The Promised Land Became My Worst Nightmare – A Story of How One Decision Changed Everything

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I quickly understood the phrase ‘The more you see, the less you know’, when my husband and I relocated to London in 2004. We were newlyweds, young love if you like. We felt like the luckiest couple on earth when we applied and received our visas. ‘It will be the perfect place to settle down and raise our family’.

Yinka said to me as his eyes widen cheerfully with high hopes. Of course, I felt the same way, it feels good when you can smell your own destiny.
Just then I started dreaming about a beautiful suburban family house in a beautiful city, a lovely family car, and great jobs for the both of us. Of course, I knew we wouldn’t acquire all this right away, but we will work towards it and hopefully be able to in 5 years or so.

Yinka and I agreed not to bring children into the world yet, but work a little, you know build a solid foundation for our family and all that, yes, you can say we are two brilliant peas in a pod who know exactly what they want.

We began to plan, implement and execute. When we finally arrived London, what we saw has been greatly overhyped by our clueless mind. It’s a beautiful country no doubt, I fell in love with some great old architectural building. Saint Paul, Tate Modern, Tower of London, Big Ben, West Minister areas, and Buckingham Palace are all at the top of my long list.
Just like that, a year flew t by like a blink of an eye. I felt like Yinka and I are moving backwards. In a rented house in Wood Green, we occupied the biggest room of 4 bedroom house with one bathroom.

Wait! we moved out of a 2 bedrooms apartment in Greenwich only six months ago. Rent was eating our savings like Piranha eats its prey. We had to reconsider mostly when job hunting isn’t going too well and as planned.
Yinka looked for work more than he went to work. His qualifications all of a sudden meant nothing, one lucky time when he excelled in an interview, his Nigerian passport disappointed him, the passports is a straight death sentence when you’re on a job hunt, mostly good fat juicy ones like engineering, petroleum, finance or even office jobs. My Yinka could only do a security job, this began to kill him slowly.

I, on the other hand, had a genius idea, why not study and train as a nurse, this promises regular income, did I mention the site of blood makes me dizzy with a huge ‘Time -to- flee’ syndrome? I better not complain about the long hours as my foot is not on the main job yet.

These are sacrifices one can make just to stay in line or just to make ends meet.
To cut this long story short, Yinka woke up one cold and grey morning and told me he wants to go back to Nigeria, and perhaps take his old job back.
“We’re two years in this already, we’re sitting on our dreams, we just need to find a way in”. I plead and tried to encourage him, at first he understood and kept trying, but as time went, I began to lose him. Yinka whose face was always beaming with excitement and fool of hope had quickly been masked with hopelessness, frustration and sadness. “I don’t want to be apart, we can make this work please sweetheart”. I kept pleading and encouraging him.

Yinka swallowed his almost ran-out pride and kept striving with the 3rd class citizen badge given to him the moment he arrived in the country.
Another year went, this time, we had totally lost who we were, working long hours as a trainee nurse in a job I hate so much made me hate myself, my husband and everyone around me.

Yinka working nights shifts and sleeping during the day made him a living vampire. We were becoming strangers without knowing it. Love making was basically to relief stress, food was simply our daily fuel, work work work has become our mantra.

Still looking on the bright side of life, we went and acquired a two bedroom Mortgage just after our hard earned money finally started coming via our long shifts jobs. I insisted we take a mortgage, in my mind, this will help keep us together, Yinka agreed. We moved in, it felt great, one mission accomplished.
I started to sleep in the second bedroom to get more sleep as Yinka snores the loudest when he is tired, this became a routine. Once, after a big fight over who pays the bills, Yinka and I started avoiding each other. We began to keep our monthly wages to ourselves, we started talking less.

When Yinka’s 5th job made him redundant after working as a security supervisor, he told me bluntly he was moving back to Nigeria and not looking back this time, pointing to the blogs; Bella Naija and Linda Ikeji for references. According to him, most of his mates are living great in Nigeria, he had had enough trying to fix what he can’t change. Having had enough of his constant nagging and blaming the country for his misfortunes, I told him to go to hell. A week later, Yinka left for Nigeria.

I was left with everything we came to England with including the mortgage we just acquired. I had no choice but to give it up. I couldn’t do it on my own, I will be lying if I say I could, moreover I don’t need the space. I moved into a studio apartment.

I woke up this morning and found a grey hair on my hair. It’s ten years since Yinka left me for Nigeria. I’ve dated but haven’t met anyone worth spending the rest of my days with. Yinka got a lady pregnant and has two little girls by two different women to date. He got an engineering job again and is happy with his life in Nigeria.
We never got a divorce. We talk once in a while, but never addressed or spoke about our marriage. I know if I do, it will be oiling and closing the last door of that chapter of my life. I rather have it rusty and unlocked. I really miss him, he was my soul mate, this will be the reason why I’m not upset with him and I know he feels the same way too. We don’t want a divorce hence why we both don’t speak about it.

Yinka and I started out so well, so young, in love, so full of life, so full of hope. What happen? What became us?

 

Written by: Obie Edmond

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