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By Yetunde Arebi
They say love is about giving and taking. We must invest in love by nurturing, tending and protecting it, if we want it to grow and survive. We must make sacrifices if truly we want to enjoy the gains of love. But the question has always been, how much is one permitted to give, sacrifice to hold the attention of a lover?
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This is the story of the lady you are about to read. She said she has sent it in as a contribution to discourage other young girls from walking this self destruct path that she took when she began dating Austin at the tender age of 13. I have had to edit this story a bit, removing dates and location to protect her identity. Chatting with Ebi, (28) a computer analyst, brought me close to tears, especially giving all she lost holding on to a lopsided relationship. Indeed, love can be a swine, at times. I hope someone learns from this as she desires. Her story:
“I met and fell in love with Austin when I was just 13 years old, in my JSS1 (first year at the secondary school). He was 17 or 18 years old at that time and in SSS1 at the same secondary school. We are from the same village. My family lived in the village, but his own didn’t. He was only sent to the village to acculturate since all the other children declined.
Due to this fact, I bore most of the responsibilities over him as regards feeding, money for essential items such as soap and body cream and other minor needs. On some occasions, I’ve had to contribute towards his school fees, though I always insisted he should go to his parents for that. Even on these occasions, I had to pay his transport fare to the place which was in Ibadan. As all the other expenses were on me, I thought it fit that he should collect his school fees from his parents.
Despite the fact that we were students, our love was very deep and we really cared for each other. But the relationship was not so pleasing to everyone who knew. First was the fact that I was rather young, also the intensity of our feelings was too much. As I was the last born of my parents, they supplied all my needs, most of which were transferred to Austin.
Many of our school mates rained abuses on me demanding to know what I saw in this boy that tickled my fancy so much that I refused to look elsewhere. Though a few of my relatives knew about him and didn’t really mind, but when my mother got wind of it, she wasn’t happy at all.
She insisted that his family was not good enough for me to marry in into and would always pray that they should change for the better, if truly we loved each other and would eventually marry. In appreciation of all I was doing for him, he wrote to inform his parents about me and asked them to always put it into prayer that he should not let me down for all my kindness and generosity towards him.
As the years rolled by the relationship grew stronger. Friends were jealous of us and would advise me that it wasn’t in my best interest to depend solely on him as he could eventually jilt me for another lady. On one occasion, one of my uncles nearly beat the hell out of me because of this boy. But all this only made me love him the more and I ignored all the trials and tribulations. He used to encourage me in many ways too. He would teach me to speak good English while he too learnt to speak our native dialect from me. We were so close that we just had to see each other daily. If one of us should travel, the other will fall ill.
While I was still in secondary school, Austin had to leave the village as he had completed his education. But the relationship continued. Not long after, people started spreading rumours that I already had another boyfriend who was sleeping with me.
I had never done the thing before at the time, I’d just been hearing about it. But he started threatening to call the relationship off, saying he was not happy with me again. So he tried to confirm my claims that I was still a virgin by forcing me to sleep with him. However after trying several times without success to penetrate, he eventually believed me. So he promised to love me forever and warned me not to tell people, especially friends about our private life any more. This I did until I left secondary school.
After my examinations, I was sent to my elder brother in the North to continue my studies. He enrolled me in a computer college. It was three months after Austin had taken my virginity that I discovered I was pregnant. I tried all the methods I knew like taking injections and drugs to abort the baby but nothing worked. All my feeding allowances, school and book fees went on this expenditure but the baby refused to come down. Prior to this time, my boyfriend used to write me letters, weeping that he missed me terribly due to the distance between us.
He being in the south and I in the North, I eventually wrote to him to beg for assistance which he promised but never fulfilled till date. I never knew about what was called D & C then, so I couldn’t have gone for it. When my brother discovered the condition, I was sent down home to meet Austin so he could marry me, since we claimed to love each other so much.
On returning home on, I was admitted at the hospital for blood shortage. Austin donated one while my mother bought one before I was eventually discharged from the hospital. Two months after my discharge from hospital. I fell ill with pains one day only to be informed at the hosp ital that the baby was about to come. I was worried because I was just seven months gone at the time. But the baby was delivered as a premature baby boy.
It was a very lovely baby. He was well nursed by my mother, my brothers’ wives and my sisters. In fact, everyone loved him. But he eventually died three months after without any sickness or warning. I was duly consoled and sent back to my studies in the North, while my boyfriend and I kept communicating until I finished school. After this, we stayed together for a month before he asked me to do something while preparing for our wedding to come the next one of two years, depending on how quickly we were able to raise the money. Unfortunately, this was when all the problems started.
I was surprised when I paid a visit to my lover only to discover he had been camping with a lady in his house for almost three months before my arrival. When I asked, he didn’t deny having anything to do with the girl, but stated that he had no intentions of marrying anyone besides me so that there was no possibilities of marrying the girl. We had a hot argument and exchanged some hot words before I went back to the North to continue with my job. I was very angry, hurt and disappointed about the whole thing. I never thought he could do such a thing to me. I was in a state of limbo for weeks, so much that it started affecting my job in the office.
A few months after, he invited me to come to the South so we could perform the family introduction and other necessary things. I had to inform my manager and seek permission to travel home. But on getting there, Austin started saying another thing entirely. He said he wasn’t ready again as he had several unexecuted plans and could not settle down until he’d achieved them. Then, one day, I discovered that the girl camping with him had actually been using charms on him. He wasn’t in control of his senses or emotions anymore. I saw some juju charms in his drawers and cupboard and on questioning, he told me that they belonged to the girl. From friends, I was duly informed that the girl had vowed to marry him by all means. He had already visited the girl and her people at home too. I had to return to the North, full of prayers that God will restore the love between us and things will come back to normalcy.
In spite of all these, he still kept promising to marry me, but that I should only be patient with him. I couldn’t understand the sort of patience I was supposed to be having after so many long years of courtship. I went to see him in Benin again which was where he had started working. But it was still all promises and promises, no actualisation. I had to leave Benin as we had a big quarrel and I went to the village where he promised again to catch up with me. By the time I finally returned to my place of work, I’d lost my job due to my continuous long absence from work.
In August, a year after I first saw the girl with him, his mother sent for me, asking me to go and inform my family about the wedding and to start making preparations towards it. She informed me that they were not in support of the other lady. All the family members in Benin and the village were contacted but my mother refused to have anything to do with us. The boy was summoned and asked to send away his live-in lover which he promised to do.
His mother and other relations too also appealed to my mother who finally agreed. But another shocker was still in store for me. While all the emissaries were still going to and fro to pacify all the aggrieved parties concerned, my intended husband brought his girlfriend to their family house to confront his parents.
Austin told her that they were the people against his marrying her and that he wanted them to tell her to her face. The girl created such a shameful scene, raining abuses and insults on his parents, brothers and sisters, cousins, you name it. I wept for mercy as I didn’t know what to do. I was totally fed up after this, so I made up my mind to return finally to the North. I prayed to God to forgive him for his deceit and cheating on me. And for wasting my time right from my youth.
I learnt about two months ago that the lady gave birth to a baby in May. Lo! I haven’t seen any man that I can love like I loved him. It seems as if no one can fill the vacuum he left in me for I know I still love him so. People have advised me to do something wicked to him for all he did to me too. But I don’t think I have the heart to carry it out. My contribution is to inform and alert young girls who are likely to fall prey to this type of relationship.
Hmm! Do have a wonderful weekend!!