When couples make vows to love and protect one another, it is expected that each party would do their best to do just that. However, in this case, the husband broke this vow by sleeping with the maid. This woman’s story is not only heartbreaking, but also insightful.
“Dead men tell no tales’ is a phrase I picked from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” and since I am breathing (not sure if I am still living) I have a chance to tell a tale. It took me very long a time, to come to terms with what I saw. If I were told the same story, I would have all reasons to think it was some kind of Nigerian movie, where Jackie Apia featured with Ramsey. I am going to take a step of faith and take you through the journey of shame that slowly but surely sent me into depression.
Covid-19 happened. It was a macro pandemic and at a micro level, my household was equally affected. My husband and I initially experienced a pay cut from our respective employers. We were able to hang on and feed our two babies, whose names I request to remain anonymous. There were so many changes as we tried all we could to cut budgets, hoping the sun to rise again someday but it didn’t. Eventually, my loved husband was cut off completely from work. He came home with a letter that stated, ‘management sat and decided……due to the current situation’ and that meant indefinite unpaid leave.
It was a hard time for us. We had bills to pay and dreams to accomplish. I told him I would stand with us until he got back on his feet.
Days passed by, months followed and he was yet to break through, but I had to be strong for us as he kept searching for his,‘this is it moment’.
Literally, he stayed at home, most of the time, and once in a while, he went out as he tried to place his eggs of luck in different baskets, maybe one day, one basket would pay off. He was a social worker with a reputable organisation and this Covid-19 pandemic had forced him to start thinking outside the box, he opted to venture into graphics, which was his passion and he was pretty good at it.
One day, my neighbour called me. At our apartments, we never talk a lot to the rest of the tenants so I was skeptical of what issue she might want to tell me. She boldly told me to reduce the bedroom noise, especially during the day, since my apartment harboured the path to the rest of the neighbours. She claimed she had noticed that several times and everyone was aware, ’it is not a good sign for our children and neither is it for our maids,’’ she concluded as she walked up the stairs. There was no way I could tell such a bold woman stories of,’ stop your accusations, I am never home’
I froze on the spot where I was standing; I picked up my pieces and moved on. I did not sleep that night until a sketchy question came to me. What if it is your husband with another woman? Our maid was a young woman who was on the verge of stepping on the second floor of the age bracket. She was a stay at home maid, so it would be hard to bring another woman into the house with two children for that matter.
I rubbished the thoughts and decided to move on. One thing I noticed from that day, whenever two or more people were around the compound, they would be whispering as if I am part of their conversation, which made me very uncomfortable.
There was no way I would tell anyone directly of the assumptions, allegations, instincts that run through my mind. So, I chose a third person narrative, and told a colleague of how my friend needed help. By the story end, I was told to advise my ‘friend’ to use hidden cameras.
I was very skeptical to do the same because it was a clear sign of mistrust for my husband and there was no way I could confront him on something sketchy and unconfirmed like that. As time went on, I was forced to implement that. A series of events, from our maid’s change of behaviour, to my husband’s change of routine and behaviour patterns in bed, to a few people hinting on a possibility that my husband would actually not be bringing in another woman in the house but rather using the other woman in the house. I chose to install cameras.
And as the devil keeps favouring his own people, it was true, my husband, was sleeping with my maid, and yes, our matrimonial living room, below our wedding photo hanging, in a chair that my very own father gave me as a giveaway gift, is their favourite spot as far as the different video recordings are concerned.
I tried my best to shy away from the thoughts that maybe; I was directly or indirectly responsible for his now unbearable behaviour.
A lot of questions are running through my mind. Clearly, there was no protection. What am I supposed to do, in case the maid has an STI or gets pregnant? How am I supposed to send a maid away? I picked her from the village, which doubles as my village. Won’t she tell the entire village of my family’s problems? What did I do wrong? What better should I have done? Who should I talk to? How do I tell my family that the man in whose arms I swore to spend the rest of my life, has literally changed and stripped naked before my eyes within just three years of marriage?
At least he should have chosen a former colleague, or someone else, but not the maid. What right did this young girl do, that I did not do?
I am currently going through a lot of performance pressure at work, since I am in sales and every sales office across the globe is trying to bounce back. I am going through a lot of personal pressure since I am currently the breadwinner and partially supporting both of our families here and there since we happen to be first born. How do I add marital pressure? How am I supposed to rest? Where can I start from? I can’t ask for leave since most of the time, we have been home and we have just returned.
For the very first time in history, I tasted beer, three days after my heart was broken into pieces by the man I trusted most, who swore by the Bible to protect my fears. I am full of anger and my rage is in a cage in the deepest part of my heart. Fear has engraved my soul and my spirit is fragile. I am just a young woman aged 28, trying to make it through in this thing called life.
I am not even sure if I have options, but if I have any, I would wish to listen, I am all ears.
One of the toughest parts of the initial stages of something like this is that you may feel very alone. You may be embarrassed to talk about it to others, or you might want to tell everyone you’ve ever met — but know that you should not. Choose carefully. The decision of what to say and what not to say is a personal one, but you should keep several things in mind. Tell the people who you know will have your best interests at heart and be in the position to offer emotional support. The level of detail is up to you, but don’t tell someone solely out of anger. It might come back to haunt you if you decide to make amends with your partner.
As told to David Maringa