Divorce Diaries Season 4 Episode 2
MY NAME IS NAEEM MUHAMMED. I AM 33 YEARS OLD. I WAS MARRIED TO MARIYA MUSAWA FOR 2 YEARS. WE HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER LAILA. I AM A SOLDIER.I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE MY DIVORCE DIARIES WITH YOU.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been in love with Mariyah. Our parents were lecturers at Usman Danfodio University in the 80s. I grew up in the staff quarters and it was a peaceful beautiful time. Mariyah’s parents lived 2 houses away from mine. We went to the same school though she was much younger than I. We attended the same Islamiyya; we went together and came back together. In short Mariyah and I grew up together. I fell in love with her from childhood.
One of the painful memories of my life is leaving the staff quarters, after my father got a political appointment. I was in a lot of agony. I could not imagine being away from Mariyah. I was only 15 and she was 9. All I knew was that I loved her; even then, it was very clear in my mind that I LOVED Mariyah. Thank God for NIPOST then, Mariyah and I were able to keep in touch. I was deliriously happy when she got admission to go to Secondary School in Kaduna. I was already at the Nigerian Defence Academy by then after my Secondary education at the Nigerian Military School in Zaria.
Everyone in both families knew about our ‘friendship’. And Alhamdulillah everyone approved. It was not a surprise to anyone when I decided to ask for her hand in marriage after my course at the Nigerian Defence Academy. It was also no surprise to anyone that our wedding took place the same day I asked for her hand in marriage. Her father just asked for the bride price immediately. There and then our nikah took place. I was on top of the world! At last, Mariyah and I would be starting our lives together, belonging to each other, two hearts as one.
I entered into my marriage wholeheartedly, ready to give everything to make it a success. If someone had told me that things would turn out differently I would have laughed in that person’s face. I was stationed in Lagos and we lived in a tiny little flat in Ikoyi. Our honeymoon was a blissful experience and I; felt that I would never need anything else in life. I was whole, I was complete.
After our first year, Mariyah got pregnant! I was overjoyed. However Mariyah had to go back home, she was really going through it. The morning sickness, body aches, the fever and weakness that comes with the first trimester in pregnancy. With my hectic work schedule I couldn’t take care of her like she needed, so we decided to send her back home to stay with my parents. I wanted her to get better, I wanted her to be spoiled and pampered so missing her was a small price to pay for the mother of my child to be adequately taken care of.
After Mariyah left, my life became empty. I felt like a part of me had been stolen. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but deep down I knew something would go wrong. I tried as much as I could to be in touch and be there for my wife and unborn child, but it still wasn’t enough. I tried to fly to Abuja as much as possible to be there as the pregnancy progressed.
As the months progressed, I noticed Mariyah becoming distant. She was always answering me with yes or no, she was always in a nasty mood and throwing a tantrum. I was distressed and did my utmost best to pacify her. My mother always found it amusing because she attributed the changes to pregnancy hormones and she urged me to be patient.
Hmm I knew nothing.
During the course of my trips to Kaduna, I noticed that this particular girl was always visiting Mariyah, her name is Firdausi. She would arrive very early in the morning, sometimes as early as 7 am she would come and be knocking. And from that 7 am she will not leave till up to 10 pm. I was very uncomfortable with their friendship because she was not part of Mariyah’s core circle of friends that I knew very well. She was a new friend who seemed to create some distance between Mariyah and her original friends. She also seemed to have a hold on Mariyah that I could not understand. I could not understand because even though they spent a lot of time together, Mariyah hardly spoke about this friend. She always managed to somehow change the subject whenever I brought it up. All I knew was that the girl was called Firdausi and that she was a close confidant. My wife refused to divulge further information. It drove me crazy when they would sit in the room for hours talking, giggling as if I was Invincible. It made me so mad whenever I would raise the issue and Mariyah would refuse to discuss it.
Firdausi was not up for discussion, my wife clearly stated this. It hurt me because this was someone who was always updating me with every single little detail of her life. Suddenly I couldn’t ask or talk about Firdausi if I wanted peace in my home. And that’s how we continued until the baby was born. It was with great joy that I received the birth of my beautiful and precious baby girl, I was overjoyed. I was a father. Alhamdulillah. Finally we were a family, my soul mate and I now have a permanent living breathing bond.
Imagine my dismay when after 40days, Mariyah told me Firdausi would be joining us to return to Lagos. We had a big argument about this and she insisted that she wouldn’t go back to Lagos without Firdausi. This time I put my foot down.
‘What will she go and do in Lagos? How do you expect me to carry somebody who is a stranger to my home, with my daughter exposed to people I do not know? I have tolerated her presence in your life because of the pregnancy. I will not anymore”
‘Why do you hate the poor girl so much? You are my husband, she is my best friend… your place in my life has nothing to do with hers. And I want her there too because Lagos is my home too!’
She hissed. I was shocked. My lovely wife knew how to hiss? Good God!!
And then she started yelling
‘Let me just tell you that I will not follow you back to Lagos without Firdausi, neither will your daughter. Look I don’t mind walking away from you because of this. You are so selfish.’
‘Mariyah? What is selfish about being cautious? Who the hell is this girl? You don’t want to tell me anything about her and yet you expect me to understand. I am your husband and I decree she won’t be going with us. And that is final.”
I was hurt but I knew I was doing the right thing. My wife was definitely under some kind of influence from this Firdausi girl. Throughout that month Mariyah did not speak even a word to me. When she wanted me to help out with the baby, she would write a note and leave it where I would see it. Whenever she saw me holding or tending to the baby she would hiss and take the baby away. I was miserable, I wanted my wife back. The more patient I was, the worse Mariyah’s behaviour became. I considered sending her home but that would just mean more drama about Firdausi and I was not ready for that.
One day I got an idea, I would surprise my wife with a home cooked meal. In my head it made sense. Every woman likes her man to cook for her. I decided to make Egusi soup, her favorite! It was guaranteed to break the ice. I closed early from work, braved the crazy Lagos traffic and got home. The house was quiet so I assumed she and the baby were sound asleep. I was as quiet as possible. With my houseboy lending a helping hand, I was making progress.
Halfway through the cooking, I heard the baby crying. At first I ignored because I did not want to ruin the surprise. I wanted her to just walk into the kitchen and find me sweating it out. When the cries were too much I decided to go check on the baby, maybe Mariyah was in the bathroom or something.
I opened the door to the bedroom to find my wife naked on the bed enjoying herself with Firdausi on top of her, with my daughter straddled to her back. Mariyah was clearly unaware that her baby was crying. She seemed so gone. Auzubillah! I stood there transfixed for almost 2 minutes before I calmly walked towards Firdausi, I untied my daughter from her back and walked out. I drove aimlessly for a while before lodging into a hotel, with curious and suspicious looks from people. Where and how I got the grace to remain calm is still a mystery to me.
I cannot get that image of Mariyah and Fiddausi out of my head. I decided after about 2 hours to end the marriage. There was no point to it anymore. I issued the divorce via text message.
I have been through a lot. I could not process that the love of my life, the mother of my child was a lesbian. How? Why? Was she a lesbian all this while or was she initiated into it? Was it my fault? All the while I did not realise her bond with Firdausi was unnatural. Only God knows how Firdausi even got to my house in Lagos.
I still cannot let it go. I have known this woman all my life. I thought I had her figured her out. Or was I just blinded by my love and trust for her? Did I just lose my wife to another woman? How does one deal with that? Doesn’t that directly question my capabilities as a husband? And the disgrace and ridicule I faced was unbelievable. Somehow it was my fault that my wife preferred to commit grievous sin. Is this how my love and devotion will be repaid. No one bothered to even understand.
I literally swing between depression and normalcy. Every day of my life is a battle between depression and pretense. The good thing is my faith has been my anchor, I always remember I have to be the parent to innocent baby Laila. She needs me to be father and mother. Thankfully Mariyah did not fight me over custody. I have full custody of my baby girl. Being a father is the most wonderful experience of my life. It is what gives me life and hope on the very hard days.
I voluntarily retired from the Nigerian Army and I am now engaged in my private business. And Business is good. The most important thing I have learnt is that no matter what happens in life, there is also something to be grateful for. At the end of the day we all must be careful how much we trust and how much of ourselves we give to others. Thank you for reading my story. I hope you have learnt something from it.