. No person can help me from distresses. Nobody can protect me from catastrophes. You are my glory in the days of panic and in the days of my youth.

I have told my parents about your request and they admitted your plans for our matrimony. Since they have acknowledged your request for courting me as a wife, I cannot reject their cogent wishes nor deny your offer to marry me. I

solemnly pledge to submit myself, wisdom, education and pride under your care. All I earnestly desire is to see you accomplish your promise. Please put love first to our upcoming marital agreements and consider me first before every modern woman that comes by your way, with paint on her face and blue under her eyes. Don’t give the solemn engagement that you have vowed to me to another woman. Let your love be keen at the same time as a polished sword. And consider vividly the gamut of your promise. Please would you quickly solemnize our agreed marriage that I would live with you forever and would not feel nostalgia any time while under your domain?

I received your gift of five million dollars. I accepted it with felicity. You should note very carefully, that money is not the criterion of love, though I am well aware of your pure love. Be urgent to whatever promise you have made, give gentleness and candour to me. Don’t trifle with our precious moment to marry, for such another opportunity may not occur. This I eagerly desire from you.”

Vivian dropped her pen, read and re-read the letter. She felt satisfied with the words she pressed into it. It was reassuring that she did not think he had anything to worry about putting his thoughts together for the marriage from the information she had let out to him through the letter service. The information she had let out to him had been a dark shadow in her mind; if her parents would disagree with her plans, but the shadow had threatened and broke free of the constraints she had laid on it, because she hoped that her parents would not hold on her marital proposal. Another fear that remained in her

heart was if Charles’ parents would accept his proposal to marry her. She knew it was very hard for parents to acknowledge their children’s proposals on matters of marriage but she told herself to forget whatever indecision that would come from his parents and repose on what Charles would give as a reply. She decided that the next day, she would mail her letter to Charles and would wait curiously for his reply. Few days passed like an eternity, as she waited for him to reply or call.

CHAPTER FOUR

During the summer holiday, Charles expected with all eagerness to hear Vivian’s response about his marriage proposal to her. He knew intimate things about her since he started courting her; her sobriety, gentleness and sincerity; and she would complement him as a partner in establishing a home. He knew that Vivian had already accepted him and his warm request but one thing he could not affirm was whether Vivian’s parents would acknowledge his passionate desire to marry their daughter.

Charles had known her kind of person. In the first place, she was not corrupt and did not move in company of those modern girls on campus. She retained her virtue that nature entrusted to her. Charles knew that she was one of those virgins in society. He knew she was one of the most timid girls on campus. His ambition in life was to marry such type of girl who hadn’t been wild. He disliked marrying campus girls who smoke and drink. He feared in his life that if any man falls into danger of marrying a class of smoking and drinking woman, the first thing would be that she would not be at home to keep home. She would be walking from one party hall to discotheque. Sometimes, these classes of girls seldom bear children for their husbands because of their regular abortions. He knew that this class of girls would appreciate any constitution that legalizes abortion and lesbianism.

While Charles was deeply analyzing her personality, he remembered one undergraduate who was impregnated by a rough male of the institute. The girl aborted her twin babies

and threw them into the dustbin. The next day she put on her pairs of trousers and was seen dancing ecstatically with her male friends in the disco hall. The memory of this abortion had every moment of the day set the blood stream of Charles high. That was the reason why Charles swore like a pagan never to marry any rough girl.

Charles understood that his parents had warned him seriously not to marry any outcast or a criminal. They warned him also not to marry a prostitute because they detested prostitution. They considered a prostitute to be equivalent to a criminal. His father in particular had warned him and told him that if a man marries an outcast or any street class, she would bring ill fortune to the entire family, and that she would abridge the prosperity and destiny of the husband, and in other words, nobody knew if she would bear children to her husband. Most often the husband would die during her courtship or after their wedding because she possesses many demons.

For these warnings of his father, he had wondered whether Vivian was an outcast or one with demons. His father’s teaching taught him that an outcast was abhorred in the society; not acceptable particularly in his own family.

He knew that it was a taboo in his community to marry an outcast. But no matter how people segregate them in marital enjoinment, he did not want to get into their depraved minds and view his marriage with her from their perspective. He definitely did not like the feeling that he saw things in ways other people could, that he sensed things that were beyond ordinary understanding. That sense was part of what had made him so good at rejecting colour bar or segregating human

beings. He actually believed that human beings are the same, white and black, brown and yellow.

One thing that he was sure of was that Vivian wasn’t an outcast from the inquiries he had made about her trend, and family background. Though even if she was, it was irrelevant to him. He knew that she knew no man; she was a virgin. Though he knew before he could marry her, she must be tested for her virginity. If she is not a virgin, she must make known to him and the public, who broke her virginity, or she would be brought out to the public and stone to death by the hands of the angry mob.

He said that the next thing that would prevent him from getting married to Vivian was if she had married before. Legally, he said, ‘it’s abominable to remarry a married woman, who might have divorced her husband through court injunction. He wondered what might have brought so much court litigations on marriage cases that he often heard. He personally learnt that most of the court divorce cases were the fault of these modern women, who would marry today and the next day flirt with other men while with their legal hubbies. They are those women whose first love to their husbands died. He knew that when a woman’s love to a man expires, she could do unpleasant attitude.

Charles had proved that if a woman has a husband, she is bound by the law to her husband, to live clean as long as her husband lives. If her husband is living and she marries another man, she would be called an adulteress. Her husband has every legal right to divorce her if she is a flirt. He would give her a certificate of divorce for the fact that she sold her vow to

another man, who had no legal right with her. Charles considered these dubious acts as the brunt on marital vows.

He remembered how his uncle’s wife, who lived with him for so many years and bore him three boys and two girls, poisoned his food, and he died. She quickly packed up her traps and personal belongings and eloped to a far country side with a handsome man with slick haircut, and straight shoulder abandoning her little children. The man was financially qualified when contrasted with her ex-husband, and in due course, the man wedded with her the second time.

Unfortunately, the daughter of this woman met a man first week of their freshman year and they talked about living together. She was fairly hot and heavy with this man for a while, but they split when she started smoking, drinking and prowling around hideous places. She had no husband after that. She remained like a nun in a nunnery. And she later became a paid stripper in Hollywood.

He had wondered why such flirty living had been adopted by the modern women. He reasoned that if the modern women could act in such putrid characteristics, they were teaching evil lessons to their children, and to the teeming population of the generation ahead, who would learn their dubious lives. He remembered decades ago when a married woman and spinsters stood trials for virtuousness.

In retrospect, Charles condemned her action to leave home, abandon her children to baby sitters and becomes independent to pick up a paid job when she had not been granted the legal right to vote or wear Police or Army uniforms and stay on the road all night long. These were those days

when she could not usurp the office of a man. Today, she claims authority: she is the justice of the federation, the magistrate, an attorney, a governor, a president, head of educational department, teacher, factory directress, ministerial head, reverend doctor, and a thick politician. She can vote and be voted for and could brag about: “what a man can do, a woman can do it.”He could hear his father saying one time, “that no matter what women claim or how they usurp the offices that belonged to men, she won’t climb a palm tree or tap palm wine.”

Charles noticed that when he passed out from secondary school and looked for a job, he found out that there were five thousand women working in a certain plant he went to submit his resume. He found out that those women were street prostitutes and married women with children. One man he was familiar with took his wife out there and worked her up with a board, and then he wanted to kill her when he saw her pulling with the head of the board. Another man went to shoot a man who took his wife to Hollywood and another man cutting and fighting a man he saw pulling with his wife in the plant site. Charles always heard his father saying, “Put the woman back in the kitchen where she belongs, then everything will be all right. But you put her out there in the public work, she is gone. The modern women snicker up their nose and say “There is nothing to that.”

Charles had observed that Vivian might not be too harsh like most of these modern classes of women. She would not be a miserable and obnoxious creature or disrespectful. She would be a meek and an obedient wife, not a domineering

female, not a violator of the supreme laws that guide the marital laws. She would be well respected in the neighbourhood, honored in society. She would be a kind of a wife that bridles her tongue; not an insolent gossip or a quarrelsome woman in the community of friends but a woman whose character would stand as a symbol of geniality. He observed that she would be for him a perfect example of a virtuous woman.

He thought about how our nation has come so little until they have even taken the jobs away from the men, and put women out here in these places and talk about men being so short, because they got women out there in their jobs. That is a disgrace to any nation. Though he argued one time with a friend whom he told that sometimes some women should work, if they got sick husbands; yet if they don’t have to, they shouldn’t do it. Their place is at home, their little castle that is exactly where they should be.

Charles had suggested that after Vivian’s academic career in the university, he would not allow her to go into any private or government work. After her graduation, she would hide her degree certificate in the box and stay at home and be preoccupied with domestic drudgery. He would not allow her to join this working class of modern women who left their husbands’ houses and worked in both government and private offices. She would be a kind companion to him, and that if she would prove to be virtuous wife, he would be more to her than seven husbands.

Charles was really confounded why she was called names on campus as timid girl; what was that timidity in a girl

to marry was his previous desire. He had thought in himself that her four years in English Language degree curriculum would broaden her trivial intellect and wipe out completely her uncivilized attitude and put her into competence with other well informed classes of female graduates. He further said that “wisdom is a thing impacted by learning and learning itself brushes timidity.”

Her present timidity gave him a sense of continuous possession of her to be his bride who would shoulder the qualm involved at home during his absence. Charles said that after the wedding, she would live a life of joy painted in the gayest definition and he would treat her with indulgence. She would be made to give way from the luscious talks from those township women whose modesty was thrown to the dust; and she would avoid their descriptions of engagement with men who poke nose to others.

Charles had also said: “I would give her an undeniable proof of considering her desires as dispensable orders. If she understands to abide in the unity of the existence of our new union, she would bear me a resemblance and nurture my children. She would not betray the trust she had on me to any other male. My entire accumulated wealth, and parental legacies would be her possession and inheritance, and she would be empowered to get access to them. She would effectually carry out my order in my absence and then settle with my laws. She would not violet the accord of peace in the family hood...

She would avoid a little confusion she found in me and endure any of my violent agitation in order to forestall peace

and tranquility. She would on her side be self-devoted to all the regular wife’s business at home: the washing of her husband’s garment, the keeping clean of her children’s wears, the washing of dirty utensils, the sweeping of rooms, the cleaning or sweeping of the compound, the preparation of meals to the husband and children, and showing great love to her groom whenever he returned from the day’s work and terrible heat of the sun.

If I meet unhappy pawns of oppression of circumstance, she would bear it with me. If I become poor like a pauper, she would bear my wretched condition. If I become happy, she would jubilate with me. If I become sad, she would be angry and ready to comprehend what caused my aggravation; she would not be a kind of woman that laughed in counterfeited glee while her groom was in sorrowful state and irritation. She would be a true wife, not cultivating materialism; she would not be heady and arrogant. She would not live in pleasure while her husband is alive; her love and admiration would extend to her husband’s kin; she would not be a detester of persons, but one whose total motive would be to entertain strangers in his absence.”

Charles had meditated and suggested these comparisons to be the qualifications of the kind of a woman he had ever longed for and searched in the country to marry. He felt so sure that Vivian met the requirements to be his new companion. He then felt she fitted his purpose for considering her for marriage. Since she met the requirements he desired of, he would automatically pave his way to accomplish the rules and native regulations for their wedding ceremony.

All these while he was courting her, he ignored any form of criticisms that had been deepening for days, from foes who did not like Vivian. He did not need anyone to attack her personality. He ignored every assassination of her character by her friends who she felt most akin to. He ignored any attack of her parental background, either. He closed his ears to any form of criticism and said, that “criticism is always welcomed when a man wants to marry any timid girl.”

After many weeks, Charles informed his friends in his town about his arrangement to marry a girl whom he admired. He expressed his mind and explained to his friends about his newly engaged spouse; how she looked like, how her face dazzled like a moon that shines in the pitch dark of the night, how her body was finely formed and vigorously made. How her eyes were in its sockets and her pupils black and white, her eyes sparkling like the reflection of rays on a metallic substance, chin that is more of a grace; for her complexion was of the brownest like the red Indian, not of that dusty dun colour that excludes the idea of freshness, but of that clear olive glows which was glowing with life, dazzled perhaps not lesser than fairness. The hair on her head, being too long, tied, fell lower on her back in long and loosely braided. If she laughed, millions of people would admire the whiteness and strong formation of her teeth, if she kept mute, millions of people would admire her wonderful silence. If she becomes sad, the community of ardent friends would want to comprehend the cause of her sorrow and pain.

But one vital thing that Charles was very curious to know about, was the compromising settlement of marriage that

would be reached between Vivian and her parents, which would enhance and set the pace for their enjoinment to matrimonial bloc and bliss. Their favourable response would satisfy his curiosity; as a result he envisions good possibility in their response. If they refute his request, it then means that his total plan to marry her had gone into the deep sea, and if they acknowledge his request, any controversy towards his union with her had been aborted, and he would quickly pay all the price and problems associated with marital bloc.

This time, he thought with a sudden jolt, he had not received Vivian’s letter he anticipated. There was no mail from the “snail mail-runner.” It has been days he last sent her anything and he wondered if perhaps her parents’ refusal to acknowledge his request had finally bored her enough to send him on his way. He was interested in receiving her letter to know her parents’ decision on their high-handed plan. The passionate desire to receive an assuring letter from her haunted him all the day and he looked frustrated, as if he were missing something that was right in front of him. And, worse, he was afraid if Vivian would be able to convince her parents on their matrimonial plan.

CHAPTER FIVE

It was about six months they enjoyed their courtship. The day and night was quiet safe for a cold wind which blew from the eastern wilderness. Students engaged in domestic works and most of them in industrial works to get money to help them in preparation for the next academic session that was fast approaching. Vivian was having a pretty-good time, she increasingly absorbed in frolic gaiety. She could not engage herself in any holiday’s work. She was all the daylong busy domestically. She needed no financial help from any person, even her parents or any industrialist who would employ her in any form of work, since she had received the sum of five million dollars from Charles. She had everything she wanted for her career.

Most times, she woke earlier than any living being and spent many hours thinking about Charles. The thought about him was eating her like caterpillar eating a tree to a stump. Charles’ request to marry her coloured every memory she had of him. She had given herself, heart and soul to Charles. If he abandoned or failed to marry her or married some other girl at last, she might take her own life. She was jealous of him – too jealous indeed. She did not want another girl to snatch him away from her. She hated, and if possible, could stab to death with her mental dagger and visual sword any girl who came to look for him. She had dreamt like a moron many nights and wondered what Charles would feel like when he receive the letter she wrote him, which its contents declared her parents’ wishes about their engagement and her vows to him.

On the tenth of June, nature obeyed necessities; Charles received a letter from the town’s snail-mail runner. He looked at it in the light from the living room. It was a recent letter, his name and address, in purple ink, was on a label pasted on the envelope. When he tore the letter from one end, he brought out a white foolscap, typewritten in black ink. He read it, and its content brought a sudden joy and satisfaction to him. He felt the unmistakable tingles of excitement that always came when he knew he was on the brink of discovering something important. It bore the expected information he had so long awaited from Vivian’s parents that was to give consent to his marriage proposal to Vivian.

Though before the time he received the letter, Charles said that it should not be wise for Vivian’s parents to reject his offer; yet the acknowledgement they gave influenced his zeal. Right now, he is going to forget about all the troubles he was worrying about her parents’ response and focus on this high- handed plan to marry her. He assured himself that his own side would not constitute a problem in the arrangement, since the formal enquiries toward her native character and genuine trend had been conspicuously investigated.

Though Charles had been making personal enquiries about Vivian, since the day he made up his mind in finding favour from her; he had not for all these days notified his parents about his present pursuit. The very day he came across Vivian’s letter, he had been intending to let his parents know about it. Since her parents had accepted his offer, he was envisaged, and later made up his mind to tell his parents about his intention to marry a girl he found in the university that

suited his interest. For a time, he pondered what would be his parents’ reactions to his urgent desire to marry without graduating from his relevant course. He had come to realize that his father had constantly mentioned to him such thing like looking for a kind and moral wife for him in their community, who would fit in to their family principles.

To this regards, he had been thinking about the kind of wife his father desired to get for him to marry; though one thing he could not assure himself was whether his parents would accept an undergraduate in the case that his parents, especially his father had been seriously against men who married graduates. His father used to say that “graduates are not trustworthy.” He said that, “that they are too open to amorous acts and are prone to disappointment.” According to him, “they always marry and divorce their husbands, and they do not stay at home to nurture their children.” They always go to seminars and symposia and would spend many weeks without coming home. His father had wished that Charles would marry a seventh grade student, simple and humble, well dressed, and not the kind that puts on men’s wears and wonder along the streets. At the moment of Charles’ decision to espouse, he had conclusively decided to marry an undergraduate or a graduate, either; who would meet-up his demands, not to marry a seventh grade student but someone who would read her letters by herself. Someone who was not new to life; who would consider every word she said in the very sense that it would suit him and who would measure him very rightly by her manner of dealing with him, and who could

not be heady. All his thoughts to remain faithful to his parents’ wishes fled before his absolute need for Vivian.

Charles had thought many things about his marriage that night, till the next morning that was blessed by the glorious sunrise from the eastern cloud. The sun rays pierced through the parapet of the bedroom windows, he rose from his bed and went to the piazza. When he arrived at the piazza, his father Rogers, and his mother Regina were setting side-by-side though few inches apart from each other, discussing few problems of the day. Charles was very happy to have seen them at the piazza. He wondered why his father had not gone out earlier to his office as usual. He realized that government workers do not work on Saturdays. Seeing his parents, he greeted them and they replied him cross-curtly like school pupils in procession before class.

“Yes,” began Charles. “My main purpose of coming to you is to inform you that I want to get married to a girl that I love. I have reached the age of accountability and I want a good mate at this time. Time waits for nobody. Procrastination is a thief of time. Please I want to know your motives about this.”

His father at hearing him roved his old sunken eyes that were critically fenced with shattered white eye brows. It was as if everything inside him softened and relaxed. It was as if the tension he had previously for his marriage was calmed. He scratched his unkempt moustache, cleared his throat and responded courteously.

“There isn’t bad intention for making a choice when one is about to marry. I know you are planning to own your

own family and someday have kids. It is quite better to marry than to burn. If a man marries or makes his personal choice, he must look before he leaps, lest he jumps into a great ditch that would affect his life throughout. I would not obstruct your good ambition; the growth of manhood requires an obedient mate. It is good to get married than going about with all these stripteases that walk the street lanes. I would not encourage you to engage with someone who makes you unhappy in life, through underrating of the principles of the laws of the society. You need someone with good character and morally brought up; apart from these modern eye-winkers with blue and black stuff under their eyes, who could not guide your children from juvenile delinquencies. I want to remind you that we have fought tooth and nail to see that you graduate from a government recognized university. It’s your turn to help your upcoming younger brothers and sisters to be educated as you. I know that you have determined to marry, we would not get in the way of your instincts, but if you go after a prostitute or a Hollywood class, we might be in serious trouble here.

“Oh! I will live to become a grandmother.” Regina burst forth into hilarity that was exchanged with great joy and admiration for Charles’ proposal. She was glad to be able to be alive and see him get married. She rolled and wallowed in a stream of bliss when he told them that he had decided to take a wife. Few years ago, the thought of Charles marrying had consumed nearly her entire life with worrying about him because he was the only son of the family. She had compelled him to marry few years ago so that he may open the door for his upcoming younger brothers and save the family from

danger of extinction and shame. Anticipation filled her as she heard Charles mentioned that he was about to get married. On the one hand, she felt excited that Charles would populate the family with males, because she bore mostly girls to her hubby besides Charles. She knew she had done everything she could to persuade Charles to marry after his secondary school but Charles had rejected her aim of early wedlock.

“Charles,” Regina began. “I thank you for deciding to end our shame at last. I can now have a rest of mind. You have come to show us true and everlasting love. I can now sleep. But we wish you commence and conclude your proposed marriage today! The candle light of our patience had died many years ago. It is wonderful that you want to marry, so wonderful that you want me to see your progeny and not die a bachelor. You should examine well before you marry o! Don’t engage yourself with any inexperienced girl, rascal, disobedient type, a go about, or painted face flapper, the untrained one, a mongrel, not one with flashing eyes, with blue paint under her eyes like the eyes of a lizard. You should rather weigh your choice of mate on the scale of patience, long-suffering, virtuousness; someone who swims in the sea of humility, sober and not full of acrimony and nagging traits. Since you’ve made a choice, I would be captivated with the motive of your choice, and would be in favour of any plans you would make, and would not hesitate to give my consent to your prerogatives and would involve in dealing with the problems that might try to upset or obstruct your plans.”

“Mum, I have examined the character of my mate. She pleased me. I cannot do without her. There are many good

women in the world. If there is a bogus dollar, there must have been a genuine one: where there is a wrong woman there must be a virtuous type. I have made investigations about her, and came out with a satisfied result. I thought of her as a soul filled with light. She is kind and generous, and very practical too. Apparently, I am interested in what I felt about her. She is the type that would bring up a family that would take after me, and who would bear children made of noble race.” Charles explicitly explained.

“If her family is good, her manners on the long run might change like the changing weather or chameleon sly. When you marry some girls, at first they would hide their dubious characters and when they go home with you, they go with seven demonic characters that manifest each year in turn. Such girls might be somewhat beautiful in the face, but physical beauty is not always the basis. Your happiness would entail the kind of heart she possesses. Do not base your choice on a hopeless woman nor take a woman you see as beautiful on the face. We will admire a monkey-face woman if she stays at home to look after home and her children because most women today do not stay at home. We thought that you would return home to marry. You must take a wife from this land or any other rural place where we still have some young ladies who know that they are women and who are of good character. I tell you, don’t marry in a town where you have only loosed, crazy and morally bankrupt women,” Rogers asserted with strong baritone.

“Yes, my son,” Regina began. “You must make thorough investigations before you take up the decision of

marrying any girl. Most of them are devils in badger skins; and any kind of girl that was picked from the street has always been a sneer in the family. Please, look for a good girl! Meanwhile your father and I will talk to friends in her community about finding a way to trace her biography and the background of her family. I could now remember how John’s son, who passed out from high school studies and returned from America and decided to espouse a girl he met on the street one night. When his parents admonished him to desist from his plan, Jonah insisted that he must marry her. When Jonah disobeyed and married this beautiful girl named Angel, they lived a period of fortnight; one night the girl changed into a big snake and quickly ran into a nearby river and vanished till date.”

“Mum, do you really mean that she changed from a human being to a reptile? I believe this is not one of your fairy tales,” Charles retorted.

“Yes Charles, I want to be honest. It was a real and mysterious story; not a fiction but what happened in the neighbourhood few years ago. What you heard your father said was a reality. It is as real as the rhythms of the water moving down the river. In a question of choosing a girl to marry, beauty is not a paramount consideration. In this case, many things must be put into account in the order of their pressing importance. As a matter of fact, beauty is not the first thing. It is not even the second. I tell you, it is among the last. Indeed, the first thing to be considered is the character of the lady, her family health history, moral background, and social status. If the woman is of good character and the family does not have history of dirty, shameful health problem like madness,

imbecility and epilepsy, not have as some of its members armed robbers, terrorists, and other social miscreants, the girl is good for marriage. We are advising you to marry a good nurtured woman whether she is beautiful or not.” Regina declared emphatically.

“Yes,” began Rogers. “The story you have just heard is not a hear-say. It is not a fable. It happened as you see the unchangeable sun emerges from the blue cloud; you are still young. Your motive to join with a girl of your choice had no ruinous consequences, only if you make a wrong choice of mate. Though a kind of a woman you choose to be a saint possibly could be a devil or serpent in your bed. What determines the eternal destiny of a man depends on the kind of wife he espoused. If she is a vulgar type, she reflects the man’s ambition and the kind of home he anticipates in the future. Be careful of the kind of woman you want to marry and the place from which you want to marry her. Those two things are very vital. Let me warn you! Don’t let the beauty of a woman to lead you into a hell of marriage. No matter how beautiful a woman may be, if she is of bad character, she will taste sour and bitter and her beauty will shrink and wither from the eyes of her husband to the extent that when he looks at her he sees only a vulture and a deadly snake and scorpion”.

“Papa, you are not a novice to the frigid fierceness and extreme disordered characters that rose so awfully among the modern women. They have many characteristics, of course, but there is no way to know which apply to them. All of them look alike; it is only through fortune that one can get a good mate. Vivian has developed true and unconditional love for me. Her

love for me went beyond wealth and fame. She loves me dearly. She liked my character too. As a matter of fact, all these made me to determine to be her better-half and my life partner.” Charles asserted.

“What is the name of your girl? How do you see her person?”Regina enquired.

“Mum, her name is Vivian Harry. She hails from Novo State. She is an undergraduate in English department. We met in the university and we decided to get married. She is about few years younger than I and with one of those ordinary beautiful faces you meet everywhere. I found her very nice and helpful. She is exceptional,” Charles explained.

“Look Charles, it is such a shame that beauty can be such a curse, you know? You need a love and married life. I haven’t in any time supported you to marry an undergraduate or a graduate. They live spoilt lives in schools and are always in the demonic spirit of marriage and divorces. You could espouse her, few years later, she would find a man who is more handsome or more educated, and richer financially than you, and then she would divorce you and that first love she had for you, and pick on this richer man. I thought that we should have come together and put heads together to find a good girl for you, because if you don’t find a good mate it would create all kinds of difficulties. How would you make us believe she wasn’t just some kind of crank? We do not want abusive relationship. Nobody needs that kind of pain in the ass,” Charles father began tremulously.

“Dad,” began Charles, “I am sure that I love Vivian to the crack of death and have determined to offer her all the

weight of my heart in marriage. If she refrains from her present love after espousement, it would be the justice to condemn her rude actions and heavens would frown at her violations of the laws of love, which bind us together as beloved pair.”

“You may give her all your heart and vastness of love which covered the universe, but when the road doesn’t go easy, she would give you no credit toward your love for her. You may wonder how my words become true; hence she might look sincere in every word she spoke to you in the beginning. One thing you should understand and grasp as fact is that a woman’s love could go on when there is prosperity, but her previous love turns when things become hard. If you want to marry, you would only put your eyes on cool class of women, not the greedy type or these vulgar girls whose fathers are millionaires, such group are quite inconsiderate and are prone to change men like one changes clothes whenever they wish.” Rogers admonished.

“Daddy, your advice and mother’s too, lack nothing as regards to arrangement to this marriage. I vowed to her that I love her. We have decided to get married and move to township, where it is not hard to get a good job. If misfortune comes in the future, I shall take it to be the work of fate. Who would be able to count the fierce, unnumbered catastrophe that emanate from a bond of marriage. Though the improbability in the character of the opposite mate would not always be what we should most essentially mistrust. And as I and her are at the top of our desires and as I had surrendered all my future happiness to her care, I think of nothing beyond the exquisite desire of taking her as my wife. On the other hand, I cannot

dismiss the promise that I made to her for a long time,” Charles butted in.

“My son, some women are like angels in the streets, saints in the churches and devils in the kitchen. It would be impossible to change all women in the world, so the best you can do is to look unto providence. Perhaps, we always pray to God for you to find a good sensible mate. I cannot choose a wife for you least in the time of trouble and disappointment any of you should heap blames on me. You should understand that marriage is like a game of chance which when staked precipitates futile and unfruitful results, but the only thing so needed among any pair is to live together in congenial temperament, endurance and accepting with satisfaction any resultant condition that crops up during the period of living together. Do not marry a woman who would order her husband to stop helping his kith and kin and other people financially and otherwise. We don’t want the type that quarrels and fights the husband, neither the woman that also quarrel and engage people in physical combat,” Rogers instructed.

“Yes, my son,” Regina began primly. “Your Daddy has been raising carefully some important points, which happened in most married homes, but the point you should grasp would depend on the kind of girl you have chosen as a wife, and besides other developments which would sometimes result to marital divorce. Apparently we do not want a promiscuous lady in our house, who brings strange men home with her in the absence of her husband. Now that you are looking for a life partner, I want you to look beyond friendship. Think of winning her as your wife. You have the golden opportunity of

winning her from your description of your love for her, she is already condescended and stooped to wrap you up in her heart of love. Please, muff not this singular chance.”

“Mum, nobody knows whether he would dream a good dream when one goes to bed. You can’t know what you don’t know, but only what I know is that I have made my choice from a yeoman’s daughter who works in Agricultural Company. I believe my choice could only be affirmed by nature. Your encouragement and Dad’s instruction are in my heart. I do not take your warnings as an act of cowardice, but I have examined my mate who require no more brushing. If she changes after our marriage, it shows her mold by nature, if she is virtuous, it is as well a blessing. And her conduct would reflect the society that she comes from,” Charles narrated.

“My son,” Charles’ father began, “You have made your bed. There is an adage that says that as a man makes his bed so he shall lie on it. We are not here to deprive you from the choice you have made. We only instruct you on the flaws that accompany the example of wrong choice of mate. We are trying to find out what is her constitution, because we don’t want you to marry a society woman who went slumming for sexual thrills. I have been acquainted with men who drank poison and died because their mates whom they put their entire hope, love and trust divorced them, and married other men greater than them. I know a man who committed suicide because his so-much loved wife deserted him and married a fine neighbour of his who is richer than him. This act of marriage and divorce has been the manner of the modern women. If you espouse a girl who has a filthy character, she

would expose her evil characters in the public. If you marry a virtuous girl, she would reflect your façade of nobility. What I would encourage you is that you should marry a woman of your choice and live in peace with her.”

“Thank you parents,” Charles said happily and left the

pizza.

After    having    consumed    the    morning    hours    in

endearments and instructions of his parents over his new companion, he was about to marry, Charles was very happy that his parents who rejected his wish of marrying an undergraduate, were later filled with joy for his choice to marry Vivian. That day, he thought about her shinning, charming beauty. He focused his mental energies on the intoxicating love that existed between them. He recalled all the warm kisses, caresses and smiles they shared in the university. He also remembered all the time he thought and dreamed about Vivian, longing to have her as his wife. He had imagined what married life would look like. What does he mean when he said that he would be ready to marry an undergraduate whom his profound love favoured? A person who will go from one seminar to another, leaving home for weeks, but, as a matter of fact, his irresistible urge and irreversible decision to marry her was his forever destiny. He had made his decision to marry her because his eyes of reasoning had been blinded by the dazzling beauty of Vivian: hence he could not take the warnings of his father not to marry an educated woman.

Charles knew previously that he loved her yet he did not know if Vivian really loved him alike. Vivian had written to him about the kind of love she had for him in letter services

sometime, but at the first sight of things, he found out by personal investigations that she had loved nobody in all her life; she remained a virgin ever her birth. That is the impression he got about her. At this moment, he did not particularly care about engaging with another woman. For these considerations, Charles quickly arrived at the conclusion that she loved him and he would marry her.

The best part of marrying her, Charles thought later was that he was now aware that he knew her far better than he had thought of before he discovered she was a good girl. She was an attractive girl. She would be someone with whom he had to share intense emotional intimacy throughout his life. She was a girl with whom he had to build an escape from the luring faces of modern women, and with whom he had come very close to making love in words and in actions.

The problem was that he could get over the huddle of his parents rejecting his marriage with an undergraduate. He did not want to slip into their depraved minds and view things from their perspective. He absolutely could not permit that. Besides, he would be angry with anyone who tries to pervade his ambition. Right now, he was totally down on marriage because his parents could not refute his idea of marriage, and he did not think he was mistaken for choosing to marry an undergraduate, no matter how many criticisms his father leveled on them. Before he saw Vivian, every relationship he ever had with a woman had eventually ended up with him being dissatisfied. Of course, a lot of that had had to do with his philandering acts and the way he could not be relied upon

to show up as promised but it was really so different now that he met Vivian.

The only reason he had for not keeping his promises to women was to avoid finding himself hog-tied to a woman in a mutually conceived affair. He simply kept his relationship light and brief. It was the only sensible way to do it to keep away from enticing college students and backed away from intimate relationships. Since he found Vivian, he was not getting increasingly sick of the luring acts of women. He had felt the warmth of women’s love and he always believed that there is nothing in their love worth giving up his freedom and sanity. He had made a vow to himself – and he owed it to Vivian to be completely truthful with her.

Charles had a dream wife when the idea of marriage came into his mind. For any woman to suit his dream, she must possess three distinct qualities. The first quality was beauty. The second was shining beauty. And the third was beauty non- pareil. No doubt, Charles elected to marry a woman with these qualities because he was a man of oceanic wealth due to the millions of dollars his father banked in many foreign banks as a legacy for him. He usually said that no rich man wants to marry an ugly woman even if she was the only holy saint on earth. As a matter of fact, Charles would marry his dream wife

– Vivian even though she was a devil in human flesh. With his almighty money he could convert a demon possessed woman to a saint, he believed.

The next day, Charles started making preparations to wed Vivian after his visit to her family, he paid her dowry. September had gone half when Charles wedded Vivian in the

Yale temple. There was enormous train of people that attended her wedding ceremony. It was coloured with cheers and kisses. They dined and wined. The celestial wedding was so wonderful that most people described it as the greatest wedding of the millennium. This was because many people with double head such as the pen, the gun, the cross were there. The ragtag and bobtail, the famished stomachs, the thirsty throats, the harebrained minds, were there. The money-bags and the Angus-eyed-eagles, the gallant lions and the wise men were equally there. In fact, the entire world attended the wedding. After the wedding, the feast continued for four good days. When the wedding train dispersed to their homes, the parents of Charles coaxed Vivian home and gave her an affable welcome.

CHAPTER SIX

The Yankee University had resumed its last academic session, Charles and Vivian returned to the campus and behold, there were cheers and the peculiar freshness of newly married couples was upon them. They began to live under the same roof as a husband and wife outside the campus where they rented a house for their leisure time. Charles in this last academic session was writing his final examination, and was too busy like a termite preparing to write his thesis on his first degree in English language.

While on campus, the couple would come out in the evening from their respective hostels to kiss and discuss most of their pressing needs. They discussed significant issues and interesting tales about their future responsibilities and other numerous relevant issues.

No sooner did they resume studies in the English department than Charles and Vivian started going to parties  and theater shows, staged in the University’s campuses, and in Hollywood. From these parties and theatre shows the couples attended, Vivian started emulating the characters of the corrupt females she saw at the show by putting on men’s wears. She started smoking cigarette and drinking alcohol like men. She began to put on provocative dresses and apply make-up. It seemed that she was full of self-control, caution and temperance. Any eye that saw her would take her for a sex- maniac or call her a nymphomaniac. The truth was that she rarely drank at all when she had not married Charles. In her younger days, it had seemed romantic to sip wine with dinner

or share a cognac afterward, but when Charles started courting her, she developed an almost pathological devotion to keeping her own head clear. She would not even have a soft drink that contained caffeine anymore. She knew some of her intimate friends who smoke hemp, cigarette and sniff cocaine. They have become so hardened by their lives that there is no instruction that would turn them from addictions and frolic.

Previously, the girls and narcotic women in the school mocked her for her inability to smoke and drink, or join the bad gangs who were not ashamed of the immoral acts and vices of the town. For Vivian, those days were gone by, and it was time to join the group. Though in those days, to become one of those frivolous women and girls had never been her ambition; now she had become a professor in the University of Evil and she had reached a stage in the world of darkness where she could easily drag a saint out of heaven and throw him into hell-hole. She became a young woman of foolish prudence and sane madness so far as a relationship between pleasure men and women was concerned. As for others, she was ‘a prostitute without a park.’ She liked foolish connections with notorious class of women just as a vulture loves rotting carcass and followed them as flies follow a man with festering wound. The last instruction her parents gave her before sending her to the university was, that evil communication corrupts good manner; that if a goat that doesn’t eat yam moves with a goat that eats yam, it will start eating yam.

Now, in these grotty parties, Vivian involved in corrupt conversations and imitated the absurd examples of the bad company of pleasures stricken women; which had taken no

root in her parental education. While the excitement of pleasure which she was lured into became part of her existence and brought a change within her and her modesty began to melt away like dews before the heat of the sun. She found herself in the midst of bad friends and remembered in her tertian heart what admonishment her parent gave her to avoid the bad company of friends. The remembrance of these warnings that coiled in her heart like a silken coil did not persuade her from enmeshing deeper and deeper into rascal life with her husband.

However, Vivian quite understood the law of morals which she was taught by her parents from the onset was still alive in her soul. No matter how she had rejected her previous moral conducts and accepted the filthy life, good people still gained a tolerable insight into the nature and secrets of her profession. People in society who knew her and classified her among the virtuous girls were surprised with her present way of life. People who respected her in the past, no longer considered her as a married lady, since she changed her attitude. She was considered a street class, an object of ‘hit and run’ and someone left to corrupt company. Being a party notoriety, she could no longer possess itch of moral conduct and she was obsessed by the new company of pleasure seeking group, in which her husband introduced her into.

Whenever Vivian went to party, Charles would leave Vivian and dance ecstatically with ex-girlfriends. She would in turn dance with other men in the party. She did not dance those days the money was good and she had not been a dancer in her life time. She started dancing during the first day Charles went with her to Hollywood. When she first went to Holly-wood, the

music was only moderately loud, but the beat was driving and hard. The lounge was less brightly lit than the night outside, and the figures moving around were merely shadows, except for few girls dancing in the middle of the room under a spotlight. In the dark places, the shadows of nude women could be seen sitting on the laps of men and moving in ways that made a saint’s blush deepen.

The difference is that she danced with men who were not her mate. Her soul became guilty and she started to feel as if she was lost in a bottomless well with nothing but death and horror for her constant companions. She wanted to be able to remind herself that her acts were against the previous warnings of her parents. She said that she was doing her evil practices by choice of her mate. The urge guided her and made her to concentrate on her ways as she listened to the voice of her mate and refused to think about the reasons behind her actions.

Nevertheless, Charles did not acknowledge that the footprint he had laid down for his wife was dangerous. Charles himself naturally enjoyed leisure, and had no regard to whether he was in society or not to fulfill that desire. He did not adhere to instructions. Any instruction given to him about his perverted behaviours was like pouring water on the back of a tortoise. It struck him like one of those incredible absurdities that somehow made life uneasy to take. His thoughts of prowling in night parties would not leave him alone. They were bound and determined to wonder pathways and corruptible areas. When he was twelve years old, he strolled out with friends at night and got rip-roaring drunk. To this day, he could not remember how he got home by the help of a Good

Samaritan but he could remember his father knocking him to the ground when he staggered through the door.

Notwithstanding, Vivian who was a novice in party frolic soon became a professor of` jamboree. She could no longer suppress the delight she received from male friends’ associations in the party. Male friends gave her many gifts and persuaded her to visit them but she was appreciating their exchanges by email, twitter, Facebook and on the public bulletin-board service. With the little fear left in her, Vivian neglected their invitations. In fact, she understood that responding to such invitations would most likely open a way for Charles to suspect her. And on the other hand, she was happy that Charles led her into party life and pulled off her mask of timidity. In the later months, she felt free and could even answer calls from the opposite sex. She was able to hear wolf-whistles and phone calls from the male friends while every pair of public eyes looked and mocked her behaviours.

For all these practical maxims of her life: her mixing up with male friends on campus and society, stories about her swank behaviours went far and wide and reached her parents. When her parents got the news of her delinquencies, they were mad with sorrow and wondered why she had gone into such degradation, and drifted so low into immorality. They first blamed Charles for giving her the sum of five million dollars because the money had created a chance for her to enter into modern day crazy lives. The money which Charles gave her was drawn from the account of millions of dollars which his father banked for him as legacy, and for his possession, because he was his only child.

The day she received this money in cheque form, it was her ungovernable urge to get into materialism. Now, she is a big girl; she goes in Cadillac and Limousine cars which Charles bought for her during their wedding. Whereby she had her wealth, and not monetarily poor, she had no more regard to other girls of her class, who she felt most akin to during the period of her timidity. She is now civilized. The type of civilization that comes with corruption. She paid no more regard to moral characters and instruction which she was brought up. It had become a thing of the past. The consequences of partisan life took effect upon her. The frequency of smoking and drinking became a thing that she could not refrain from. The desire of dancing with male friend form her everyday life and a life of theatrical shows took over her everyday life. Nothing, in short, nothing mattered to her than the strong yearnings for going out anywhere she want to go upon all the inconveniences such luxury and pleasure could bring.

Formerly, she had no accord and company with the campus girls. She hated their obscure manners and ways of life and disdained their connections. But since she had joined the corrupt party life, she joined the campus girls for the corruption of her innocence; she joined their luscious talk, in which modesty was out of place; their descriptions of engagements with male friends had given her a tolerable insight into the kind of activities which they held every day in the nightclubs.

Vivian joined her course mates at the University of Yankee and they loved money like her. She and her money- maniac friends in due course nicknamed themselves sharp-wise

ladies. There were very beautiful and charming, there were breathtakingly beautiful: each one looks like an angel – which anyone could feel a serious twinge of envy. They were money- crazy: they loved money, cherished it and treasured it. They used to walk in the streets in ‘hot-skirts’ or crazy trousers. They were goody-goody. Each one of them knew how to warm her way into the hearts of wealthy men- how to sap men’s money. There were loquacious tongues, indolent hands, proud hearts, and rough minds. Each of them took too many bottles of beer.

There were many funny things these sharp-wised ladies used to do anytime they were chanced to meet. First, each of them in turn related the exploits and success she had made: how she played pranks on men and cheated or swindle men out of their money. Again, they advised themselves on how to spread their nets in order to catch more wealthy men. They also advised one another not to create any chance to men to deceive them and have forceful carnal knowledge of them. Besides, they urged and encouraged one another to deal ruthlessly with rich men who sought their hands in friendship. Their motto was: “Get money and dump men: use foolish men to make money.” They in other words were determined to punish men. They punished them in two ways. At first, they ignited sexual fire in them. These girls have no second thought about dancing in clubs. Their acts were more of a comment on society than on murderers and terrorists. Without a good reason to do otherwise, Vivian would do as she had been advised by her group. She did not want any one from her community to know

about her secret persona. She did not feel guilt about her care- free life, as she cheated on her hubby.

The last session of the academic programme of the university had elapsed. Charles had finished his research on his English Course Project and came out in flying colours. He graduated in his course with Upper Credit. He was about to be posted for National Youth Service before he would be back to switch to the Government Service. Maybe get a job in one of those private companies that pay big money with good remunerations. Even if he could not get a good job, there was the possibility that he would establish a private business with big capital that his father banked for him as a heritage. Already, he was going to work for an accounting firm for a couple of years. The firm had already given him an appointment that would begin after his National Youth  Service.

When Charles and Vivian came home on a fine morning, the parents of Charles were surprised at the appearance they saw Vivian. They were filled with awe and confounded with the way she dressed: her fashion was out of place, her eyes painted blue and look like the eyes of a lizard. Her lips painted red like the lips of a foolish woman, or like the lips of the Hollywood whore. Her chins were painted black and blue like the face of a witch doctor, her fingers like a claw, painted red. Her hair blown up on top of her skull like a satin crown; she wore a pair of trouser, which pounded her together and she looked like a bag of garri in deep water; and she stood on a high-heeled-shoes, her neck outstretched and was mincing as she walked into the castle of Noble Rogers.

“Oh! What has brought you into this deceitful and suspicious appearance?” Regina began awfully. Vivian’s face changed swiftly, and she looked like an entirely different person. She felt the impact of her question as if a nuclear bomb had been dropped in the room. Regina looked swiftly at her and saw that she had turned angrily pale. She got wondering if something was wrong with her. Vivian knew that everybody was saying about her being a beautiful woman, but she could not understand what her mother-in-law saw about her appearance. Nobody said anything wrong at all about what she was really like.

“What kind of appearance did you observed?” Vivian began suspiciously.

“Please I would not hide any fact from you. Your outlook is like one of those modern women found in Hollywood and streets of the town. Your dressing violets modest fashion. You don’t look like the wife of a reasonable man; I am not pleased with your shameful appearance. Why do you allow demons to slip through you? Once again, I have the feeling of shame burning inside me, because your appearance connotes evil. Nobody ever believed that someone like you could do this nefarious act. One of these days you will be like one of those women who showed themselves in public wearing nothing but G-strings. These women are taking advantage of our society, you know. If men were not so ready to pay exorbitant sums to see women undress, these women would not be tempted down this path. It was evil when Eve listened to the snake and ate from the tree of knowledge. It was evil when she saw she was naked. If not for that, none of us would ever have

to grow old and sick, and die. God clothed her from her nudity and warned the woman not to put on men’s wears. How strange that people of honest feelings and sensibility consider your outlook?” Regina chided.

“Mum, what you observe of my outfit doesn’t make sense to me. It seems to me that anyone could put on what he or she likes. I just think I wasn’t wrong to put on what I like. That’s how we dress on campus. Old fogies dress in ancient clothes,” Vivian briefly retorted.

“My daughter, your answers do not make sense to me. Your conception is odd. It seems to me that anyone could make up lies about things they did not really imagine. If the school pupils dress in such filthy wears like yours, it is properly degradation to the families and society in which they came from. It is quite mental for them not to see the past more clearly. I doubt anyone who lived few decades ago has any of immoral clothe. You are supposed to be a descent girl from a good family. To look like this, is a breach of moral law and if it is considered a vogue, it is a shameful appearance of the modern women. It is just suppression to the delight of morality and tampers on natural laws of the virtuous woman. A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you cannot get anywhere with it if you do not change it. Your thoughts of the modern vogue are contrary to anything that we have been taught.” Regina upbraided scathingly.

On hearing the warnings of her mother-in-law, Vivian dished out an acrid smile at the argument her mother-in-law could use to dissuade her from her seductive wears. She imagined whoever heard of a thing like that. She didn’t hear a

thing like that. She doesn’t understand what her mother-in-law mean by her explanation of her modern vogue. Nobody had ever made her aware of absurd appearance. She did not see evil in her modern vogue. She knew that her mother who was a strict religious fundamentalist had previously warned her wearing panties and high heels. That did not mean much to her, but her mother-in-law’s questions and descriptions of her modern vogue infuriated and upset her, in the hope that she took precaution on her adverse wears. She was disconnected from reality that she could not imagine how anything her mother-in-law could count for her odd vogue and she considered her points as a hoax. Mrs. Rogers was lounging in her chair, apparently uncomfortable, but she was watching every detailed points. Charles sat prim and upright at the other end of the table, looking straight ahead, his face tight with disapproval as he listened to his mother. Few minutes elapsed; he settled in an armchair and let Vivian handle the conversation for a while. Vivian had shifted her chair away a little and sidewise, facing the mother- in- law. She was lolling back in her chair, looking up at her, the eyebrows raised, the eyes half closed, a little smile touching the corner of her lips; her eyes darkening with a memory. Basically she did not understand her archaic taught, and puts uninteresting spine on her thought processes. For a little time, she responded boldly to her.

“Mum, in instructing me, as far as your own lights reached, is good. I would assure you that; but I couldn’t be able to withdraw from the present day vogue, in which every girl appears. There are so many things you do not understand. Nobody lives in two worlds: ancient and modern. If you lived

in the past age, you will talk about the things that happened in the past. If you live in the modern age, you will think about modern things. The whole world is gulfed up in a great mass of modernism and scientific technology. Everyone loves me, you know. I don’t think I ever heard a word spoken against my fashion. Look, if I go back to the days in which girls put on gowns that cascaded down from their necks to toes, making them look like they have no legs, the modern girls in the universities, who wear shorts and bikinis would classify me as one of the old fashion. Just one who had never cared to change the fashion of her foster mother. So, modernity doesn’t mean antiquity.”

“Look Vivian! I have a feeling of shame burning inside me. Have you no shame? So you have become one of those blind fools, a spoilt lady, who went on the streets in broad daylight half-naked and with lips, eyes, checks and nails painted like a prostitute. You must have been a spoilt girl, a hawker-whore, in this day. I wonder how we call ourselves Christians in this nation; yet each year, our women, take off more of their clothes and put on men’s wears. They ought to put on more clothes made for women. I don’t care what the rest of the world proved, said or did – it is wrong. Sometimes I see the way women walk nude on the street, I wonder if it is mental. It seems like they don’t realize that when they do that, they are making themselves baits for the devil. Therefore modernity must follow the footprint of antiquity lest corruption follows. In our days, nobody could ever put on these vulgar wears modern women put on. It is a disgrace to the female race that put on nude wears; I wasn’t taught to behave immorally by

my parents neither do we participate in corruptions found among men and women of our modern time. I think, except these crimes to come from the intelligent women of the true society. If they were found in crimes, they have lost their bearing as virtuous women, and feminism has lost its value and binding functions, and justice to the true course of woman nature has been perverted,” Regina said curiously. She jerked her head briskly up and down as she spoke, like a hen. Charles moped, shook his head and sighed. He did not bother arguing with her mother. All the while, he just sat mutely and let Vivian and his mother in the tête-à-tête. At this point, he stood up and left the scene of the conversation.

“Mum, I do not think there is something strange about my wears. You are judging me wrongly. Your condemnation of the style of the modern vogue would certainly be found on the reason that you are an old woman, and fuddy-duddy. No person in his right reasoning power could weigh the custom of the past with that of today. You are trying to live in a past age. People are living something that was done in the ancient time. Why do they do that? There is something in them that made them do that. They confuse and complicate modernity with antiquity. Today, people are trying to live in an age gone-by, what somebody else lived in some other age. That won’t work for this modern age, but it is not strange that old people think about old things. Modern lives go with modern thinking and behaviours and lives of antiquity are measured with such scale.”

“Your appearance crossed jurisdictional boundary. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Vivian, for suggesting such a

thing. There is something wrong with your conception. You have unpleasant thought. It hurts to take up your crude ideas. I don’t think I ever found out the truth in your crude analysis. Your ideas are bad. Your coordination is irresponsible. Whatever defense you would set in the pretext of self-defense on your diabolical appearance, would never change the truth and something that is black turns to white. We must call black, black and white, white. If immoral behaviour is the style of the modern woman, then, it is never laudable. Such sin would be somehow what the immoral generation of women makes a market of it. And if a married woman can put a gob of paint in her lips or paint her eyes blue, it signifies a bad paragraph that is in her heart; it is devil’s artificial beauty. But beauty is a secret thing of the heart. You ought to buy garments that would minimize your nudity.”

“Don’t be fooling around with queer thoughts like that, however, by all indications, old men and women think of old things that happened in their days. Their mental deterioration is very rapid as modern lives come. Your comments are improper. Your brain had decreased in weight and smoothing out of cerebral convolutions. That is why you could see  modern lives like that. The blue under my eyes, the gob of paint on my lips, manicure and pedicure are additions to blend my natural beauty. With the paints, I look quite attractive. And you realize that no sensible person would condemn any attractive woman.” Vivian defended.

“No my daughter. You used to be a good, dependable, ordinary girl –not too bright maybe, but honest. Who knows what you have done to yourself to get so smart all of a sudden.

Or do you want to show us how smart you are. Those paints  are not the symbol of beauty but the symbol of a striptease. I did not see anything like painted faces before in our days. Not one of those faces in my father’s family bore a trace of paint, and no good reasonable person could stand it. It is mental blindness to put on those things the modern women put on. Everyone is upset about what these women are doing today… the things these women do is demeaning, and it hardens them in a tragic way. They are driven on by something inside them that won’t let them stop their acts. It is very ridiculous to behave this way. It is kind of a shame, though. I cannot imagine why these women would do such things or how anyone would be capable of it. These women are capable of almost anything. If a married woman or a spinster puts a gob of paint on her check, and black under her eyes and lips, it clearly shows that she has evil spirit; if you insist in this artless work of artificial beauty, I would assure you that I would soon fade up with you and I believe the love that binds you with your hubby would never last long. The next thing the people would look at you as a disappointed figure, which is stabbing the bond of love between you and your groom because you are creating deceitful impression on the mind of the people”.

“My husband loved my ways and company on campus; he hadn’t uttered any angry complaint against my modern dresses. Before, people laughed at me and despised me for my ignorance and dullness and timidity; now, they hate me for my knowledge and understanding,” Vivian retorted.

“Understand this Vivian; a man with good reasoning power would not tolerate such pollution of natural beauty with

artificial make-up and prostheses. Though there are many men in the world who would like it, yet most noble and sensible men find it difficult to allow their wives paint their eyes and put on men’s outfits, or go out nude before the public with counterfeit beauty faces. Do not struggle under the specter of self-doubt. There is nothing wrong with a person becoming intelligent and wanting to acquire knowledge and understanding of the world around him. Knowledge misused caused nudity. When Eve got knowledge she became naked. It seems that you are dragged into this mess to do what you are doing,” Regina advised.

“Beauty of any kind is at the eyes that look at it; there are many counterfeit faces in this modern age: plastic faces, surgical faces, cream faces and pancake faces. Nature endows one with supernatural beauty. The fact is that whatever way beauty is made, artificial or supernatural, it is still beauty at the eyes that look at it. If my husband accepts my abject character which you found out, you have no right to stop me from putting on anything,” Vivian emphatically declared.

Everything inside Vivian tensed. She hadn’t felt comfortable with Regina since her accusations about her odd appearance. It was reassuring that she didn’t think she had anything to worry about from her mother in-law’s accusations. She almost hated her points; hated her for reminding her of all the things she was doing. Mrs. Rodgers was getting distinct impression that she didn’t have much opportunity to express herself on these issues.

“You can put anything you think best so far your husband likes it. If he desires your abject behaviours, it

signifies that he had become a boneless sissy, and had forgotten his nature of breed. If he accepts your filths, it is because the university’s immodest way of living had crept on him, and had corrupted his innocence which he was brought up. Nobody would blame you. Well, I would believe you; a slight shift of character in a man would absolutely appear on his wife. If your husband would accommodate your filthy acts, it then reflects what was in him. I am sure after all your false appearance; you do not need me to explain how you look like a devil. When a woman puts so much artificial on the outside, it shows there is a lot of artificial in the inside. Because, the outside always expresses what is in the inside. And what you do expresses who you are,” Regina concluded.

This discussion between Vivian and Regina took a long time and had drawn into the whole hours of the day, but at last; Regina was unable to convince her of her apparent immorality and immodest way of living. When she conceived that her instructions could not gain any advantage on her, she withdrew from their conversation and went out to meet up the day’s activities. The discussion offended her, for some reasons, and she could constantly think about it. Apparently, she knew that Vivian could not accept defeat. She realized that she had no valid concern on her immodest dressing since her husband accepts her abject behaviours. The truth was that Vivian needed the excitement and stimulation of modernity. She had determined to do what other people used to do. She did not want to put any distance between all the shit the world is drowning in. Regina simply could not imagine why any woman

would want to do such things in public. Her arguments bored her.

On the side of Vivian, she believed that her mother-in- law knew things that other people did not know. She saw things with her third eye they did not see. And she could not make them believe her when she tried to admonish them. She could not make Vivian believe her, of course, but she could at least try to dissuade her from her demonic manifestations. She did not apologize for the way she had been acting. She was following the classic pattern of modernity. Contrary to her earlier impressions of her mother in-law, she realized that she is not at all a modern woman. She had a very good mind, but it struggles under the specter of antiquity. She wanted people to take her for her antique explanation of things in advance world. She felt her areas of knowledge are too limited. She was educated in the tradition of the past and narrow civilization. Her Moto activity is impaired; there is a general reduction in glandular activity; there is an accelerated loss of coordination. There are also strong indications of progressive amnesia. Her physical and mental deterioration syndromes could be seen by her application of antiquity to modernism. Vivian knew that she was stating the obvious. But then, Vivian had always had a penchant for stating the obvious.

Vivian did not see her wrong wears as anything bad; when she thought of Regina’s instructions and condemnations of her illegal outfit, she felt uncomfortable little twinge. Regina’s ugly comments would come floating back, but she was unable to make herself believe it. Although she knew that Regina was talking about something very basic. It is almost

instinctual in the women to be nude. And she knew that a lot of cultures believed that a woman can dress anyhow she wants to. Besides it was her faults for not having recognized that something wasn’t quite right about her from the very start, when she begun putting on absurd wears. Instead, she had found her appearance exciting, and strange notions she took lively. It had never once occurred to her that wrong comments would be given to her immodest dressing. Regina, she had believed, was simply imaginative. But within her, her suspicions of women’s vogue had always been justifiable. The subject made her uneasy, somehow.

She had weighed in her heart after Regina had withdrawn from their dialogue, the instructions she had given her, she felt that she was an old foggy; she considered her senses to be paralyzed by odd thinking. Her thinking faculty could not match with the advance of event in modern world. She dictated that her five senses had been confounded by archaic reasoning; that her intelligent quotient measures a lot of different things including some of the things that differ from modern application. She added angrily that her mother-in-law was looking at the rear-view-mirror, what she contemplated women and their style of fashions were many decades ago. It is absurd when you consider the work that is being done in old times to advance modern age. She said that modernity had nothing to do with antiquity, and that the ancient ways of life contradicts the liberty which modernism throws.

She had wanted a change of attitude when she found out that the way people live in the village were quite different from what they were living on campus. She knew that her

fashion was anomalous. It was clear that such radical ways of life were never her nature. It was only the life on campus that changed her former innocent life, to something strange. She found out within herself that she had abandoned all the fine virtuous character which she was natively raised up and she understood too well that her parents in particular would not like her present immoral life. And she quite knew that her parents disliked evil manifestations, and had always pointed ugly fingers at vulgar girls in the society, whose innocence were thrown to the dust at nonage; those youths that smoke and drink alcohol, who had shame earlier on, but were biased and confused by ill wind in society.

Nevertheless, Vivian pondered and said that ‘there was a time in a youth, when pleasure was wanted besides been prurient and uncontrollable passion.’ She knew that she was matured, and in that period of unchecked passion. And she knew that she cannot conquer the present weird force of her odd life. She could not maneuver the pulsating punk party regal that filled her heart. Uncontrollable passion triggers her particular interest. Instead of embarrassing men into going away with her, she admitted them. She had exposed herself and had joined the parties, which brought noble-to-nine-pence. For this, she was living extravagantly with the five million dollars that Charles gave her.

Since she was on money, she was quite open to live any kind of life she chose and would not accept any person’s instructions on the ways of life. Neither would any person prevent her from the chances of looking good, which was the way the modern women adopted. And money is the power of

good and evil. Yes, she had the money, more than enough. She was sure where she had gotten it, but it did not do to question too closely. Providence had put the money in her possession through Charles charities and through foolish men she sapped their money. The rich numskulls were enslaved by her beauty. All the while, she was almost all the days working gracefully, shaking her buttock in a charming way. All she wore was a G- string and high heels, and she moved her body in ways calculated to make everything sway. As she was doing so, the sons of the devil took leave of their senses – lost their minds – and began to follow her like blue fly following a rotten corpse to the grave…

When it was bed time, Vivian thought about what Mrs. Rogers had instructed her, on her present fake character manifestations. She made up her mind never to change her pattern of fashion, since Charles did not complain about her odd appearances but admired her modern vogue, and the kind of company she associated with. She was not careful about what her characters let out to the public. She found herself getting widely into invasion of virtuous life. Her parents and in-laws had not opportunity any longer to talk her out of it. She was finding some amusement rather than studying at her books and sat in the darkness of unbelief. She grew more evil wings. Her character stank like a skunk as she grew bigger and deeper in vice and folly. She became an enemy of diligence, a stranger to prudence. As the sky is far from the earth, so she was far from the path of honour, truth and dignity. Except the light of formal education, there was no light in her. As a matter of fact, Vivian was an evil double-edged-sword. She did evil both at

home and on campus. She disobeyed her parents and everyone and went in company with her sharp-wise friends; criss-crossed the bedrooms of rich-sex-mad men. The worst of all, she went wherever and whenever she wanted without informing her husband – Charles. But she could not forget her father’s proverb: “show me your associate, where you go, what you do and what you look at and I will tell you who you are and the kind of spirit that motivates you.”

CHAPTER SEVEN

The next academic session of the Yankee University commenced after the holidays. Numbers of students returned to the campus and began to prepare for studies, filling the dormitories with the clatter of keys and faculties with murmur of conversation. Vivian went back to the campus. She could not get in touch with Charles, who had been posted by the federal government on National Youth Services corps in a well reputable library stocked with advance English language textbooks.

However, since Charles was away from home, she was beginning to feel uncomfortable since he departed. She felt uneasy all the time, because she saw nobody to discuss issues with. Loneliness became a prime thing in her life. These days, she lived a monastic life filled with loneliness and horrifying woes. A life cut off from everything except an ephemeral relationship by some of her departmental colleagues because Charles was never coming home. She could not stop worrying about herself. Sometimes the pain of his absence made her to go starving that she begun to thin-down. She said that Charles had pandered to lust; and lust is one of the seven deadly sins, which could create alibi of disunity and divorce in marital home. “Maybe he had been deceived by some of the Hollywood strippers” – she imagined.

She blamed women who strip their clothes off for men. Any woman that does that is a whore, because she didn’t had to take off her clothes for men or sleep with them for money. She confirmed that she would not do that, but it would be better for

her to marry the second time. Charles had written to her two consecutive times, enquiring about her condition of health. He explained to her, how good he felt with the station where he was posted, in those letters.

In spite of that, he consoled her, so that she might not feel his absence much. Upon all these, Vivian eagerly expected to see Charles face to face. Charles had promised her in some of his impromptu letters that he would soon come home before the expiration of Yankee University’s vacation but did not fulfill his sordid promise since the session had already begun. She felt his absence still, and thought it had been years ago they saw themselves last.

Really, she had longed to see him since he departed but she had suspected that the bloom and regale of suburb life had influenced and confused him to the extent of forgetting home. All the day long, she would be embittered about why Charles would abandon her so soon and stayed away in the township with many other girlfriends that passed out from the university- who were posted together with him by the central government of Yale Republic. She had been thinking about that a lot, wondering why he hides his contact address from her. She could only conclude that her assumption for his ex- communication was undoubted fact. She suspected that he had company of girls. Otherwise, he might have come home to see her wellbeing, her state of health. What rattled her was the letters he had forwarded had no residential addresses. She read those letters and felt her heart lurch when she saw no addresses.

While on campus she presumed that Charles would one of those days visit her and brighten her situation, in which his long absence had kept her into. Since she had seen that his absence was inevitable, she resumed her old ways, in which she was moving with Charles when he was on campus; and led bad life with her friends whose lives were entirely spent on parties and discotheque. During their courtship Charles introduced her into such life. She prowled from party to party and party lives became part of her. She found in them an inexplicable pleasure, which added solace to her conflicts that came due to the absence of her groom. She read one time in a book that ‘a woman that lives in pleasure while the husband is living is dead’.

She dreamt one night like a moron and wept bitterly on the bosom of Charles who had been a distant partner. When she woke that night, she found out that Charles wasn’t in her bed; she flushed reasons to limbo what prompted him to behave in the way he had chosen. She imagined how his love had faded too soon. The expectation of the family they planned to start had never happened. That was just another thing she held against him and this affected her miserably. She was used to feeling alone when she hadn’t acquainted with Charles, but his silent departure to Rano state left her feeling even more alone than usual. She was embarrassed at his idea of going away. Of course, she had been always nice to him. Everything within her went into amazement, for no man had she ever believed to love and marry until Charles, and she had no idea that he would lock her into excommunication. She wanted his fullest attention on the building love within her, wanted him to focus

on nothing but the marital vow they vowed to each other at the beginning.

For the mean time, she viewed at the effects of his attitude toward her, which appeared surprisingly cruel. However, she was already regretting the reason why she married such a person like Charles, whose love was temporal. She wondered what her friends might think or say if they would hear the story of her association with Charles, which had been a situation of lonely life and disappointment. Charles didn’t show up his dubious character in the beginning. She added with perplexity that people who knew her would  criticize her at the back for making incompatible boast about Charles’ façade of nobility and large financial status, which she bragged about during the period of his courtship. She had known Charles for only six months but she had ample opportunity to observe him. There was nothing about him that made her uneasy except that she was alone like a lone wolf.

The thing that upsets Vivian most about this was the lack of information on his whereabouts in the state of his posting by the federal government. He seemed to be stonewalling; he did not want to take the responsibility for telling her anything firm. Even her friends who were posted together with him, whom she saw return constantly, hemmed and hawed and refused to tell her the exact location of Charles. Of course, they did not know. She understood that none of them could know for sure.

Meanwhile, one mistake which Charles made was that he did not submit his residential address, neither did he submit the address of his office nor disclose his postal address to her,

during his journey to Rano State, in some of his letters. Those letters which he wrote to her without postal addresses or his residential addresses opened suspicion for her against him. This in no doubt created despair to her. She was of the idea that there must be a tacit reason for him not to disclose his addresses to her. She said, “Men who commit sin intentionally always hide their identities.”

She further questioned herself out of endless resentment if Charles truly meant his word when he vowed that he loved her, and assured her that she measured to his wish. It wasn’t that she didn’t love Charles. To be more precise, she loved the Charles she had married. The Charles she loved had become a remote stranger. For him she felt nothing except a sense of duty over his none caring and evil manifestations. But, how much did she owe to a man who had nearly destroyed her life, who had abused her marital status and betrayed her before other women. It made her realize just how distorted her whole marriage was. She used to cling to the belief that had been good before he got in the way pleasing to him.

For Charles’ negligence, she suspected that he must have been affected by a new passion from one of those roving women of the town, or that he was now un-governable to have ended up in the laps of one of those street women, and had betrayed the vows that he testified before thousands of witnesses during their wedding. She suspected that all the humorous petting and pampering words of Charles during their courtship were mere deception. She swore a thousand times like a pagan that all the flattery words of Charles over her beauty must have been a mockery. She said that Charles

married her and turned her life into an object of mockery and criticisms before neighbours. She did not get anything tangible out of the marriage many months ago. Instead of finding a normal life for herself, she perched on distant partner, while he abused her and treated her like shit beneath his feet. When he could not even care about her, she was just ridiculously loyal. He was not the man anyone can fall in love with anymore, and nobody can stay in love for long with someone who does not care about him or her. Having observed all these unbearable attitudes from Charles, she restrained her annoyance within herself.

While all these reasons were going to-and-fro inside her, she had made up her mind to divorce him and get married to another man, who would love to her wish. Someone who would acknowledge and bear on his shoulder the consequences of a loved wife, who would share the battle of warfare of love with his mate and whose character would be most admirable and wouldn’t neglect his mate. She counted her fingers many times and confirmed mathematically that five of her girlfriends had been divorce victims. Consequently, she lived in twilight world, not fearing that if she ever walked away, Charles might one day return home and find himself abandoned and alone. He would be alone without her. Every time she thought of that, the notion to divorcing Charles became almost unbearable but she must walk away, and find another mate because, he could leave her so utterly alone, and was regardless of her welfare.

She had planned to divorce him for her own good, but she felt like a failure for being unable to fulfill her sordid vows to Charles, and she felt as guilty as if she had abandoned him.

She felt defiant, knowing that her parents wouldn’t accept her divorce plans. They had tried to prevent it entirely, but her decision had overridden their advices and admonishment. Though, the neglect of Charles to their marital status terrified her more than she could explain, she believed in forgiveness, and she was finding it impossible to forgive him for the things he was doing. How could she forgive someone who acted as if no one and nothing mattered? A person who had abandoned his wife and lived in Diaspora? How could she tell the euphoria of a newly married wife? How could she explain the jubilation of being together with a new hubby?

Vivian had waited in vain for the arrival of Charles in the school campus as he promised in his most recent letters and was fading up in her hopes for his arrival. One bright morning, students of the Yankee University staged a party with the title Senior Debating Society of Friends (SDSF). The party was given a nationwide publication in various magazines, newspapers like in Daily times, Statesman, and American Democrat; and was announced through many radio stations including CNN. The university invited all the pioneers of the school, Alma Maters and some important men who walked on sixth feet. Vivian being a staunch member of the society with recognized membership certificate, had the ovation to attend and she invited some of her friends to the party.

The day which started with a bright sunshine brought remarkable welcome to the guests into the campus ground set gregariously aside for the entertainment of the enormous train of guests of the Society of Friends. The wind blew mildly and the clouds moved swiftly across the sky. The birds of the air

flew from one tree to another. The weather of the day was full of fine impact for joy as the throngs of people featured in the party with pleasantries and warm embrace. The noble men of peers attended in flashy cars, horses and buggies and helicopters.

Moment and upright, the party hosts introduced themselves to the guest. Later on, each person was able to come to the floor to attest his or her own ability, and make a brief speech concerning their trade, profession or profile and portfolio. Later, each person was allowed to converse with each other. During this conversation, Vivian came in contact with a very handsome young man whom she cherished his discussion. He was completely engrossed in conversation with her. He was half turned toward her, smiling at her, telling her, so far as he could gather, some stories about his regard toward her. As he spoke, he leaned closer and closer to her, seeming in his eagerness almost to impinge upon her, and she leaned as far as she could toward him, nodding politely, rather desperately, and looking at his round jovial face. She felt drawn to this man almost from the moment he started teasing her, sensing in him a truthful man. Anticipation filled her as John Hill responded to her words. At this moment, she did not particularly care whether she was disloyal to Charles, because it was him that ignited the fire that brought her disloyalty.

To prove the deep regard she had paid to all that he had said to her, she responded to his enquiries and interrogations with a delightful smile, which dragged her two lips apart. She in turn inquired into his background as he revealed his country’s accent, his professional acumen based on his big

boast of private business, and high academic achievement. This lightened up her heart and she was enamoured of him. She did not want to lie to him. Her thought was totally down on marriage, because of Charles misbehaviours and she did not think she was mistaken if she marries this man. To avoid finding herself hog-tied to another careless man in a mutual conceived deception, she simply kept her relationship with Charles exposed. It was the only sensible way to do it. With John Hill, she thought she had found the ultimate way to have a safe relationship and a caring groom.

In the midst of all the frolic and wantonness, which this society has presently, an elegant dinner was served. The meal began with a plate of whitebait, fried very crisp in butter, and to go with it there was a moselle and fried chicken. She was watching John Hill. She would see him give a rapid furtive glance down on the table each time he dropped his head to take a mouthful of whitebait, and when every guest sat down to eat and drink, Vivian’s new lover placing himself next to her. She sat facing him and picked at the fried chicken on the table, as if she weren’t really hungry. Of course not! She wondered what John was going to say to her next. The only thing she knew with absolute certainty was that she hated Charles’ behaviour, and if John would be ready to accept second marriage, she would be obliged to accept him. Because for most of those months she lived with Charles, after wedding and honey moon, she was getting increasingly sick of his dishonesty and disregard. The delicate cheer and good wine soon banished all reserved; the conversation among the party train grew as lively as could be expected in a groovy party, and without taking too

loose a turn these guests were highly moved by the music from the live music band.

Though this time, Vivian who was resting in the heart of John Hill had weighed and compared Charles with John. She immediately found out that John was more handsome than Charles in terms of competition; more valuable to control a woman’s problem. He had independent business and some projects planned for the future, which distinguished him from the score of other young men of his class. He was at the very top. A money man but Charles was only posted by the Federal Government on youth service, which she wasn’t certain if he would get a good job after his youth service, in the midst of the present gross statistics of unemployment data. He might be a hobo after his service. Although she understood that Charles father is a millionaire and Charles was yet. And since John had a big business that was going on successfully and a multi- millionaire, she made up her mind to abandon the former bond she had with Charles, and declared herself independent to espouse John if he spoke to her for marriage or for an intimate engagement.

It was true that nature had given such great blessing of wealth accumulation to John, but he did not show that he was in possession of a dollar. One other vital thing she liked about John’s manner was that he wasn’t pompous, and doesn’t puff- up; unlike others who would show braggingly on their biographies and résumé. To be precise, he attended Oxford University London. He was properly educated and you would not notice whether he was educated or not, because educated men were not always humble people. But he was humble. Time

and again, she had found him knowing just what she was going to say. Not thought reading, but what they call intuition. Vivian had added that if John would give love for her love, which she gave to him at sight, and give unshaken promise of marriage, she would at any moment of time pack up her traps and divorce Charles and violet the vow she made in her epistles to him, and would break the bond that unified them together.

When the party had ended, people in the party hall began to leave to their different homes with joy in their faces, and with echo of noises of pleasure from men who were amazed with drink. John Hill himself was not quite satisfied with the brief conversation which was held between him and Vivian during the few minutes’ liberty of introductory remarks and self-explanations of one’s constitutions at the beginning of the party. Before the introductions that went between them, he was charmed by her incomparable beauty and her air of audacity. He had never in his life acquainted with such charming and beautiful girl. While Vivian tried to enter her limousine car to drive off from the party ground, a wolf whistle rattled into her ears. Vivian who was about to move stopped judiciously at a halt. John Hill came forward to her, and demanded explanations.

“Since I met you in the morning when the party tossed up to introduction remarks by personalities, there was something in me that loved you. My heart had been meditating and battling on how to approach you with this demand, for your approval. I don’t know why you wear that wedding ring. Have you been married and divorced by any rough man? I

asked because many women were divorced today by unfaithful hubbies”.

Vivian smiled with joy and appreciated the demand of this young and handsome man, which ignited happiness that paraded the joyful area in her heart. She knew he had begun to embark upon very special topic. The signification of her heart desire. All she could do was to stare at John and wonder why he was bringing her wedding ring up. It did not have anything to do with him, and it was as if there was something scandalous or newsworthy about her situation or maybe some people who poke nose in people’s affairs might have criticized her at the back. She didn’t know whether to get into her car and leave or simply tell him to stuff his head where the sun didn’t shine. But, whether or not she divorced Charles or Charles done the same is irrelevant.

Nearly a full minutes passed by while she fought for control. Her breathing wanted to come in ragged gasps, and her hands clenched so tightly that she could fell her nails cutting her palms. But what she couldn’t do was just start her car and leave. She couldn’t let the mere mention of divorce and wedding ring frustrates or wins this man’s love demand or any hearsay or cynical criticisms spoil their new acquaintance.

John was embarrassed why she couldn’t speak to him for a moment but as soon as he saw her up in answer to his query, he felt a fled joy coming back to his heart. He had no idea on earth that her ex-hubby was, but he was indeed appreciating to know about her wishes towards him, biography and all about her. She told him in the party that she was a student, so he figured her for a waitress; maybe a college

student, although she seemed older than that, to judge by her conversation. It was interesting to speculate, but he had never asked personal questions on love gesture or had she asked any about him during the introductory remark. It was as if the two of them wanted to remain ultimately anonymous on love issue, even as they shared some of their deepest feelings.

“The same magnetism of love for you charmed my heart when I saw you first,” started Vivian. “And if I refuse to answer your questions that deserve explanations, it would seem I disliked your requirements. And it would seem the act of ignoring a strange love from a strange lover… but I would feel so good to lean against you and feel your strength. So good to feel your arms close around me and know that for these few moments I am safe. I almost feel as if I could stay here with you forever. But I suspect the love of men in a party; it starts in good and ends in fiasco.”

“Vivian,” John began. “A strange love from a strange lover should not be instantly rejected and neither would the request of the one who offered the love be rushed at. Love is a delicate thing, meant to be nurtured, and man-woman attractions can ruin it. But all of me want your love as much as I have ever wanted anything significant. I can see the glimmer of love in your eyes – which no foe of love can hinder.”

“Our first time to acquaint with each other, had been a time nature provided for us to meet each other, but so far as you have loved me at the first sight, and hadn’t gone wide to obtain information on my native characters, I would render to you my love, I can’t exchange your love with any stranger who might be charmed by my excellent beauty. But one thing I must

impress upon your agreement: that you would marry me, and that had been my desire which if we marry, would bring us too close to make good relationship and add more veto to the wishes of our love possessions.” Vivian admitted.

“I am interested in every request you have made. Your wish is my command. If it is love, I love you; if it is marriage, I will marry you, I had not given such promise to any other woman, because marriage without love is hellhole itself.”

Her heart began to pound in joy after John Hill admitted her request. She turned to look at him, trying to read his face, but it was love that registered. His love was looming, threatening to break free of the constraints she had put on it. The constraint was that he would refuse her demands, but there were no impassiveness on his face but a declaration of acceptance. Now, in spite of herself, she felt a smile lifting the corners of her mouth. Even John looked faintly amused. No man had spoken to her on cordial relationship since Charles departed to Rano State. And this had been a single opportunity she had to discuss intimately with a man whom she speculates would take what Charles rejected.

“Here, sir,” began Vivian. “According to your question so instantly laid down before me on the issue of wedding ring I wore, I guess it would help if I explain. I should not stop to inform you of my most risky condition: I would add, however that I got married to a man, a graduate few months ago, who left me and started roving and had abandoned me in loneliness. Ever his edition of flinching and ever the essay of his excommunication, I dwelt in maladies and upset became my food. No male companion who would soothe me in my

distress. But at this point, I did not even have male friends on campus I could associate with. Charles had driven them away with his pretended jealous love and since his departure; I hadn’t made any effort to find new ones. Many men looked at me as small fry, second handed girl, married and dumped by a rough man, but what really bothered me, though, was how much I found myself caring. How much it hurts that he had suddenly put his distance between us; and how he set the limits on our relationship for a while, which the stories were floating around the campus now, among my colleagues that I was responsible for his departure, but my thoughts and hands were clean and pure like the martyred saint Stephen of the Bible.”

“According to the practical maxims of my life, I ought to brag of my birth, since I owe it to pure love without marriage life; but this I did know, that it was scarce to inherit a stronger love to that cause of men desiring to marry any kind of women that comes their way, and they would be eager to abandon her as soon as his love waxed cold. Whereby you wanted my love and marriage, I would avoid the conditions of your first matrimony and abide by the rules of your heart. Sometimes the man you think that loves you would disappoint you at the end and dislike you to the extreme. Because those we love aren’t those we put confidence upon.” John Hill accepted and expressed.

“Yes,” began Vivian. “And to say the truth, my liking for Charles was so extreme and excessive and it was distinguishing for my neighbour to deny that I love him. Those undergraduates especially in our faculty envied and emulated the good manifestations of our love. They always wanted to be

in our shoes. Though I had loved him in his faults, my happiness, however, with him did not last long but found an urgent end from his impudent neglect over my personality and over his high interest on every little beautiful woman that comes across his eyes. All that glitters is not gold. I didn’t have to plan my life around Charles’ needs any longer, because Charles was never coming home to see my welfare. And no woman would trust a man who doesn’t care about her.”

“There are men who model their choice in marriage and divorce. They would espouse women, and quickly loose the first love which binds them together, and when months run into years, they hate the manners of the women who loved them with all their hearts. Frankly, what your ex-hubby refused to acknowledge is that you loved him so much, so you let him mistreat you in many ways. I found out that your marriage was a living hell without him around you, and I understood that your devotion to him seemed a hopeless cause. Maybe he had found another woman to love, because many men don’t stop at marrying one woman. I still believe that love is a tendency towards simplicity, which cannot be violated with any fuse. How could a woman exist without a man? Unhappiness is the food of a woman without a husband.” John Hill instructed.

“If there would be any solemn price offered for marriage, it would be pure love, purest love that would find its place in a marriage bloc. As soon as Charles left me in this state of mind, I began to feel very bitter over the severity of his separation and isolation. For this condition, my university’s contemporaries gave me the best advice to waive the memory of him out of my brain, least I could go mad, and their

instructions calmed my agonies which his absence entangled me into. The overriding impression was that it was difficult for him to communicate me. My guess would be that he was wound up on the laps of one of those roving Hollywood women,” Vivian said bitterly.

Her voice was unnaturally polite. She remained standing beside and slightly behind John Hill, and there was something so unusual in her manner and the way she stood there, motionless and erect, that John found himself watching her with a sudden oppression. Her beautiful face had a frosty, determined look, the lips that look like parenthesis compressed, and rosy chin was out, and the hands were clasped together tight before her. She opened her eyes and looked at him, wondering if she sounded crazy, but John was nodding, and he had an arrested look, as if he had just thought of something…

“Yes, I would believe you; two can’t work together except they agreed on a bond of love. If the bond of love that joined them together fails, every other promise fails too. You did everything necessary you could for your ex hubby. You were loyal and under the aegis of sobriety. There was nothing else you could do for him. You devoted to the marital status. Few months of your life, to a hopeless cause: your man didn’t want to admit that nothing you ever did would make it better for him to understand your patience and waiting for him to return to you. But, whatever vexation you may have would certainly break down your health, and create dislike and incredible choice of giving your love to another man who would engage you for marriage,” John advised.

“Look John, I fear the sweet words of men to the new girls they found, but do not think that I could change my mind from the offer that you have made. Neither all women’s love reforms nor do all men’s love changes. Before Charles separation from me, I shunned the company of men friends in which there were no hopes coming from them. I rejected their offer for second marriage and indulged in egocentric solitude, and centered on some tender meditations on a man from anywhere with a strong promise of genuine love. But my intention to get a new husband increased my problems, and consumed me. I was yet worse when, yielding at length to the insupportable irritations of Charles distancing me, and his disdain to our marital status created for me a curtain so broad enough as black as a night, and constant meditation and how people looked at me as a small fry, and laughed at me with counterfeited glee.”

“Hey! Vivian, I cannot disappoint you; though men were prone to disappointment. Love is the key to marriage. I am expressing concern and assure you that I am sparing no effort in reciprocating to your passion. I will stand shoulder-to- shoulder with you. I do not think that you would disappoint me too. If I content with your mutual love, it would bring us together and stop your constant longings for a new groom. Holding you close fills me with deepest sense of contentment, as if every unsatisfied yearning is suddenly fulfilled,” John Hill said, looking into Vivian’s lustrous eyes.

“Sir, I will admit your request so far, only on the ground that you will love me forever. It would be a type of Agape love that wouldn’t mind any problem of life, because

love covers all wrongs and conquers every enemy,” Vivian solicited.

“I will give credit to your request. The more we love each other, the better we cement our union. Don’t you mind about your ex-husband? Things weren’t adding up between you and him. It appeared to me that he had ignored you and you were furious with him. I feel so good to have a promising person like you, someone with whom I can be so comfortable. Your palm is warm against mine, and I squeeze your fingers, wanting you to know how much I appreciated your touch. Here is my business card that contains my head office, residential and postal code, you can look for me with it,” John Hill submitted and ordered.

“Thank you sir”, Vivian thanked John as she extended her right hand and received the identity card printed in black and white. She was more confident now. She immediately entered her limousine car and was ready to drive off; and John Hill too, entered his car and drove off in a furious pace.

While he was about to enter his car, Vivian ventured to look, observed his figure, which was well formed and that of a very handsome gentleman with a pleasant face, with a good height, not a dwarf, about thirty five years and older than Charles; dressed in a suit of plain clothes with a sweet perfume tempest, and with a large diamond ring on one of his left fingers. The lustier of which reflected in her eyes as he waved his hand while biding her bye, and which raised her notion of his significance. In a short sentence, he might pass for what would be called a commonly black man, with air of distinction, natural to his birthright, and background: wealthy, finding

profit in the development of private business than the low income of the government payroll. Yes, he had the money, more than enough, and providence has given big money in his possession.

When Vivian drove into her car park, in her apartment, on campus that night, she was unable to sleep. She felt the tears rolling her eyelashes on remembering Charles abandoning her. She wiped the tears that bedewed her face with a scarlet handkerchief as she drew a shaky breath. It would be so easy, she realized to love this man, named John Hill. Too easy! Besides, it was her fault for not having known that something wasn’t quite right about her from the very start, when she starts dating John Hill while under Charles. She had found the biography of John exciting, and the strange notion she took to divorce Charles was unimaginative. It had never occurred to her that there were harbingers of something worse: the defaultation of marital law.

She knew that they had met in university, and things had been good enough for both of them that a little wildness in one another had seemed like part of all the rest. When Charles was on campus, his suspicions of students making love with her which she was innocent of had always been unjustifiable, and his sudden interest in beautiful students had seemed like a lark. When his desires on girls increased after they married, even when his acts began to worsen, she had been able to explain it away as a vagary.

But the figure of John Hill became every moment vision that passed before her eyes. She questioned her soul in a rival grief: did John Hill mean what he said when he said that

he would give credit to her request? Does he like to marry a girl who had married few months ago to a man – who had eloped from the girl that loved him? She didn’t think that she would divorce Charles at the beginning of their engagement, and now she was in such an emotional turmoil that she couldn’t even know what to do. At this point, she couldn’t be sure what catastrophe was worse: the rejection of her parents warning to marry John Hill or the rupture in her relationship with Charles. Either one seemed equally dire.

For these risky thoughts, she had imagined what her father and mother in-law would think if she eloped and got married to another man. She meditated wonderingly what her parents too would do after the cause of her second marriage. She imagined where youths of the society whom she associated with would classify her attitude. What would Charles do if he comes by the painful news that she espoused another man more handsome and wealthy than he? She knew that she was facing a fresh problem; she had decided to risk it. What she was really looking for is a permanent hubby, not a rover. She wanted a new home to live in and settle down. She needed where she would be free from fear, worry and loneliness. She also needed where it would be easy for her to relax, be herself and make friends and communicate her groom all the time.

The morning sun had started peeping through the parapet of her apartment when she brought out the business card which John Hill gave to her, the sun rays illuminated on the italic characters printed in black and white, and she read more of its contents. Finally, she made up her mind to elope and flinch to John Hill, and decided to marry him after some

months of her patience reserved to see Charles return from the township became abortive. She said that she would explain to him in a letter the danger which his long absence had caged her into.

She could not even ignore the yearnings that John Hill was awakening in her: an invocation of new marital bloc. Marriage to Charles had eventually become celibate, and since she had passed the decision to divorce him, she had been living like a widow or a nun in a nunnery. She had, in fact, begun to believe that all her needs and desires from Charles had vanished somehow. Now she knew otherwise and wasn’t at all sure that she was glad of it.

This was one complication she hadn’t imagined would come up in their marital bloc. It had never occurred to her that she might actually give herself away to another man while Charles would turn out to be her enemy. Now she discovered that she had twin pangs of guilt, one for Charles and one for John Hill. In different ways, she was cheating on them both. She owed it to Charles to be faithful – although it was getting harder and harder to remember why she had made that vow to herself – and she owed it to John Hill to be completely truthful to him whilst under Charles. She felt guilty about having a proposal to have a new mate and because she had talked herself into believing it was okay since John Hill was just unmarried man. Because she had fooled herself into believing that Charles distancing her somehow kept her safe and pristine from her second marital agreement. She believed that since he had been away from the State, she wouldn’t live like a nun in a nunnery

any longer, but would seek for a man who would soothe her distresses; one who would be a go-between in her qualms.

All of a sudden she remembered her chats and kisses with John in the party, and how it had made her feel. Guilt immediately surged in waves, casting upon the memory of Charles on the shores of her mind. And she knew she should say no to Hill. And she could accept or reject any intimate interaction from any man outside her hubby. But she opened the channel of communication with John Hill. This was getting dangerous. Dangerous not on her plan but dangerous to Charles. The closer she grew to John in real life, the more likely it was that their marital relationship would spill out into the community, and now that they had taken the step of marrying, that would be very dangerous to her first vow. But deep inside, she knew she was taking a dangerous step down a dark road. Divorcing Charles would create hatred, caricature, criticisms from friends known and unknown and both from parents and in-laws. She concluded that if she married John Hill, it would end her loneliness, and living with a careless hubby.

CHAPTER EIGHT

The next day had commenced with sunshine peeping from the eastern cloud, and the sky itself was marmoreal. This beautiful morning, Vivian woke from visions and dreams which occupied almost her sleeping hours of the night. Not even –a brilliantly morning sun could drive away the evil plans inside her against Charles. The desire to see Charles face-to- face drained her, as always. This time she found herself wanting to rant at Charles, if she did see him to demand that he came back from his oblivion just long enough to explain it to her. She soliloquized bitterly: “Why did you have to go away from me? Why did you have to get in the way you have chosen? Why the hell did you have to marry me? The last question yanked her up short and flooded her with guilt. How could she even wonder such a thing? How could she reject Charles and marry another man?

All her meditation the previous day was how to elope with John Hill. She had already planned taking a French leave, and did not regret her plan and action she was about to carry out. She gave her heart willingly to John Hill, but an inner voice was diabolically encouraging and beseeching her to proceed on her plans for elopement.

Standing there watching the sun rise higher over the bay, she also admitted to herself that she had been resisting Charles’ evil character from the outset and onset. She did not want to elope then. She did quit fussing with him on his amoral acts to avoid having to alert the neighbourhood what she was passing through with him. But how would she swallow Charles

distancing her? She wondered desperately. Sometimes the thing that upset her most about all of these was the lack of accurate information in his correspondences. This lack of accurate information on his whereabouts in Rano showed hints of the neglect that came from been associated with the wrong man, Charles. He had turned out to be a Yahoo. All the while, her mind was scrambling around wildly, seeking some kind of response from him; a word of mouth or an email correspondence that would console her conflict.

She said that “since Charles had left her for a long time and had forgotten her and her entire beauty so soon, without paying her cautious visits from where he was posted for youth service, she suspected him. According to her, he would be rough with those girls who were his friends before she married him. She added in anger that nothing whatever would hold him back in the city but his default of their marital status.” For this Charles’ obscure attitude, she did not for any brief moment regret the act of remarriage which troubled her now and then. She was not going to regret for taking the next, inevitable step. What really bothered her, though, were how much she found herself caring and patient enough, waiting for him to come home. How much it hurt that he had suddenly put this distance between them. But with her regret a little alleviated by the knowledge that her last days with him had been happy ones, in spite the way he had chosen to go.

Thinking about her remarriage and divorcement with Charles, she remembered that there were many of her girlfriends who were divorced by their husbands and they remarried after few months of their divorces. She had given

rough criticism earlier about marriage and divorce. Since Charles left her in loneness and had forgotten that he married her, she would change her mind from being faithful and loving him. For these experiences which she felt in their marriage bloc, she had strong experience now, and had self-affirmed why some girls divorce their hubbies and remarry other men pleasing to them. She said that she was no novice in affairs of this kind. She had experienced personally the cause of the divorce cases from the infidelity of Charles. She claimed that the cause of most cases of divorce did not come from the women fold, but from men. It however, worried her all day long. She felt somehow that she was robbed of bliss when she remembered her case with Charles. She had wanted him to be a source of her happiness, this would have helped them to bear wonderful children but her hopes were dashed. A fruitless wedlock indeed!

On the other hand she had hoped that they would have lived for one another and cared for their desires. Now, all his air and notions of love towards her lasted only for a short time. But what was more surprising to her was his quick restraint of their marital status. If Charles was out of the town and had decided to divorce her and go with other women, he had violated the laws of marriage which he swore that only death could put them apart.

She concluded that divorced women often felt guilty and responsible for things that were totally beyond their control. Something that happened that they felt innocence of. They felt as if they were to blame for everything, at first, because they were made to feel as if they were to blame, but

then, before long, they were assuming blame all on their own. Men were always making excuses, always denying responsibility for any evil matter that crops up in the family hood. She said “Maybe he had believed other things about her, too, things that weren’t obvious.”

She said bitterly that she had lived with him nearly half a year, in which space she used her time very pleasantly living with him as a proper house wife, who paid her with evil for the unlimited or innumerable complaisance with which she passively good-humoured every caprice that came from him, and which she had won for him the victory of love; and that finding in her person, as Charles said, “All the variety of good quality he needed in his life time, and which he had sought in a number of women and did not find”. And for these few months of their marriage, she had made him lose his desire of constancy and pursuance of new faces of girls in every skirt, and pair of trousers. But what was yet at least more visible to the eyes as well as more unflattering would be the love she had inspired him with, bred and gave him something that made the difference: an unchallengeable life and love.

“What would be the mind of Charles for discarding her to live in the township alone?” Vivian began. “Was she an ugly woman?” she queried in solitude. “Did people gossip and criticize her name?” She added. “What would be the reason given by men who do not moderate their constant desire on women, who look more beautiful than their wedded wives?” She asked further. On her own part, she was beautiful, and she neither had the intention to reject him nor had she persisted in unfaithfulness, murmurings and luscious talks against him as

other beautiful women do, since they lived together. She loved him. It was a duty she set herself; no one else made her to love him. Even though she made herself to love him, she felt it was something she couldn’t get out of. Obligation bounded her as surely as any law or chain could have. Obligation and loyalty.

She had spent most of the hours of the morning speculating on her divorce plan, which she had decided against Charles, though all the idea which she held as pros and cons for divorcing him seemed justifiable. Her heart remained guilty and totally unjustified her plans for divorce. She absolutely was not going to live and sleep in the bed of a man who thought she was a doormat or who decided to live alone in the township. She would not live with a man whose love is quite suspicious; who doesn’t care for his bride; a man who is careless about raising a family they proposed; a man who doesn’t want to share a whole lot about love. How she hated of not having the freedom to come and go as she pleased from Charles’ residence in Rano State.

Sometimes she had nearly hated him for the way he behaved by concealing his addresses. Contrary to her earlier impression of him, she realized that Charles is not at all a right mate for her.

She had perhaps seen how very much she can observe in the fractional or little moment of living with him, every detail etched on her memory to be seen as one who had no husband. She thought that some of his actions were deliberate, simply to penalize her. She wished, then, that she had not allowed herself to marry him. Although she explained in her previous letters to him that she was getting lonely, and felt the

need of his face near her but since her hope of communication with him failed, she was rather fussy about his location in Rano.

The next day, in the middle of the month of April, Vivian left the university’s campus and arrived at her home town to spend few days, because of the strike between the Federal Government and the professors of the universities on the case of salary increase.

“Oh, welcome my daughter,” her mother began. “You have travelled too long a road from your school. Are you coming from your husband’s home?” She questioned further with enthusiasm and felicity.

“I drove right away from the campus, not from my husband’s home,” she began rather sharply. She hid her present feeling that her mother may not discern her thoughts to correct her misimpressions on her possibility of divorce. She felt guilt over her secrecy but shoved it aside. All the thoughts of her vow to remain faithful to Charles fled before her absolute need for another husband.

“Your body is fine and I believe that you are healthy; though, I’ve expected to hear the news that you are pregnant. Furthermore, I think you would have been expecting a bouncing baby by now, even though I know your wedding with your groom took place two months ago,” her mother began with jocosity and pampered fashion.

“Mum, I’ve lived with Charles many months ago, I’ve expected pregnancy and had hoped to bring a baby like most friends who wedded the same time with us last year, received blessings of new babies from their husbands but nothing

happened. I have been thinking about that a lot, since we lived together, wondering why he couldn’t make me pregnant. I can only conclude that he may be impotent but has buried his negative feeling about it to the point that he believes that his impotence is a good thing.” And at that she gave a kind of sob in her throat; “I hadn’t thought I could feel a thing like that. Of course I didn’t know what it was all about that hinders him to make me pregnant,” Vivian revealed.

She did not care whether the account of the problem between her and Charles got concealed. She wanted to let the cat out of the bag. She thought of all the evenings he had spent away from her, regaling in Hollywood; she thought wonderingly of his fierce characteristics, ambition and of the direction his life had taken; she thought of the many hours she did spent by herself waiting in vain for him to come home in the night, when other men were coming home. The realization suddenly struck her that she did await alone in the house till he came home, and somehow she understood she did pardoned him and kept the feelings of his wrong attitude at bay then, thinking that he would improve.

“Do you know if Charles has internal sickness that prevents him from making you pregnant? It is quite impossible for a man with venereal disease to impregnate a woman. I didn’t expect you to be without child this time”, Sussana questioned imperatively.

“Mum, I can’t tell what I don’t know about, but what I will be sure enough to tell was that Charles had been a womanizer. I am making a bold clarification here that I am not comfortable with him; because it is quite hard for a womanizer

to impregnate his wife. His love and care seemed to be divided. He was constantly following any kind of woman in a skirt and pairs of trousers. He had no choice; all that were in skirt pleased his flirtatious conscience. Since we lived together, sometimes he blamed me of trivialities. But he sure blamed me for making too much noise, for being too quiet, for not cooking the required food at the right time. Do you know that sometimes after a little misunderstanding in the house, he would eat in the hotel for several days? Sometimes he comes home for several weeks, and sometimes he would return late at night, bowling me for this or that.” Vivian exposed as tears dropped down slowly from her eyes and spattered her face.

“What are you crying for? Had his amorous manner, errant and sexuality reached the stage that would make you cry and scream? Do you want to tell me that Charles still goes after women since he married a beautiful girl like you? But I don’t expect him to act like that. Well, of course, there wasn’t much to be nervous about. If he hadn’t made you pregnant, he probably had a good reason.”

“Mum, there are men who do not depend on their wives for pleasure but go after women, and such men do not look after the complete welfare of their wives: and Charles possessed to extremity such dubious character. No woman would be around a man who doesn’t love her. A woman requires soothing, caring and pampering and not giving her heartache. Because she has a special need for tenderness and affection. His obscured manner had gone beyond Christian wedlock. I will divorce him and marry any man that would

properly take care of me, and respect the issues of marital home.”

“No! My daughter, your divorce proposal is wrong; you have had no legal support to divorce him. You are just putting your foot in something deep and dangerous. It is quite wrong for you to do such a thing. Whatever you think he does wrong, you should contain his obscure behaviour, because your vow during period of weeding with him was “till death do us part.” You must not only know your own particular needs for happiness but also the needs of your mate. If you want your mate to be happy, make him happy by keeping his orders and forget his trivial attitude. Unhappiness for one will mean unhappiness for both because a man who takes the success of his marriage seriously will seek a wife that he can love, cherish as his own flesh. She should complement him as a partner in establishing a home. Being a good home maker is a demanding career of varied responsibilities. She must demonstrate her talents as a cook, decorator, economist, mother, teacher, and much more. Her role can be creative and challenging, offering many opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment.”

“Since I married him, I had borne the burden of disgraceful sight, which he involved himself with striptease. He had acted without shame and had been caught many times red handed, having fun with women, and he had defiled our marriage bed. He cheated regularly on me. No matter how hard I tried to cover up his evil manifestations, no matter how much I loved him and care for him, there had come a time when he began to see me as a threat, when I encouraged him to desist from his wrong practices.” Vivian exposed.

“My daughter, such immoral, men have been wooed by it. It is quite disreputable act for a person like Charles to stoop so low on such forbidden pleasure. Though men speak the moral and do the immoral. You are young and sound beautiful girl, what would warrant him to despise your angelic-beautiful look and depend on these women that roam the streets of the town? Pleasures of love last a moment, but pain of love lasts a lifetime”.

“Mum, because of the kind of love I had for him, I shunned all the male company who were longing to share my love while living with him. But for their risky demands, I looked at their wants as lacking in taste and disreputable for a married girl to take because I was setting myself up as bait. I’ve been dancing to his tune since the day we met. However, I was doing everything I could to get him to keep in contact with me, and to handle me as a newly married girl. Instead, all I did was make it possible for him to hurt my good feelings that I care about… I have served my time in this particular dungeon”. Vivian infinitively declared as she wiped the tears that flowed down her checks with scarlet handkerchief.

“Vivian, prostitution is not laudable work. It is a clandestine scene for women to strip off their clothes for men. I have seen men and women who died in the act and some of them caught up venereal diseases and died prematurely. Cain who lived in that valley, his daughter who came from high school in London, took up the work of prostitution, caught the killer disease: AIDS, after only two months, she died a shameful death. I wouldn’t advise you to go into such life or divorce your husband and get married to a new man. Many

marriages end up in unhappiness or divorce on the ground of incompatibility. If two persons are not well suited as a team, the going can be difficult”.

“To retreat from my concluded decision to remarry would be my concern. No one could live with someone who doesn’t care about her welfare. It is an idiosyncratic act for a man to despise his bride without any cogent reason. Though you knew I had been extremely displeased with Charles’ acts which had caused all my bitterness and the plan to divorce him. He had neglected me and left me in loneliness for many months, living in pleasure with his girlfriends in Rano State. If I hadn’t been having this stupid, marital crisis about wanting to wallow in his filth, I might not have entered into this quagmire. He had been cheating regularly on me but I kept blind eye to his inordinate characters. The Charles’ family had been nothing if not persistent in their belief that I was responsible for his distancing me… I didn’t expect anything horrible from them. Charles was a wonderer; and the man that had done such act wasn’t necessarily going to stop at things you might think he did stop at. With the mind to do a thing like that, and with the notion of his excommunication from me, you can’t say what he would stop at. It was as if he had hidden part of himself from me during courtship, in order to deceive me, pretending – as do many men I have discovered – to be what he is not. What he said with his mouth isn’t what appears to be on the manifestation,” Vivian retorted.

“Don’t disengage your marriage with Charles, wait for him to return. There is a frustration of plans where there is no confidential talk, practical matters must be discussed. All

questions, and others as well be discussed calmly and logically and settled in a way that both of you can live with comfortably. Can problems be faced and solved together, and the channel of communication kept always open? That is a lifeline of a successful marriage. Your imaginations and descriptions of his life in Rano might be wrong interpretations that came from wrath, which his absence put you into. Divorce is a vice practice and an enormity, and a woman that divorces her groom would be bound to suffer without a soother,” Vivian’s mother advised.

After a sufficient length of dialogue which existed between Vivian and her mother, Vivian angrily left to her bedroom to take a bed rest. Few minutes later, she fell asleep, through weariness from the violent meditation she had been into because of Charles absence, and the distant road she drove from school to her hometown. In the next morning, she woke about ten o’clock, perfectly gay and refreshed. Her mother was up from bed before her and asked her in the kindest manner how she did feel, how she rested the previous night, and if she was ready for breakfast; carefully at the same time avoiding to repeat to an increase the confusion on divorce strategy she saw that she was into, without addition to the guilt of her infidelity on marital norms, and did not rebuke her further on her audacious defense of her divorce proposal on Charles.

In the old style of common pampering she indulged in questioning her, her answers to any question Vivian raised was modest and mild, and often interrupted by her tears, in substance as follows: ‘that she never had in lifetime had a single thought of wronging Charles (which was fact), till she

had seen him taking her liberties as his housewife and gave it to the alien women, which he accomplished by betraying his marital vow with her; and that her resentment at that act, which she was overawed from giving vent to, by complaints or explanations to Charles, had now driven her to a course of divorce that she did not pretend to justify’.

All this while, she felt something inside her ripping painfully, as if her heart were being torn out by roots. She told herself that it did matter a lot for Charles to deny her so soon because, once a woman had been married and divorced, she would be classed second handed by men, like a second handed car or garment. It would be very difficult for her to remarry and she knew exactly how much she had loosed her feminine influence and approaches by men who might have requested her companionship. She was getting very tired of beating her head on this particular difficulty that Charles created but there was certainly no evidence of Charles’ confrontation or any detailed communication of the address of his whereabouts.

Though most of the months of her marriage she had been alone, so the divorce she had planned had suddenly made her so conscious of it. Ever elopement plot had been planned, she was battling a compulsive urge to look over the marital constitution she was about to break. But her heart had always slammed. How could she consider so completely married to someone she had already planned to divorce? How could she live with someone who doesn’t know the meaning of love and care? She had imagined why Charles would be so soon a distance gazer over his bride. She couldn’t envision that such

condition of loneliness and excommunication would ever exist between them.

After breakfast, in the meantime, several of her acquaintances among the sisterhood who had soon gotten the news of her misfortune flocked into her bedroom to console her with touchy consolation. Though most of them had long ago envied her for the affluence and great splendour she had maintained for her husband. After she was married into influential family, there were many of her girlfriends who desired to be in her shoes. Mockers among her foes who had got wind of her deserted state, she said “would most probably sooner or later, come to be in her state of desertion by their future hubbies.” some of them who came to her with malicious consolations, even in their pretentious pity, and secret felicity and jubilation at seeing her so disgraced and discarded like a kitchen rag by her groom, and their secret happiness that it was worse with her signified the unaccountable malice and acrimony of the human heart, and which was not confined to any class of people they were expected of in their spinsterhood.

After her lovers and especially her intimate one’s who came to her with unpretentious pity left her bedroom, she filled the castle with moaning and sign of bitterness. She regretted a thousand times on what made her to marry Charles. Whenever her fellow students asked her about her husband’s wellbeing, she would always deny she knew who he was, but she couldn’t bring herself to lie. Any word about his whereabouts seemed stuck in her throat like glue. She hadn’t thought that Charles would abandon her after their honeymoon, and right now she was

in

such

an

emotional

turmoil

that

she

couldn’t

even

respond to questions from her fellow undergraduates about her hubby.

This moment, she started to pack her traps or personal belongings in the house and was making ready to elope and marry John Hill. With this thought in mind, she conjured it pessimistically and remembered the admonishing words of her mother against her wish to marry John Hill. The truth was that she would kick out any parental warning and repose her hope on the new groom – John Hill. Nothing whatever would prevent her from executing her plans, nothing.

Notwithstanding whatever plan she had, she was affected by her odd plan against Charles. She felt self-betrayed by her own way into sudden transition from extreme fears to extreme desires of carrying out her obscured objective. She felt dislocated as she had the day she caught Charles red-handed kissing and having fun with a girl on campus lavatory. That day, she couldn’t raise alarm or panic. Nobody knew about it. She prayed about it. She prayed at the corner of her cubicle, in the dormitory until the words of her prayers were buzzing like angry bees in a giant tree hole. Right now, she didn’t think she could face that eye-saw again.

Regardful however, she weighed her objective in the scale of her mind for divorcing him and speedily concluded that it would be only John Hill, who afforded to accept her as a true wife. She would marry a handsome creature as John could make her happy and would banish the idea of leaving with a husband who became a distant gazer. She had made it pomp and plain, however, at any time from now, that after rejecting Charles to marry John, she wouldn’t be re-enticed to come

back to Charles or wish to resort his pretended love by any parental reconciliation.

Before the day runs out, Vivian’s mother was so troubled about the divorce confession which she had made before her. The thought about her odd confession made her sleepless throughout the hours of the night. She was really troubled because Vivian was the only daughter out of seven daughters she bore to her husband, who was sent to study at the university, and who received fortune by being married by an undergraduate. It would be a great loss for her to elope from Charles (whom they had trusted, who looked after her affairs) and then got married to a man whom she knew alone. It would be evil if she carried out her fierce objective and her foolish ambition for second marriage would bring a wedge between them and their in-laws they once knew and loved. Even though her plan was adopted, it wouldn’t bring her to an honourable condition as compared with the care Charles had offered her.

Another thought which added more degree to her isomerism was what the neighbourhood would think and say in gossip if she carried out her mechanistic objective. She said that “the neighbours who envied her for the affluence and splendor in which she was properly maintained or taken care of by Charles would laugh at her, because of this divorce that she entangled with.” She added that “the company of good friends who stood round them in a profound love, when Vivian and Charles wedded would be amazed and would come in to ask questions about the unexpected separation between them.”

The next day, Vivian’s mother woke up and was so weak and unable to bear the pathetic news about her divorce

confession, which she nurtured in her mind throughout the night. The rage about it was uncontrollable. The divorce confession haunted her. She resented the way she talked against Charles and her determination to prove to her that the risk she had taken was more than justified by what she had been able to learn. She in fact, understood this divorce case in herself alone, but made up her mind to acquaint Harry, her groom about it. It would be blame on her side if her husband heard the secret from another person. She wouldn’t conceal it because such evil must be revealed.

The door into Harry’s piazza screamed into noisy ascent. Harry’s big bulging eyes fenced with shattered eyebrows jammed Vivian’s mother’s eyes with coax of welcome. She came in, sat fully on one of those antique chairs built with Iroko wood that looks like ottoman.

“Good morning sir,” Susanna began nervously, as she stood again and sat on a long bench that looks like a church bench near her hubby.

“Good morning my rightful bride and beloved”, Harry replied. He regarded her from beneath a lower brow and saw a change on her physique.

“You looked too weak and warped. Do you feel indisposed? Do you ever sleep well last night? Does the dark bother you? Do you feel claustrophobic? If you did not sleep well, you could hardly wake up with renewed health and happiness.” Harry interrogated.

“You are right. The mystery of the leanness, in short my physique is written. I did not sleep last night until the cock crew; all the shriek of the insects, the hooting of the owls, my

ears followed their music till it was dawn.” Susanna explained disgustedly.

“It is quite risky to health to be sleepless. Sleep is a supernatural vitamin to the body, spirit and soul. What caused your insomnia?” Harry stated and queried imperatively.

“It would sound too odd a thing for you to hear the news of what caused my sleeplessness. I lied side by side with anger last night because of the confession of your daughter, who married few months ago and is back home. To bring to your hearing, your daughter has a plan to divorce her husband. Deciding that I really needed your opinion, because I couldn’t look at this objectively; and I don’t exactly know what she had been trying to insinuate.” Susanna explained, watching him to hear his reaction about this heartbreaking news.

“What? What actually sparked off the odd resolution?” Harry questioned. “You can’t take things to heart like that without being ill. Who can sleep with a serpent in his bed?” He added. He turned sharply to look at her. “What exactly happened?” His face saddened, and he rubbed the bristles on his chin, as if trying to wipe away an unpleasant feeling. He frowned thoughtfully, and then ran his finger through his short black hair, pushing it back from his face. He wasn’t comfortable with this obscure news, his face averted from her, staring out into the morning sun through the window like someone consumed with strange thought. Susanna hesitated and suddenly felt almost foolish and ashamed of taking it serious enough to mention Vivian’s divorce problem.

“Sir,” she began. “Whatever reason she gave failed beyond my cognition. Whatever reason she enumerated gave

violent impression, which did not go into agreement in their marital law. Being not contented with the reasons which she gave, she introduced insensible reasons that inflamed me beyond the power of modesty, and though, I opposed her words but it didn’t gain any advantage of her odd plans.” She briefed.

“Look Susanna, violent love seldom last long, and that of a woman least of any; they have love in common. Did you see anything unusual? Did she act differently from her husband’s commandment? What really agitated the bone of contention that led into the ruinous of their marriage to so soon a divorce?” Harry queried.

“Her own reasons could give more meaning or light to her divorce decision. You call on her for her to let us know if she had any brilliant ideas. A lot of cultures believe that a woman can marry and divorce but we don’t accept such illegality.” Susanna averred.

“Please Susanna; I would like you to call her, so that I would be able to understand what propelled the discord between them. Her ideals might be tales that one never wants to hear.” Harry ordered.

Susanna immediately rang a little bell that linked the piazza with Vivian’s bedroom. When she heard the tintinnabulation, she woke from the bed and walked slowly like a tortoise into the piazza. She knew that the news of her odd plan might have reached the hearing of her father. On the other hand, she had been guilty from the moment she passed the decision to marry another man. She had an obligation to tell her father in particular, her motivation to carry out and the reasons behind her plans. She wouldn’t be reluctant to tell her father

about her suffering wedlock with Charles. Now she was standing before them, and the sounds of the things they were discussing receded until all she could hear was her own heartbeat.

In the piazza, her eyes which its eyebrows were shaved off and replaced with thick line of eye pencil, met with her parent’s eyes in irritated glance, and she felt a bit of nervousness as she sat down on one of those ancient wooden chairs that looks like court benches. By the time she came in, the silence between her parents was so thick that she was beginning to wonder what she did stepped into. For long moments, there was nothing but stunned silence in the room. Finally her mother cleared her throat, as if she wasn’t quite sure what to say. Her husband looked like a man trapped in a nightmare and Vivian looked offended. She felt as if her own soul had been stained by the things she had planned to execute. Harry was sitting in a far corner, head bowed in thought, and he was suddenly struck by how sad Vivian looked.

“Yes,” began Harry. “I’ve heard the points of the divorce resolution which you were about to carry out. What brought about this divorce complaint? Raking up people’s divorces and marital problems was rarely a smart move. Often as not, you wound up neck-deep in garbage. The provision of the Mosaic Law prohibits yoking together two animals of different build and strength because of the hardship it would create. So, too, with a man and a woman who are not well matched and yet are teamed up in marriage. When mates have different interests, different taste and different activities, and

few things in common, the marital bonds would definitely come under great strain.”

This time, Vivian looked faintly embarrassed. Sadness passed through her, and she looked up on her father’s face. His face was impassive and unreadable, her heart slammed, and she compressed her lips, trying to decide whether to equivocate or just blurt out the truth about the divorce question from her father. “But would they understand the truth?” She interrogated herself. How could she consider herself so completely married to someone she had already planned to divorce? Suppressing a sigh, she looked up and tried to marshal an answer.

“Papa, there are many unalienable reasons which brought my divorce against Charles. If you count upon the fierceness that was too common among the modern women, you would exonerate me from the corruptions that hit the woman race. First and foremost, you will comprehend that I loved Charles during the time of his courtship and you know how I dismissed many males who asked for my love and prepared to defile my marriage vow with him. You know many men that flocked to our house in search of my beauty and acknowledgment to marry me, but I disregarded their inquiries and kept my body, soul, spirit and beauty to Charles. Time without number I embarrassed most of them to go away. To prove the deep regard I had for all his principles since we lived together: I did not allow one word to fall in vain from his mouth without carrying out his word. There was an irony which I know about him; his love for me is not genuine. It was only an abated love. The worst consequences of which I received by living with him was that he led a shindig life, and

corrupted my innocence by introducing me to corrupt party friends. He went with many girlfriends too. He did not consider our sacred wedlock bond that our nature entwined. To crown it all, he abandoned me and settled in Rano State without communication. None of the two letters he wrote to me since his departure bore any residential address or postal code.” Vivian said as she sobbed through every sentence and remarks she made. Her situation seemed to consume her just as much as she thought about how betrayed she felt by his dishonesty. She was angry and hurt if she hadn’t come to care a whole lot, and subject herself under his principles.

“Don’t cry like that, Vivian. Shedding tears has solved no matter of this kind. Your reasons were not bad. If you solemnly express to us what caused your divorce strategy against Charles, you did nothing anyone could term wrong, and you should not take us to be your enemy. There is no smoke without fire. But you should understand the fact that Charles is not at home, and you cannot imagine the kind of life he may be living in Rano State. Your imaginations about his welfare in Rano might be wrong. I advise you not to carry out your wrong objective. If you do, it will be like a blind man that jumped into a pit. All the imperfections which you observed in him; I will assure you that he had a good behaviour and geniality as ever as the length of time I had known him. He had certain sweetness in his character as to compare with his temper. The sweetness of his manners made him seem born for domestic happiness. He is tender, naturally polite, and gentlly mannered. It wouldn’t be his fault if enemies ruffled calm. He was so qualified in every way to maintain. He has all the humility to

understand, plain common sense that could make him admire what is good. Universally loved and nobly esteemed. But his handsomeness is not comparable. I cannot be the judge of his later actions. I cannot excuse him for anything that developed between you and him. If he is not the person I know well, it would have been a different case. I cannot forget how good he was to you. In the time of poverty he gave you five million dollars to sponsor your course in the university, and all the ever increasing burden during your wedding, he bore the weight. Therefore, one thing important is that you must accept his faults as you see them. You accepted him for love and should not represent his character so ill. You should cast out the imagination of what he does in Rano State but hold tight the principle of love that tied you together in wedlock. Do not think your husband doesn’t love you just because he doesn’t communicate you and it seemed to betray your confidence in him. But communication between mates shouldn’t be broken. For love brings perfect communication.” Harry admonished.

“Papa, I have given Charles few months to come home, if I don’t see him I will remarry whom I like. I will not consider the way you see it. The dejected impressions which I had received from him and from the discoveries of his character had betrayed my trust. I had known his extreme ill dispositions; I had more to hope from his violence and dubiousness. I am losing patience with all this shit, and all I really wanted to do was to sue him to court for an injunction, and separate from him the rest of my life. Since court trial on divorce is come today, come tomorrow, I will elope from him and leave him alone as he did to me.” Vivian retorted.

“Well, if you would be a virtuous woman, you ought to obey my words. You have married but there are plenty of women who are not. Why were you fixing to live in a monastic existence filled with difficulties and horrifying woes? A woman doesn’t divorce her husband to marry another and still have the freedom in marital laws. If she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits sin. She has the veto power to marry another man when her first husband dies.” Harry emphatically instructed.

Vivian drew a sharp breath. She didn’t answer immediately, she was startled. Harry could see it clearly across her face, and he glanced away, surprised to find her facing him, her eyes dark shadows in her pale face. He began to get the feeling that she had just put her hands in burning coals of fire… she stared at him, either believing or disbelieving. Part of her was offended at his invasion of her most personal feelings, and part of her was terrified.

“Papa,” Vivian broke her silence. “I will not throw mud to your advice. The words of parents are the words of the spirit. My proposal for divorce will be carried out if Charles did not return on the very time I stipulated. We never…we never…” she halted and drew a long, shaky breath. We never shared anything since he left me in desolate mystery. We never joked when we were together, because he would so often misunderstand me when I speak to him about his night prowling with nude women. Sometimes, he misunderstood me even when I thought I was perfectly clear. But his present act, made me realize just how distorted my whole marriage was. I used to cling to the belief that it had been good before he left

me and live in Rano alone. So he wanted me to suffer horrible agonies. Perhaps all he wanted was to marry another woman more beautiful than me.”

“I have listened calmly and carefully to your complaints. I disagree with the disordered notions you have  had against Charles. You married him and stumbled on something you didn’t like. You had been a beautiful girl, with eyes full of life, and always with a smile that invited the world to laugh along with you, but all of a sudden your famous cheerfulness changed. You ought to be the center of his private life and euphoria. I don’t think that your husband ran away with another woman. I don’t think I ever found out the truth about his distancing you; and I am very worried about this matter. I and your mother would like to confront him about your complaints, and try to talk sense and realism into his head. We will bring to table your divorce matter to compromising settlement. Anyway, hold-up on the waiting until he gets home and let us know what he wants us to do about this situation. Charles paid your bride price to me in the presence of my kinsmen and friends who attended your wedding ceremony,” Harry encouraged.

“I will hold it as you have said, but the only thing that could reduce this disorder would be when Charles comes to the point of retreating from his deceptive attraction which will procure me the satisfaction in my curiosity to divorce him. But so far as you received my dowry from his hands, you are expected to pay him back when I divorce him,” Vivian concluded. Her tone became dry. Her heart was beating rapidly, and she felt as if a gauntlet had been thrown. She

decided not to take the conversation further but to back away from it now, before it becomes a neighbourhood scandal.

After this long discussion that existed between Vivian and her father, he decided this would probably be a good time to drop this entire conversation until he sees Charles face-to- face. He knew that discussing matters face-to-face were more than million letters, e-mails, telegrams and phone calls. Vivian and her mother left the piazza to the courtyard, though the admonishing words of her father over divorce discord had critically thrown her into a state of confusion. Her ideology to remarry was subdued by those strong warnings that her father rattled concerning the turn which her rebellion of re-betrothal would result. After the divorce plan caught her heart like a bull caught in a thicket, she had made up her mind to divorce Charles within the space of time limitation she had scheduled. Instead of feeling as if she had just freed herself from the shackles of a horrible secrete, she had a sinking sensation in the pit of her heart. She had said that the word ‘divorce’ aloud. She had volunteered the information to her father who hadn’t known. In so doing, she had somehow made the divorce more real.

She wanted to object any instruction, but there was nothing to object to, other than her high-handed elopement plot. To object her plot would only make her look foolish. Besides, there might be an opportunity to make things better with John Hill instead of with Charles. But, all of a sudden she found out how Charles took her to important places, and how it had made her feel. Guilt immediately surged in waves, casting up the memory of Charles on the shores of her mind. She felt

another twinge of guilt over her divorce proposal but shoved it aside. Right now, all she wanted to think about was elopement strategy that would enhance her second marriage with John Hill.

On the part of Harry on this divorce discussion held with his daughter, for few intervals, he saw no light in what she meant when she had finally declared to divorce Charles. He knew that she meant her rebellion when she declared emphatically that he should pay back her dowry to Charles. For this divorce which came into her heart, he was indeed too much disturbed with the novelty of her condition. He seemed perplexed and how to evade her decision became his worrying thoughts. In a single moment of vague illumination, he saw her plans completely and disturbingly out of order, comparing her details for divorcing Charles. This night, he spoke to himself in a sort of preponderant soliloquy: “that Vivian is a smoggy mirror, reflecting a society of undergraduates that have gone rotten, full of maggots and evil plans, not considering what the constitution said about the act of marriage and divorce.”

He swiveled the chair and stood up, and said, “We accept our mistakes and make excuses for them. Can we not accept and excuse those of our marriage partner? Our foes? Our aggressor? Our defaulter? We doubtless will acknowledge that we make mistakes, but do we become defensive and reluctant to admit to a specific mistake? Do we have the insight to comprehend that this reluctance to admit being in the wrong is typical of people, including our marriage partner and do we make allowances?” He noted that when Vivian told him that she found a man who promised to marry her, he questioned her

on the sincerity of the man, she used the occasion to present herself and her sincere love for a young fellow, an undergraduate of her like at the expense of her own discretion, resisting the evasion of her notion when he admonished her about marrying at this time without graduating from her relevant course. She protested then that she would pack up her belongings and flinch with Charles abroad, in a quiet residential backside of the town.

After repeated attempts, in which he had not made the least impression towards gaining his point, at least for that time to dissuade her from marrying Charles, she yielded at length vehemently on her mate’s luxuriousness. She thwarted the disagreement he had with her request for marrying him. She hadn’t thought that things would come up this way between them. She hadn’t imagined that the going could be hard. She couldn’t believe it that the link of their communication would turn to excommunication. Right now, all she wanted to think about was the divorce proposal and elopement strategy.

Harry was perfectly acquainted with her whole story, and every circumstance of her distress which gave birth to her divorce plan. He had thought to self that when the articles of marital treaty had been fully agreed between Vivian and Charles, he was not a go between because nobody would seek a mate for a daughter. She in turn surrendered herself completely to the hands of her husband after wedding. But whatever her further ambition was, he as the father had washed his hands clean over any second marriage she was wishing to get into.

The next day, she decided to pack her belongings which she had returned with back to Yale – her husband’s home town,

waiting for the time the university will reopen on the strike measures. She was lucky that she had a family in-law that could afford to keep her hospitable. Who usually take care of her minor and major problems in the absence of her husband, Charles. But no matter how they provided for her needs, she could not stop worrying about her condition. The compulsion to divorce Charles did not leave her; nor did she allow herself not to worry about marrying John Hill.

However, she had written to John Hill severally about her strong proposed plan to divorce Charles. She wrote him and said that she would elope from Charles and flinch for refuge at his protection any moment from then. As long as he kept their acquaintance in its proper place, she wouldn’t be cheating on him. And his promises wouldn’t be hocus-pocus.

To this purpose, the idea of remarrying to John occupied her reflections of the whole day, of which every minute seemed to her a little eternity. How often she did visit the clock and check on the calendar that hung on the wall for time and day she scheduled to divorce Charles. Really, she had an urgent need to get him divorced. She concealed her plan in her heart. She was just getting deeper and deeper in her divorce discord and she couldn’t escape the thought of what she determined to do. She said, “That Charles had a serious moral problem with what he was doing.” His acts gave her streams of consciousness now, and it chilled her to watch him distanced her after all said and done. She moaned: “Oh, Charles, your love is equivocal, ephemeral, and you are a flatterer that came with flatteries.’’

Though those of the house, (her parents in-law) made observations on her, and remarked something extraordinary in her composure. The thing she help betraying. The fluctuations of her mind the whole day produced odd feelings in other. The sign of her distress, fear and impatience appeared clearly on  her face. She hated being helpless and lonely. She hadn’t felt this helplessness and aloofness since Charles descent into excommunication. She felt that being abandoned by him without communication only enhance her loneliness, although she knew that didn’t offend him in any way. She was even more reluctant to tell her parent in-law the truth about her plight with Charles. She was just getting deeper and deeper in her plans. And, from time to time she was uncomfortably little twinged.

She held the complementary card John Hill gave her, which contained his residential address in Yale State. She had no more doubt about eloping with him. While she was at her groom’s home, the fluctuations of her mind produced the feeling that something was concealed, the parents in-law noted. She did not show wrath against Charles. Every question that deserved explanation about Charles were answered mildly and in a tune substituted for love and sympathy about the unknown wellbeing of Charles. They thought that there has to be a link between her and their son. She couldn’t argue with them in anything about Charles. In fact, she was even feeling irritated with herself for being so patient enough waiting for Charles. She was so horrified by what he was doing that she could not acknowledge that he was the one doing it. She didn’t feel good about his behaviours but through all the scruples of her

conscience, she had finally made up her mind and had waited for the time she schedule for Charles’ return to elapse, and then she would be blameless to elope and live with John Hill.

CHAPTER NINE

The month of September had gone half and Vivian had been constantly counting her fingers about how many days it remained to give Charles a kick-out-of nexus. Vivian whose conscience was not entirely clear upon her divorce plan, elopement and betrothal looked extremely blank and mild compared to her former characters, in which she was recognized to be agile and mostly saunters. She was unable to overcome the small daggers of bereavement which her divorce proposal stabbed her with. “It is not fair, Charles she heard herself say, “It is not fair that you left me roving in subutopia, and it’s not fair that your roving has blighted my life, too,” she sobbed.

Anger surged and ebbed in her like the waves of the sea, and she knew it wasn’t going to go away until this divorce case was over. The false calm she had been forcing herself to feel, the distancing from this case wasn’t gone. In one moment, she was in it up to her neck and likely to drown in it. It stood like a faggot in her heart. She had never imagined that Charles would do something like this in the beginning of his courtship. It is heart breaking to watch someone you love go away from you and finally believe that you’re the enemy. What she really wanted to know was why he wasn’t inviting her along.

The thought about her divorce was just haunting her like a ghost-haunt, blowing on and forth into her conscience, telling her that it would be wrong to divorce Charles on the conditions or reasons, which she laid down, which she could

not explain by the divorce laws. She knew it is very adverse and ridiculous to law of the society and her religion for her to destroy her marriage rite. Perhaps, she was beginning to think that Charles was in love with many women in Rano State. For her, that would most probably be the reason he couldn’t visit her, or that he couldn’t care about her condition and what had happened to her. She knew she wasn’t responsible for the way Charles had chosen. Of course, not! From what she had said and what she had heard about her husband’s family, they were very busy reinforcing accusation against her about Charles irresponsiveness to her. They developed the story that she had indeed driven Charles away.

Sometimes, she would sit on a stile, gaze at a distance, and wept bitterly for the situation which Charles’ absence had kept her into. Panic lanced her. How could she swallow it? She wondered desperately. Yet, in spite of her evil plans, she was under increased impressions to divorce Charles and betroth to John Hill. She had all the day mourn thousand pities over Charles negligence and had refused eating normally. On account of this, she began to thin down a little. Everybody complained about her being so lean and she was resisting an urge to explain to anybody the cause of her leanness. She did not quite know what to say to people who asked her, and she began to feel embarrassed, a little foolish, and very aware that she was simply living like a widow. It was suddenly impossible to understand or even remember how she could have been so gullible to Charles.

Mrs. Rogers had suspected and attributed her thinness and quietness to be signs of new pregnancy. She thought that

her slimness coupled with restlessness and momentary wailing were signs of few months pregnancy. Because of her perplexed condition, she had all the day provided for her and taken proper care of her, in such a way that she lacked nothing. Upon all this charitable providence by Regina; she still retained an air of grief, dejection and languor. She was mute to every inquiry she made. She watched her now and then, being careful not to stare too intently on her as she washed the dishes. She had never really had the opportunity to observe her this way, since she came back, and she certainly would not want her to think she was taking advantage of the situation, which she sensed that she was into. On one occasion, when she saw her retrieved into a condition of answering her questions after they had dined together, she congratulated Vivian on her recovery, the advantage of which she took entirely to herself and all these by way of introduction to a most mutual conversation:

“You are now tolerably well,” she said. “And you are very welcome from school to stay with us as long as you pleased before the school re-opens from the strike incidence (thinking that Vivian just returned for holiday, without knowing that she had already gone to her parents first before she came to them, and there was hideous plan she was about to carry out).

“Thank you mum,” Vivian said slowly. She was silent for a minute. Regina noticed her looking through the doorway of the palour as enraged person could do in a strenuous speculation. She was listening to the end of the conversation. She felt irritated, though she did not mind that she was listening in.

“I observed that your famous way of behaviour took pathetic nature, which instead of the happiness, joy and peace, your attitude all of a sudden shows nothing but the depth of misery, horror, and the sharpest affliction. You look faintly embarrassed, and uneasy. Would you kindly let me know the cause of your sudden change of character? And who did rile you up? Are you sick?” She asked. “You don’t look good,” she inquired.

She couldn’t answer. She remained silent or speechless like a dummy and Regina was seeking how to completely engross in conversation with her. Vivian was half turned towards her uncomfortably like a woman who lost her only child. The guess was that something had gone amiss, keeping in mind that she is no longer happy as she was before. Now she had to worry about whether she was irritated by them. In some strange ways, she felt her terror, as if she had left some kind of psychic impression on the atmosphere that she was able to sense.

“Truth for truth! What about your husband Charles? – You have been here with us and you never talked about him. I am wondering!” she questioned.

She felt almost as if she had been punched as soon as she mentioned about Charles, the question was so unexpected and added sorrow to her wound. She suspected that her secret of divorce had been given out by some talkatives because she suspected previously that the news of Charles distancing her had reached the ears of her parent-in-law. For a long time, neither one of them said anything. There was no answer from her. She wanted to stop the conversation at the mere mention

of Charles, but instead she found herself ready to expose her condition which had become the shackles of a horrible secret troubling her mind… because the isolation that Charles had planted in her mind were writhing like snakes in a pit. “This was not good,” she told herself. Not good at all.

“Mum,” called Vivian, “If I could express what caused the sudden change of my character, or what did rile me up, it would hang on Charles’ shoulder and satanic behaviour to me. After few months that I married him, he played me a false love. He did not really mean the love which he vowed to me during our wedlock before thousands of friends, relatives and foes. I discovered that he was untrustworthy, not fit to marry a poor girl from poor parents like me. In the earlier hours of his courtship with me, he praised my virtue, virginity and beauty – which he professed that he did not find in most of the women he had acquainted with throughout his life. But after our weeding and honeymoon, I soon felt the consequences of his false love: for all my true love given to him never seemed to me in the light he used me, my dreadful necessities, my gratitude and above all, to say the plain truth, the dissipation and diversion from the exaggerated love I began to find in him in our new wedlock; from the black corroding thoughts my heart had been a prey to ever increasing propensity since his absence, concurred to stun my affection toward him. If I thought of him to be my first and only charmer of love affair, he was still with that untenderness and regret of his fondest love. I am embittered that I am no longer worthy of him; and I would be shameful to be named after his name; ‘Vivian Charles’. I had neither virtue nor courage to endure the

separation which he had done purposely. He abandoned me at home and lived with his girlfriends in the township

“Oh Vivian,” began Mrs. Rogers. “I am scared of your complaints and disagreement on love and trust on each other, which you think have changed level. I mean the love and marriage treaties between you and him. But I would assure you that violent love never last long, that which I did not acknowledge between you and my son before your wedding took place; but whatever would result from wedlock should be weighed on the scale of suffering love that binds two together, before taking action for divorce. If there was qualm that arose among you, I would assure you that it is the result or consequence of love. Love without consequence and bitterness is no love in the first place. Nothing good comes easy. And every good thing is in the midst of a storm. You cannot take things to heart like that without being ill. If it is Charles’ absence that riles you, did he not let you know about his affairs and whereabouts in Rano State?”

“No, in all his letters, there was nothing like his residential address,” she began. “But I would like you to understand one phenomenon. It was wild and senseless for Charles to use my love for him against me. The poor never die when to die; and men sometimes hardly live their vows of love. The love they start with plain young girls would end up in false love. And the promises they made in the beginning would end up in fiasco; yet, I owe my pure love to Charles. I am glad somehow that I married him, because I learned a lot of things that I never knew were in this world, especially the deceitful characters of men and I am grateful that I saw it all a little bit.”

She drawled her words, looking exceedingly perplexed. Except that, to her mother in-law, there was something strange about her drawling and her perplexity about Charles: between the shadow of something evil, and in her bearing an intentness that gave her mother in-law a faint sense of uneasiness as she watched her spoke of the direction in which her living with Charles had taken. Although Mrs. Rogers knew that this entire squabbles among them was a test that always comes when two mates enjoin together; she absolutely could not permit the fusses among them. Besides, she knew that in a new marriage, you hear all kinds of things about each other. She was not really impressed with the point she was raising. She was seeking and failing to find any word that might give her comfort and correct her upset and wrong impression against Charles.

“Yes my daughter, to have a true love is as scarce as goldmine, and if you find one, it is a fight and great battle. Look, Charles did not do well if he has not returned to you since he had been posted to Rano on youth service. He did not do well by withholding his residential address in most of his letters to you. It was bad enough that he had to abandon you. Why in the world did he do that? You had only vague idea where he was in Rano. And you had not any idea which direction he was, and this makes it impossible to find him. You cannot connect to anybody in a big State like Rano without an address. He would have given you his residential address, and that would offer you the opportunity to visit him from time to time. Well, if you suspected that he was engaged in living rascal life, you should know that it was not the way he was

brought up. He was brought up in a single way. If there was a strange development in his character, it would be the result of external influence, the effect of his association in society and with the delinquent campus undergraduates. That wouldn’t stop you from loving him. Please wait for him until he returns from Rano.”

“Mum,” began Vivian. “Never justify Charles’ adult characters. Character is a victory. The beauty of any man is his character. And character without virtue is satanic. His childish characters were not compatible with adult expected characters. The monkey could only defend the baby she carried in its womb and would never dare to defend the one she carried on her back, because she might not know when the baby would pluck a forbidden fruit and eat. There was no act or psychology to find a man’s mind show on his face. Remember that I and Charles joined and agreed to part no more until the end. His ideas recently, were far from our original statutes. Though my love for him was as firm as ever, just as the time I first met him. His own proposal wasn’t different from that common to others, but I maintained it as if it was different. After our wedding, I never thought that a consequence like this would arise between us in a very short time. It is like a dream to me, and I am now an object of caricature and criticisms. Worst still, he has considered me as his enemy, which I did not regard as something strange. In spite of that, I still extended my love and cherished him. A true wife ought to love his husband indeed, as she really loved herself. After our wedding, we started well; I did not give away my true love to another man because of Charles’ ignorant flirting. I rejected the satanic ways of living

with a groom and flirting about like other women laden with sin, and faced him with agape love.”

“Vivian,” Regina called. “You have been speaking to me with a broken heart about Charles’ misdeeds to you, but there is danger in your complaint which could destroy your relationship with your husband, and I do not want you to do that. I know you felt a pang and resisted his careless behaviours. You have had sad thoughts, regrets and was guiltless. Nothing in this life had ever been as painful as being able to trust a spouse who roves about. His acts are amazingly passionless. At least you weren’t supposed to be alone, because suddenly you are terrified of being alone. Terrified of what his long absence from you might hold, and upon learning your situation, I would like to offer you some useful pieces of advice on what to do: don’t ever expose the ills or weak points which you discovered from your husband to aliens or even neighbours, lest you would as well destroy your own status. Every home has one problem or another. Please note that every man born of woman has his weak points. You know that where a person points one finger on another, the rest four fingers point at him. Do not be in a burst of discomfort to retard your health. Your thoughts about him might be suspicious, and one I am ashamed of almost as soon as I heard it. When Charles comes back from Rano, I and his father would call his attention on your complaints about him, please.”

“Thank you mum, I will take it as you have suggested.” Vivian greeted with conclusive voice that interjected every discussion which was further to exist between them. She rose from her seat, turned away and went to her bedroom, nursing

the rage that had already begun in her. The  only thing she knew with absolute certainty was that she hated the way Charles behaved and would elope if any reconciliation between them wasn’t reached. She did not have to plan her life around Charles’ needs any longer, because he was never coming home.

Mrs. Rogers also left, after this confessional dialogue with Vivian. Regina in turn related the news of the discord to her husband – Rogers. He absolutely couldn’t permit that of her divorce loophole in her own mess. He thought about it discarding each thought as his wife explained it to him. There was nothing he found reasonable that would engender her divorce. It was hard for him to understand that she actually had to abandon her husband and plan for something else. It was ridiculous. He instantly began making her intention unacceptable to himself by laughing at her machinations decision. However, they jointly rejected all her plans over the issue between her and Charles. Their advice gave the bald, bare facts on her impatience on the characters of Charles, since his recent decent into excommunication. Then, she judiciously concluded that if Charles didn’t come home within the space or time limit she had stipulated, she would carry out her plan on divorce.

Her parent-in-law’s questions and advice had forced her to dig up things she had been trying to forget for a long time, and her accountability of those dubious acts of Charles vent her anger and pain. She stood in her living room and tried to reach for calm, but she couldn’t find peace because a woman without a hubby has no rest of mind. ‘‘In the first

place, he has deceived me. In the second place, he has robbed me of men who offered to take up my problems, if I did something he took amiss that made him to behave the way he had chosen, the repercussions on me could be bad indeed,’’ she said.

At the approach of night fall, the idea that Charles had betrayed her love, wedlock band, and had so soon forgotten her beauty and personality became a sudden feat that seized her like one seized by epileptic encounter. She was married to Charles for few months ago. For most of these months he was getting increasingly obnoxious. She had never imagined he would do something like this in the beginning. She immediately said that everything had an end; therefore, her relationship with Charles would also have an end. It was true she had wasted most of her precious life in the name of marriage with assumed husband, but nothing spoiled.

In any case, in early days Charles took her to theatrical shows, plays, operas, movies and dances and every diversion of the town. All of which pleased her indeed and in those days, he explained every mysterious thing to her. Perhaps, the natural impressions of surprise and great admirations, which such sights never had failed at the first time to excite an uncivilized girl like her, who was new to the delights of time but to her, all this outing with Charles to areas of township regale had absolutely and sensibly proved to be the circumcision of her timidity and possessed the complete dominion of her, a passion in which body, soul and spirit left her no chance for any other kind of replenishment of life. Charles then was a universe to her; all other things were indeed nothing to her.

Though, her love in comparison with his own love was so excessive, that it completely erased every suggestion of jealousy. For one notion which signified to her the less of Charles’ love gave her exquisite torture that his love, she dreaded of worse than death, made her forever renounce and defy his pretenses of greater love affair; nor had she indeed, the occasion for, were she had to enter here on the recital of several examples where Charles mingled before her with women than she dared hint or to mention, (which considering his flirtatious attitude was no such amazement and misdeed to her), but one would accuse her of warming up again an accusation that she ought to have forgiven and forgotten.

Upon all his constant sleeping away from home, for handful of months they had lived together, she could not for one day had any wrath on him rather she tolerated him and loved him so much that Charles could feel it, while he did not love her as much as she did to him – (which was the constant and only matter of everyday contention between them). Even though he tried at least as to give her the satisfaction of believing it impossible for man to be tenderer, truer, more faithful than he was. Yet, his love for her was tampered with the love affairs with other women that misspell his constant testimonies of loving her the more. If she spoke to him about his flirting indulgencies, he would bark at her like a dog and protested to divorce her any time she mentioned or talked about his infidelity. She said a wise thing to Charles when he had not been posted to Youth service: ‘‘man’s immoral acts were pleasing in his eyes: so did Charles’ amorous love in his eyes.’’ During those days, she could, without check of awe or restraint

gave a loose to joy and avoided every scheme of his dalliance with other women in which he was, in every sense, a most exquisite companion in prostitution act.

When she reflected on his compulsive attitude, and his apparent distancing her, she was still mad at him. Wounded. Even. She felt bruised by his dishonesty with her, all the more so because she had been caring for him in both his guises since they married and lived together. The sense of his betrayal was sharp and painful. She felt really painful for scrutiny and questioning she was getting now from her colleagues about the absence of her husband. But she would tell her school contemporaries that “marriage is not the be all and end all of life”.

Besides, it was her fault for not having recognized that something was quite wrong about her from the very moment she started dating John Hill. She had found her volition on divorce and elopement plot eliciting, and the strange notion she took against every parental warning had been exhilarating.

They met in the university, married and things had been soft enough for both of them that a trivial wildness in each other had simply seemed like part of all the rest. His suspicions of students who befriend her had always been unjustifiable, and his sudden interest in women to women had seemed like a lark. Even after they married and when his flirtatious act began to worsen, she had been able to  explain it away as a vagary.  Back then there had been long periods when Charles would not come home for many days. During the early periods, she was silent even when she felt he was wrong, or cheating her, because he would not hear her controversies, anyway and he

did only become extremely agitated when she dare to mention his adulterous activities.

Vivian, this particular night spent few hours thinking on the behaviours that Charles had exposed before her. When she slept that night, she dreamt like a moron, packing her properties, eloped and lived with John Hill, who gave her his residential address in Novo State. She dreamt how she lived with him in peace and tranquility, and neglected the traditional and church weddings; her permission to Charles’ wishes and her demands which he accomplished. When she rose from the bed that morning, she thought that John Hill whom she reserved all the love that Charles rejected was lying down in the bed with her, but she found that John was not in the bed with her only that she was enflamed by a distant thought of a new lover. She was dreaming on a grasping shadow.

Two weeks had added to the days Vivian stipulated for Charles’ return. One day, when she saw that she would no longer wait upon him, her patience wore out. She was ready to forget about all the troubles she was worrying about Charles. She realized with the most awful, creeping sense of dread Charles’ behaviours and his insistence to direction of life which he had chosen. She packed up her traps in Charles’ household, eloped, and married John Hill, who had his business in Yale Republic.

CHAPTER TEN

Five months have of Vivian divorced Charles. He became nostalgic; having isolated himself from home and any usual communication except few letters she wrote to Vivian. Both of them were set apart by experiences they could not share or do anything about it because he was not excused by the library organization for holidays. That was one important thing that hindered him from coming home.

One Good Friday noon, Charles entered a local flight at Rano airport and landed in Yale, his nation. Everyone around complained their way through the airport. Lines grew too long at all the stores, dinning out in a restaurant required both waiting and planning and traffic was heavy all day long. It wouldn’t improve until after Easter. Charles did not mind it too much, except for the crowding and the rudeness that seemed to come with it. He entered his car which parked for so long a time at the airport and made for his home in the south-east of Yale. He stopped at the supermarket, where he bought bread, cheese and some bottles of wine. Then he drove across the state and up the barrier island along gulf of birth of Biafra. He drove into the lot and parked.

When he entered his house that noon, he expected to see Vivian run out of the house joyfully and swoop on him with beardless kisses to welcome him, but she become a kind of vision out of reach. He looked around the rooms. All his belongings were nowhere to be found. He was horrified. Panic lanced him. He thought that criminals had come in unnoticed and made away with the properties. He bought those properties

in expectation of the family they planned to start, a family that never happened. He felt a surge of fury so strong that for an instant he couldn’t even see, then, in a rush, it gave way to icy panic. “Where has she gone? Where has she gone with the properties?” He questioned excitedly. There was no way he could possibly know where she was. He couldn’t stand it anymore. He looked so lost and alone, as if he were reaching the end of his life. He immediately alarmed the compound with shouts, and his parents rushed out to know who made the strange noise. When they came to Charles’ flat, they found that it was him.

“Welcome my son, you have been out from the state quite for a long time?” Rogers began with thrills of joy.

“Thank you sir!” Charles answered in exclamation. “How about your work? I hope that it projected out in

moderate uniformity? We have been anxious to see you face- to-face; because it had been a long time we haven’t seen or heard from you.” Rogers inquired.

“Dad, things worked out normally as projected. I have few months ahead to finish the youth service and join the gross statistics of unemployed graduates roaming the streets,” Charles asserted.

“Since the Federal Government and its administrative council could not build up the country towards agriculture and industrialization and range the government offices with vacancies to accommodate the graduates from various universities, the statistics of unemployed graduates would insist on high rate on national employment data. But, you should not worry about employment programme any way; I have remitted

five hundred million dollars for you in the western bank as a heritage,” Rogers declared.

“Dad, where is Vivian? I expected to find her in the bedroom when I got back, but I looked around for her and she was not in sight. In fact I looked for her upstairs but she wasn’t there. Did anyone come to the house,” he asked. “Did anyone take anything away from my bedroom? What happened to the properties in my flat? Did criminals break into the house unaware? Nothing is left in the rooms except the curtains hanging of the doors and windows.” Charles questioned with marked seriousness and in a sharp disconnected manner.

Rogers’ mind was scrambled around wildly seeking some kind of response. He did not know whether to dismiss the question or to suggest that they get together and discuss it further since he had just returned. He retained a very clear memory of Vivian. He had vaguely remembered that she might have left the house with the properties for good. He had been absolutely certain she had left alone with some briefcases.

“I do not know. I could not give account for the goods taken away from your flat. She was here with us few weeks ago. I do not know her whereabouts, and you could inquire from your mother where she was. Though suspicion was aided by the fact that one of her sisters said she went back to school early in the morning, which meant she should have gone to continue her studies,” Rogers declared and directed.

“Mum,” Charles called, as he turned, looking at his mother. “Did you see Vivian?” He questioned further with disrespectful seriousness.

“She was with us some weeks ago, though she was embittered and troubled about your long time absence from her. She complained to us about your absurd behaviour to her since you married her, and how you denied her your residential address of the State you were posted for National Youth Service. She also complained bitterly about your rascal behaviours. I am not really impressed with her complaints about you. She said that since she married you that you went about slumming with sexual thrills. We never believed that you would act anyhow. Last morning, I saw her packing her belongings, and I thought that she was preparing to go back to school – which was on strike few months ago,” Regina averred. This moment, Charles was confused. He looked through the doorway as an enraged person could do out of strenuous speculation or like one thinking about something quiet mysterious. He was taken aback. Every cell of his being resisted that suggestion that she was responsible for the missing properties. The only thing that encouraged him was the realization that she was supposed to be at university since the strike had been called off. He found himself wondering why Vivian               had   gone    without    definite   information    on    her whereabouts. “This act is not right. This is not her manners,”

he murmured in agony.

“Why did you leave Vivian alone for so long a time, without even a visitation to know her wellbeing?” Rogers intruded. “A new wife needs proper attention, and you must be ready to fulfill the very top of her wishes. She must be soothed like a wound and pampered like a crying child – whose parents went on a distant journey. Ever she returned from school, I

enquired about her condition and observed the state of her behaviour. I spoke to her one morning and her strange answers made a blush into my mind that still set her wider off the truth where she was packing her belongings to go. I intended to know what she was thinking, but you can’t see a person’s thought and you can’t look into a person’s mind. What I think happened all that morning with Vivian, while I talk to her before breakfast, and all through breakfast, was that her thoughts were stuck at a barrier she couldn’t get over. Of course, we are always nice to her. We had always provided for her needs…” Rogers informed further.

Charles was still looking through the door like a man looking for a missing thing. He was unable to know exactly where to find Vivian .He looked drowned from the present universe. Anger filled the pit of his heart like snakes in a pit. To his surprise, his parents did not mention about criminals breaking into the flat and made away with all the valuable properties. He said that everything Vivian had done was very carefully planned, and the planning might have taken place over months.

“Didn’t you stop her from packing all the properties in the flat?” Charles quarried angrily. His thoughts scattered like autumn leaves in the wind.

“When I wanted to know if she was going to visit her parents, she answered me with awkwardness and confusion as there was really a mixture of truth in her answers. When I tried to know her mind on the condition of departure and course of her destination, she manageably joined discourse with me, and reported your unfair treatment on her since you married her. I

observed that anger was in her heart so I was calm in my answers in other to pacify her wrath. That notwithstanding, in the midst of my pampering and solicitations, she walked ponderously and passed me into her limousine car, and drove off with speed.” Rogers further explained.

Charles was totally confused about his parents’ response on Vivian’s whereabouts. He understood that she might have actually divorced him. He regretted his decision to allow himself to spend so many months in Rano without getting in touch with her. He thought of all the days he had spent away from her, working in the library. He was simply not going to live alone here till he found her; he told himself. Sitting up, he pushed his hair back and looked around. The apartment had a very different character that morning. It looked so unkempt. The house hadn’t accumulated that feeling in all the years he lived in it because the properties in the apartment had been carried away. He shook his head and was afraid to talk; afraid he had said the wrong thing, because he didn’t see Vivian pack out the properties in apartment but he was reposing on what his parents informed him. He knew that his parents would not misguide him with wrong information. His parents never told lies. Their information about her whereabouts was the truth. He stood there, watching the sky lighten and felt as if his own confusion had lightened, as if a great veil had been stripped away. He looked like a man in the grip of some kind of spell.

“Oh! My house furniture and furnishing have been packed out, properties and bank note taken away. My house is empty….” He groaned. Heaving a sigh, he forced himself to

stop thinking about how difficult it was to search for her, instead, he looked around the living room again, trying to imagine what had happened there. “Did criminals break into the house?” He asked phlegmatically. “What had become of her? Where can I find her? Has she been kidnapped? Has she committed suicide on the account of my long time absence from home or is it because of my ills which she accounted before my parents? I hadn’t thought she could feel things like that. Of course I didn’t know what put her in her apparent behaviour; but, whatever it was; I thought all that sort of manner would have been taken out of her in the University. Illiteracy and ignorance are killed by learning. What had she hoped to accomplish?” Charles questioned himself in the midst of floating tears that emanated from his angry sob.

“Why are you crying like a woman?” Began Regina. “Brave and wise men do not cry in troubled time. It is true that thousands of people vanish mysteriously on earth these days, but we can’t take Vivian’s roving to be a matter that she had vanished or committed suicide. It is not easy to commit suicide. It is not a rare thing today. If she has committed suicide, did she die with your house properties and bank note which you trusted at her disposal before you went on youth service? In fact, after my vainly attempt to stop her to wait for your return, she disregarded my words, and shook me off of her path and entered her car and drove off. All the solicitations that I employed to calm down her perplexities while with us could not lure her back from running away from us. She had already accused you of many things; and posted your character so ill

that she had decided to leave us without alerting us her whereabouts.” She explained further.

For long moments, there was nothing but stunned silence in the room. Finally his father cleared his throat, as if he wasn’t quite sure what to say. Charles looked like a man trapped in a nightmare, or a man who had lost a valuable treasure, and he wanted so badly to find the whereabouts of Vivian. But how could he? He felt as if his soul had been stained by the things he had just heard from his parents about her. Still feeling stunned, he didn’t know quite what to say or how to react. Then in a burst of discomfort that reminded him miserably of her elopement, he went through the entire bedroom checking locks on windows and doors, and pulling all the curtains so that he would not be visible from outside. It was inescapable that he felt as if he was under siege. Just the way Vivian had felt when he was in Diaspora.

“Yes Charles, your angry sob does not make you a man; heroes or strong men do not cry in strenuous catastrophe; you invited the black ant that bit you. Greater compatibility usually exists between two persons having similar background. I told you about the dubious characters and inconsistencies of the marriage with graduates and undergraduates before you married Vivian. If you would recollect what I initially said about your marriage with a beautiful girl like that, that at a certain period of life of togetherness, she would dislike you, and would disengage the first love she had for you, and marry a man, more handsome, more tall, more educated, more financially greater than you. Basically, look at all things graduates and undergraduates are capable of doing to their

husbands on daily basis. I do not have to give you the laundry list. I do not trust these wise, learned women. They are capable of divorcing their hubbies anytime they wish. They can even poison them. They change men like clothe. Why would it be impossible that Vivian, finding out that her husband has been posted to youth service, decided to do most hurtful thing she can think of?” Charles’ father pointed out.

It took a few moments for the full meaning of his words to penetrate into Charles’ mind and in the silence that followed he became aware of Charles and how he was slowly drawling himself in his chair, and miserable was at his eyes opening wide and tears bedewed his face. He looked exotic and wild. What he had just heard was one complication he had not imagined that would come up among them. It had never occurred to him that she might actually be guilty of carrying away his valuable properties. He absolutely could not believe his eyes. Vivian’s decision to divorce him is an act of pure idiocy. It is the worst mistake any reasonable woman can make under heaven. And it is the stupidity blunder of the century. She had done what her religious organization prohibits – divorce.

“Divorce!” Charles exclaimed out of endless resentment; “as our love never changed, so, divorce had no part in my enjoinment with her whose thought left me sleepless days. I returned to see her face- to - face in peace and share with her the battle of love that enjoined us together, and discuss the affairs of our future pressing prospects. Whatever vexation she had for my absence and regardless attitudes could be right. And whatever resolution she had chosen “divorce”, must be

blamed on her part, for a woman have no right to divorce her husband in any circumstance. Has she gone to her home town to explain to her parent about her lonesome situation that my absence created in her?” Charles said, and slowly shook his head. He was still having trouble taking this all in. Her elopement sounded like an unwise move to him. There was no wrong word or evil inclination in her earlier letters to him, or anything threatening while he was in the state of National Youth Service. Sometimes the pain of her departure was so bad that he honestly thought he could cut off his own head.

“Don’t be surprised to hear the faintest news that Vivian whom you still putting on your warm love and trust have divorced you, and got married to a man that pleased her. Love is a tendency toward simplicity, which cannot be violated with any impunity. You must realize that nothing in this life has ever been as painful as being able to trust a harlot. She will give you sad thoughts, and pangs of regrets. She made harsh accusation against you. There could be all kinds of stories in that squabble between you and her, which two of you would better define and settle.” Rogers added strictly.

“No Dad”, began Charles. “I am immensely proud of my marriage with her. I know that I have achieved a great triumph in marrying a virgin, an undergraduate whose innocence was not corrupt. A companion so endlessly  delighted that nothing would separate us from our marriage, which was as loyal as every true marriage would be and which could not be separated by the influence of a mere man.”

“Charles,” “Regina began. “Do not be surprise to hear the odd news that Vivian does not love you any longer. Your

trust and love for her is in the wind. Judging from her statements on your ills; she packed up in her resented heart, and her complaints about your absence from home and the way she packed your belongings and flinched, signifies that she has eloped. Sometimes the influence of a mere man can put a spoke in marital bloc. I told you often that some women have in their minds an image of their ideal, and they try to fit every passing infatuation of theirs into this image. Of course, no one can measure up to an impossible dream, but the infatuated one hangs on tenaciously and tries to force the other person to fulfill it. When this fails, he or she is disillusioned and searches elsewhere to find the imaginary ideal. But such persons never find their ideal. They seek a dream person that does not exist beyond their own fantasies. Persons who think like that are not good marriage material. On the other hand, Vivian had said many evil things about you. She said that she was ready to break off your relationship with her, hinting that she objected to the direction you have taken. We appealed for apology, and then she dismissed the idea.”

This discussion about Vivian’s elopement between Charles and his parent was so long, and consumed the hours of the day that Charles after fruitless enquiries about her whereabouts, turned into his empty bedroom and laid down on a bed without mattress. Few minutes later, he rose and lighted a lamp in the room, and with its flames, he saw a white envelop on a table opposite the bed. The envelop on one side was written his name; he quickly took the letter and tore it open from one end and brought out a white sheet of paper typewritten on it as follows:

“Dearly beloved Charles, I have waited for you for a long time, and I am now tired. I gave you my love, my all love in true wedlock. I offered you my assistance in anything that concerns the task of a true wife in a good coordinated wedlock. I refused any man’s company after I gave you the vows of love. But, now, I am so weakened by your acts of indifference toward our everlasting vows. I am paralyzed and dejected by your sinful apprehension, which your ills and amoral characters disdained our status. I am so terror-struck that I have not comprehended or hardly could give answers to what your proper plans were about me.

I have in these many months of your absence from me dreaded of your intentional indifferences in our marriage. You discarded me like a dirty rag and left my dear heart roving in loneliness. This is a calculated intention you would not deny the relevance of my remarks and you would distinguish that neither virtue nor principles of love had the least part in your acts. But the particular rationale and aversion I have conceived against your brutal love would be divorce, which I have out rightly carried out. You tormented me with the falsest notions and apprehensions of your flattered love. You arrested me into circumstances which were extremely critical: the attacks of your ill-love, which was more terrible to me than death itself. Your love which had set an enforced obedience on my personality.

Lastly, you would ask me, perhaps, whether all this time I have lived with you, if I have enjoyed your love and I would assure you, little or none, till just during your courtship with me, I experienced your love. Your grateful submission to

all my needs and desires were recognized and accomplished. I remembered how you took me to picnic, discotheque and parties held in Hollywood. You civilized my timidity by exposing me to civilize society. Then, I relished the intimates of our reunion into marital bloc and chewed the curd of enjoyment in the arms of your love that didn’t wax cold. While our love for one another grew too great, people of the society imitated us (but imitation brings trouble) and tuned to one another that we were alike in manners, acts and deeds. Then, I felt prodigious which your love dominated me with. Love: that may be termed the salt of life, and indeed without it, the joy, great as it is, is still a vulgar one, whether in a hubby or in a bride, for it is love, undoubtedly, love alone that refines, ennobles and exalts matrimony. You have been rationally pleasured as being much too wise to be ashamed of the pleasures of humanity and you loved other women indeed, but loved me with less dignity after your courtship and union into marriage. For this your regrettable acts, I am writing to inform you that I have divorced you!

To all these words which Vivian had written in the service of her letter, however, Charles read it in tears that flowed plentifully on his check. The content of the letter put him into crisis. He was subjected to melancholic depression, which grew fiercer as he thought fervently on the word “divorce,” which formed the closing sentence to him in the letter. He read the letter again, and his heart thudded again, differently this time. He didn’t like the way it sounded. He didn’t like the implication of divorce word that she pressed into

the service of the letter. “But maybe she was just bluffing?” He said and that was the impression he got.

He looked at the note for a long time, feeling that the threads of fate of their love and marriage were not running together any longer. It was an anxious feeling that he could not quite get a grip on. He was disturbed over the epistle that explained the whereabouts of Vivian. He dropped the letter on the table, letting the feeling and half formed impressions roil around in the back of his mind while he gave himself permission to think about her elopement and divorce strategy further.

“After all, she may not have meant to do anything but send me obnoxious note to find my mind,” Charles thought. She may be teasing him or pretending to signify her wrath on him for distancing her. He was surprise about her taking the next, inevitable divorce step. What really bothered him, though, was how much he found himself caring for her educational career; how much he had loved her with all his heart; how much it hurt that she had suddenly put this distance between them. He felt hurt by the way she had violated their vows and drifted away from their wedlock and away from their vows. There hadn’t been any energy left for another woman. Still stunned, he did not know quite what to say or how to react against her divorce information. The word divorce hit him with a cold chill. It was as if darkness crept into his mind, eating away the edges of normalcy and leaving him somehow empty; empty and uneasy. He certainty didn’t want to offend her. On the other hand, he didn’t want to take their relationship the way she had determined, resenting the way she had written to him

and determined to prove to him that the risk she had taken was more than justified by what she had been able to learn.

On the other hand, on two letters she wrote to him while in Rano state, she wrote to him a note about his carelessness and frivolities showing that she would break off their relationship. He would not apologize to a ghost wife right now because distance had kept him bared from  communication. “No, she had been planning divorce a long time until she eloped,” Charles said in an angry tone. He was not going to apologize for her inevitable step. What really bothered him though was how much he found himself caring for her guises.

Tipping back in his chair, he closed his eyes and thought about that. “How could she leave nothing at all, not even a hair in the house?” He questioned himself angrily. He was born away down the stream without making back to the shore. He extended his thought on her accusations against him. He knew really that she was hundred percent right on the account she had produced for elopement but didn’t admit it. He added in a harangue: “That Vivian in any essence has no legal right to divorce him, and that divorce proceeding is the act of a hussy.”

This is night Charles was staid and grew in constant speculation on this divorce case till he was seized by drowsy fit and fell fast asleep on a wooden bed. In his sleep, he dreamt about Vivian being married to a man richer than himself – with whom she had gone shopping. In his dream, he saw that she was pregnant and would soon bear a child to her second husband. In that fantasy also, she waved him goodbye and

could not show love interest on him any longer. While she was waving him, he ran towards to grip her for an embrace, as he use to do during the period she had lived with him but she at an instant ignored him and disappeared.

Before she disappeared, she warned him severely to find another wife who would like his disregard or accommodate his evil behaviour and negligence to marriage status; those who would recognize him and consider him trustworthy. She told him to mind his own business and should not disturb her any longer. When he wanted to know if she would continue her course in English language in the university, she declined and quickly told him that since she had remarried to another man and now pregnant, she had terminated her course and would resume her studies when she delivered her child safely. Charles in the dream begged her to return home no matter how their love had met ruinous consequences but she refused his demand while he started weeping bitterly and awoke from his dream.

When he woke that morning, it was with a jolt. He sat on the edge of the bed in his pajamas, shivering, heart hammering in his chest, anger thundering in his heart, head pounding. The light was bright, too bright, after the dream. This time, the realization suddenly struck him that he might have to wait here till Vivian came home. He looked around the bedroom and raised complete hope to see her take up appearance in the room. He found that his dream was confused with his anticipation. He realized that dreams could not bleed. The rage, which paralyzed his being before he went to sleep, increased to a new degree that could not be measure in any

scale. The realization struck him again that he might have to wait there till Vivian came home. He seemed still for a whole minute. He stared at a distance through the window. Like a man that has seen a ghost, one is tempted to say. But it was not really at all. Like a man that has seen something that no one has ever looked at before; something that he thought could not be.

He was so horrified by what she was complaining in the dream that he could not acknowledge that she was the person saying them. He was completely dissociated and had convinced himself that the snatches of memories he could not suppress about her divorce strategy were some kind of psychic dreams – which began giving him stream of consciousness. And he heard her say, “She was sorry she missed him, and that it is no longer important that she could continue wasting her time and life for the purpose of his baseless matrimony because nobody would like to waste a precious time on shifting affair or trusting on a man who does not care or take love very significant.” When he waited for her and didn’t see her, he began to soliloquize in wrath “Oh, I loved Vivian more than any woman in the world; I denied any woman’s courtship when I found love in her eyes. I could not sleep day and night nor was I able to finish a meal because of the thought of love for her. I rested not until I married her. I rejected the instructions and warnings of my parents and the risks to undertake a marriage with an undergraduate. I did not abide with the deceitful suspicions and envy of our enemies and the discouraging words from relatives during the period of courtship.”

He wondered what was wrong with her, that he was being so charitable to her for the entire days he lived with her. Her temper had grown entirely too hot and thought of divorce never seemed so far away from her. It was all a test, he believed, and he spent many hours praying for the strength to triumph. He was feeling as dislocated as the day she caught him with a girl in their bed. The difference was that he felt ashamed. Sometimes the pain of her departure was so bad that he honestly thought he could cut off his own head.

“Though, as to temper, Vivian is quickly riled by trivial contentment, sometimes even the sweetness of it to me made her seem to be born for domestic jubilation and felicity,” Charles began. “She is tender, naturally polite and always under sobriety – (though that was peculiar to every character of a courted girl and newly married girl), and gentle manner. It could not be her fault if ever jars from foes ruffled calm, she was always calm. She was so qualified in every way to be maintained, with attracting qualities and without being ostentatious that constitutes the desires of beautiful modern women. And being so much beautiful in physique, she never made a noise nor bragged about her incomparable beauty among the women folk. She had all those humble characters that composed the softer social advantage. She was made for admiration, if not admired by everybody in the village, universally esteemed and reverently honoured.

During the early period she had shared his love, there was no way to fight love. She had kept silent even when she felt he was wrong, because he would not hear her arguments. No matter how hard he tried to shelter her, no matter how

much he had loved her and cared for her in her financial-know- how, there had come a time when she began to see him as a threat to their marital vow. He had begun to believe the divorce she gave him was an example. He had even come to believe she was his enemy too. She had torn his heart into pieces, twisting him in ways he could hardly comprehend even now.

She had wounded him. Of course he had been wounded even more because of this her divorce resolution and elopement strategy. Perhaps, worst of all was that no matter how badly he was hurt, no matter how terrible his life would become, or how many frictions that would arise and settle while he watched die; he never felt she had the right to divorce him. Instead of acknowledging the price he paid, she felt terrible for feeling that he paid any price at all. He hid her  hurts and felt embarrassed by them. She denied that he suffered; even when her days of graduation suffered financial constraint…

Marriage to Charles had eventually become celibate. Since she passed the decision to divorce him, she had been living like a nun in a nunnery. She had in fact, believed that all her needs and desires for Charles had vanished somehow…

Charles was so much hurt and embittered about Vivian’s divorce to him. The irritation of it grew so violently that he felt awed and confounded about seeing himself surrounded by the warnings of his parents before he married her. With the grief of her whereabouts, he made up his mind to commit suicide. It is very hard to him to throw off thoughts of suicide. Feeling faintly unhappy, and after being tired of loneliness, he went out and bought a white rope from a nearby

store. When he came home with the white rope, his parents asked him what he wanted to use the rope for. Charles was mute and could not respond to his parents’ questions.

The next morning, the sun had risen from the eastern cloud, created a fine coloured day. Waking very early, after the night’s imperfect rest and discomposure, he sat down on the edge of the bed; put his elbows on his knees to support his chin. He rocked back and forth steadily and endlessly with his head bowed and his eyes staring blankly. His face was a mask of anguish. Now and then he marked the checking-off of some point or other by a finger and bringing it back again onto his checks, or even onto the spot behind his jawbone – where there was a little movement like the movement of gills of a fish. He stood up and took his hat, topcoat and curiously put them on. He opened the front door and stepped out, to go and find his wife. He turned to pull the door closed and warm air from the room rushed through the narrow opening between the hinges. As he sails out into the glowing morning sun, a sudden voice spoke to him to stop looking for Vivian’s whereabouts, her elopement strategy and her letter of divorce.

He later changed his decision on searching the whereabouts of his wife and decided he would climb a tree unobserved and with the mind to kill himself by hanging. With the rope to murder himself, you could not say what he could stop at. Suicide tales seemed too bad sometimes for those who read them and never practice it. Though suicide is not a nice thing, and when a suicider is desperate and trying to hide his tracks he would not even be as nice as he was previously. That is what he was going to do. He is going to forget about all the

troubles he was worrying about Vivian, and would focus on his suicide plan. “When the head is off, the body is useless,” he said. “And any other earthly troubled had ended.” He added. The more he thought about his state, the more the idea of killing himself appealed to him as the way to deal with the present problem. In his illusion, he groaned and said to unseen Vivian. “I fell in love with you in the University. Then I fell in love with you when you were timid. Then I fell in love with you all over again when you vowed to love me till the end.”

It suddenly struck him that he was losing patience with all these shit and all he really wanted to do was go find Vivian wherever she was and abduct her to Rano state for a week or a month or maybe the rest of his life. He desired to spend his days on the sand or in the water and just forget that the rest of the world exists. He went all nook and cranny of the town looking for her. No one else had the information on her whereabouts…

The next day, he set out a walk to a nearby forest and climbed up an oil- bean- tree with big branches, and hanged himself with the white rope on one of the projected branches. The white rope wrapped around his neck drew so tight. Almost immediately, stars appeared before his eyes. Reaching up, he clawed at the rope, dangling, as he struggled to draw a whistle of breadth into his constricted throat. As he continued dangling in the mid-air, stars continued to whirl before his protruded eyes, and the edges of his vision went going black. It was hard to commit suicide; he remembered reading somewhere in a suicide story. Hard to die suicidal or hang oneself but he had hanged himself. When his dangling legs stopped, he groaned

and panted. A long, dark tunnel reached out for him and swallowed him up, until the last pinprick of light disappeared. And he gave up the ghost.

Few days later, people who saw him hanging dead, ran with tears and informed his parents and family relations about his death. They gathered around the oil-bean-tree, and felt a burst of white rage when they saw Charles tethered to projected branch of oil-bean-tree with the white rope around his neck. The rope was tight enough that his parents could see it bite deep into his neck. His eyes met theirs, but there was no vision in them any longer. His face was as white as snow. Decomposition was too far advanced. They skirted themselves on the dust and bereaved for the passing away of Charles, who graduated in first degree in English Language in Yankee University with upper credit, and could not stay alive to pay back his parents, the sufferings and the burden they had bore to train him.

After they moaned, they brought down his corpse, dug a deep grave near the oil-bean-tree and buried him. On his grave, Rogers his father wrote with a radical poetic metre:

Man’s bride has much, Much great power Over things that affect His fate and way.

She gives him the crown Of shame or honour.

She composes him live

Or pass away to hell or heaven. She has the key to his rise and fall.

She can clothe him with peace and all. She can bury him in sorrow, trouble fell.

THE END

Divorce Discord © 2020 Paul Henry Eboh

A BookLeaf Publishing Presentation.

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