Sisterhood episode 88





Nkem stayed for five extra years in the US to please Demian and also to acquire all the certifications she needed. She felt it was time for her to come back to Nigeria. She talked with Demian about it. Demian didn’t give her a response but she noticed he became withdrawn. She tried to talk to him but each time he brushed it aside. She realised she had overstayed in the country and now Demian was finding it difficult to let her go. But she had to go.

Uncle Tobi had found an opportunity for her. He sent her a mail with the details. The Economic team of the Federal Government needed some economists to work with them. She had the pre-requisite requirements and was shortlisted. Demian was aware she had done two zoom interviews successfully and that she was to have an in-personal interview with the team. Demian didn’t want her to travel and not with Dominic. She insisted. She assured him she would come back with him. At the last minute, he refused Dominic going with Nkem. Nkem tried to fight it. Demian was adamant. Because of time constraints, she left without Dominic. That was how their conflict began.

Nkem was selected for the team. She could work from America but should fully be available in Nigeria after three months of remote work.

She left Abuja for Lagos to spend some time with Funke. She was surprised at how big Funke’s three children had grown. She was so happy for her. Funke admired Nkem. She had not changed a bit. She was still very pretty and had developed a bit of the American accent. That was a confidence booster for her. They talked about her interview and how she aced it. With the passion with which she spoke, Funke knew Nkem was made for this job.

“What is Demian saying about relocating?” Funke asked.

“I don’t understand him. We had an agreement but he stopped Dom from coming with me. Demian changed before my eyes. I have to move back to Nigeria; I cannot lose this opportunity. This is an opportunity to showcase me for bigger positions. I am still young and I have acquired so much knowledge. I can work with the World Bank and many other international organisations. He knew I had such aspirations; we talked about it often. So why does he want to change things now?”

“He doesn’t want to lose you. You should know that. He doesn’t want to live each day talking to you on screens while he is alone. Think about it, is it worth it? Are you willing to give up your family for this?”

“I don’t like living in America. I was forced to live there because of Demian. I asked him to move back so we can start an IT solutions company or something similar to what he is doing. He agreed initially but he later changed his mind. He has been pushing for a second child but I refused to get pregnant again. I’m happy I didn’t have another child. His mother has been very nasty. She compares me to Uloma, can you imagine that? She said I tried to take her son and grandchild from her. How? I have asked Demian what the issue is but he has refused to say.”

“He doesn’t want a long distance relationship. Ebuka and I cannot live in separate countries, I will not support that. I can’t cope without him.”

“We are not the same. I like my space and I spend most of my time reading or studying. Dominic is my only distraction. He has learnt how to stay quietly in a corner reading, writing or playing on his tablet. We go for walks every evening for an hour. Demian and I have important conversations before we fall asleep or immediately we wake up.”

“And he doesn’t mind?”

“We are alike. He is also very ambitious. He focuses on his work and us. He spends most of his time at home with me. I believe he is upset about something but couldn’t tell me because we didn’t make love before I left. I didn’t ask him why and I don’t intend to. I am coming back to Nigeria to pursue my career.”

“Whatever you decide, whatever makes you happy.”

When Nkem got back to the US, Dominic was not at home. Demian had sent him to stay with his mother. Nkem was furious. She asked Demian why he didn’t carry her along but he ignored her. When she couldn’t take the ignoring anymore, she travelled the following morning to get her son.

Demian’s mother refused to release Dominic to her. She said she needed Demian’s permission to release her child to her. Nkem spoke with Demian’s father. He told her there was nothing he could do because his wife had refused to listen to reason. Nkem called Demian but he didn’t answer her calls. Then she called Ada. She told Ada what was going on. Ada took sides with Demian and her mother. She said Nkem was being selfish and therefore should go back to Nigeria without the boy. It made no sense to Nkem.

Nkem called Agnes. Agnes told her to do whatever she had to do to get her child. She said, “I have told them what they did was wrong. Why would you want to take a child away from his mother because she has ambition? Demian knew about your plans; I heard you say it in his presence so why is he backing out now? He is listening to his mother. She wants all the children with her. That is unfair.”

Nkem called Iyke and told him. Iyke said his mother had no right to refuse to release her son to her. He advised her to call 911 so she can have her child back. That was what she did, she called 911. When they arrived, Demian’s mother became worried. She didn’t know what Nkem would claim she did.

Nkem told them she had travelled to Nigeria and got back after a week to find her son was with his grandmother. She was never informed. She travelled from another state to pick her child up and the grandmother refused to release him. They invited Demian’s mother outside and asked her questions. At this time, she was calmer. She went in and brought out Dominic. He was so pleased to see his mother that he ran to her. After spending two hours trying to retrieve her child, she succeeded.

When she came home, Demian was angry. “How could you have called the cops on my parents? What did you want to achieve?”

Read – Sisterhood episode 87

“You told your mother not to let me have my child. Why? I called you more than thirty times in two hours, did you pick up or call back? What was I to do? I called Ada and she took sides with your mother. I had to get my kid back. I am not playing these games with you. Respect yourself and I will reciprocate. I would never put you through what you made me face today. Dominic is my child.”

“He is my child too. He needs a stable home. If you are moving to Nigeria, you can’t go with him. I want him here with me. I want to be able to see him when I want to. You put your career and ambition over your family. You do not love me or Dominic your first love is your career.”

“I will not apologise for that. You knew that before you married me. We agreed to do this. Why do you want to hinder our plans? Why do you want to destroy what we have? We have never had a misunderstanding before now, why now? I am no longer sure of what you feel for me. You withdrew when I got this job offer. It is an offer of a lifetime. Why should I give it up? I never made you give up anything. I have made the most sacrifice so far.”

“Nkem, you are a woman. A woman is under a man and does what the man tells her. You are under me and will do what I ask you to do. Call my parents and apologise for calling the police on them. That was a slap on their faces. Once you do that, we can talk about the other issues.”

“Why didn’t you want me to pick Dominic? I want to know why your mother held unto my son. Is there a plot against me? I am not calling your parents to apologise, I did nothing wrong. She refused to release my child to me and I had to do what I had to do.”

“You are spoiling for a battle you can’t win. It will become a mess very soon. Apologise to them then we can talk about what’s next or this marriage is over.”

Nkem was shocked. Marriage over because of that? Demian had changed. Demian protected her and now he had connived with her oppressor. She didn’t know what to do. She went into the bedroom to think. She lay on the bed and for the first time, she felt alone. She realised she had built her life centred around acquiring knowledge and Demian that she felt empty without him. She never expected this from him.

He went out with Dominic for a walk. Nkem called Uloma and told her what happened. To her greatest surprise, Uloma took sides with their mother-in-law. She said Nkem needed to humble herself and obey her husband’s family. She should forget about her career and focus on Demian and her son. She encouraged her to have another child; a woman with one child has no child.

Nkem was more confused than ever. She called her mother. She told her everything. The mother told her, “Pray. Whatever the Holy Spirit tells you to do, please do it. If you ask me, apologise to your in-laws but be watchful. I am surprised at Demian. I think he is scared.
Pray and do what you want to do.”

Nkem prayed for about thirty minutes before Demian and Dominic came home. She took her bath, made some food and served. Demian was still giving her attitude. They lay on the bed and she made a move on Demian, he tried to reject her. She cried and then he pulled her close. They made love that night and Nkem felt better.

In the morning, she called her in-laws and apologised. Her mother-in-law rejected her apology. She said Nkem was no longer her daughter-in-law the moment she called the police on her. She screamed at Nkem and called her names. She claimed Nkem had a lover in Nigeria that was why she wanted to go back, she never loved Demian. As she spoke, tears flowed from Nkem’s eyes. She understood why Demian had been distant. She had caught him going through her phone and laptop but she didn’t think anything of it until now. His mother was filling his head with lies.

She put the call on speaker so her son could hear her apologise and thankfully he heard all the things she said to Nkem. He watched the tears and he was moved. He had to tell his mother to stop and she quickly ended the call. She sent a message which said: You allowed Demian to listen in. You want to turn my son against me. You will never succeed. Akwuna (Prostitute)!.

Nkem knew then she couldn’t cope with her mother-in-law’s hate. She was tired of keeping it respectful. If she tried anything again, she would respond. She told Demian the same thing. No more being nice.

Demian told Nkem he didn’t want her to return to Nigeria, he wanted her there with him. He said he would give her any amount or even double what they intend to pay her for her to remain with him. Nkem explained to him, “It is not the money, Demian, it is my purpose in life. My heart’s desire has come to pass. I have always wanted to work for the Nigerian government in this capacity. Why do you want to deny me that? I will come back to be with you every quarter. I will come here and spend a month and work remotely. Any time I have a break, I will be here. Allow me to fulfil my dream.”

Demian was quiet. He was still not convinced but he promised to think about it. At least they became closer. The discussion didn’t come up again. Nkem avoided family functions. She avoided seeing any of her in-laws. She even stopped talking to Uloma and blocked her number. She spoke with her brothers and they advised her to remain calm.


Two months after her return, Nkem was served a notice. She was accused of child abandonment, child endangerment and negligence. Nkem couldn’t understand what this was about. She showed it to Demian and he claimed not to know. They got a date to appear in family court. The charges had no merit because Nkem could prove it was untrue. She wanted to know the petitioner, it was Demian. Demian wanted to use the law to keep her in America. He was aided by his mother.

Nkem realised there was a problem. His mother was desperate. Nkem travelled to Dallas to discuss this with her. She asked her what she did to offend her.

“I did not want you for my son but you forced yourself on my son. He was in love with a woman who loved herself more. Someone who couldn’t make a sacrifice for her husband. You are pursuing your ambition while your sick husband looks on. Who will take care of him and your son when you are away? It is for the best you leave this marriage. You were never good for him and you will never be. Your sister is wiser than you, she knows how to marry a man. You feel equal to your man and that’s part of the problem.”

Nkem replied, “You moved to Dallas because of an opportunity that opened for your husband and because of the opportunity he made his fortunes here. He had an opportunity. Would he have done the same if it were you? Would he have packed up and followed you? The answer is no. The reason is a man doesn’t follow a woman even when that opportunity can make fortunes for her. I have this opportunity and I want to take it. I have discussed with Demian how we would manage the situation. I believed we had agreed until I got the summons. I love Demian with all my heart but all my life I have always wanted this opportunity. If Demian agrees to allow me to leave with Dominic and he gets to see him every quarter, then he is being reasonable. If he doesn’t, then we have to fight for custody.”

“Custody? How do you want to have custody?”

“From the court. I need to fight for custody of my son.”

“Don’t start what you can’t finish. The only way you can have custody is with a divorce. Divorce Demian and I will ensure you have custody. He deserves a better woman than he has right now. I told him but he was carried away by love.”

Nkem came back home to her husband. She didn’t know what to believe anymore. Why was Demian so weak? His mother made it sound as though she was desperate for the marriage. She wanted to remain married to Demian but she deserved to also have a career she loved. If she had to give up hers, Demian should give up his too. They could be miserable together.

Demian told her she could be a lecturer since she had a doctorate. The university she graduated from offered her a job which she declined. He said she didn’t need to live in Nigeria to achieve her dreams. Her marriage should come first.

“Then leave your job. Let us lecture together. I don’t fancy lecturing and I can see you don’t fancy it too. Let us take up careers we hate so we can be together.”

“You are being unreasonable. You don’t love me at all. That you come up with these insane options has made me realise it is all about you. It was never about Dom and me.”

“It is all about you too. You have never considered my happiness, just yours. I stayed back in this country for you, how do you pay me back? By wanting to take my son from me. I don’t want to divorce you but I want my son. I will file in the morning.”

Demian was shocked at her utterance. He looked at her and in anger, he said, “Then you can’t stay here. Look for where you will put up.”

“I will leave with Dom.”

“You can’t leave with him. He is my son and he is an American citizen. He can’t leave America without my authority. I will revoke your resident permit.”

“Go ahead. I am leaving with my son. Your mother stole him before and will steal him again.”

“Don’t you dare…”

“I dare.”

Nkem meant every word she said. She still had money saved she hadn’t touched since she came to the US. She got a furnished apartment and moved into it. She needed a good lawyer and was scouting for one.