The Hidden Diary of Nabiru’s Sixth Wife

It’s a mess ,this my life. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t pregnant. That’s how Nabiru gets me to stay with him after he snatched my future and all my dreams. He made me a promise to pay for a secretarial course right after my final high school exam. I should have sensed some foul play,when he whispered this in my young ears inside a maize plantation.

But he had a smooth tongue and quick hands. He said I am the cleverest woman in my village and I might even become a chief one day. That he was older and knew better,that a woman like me needed his care.But he lied,he wanted a new wife.

I curse the day I packed my clothes and left my mother’s hut.That night of the full moon when hyenas laughed. I curse that day because I moved in haste. Dodging the bushes of Segaga at night with my big behind and child bearing hips.

It was well plotted this escape. My father knew not what I was up to,my mother as usual prided in her skills, of raising a morally upright daughter. I hate to narrate their pain and embarrassment, when their daughter took off like a thug. Dragging the family’s name in the mud.

I tried going back to that my childhood home. I shudder to think of the resentment I received. With two toddlers ,one on my back and one on the front,I was chased like a stray dog by my own kin. They saw me from far and started gathering stones. A pack of dogs was kept ready and waited for instructions to tear me into pieces. Before I knew it I was running for my dear life,holding my skirts above my waist.

Children long dropped somewhere along the way. They were later brought home,blissfully ignorant of the ordeal their mother just went through. Hungry as usual waiting for their meal. The short abandonment forgiven and longing for their mother’s hug.

Nabiru, the man limping towards my hut for his morning porridge. That man whose skin is darker and tougher than the tires of our only bus in this countryside. That man who is now pointing at one of the children asking them to stop playing with the bull’s balls.

But it’s a good bull,so I agree with him . All the village cows meet here for their conjugal and we get good pay for it too. Its a breeding zone this homestead,there’s no time to know ones children. Not long ago I was breastfeeding my co-wife’s baby after forgetting mine in the vegetable garden. I didn’t know because they all look like their father. It was too late,the tremors of the fight are still fresh.

So, I was telling you about Nabiru, the man whose last name I hate as my own. Whose fourth baby I now carry. Who curses hospitals and forbids me from taking contraceptives from the local dispensary. He says those are witchcraft drugs. That a womb should close itself naturally. But I am just twenty two and my womb seems to be at it’s peak.

He is almost the age of my father,except he has a walking stick now. Not from old age but from the beating he received from the first wife last week. I exaggerate but I like to think of it that way. He actually slid and fell when coming from the first wife’s home. He goes there on Mondays. Says we should all learn from the first wife how to cook for him.

But that day the first wife forgot and put pepper in his food. Nabiru gets sick from pepper. And so he ran out of the house coughing like an old truck and asking for milk. That’s how he slid on the cow dung and fell like a log breaking his ankle. It’s also the day when the gods started giving him a taste of his own medicine,I really had nothing to do with it.

Nabiru is not a man to be trusted. His eyes are sharp ,his tongue is smoother than oil and his hands have held me every Wednesday for six years. After my kin chased me with stones and a pack of dogs,I decided to make the best of this bed full of thorns. I don’t know what will redeem me first, contraceptives or a secretarial course.

On worse days I pray to the gods ,I beseech them to take my life. Because I fear killing myself. My co-wives think I am nuts,that I am too dramatic and too sensitive. They don’t know that unlike them, I had a plan beyond matrimonial bed.

I pointed a knife at my own throat once, I pictured Nabiru walking in and finding me in that state,willing to die than live with him. The commotion outside ruined the theatrics, our unruly dog almost ate the neighbor’s cat. I ran outside and saved its life and then I thought,maybe it just saved mine.

I’ll live the dream one day,the kind that I read on “Anna The Hostess”. I will have a title that earns me a “Ma’am”. For now it’s Wednesday again,the day I host Nabiru as wife number six. I have to fetch some water,milk cows and cook like wife number one. There’s still some fight left in me,but I will save it for what matters the most. I know there’s more to life than this but I will need to change tact the whining doesn’t help.

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