I see the girl as I buy plantains. I see her the way we see people we do not want to see. I see her and hide my face. I hide my face because I can’t forget I had “stolen” her boyfriend, Richard.

I use the word “stolen” because that’s what the world associates people like me with.

To the effickos, I am a gold digger. To the fire-calling-praying wives, I am a husband-snatcher. And, to the elderly Yoruba women, I am the “gboko-gboko”.

I am all of these to all these people because of one man who had ditched his girlfriend to marry me.

And to add to my list of “jezebelic” sins, the girlfriend had been my friend. So, today, I jam the friend I had snatched from. She is leaning on a man’s arm, gold wedding bands glistening on both their fingers…And I hide.

I hide because it’s been five years since Richard married me, and it’s been two years since he ditched the children and me for his secretary.

I am just looking at my friend and “chooking” my face farther and farther into my hiding crevice. I cannot come out of my hiding and start to explain.

She wouldn’t understand that I accepted Richard’s proposal because he was the only one who had ever told me I was worthy of love, beautiful, and deserved the best.

My step father had treated my mother badly, and me, even worse. Richard had been cunningly wise to show me love.

I had been stupid, I admit, to have told Richard that part of me-that painful past of neglect and abandonment and child abuse I usually kept away from others, including myself most times.

And worse still, I had told him like I had always felt it-in a victimized way. His type surely knew how to speak with women like me who had opened doors in their pasts that kept them bitter by day and teary by night till they awoke to another “victim-claiming-day”.

Yup, I had been that woman-and maybe I still am-and he had talkedto my locks with the perfect keys.

She has passed. I am coming out to buy my plantains for the fatherless girls waiting for me at home, girls I will make to understand are loved, beautiful, and deserve the best.

I will tell them, so they wouldn’t have to be me one day, hiding from a person they had stolen from, just because they had always felt incomplete in themselves.

I wonder, though, if I will be enough to help my littluns from beings like their father, scattered all over the world; beings that are experts in identifying women’s weaknesses and insecure locks, and would never do good with the knowledge.

Females, because of Richard’s type, end up with many doors in one lifetime.

A woman never fully understands the world she has to live in; it’s just too “trappy” and mazy.

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