From South Africa with Pain
by Sinmisola Ogúnyinka
I had promised myself not to be part of two things I found rampant amongst young women in my community, and tribe in general:
1. We got married to married men and,
2. We got pregnant before marriage.
So annoying and disturbing were these two things to me, that I made a sticker over my mirror and read them to myself every morning. I prophesied over my destiny. By the time I was midway through high school, at least five of my classmates had either gotten pregnant and aborted or were pregnant. Five may seem a small number but it was quite disturbing to me.
I focused on my studies and came out top of my class. One hurdle passed. I got into university and continued to be focused. It wasn’t as easy in university as it was in high school, and my hour-glass figure did not help matters. But alas, after four years, I graduated with honors in Accounting and Financial Studies. I got a job immediately at the accounts department of an airline. There, the temptations soared. Men hounded me. I had the most attractive, and richest of the bunch. They came from all walks of life, different countries, and it was easy to hit on me as a client of the airline. But one baboon, got me.
He was soft-spoken, incredibly handsome and rich. He was a frequent flier who had his account mixed up somehow when his “sister” needed to travel.
To cut a long story short, I fell head over heels in love. He as well.
I had only one question for him, “At thirty-eight, why are you still single?”
He was twelve years older than me, but the difference didn’t bother me. Only his marital status did. No wife or ex-wife, no kids? At that age?
He replied. “I want to meet your family and you’ll meet mine. You’ve been to my house, and there’s no wife or kids. When you meet my people, they will confirm it to you.”
Within months, he visited my parents and asked for my hand in marriage. I took time off work to meet his family and they were very happy with me. He tossed my concerns out and they all laughed. One aunt didn’t but my fiancé shielded me and as my heart thudded, my intuition told me they were all lying about something.
I went digging. We had fixed a wedding day, and preparations were well-underway. He even insisted on a small ceremony to pay my dowry ahead of the main occasion. My parents urged me to move in with him after the bride price was paid. In the African tradition, after the payment of the dowry, I was legally his wife, so I moved into my husband’s house.
Thank God, I did. Or maybe not.
On one of his many business trips, I had a chance to turn the house upside down, searching, trying to absolve me and I found what I was looking for, dated just a week earlier, divorce papers returned unsigned. The name was the same as that of the “sister” who had brought him to our office.
She had a little sticky note attached to the form: I will never give you a divorce, dare me! From your South African wife, with pain!
About the Author
Sinmisola Ogúnyinka is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer and movie producer, and the published author of Under a Red Delta Sun and Blue Dawn. She has a bachelor’s in Economics, an MFA in Creative Writing and is a Craftsman of Jerry B. Jenkins’ former Christian Writers’ Guild. She lives with her family in Philadelphia, PA.
You can read Sinmisola’s “Flash Fiction” column on the 4th Tuesday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.