But Mary, her friend, disagreed with her vehemently. “Alice, I cannot follow you to the clinic for another abortion. What if she loses her womb or her life in the process? I think it is high time something was done to your husband. He must stop sleeping with your maids,” she said.
Alice felt humiliated by her friend’s outburst. She sat on the chair and cried. Mike had always been a thorn in her flesh! For almost 12 years of marriage, she could not point at any good deed he had done in her life or the marriage. Her mind flashed back to the last discussion she had with him at home:
“You are always complaining that I have not done anything for you in this marriage. Don’t you have four beautiful children? How many of your mates have four boys in their marriages?”
“But Mike, I am not talking about the children, I am referring to the vices you have wrought in this marriage in the last 11 years. I am tired! You keep digressing to inanities when serious issues are discussed. So, how do you explain the pregnancy Peace is carrying?” Alice said accusingly.
“Pregnancy? Peace? Look here, woman, I don’t have a clue of what you are insinuating and I have told you I don’t want to have anything to do with either you or the stupid maids you bring to this house,” Mike said and left the house in anger. Things had always taken this pattern in their marriage!
She worked in a bank and had risen to a managerial level. From the first year of their marriage, Alice had always hired helps to mind the home, especially her children, who all came in quick succession.
She had lost count of the number of domestic helps her husband had slept with. Whether old or young, Mike was a randy man, who slept with her maids.
Ruth, the first child minder she hired after the birth of her firstborn, was a Ghanaian. Plump and pretty, the middle aged nanny was hired through a colleague. Ruth was a single mother and had come to Nigeria to fend for her four children. Initially, Alice never suspected any foul play between the woman and her husband. She was a very good nanny, who also helped with housekeeping and this saved Alice a lot of stress. Before she returned from work, there was food on the table and her baby would have been well taken care of.
Since her husband worked in the civil service, he arrived home first and she was happy that he helped supervise domestic staff especially the nanny. But after the birth of Godson, their second child, Ruth insisted on leaving! Alice begged that the nanny should wait and help nurture her baby because she was resuming work in less than a month. Ruth did not budge but said she wanted to go and stay with her children in Ghana.
When she resumed and lamented to her colleague who brought Ruth to her, she was shocked to learn that Ruth was not in Ghana but had rented an apartment in town. Alice got the address and traced the house where the nanny lived. She wanted to beg her to return to her home. It was a work day and she had closed early to check on nanny Ruth. Was she shocked when she met Mike there? He laid on the bed dressed in a pair of boxers! She didn’t utter a word but left. Obviously, Mike rented the apartment for the nanny so that they would have time for their escapade- her second baby would have posed a hindrance.
If he apologised over Ruth’s case, he never did on Uzo, the teenage girl she brought from the village. Suddenly, she observed the flat chest of the girl was sprouting! Though Uzo never got pregnant, the girl told Alice’s mother that ‘daddy is always sleeping with me when auntie goes to work.’
She managed to get a crèche where she put her children but when she was pregnant the third time, she could not help but get another maid. This time, she was a 14-year-old from her pastor. If Alice thought her husband would be scared of their pastor and not come near the girl, she was wrong! In fact, Susan, the maid, was the first teenager she took for an abortion! The girl agreed to terminate the pregnancy after her mother collected over N100, 000 from Alice. It was to seal the promise not to tell the pastor or anyone in the church!
That marked the beginning of series of abortions she had for over five girls. But her husband kept denying his action.
“I still believe Peace should keep this pregnancy and have the baby,” she heard Mary said as she jolted to reality.
“Why should I keep a pregnancy Mike has denied paternity? What if she had slept with someone else?” Alice said.
“Both of us know your husband is responsible. That girl was brought by my sister from Togo and I don’t know what to tell her if anything happens to her,” Mary said. For Alice, it seemed her world had come to an end.
Note: All names and events are fictitious.