Confessions of a Fat Girl 87: Separation…Counselling…Divorce

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23rd March, 2010

Having postponed my meeting with Ezioma to tomorrow, I hit the road to Ikeja, as soon as I dropped my kids in school. I didn’t even mind joining the rush hour traffic from Lekki to VI. I just had to see Chidera as soon as possible.

Luckily, the traffic eased off after I passed Bonny Camp, and the rest of the drive to the Oba Akran branch of Chidera’s bank was relatively smooth, and I drove into their car park a few minutes after 9am.

Getting into the bank, I didn’t even have to go upstairs to Chidera’s office, as she was talking to some of her junior colleagues in the banking hall. She looked up and saw me and, apart from the very faintest flicker of recognition in her eyes, she didn’t even acknowledge my presence. She just continued her discussion. Respecting myself, I found a chair to sit on, while I waited for her mini-meeting to be over. Thirty minutes later, they dispersed, and she walked up to where I was sitting.

“So, what has brought her royal highness all the way here to see me?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“I’m really sorry, Chi!” I said quietly, trying to keep our little drama just between us. “I’ve acted badly. I should have called you…”

“Yes, you should have!” she retorted, before looking around. “Before all my colleagues hear my life story, you better get up and come to my office.”

I walked behind her like a lap dog, behind its master. Very unlike the two of us, we didn’t say a word as we ascended the stairs, and walked the corridor that led to her office. Yep, my cousin was indeed very pissed at me!

“So…what brings you here?!” she asked, “Let me guess. You’ve heard about Somto and I.”

“Chi, why didn’t you tell me??” I almost wailed, so pained was I!

She laughed the most humourless laugh I’d probably ever heard.

“Ihunna, you have been so self absorbed in your life, and anything that concerns you, that even if I had been on fire, you wouldn’t have noticed!” Chidera spat angrily. “Everything we have talked about for the last few years has been all about you, you, you! If it hasn’t been about how you’re losing weight, regaining weight, hating your Dad, loving your Dad, hating JJ, loving JJ…then we’re not having a conversation!”

I brought my hand to my mouth, as I stared at her in disbelief.

“Chidera!!!” I exclaimed.

But, in my heart of hearts, I knew she was right. Thinking about it, I couldn’t remember the last time we’d talked about anything going on in her life…but that’s because I thought everything was going great for her. With her size 10 figure, she has no weight issues, and she has always given me the impression that she has mastered the work-life balance to a T, so how was I to know that all wasn’t well with her?!

We sat in silence for a few minutes, neither of us knowing what to say.

And then I went on my knees.

“Chi…you are my sister…and I love you with my whole heart! You know I would never hurt you deliberately. You know that!” I said, tears streaming down my face.

She looked at me, her own eyes also full. “So why didn’t you find out why I left Enugu without telling anyone?! You didn’t even call to find out what was wrong!”

I didn’t even have the nerve to tell her I thought it was because of the argument we’d had the day before, which, alas, revolved around my family and I.

Thankfully, she didn’t wait for an answer.

“Somto and I have been having problems for a long, long time,” she said quietly.

“Is it another woman?” I asked, still on my knees.

“I actually wish it was. At least, I would have known how to fight that…” she answered. “Since I gave birth to Kosi, things just took a nosedive with us. Remember I put on a lot of weight with that pregnancy…so I thought maybe that was the reason…which was why I lost all that weight, and went down to a size 8…” she shrugged. “But there was no change…so I thought maybe I’d lost too much, and then I added a little bit of weight, thinking it would make things better…still nothing…”

“I don’t understand. What exactly was the issue?” I asked.

She looked me straight in the eye, “He told me the fire had died for him…that he was no longer in love with me. But he said he was willing to try,” she shrugged, “So, we had been ‘trying’ for the last 5 years!”

I shut my eyes, as my heart broke for my cousin. Worse than losing the fidelity of your husband is losing his love.

“You better get up from the floor, before someone walks in and wonders what we’re up to,” she muttered, with a half smile.

I rose to my feet, and pulled my chair closer to hers.

“Did he give any reasons why? You’re sure there’s nobody else?”

“I’m positive. I scanned him inside out…there’s nobody else. He just…he simply switched off,” she smiled sadly, “You wont believe that we haven’t had sex for almost 2 years. Don’t get me wrong…we tried…or rather, I tried to seduce him several times, and he would even appear interested…but after a few minutes, it was clear that he had really, truly, lost his passion for me, as his erection would just vanish. It was so painful that I eventually stopped trying….”

I squeezed her hand, as I tried not to cry.

“On New Years Day, he told me we needed to talk. And he told me he just couldn’t do it any more. That he was no longer in love with me, and even though he’d tried, it wasn’t working for him anymore,” she continued. “Of course, I panicked! I cried, I begged, and in the end, I was able to get him agree to couples counseling in Church, and we started our sessions the very next week. We’d had a few, before I travelled with you guys to Enugu. Even though there had been no real change, I thought it was still early days, and was hopeful we would be on the mend,” she paused for a few minutes, before grabbing a tissue from the box on her table, to clean her eyes. “That Tuesday night, our first night in Enugu, he called to tell me he’d moved out of the house. That he’d thought long and hard about it, and decided that was really our best choice.”

I nodded in slow realization. Of course, that was the reason she had left the house so suddenly. If it had been me, I probably would have left that same Tuesday night.

“I rushed back home…cried, lamented, threatened, reported him to the couple that was mentoring us in Church…but he seemed even more resolved in his decision. He refused to move back home, and rebuffed all chances of a reconciliation,” she sighed deeply. “My dear, after a while, I got tired too. For the last 5 years, I have been doing everything I can to win back his love. I have almost lost myself in the process of turning myself into something I’m not. One weekend, I prayed…and prayed…and prayed…and I decided to just let go…and let God!”

“JJ said he saw him in the airport yesterday…” I said quietly.

She nodded. “Yep. He had his business partner buy him out, and he has relocated back to England.”

I suddenly remembered how, after many years of long-distance dating, Somto had decided to move back home, to get married to his beloved Chidera, and start a family.

“Do you think it was just Nigeria he was fed up of? Did you tell him you would be willing to move back to London with him? Maybe that would have made a difference?”

She shook her head. “No, it wasn’t that. The guy was just tired, Ihunna! Even if I had entered his skin, it wouldn’t have made a difference,” she sighed again. “My dear, it’s time for me to move on with my life, biko! My children need me to be strong for them.”

“So, what’s next?” I asked.

She shrugged. “A divorce, I guess.”

I wrapped my arms around her, and we’d just sat in her office, in that position. It was taking everything in me to keep myself from crying, as I didn’t want to set her off with my tears. Eventually, it was the ring of her phone that forced us apart.

“Babe, I have to go. I have a meeting at our Allen Avenue branch,” she said, after hanging up the phone.

I nodded and rose to my feet, but not before she hugged me suddenly.

“Thank you!” she said, “You don’t know how much this means!”

“I’ll be at your house this evening. I’m spending the rest of the week with you.” I answered, as I hugged her back.

She looked at me quizzically. “What about JJ and the kids?”

“They’ll be fine. You’re my priority now.” I answered, and I really, truly meant it.

Once I was back in my car, I gave full reign to my tears, and wept for almost 30 minutes. Both of us had dreamt of a happily ever after marriage…but hers had not been able to reach the desired forever stage.

And it broke my heart!

 

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Photo Credit

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Catch up on Ihunna’s story here:

  1. Confessions of a Fat Girl 1: Grubbido
  2. Confessions of a Fat Girl 2: Fragile
  3. Confessions of a Fat Girl 3: Defiant
  4. Confessions of a Fat Girl 4: Progress
  5. Confessions of a Fat Girl 5: The Gym
  6. Confessions of a Fat Girl 6: Killjoy
  7. Confessions of a Fat Girl 7: Pain
  8. Confessions of a Fat Girl 8: Frenemies
  9. Confessions of a Fat Girl 9: Exhilarated
  10. Confessions of a Fat Girl 10: Popcorn
  11. Confessions of a Fat Girl 11: Free-fall
  12. Confessions of a Fat Girl 12: Sunday Morning
  13. Confessions of a Fat Girl 13: Mission Reactivated
  14. Confessions of a Fat Girl 14: New Things
  15. Confessions of a Fat Girl 15: Bad Business
  16. Confessions of a Fat Girl 16: Luxury Items
  17. Confessions of a Fat Girl 17: The Solution
  18. Confessions of a Fat Girl 18: Magic Formula
  19. Confessions of a Fat Girl 19: Date Night
  20. Confessions of a Fat Girl 20: Quinoa
  21. Confessions of a Fat Girl 21: Perfect Fit
  22. Confessions of a Fat Girl 22: Keeping In Touch
  23. Confessions of a Fat Girl 23: Delete
  24. Confessions of a Fat Girl 24: Philosophical
  25. Confessions of a Fat Girl 25: Keep it Moving
  26. Confessions of a Fat Girl 26: My Co-Wife
  27. Confessions of a Fat Girl 27: Old Jeans & Old Friends
  28. Confessions of a Fat Girl 28: Prawn Stir Fry
  29. Confessions of a Fat Girl 29: Facebook Tagging
  30. Confessions of a Fat Girl 30: Detox Part 2
  31. Confessions of a Fat Girl 31: Abs & Crunches
  32. Confessions of a Fat Girl 32: Making Notes
  33. Confessions of a Fat Girl 33: Christmas Party
  34. Confessions of a Fat Girl 34: Ashiedu
  35. Confessions of a Fat Girl 35: Willpower
  36. Confessions of a Fat Girl 36: Packing…and TV
  37. Confessions of a Fat Girl 37: Last Minute
  38. Confessions of a Fat Girl 38: Body Image
  39. Confessions of a Fat Girl 39: Christmas Trip
  40. Confessions of a Fat Girl 40: Christmas in the Village
  41. Confessions of a Fat Girl 41: Daddy’s Girl
  42. Confessions of a Fat Girl 42: 2010
  43. Confessions of a Fat Girl 43: Uzoamaka
  44. Confessions of a Fat Girl 44: Sugar Binge
  45. Confessions of a Fat Girl 45: The E-mail
  46. Confessions of a Fat Girl 46: She whose name must not be repeated
  47. Confessions of a Fat Girl 47: Smokescreen
  48. Confessions of a Fat Girl 48: Running away
  49. Confessions of a Fat Girl 49: Fry-Up
  50. Confessions of a Fat Girl 50: The Only Solution
  51. Confessions of a Fat Girl 51: The Intervention
  52. Confessions of a Fat Girl 52: Tri-State Sisters
  53. Confessions of a Fat Girl 53: Manhattan
  54. Confessions of a Fat Girl 54: Daddy’s Girls
  55. Confessions of a Fat Girl 55: Stunned Silence
  56. Confessions of a Fat Girl 56: Bereavement
  57. Confessions of a Fat Girl 57: The Reconciliation
  58. Confessions of a Fat Girl 58: Staying Back
  59. Confessions of a Fat Girl 59: Friends & Marriage Proposals
  60. Confessions of a Fat Girl 60: Colourful and Happy
  61. Confessions of a Fat Girl 61: Sweet Potato & Chicken Salad
  62. Confessions of a Fat Girl 62: Miss Amerikana
  63. Confessions of a Fat Girl 63: Tragi-Romantic
  64. Confessions of a Fat Girl 64: Dead to me
  65. Confessions of a Fat Girl 65: Love Triangle
  66. Confessions of a Fat Girl 66: Forever my lady
  67. Confessions of a Fat Girl 67: Fight to the death
  68. Confessions of a Fat Girl 68: Hard choice to make
  69. Confessions of a Fat Girl 69: Back to reality
  70. Confessions of a Fat Girl 70: Life Reflections
  71. Confessions of a Fat Girl 71: Oatmeal, Blueberry & Banana Pancakes
  72. Confessions of a Fat Girl 72: The Engagement
  73. Confessions of a Fat Girl 73: Pillow Talk
  74. Confessions of a Fat Girl 74: Secretive Sister
  75. Confessions of a Fat Girl 75: Homemade Soup
  76. Confessions of a Fat Girl 76: Nna Men!
  77. Confessions of a Fat Girl 77: Comfort Food…Healthy Food
  78. Confessions of a Fat Girl 78: Miracle Working God
  79. Confessions of a Fat Girl 79: Lumps, Bumps and Jiggles
  80. Confessions of a Fat Girl 80: Oyibo Boyfriend
  81. Confessions of a Fat Girl 81: Wedding Gowns 
  82. Confessions of a Fat Girl 82: My New Friend
  83. Confessions of a Fat Girl 83: Emotional vs Physical Hunger
  84. Confessions of a Fat Girl 84: Look like an Mgbeke
  85. Confessions of a Fat Girl 85: Food Cravings
  86. Confessions of a Fat Girl 86: Who am I?

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