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My dad and my mom had been married for thirty-five years. My dad is the careless type. He treats everything as a joke. I’ve never seen him fight with my mother. My mother would get angry and confront my dad about something he did wrong. My dad would just keep quiet and watch my mother rant. Then he would say something very funny to throw my mom off balance. Mom would say, “You think everything is a joke right? You’re a grown man, behave like one.” I’m always tempted to believe they’ve been together for this long just because my dad learned not to fight. Even when my mother was wrong, my dad will just turn a blind eye and move. He didn’t have time to fight.

After university, I introduced my boyfriend to them. My dad struck a cordial relationship with my boyfriend which saw them hang out every now and then. Parents often give a prospective husband a long list of items to buy for the dowry but when it was time for us to get married, my dad didn’t list anything for the family of my boyfriend. He said, “Bring whatever you have my boy. Even if you like, come empty-handed. I would give my daughter to you. She’s my daughter and I say you can have her for free.” We got married and the relationship between my dad and my husband grew even stronger. On weekends, he’ll call my husband; “My paddy what’s up? Where are we going this weekend?”

They’ll both plan their weekend, have fun throughout, and come home when the cock has crowed for a new day. It didn’t bother me a lot. It’s better with my own dad than friends who will influence him negatively. Then one weekend my dad came to visit while I was away. When I got home, I saw his car parked in front of the house so I knew immediately that he was there. I stood by the window leading to the hall and eavesdropped on what they were saying:

My dad: “My paddy enjoy oo. Take some. When you’re stressed and can’t sleep, it’s always your wife who’ll give you more stress. Just sneak into the house of the side chick and you realize all the stress would be no more.”

My husband: “But your daughter is fast ooo. She’s monitoring my every move.”

My Dad: Forget that one. When trouble comes right now, she’ll bring it to me. If I’m the judge, do you think you can lose a case? Just play your cards well. You see that girl living at our junction? I’ve been dating her for the past two years and my wife doesn’t know anything. I never talk to the girl directly. The girl’s mom is our ‘betweener.’ Just look sharp that’s all.”

My Dad; “So that girl you approached the other night, how far?”

My husband: “I didn’t call her again. She looks like a lot of work.”

My Dad: “You took her number and you didn’t call? Just give me her number.”

They both laughed.

That was when I walked in. Immediately they saw me, my dad got up and came to hug me. He said, “I was passing through and decided to come and see you two.” All that while, my eyes were fixed on my husband. He got the hint that I might have heard what they were talking about so he became weary. Immediately when my dad left, I asked him, “Who’s that girl? And how many women has he given you?” He answered, “Don’t begin to think anything negative. You know your dad, he’s a jovial person and everything he said was a joke.” I asked him, “Do I look like someone you can lie to and get away with it? Should I begin to tell you everything I heard?”

I told him what I heard and he insisted my father didn’t say that. “I heard both of you loud and clear. I’ve been standing behind this window for the last fifteen minutes. You want to tell me I’m deaf?” He answered, “Well darling, I’m not saying you’re deaf. I’m saying what you think you heard isn’t what we said.” We had been married for only six months but my dad was able to plant a seed of discord between us. My husband’s response to me that day made things worse. I confronted my dad and just like he always dealt with confrontation, he made a joke out of it and brushed the whole issue aside as if it didn’t matter.

I went to my mom to make a case. I needed someone to support me and mom was the only one I could think about. I told her, “Mom do you know dad goes out with my husband to look for girls. They’ve been chasing small small girls when we were home sleeping.” My mom burst out laughing. She said, “Now you know why the two of them stick like two peas in a pod? I know your dad. I’ve been able to live with him all these years because I know him. Now go and cage your husband. As for my husband, he destroyed his cage long ago so he could roam free.”

My jaw dropped. I thought I was going to get a fighting partner in my mother not knowing she was a retired soldier in this battle. But I wasn’t going to give up. I told my husband to break every friendship he had with my dad; “Don’t even pick his calls. He’s a bad influence.” Trust men to always be men, they both designed a new way to meet. I read their chat one day. My husband told my dad he couldn’t meet him over the weekend because he didn’t know what to tell me. My dad told him, “You don’t have to tell her anything. Try and find a reason to pick a fight with her. Any reason at all. Get angry and storm out of the house. That’s all.”

Herh this man is evil.

With time, I’ve realized a shift in my husband. Amazingly, that shift started when I stopped fighting him—when I stopped trying to put him in a cage. He closes from work and comes home right on time. Most weekends he stays in the house with me. When he wants to go out, he asks me to follow him. We began hanging out a lot and that put my father a little bit away from him. Instead of asking him to do away with my father, I took the role my father played in his life. It’s been working but sometimes they both sneak out and when they do, I go around looking for them until I catch them. They won’t stop running so why would I stop chasing?

—Amanda

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