The Plight of the Unmarried Lady
She hit her head on the wall as she tried to rush out and tears came to her eyes immediately. Her mother had succeeded in ruining her day. I was peeping through a broken part of the glass louver in our house. I couldn’t stand those tears, never had I seen a woman more beautiful. She was my own monalisa. In fact she had been my role model until recently when my mother warned me to stay clear of her. she had seen me admiring her severally and almost squizzed my ear off that day. I have had no contact with her up till now but I heard she was intelligent and rich as well. She had a job in the entertainment industry, rode the latest car model, lived in a plush house in a very expensive part of the town and had servants whom attended to her needs. I and my friends always discussed her in our gossip talks, she was all we dreamt to become.
Babatunde whom had been watching from a distance saw the tears dropping and asked “Bisi, kin o sele?” (what is the matter?). She was about to speak when she remembered something and replied “Awọn oniwe-ohunkohun Sir” (it’s nothing Sir) , entered her car and sped off. I was still staring at the distance when I received a hot slap, “ode” (idiot) my mother hurled at me and yanked me off the window, that day was bad for me as well.
Bisi had come to see her mother as usual and the old woman had refused what she brought for her. She had sworn never to take anything from her daughter, not unless it came from a man. “Ọlọrun ya agbara lati Bìlísì” (God take power from the devil) she had cried on her last visit, why has her my daughter decided to torment my life? It was enough that she had been cast out of her husband’s house for not been able to conceive again after she had Bisi. She had toiled endlessly to train Bisi so she could have something to boast about to her co-wives about after so much suffering. Now here was her 35years old effort about to waste, over her dead body! If its a curse then she is sending it back. She must at least witness the marriage of her daughter before she rests in ‘peace’. Her ‘abinibi dokita’ (native doctor) had told her one of her co-wives was responsible for her misfortune and had given her a talisman which Bisi refused to wear. She had since then concluded that Bisi was a witch sent to torment her life. She therefore decided to enforce her own and measure, she would’nt fold her arms and just watch.
This is 15 years later and I’m in the rat-hole I call a house, looking yet again through the window but this time, thinking about my own life. I’m now married but my life is as miserable and unfulfilled as the worst thing you can think of. I dress in rags, my wretched family cannot even afford a decent meal, let alone afford a meagre rent inside town. I and my husband have lived in this village ever since we got married, our six children are all drop outs since we can’t afford to pay their fees and I am pregnant still. My mother had married me off as soon as I sat for and passed my Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations. She would not allow me be in the same shoes as Bisi, she had said and my life came to an early end the very day I got married.
It’s too late now to change my own condition but I know I can be a value for a growing girl out there to hold onto. This is why I am burning my last candle to write this so that even if I die of this blindness, I will be alive in the heart of at least one young girl and in her bright future.
There are many unmarried ladies all around us. A good number of these women are among the elite of our society, clever, rich and with good hearts. But our society has made them living deads by limiting them with our beliefs. These women have the desire to get married but their love lives aren’t just successful. They go out with good looking high profile men but these men aren’t looking for lifelong mates. They are already encumbered by a wife or a live-in girlfriend, have terrible habits or multiple substance issues. These women cannot have their mates as partners either because they (the men) feel they can’t compete with them, forgetting that marriage is far from being a competition. Thus, far from making brilliant marriages, these smart, funny, talented women forever remain girlfriends and/or ex-girlfriends due to all these constraints and our society hunts them.
They are tagged harlots whom have wasted their lives running after men, without being wise enough to keep one and their life acquisitions are believed to be obtained by such means. Neither are they allowed to contribute to discussions of elders nor does anybody listen to their story, should they fall out with anyone. They face all manner of assault including rape with no one coming to their aid. Their efforts to lighten peoples’s mood are met by angry faces, everything about them is just painted black. These young promising women in a bid to steer off all these tribulations withdraw into themselves and they suffer all manner of emotional trauma. They treat people around them badly and avoid any new friendships. More importantly, they end up not contributing meaningfully to our society.
Many lives have been ruined already, far too many, we must Stop!. We must understand that marital status should not be our basis for how we treat people, marriage should not destroy our ties. Young women should be encouraged to pursue their career. They should equally be educated on the need to strike the balance between their love lives and their career early enough, for marriage indeed has its own benefits. African men should realize that not all rich ladies around them are proud and arrogant and even the few whom are like that can be taught with love. Or shall our women remain unfulfilled career-wise for them not to lack emotionally? We need a re-orientation.