It took her two days after his return to work up the courage to face him with his mother’s suggestion.
Then it took him the most agonising three minutes, or maybe it was more, of her life to respond. “I see.”
“You see?” Obiajulu gaped. “Is that all you’re going to say?”
“I don’t know what else you want me to say, Obi.”
She bit back a vicious word. “I want you to tell me what you think of her idea.”
“My mother is trying to do what she believes must be done, Obi, and it doesn’t matter what I think or not.”
“Eze,” she said his name, then paused as she wondered if he was purposely acting stupid. “Your mother believes I should go sleep with a man, any man, get pregnant for him and make you a father. I am your wife, which means you have a say in this. Doesn’t her suggestion annoy you? Or, at the very least, insult you?”
Again, he let a few minutes tick by before giving his response. “I am already insulted, Obi. I am not just insulted, I’m broken too. I am a man who can’t make his wife pregnant. Do you know how that makes me feel? I am worthless. Worthless to you as a husband.”
“No. No, Eze, you are not worthless. I don’t think you are. You are a good husband.” Automatically, she gave his arm a rub. “I have said it before, I don’t believe children are the primary reason for marriage. I mean if it were me who was infertile, would you consider me worthless?”
In retrospect, Obiajulu thought she shouldn’t asked the question. But since it was out, she waited for his answer with bated breath.
“What is life without a child, Obi? How can anyone be happy when they don’t have children of their own?”
He’d avoided giving a direct answer, but she understood all the same. If she was the one infertile, Eze would consider her worthless, and he would probably throw her out and swiftly remarry.
It hurt but he was who he was and she was who she was. And being who she was, she insisted. “I know you are not worthless. You are my husband and together, we can deal with this problem.”
He looked down at the hand she slipped over his and gave her a weak smile. “How are we going to deal with it? My sperm is useless. It will forever remain so.”
“Then let’s adopt. You say, what’s life without a child. Well, let’s adopt one and become parents. A child is a blessing, whether it is biologically yours or not.”
“I’ve told you I don’t want adopted children. You don’t know who their parents are, armed robbers, petty thieves, prostitutes. They could be anything vile. You are never certain what you will end up with.”
“My goodness! How can you have this sort of thinking, Eze?” His thinking didn’t much surprise her. Eze was a conservative through and through. “A child of a thief doesn’t have to end up a thief himself. Environment, the love, nurture and care a child is given have a greater impact on them than who their parents are. Stop closing your mind to adoption. It’s our only way to have a child.”
“Well, I don’t want that way.”
Exasperated, Obiajulu demanded. “Then what way do you want?”
“I don’t know, Obiajulu. I don’t know.” And swinging to his feet, he stormed out of their bedroom.
She wanted to go after him and force him to continue the conversation until they reached a satisfactory conclusion. But Obiajulu let out a deep breath and forced herself to let go off her anger. He wouldn’t talk to her anyway. When he was angry, or hurt, Eze preferred to isolate himself from other people.
So, she changed into her nightwear and went to bed. But she couldn’t sleep. Her mind stayed busy with thought after thought, seeking for the solution to her problem.
Somewhere around midnight, it struck her that the only solution would be to leave Eze. He would never welcome the idea of adoption or IVF, and he would never be happy living without a child.
The next morning, she woke up to find him sitting on the bed, watching her.
“Good morning.” She said.
“Good morning. Obi, I’ve thought about it. This is not easy for me to say but I think we should get a divorce. You deserve a husband who can give you a child.”
“No, Eze. We are not getting a divorce. We are going to work through this together. That’s what marriage is all about, for better or worse.”
He stared at her in surprise. But his surprise was nothing compared to the shock that had her questioning her sanity. He just gave her what she thought was the best solution and she rejected it.
Oh God! What was she going to do now?