MD sat down furiously. “Anita, you don’t get it, do you? Or, is it that you simply don’t want to be reasonable here?” he shot at me. “You think everything must be about you and my son, right? You think that my wife should concede to you her position in my life, in my home just because you have given me a son? Is that how things work? Is that how life should be?”

He sighed heavily and with a wry smile on his face, he said to me, “I think I must tell you a bit about myself today that you didn’t know, it’s a story I have hidden from you. I think it’s time you know the reason why no woman, I repeat, no woman, can take the place of my wife!”      

I was shocked beyond words. What was this man talking about? What secret was he hiding from me? This whole drama that I initiated was starting to look really scary. 

“Listen to me and listen to me very well,” MD’s voice rang into my ears. “You see this man standing before you right now, I was never this rich. In fact, I was as poor as a church rat. I was a nobody. I had absolutely nothing to my name until I met my wife. I was jobless. She was from a rich family. Despite that I was below her status, she fell in love with and cared for me with all her heart. I wanted her to be my wife but I had no job. I went  for job hunting and got a job as an office clerk, just so that her family would know I at least have a job and allow her marry me.  But her father did not approve of us getting married. First, because I was the son of a nobody and I had not a dime to my name. Second was the fact that we didn’t come from the same town. It was a big problem for Elizabeth and I. Her father threatened to disown her if she didn’t forget about me and look for a better suitor but she would not let go of me.”

He continued, his voice laden with emotion. “Till today, I have never seen a woman love a man like my wife loves me. Do you know that she was ready to be disowned by her father and be cut off from his will just because of me? She moved out of her father’s mansion and moved in with me! We started living as man and wife. Thrice she got pregnant for me and each time the pregnancy came down. The last one was very serious. I almost lost her. She was only a whisker away from death. I lost my job at some point, yet my wife stuck with me in our one room apartment. Not even for one day did she think of returning to her father’s mansion. About three years after she left her father’s house and moved in with me, the father sent for both of us to come and see him. When we got there, he told me that the only reason he didn’t get me arrested for keeping his daughter in my house without his consent was because of the love he had for her. He said now that he had seen we truly love each other, living in one room apartment together for three years without any measure of comfort, he was ready to help us. 

He asked me to take over one of his companies as MD while my wife worked with me as co-MD. And from that moment, our lives took a turn for the better. Everything changed for us. Everything I am today, everything I own, my wife gets the credit. If not for her, I probably would still be struggling with life right now and someone like you would not even find me attractive enough to date me much less bear me a child. The only thing that’s missing in our home, in our marriage is a child. And I have accepted that as my fate. God decided not to give both of us everything. But, for me, it changes nothing. The love I have for my wife remains unshakable whether she bears me a child or not. I am appreciative that God has given me a child through you but does that mean I would now let you trample on her like she was a piece of garbage? No way! Now, let me ask you, if you were in my wife’s shoes, how would you feel if a woman came into your house to fight you and threaten you like you did to her? Answer me, Anita, would you ever forgive me if I did that to you? Would that be fair on you? Answer me, Anita!!”    

My eyes welled with tears as I listened to his story. The story, in a very strange and inexplicable manner humbled me. It made me realise the futility in the fight I was fighting. It made see that, no matter how hard I fought to have MD’s love and attention, despite the fact that I have a child for him, he can never be fully mine. I can only have a part of him. It was pointless. It was a waste of time. But still, I heard a voice say inside my head, I still deserve some respect… special place in his heart. 

“MD, I will be very honest with you, I had no idea you had such rough and traumatic start with Aunty Elizabeth,” I said to him, staring into empty space. “I must say I can now understand why you feel very strongly against my standing up to fight for my place in your life and in your home. No man would be comfortable having a small girl like me come into your house to harass the woman that made you who you are today! I understand that perfectly well….”

“So, if indeed you understand perfectly well, then why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you trying to create so much tension between the three of us? Don’t you know this thing you’re doing could ruin my marriage or, at the very least, affect my home? Or is that what you want?”

“All you’re ever concerned about is your wife and your marriage but have you ever tried to do what I want?” I shot back at him, looking him straight in the eye. “Have you ever tried to put yourself in my shoes and understand that I can’t possibly be contented with just sleeping and waking up in this small apartment all day, waiting for you to come and see me and your son, have sex with me when you want and then hand us our pocket money before you zoom off and return home into the arms of your wonderful wife! Do you think that is what I want to do for the rest of my life?

Do you think this honestly guarantees any future for me and my child with you? Do you think that, God forbid, if anything happens to you tomorrow, your family will accept me and your son? If nobody is accepting me now that you’re here, do you think they will accept me when you’re gone? You may not want to admit it, MD, but the truth is, you have not been fair to me in this whole matter. You’re condemning my actions, you’re thinking only of yourself and your wife, nobody is thinking about my needs…nobody is asking what Anita wants and that is just not fair!”

MD shook his head slightly. And then said to me, “okay, Anita, I am listening to you, tell me exactly what you want!”

…To Be Continued