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For the first time, I could move around without fear raising the back of my hair. Life in the palace was good. It was paradise.

Some months after moving back, mother was summoned by kabiyesi, her father, the paramount ruler. He announced that a suitor had come for her hand in marriage. He was an old suitor whom my mother had rejected in preference of father. I still cannot figure out why because he was younger than father was and was as wealthy as father. He was prince Adesiyun, an heir to the throne of the community with similar ancestry with ours. He had come back to ask for Mother’s hand in marriage after he learnt that mother had returned home when father died.

He already had a family but still desired my mother who became his third wife. Mother had little choice; she readily accepted the proposal without a moment of hesitation. In their era, it was dishonorably to return under any circumstances to one’s parents after marriage. It turned out to be the best decision she had ever made in her life.

We moved from the palace into his massive house. The household was entirely different from the Thompson’s family. There was no shadow of the screwball called Akanni or madcap Mama Alani to create anxiety or fear. There were no squabbles or confrontations, issues were settled immediately before they became big rows. The prince ruled his home with love, fairness and singleness of purpose that was love.  Everybody went in and out of the house without conflict, I every so often wondered if the wives had not sworn an oath of allegiance to peaceful co-habitation with one another.

I enjoyed the same privileges as the biological children of Prince Adesiyun in the house. My mother went ahead to have more children in my stepfather’s house.

It was in this serene household that I grew up in, a home with a calm ambience. Mother set up a vocation just like her co- wives. She traveled extensively for her business, she was not afraid to leave us in the safety of other wives who took care of us in her absence. I became a surrogate mother to my siblings whom I took care off in her absence, while the other wives kept an eye on us. I grew older, wiser and confident as the first child.

It was when I was in the university that I met Henry. The man who became a part of my incredible journey through life. The one who made me walk through the wilderness before I found rest. My first love whom I had placed all my hopes and all my love. The one who brought my life to a crashing halt even before my life began. The one who once made me think at a time that suicide was a better alternative than living, the one who I sacrificed 9years of my life. I almost became a zany but for the love of God and the sheer strength of soul.

Maybe I did not see it coming. How could I? How do you reason with a girl in love?

I remember we hit it off the instant our lives collided with each other in the supermarket. He came in with his sister who turned out to be my classmate in the university. I thought he was the best thing that walked on two legs. It seemed only moments after and we became inseparable. He and his sister would not let me go after we were done with our shopping, they wanted to see some friends and they insisted I came along. I was too smitten to decline the invitation. We drove around from one place to another having fun and ended up in a party.

It was now late in the Evening; we had a lot to talk about and lots of dancing. I knew that I had left an incredible impression on him. I was thrilled, I was excited. I felt the dazzles of the night around me like a tranquilizer. I was swept off my feet by his charms. It was his intent that I had a good time. He seemed caring, kind, and intelligent. It was not his party but it seemed to be the life of the party. Everyone warmed up to his effusive personae. His eyes focused on me alone even with the presence of attractive ladies who wore provocative dresses and cat walked around the party. From the attention I got, I was in no doubt of his affection for me. I was bursting at the seams with so much excitement; my head was spinning with joy. You could see the rosy glow on my face even in the darkest night.

I didn’t know that not all that glitters is gold’

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