My wife has a child she’s hiding from me
I and my wife dated for three and a half years before we got married. She was a different kind of woman from all the women that came into my life.
Just after one year of dating, I knew she was the one I was going to get married to. She knew how to talk and knew how to get things done. I called her Olivia Pope because whenever there’s a problem and she comes around, the problem gets solved. We had our differences. Some of these differences led to a fight.
She would apologize if it was her fault. When the problem was my fault and pride got the better of me, she would say, “You’re at fault just say sorry and I will forgive you. That’s what lovers do.”
The first time she introduced me to her family, there was a little girl grinding pepper in a corridor next to where her mother was seated—a girl of about ten years. The girl caught my attention because she looked like a carbon copy of my wife.
When there was time for introduction, she introduced the girl as their mother’s last born. She said, “This is also Bernice, my mother’s pension baby.” I looked at her again and said, “She resembles you more than she resembles your mother.”
Two years after marriage, we gave birth to our first child. My wife needed somebody to help her take care of the child and make her work in the house easier. I was the first person to suggest that she brings their last born. She said, “Bernice? That girl is so lazy I’d rather look elsewhere for help.” I told her, “She’s family. It’s better to have the hand of a family as help than an outsider. If she’s lazy, you can turn her around, I trust you.” She didn’t want to bring her in but I insisted. When I returned from work one evening, Benice had come and was already settled in.
I watched her from afar, the way she worked from morning till evening, and how she was the first to wake up in the morning to complete chores before everyone wakes up. I asked myself, “What’s about this girl that my wife thinks she’s lazy? Look at how she works around here like a horse?” I liked her and started treating her like she was my first daughter.
When it came to choosing a school for her, I held her hand and took her through town to get her the closest school around. I bought everything for her and told her to ask me whenever she needed something for school. To date, my wife doesn’t even know how much her school fees are and how she gets around in school. I do everything for her and because she resembles my wife, neighbors think she is our first child.
My wife’s aunt died and we attended the funeral in their village. At the village, one old woman called me on the side and told me, “The girl you live with isn’t your wife’s sister. She’s rather your wife’s daughter.” I looked at the woman again, this time from hair to toe.
I wanted to be sure if she was sane. She looked decent and had a lucid flow of thought. I asked her, “What are you saying? Why should I believe you and why are you even telling me this?” She responded, “Marriage is too long for the other partner to be keeping secrets. I’m only telling you. Do your ground checks if you doubt me.”
At the funeral, I asked a few people who didn’t know me about what the woman told me and they all confirmed that indeed, Bernice was the daughter of my wife. I was shocked to the bone. One of the people I asked even went further to tell me how the whole thing happened.
My wife lived in the village when she was a teenager. During one of the big funerals in the village, two men from outside the town lured her into an uncompleted building and forcefully had their way with her. She reported the incident to her parents but there was nothing they could do since those men could not be tracked. Months later she was found pregnant. Against all odds, her parents decided they won’t allow their daughter to abort since it was considered sacrilege in the village.
I turned numb and got covered with goosebumps when I heard the story. A part of me was very angry, thinking a lot of thought. I said to myself, “How could she lie to me this way? At least, she could have told me the truth so I decide what to do with the truth. This marriage is over.” I remained quiet and pensive all through the funeral. She knew there was something wrong with me but thought it was due to my dislike for her village. She kept asking what was wrong and I kept saying, “Darling I’m fine.”
After the funeral, we went back home—the three of us. My mood didn’t change and she didn’t stop asking me if I was fine. All week I contemplated on what to do and who to tell. “Or I should divorce her quietly,” I asked myself. The voice in my head started asking me questions, “Has she ever wronged you in any way? Has she not been the best wife you could ever ask for? What’s her fault that you want to leave her? Leave her today and you’ll regret all your life.”
“Or I should ask her?” “But why would she hide this from me?”
I decided to talk to some people I trust. I presented the issue to them as a problem a friend of mine is going through. I spoke to about eight friends and all of them gave identical answers. One said, “If I were your friend, I would ask her about it but I won’t leave her.” One also said, “If she’s a good wife then something of this sort shouldn’t make your friend leave her.
They can talk about it where she would accept her mistakes and apologize for them.” Another asked, “If your friend knew she was born one and she gave birth out of rape, maybe he wouldn’t have married her but he married her and she had become the best thing in his life. He should rather be grateful that he didn’t know the truth other than that, he would have missed out on a good woman.”
The last answer was all I needed to hear. Yes if my wife told me her story right from the start, I would have not gone ahead to marry her. I’ve always said to myself that I wouldn’t marry a born one but here I am with a born one who is also everything I’d ever wanted in a woman. I cheered up. I put on my best attitude and pretended nothing was wrong.
It’s been two years since the truth came out and it’s been six years of marriage, my wife still doesn’t know that I know this secret. I know someday she’ll walk up to me and tell me the truth. I don’t know when that day would be but I know she won’t die with it. She would come to me and say, “Bernice is my daughter.” And I will tell her, “Yeah I know.” I know she would be surprised. I know she would ask me with her eyes wide open, “Since when?” I would calmly tell her, “Since the day we attended the funeral of your aunt.”