If The Shoe Fits – Episode 9 – The Season Finale (Part 1)

If The Shoe Fits – Episode 9 – The Season Finale (Part 1)

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One Year After

Tonye Princewill Arinze

It was the morning after the successful launch of my footwear line and I was having breakfast at my parents’ house with my sister Preye and her family, my parents and my kids. Breakfast had been going well until my father decided to bring up the conversation that spoiled everything.

“Daddy, but I thought we were over this, I have made it clear that Chris and I are done and I thought we were in agreement. I am done with him, I am done with the marriage, I have since moved on daddy, I don’t know why you’re bringing this up again.” I dropped my cutlery and pushed my plate away from me.

At the same time I was having this outburst, Preye got all our children together and asked my parents’ housekeeper, Madam Grace to take them to the patio with their food.

The atmosphere got tensed up, I wasn’t even in the mood for this. I was still basking in the euphoria of finally having my own shoe line and now this. My dad spoke.

“Tonye, I don’t mean to upset you and before I go on, I have to admit at this point that I am extremely proud of you, for how well you have carried yourself through this ordeal. I would never wish for you to go back to a life of misery, but I also want you to at least consider the fact that Chris may be a changed man. I have spoken to him enough times to know that he’s living with regrets. Talk to him, that’s all I am asking you to do, for the sake of your children”

I couldn’t believe these words were spoken by my dad, I replied, trying to be in control of my emotions “Thank you daddy, I appreciate your concern for my children, but what I don’t appreciate is the fact that you’re putting Chris’ show of remorse over my feelings and all the trauma he has put me through. I am yet to heal from all that emotional damage. Now that I am getting a hang of myself and focused on moving forward, you want to take me back to that dark space? No daddy, I am not having this conversation with you and I assure you that my kids are just fine. I don’t plan to deprive them of seeing their father, but I Tonye will not be a family with Chris Arinze and that’s final” I got up and left everyone there, my eyes burning with the tears I was trying so desperately to hold back.

I went into their study and locked the door. As I made my way to the large antique oak wood chair, I felt the tears fall down uncontrollably as I broke down. The past one year had been hell for me, worst than the 9 years I had stayed in the marriage. My mind flashed back to everything that happened since the day I left the house.

For the entire week I was in Abuja with my sister, Chris did not call me one time. I wouldn’t say I was sure what I was expecting, but what I knew I wasn’t expecting was the total silence. I panicked, what could be going on? By the fourth day, Preye wanted me to call him but I refused and for some reason, my stubbornness kicked in. If that’s how he wanted to play game, then I was ready to play ball.

The day I was scheduled to return home, I decided against going to see the kids at my parents’ as I had earlier planned, I took the Uber ride straight to my house. It was a Sunday afternoon and I met Chris at home, relaxed in his Pajamas, drinking a beer and watching football. I was confused.

“Hello” I said, as I dropped my bag on the floor beside me where I stood.

“Hey, ahn ahn, you’re back already? I take it you have a clear head now” He said, without taking his eyes off the TV.

He continued, “Come now, let’s watch together, see, Man U is taking the lead, I’m so sure we’re winning this match” He said, patting the seat beside him for me to join him.

I picked up my bags and went upstairs, this was going to be a lot more difficult than I had Imagined. Obviously, he had seen my note, but this unbothered attitude is what I couldn’t understand. What was Chris playing at? Our bedroom was a mess, so I took my time to change the sheets and curtains, I cleaned the entire place out, after which I had a long warm bubble bath with scented candles and some jazz music in place. I needed all the peace and inner strength I could gather.

I washed off, cleaned out the bath tub, dried my body and got into my night wear. I said a short prayer and went downstairs to the kitchen to find something to eat. Chris was right there where and how I had left him. Getting into the kitchen, I wasn’t in the mood to cook anything, so I ordered take out from the Chinese restaurant close to the house. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to talk, but I was desperate to know what was going on. So I went into the living room and sat on the one seat sofa.

“Do you care to talk?” I asked him.

“Sure” he answered, sitting up and facing me, his expression, suddenly serious, like a session he was prepared for and had been waiting to happen.

I cleared my throat, trying not to choke on the tears that was starting to build up. If I was going to win this battle, I had to be strong, this was not the time for any pity party or to show any signs of weakness.

“What exactly is going on Chris? What are we doing in this marriage? For how long are we going to continue like this? Do you not see that this is tearing us apart?” I asked, trying to keep my voice calm but firm.

“Look Tonye, I am tired of this back and forth honestly. I have apologized time and time again, I have told you these girls mean nothing to me. There is no love in me for them, you are the one I am married to, the one I am committed to, the one with my kids, the one I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with. What more do you want from me? I give you everything you want Tonye, yet you packed your things and left because you saw me with some random girl and didn’t even respect me enough to wait to hear and listen to my side of the story? Do you know how much that hurt me Tonye, do you?” He asked, staring me right in my eyes with an intense look of pain.

If I was a third party in this scenario, my heart would have gone out to Chris instantly and it was then I realized I was married to a manipulative, deranged, damaged, delusional human being. I was shocked beyond words, there was no point arguing with him, the decision was mine to make.

“Wow, Chris, just wow. I thought I could get us to focus on the reality of things, but clearly, we’re not even in the same book let alone being on the same page. I’m sorry for disrespecting you dear husband but at this point, I can’t continue this way. It’s a big problem for me that you don’t see what the problem is. Obviously nothing is going to change and I can’t continue to live with that. I’d be moving out before the end of the week, you should have your parents know where we are right now, I would tell my parents tomorrow. All I ask of you is whatever decisions we take concerning the kids should be for their good and not based on sentiments. Thank you for everything Chris” I finished, got up and went back upstairs.

A part of me kept hoping he’d come to his senses and come back to me for us to work things out, but none of that happened. Not even after I told my parents what had happened and they sent for him. According to my mum, his only response was that I had made my decision to leave and he didn’t want to be the cause of my unhappiness and if ever I wanted him back, he’d be waiting to receive me.

Chris had conveniently turned it all on me. Now, I was the one who wasn’t willing to understand, to work things out, to be patient. I had hit rock bottom and almost tempted to give in and go back. Even Preye who had supported my every move, was beginning to suggest that I try one more time. But my mind was made up, fortunately for me, he didn’t try to make any case with the kids, he only asked that I let him see them as often as he’d like, which was fine by me.

I couldn’t believe my life was changing so fast, for every move I made, my heart broke into many tiny pieces. But something kept me going, nobody wanted to be directly involved in helping me move out and start my life so I was left to figure it all out by myself. My dad made it clear I had no place in his house, not like I had any plans to move back in with him.

It was all new to me, I had never lived on my own before. I understood now why Chris thought I wouldn’t be able to make any move, he knew I had always lived a dependent life – from daddy to him. My only saving grace was my stash of savings from over the years, I never really had any need for money, Chris covered everything, paid for everything. I wasn’t also a frivolous person and so all the money that came my way, I saved and invested.

It was from this I was able to rent a decent 2 bedroom serviced apartment in GRA Ikeja. It was a far cry from the life I was used to, but I had to save myself at all costs. Explaining to the children was the toughest part ever, I didn’t want to make Chris look bad because to be fair to him, he was a great dad. I was the one who had a problem with him and I didn’t want to rope them into that. It took a while for them to get used to the new situation, but with each day, they seemed to adjust.

I had to change their school to one close to the house which Chris approved of and I made sure their standard of living did not drop. I did not stop Chris from carrying out his responsibilities and I ensured he talked to them everyday. On Friday, after school, they’d go to my parents’ house and resume to School on Monday from there.

This arrangement gave me enough time to think about what I wanted to do with my life. Preye was a strong support system for me and she had my back every step of the way. Even though we were cities apart, she was always there, a phone call away, a chat away and sometimes, physically when she’d fly out randomly just to be with me.

Royalty-free workplace photos free download | Pxfuel

I had considered taking a job, but my chances of getting anything decent or fulfilling were slim. It’s been 10 years since I moved back to Nigeria, 11 years since I got my Masters Degree and I had never worked for even one day, I had no experience and no further certifications. I knocked the idea almost immediately and decided to follow through with my dream of owning my shoe factory.

I also had no idea how to start with that, but with the support of my mum and my sister, I mapped out a plan. I started with opening a retail store, where I stocked up on different brands, designs and shoe styles. I wanted to understand the buying patterns of the average Nigerian woman, know what styles appealed to them and the demography of women to focus on.

One step at a time, I kept going and it all seemed to be working fine. I was settling in nicely and so were the kids. Until one day, I had stopped by at the house to pick up a few things I had left behind. I didn’t think Chris would be home, my plan was to get in real quick, pick up my stuff and get out. I opened the front door and heard the voices from the kitchen, it sounded like an argument.

“Chris, I cannot marry you, you need to sort things out with your wife, I am not going to be the woman that wrecked another woman’s marriage. It’s bad enough this crazy affair we’ve had for so long, but asking me to marry you is appalling and making me sick to my stomach” I heard the woman say, I stood there my heart racing as I moved slowly so I could hear them clearly.

“Lola, Lola Please wait, listen to me. Tonye doesn’t want me, our marriage hasn’t even been working out fine and you know it” Chris said to her, I had no doubts it was his voice I heard.

“That is because you became an asshole to her because of me Chris. Look I can’t do this, I can’t. I don’t even know how I got to this point” I heard the female voice say, as she broke down into a sob. I moved closer to the kitchen door, so wouldn’t miss a thing.

“So what’s going to happen to my baby, our baby?” My bag dropped as I heard Chris ask the question, I felt dizzy. The sound from my bag dropping on the floor must have alerted them, because they both came out of the kitchen.

Lola looked at me for a second, picked up her bag from the dining table where she had dropped it and ran out of the house, leaving me and Chris.

“I can explain Tonye, I can explain” He started immediately, with panic and confusion written all over his face, coming close to me. I composed myself, picked up my bag and left the house too.

I don’t know how I managed to get past the 3rd mainland bridge without getting in an accident, because I was blinded by my tears and the pain in my chest. I called Preye as soon as I got to my apartment and told her everything that happened. She prayed with me and I felt better.

Silhouette Portrait of happy young Woman Talking On Mobile Phone ...

The following morning, I went to see my parents and told them what happened. If there were any discussions about us getting back together, I hoped this would put an end to it. As I had imagined, they were very disappointed, especially my dad who thought I was being irrational when I moved out of the house.

It was tough, I was broken but with the support of my mum and my sister, I got by. I put my all into my business and setting up for production. That in itself was tasking. Weeks of travelling to source for materials, raising funds, getting the right hands to bring my sketches to life, it was blood, sweat and tears, but it kept me busy and took my mind off everything else.

I continued to hold it down for my kids and never stopped them from seeing their father. I only made sure, I was never in the picture when they had to meet up with him.

It hurt me really bad that after everything I had been through, now that I had finally settled into my life and everything was looking up, my dad of all people was bringing up Chris and the possibility of a reconciliation.

My sister had been by the door for sometime now, so I got up and opened the door for her. She pulled me into a hug and our mother joined in too, I looked up at both of them, my eyes dry and my mind made up. “Tell daddy, I won’t have this conversation again, Chris and I are done and I am getting a divorce”.

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And we have come to the end of this blog series with the first part of the Season finale.

Do you think Tonye should have given Chris another chance? What do you think will happen with Lola and the pregnancy?

Adesuwa? How do you think the meeting with Esther and Chris will go? Will she give Kunle a chance?

All of these will come up on in the 2nd part which I will post in the next 24 hours.

Of course you know I’d love to read your thoughts on this one. Drop a comment or at least click on one of the smileys below. Sending you love and light as always, have a lovely week ahead,

Your Girl,

Jay

1 Comment

  • Nchedo
    July 20, 2020

    Everyone deserves a second chance except Chris! Everyone deserves love except Chris! Chris needs to remain sad and miserable if there’s any justice in this our story world. Lol

    Good job babe, your ability to make us feel different emotions with your writing is amazing👌🏽

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