Now I Regret Getting Married To This Man – Stephanie

Stephanie was a very beautiful lady, who naturally found favor with people. Just out of the polytechnic, she established a supermarket inside a popular shopping mall in Surulere, Lagos. Her shop was very large and customers came in droves because of its popularity and the quality of items on sale.

Speculations were rife about the source of finance for her store. While some said the money could only have come from a male friend, others said no man would part with the amount of money needed to set up such a huge business. While the rumors circulated, Steph went on with her life and business. She was not the type who bothered with what people said or thought about her.

She had friends but they did not have the courage to ask her about the source of her wealth. A friend, who attempted to find out, got a tongue lashing from her…

“I see you have joined rum our-mongers who have been going around saying I got money from men to set up my shop?” she asked, shutting up the curious friend.
Three months after setting up, she decided to formally open the store. It was a huge party and people had a lot to eat and drink. It was during the party that people noticed the source of the finance Steph had been flaunting.

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He was a man in his 40s, about 15 years older than Steph. His name was Abdulahi, a very well known currency merchant around the area. Everybody agreed that he must be wealthy if he could afford to fund such business for a lady.

Although he moved around a lot during the ceremony, Abdulahi did not say a word. Steph made all the announcements, thanking guests for their patronage and support.

But people knew there was a relationship between the two, from the way Abdulahi kept close to Steph and kept whispering into her ears. There was no other man around her except the currency merchant. So, it was naturally concluded that he was the mystery man behind the wealth.

A few months after opening the shop, Mercy, Steph’s friend, visited her shop but did not meet Stephanie. She however met Abdulahi who informed her that his “wife” had traveled to Dubai for business.
Though she was surprised to hear Abdulahi referring to Stephanie as his wife, Mercy did not say anything and decided to hear from her friend first.

Mercy was a nurse at a teaching hospital in Lagos; she and Steph were childhood friends. As soon as she learnt that Stephanie was back from Dubai, she immediately went to her house to see her.

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After the exchange of greetings, Mercy went straight to the point.

“Your husband was very nice to the customers while you were not around,” she started and waited for Steph’s reaction to the word ‘husband.’ When she received no reply, she became furious. “I cannot believe it Steph. It is one thing for you to set up a multi-purpose naira shop and keep the source of funding a secret, it is another thing for you to hide an important thing like a marriage from your bosom friend. What did I do to deserve such treatment from you?”

Stephanie looked at her friend for a moment before replying. “I am not married,” she informed Mercy.

“You are not married? So why is Abdulahi calling you his wife?” she asked her.

“I am not married to Abdulahi. At least not yet. We are still discussing the idea,” Steph informed Mercy.

“Oh! You are discussing marriage with Abdulahi, a polygamist? Do you want to live a miserable life till you die?”

But Steph assured Mercy that Abdulahi was single. Mercy found it hard to believe that the 40-year-old merchant was single. She advised her friend against marrying the man.
Stephanie ignored her friend’s advice and married Abdulahi at a traditional wedding ceremony held in Lagos.

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After the marriage, Abdulahi decided to relocate to the North with his wife. It meant leaving everything behind, including the shop. Abdulahi assured her that he would open a bigger shopping mall for her in Maiduguri. Steph did not argue. After all, Abdulahi was her husband whom she had married for better and worse.

On their arrival at Maiduguri, reality hit her hard. A week after their arrival, Stephanie’s in-laws arrived with a young girl, about 18 years old. The girl was to be married to Abdulahi, who had just been made a local chief. According to their tradition, a person in his position was entitled to four wives.
Steph had no voice. Even if she did, her husband would not listen. She realized that Abdulahi had changed completely from the sweet merchant who gave her everything in Lagos. In Maiduguri, he listened more to his people and treated her like a complete stranger. Also, the promise of a bigger shop remained just a promise.

She had no choice but to start plotting her escape from Abdulahi’s house that was fortified with tall walls and barbed wires.

Written by OláShùpò Mábínúorí

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