This story sounds like a Nollywood movie, only that Eketi Edima Ette said it is a real life story and it happened in her area. This story reminds us that it takes nothing to be kind, show love and forgiveness.
Being romantic exhausts me. Romantic movies bore me. However, every now and then, I come upon a love story that has me totally captivated. This one happened in my area. #ARealLoveStory
There was this girl, we grew up in the same angwan (locale). Mum was late and dad wasted no time remarrying. Hooked up with your clichéd wicked stepmother type. That woman ruled the roost. This girl, let’s call her Idara, was her parents’ only child. She was six years old when her father remarried.
As is customary with some Nigerian who believe birthing means marking your territory and affirming your marriage, her stepmother immediately established hers. Had four children in three years. Three boys and a girl.
Young as she was, Idara did everything. Wash her siblings clothes, babysit, cook, clean etc. Your average Cinderella. All of these done under heavy abuse from her stepmother. Her father turned a blind eye. I honestly don’t know why some men do that. Leave their children to be ill-treated by their wives. Disgusting. Spineless. Wicked.
With extra mouths to feed, Stepmother sent Idara out to hawk. There’s nothing that girl didn’t sell. Pure water, groundnuts, pepper; okro, vegetables, soap, crayfish, meat, etc. She’d take her wares to school on weekdays and sell to some teachers and afterwards, sell the rest on the streets. She had a daily target too. If she failed to meet that target, she spent the night outside in the cold.
Neighbours, church members, family talked, but her stepmother was determined to make the girl’s life hell. She ate some days, some days she didn’t. How she made good grades in school was baffling. Anyway, as soon as she was done with WAEC, her stepmother asked her to forget about going to the university. Said she and her husband weren’t going to waste money on educating à rat.
To avoid staying home every day and be beaten and abused, Idara decided to go learn how to make hair at a salon not too far from our area. The kind woman at the salon paid her a weekly stipend as an intern. This was unheard of at the time. But it saved that girl’s life. Every morning, she bought akara, a small loaf of bread and 2 sachets of water.
Always the first to arrive at work, Idara would sit outside that hair salon and eat her food. Unknown to her, one young man living around noticed her. He’d see her there every day he left for work. One morning, while driving by, he slowed down as he got closer to where the 18 year old girl was seated. “Hey! Akara and Bread Girl,” he shouted. “Don’t you ever eat anything else?”
Annoyed, she shouted right back. “How does it concern you? Did I borrow your money to buy it? Better pass and go to work. Jobless man!” The guy laughed and drove on. But the next morning when she arrived at the salon, there was a food flask in a polythene bag, on the stoop. A note was attached. It said, “Eat something else for a change, Akara and Bread Girl.”
And so began a tradition of breakfasts. The man would drop them on his way to work. Some days he dropped money instead, along with a note that said, “Buy what you want. I’m late for work today.” One day, Idara went to work uber early and caught him. She thanked him for everything. They started talking. She’d go to work very early or wait for him after work, so they could talk.
He dropped the keys to his house and it wasn’t long before she started visiting him. He was in his 30s, good-looking, dark-skinned fellow. Worked in one of the government offices. Of course, her newfound happiness didn’t go unnoticed. Everyone and her stepmother saw it. The girl was filling out nicely, and no matter how much abuse she got, or the sales target the stepmother set, she sold with joy.
As it is in matters of the heart, Idara liked the man and the man liked her and they liked each other until they made love. As it is with life’s clichés, Idara missed her period after their first time together. She knew what it meant. Death. She came asking à friend of mine how to get rid of the baby. “Idara, don’t try it o! What if you die? What if you don’t have children in the future?” my friend asked. Idara said, “Sis, all these things you’re saying is nothing compared to what my stepmother will do to me if she finds out.”
My friend advised her to tell the man to come and see her father. Turns out she hadn’t even told him about the pregnancy. So she went and told him. Dude was ecstatic. Went to see her folks. Her stepmother was mad as a disturbed hornet! It was bad enough that someone who looked good and had a great job wanted to marry her stepdaughter. But she was pregnant too? Ah! She called Idara every vile name under the sun.
“Ashawo kobo kobo! Gold digger! Witch! Ne’er do well!….we sent you to go and learn hair making and you chose prostitution. We don’t collect bride price for prostitutes in this family.” In all these, her father said nothing. Since they wouldn’t even talk marriage, the Handsome Dude and Idara went to the registry and got married. As a church worker, Stepmother was suspended in church for having a “wayward” daughter.
This made her hate Idara the more. Two years went by. Her father eventually found his balls and insisted that Idara’s husband come and do the traditional rights. He passed on not long after. Saw Idara recently. Mehn! Things had changed! She’s got a huge salon in the city. Has four children – two boys and two girls. Her husband is as devoted as ever! In fact….
While in the salon, he called to find out if she was very busy and could he bring her lunch. He’s got his own company now and is doing quite well. He came over with her food, then said he was going home to feed the kids and help with their homework…that she didn’t have to worry about coming back early. Kisses her and left. I swear, I had goosebumps and starry eyes.
Now get this. Her stepmother now lives with them. She had a stroke and is learning how to walk again. Her children abandoned her….they’re too busy with their lives. Her care fell to her stepdaughter. When I asked how she could take her in, why she was so nice, she said, “Babe, we don’t earn love. If we did, I wouldn’t have met my husband. We don’t repay evil for evil. If we did, Christ wouldn’t have died for us.”
I just sat there, shaken. Humbled. Learning. And her children are so cute! Saw them and I wanted my ovaries to start twerking, but they were like… Anyway, that’s the end of #ARealLoveStory that happened in my area.