‘Is Anasi not in?’ he asked them. They said she was coming. Anasi was the first wife and the others could not drink before her, and so they stood waiting. Anasi was a middle-aged woman, tall and strongly built. There was authority in her bearing and she looked every inch the ruler of the womenfolk in a large and prosperous family. She wore the anklet of her husband’s titles, which the first wife alone could wear. She walked up to her husband and accepted the horn from him. She then went down on one knee, drank a little and handed back the horn. She rose, called him by his name and went back to her hut. The other wives drank in the same way, in their proper order, and went away.
My friend is the first wife…..Yeah….gasp! The hubby has a second official wife….
I recall the time she found out…he was kind enough to take her to dinner to gently break the news to her…
Gently!!! She chocked on her wine…..and she walked out of the dinner and summoned me
9pm…..I must see you was all she said
And we sat in the dimly lit lounge…the music blaring in the background
I had got in before her and picked a corner table by the window away from prying eyes….from her voice I knew there was going to be bottles of wine and tears
Today we are not discussing an investment she has come across or what I think of this car we both must have or best schools for children…no…
I am prepared
I have carried my box of tissue from the car
My makeup bag sits on the table
After the crying and gnashing of teeth we will need to look pretty
We always do….we rant and rave…. He came late again last night……Did you hear what she said about me(that about a girlfriend who snitches on a gossip to the wrong person who snitches to the subject……
Today I suspect it’s serious
My friend walks into the lounge and I swear the music misses a beat….she is gorgeous….
Heads turn to her direction…..a few people will get kicks under the table…..I giggle as I get up to give her a hug as
She comes straight to the table
On any other day she would have glided to the table flashing a smile here, a wave to a friend….instead
Sits down….I hand her a glass of wine….she looks at it lifts it to her lips…does not sip it and puts it down
Now that’s bad
“He has another wife….she bursts out crying
For a minute I sit stare at her stupidly
She looks at me like I lost my mind and repeats her sentence
My silence shocks her enough to stop crying
I reach for the wine and gulp it down….I expect her to laugh at anytime and tell me she is lying..
She is not
I hand her back the glass of wine she sips
Who has another wife….I ask stupidly
Who else….my loving hubby he just took me to dinner to inform me
I am happy she is not crying but now I feel like I will break down myself
What’s her name? what does she do? why!
She shakes her head….I don’t know….
I did not ask….I left as soon as he said those words
We finish the bottle of wine and ask for another
We have killed him in our anger in many different ways..
We have planned and executed divorces…..divided up the matrimonial property in our anger
In the end we agree she is not leaving
Like the wives in things fall apart we agree on her position as the first wife…
The dos and donts of the hubby and second wife….we are ready to face him
He has been calling her number and mine half the night
Finally I pick his call and summon him
He walks into the lounge
Looking sheepish….. does not look me in the face
Apologises profusely to me to her to no one in particular
A small part of me had hoped that it was a prank that he would walk in and laugh at her anger
His sheepish look killed that hope…..
He promises to do anything she wants
We read him the riot act and told him the dos and donts
He eagerly agrees…cannot believe his luck I guess
One of the rules
Christmas day was for the first wife and her children… They go on holiday together till 28th
New year is for the second wife
That was 6 years ago and like the wives of Umuofia above peace prevailed and each wife knew their place
Till this year
She has summoned me
The ice tea on the table before us untouched
He has done it again she says as she bangs her wedding ring on the table
A third wife?
I ask thinking well not too bad…..she is still the first wife
No she says
He has gone and booked Christmas holiday with the second wife
Seems my friend is hell bent on commiting marital suicide
You don’t break the rules….even the women in Umuofia could not taste the palm wine before Anasi
Now this requires proper strategy
Seems he has forgotten just how easy he got off last time
Forget the ice tea it’s early but this calls for wine
A Christmas and a marriage are at stake