I have a habit of studying children and their parents in church.Call it a bad habit as I am actually supposed to be concentrating on the sermon, but then, my eyes keep wandering to and fro and the days when I sit outside, which I rarely do, I love to see parents with their beautifully dressed kids, even though nowadays, the parents are usually the better dressed.
I love children a lot, and I am so sure that when I have them, I’ll spend most of my money shopping for them, that’s how much I love smartly dressed kids. So to my story, there’s this gorgeous looking couple who grace my church every Sunday.They come in late though, but with their four beautiful kids, three sons and a daughter. Their mom likes to dress them up like rock stars, and while the couple wear matching outfits-when I say matching, I don’t mean those boring Ankara looks (even though not all Ankara looks are boring), I mean, trendy whites, smashing blues or blacks, etc.. Their kids wear the same colour codes, and pair off with nice fancy shades or amazing footwear.
I noticed something very distinct about this couple and their kids, and it’s the fact that their children bear no resemblance to them at all, except the mother of course, whose daughter takes after her in her looks. The couple are very light skinned, and when I say light-skinned, I don’t mean the ones in between but the light-skinned category of people, but funny enough, their kids are all dark-skinned and when I say dark-skinned, I mean chocolate dark brown, with no iota of fairness in them whatsoever.
One Sunday, while we were at church as usual, I see the family-Inicknamed them the ‘rock family’. I am seated outside with my maternal aunt, who had delayed me that morning hence our seating position outside the church,and suddenly, I wasn’t angry with her anymore for the delay, because the ‘rock family’ was at church with their smartly dressed kids. I was excited that I’d see them up close, as they were perching beside us, since the seats in church were all occupied.
“Look at the rock family.” I whisper to my aunt.
“Hmmm…where?” She asked disinterestedly, she was listening to the sermon.
“Three o’clock…” I say in coded language, which means that they were on my right.
“Which one is three o’clock?” My aunty asked aloud.
“Shhhh…yousef! You can’t even code…” I hissed, wishing that I was with my sister instead. My sister could sniff my code from miles away.
“What are you talking about? Adaeze! Focus on the sermon biko!” She said to me.
“I was just showing you that beautiful family…” I said to her.
“What family?” She whispered.
I incline my head towards the couple and their kids and she follows my eyes.
“Oh…Maduekwu’s family…” She murmured.
My eyes widen in excitement.
“You know them? Are we related?” I asked, wishing that they were one of my numerous relatives scattered in the big city of Lagos.
“No we’re not, but they are from my mother in-law’s side of the family…” She said to me.
“Wow!” I said waiting for further gist.
“Now, listen to the sermon…” She started but quickly said. “Those kids are not her husband’s; when you see their father you’ll be shocked at the uncanny resemblance.”
I was shocked to the roots of my hair at her revelation, and all through church, my mind wandered at the meaning of her words, ‘but they are such a lovely couple’ ‘does this mean that the man is not her first husband and that she’s been married before?’ All these questions went through my mind, and by the time we reached home, I was almost bursting with questions.
“Tell me auntie…I beg of you…why did you say that her husband is not the father of the kids? Was she married before?” I asked.
“No…he’s her first and only husband, but we all know that the kids are not his. You see, her husband is sterile, and his family knows all about it so when she married him, she was advised to take a lover in order to have kids by him for her husband and she did so. She chose her husband’s distant cousin.” My aunt supplied.
“What? And her husband knows about this?” I asked perplexed.
“Of course…don’t you know that it’s not an uncommon practice? A lot of men, in order to save face, give their wives the alternative to get pregnant for them by another man.”
“How do you know that the kids are not her husband’s? Haven’t you seen kids that don’t resemble their parents?”
“We got to know when the biological father of the kids took to drinking and started talking too much. Word spread like wild fire and soon, the whole village knew the truth, the worst thing is, the children are spitting images of their biological father, even down to his complexion.”
I was shocked to the roots of my hair, ‘do these things happen?’ I asked myself.
Days later, when I paid a visit to my paternal aunts, I raised up this conversation, they hissed and said, ‘Old gist’. According to them, it was a norm for most childless couples who knew the fault stemmed from the man.
I have stopped seeing the ‘rock family’ at my church as it seems that they have moved to another area, however, I have a question to ask.
Would you do what the woman did if you were in her shoes?
Sometimes, as women we are faced with difficult situations as we either have save our families or lose them completely. Despite it all, we must understand that if life ever takes us to that point (which I hope it never does) we must remember to do what is right and not necessarily what will please the other party.
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