“Oh sweetheart, I will really miss your food,” said Abeo as he licked his fingers.
“Just my food?” I teased him.
“My honey bunny, you know you are the only thing that keeps me going while on these missions,” Abeo said as he hugged me and kissed my forehead.
We stood there for five minutes lingering in each other’s embrace. I breathed in hard just to smell the scent of his cologne one more time before he left for his military mission.
It had been 5 years of marriage and 7 years of knowing. You would think that by now I would have gotten used to saying goodbye but each time was just as hard.
The uncertainty of whether your loved one would come back whole or even come back at all always made it scary. But serving his country made him tick and who was I to come in between a man and his calling?
Younger me would have never thought of marrying a soldier but somehow this was what attracted me to him. Not his occupation per se, no I hated his job at first, but his passion and dedication to it.
“Babe, we will all die eventually but if I die in the battlefield it will have been for a good course, “Abeo had told me severally.
Such a nobleman, this one, I had thought to myself. The world was a better place because of his service. So even when he missed the births of both our children I understood. In fact, I recorded it for him. When he once came home with a bad case of PTSD, I journeyed through it with him. The constant screaming at night, the erratic mood changes, all of it, I stayed by his side because he was my wonderful husband, a good father and a dedicated soldier.
On this day he was leaving for yet another mission, barely three weeks after his last one. 5 years of doing this and you learn not to complain. His last mission lasted 2 months so when he came home for the 3 weeks, we enjoyed every moment. The call then came that there was another urgent mission and duty came first. This time his mission would take him away for a year. I was sad but this was his job so there was nothing I could do about it.
So after saying goodbye to our children, he gave me money to do the shopping and for the upkeep for at least one month. If the mission lasted longer, I knew what to do.
He then left.
About a week later I called my sister and asked her to accompany me for shopping. We had a lot of stuff to carry so we decided to get a taxi.
“Have you used GoMyWay?” My sister asked.
“No, I have just seen ads,” I responded.
“It’s cheap, let’s use one,” my sister responded as she got on the app.
Shortly after our ride arrived. Besides the driver, there were two other women. The journey home began.
“Jane, as I was saying, so my boyfriend lied to his wife oh. Stupid wife thinks that the man is on a mission but he is at my house. For 2 months he was in my house before he annoyed me,” one of the women.
“You are wicked abeg!” Jane said with hearty laughter.
“I gave him time off for a few weeks, Jane because you have to tame a man. Now he is back and with lots of goodies to make up for it,” The woman continued to narrate heroically.
“Now he’s on another mission?” Jane asked with tears of laughter rolling down her cheeks.
I listened curiously. I couldn’t laugh with them but it was exciting to hear the drama.
“Abeo’s friends have even asked me to hook them up with women like myself,” she said with a sense of pride.
I got a strange feeling in my tummy. The two women went on and on about this Abeo guy and his fellow soldiers. We exchanged glances with my sister and decided I follow the woman to confirm that hers was a different Abeo. I alighted where she did.
“Excuse me, I am going to visit my potential man for the first time. He dropped me his pin but I am so pressed to use the washroom, could I use yours before I can locate his house?” I asked and stood as though the call of nature was indeed urgent.
The woman sympathised and let me into her house. What I saw made my knees weak and I literally felt the spirit of faith in humanity leave my body. In front of my bare eyes was my husband and the father of my children watching Tom and Jerry reruns with this woman’s kid. His feet were on a stool and each kid was in his arms. They were so comfortable but more importantly, Abeo looked so happy.
I could not fight that.
Abeo was stunned when he saw me. He tried to speak but found no words. The other woman was shocked when she realized who I was. I left before any drama ensued.
I then left for my house a defeated woman. The tears in eyes told my sister everything she needed to know. So she suggested that she stays with my kids for a week and I take the time away from everything. I wondered if I was as stupid as the woman had described me to her friend.
When I came back Abeo had taken all his clothes. It felt as though he had died in the war. Except he wasn’t dead because I saw him twice with his new family strolling casually in the mall smiling and laughing. I couldn’t mourn the death of my marriage in peace but I had to keep going for my kids’ sake.
This story is adapted from a story on social media.