Whenever my girlfriends and I go out we have made it a tradition to sit at the counter if we are doing cocktails. Maybe it’s the thrill of seeing them being prepared or it could be the speedy service. So this Thursday evening was no different. We were four of us; Clara, Jos, Lilly and I. We were all there by 7 pm and the mojitos had started trickling in. The usual niceties began and as the cocktails started doing their job we let loose a little.
“So Jos, what’s with the non-subtle and emotional social media status off late?” Clara asked.
“Guys, si this cocktails ritual is to escape reality, can we do that? Jos responded.
“I think we should switch it up to margaritas,” I said because I am that friend who pumps you up with more drinks to dilute any intense emotions. A couple of margaritas later and tales about men Jos finally decided to let us in.
“I am no longer with Chukwu,” Jos announced.
“What? Do you mean you have issues or you have officially split?”
“The devil’s pawn probably conned me into marriage just to steal from me?”
We all gazed at her in confusion and surprise. What was she talking about? Let me first fill you in on Jos and Chukwu’s history. Jos had met Chukwu about 5 years before. It had been love at first sight for them. It was like a Hallmark movie. Jos does events and while at a client’s gig she met Chukwu. Chukwu was one of those charismatic people that you ended up liking after a brief conversation with him. He was from Nigeria and was in town for a friend’s event (Jos’ client) but he was in the middle of setting up a business in the country. Once the event was over Chukwu was waiting for the friend to finish up with the guests, meanwhile, Jos was clearing up the place. That was how they got to start talking.
Four months down the line, we were planning a wedding. Well, Jos was planning the wedding we were more like accessories because Chukwu’s sister who was more familiar with Nigerian pop helped her out. Soon Jos was flying in and out of the country to see her in-laws on the western side of the continent. The wedding was nothing like what we had seen before. If one was looking to create an African fashion look book, this was the perfect place to be at.
Women donned colourful dresses from African fabric with fashionable geles on their heads. The men left nothing to chance too with their agbadas. The food menu incorporated both Kenyan and Nigerian meals. We literally felt as though we were at a food-tasting event. The music and the dancing were the highlights of the event. Everybody was on the dance floor at some point of the wedding reception from the children to the elderly. There was so much cheering and loads of laughter. The excitement was tangible and we all wished the newlyweds a lifetime of happiness.
Jos’ announcement was shocking and we were waiting for her to give us more details as the waiter replenished our glasses. What could have possibly led them to break up after about 5 years of happiness?
Chukwu was the dream husband, the real McCoy. He would help her with the household chores like doing the dishes. He said he subscribed to the theory that couples who share chores are happier. Every evening as long as he was in the country they would take turns cooking and then do dishes together. She would clean them and then he would rinse them. They decided to have both joint and separate accounts. He was really poor in remembering dates so birthdays and anniversaries were not his thing but she didn’t mind it since he would buy her gifts every so often. Jos’ job required her to plan the logistics of events for her clients but in her house, Chukwu made sure that he did the larger portion of planning so that she could leave work at work and home was her resting place.
3 months prior to our girls’ meet up, Chukwu approached Jos with two brilliant ideas. The first one was a business one. Chukwu had made friends with a top manager at an oil firm in Nigeria. He was already a contractor of oil products to many government agents and his friend could get him fuel at a discount. He would expand his business and the projected profit margins were crazy. Additionally, he could already see how he would venture deeper into the industry and supply gas to households and companies. There was however a catch, he was short of funds at the moment and required a loan. As articulate as Chukwu was, he managed to convince Jos to take out a loan for him from her sacco. He was good at business and she could see the figures made sense. So she took out a loan of 10 million shillings and gave her trusted partner.
The second idea was for them to go out of the country for a holiday. Their fifth anniversary was also coming up and he was planning a perfect holiday. Jos loved Kiribati Island. It wasn’t one of the top destinations for many people but she loved the culture and the beach. She had mentioned it when they first started dating and Chukwu was finally giving her the dream vacation.
Since it was Chukwu with the idea he was to plan everything. He would book the flight and every little detail. All she had to do was show up and enjoy the island. So Jos waited for the travelling date with much anticipation. Work was good, her marriage was even better and the love of her life was doing very well in his business. All was well with Jos and her clan. The day before the planned trip Chukwu went with more money to have it changed into a different currency. He was supposed to be back by 10 PM so that they could leave for the airport since their flight was at 2 AM.
Jos looked at her watch and wondered why he was late. She tried calling him but she couldn’t reach him. After an hour of waiting, she decided to leave for the airport since his things were also packed. Throughout the journey to the airport, she tried to call him but still nothing. She knew something was wrong, she just didn’t know how much worse it could get.
“Excuse me, madam, did you book this flight yourself?”
“No, my husband did. Is there a problem?”
Chukwu had given her invalid tickets. The humiliation she felt combined with anger and confusion! She wanted to scream but the pain cut so deep that she could hardly talk. He had even taken her passport out of the bags. Her life had just been turned upside down in the span of a few hours. We all sipped our tequila shots as we tried to comprehend how a trusted partner could pull off such a con after five years of bliss.
This story is loosely based on a story that was on social media.
Maureen Rita is a writer, creative and poet who focuses on issues that affect women, relationships and wellness. I’m constantly exploring the complexities of human experiences and I often challenge societal norms. I also love discovering African music, films, and art. You can
also check out my website on Home, Living and Productivity - www.kallistead.com.