There was no love lost between mama and I; she was a mother-in-law who was determined not to accept me. Deciding to be in my bed on my wedding night was her final act of ‘get-out’ but instead of me seeing it as such, I chose to ignore it.
Here is my story.
My marriage lasted for less than four months; it shouldn’t even have been a marriage, nor a relationship, it should just never even have happened!
I thought I was in love when I met UK; he was soft spoken, he had hands and feet like a girls’, you know, clipped clean like someone who didn’t want dirt near him. He spoke like someone who had lived abroad for a while…maybe that was also one of the things that drew me to him; I had always wanted to go abroad, so he was the closest thing for me here and the fact that he became interested in me…was a big bonus!
He asked me out, I was in my final year at the Poly, then.
He bought me fish and chips at one of the fast food restaurant he took me to that Saturday and that’s how it all began.
It was easy to see he was a mummy’s boy and for me, that was no threat. I didn’t feel threatened by him depending so much on his mum for everything, especially when he punctuating every achievement he made, using his mum as the main reason; I figured when we got closer, this would change.
Look at it this way, his mum had been there for him all of his life, he was her only son; I didn’t think I would just come in and take her place, just like that. You know, I also hope to have children someday, so I know how mums and sons can have a strong bond; I would like that too, someday.
But his mother clearly didn’t like me from the get go; then again, I didn’t think it unusual. How many mothers- in- law get on well with their daughters- in- law?
So how was mine going to be different? I was only determined to make her like me and accept me as her daughter- in- law, if not her daughter at least.
I really tried to get mama to like me; I would go to her house, scrub, clean, cook…it was just never enough and I never gave up, you know. I kept trying.
When UK and I began to make plans for the wedding, Mama was as involved as UK and I; it was as if the union was going to be between me on one side and UK and her on the other. Mama wanted to handle virtually everything; my wedding dress, our rings, UK’s suit, our reception, the colour of cake, the type, the cake maker, caterer…I swear; she seemed to know everyone who could supply these things, décor…so at some point, I began to wonder, who is really getting married here, me or mama?
Whenever I raised objections, UK would say, “Babe, let mama handle this, biko; how many weddings has she had?” Meaning, his wedding was the only one mama would ever have to organize, you know, him being her only child…
As for my own people, they were angry of course but I kept begging them to maintain the peace, I told them that things would change after the wedding. My sister IJ didn’t see it like that, she kept telling me to refuse to some of the things I had agreed to, she said UK’s mum would not stop, she would keep coming for more and more attention until she destroyed our relationship.
Maybe I should have paid attention to her but I was in love, I wanted everything to be perfect; I wanted UK to be happy too, even if it meant me being a little unhappy.
Anyway, on our wedding and even before then, we got gifts of money, from friends and family, we got cheques…you know, addressed to us as Mr. and Mrs…. Even on your wedding day, people came with envelopes and gave us.
You know, as the bride, I couldn’t carry any bag but my sister IJ was my chief bridesmaid, I wanted to pass the envelopes to her but UK said I should pass all the envelopes to his cousin. So all the envelopes and gifts were given to UK’s cousin.
Soooo, well, after the wedding, I expected that UK’s cousin would bring the money to us or give to IJ, right? No. instead, what UK brought to me was a bag of empty envelopes, with no cash, no cheques!
“Where is all the money?”
He told me, he had arranged for it to be put in his personal account!
Ok, so let me roll back a bit.
On our wedding night! You know, we had guests in the house, people who had travelled from the village to attend the wedding from his side of the family…they were all in our house. The place was full. That very night, my mother- in- law came to meet me in the room to tell me I should go and remove all the extra food in the coolers; you know the leftovers in the coolers we served guests at the reception were brought to our house. Yes, mama asked me to remove my wedding clothes and go to the kitchen to put the left overs in the freezer! I swear to you!
As in…I was like…so in this house full of people, cousins, family, friends….you couldn’t find anyone to do this?
I looked at UK, he looked away…
If I refused to go, there would be wahala, all his family members were in the house, I was in the midst of strangers….so I removed my clothes and went to the kitchen to tidy it up…there were over twenty coolers of left over food! Nobody came to help, they would come to the kitchen, take something, check if there was food, take some, or do something and leave me there.
When I finished that midnight, my wedding midnight o…after putting the food away, I washed some of the coolers, you know…
I was tired. I wanted to just crawl into bed and cry.
When I got to our room, my mother–in- law was in our bed! I kid you not! She was snoring in fact! I went outside to look for UK, he was with his cousins outside the house. I asked him why mama was sleeping in our bed, he said the AC in her room wasn’t working and so she asked to sleep in our room…chai!
On our wedding night!
And listen o. Me being a good Christian girl, I never had sex with UK while we were courting, so I was looking forward to it being the first time that night…humm
You know, that was when I knew I had made the biggest mistake of my life. This wasn’t going to be a marriage; it was going to be a threesome.
From that moment on, I began to look for how to get myself together to end the marriage; a marriage that started just a few hours ago, I was already planning how and when to walk away…three months later, I did.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)