Jide did not return home that night, nor did he return the day after. In fact, he stayed away for 2 whole weeks and I was frantic! I could not have an abortion, and I was scared of what he may do when (IF) he returned. Some part of me still hoped and prayed that he would change his mind; that I could reason with him. I went to work the 1st week after my husband left home, partly because I needed some distraction and because I had to get medical attention at the hospital. I didn't bother hiding my bulge anymore and it was a relief. I called my parents, to share my news with them and they were ecstatic. Although, they were hurt that I delayed telling them the news for so long, and I had to lie to my parents that I needed to be out of the danger period before being sure it was going to stay. They asked after my husband, but I didn't (more like couldn't) tell them about the problems we've been having nor could I voice out my fears. As a proper yoruba girl, I was brought up never to air out my dirty laundry so it felt natural not to tell anyone about my predicament.
Days went by without the appearance of my husband, and I had to voice out concern. I took the 2nd week off work and searched for him everywhere I could think. I went to his friends' places, then called some his colleagues. I also went to his place of work, where they told me he had taken a 3week vacation. I then decided to go to Maryland to see his aunt (the one I reported Jide to in part2), to at least let her in on what was going on. Besides, I was fast approaching a dead end on the search for my husband and this was the last place I could think of in the United States. I got to Aunty Ola's house before 2pm that day, and I had to stay outside to await her return. Who knows, maybe she already knew what was going on; maybe Jide already called; maybe she knew exactly where he was; maybe she could help with my predicament and talk to him on my behalf. That was all I could think of while waiting for her return, and by evening, I was feeling very optimistic. Yes, I have a job and yes, i'm doing very well. Taking care of a baby alone, isn't the worst thing that could happen to a mother and I have to admit that there are a few times when I actually imagine how my life would be living alone with my child. Its usually a very beautiful life in my head, but I scrap the idea as soon as it comes. I just can't do that to my family. What would my father say? He would be so disappointed, and the shame it would bring him? I can't even start to think of that. I remember what my mother told me the night before I got married to Jide. "Ireti, you're about to be a married woman o, and I know you're a good girl. Act as you have seen me act in your father's house. Yes we have arguments, but nobody ever knows when its bad between us. I have never reported your father to any of my family, nor have I ever reported him to his. People are wicked, so try not to talk about your life to friends. You kuku know I, your mother do not have friends. Don't come back to this house with your luggage after tomorrow o, Ireti. Don't let our enemies laugh at us, you need to make your marriage work forever. Thank God you also know your father is not a very easy man to deal with, but I have managed so far by remembering the daughter of whom I am. You have to remember who you are at all times where you're going. The marriage institution isn't all rosy, most women are actually suffering in their homes but the quality of a good woman and wife is that whom do not allow anyone see the affairs of her home and smiles to the public that she is married to the best man alive. Whatever you choose to do or any actions you decide to take in Jide's house, you should do it while considering the effect on your family especially your father. A word is enough for the wise, and I wish you happiness and lots of children in your marriage". Those words she said, and the night she said them are the things that have been playing frequently in my head since we got to the United States. In fact they're the only reason I have stayed in my marriage this long, the only reason why I'm standing in front of another woman's matrimonial home to seek her help.
By 8pm, I had filled Aunt Ola in on what had been going on in my marriage for 5months now. She looked aghast, and I'm sure the look on her face when I told her about Jide's proposed abortion, was genuine shock. "WHAT?" She said, looking furious. "Jide asked you to get an abortion? What is his problem? Does he not know it's God's gift? Look at your tummy, this baby is past aborting! Where is he? Is he at home? I have to see him. I can't just call him, he needs some common sense instilled in him, and he needs it right away!". I could only smile as she concluded her statement and started fuming. I knew she was the best person to come to. A woman that understood what it felt like to be scorned by husband's family for years without a baby. As soon as she gave birth, her kids have been pampered and given the best of everything. Yes, she was definitely the best person to tell... I thought to myself as I told her that her nephew had been away from home for over a week. It was obvious she hadn't heard from him judging by the look on her face. I proceeded by telling her how and where I've looked, and that I had no idea where else to look. She then asked if I had called his mother in Nigeria, because she knew Jide couldn't do without calling his mum for more than 3days. Yes, he loves her that much and I also thought about it but I told her I couldn't. His mother practically and technically hates me! The woman doesn't let go of any opportunity to blame me if something isn't going her way. Before our marriage, she adored me (or so I thought), and she would jest with me. As soon as we said "I do" however, she suddenly took a dislike for me and she absolutely hated seeing my face. At first, I thought she was acting that way cause she felt I had taken her place in her son's life, so I didn't think much of it. I simply doubled my effort at trying to please her, but nothing worked. The moment Jide told her he had won the lottery and were moving to U.S was the day I was sure I had made an enemy out of my mother in-law. Ever since, she had tormented me and I have learnt to block her out of my head. My heart flipped with fear as Aunt Ola picked up her phone to call my mother in-law (her voice alone does worse to me). I listened to the one-sided conversation and I knew my mother in-law had started her bad talks about me again, but I didn't mind because it was obvious she had spoken with Jide though she had no idea where he was.