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Pariah

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“Maybe it’s your womb.” Sidikat stood in front of the low shelf, which housed a TV and a video machine.

“I went for tests and the doctor said that everything was okay. He told me to tell my husband to come for an examination, which of course is not possible.”

Sidikat moved behind Moyo, laying her hands on her shoulders. “If the door and the windows are shut, there must be another way out of the room.”

“How?” Moyo pressed her lips together.

Sidikat came around to stand in front of her. “You create another opening. You cast your net wide.”

“Cast my net wide?”

“Try another man.”

Moyo’s stomach flipped. “That’s infidelity.”

“Come on!” Sidikat flapped a hand at her. “What do you know about infidelity? These things are relative. You would be doing this for the greater good.”

Accustomed to Sidikat’s brazen utterances, Moyo reckoned her friend’s streetwise directness reflected her background. Where she had grown up in a run-down area of Ibadan, it wasn’t unusual for a woman to have six children with four men. Sidikat had three children with two different men. When she was sixteen, she gave birth to her first child, a boy, whose paternity was the subject of debate for a long time. She had her two daughters with an ex-chairman of the local Road Transport Workers Union. The man already had three wives when she married him. When he married a fifth, she left him.

Moyo couldn’t imagine herself sleeping with another man. Dangerous waters. “That’s horrible. I can’t do it.”

Sidikat applauded her in a mock fashion. “What is more horrible than a woman living with a man without bearing him children? What is more horrible than you leaving the earth and leaving nothing of yourself behind?”

Sidikat’s words pricked Moyo’s heart like a dart. She sobbed. “I can’t sleep with another man.”

“You don’t want a child?”

She wanted a child, but she feared the repercussion of Sidikat’s idea. Sidikat sat on the arm of Moyo’s chair and wiped away her tears. “It might be hard for you. But isn’t it a risk worth taking?”

“How can I give Oloye another man’s child?”

“This is nothing unusual. You would not be the first to do it.”

“What if he found out?”

“He wouldn’t. There are many dads out there who are taking care of children they didn’t father. Men are gullible because of their vanity. Your husband will be no exception. In this clime, a woman with no children is without honor in her husband’s family, remember?”

Moyo hung her head. Why were things getting so complicated?

Continue next week

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