A Breathtaking Love

I think of my friend today. A good man. A real good man who loves his women to the tee. As I write this noon, after my lunch, it seems I’m still seeing him, all over again. He saw me off to Murtala Airport the day I left Nigeria for the United States.

My friend married early. He married a girl he met at the university during his final year. A wonderful marriage. He started a bakery business after graduation and taught at a secondary school. He took care of his wife, of their son, and of his mother and sisters. He was his women’s men. Did I mention how much he loves his wife?

But like I said, why do men love women too much?

One day the Imam of his Muslim community invited him to his house. It was odd, but he went anyway. He found his wife there. I remember him telling me he was startled, how he felt dizzy and instantly knew something horrible was going on.

The Imam told him what his wife came for. He was flabbergasted and totally caught off guard. I’m sure he must have started sweating.

He just kept asking why? Amidst tears.

Imam finally pressured the wife to explain.

Wife said my friend was a good man. The best a woman can pray for. And she loved him. He’s never hurt her. But she wanted more out of life.

My friend said he promised to do whatever to give her that. He loved her.

She replied she can’t let him do that. It would be selfish.

She wanted to leave Nigeria and get a PhD overseas. She wanted to explore and travel around the world. It’s a strange terrain. And she’s not sure she can expect my friend to leave his booming business, his commitment to teaching, his responsibilities towards his mother and sisters, and follow her to a grad program that would pay stipend barely enough for a single woman.

It’s not fair, she emphasized. And so she’s seeking khul, divorce, annulment, whatever you’d like to call it. My friend said the Imam told her to go and think about it for a month or so.

Anyways, she got what she wanted. Returned the N40,000 mahr to my friend. Then she left. Their son stayed with my friend.

My friend was crushed. Totally defeated. He left his teaching job, and his business slowly started crumbling. His mother and siblings helped with his son. My friend eventually ran the business to the ground. He lost himself. We’d be talking and he will mention his ex, and I would tell him to grow up. Tell him to be a man. Get over her and get yourself a new beautiful wife. Or wives. But he didn’t listen.

She’d call every now and then and check on him and her son. He one time said, “You know she called me earlier today and it was great to hear her voice. She prayed that I find a better woman than her.”

I told him to come off it and stop bringing her into our conversation. But he would tell me she still loves him. That he’s moving on, though.

But he held on…

Last time I was in Nigeria, his sister told me he’d been admitted into a treatment facility. I visited him. I saw him. We talked. But he barely spoke. He was barely that friend I knew.

Months later I call the treatment facility from the U.S. And they said they don’t have anyone with that name. I reached out to his sister and she told me…

She said my friend had

Died.

As I his sister say that word in between sniffles, all I could think of is how much he loved her. And that perhaps my friend died of heartbreak.

For fiction we write, and to reality we reflect. Baba oni Story greets you ó 🤷🏿‍♂️😁

And who is to be blamed and why?

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