People still insist on calling me Mrs.
Eight years after my divorce, everyone still insists on calling me by my ex-husband’s surname. The truth is that I’ve let them…Even though I was only Mrs. Fajobi for less than four years, somehow…it has become my identity. I tried to convince myself it’s because of the stress of having to go through another legal name change process…then I said it was because I didn’t want to have a different last name from my son…I made up a truck load of excuses.
But last year, I finally got around to changing the darned name. Except that it seems nobody else got the memo! My son, Rire, inclusive.
“Mom, who’s name is this?” the silly child asked, after I filled a form from his school. “Since when did you start referring to yourself as Miss Ige?”
“Since it became my legal name again!” I snapped at the boy. I should have known I couldn’t get such a thing past my 12-going-on-40 son.
Rire had looked at me, before grunting, “Anyways, it’s Ms…not Miss!”
But it was just as well as nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, remembered. I could have gone to heaven to change the name, but to everyone around me, I was still Mrs. Fajobi.
Jimi Fajobi’s wife.
Jimi…my first love…and, considering that I haven’t so much as dipped a toe in the dating pool since we split, it appears my only love.
I only just took off my wedding ring a few months ago…can you believe that?! Eight good years later! No wonder everyone still thinks I’m married. It hasn’t helped that the telltale sign has refused to leave my finger. That lighter part of the finger that tells the story of what once lay there. It’s almost like I have been branded for life!
“Why don’t you get yourself a fashion ring instead?” my best friend, Bimbo said to me.
I had looked at her like she’d gone crazy! A senior girl ring? A Lagos big girl ring? Err…no thanks!
So, here I have been with my branded ring finger…and my moniker that has refused to change…while Jimi has gone on to live his life like it’s golden.
Shortly after our separation, even before we were formally divorced, he left the country. It was really no surprise, considering how traumatic the divorce had been for us…and how young we’d been at the time…I was 26, and he had just turned 29…
But as harrowing and traumatic as it had been for him, it had been worse for me…far, far worse…And it still haunts me to this very day…
But it was easier getting over him when he was away. Even though he remained a part of Rire’s life, dealing with him via e-mail or telephone was infinitely easier than having to deal with him face-to-face. He and his family made sure Rire and I were well taken care of, so we lacked for nothing.
Why couldn’t it just continue that way?
But I guess nothing good lasts forever, and early this year, Jimi returned to the country. And the micro-management since his return has been epic!
My phone beeped with a message from him, as if buttressing my point. This morning, at Rire’s school, I’d had to make an unplanned payment for his Club Fees. I had thought it was paid once annually, but in this new, fancy school of his, which Jimi insisted he transfer to, apparently it’s every term.
I just got a debit alert for N50,000. What was that for?
Ah yes, the joys of a funded debit card. Jimi gave me the card, to take care of any impromptu payments, but it appears I can’t even sneeze from that card without his antenna standing at alert! I can’t even buy a doughnut for myself, without him asking what the spend was for. Na wa oh!
But all I can do is frown, as there is no way I can afford to make those payments from my salary! Yes, I make a good living, but Jimi has had Rire and I living far beyond…well, my own means…and I worry I might have become dependent.
“You need to move to a smaller apartment!” people keep telling me. “How can any man come and toast you in this big house? It will intimidate them!”
My cliché answer has always been “If it will intimidate him, then he’s not the man for me!”
But driving into the luxury townhouse, I can’t help but think they might have a point. With Jimi engaged to an African American woman he met when he still lived in California, I might as well start moving on with my life.
Club Fees, I texted back, angry over having to explain every thing to him.
Every term? his own text had come back.
I contemplated sending him a lengthy epistle, asking why he hadn’t properly researched the school and all its required fees, before uprooting Rire from his old school, but decided against it, as I was in no mood for the argument from hell.
Yes, had been my own curt reply.
As I made to put my phone down, another text dropped, this time from my older sister, Dolapo, aka Dolly.
I need a quick loan. Can you spare 100k?
I frowned, reading her message, thinking about the numerous other ‘loans’ she was yet to repay. But I was angrier at myself, as I knew I would sha end up paying it, even after all my grumbling.
Dolly…my beloved sister…my sister with whom I share the most complicated of relationships.
Before I could even reply her, she sent another text;
By the way, have you spoken with Jimi?
I froze reading that text, realizing her request the night before hadn’t been a joke. Realising she really expected me to hook her up with my ex-husband.
“He’s engaged, Dolly!” I had said, through gritted teeth.
She had flicked her long weave and smiled confidently. “If he knows I’m available, I’m sure that will change!”
The sad part was I feared she was right…
You see, Jimi loved her first. As a matter of fact, I was probably only just an afterthought…the person who had stood between himself and his one true love, Dolly…
I thought back to the 17 years that had been the duration of this situation…this mess…and I wondered when it would all be over…
The Jimi-Fola-Dolly love triangle!