WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MYSELF?
What if Nkiru had been forewarned on how things would play out? What if she had known that Ikenna, the cool, gentle guy is a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Would she have scarified so much just so that she could be introduced before her family, friends and congregation as Mrs. Nkiru Ikenna Okoro on that sunny day that she’d danced and swayed like a victorious Amazon who cared less about the opinion of her critics? These thoughts ran through my head as I quietly listened to the woman as she shared with me the tale of her undoing, wrought by her own hands. The exclamation, “What have I done to myself” was repeated severally. I have permission to share it with you…
Ikenna was a new convert who surprisingly showed great zeal and commitment in all key departments of the Pillar of Truth Church, where he served with his time, money and talent much to the admiration of everyone. He is gentle, soft spoken, humble and charismatic. What is more, he is wealthy and his actions never left anyone in doubt of his generosity.
As a new convert he had only few friends, but people in the congregation secretly admired him and desired to have a chance to fraternize with him. One Saturday, during the usual monthly Youth Summit, the pastor unprecedentedly asked Ikenna to narrate how he became a member of the church and the recent convert stood up and told a giggling congregation how God had showed him in a dream that his wife is a member of the church, and that the church is where he and his family should abide. Everyone at the meeting had laughed hysterically but some sisters like Nkiru were focused on the fact that his is single and searching. The pastor laughed too but warned Ikenna not to do anything rash with his daughters since he wants only the best for them. He pleaded he doesn’t marry one of his daughters, (as he fondly called the spinsters) and take them outside the church or the fold of believers.
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After the meeting that day, Nkiru had nattily made up herself to be noticed and when that didn’t work, asked if he could drop her off at the nearest bus stop where she could find a vehicle that will take her home. Providence seemed to have smiled on her as Ikenna agreed to give her a ride and promised to drive her to the entrance of her house if he could. On the way Nk, as she told him she was fondly called, introduced herself and he did same. They laughed as they talked about the pastor’s message, Ikenna’s zeal and commitment, the structure and organization of the youth fellowship and other subjects of interest. While she was approaching her house, she paused for about three minutes and then asked if any girl in the church had caught his fancy. Before she could finish the question, he gave her a big smile and a bold ‘Yes’. He disclosed that her bossom friend, Amaka is his idol; and described her as the tall, dark, beautiful girl that always led the worship and praise session of the service and solicited her help in the realization of his dream; after that, they became quiet again. Nkiru was angry and infuriated at the turn of events but kept her cool. Nothing is impossible to the person that believes. And so as she alighted from the air-conditioned Kia jeep, she smiled and asked him for his phone number and residential address.
That night as they parted, Nkiru called him well over twelve times. She called to know if he has reached home, if he had eaten and what he did eat. She wants to know if he had taken his bath, lying down, watching television or reading a book. To balance the conversation, she also gave him updates of all that she was doing from the time she entered her house to the time she laid on the bed to sleep. He knew when she took her bath and the colour of her panties. She told him of the pain in her right knee and wished someone was there to help her massage it. She was no doubt on top of her game and wanted him to go to bed thinking and dreaming about her. On his part, he acted along, knowing she was available.
The following day was Sunday and Nkiru had perfected a plan to get Amaka off Ikenna’s mind, but before she could effect it, her friend showed her the text messages she’d gotten from Ikenna last night. He had sent her ten love messages and in one of them, requested to talk with her after the Sunday service. Nkiru had gone pale and moody but Amaka couldn’t discern the reason for the change in her countenance. After service, Nkiru decided to improvise on her plot and pleaded with Amaka to join her as she visit some of her relatives and her plans had worked out; she’d had Amaka to herself all day and only disengaged the ignorant puppet when she was sure her friend could no longer see Ikenna. In pursuance of her modified plot, Nkiru later navigated her way to his house.
He had been surprised to see her but knew the game she was playing. While they were talking, she asked for his phone to call a friend and had gleefully informed Amaka that Ikenna had invited her over and is insisting she pass the night with him. Ignorant of her ploy, Amaka had advised it was late to visit a single brother, and that passing the night in his house is immodest and against Christian ethics. She didn’t tell me all that happened or if she did pass the night.
The next day, Amaka sent Ikenna a text message stating her resolve not to have anything to do with him, and in vain did he plead his innocence; stressing Nkiru had been forcing herself on him. He’d even asked the pastor to help him talk to Amaka but her resolve was fixed. This had adversely affected their relationship but NKiru couldn’t be bothered. She was desperate and wanted Ikenna at all cost and it was no surprise when in a space of three months, the news that she was already pregnant for him and they would soon be joined in holy matrimony filtered to the public.
Everyone with courage had warned Nkiru of the danger of marrying a fresher she rarely knew but she’d been blinded by his amiable personality and affluence and convinced anyone who cared to listen that she knew what she was doing and was on top of her game. She even boasted how her scheme had worked out perfectly to her allies, and how wealthy she would be when she is finally joined with Ikenna.
On the wedding day, she’d danced provocatively to the consternation of those who felt she had been too desperate and unfair to Amaka, but little did she know that was the beginning of her own undoing; she’d just gotten married to a wife beater and an alcoholic who had put up a bet with his friends that he would marry a girl from the most talked about church in town and the target was Amaka, the beautiful, gentle and spirit-filled lead singer.
Just a week after their marriage, Ikenna stopped her from going to church and resumed his drinking and clubbing lifestyle which he had missed for the eleven months that he was ‘born again’. Ikenna’s rich and notorious friends, who would have given him one hundred thousand naira each, gave him only half the amount for winning the bet but failing to marry ‘Amaka’ who was the actual target. They usually visit Nkiru’s home and literally mock and abuse her while her husband watched, laughed and even join in the travesty.
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The worst of her woes was the fact that he took pleasure in beating her and this eventually led to the loss of the five months pregnancy. According to her, that was the day she wished death would have taken her as she’d bled from several parts of her body and finally became unconscious. She woke up the next day at the Federal Teaching Hospital Ikeja only to be told that her womb had been damaged by the battering she had received from her husband. The sympathizing doctors told her that she cannot have children anymore. She was alone and had wept agonizingly but that changed nothing at all. Her husband abandoned her and would only send a friend to pay the doctors for the cost of taking care of her.
After six days of being alone in hospital, her husband had finally come, affecting remorse and professing to still love her and wanting her back in his house. She’d thought it was the dawn of a new day as he paid the bills and warmly lead her to a new car he had bought for her. She could not drive so he’d driven her home. When they got home, he didn’t let her into the house but asked his waiting friends to pack out her things and in very certain terms, told her it was over between them. He’d offered her the new car and five hundred thousand naira as severance pay and warned her never to show up anywhere near him or his house and despite her protests, offered to drive her back to her family home, claiming he couldn’t go on with the marriage since she couldn’t bear him children. Desperate to keep her pride, she’d simply dragged her broken heart and recovering body out of Ikenna’s house and life, picking nothing as she left.
With her marriage over and womb in jeopardy, she’d had nowhere to turn to; not even her family who were never in support of the marriage in the first place. As she narrated her ordeal and cried out her heart; I let her pour it all out, I didn’t try to stop her but rather took the opportunity to wonder at the way the Lord had delivered Amaka, the truly devoted believer. As she ended her story, I simply said a quiet prayer in my heart, asking God to put the right words in my mouth to counsel the heartbroken lady that sat in front of my desk and cried with so much pain and regret. It had been awhile, but I could still hear her crying, “What have I done to myself?”
She’d schemed her way into her own hurt… Solomon the wise Jewish King was right when he mused, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof leads to death”. Dear Amaka, as you read this story, I want you to join me pray for the quick recovery of your friend Nkiru. Pray that her womb be healed and that she finds true love later in life. Also take time to thank God for tilting you off Ikenna’s radar. And for you Ikenna, you and your kind should realize that whatever a man sows, he shall surely reap. My prayer for you guys is that God grant you salvation and forgiveness.
One should not be hasty in getting married observe and investigate also pray.
What is your opinion on this real life situation and what advise can you give to the single ladies?