I didn’t care how many guys I’d slept with till I met and married Dele, making him an object of ridicule in all of Lagos. I warned him though, I told him everything. I told him about the many politicians and elite business men that had peeked through my curtains. I told him about the many wealthy bachelors that had bought me cars, designer gear and even a flat in Lekki, in exchange for you know what. I told him about the time the vice-president’s wife sent thugs to beat me up because someone told her they saw me with her husband in the Louboutin store in Paris. I told him everything. Of all the things I said, the only thing that seemed to register was that I’d left that life behind. He didn’t care that I’d sold my body for money, didn’t care that I’d slept with married men. All he cared about was the me I’d become, the now, the future.
I was stunned when he asked me to marry him. I’d made my peace with being unmarried for the rest of my life, I didn’t think any man could, would marry me. His sister was in hysterics when she heard about us. His entire family thought he’d taken leave of his senses. They were convinced he was under a spell, cast by me of course. I resent the way they treat me, like slime from a grotty sewer…but I don’t blame them, I’d never have let my son or brother marry a girl like me. The first time he proposed, I said no and didn’t say yes till he’d asked seven times. That’s my Dele, stubborn as a mule. When he makes his mind up there’s no changing it. That final time, I realised just how resolute his love for me is. I said yes.
I shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have married him. I was foolish to think I could get away from my past. Every time we attend a function, it mocks me. The men I’ve sold my body to follow me around like flies following shit. I can’t escape them. How could he not mind knowing that half the room has been serviced by yours truly?! They smile at him knowingly and sneer at me with their upturned noses. The more daring ones verbally taunt him. Trust my Dele not to react. Sometimes I wonder if he’s human. The other day we were having dinner at Four Points when that obnoxious twerp Kola Kuti walked in with his entourage of pot-bellied loafers. I never could stand the guy but while others paid Dollars, he paid Pounds. I put up with his crap long enough to furnish my flat and earn a brand new Range Rover. As soon as he saw us, he came over and winking at Dele said “iyawo e o’dun gan.” I would have slapped him had Dele let go of my arm. I was so mad I could have killed Dele. What kind of man doesn’t react when another tells him his wife is a good lay?! The kind of man that would proudly marry an ex-prostitute I guess.
I screamed at him for the best part of the journey home. How could he let Kunle get away with insulting us both? I called him a coward, a chicken, a spineless excuse for a human being. I regretted the words shortly after they passed through my lips. His eyes glazed over and for the first time since we met, I didn’t feel safe sitting next to him.
“When I decided to marry you Kemi, I knew what I was letting myself in for. The jibes, the sniggers, the looks…I knew they were part of the package. If I decide to beat up everyone that dares insult us, it’s all I’ll be doing for the rest of my life. Besides, I refuse to let them get the better of me, of us. I’m sick of having this conversation. I’m over your past Kemi, when will you be too?”
My guess is never.