{Benin City, Nigeria Local Time}
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The bane of a trial marriage!

By Bunmi Sofola (17/08/2017)

For the first time in months, since she left home, Fausat was able to call on a visit. She was like a stranger in the house she couldn’t wait to shake the dust off her feet so many months ago. Her parents were their relaxed, her siblings were all over the place, laughing, and fighting good naturedly with the occasional admonition from their mum. “There’s food in the kitchen”, her mother reminded her and she nodded. She had never known the kitchen to be bare. The housemaid gave a squeal of joy when she saw her. She actually threw herself at her; what she hadn’t done since she came to the house a couple of years ago. She was almost moved to tears.

Fausat put a brave face on it. She kidded with everybody whilst the maid rustled something for her to eat. When she eventually locked the door of the toilet against the happy domesticated scene she had always taken for granted, she wept bitterly. What madness possessed her to leave the comfort of her home for that hovel she now shared with Israel? Love? That has turned into a huge joke. Because Israel is a bachelor, his sister lived with him before Fausat moved in with him; and the latter saw no reason why she should move out just because of an outsider’, “Fausat said. “But she wanted to dominate the relationship. I am a Muslim and she goes to this Pentecostal church. She convinced me to come with her a couple of times and I did; only, I never had a clue as to what was going on, so I stopped going.”

“Several times, she complained about some bogus noise from next door disturbing her sleep. Without asking either of us, she would plunk her mat in the middle of the room to spend the night with us. She didn’t stop at that either. She was always running a one-way commentary on events no one was really interested in. Israel must be getting fed up with the whole set up too as he now stayed out until very late before sneaking into the house in the middle of the night to sleep. With no house-help, I did everything in the house—shopped for food-stuffs, cleaned the house and cooked the meals while her ladyship and my boyfriend’s relation treated the house like an hotel. I complained a few times then  stopped cooking except when I had the time. I mean we all went out to work. Why should I be the one to run round getting them meals when we were not even married? Even if we were, that was not any justification for treating me like a slave. “The sex that used to be great between us was now a hum-drum thing. If Israel’s sister slept in our room, no show. A few times, he’d said we should go ahead and make love just to teach her a lesson, but I always refused. Until a few weeks ago…. During love making I made sure I made all the right noise, exaggerating at times, and she left in disgust.

Instead of it teaching her a lesson, it worsened our plight as she now told everyone of her relations who needed to listen that I was a sort of nymphomaniac. So when I went back home on a visit, and saw the house as lovely as ever, my old room still intact, my family still as loving with no chores for me to attend to, I felt tempted to move back in, but couldn’t talk it over with my mum. Bless her though. She cornered me and wanted to know how my relationship was going. That was all I needed for the torrents of complaints to start out. I was alarmed to realized how resentful I had been.

“She calmed me down the best she could before calling on my dad. He was livid. He was very bitter in his chastisement of me. He reminded me of all the nasty things I said to both of them when they objected to my leaving to go and live with a man I wasn’t married to and how I flaunted my being grown up at them. I was shocked. I didn’t know he was that resentful of my relationship. He then ordered me to go and pack my things and come back home where I belonged instead of cheapening myself. It was a relief to know I could come back home. In my foolishness, I thought I should be adult enough to cope with problems that weren’t really mine.

“Israel gave me hell when I told him I’d been to my parents. I hadn’t even told him I was leaving yet. All he ranted on about was his being hungry whilst I was gossiping with my parents. I looked at him and for the first time wondered why I ever thought he was sexy and romantic. I simply ignored him and went to the bedroom. His sister was already there with her mat. I took my wrapper and went to her room to sleep. Israel didn’t bother to ask me back to our room. I left for work as usual the followingday only for me to hurry back with my dad’s pick-up van. I felt some of sadistic delight as I packed all my things, including the ones I bought for the house and left a ‘Dear John’ letter for Israel.

I was amused to see how angry he was at me when he called at my office the next day. If I was still interested in the affair, he threatened, I should move back or else … I stayed put at home and enjoyed once more the comfort of being waited on hand and foot. The joy of going out with friends and enjoying myself and the freedom of doing simple things like reading whenever I felt like was heaven. Israel can go to hell for all I care! Now I’m not in a hurry to leave home except when I get married!”

Living together has worked for a lot of people, yet has been the bane of many a single girl. Girls who discovered that the nice gentleman who courted them with style had suddenly turned into a cold unfeeling stranger they couldn’t live with. That brings them to a crossroads either to see things to the bitter end with the hope that such a man would change, or throw in the towel and risk sneers and jeers from friends and relatives who advised them against such a loose commitment. Whatever the case, a girl who packs her things for a supposed greener pasture must be made to feel that she could come back when things go woefully wrong. He who fights and runs away….

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