THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 1

“Take this food to your father and be back before this spit dries up,” my mum ordered, spitting on the ground for emphasis. She wanted me to deliver lunch to my father, a well-known carpenter in our small community.

Today’s meal was akpu na olugbo—fufu with bitter leaf soup, garnished with the head of stockfish, dry fish, and plenty of assorted meats. I always wondered why my mum gave my father so much protein while we got only a small portion. Whenever I asked her, she would say,

“Mgbe ị na-etolite, ị ga-aghọta ya (when you grow older, you’ll understand).”

“Okay, ma,” I replied, dashing out at full speed.

As I neared my father’s shop in the heart of our community, I started moving to the rhythm of a highlife song by Patiobasi. I loved these moments—visiting my father’s shop, always bustling with activity. From bike men haggling over fares to food vendors pushing their wheelbarrows and offering samples, the area was especially lively at night.

When I reached my father’s shop, I realized the song I was dancing to came from Mr. Augustine’s shop, where he sold home videos and music cassettes. I greeted my father, dropped off his food, and then headed to Mr. Augustine’s shop to dance to my heart’s content.

My dad was also the life of the party and never scolded or interrupted me when I was in character. My antics brought him joy, and he often looked forward to them. Sometimes, he would bribe me with meat or food just to see me dance or act.

I always saw myself as a superstar and kept telling everyone that one day I would be on TV. Some people would say amen to my words of affirmation, while others would ask how I planned to achieve it. But because dancing and acting were my passions, I did them anytime, anywhere.

I often clashed with my mum because of it. There were times she would send me on an errand, and instead of completing it, I would stop to dance at a beer parlor or act out scenes on the road. It brought me joy, so I did it whenever I could.

I continued acting and dancing on the streets of my small community. I enjoyed playing ball and hunting, but dancing and acting took up most of my time.

Some of my favorite musicians were Oliver Sunday Akanite, Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, Prince Chigozie Obunike, Chief Onyenze Nwa Amobi, Prince Chijioke Mbanefo, Bright Chimezie, and the late Prince Nico Mbarga. Among actors, I admired Clem Ohameze, Anayo Modestus Onyekwere, Pete Edochie, and Osita Iheme. I was fascinated by how musicians played their instruments and how actors delivered their lines flawlessly. My curiosity and love for acting eventually led me to Asaba after a man told me it was the home for Igbo entertainers.

My mum never wanted me to leave her sight. I had no one in Asaba, so her concern was understandable. But I told her it was better she let me go freely, or I would run away, and she would never see me again. She cried, begged, and promised to get me a television where I could act and dance for them, but I told her no. I wanted to see Asaba my own way.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 2

One evening, I boarded a bus with just a few clothes and some cash my parents could afford. They prayed for me before I left, and I didn’t grasp the gravity of my actions until I arrived in Asaba and realized I needed a roof over my head and a place to bathe and change.

It was only then that I realized I hadn’t gotten the phone number of the man who told me about Asaba being a hub for entertainment. Asaba opened my eyes to a lot of errors, and soon fear began to creep into my heart. But the thought of becoming a movie superstar was too strong for me to turn back, so I pressed on.

I bought some snacks and water on the road and sat down to eat, watching cars speed by. I wanted to tell the snack vendor about my predicament, but I convinced myself that he wouldn’t know anything about acting or dancing; he was just a hawker.

After eating, I began to walk the streets of Asaba when some guys in a Sienna pulled up and asked me to get in. I told them I wasn’t the person they were looking for, but one of the guys slapped me and shouted,

“Get inside now!” People passed by, but nobody stopped to ask questions, so I complied and got into the car, begging them, “I’m not the one you’re looking for; I just came from the village.”

“What did you come here for?” one asked.

“I’m looking for the movie area. Somebody said it’s in Asaba,” I responded in fear.

They burst into laughter, and one of them said, “You want to be a celebrity like this? You’re not even good-looking.”

“Yes, sir,” I replied.

“Alright, act like a madman,” the driver instructed. Fear paralyzed me, and I couldn’t go into character immediately.

“Stupid boy who wants to be an actor. Act now!” the guy beside me shouted, slapping my head.

I finally snapped into character and began acting like a madman, I dragged the finger of the guy who hit me into my mouth. As he screamed, I laughed hysterically, hitting the car and kicking my legs in the air. The driver swerved the car as I continued my act, ignoring their shouts of “Stop! Stop! Stop!” until I tasted blood and released the guy’s hand.

They dragged me out of the moving car, and even though one of them punched me in the eye, I felt a deep sense of accomplishment.

As I lay on the ground, some people came to help me up. They explained among themselves that the guys were notorious troublemakers who enjoyed harassing people. Others speculated they might be part of a rogue task force. I stayed silent, running every scenario through my mind, trying not to laugh out loud. Then, I noticed the Mungo Park house, now a national monument. I had heard about it in my community school, built by the Lander Brothers of the Royal Niger Company in 1886.

It was named after the famous Scots explorer, Mungo Park, who was said to have “discovered” the River Niger, a claim our people used for centuries before his arrival.

I loved the building because a teacher in our community often spoke about Mungo Park, criticizing the idea that he discovered the River Niger. He called it foolishness and a way to brainwash our people. One by one the people who came to assist me left so I managed to cross over to meet the security man guarding the house to ask for assistance. The security guard there asked me series of questions to understand why I was thrown out of the car and where I was headed.

I told him I had nowhere to go and had come to Asaba to find the location where people are turned into actors or musicians. He laughed at my naivety and explained that there was no such place in Asaba; they just shot many movies there. I begged him to help me or give me a contact.

“How I won know? You go need to ask around,” he said in Pidgin English.

I told him I had no place to go and asked if I could stay with him for a while.

“That’s not a problem, but we need to tell my boss. If he pities you, you can stay with me. You’ll be my boy,” he said with a smile.

He got me food and asked me to wait while he called his boss. Fortunately, his boss agreed, allowing me to stay with the security man at night and leave in the morning. I felt relieved that I wouldn’t have to sleep on the street.

I stayed with the security man, Arun, at night and left early in the morning to look for movie locations where I could work as an extra, even though my goal was to become a lead actor.

Some days I found work, while other days I just watched others act before returning to Arun, who had turned me into his errand boy and assistant gatekeeper.

I didn’t complain because he was my savior in many ways. He shared everything he had with me, even though his food combinations were sometimes strange. We laughed about it and ate together.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 3

Going to different movie locations became a passion for me. I would show up at various sets, even without the prospect of acting, just to help carry lights, props, and costumes. Rain or shine, I was out there, searching for movie sets to join or work on.

Acting and dancing brought me immense joy; I could do them for free, even on an empty stomach. Soon enough, I started becoming known by different directors, celebrities, and upcoming actors.

I made sure to engage in conversations and make friends, even though some used the opportunity to turn me into an errand boy. It never mattered to me as long as I was around where there was a camera and I could hear the director shouting, “Cut! Cut! Cut!”

I continued this life until one day, while on a movie set, the main actor who was supposed to take the lead role didn’t show up, and his phone was off. The producer tried getting another top actor with the help of the director, but none were forthcoming, likely because of the fee the producer was willing to pay.

So I jokingly said, “I am a lead actor, try me and see for yourself.” The director and people around laughed, but Mr. Ken Odion took an interest in my statement and said,

“Show me what you can do.”

I wasn’t tense; acting and dancing were inborn talents. I effortlessly memorized the lines, soliloquized, and told the director I was ready. I nailed the part and devoured the food used in the scene, making everything look real.

I was genuinely hungry before they gave me the role of a hungry, angry boyfriend tired of his girlfriend living with him. So, I used my hunger to devour the lines and the food.

As soon as the director said cut, I heard the producer’s voice saying, “Excellent, excellent!” I played the lead role, and for the first time in my life, I touched the sum of 20k. It was huge for me, even though other actors thought it was small.

I took the money, asked Arun where I could get second-hand clothes, and he directed me to Ogbe-ogonogo Modern Market. I bought some nice clothes, soap, cream, cheap perfumes, and one pair of shoes. The ones I had before were falling apart. I also bought some things for Arun and got him beer and pepper soup. He loved cold beer with meat of any kind.

That movie became the talk of the town, and soon enough, when I walked down the street, people would stare, probably wondering if I was the one they saw. Mr. Ken Odion decided to take me under his wing and began managing me and my career. I had to leave Arun, who was reluctant to let me go.

“You’ve started making money and now you want to leave me, my guy, huh?” he jokingly said.

“When I make it big, I’ll remember you,” I promised him.

“You’ve already made it big; my boss said he saw you on TV the other day,” he said, looking amazed.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 4

After many back-and-forth discussions, I finally left Arun and began living with Mr. Ken. He took me to different shows, introduced me to various influential people, and paved the way for me in the industry, for which I am forever grateful.

I started featuring in supporting roles and eventually lead roles. The transition from playing extras and passerby roles to more significant parts seemed sudden and miraculous. It didn’t happen overnight, but looking back, it felt like it happened all at once because I never expected that after five years, I would be able to afford a car.

After being away for five years without seeing my family, I decided to travel back home with the first car I bought. From the dealer shop, I drove straight to my village. I made sure nobody sat in the front seat, not even the friends who accompanied me to buy the car and were following me home.

I wanted my father to be the first person to sit in it because he was part of the reason I never gave up on my dreams. While everyone else saw me as a nuisance or playful, he cherished every bit of my act and kept motivating me with gifts, accolades, and love.

When I drove into our compound, I saw my mum drying fresh bitter leaf under the sun for preservation while two of my siblings were washing clothes. She was trying to figure out who drove into her ungated compound when I rushed out of the car and embraced her. When she realized it was me, she almost threw herself on the ground if not for my swift intervention.

She removed her wrapper and asked me to walk on it. “Na-eje ije n’elu m wrapper – walk on my wrapper,” she said, swinging her hands in adoration to Chi. I tried to avoid stepping on it, but she dragged me by the waist to where the wrapper was so I would walk on it. I asked her where my father was, and she said he was still at his shop. I wanted to go in search of him, but she declined.

“Nna m na-anọdụ ala mbụ, achọghị m ka anya ọjọọ hụ ụgbọ ala a – My father sits first; I do not want evil eyes to see this car,” she said, trying to stop me from moving an inch.

I called out to my two friends to come and have a seat while we waited for my father. When my old man arrived, his joy was indescribable. He was close to carrying me like his little boy again if not for his bad back.

I told him I wanted him to be the first to sit in the front seat and remove the protective plastic. As he did this, I saw a tear in his eye. I knew I had come far and been through a lot, but seeing how proud my father was made it all worthwhile. The struggles, the errands, and my first bad encounter in Asaba all made sense because they led to the success that brought tears to my father’s eyes.

He cleaned the car with his shirt, brought out dry gin from his room, and blessed the car before we all went inside. Mum quickly got some ingredients to prepare nsala and fufu. That night, nobody slept until late. I narrated all my ordeals and shared stories about Arun and the memories I had with him.

My father asked me to sleep in his room while my siblings stayed with mum, and my friends slept in the parlor.

After spending a few days with my parents, I left to continue my life in Asaba and Lagos. I was now shuttling between Asaba, Lagos, Abuja, and other locations, depending on where I got called for a job.

As time progressed, I became more famous and was doing well for myself. One day, I went back to look for Arun and asked him what I could do to improve his situation. He said he needed money to start a trade and had been saving all these years, but it was not enough because of family needs.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 5

I gave him a huge amount of money, and he nearly ran naked. He clutched my leg and cried like a baby.

“Stop na, people will gather o,” I said, trying to make him stand up. My presence was attracting attention, and him lying down would cause controversies, which I tried to avoid as a public figure.

“Allow me to lick your feet; I’ve never seen this type of money in my life,” he said amid tears.

“Arun, you’re my guy. You remember how you helped me the first day I entered Asaba. You didn’t think about tribe or fear that I would do you harm. You helped me. Without your help, I wouldn’t be here today. Arun, you’re my guy,” I said, almost getting emotional.

“Thank you, my former boy,” he said, laughing.

“I can still be your boy; I’m loyal,” I said, raising my hands in a sign of respect.

“No, I’m your boy now,” he said, trying to make me lower my hands.

I sat with him, and he got us some drinks to go with the rice and beans he cooked. Every bite took me back to the past, reminding me of how we used to eat and how I used to tease him about his food combinations.

We spoke at length before I left, and he promised to make good use of the money.

I was so focused on my career that I had little time for women, let alone marriage. So, when my mum called one afternoon to talk about marriage and children, I realized how far I had strayed from the fantasies I had growing up. I used to dream of marrying a young, beautiful, slim, fair girl at eighteen while I was twenty, to boast among my peers. But here I was, thirty-five, and it took a conversation with my mum to remind me of those promises. It dawned on me that I had passed the age I wanted to marry.

After that conversation, I decided to work towards it while securing the bag (money – lol). There was this lady I had an interest in. We spent quality time together and did pretty close stuff, even though our relationship wasn’t defined. So, I asked her one day, “What are we?”

She was shocked; I could tell by her pause. She stuttered, “We are we.” We burst into laughter. I pulled her to my side and said, “What if we become boyfriend and girlfriend and see where it leads?”

She looked at me, unsure of my words, and asked, “You want us to be an item?”

“Exactly,” I said softly, caressing her eyebrows with my index finger. She was a beautiful, thick, melanin-popping queen with a lovely set of teeth, and her smile could make any man smile.

She closed her eyes as I caressed her brows and relaxed into my arms as if soaking in the moment. She accepted to be my girlfriend, so I took her on a proper date and made a post about us being official.

We received a series of congratulatory messages, while some headlines speculated I had hurt many girls, especially my female colleagues in the industry. I knew I might have had brief interactions with a few of them, but it was never a defined relationship. We clicked, did stuff, and moved on.

I didn’t debunk any of the stories, but I explained everything to IMA. Her name was IMA—a beautiful name for a beautiful queen.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 6

Our relationship was so peaceful that it made me anxious. I started to wonder if Ima was hiding things from me, thinking it was impossible for two people to be together without constant issues. Sometimes, I would jokingly share these thoughts with her, and she would just laugh and say, “I love you.”

I began to fall deeply in love with her. Whenever I traveled for work, she had to join me if I was staying more than a week. She became my essence of living, and I couldn’t stay too long without her.

When she got sick, I would often fall ill as well, and vice versa. We did everything together. I never knew I could love someone so profoundly, but Ima was a sweet soul who was impossible to resist.

We dated for two years and had only a few minor issues. Then, I popped the big question. I wanted to be married so badly just to see what our children would look like. We started wedding preparations, with our mothers and an event planner organizing everything. We were just asked to get dressed and show up, and we loved the idea.

We had time to bond before the wedding, and during that period, all we did was talk about our happily ever after and how our children would experience undiluted love because of our deep affection for each other.

I called Arun and told him I would like to see him he directed me to his water factory office instead of the Mungo Park house. I was so proud of him. The once lean Arun had gained so much weight that it took a moment to recognize him.

He created a scene, telling everyone I was his savior. We playfully argued about it until I accepted the title. We sat in his office, and I felt a sense of pride for him. He brought out a bottle of wine from his table fridge, and we celebrated before I handed him my wedding invitation card with some goodies.

He danced, shook my hand, and exclaimed how excited he was to hear about my marriage to Ima.

“I see your love all over social media, she’s a beautiful girl,” he said.

“Yes, she is. What can we do?” I responded.

“You’re getting old, forget about being a fine boy,” he teased.

“I’m not as old as you,” I fired back jokingly.

“But I’ve been married and have kids. My first is already 13 years old. You remember her when she was small,” he said, laughing hysterically.

“Don’t worry, I’ll have kids soon,” I said, and we laughed about it.

We talked at length before I left to meet my soon-to-be wife.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 7

Preparation for the wedding went smoothly, and we had a beautiful ceremony attended by the high and mighty of Nigeria, along with some of my international friends. It was a stunning and expensive affair, and Ima and I were the happiest lovers.

Immediately after the thanksgiving, we traveled to an island that Ima had been longing to visit. Seeing her happiness gave me all the satisfaction and fulfillment I needed. We stayed on the island for one week without any communication with the outside world, which bonded us even more. We had fun, ate different types of exotic food, went on adventurous outings, and enjoyed every moment of our honeymoon.

After the honeymoon, we returned home. Ima resumed her work as a lawyer, and I went back to shooting movies. Ima ensured the house was always clean, and I had warm food waiting for me. Every day was blissful. I had once thought our relationship was too peaceful, but after getting married, I truly appreciated the serenity. I looked forward to going home, and Ima made married life interesting with her antics and creativity.

I was always welcomed with different meals and surprises. She continuously came up with new food ideas—some I loved, and others I had to force myself to eat so I wouldn’t hurt her feelings, appreciating her efforts for trying and putting in the effort for us.

We grew stronger with each passing day, and then she got pregnant. The day she announced the pregnancy was one of the happiest days of my life. I made sure she didn’t stress herself, wanting her to stop working, but she declined.

“I’m pregnant, baby, not bedridden,” she said lightly.

“Nothing should happen to my baby girl,” I said while rubbing her tummy.

“No, it’s a boy,” she said.

“I don’t want anyone to compete with me for your attention,” I teased, pulling her closer.

“We’re talking about your baby,” she said, blushing.

“I don’t care, no male competitor,” I said, giving her a funny look. We laughed, and I was literally worshipping the ground she walked on.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 8

I knew pregnancy was not an easy journey for women, and I had always promised to make my woman feel good before, during, and after. I made sure she only cooked when she felt up to it and took it upon myself to ensure she ate fruits every day, even if it was just an apple.

I bought her snacks and anything else that would make her comfortable. She began complaining that I was doing too much.

“I would do more than this if I could,” I responded to her one afternoon as I unpacked the things I had bought for her and our baby.

“Thank you, baby,” she said, trying on the slippers I got for her.

Our home was sweet, and I couldn’t stop thanking God for bringing Ima into my life. I flew her out of the country for our son’s delivery. Even though I wanted a girl, I loved my little man to death. Life was going as planned, and we kept winning together.

We bought a house, and our home was joyful. No matter how strict and tight our schedules were, Ima and I made sure to take our child for a walk every Saturday evening, and we hung out as a family once a month. This was to reduce the overwhelming force that comes with parenting and childcare.

Everything was going fine until one day, one year and six months after our son’s delivery. Ima had stopped breastfeeding him and was trying to get back in shape. Absentmindedly, I looked at her body while she was applying her body lotion, and my mind went blank at the aftermath of childbirth and breastfeeding.

There was a huge difference in her body, and for the first time, I saw Ima and didn’t feel moved. Ima used to have a flat tummy, well-rounded buttocks, and perky breasts, but what I was seeing was different.

I kept looking at her until she caught my eyes and asked what the issue was. I said nothing and then took my eyes off her. But that incident kept replaying in my head whenever I was alone or sitting with her. I noticed that after that incident, she stopped going naked in front of me, even though neither of us talked about it.

I sensed that the incident might have touched her self-esteem because she stopped bathing with me, refused to have the light on whenever we wanted to make love, and made sure I was never around when she was dressing up.

I saw her applying more pressure in her workouts, kept buying different skincare products, and hardly ever went without a waist trainer. But I couldn’t shake off the thoughts from my head; it wasn’t easy.

Sometimes, while she attended to our son and I waited for her in bed, instead of the excitement I used to feel anticipating her, all I wanted to do was take a look at her body again. I had been with Ima before, during, and after delivery, and I had seen her unclad before, but what I saw that day was drastic.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAM 9

Even though we didn’t talk about the ongoing issue at home, we both knew there was a problem. Ima tried to get back into shape, and unfortunately, I started reminiscing about the fantasies I had growing up. I dreamed of a fair, beautiful, slim lady. Those thoughts began to consume me, especially when I was alone trying to read scripts, particularly romantic lines. I would catch myself thinking of the fair lady I had always imagined marrying.

This fantasy soon invaded my dreams. I began seeing a specific lady in my dreams, exactly as I had always wanted—tall, slim, fair, with a pretty face. We would walk hand in hand, get things together, or just stare into each other’s eyes without saying anything. These dreams made me feel excited and energetic, setting the tone for a good day. Meanwhile, Ima continued being a good woman, the best wife, and mother.

I never mentioned my dreams to her or talked about the changes our son’s birth had brought to her body. I kept everything to myself, fighting the thoughts sometimes, but mostly letting them consume me. Gradually, I began to reduce my displays of affection towards Ima. I stopped posting about her frequently, avoided going out with her, and often left her at home with our son while I attended events with friends. While she stayed home tending to our baby, I was out enjoying life and the company of others.

Work took me away for weeks, and I found myself okay with being far from home. Ima would call to check in, and I played along, even though I began to enjoy being away more. Ima didn’t change, but my tastes did. It felt like I was placed in front of a machine without a manual and expected to know how to operate it.

After spending a month on set, I came home, and Ima welcomed me with flowers, a garnished meal, and beverages. Seeing her excitement and all she did made me feel special, but a part of me was angry at myself for losing interest in the woman I once loved. I hated that my mind was playing tricks on me, making me hot and cold.

Following her lead, we went to the shower. She let me clean up and then took me to dinner. As we sat down, I noticed our son was not around.

“Where is Jackson?” I asked, settling into my seat.

“I took him to grandma’s place. I wanted to have some me and you time. It’s been so long, baby,” she said with an emotional look.

She seemed stressed and lonely. I felt bad for her, pulling her into a tight embrace. As her head touched my chest, she began to cry.

“What is it, baby?” I asked, fear creeping in.

“I miss us so much,” she said amidst tears.

“Oh my love, come here,” I said, trying to fight my own emotions. “I know this baby is taking a toll on us, but we’ll be alright,” I assured her, even though I was unsure of my own words.

I took her to the bedroom, and as we lay face to face, she asked, “Do you have issues with my body?”

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 10

I was caught off guard, and no matter how I tried to pretend, she sensed it and started withdrawing from my embrace. I held her tightly. “Even if there are some changes, we are in this together, baby. I love you,” I said, unsure of my own words.

“Which part of my body is bad?” she asked.

“Baby, stop. No part is bad. You are beautiful. Everything will be alright. Don’t think about it too much, honey,” I assured her. That night, we made love, but I could feel her fear and uneasiness. She tried to adjust and readjust, staying in positions that would hide her body, especially her chest. It was an emotionally draining evening, but I made sure to satisfy her while thinking of the mystery lady as I lay beside Ima.

Two months after that night, Ima tested positive, and we were happy. We thought that adding to our family would strengthen our bond. I tried to be there for Ima, but I found myself fantasizing about the fair lady more and more, and she continued to appear in my dreams.

One evening, while Ima stayed home, I went out to celebrate a friend who had bought a house. He organized a pool party. Ima was supposed to come with me, but the pregnancy was exhausting her, so I went to represent our family.

As the party went on, I decided to use the bathroom after having too much to drink and eating plenty of meat. As I finished using the bathroom and was heading back into the house, I collided with a fair lady. She looked exactly like the girl I saw in my dreams, meeting every criterion I had envisioned for my dream wife.

Seeing her, the shock of encountering the girl from my dreams made me stare deeply into her eyes. Just like in my dreams, she looked straight back at me, and it felt as though the world stood still. We stayed in that position until someone approached, breaking the moment.

She said, “Good evening,” and looked away.

“How are you?” I asked.

“Fine, and you?” she replied, showing her beautiful smile.

“I am doing fine,” I said, trying to excuse myself.

I returned to my seat, but my heart was far away with her. I kept looking for her and eventually found her with her friends. At some point, she glanced in my direction, making me wonder if it was possible to meet someone from my dreams in real life. My friend noticed my distraction and asked, “Are you good, man?”

“Sure,” I replied, trying to focus on him. I wanted to talk to the lady so badly, but deep down, I knew it would lead to disaster. I was married, and this was a lady I had been fantasizing about. There was no way talking to her would end well.

After much internal conflict, I decided to go home. I told my friend I was tired and needed to leave. He asked me to take care and send his regards to my wife.

As I walked to the parking lot, I heard someone calling, “Excuse me, excuse me.” I turned around, and there she was—the girl in my dreams.

THE GIRLS IN MY DREAMS 11

As I turned to answer her, everything around me seemed to freeze, like a romantic scene from an Indian movie. I walked towards her, eager to hear what she had to say.

“I am a big fan. Can I get a picture with you, please?” she asked politely.

“Sure,” I replied.

She adjusted herself and moved closer, sending a shiver of excitement through me. Her hair smelled sweet, and her petite frame seemed perfect for holding. As she fiddled with her camera using her left hand, I noticed a ring on her finger, and my heart sank.

After taking a few shots, we said our goodbyes. Driving home was difficult because I couldn’t stop thinking about her petite body, and the ring’s presence filled me with jealousy. It was a situation I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

At home, I tried to act normal, but my wife sensed something was wrong. When she asked, I told her I was tired from the party and needed to sleep.

I took a shower, ate dinner in silence, and went to bed without much conversation. The next morning, the first thing I saw online was a tag from the lady. She had posted on her page and tagged me. I spent time in my room, scrolling through her page, resisting the urge to like her pictures.

I returned to her post and commented with an emoji, prompting her to message me directly to thank me. She told me how much she loved all my movies, starting with “Informant in Love,” my breakthrough role.

She mentioned my roles in “Grudge,” “Deep Scar,” “The Cross,” “Sold Childhood,” “Ije Nwoke,” “Truth Not Fact,” “Hell Has No Fury,” and “Love Is Not Enough.”

We chatted like old friends. When I asked about her, she said she was a banker. We talked until she had to leave to run errands for her upcoming wedding.

A sharp pain hit my heart, but I wanted to keep her talking, hoping she might miss her appointment. I asked about the wedding preparations, and she said her fiancé had everything ready and was just waiting to finalize the payments before the ceremony.

“Is the preparation stressing you?” I asked.

“It is, ooo! I can’t wait for it to be over,” she replied.

“How are your wife and baby?” she asked.

“They’re doing well,” I said. I didn’t ask how she knew about them; my life is online.

We ended our conversation when I had to attend an urgent meeting. I found myself longing for her messages, but I restrained myself.

Ever since I married Ima, I had never cheated or even considered it, but now I couldn’t stop thinking about Nneka—that’s her name.

She didn’t message me all weekend, probably busy with her fiancé. Though I waited for her message, I resisted the urge to text her.

On Monday, while rehearsing for an upcoming movie, my phone beeped with a message. I ignored it and continued acting. After a few minutes, it beeped again, so I picked it up, intending to silence it. Seeing the notification from Nneka, I clicked the message immediately.

“You have forgotten your friend,” she wrote.

I smiled and started typing.


THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 12

“How could I?” I replied.

She responded immediately, “You didn’t ask about my outing the other day,” with a sad emoji.

“I’m sorry, things took my time,” I said, feeling joy in my heart.

“Okay, how are your wife and baby?” she asked.

“They’re fine. And you? How are you?” I asked.

“I’m fine, just bored at work,” she said.

“How come? Are you working near me? I can get you some doughnuts,” I offered, though I had my reservations.

“Aww, that would be nice. I work at Victoria Island,” she replied.

“Oh nice, I’m on the island. Send your address, and I’ll bring you some doughnuts,” I said. I quickly stood up, applied some perfume, grabbed my card and car key, and drove off.

I bought her some chocolate, doughnuts, and drinks. When I arrived at her address, I parked and texted her to come down. As she walked towards my car, she looked elegant in a red straight gown and black pencil high-heel shoes with a brooch on her gown.

I kept my pointer light on so she could identify my car. She tapped on the passenger door, unaware I had been watching her the whole time. I swallowed hard and unlocked the door.

She got in, and I fought the urge to hug her. We chatted for a few minutes before she left. I felt a mix of happiness and sadness. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I couldn’t help myself.

Nneka and I kept talking, and she became part of my daily routine. Ima trusted me completely, never asking for my password or questioning why I was always on my phone. Then one evening, Nneka messaged me, saying her boyfriend had seen our chats and was upset because he saw we had met several times.

I asked her what she planned to do, and she said she didn’t care.

“He knows I’ve had a crush on you from day one, and that’s why he’s making a big deal out of this,” she explained.

Hearing her admit she had a crush on me for a long time made me feel we were meant to be. I felt happy but also scared of the potential consequences. She assured me nothing would happen, saying she was already tired of the engagement but couldn’t break it off.

I advised her to reassure him of her love and that we were just friends, even though my feelings contradicted my words. One evening, she asked if we could meet at a new restaurant she wanted to try but didn’t want to go alone.

I felt happy knowing she preferred to try something new with me instead of her fiancé, although a part of me felt guilty. Deep down, I knew I shouldn’t be doing this, but I couldn’t resist. So we went out for lunch. She took several photos, and I tried to avoid appearing in them.

We had a great time, and I paid for the meal despite her offer. As I drove her back to her apartment, my mind raced with thoughts, but I stayed focused on the road.

When we reached her apartment, I intended to drop her off at the gate, but she asked, “You don’t want to know where I live?”

I smiled and drove into the estate. When we arrived at her compound, she invited me in for drinks. I hesitated because I didn’t trust myself alone with her in a confined space, but she insisted.

I asked myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” and followed her inside. I prayed my dark shades would obscure my face enough so no one would recognize me.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 13

As I entered her apartment, it was clear how feminine she was. The space was decorated in soft, flowery colors, with beautiful nature-themed art on the walls. The apartment smelled nice, cozy, and inviting. I sat on her white, fluffy couch while she went to get us some wine and chips.

She returned and sat close to me. “I never imagined my celebrity crush would be sitting in my home, sipping wine with me,” she said, turning on Netflix on her big flat-screen TV.

“It shows anything is possible,” I replied.

She nodded, then asked how I met Ima. As I started talking about Ima, I noticed Nneka’s expression changing. I stopped and moved closer to her.

“Are you okay?” I asked, concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, trying to force a smile.

“Come here, don’t be sad. I don’t like it,” I said.

She relaxed against me, and before I knew it, we were caught up in a passionate moment. We were lost in each other until a knock on the door interrupted us. She wanted to ignore it, but the persistent knocking made me ask her to check who it was.

She walked to the door, wearing only the singlet and shorts she had changed into earlier. I heard a voice getting louder as it approached.

“Why have you been ignoring my calls?” the voice demanded.

When he saw me, he lunged at me, and we started fighting while Nneka screamed, “STOP!”

Thank God for my years of gym and karate; otherwise, he would have beaten me badly. He was raging and breaking things.

“Is it because of a married man you’re doing this to me?” he yelled. “A married man?” he said amidst his rage.

“I’m ashamed of you. How did I almost get myself intertwined with a piece of shit?” He continued.

“Get out!” Nneka screamed.

“Because of a married man? He won’t marry you,” he said.

“There is no problem. I’ve loved him for as long as I’ve known him. I’m better off. Now leave,” Nneka fired back.

The confrontation continued until he left, taking the engagement ring he had given her. As he left, Nneka closed the door and began crying. Though I was tired from the unplanned struggle, I consoled her.

“I know I’m doing a stupid thing, but I can’t stop it,” she said.

“I’ve always dreamed of marrying an actor. When I first saw your act, I wished you would be my husband. I began to imagine our life together.

I watched all your movies and followed you on social media, liking, commenting, and sharing your posts, but you never noticed me. When you got engaged, the pain I felt was worse than my first heartbreak.

I cried but couldn’t tell anyone. I stayed off social media for a week, but when I returned, I still checked your page. Seeing your posts about her felt like salt on a wound. I then unfollowed you and tried to move on, but the desire to be with you never left.

I met Emeka, and though he’s been good to me, my feelings for you are so strong that I often cry after seeing him. When my friend invited me to a housewarming party, I prayed you would come because the celebrant is a celebrity too. When I saw you, I was too stunned to speak. I couldn’t let you go without talking to you, so I ran after you for an autograph.

I wanted you close. I wish you weren’t married; I’d be the happiest woman right now. But you are, and I know you love her.”

I let her talk, and as she poured out her heart, my mind asked, “What if she is your soulmate?”

I was speechless and in tears. I held her close and said, “I’ve been dreaming of you before I met you. I had an ideal image of my wife growing up. Some months ago, I began seeing you in my dreams. Meeting you made it worse.

I know what we’re doing is wrong, and the world will judge us harshly. I’m stuck and helpless. People will suffer because of our actions. Emeka has found out, and I’m scared he might post about it. What will my pregnant wife do if she finds out? Won’t it be cruel of me to do this now when she needs me most? I feel horrible, Nneka, so horrible.”

We talked for a long time, and I didn’t realize it was late, and my phone was still in the car. When I noticed the time, I tried to leave, but she insisted I stay with her because she wasn’t emotionally okay and didn’t want to harm herself.

I retrieved my phone to at least let Ima know I was fine, but guilt prevented me from calling her. I texted her, saying my car had broken down, and while looking for a solution, I left my phone in the car. I told her I’d stay at a hotel because it was late. She tried calling, but I couldn’t answer, so I put my phone on silent and went back to Nneka.

When I returned inside, she was preparing dinner. I sat on the kitchen floor, watching her cook scrambled eggs and toast.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 14

After we ate, she asked me to shower and insisted I wear one of her gowns to sleep. It was a funny night. She made me join her in her nightly beauty routine, taking lots of pictures and videos. We became mushy and ended up being intimate. She felt tight, and her bosom was soothing and a comforting place to rest. It felt different and satisfying. Right after we had sex, I knew I would always come back for more.

We couldn’t sleep afterward, so we lay on the bed, talking until the next morning. Around 4 a.m., we finally fell asleep, only to wake up at 10 a.m. She called in sick at work while I hurried to leave for home. She wasn’t happy about me leaving, but I explained that it would be heartless to leave a pregnant lady with a hyperactive toddler all alone. She seemed to understand but didn’t budge to see me off or even to the door. I smiled and walked out.

Driving back home, I was consumed with thoughts of what to tell Ima, hoping she would believe me. When I arrived, I saw that she wasn’t downstairs, likely sleeping since she usually naps after sending our baby to school whenever she doesn’t go to work. Her car was there, so I knew she was home.

I walked into our room and found her sitting on the bed, her eyes red from crying. I rushed to her and asked what the problem was.

“Where are you coming from?” she asked, looking me straight in the eyes.

“I’m sorry, baby. Truthfully, after the meeting, I went to see Lut, who asked us to grab some beers. After that, he suggested we hit the club for a few minutes. At the club, I took some shots and left, but my car broke down. Lut wasn’t nearby, so I had to push the car with the help of some area boys and book a room in a hotel opposite where my car broke down. This morning, I got a mechanic to fix it.” The lie flowed out of me as if by divine intervention.

“Why didn’t you pick my calls?” she asked.

“Oh shit, I was angry you didn’t show concern because I didn’t get a ring from you. I didn’t realize my phone was still on silent from the meeting. Look, I haven’t checked.” I showed her the numerous missed calls on the notification screen.

“I was so scared. You scared me,” she said.

I hugged her tightly and apologized. “I’m so sorry, and I was really exhausted yesterday,” I lied.

“I’ll get you something to eat. I’m glad you’re home safe,” she said before leaving to prepare food for me.

As she left, I sank onto the bed and whispered a low “Thank you, Lord.” I kept my phone on silent because I knew Nneka would call me. I ate, showered, and told her I needed to rest and would like to use our penthouse.

“Honey, you want to rest at the penthouse?” she asked, looking surprised.

“Yes, I want to rest and rehearse there,” I said.

“I’m just shocked; you’ve never gone there to relax before,” she said.

I hadn’t thought it through before mentioning the penthouse; I just needed a place to talk to Nneka.

“It’s fine. I’ll be going to the clinic soon. Today is my antenatal day, and I’m late because of you,” she said, pushing herself out of our room.

I watched her walk away and felt relieved. When I realized she had gone, I called Nneka. She didn’t pick up, probably angry at me for not answering her earlier calls. As I cut the call to message her on WhatsApp, a video call came in from her. I answered, and she was without clothes.

“You’re not scared, calling me on a video call with no clothes on?” I asked.

“Will you let her see my call? Anyway, if she does, it’s fine,” she said with a smirk.

“You don’t care if the world finds out?” I asked, seeking assurance of how far she would go for us.

“I don’t care about anything as long as I have you. I miss you,” she continued.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 15

We continued to meet, and I stopped feeling guilty about cheating on Ima. Instead, I felt trapped. I started resenting Ima, thinking that if she hadn’t been so close to me, we wouldn’t have married. If I had stuck to my plans for my ideal woman, I wouldn’t be in this situation.

I even tried to find evidence that Ima was cheating or talking to other men inappropriately, hoping to use it as an excuse to leave. But no matter how hard I looked, Ima remained almost perfect. Even while pregnant, she handled everything with love and understanding.

Nneka, on the other hand, refused to let go. She posted pictures of us, carefully cropping out my face, but showing my hand, leg, or accessories. While these posts made me happy, deep down I was scared.

As Ima’s due date approached, I sent her overseas for the delivery, arranging for our first child to stay with her parents. Normally, I would have accompanied her, but this time I lied about a new movie project. She was hurt but tried to understand.

The day Ima traveled, Nneka came over. I didn’t want her to, but I felt helpless. She brought food and cooked. Though I was scared, I felt oddly relaxed knowing Ima was out of the country.

Nneka prepared soup, stew, and spaghetti. It tasted different from Ima’s cooking, and her presentation and sexiness were exactly what I had been missing. After dinner, we showered and retired to the penthouse, where we watched Netflix, chilled, and had some intimate time. We talked about our situation, ending in tears.

The next day, instead of video calling Ima, I just sent her a message. When she tried calling, I cut the call, not wanting her to hear anyone else. Ima, being a sharp lawyer, would have picked up on any clues.

Nneka got upset when I told her to be quiet or go outside while I called Ima. She hissed, shook her head, and left for the living room. I called Ima, pretending to be half asleep.

“Hello, baby,” I said, trying to cover part of my face with the blanket.

“Why were you cutting the call?” she asked.

“I was still feeling sleepy, sorry. I had to send you a message because subconsciously I knew you should have arrived in London,” I lied.

“Oh, sorry. Did you sleep late last night?” she asked.

“Yes, I had to rehearse. How are you doing, baby?” I asked.

We talked, and I stayed on the call longer than I wanted because she wouldn’t let go. I prayed Nneka wouldn’t walk in, but she did, making noise with her slippers.

I cut the call immediately. “Why did you come in?” I asked Nneka.

“Are you two not done? I thought you were,” she said.

“Babee, she heard your slippers. This isn’t good,” I said, feeling agitated.

“What? It’s better she finds out. You don’t love her anymore. Why don’t you be a man and let her know?” she said.

“Nneka, she is pregnant, and she is my wife. Why are you acting like this? Don’t you have any feelings for another human?” I asked.

“I don’t care about that, and I’m not letting you go,” she said.

As I was about to respond, Ima’s call came in. “Please leave now. I’ll notify you when to come back,” I said, getting angry.

“Is this how you want to treat me? Is this it?” she asked, crying.

“Please, babe, understand I’m in a tight corner. Just go, please,” I begged.

As she left, I picked up Ima’s call.

“Who was that?” Ima asked immediately.

“Wale came to ask if I was okay. He hasn’t seen me since you left,” I lied effortlessly.

“Oh, my love, do you miss me?” she asked.

Looking at her eyes on the screen, my heart melted. She didn’t deserve this.

“I miss you so much,” I said, unsure if I was lying or telling the truth.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 16

I continued my relationship with Nneka while attempting to be a good husband to Ima. Ima kept asking when I’d visit, as our baby was due in two weeks. I kept telling her to give me some time.

That Friday, after a back-and-forth discussion about my visit, Nneka invited me to a new club in Victoria Island. She wanted to check it out and didn’t want to go alone. Though I love Nneka, I dislike public outings, but she never understands or accepts my preferences.

So, that Friday, we went out and had such a great time that I forgot all my concerns. We poured drinks into each other’s mouths, she danced provocatively on me while I caressed her, and later, we drove home together to continue the fun.

We woke up towards evening, and my phone was buzzing with calls. It was on silent, so I hadn’t noticed. Shocked and confused, I saw my good friend Lut calling.

“Man, what’s this I’m seeing online?” he asked.

Clueless, I responded, “What are you talking about?”

“You haven’t seen what’s happening online?” he insisted.

“No, I just woke up. What’s going on?” I asked.

“Where were you last night?” he asked.

My heart skipped a beat. He never questioned me like this. Fear gripped me, praying that some social media enthusiast hadn’t captured us and posted something controversial.

“Man, what’s happening? Talk to me,” I begged, anxiety mounting.

“I’ll send you something,” he said and ended the call.

I stood up, clutching my phone as if my life depended on it. I went straight to Lut’s WhatsApp chat, where he sent me a screenshot of a Facebook post showing Nneka and me sharing drinks from our mouths, romancing, kissing, and driving away. I nearly collapsed at the sight.

I rushed out to show Nneka, who acted a bit shocked and fearful, but deep down, I knew she enjoyed it.

I went on Instagram and saw that Nneka had already posted a picture of us, albeit a more discreet one with our hands close but not touching. Every scroll showed our video and pictures. I prayed Ima wouldn’t see it and remembered the last time she called was Friday night, which I hadn’t answered, and there was no message from her.

I wanted to call her but felt guilty and bitter, so I texted her, “Baby, how are you?” Anxiously waiting for her reply, she came online, read the chat, but went offline without saying a word. It felt like the world was on my shoulders.

Contemplating calling her sister, I knew that would be brutal. Her sister, a top lawyer and the opposite of Ima, would not be kind. I kept sending messages, acting as if I cared without mentioning the post. She didn’t respond to any of my messages. When I saw messages wouldn’t work, I decided to call, but it didn’t go through. I tried video calling her, but it didn’t connect. When I checked her chat, her profile picture was gone. It dawned on me that she or her sister had blocked me.

Confused and unsure what to do, I realized I hadn’t even purchased a flight ticket or made any preparations to leave. Meanwhile, Nneka sat on the couch scrolling through her phone, looking relaxed. That weekend was hell. I asked Nneka to go home, needing alone time. She left, angry, but I needed it. Ever since I got famous, I’ve never been in a scandal, but here I was, in the news for cheating on my pregnant lawyer wife. I never envisioned this.

I kept trying to reach Ima, but it was futile. Calls and messages from my friends, Arun, poured in. When my dad called, I felt stupid.

“Hello, Dad, how are you?” I asked.

“I hope what I heard from Augustine’s son isn’t true,” he said sternly.

“Dad, what is that?” I pretended not to know.

“You’re asking? Since you don’t know, I saw a video of you and another woman. You don’t need me to tell you more, do you?” he said.

I went mute. He expressed his disappointment and told me to fix it before it led to divorce, saying I couldn’t be the first person to divorce in his family. My mum’s shouting in the background didn’t help, so I let them talk before they hung up on me.

I stayed in the house all weekend, trying to reach Ima, but none of her friends or family answered.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 17

I stayed low, ignoring all messages and tags. My focus was on reaching Ima. Four days later, she sent a picture of our newborn daughter, informing me she had given birth. I felt awful. Ima didn’t deserve this.

I tried calling, but she didn’t answer. They kept blocking and unblocking me. Finally, her sister answered and unleashed her fury, accusing me of endangering Ima’s life and causing an emergency operation. I took it all in silently. She vowed I would never see Ima or my baby. I pleaded, but she hung up. Weak and hungry, I couldn’t face the outside world due to the online backlash.

Nneka messaged me:

“You’re acting like you’re the only one affected. You’re only thinking about yourself, not me. I lost a fiancé because of you. I’ve been receiving death threats, my bank put me on indefinite leave because of the backlash. I’m all alone. I wish I never met you. This could have been easier if we faced it together, but you’re shutting me out. You lied all this while. I hate that I met you.”

Her message struck a chord. I grabbed my car keys and drove to her house. As soon as she opened the door, she ran into my arms, crying. I held her, comforting her, assuring her everything would be fine, but we needed to stay out of the public eye. She agreed, and we continued our relationship.

Staying at her place helped. I sent messages to Ima but didn’t push it, not wanting to upset Nneka. Three months passed, and people stopped talking about the scandal. Thankfully, Nneka returned to work, but Ima hadn’t come home. I didn’t know if she was still abroad.

One afternoon, while packing for a weekend getaway Nneka had planned, Ima drove into our compound. She looked pale, clearly affected by everything that had happened. She walked in, saw my briefcase and travel bag. As I emerged from the room, I saw her sitting on the sofa, looking at my bags. I was shocked, as I had locked the door, but she had her key.

“I’ll ignore everyone and stay with you because I love you so much, but I need to know something. Do you love her?” she asked.

The question caught me off guard. I wanted to talk things through.

“Ima, please, we need to talk,” I said.

“Tell me if you feel anything for her,” she insisted.

I tried to sit close to her and held her hands. She started crying.

“Please don’t do this. I am sorry,” I pleaded sincerely.

She turned, tears streaming down her face, and looked at me.

“You have feelings for her, right?” she asked, staring straight into my eyes.

I nodded reluctantly.

She swallowed hard, her throat visibly moving.

“I could have forgiven you for cheating. I could have forgiven you for not traveling with me because of another woman. I could have forgiven the emergency surgery after seeing the videos and pictures. But knowing you love her is something I can’t forget. I can’t stay knowing you love someone else. I love you with all my being, but I can’t hold you back. I’ll leave you both, even though it’s breaking me.”

For the first time, I saw Ima truly broken. She was shaken as she spoke, and all I could say was, “Let’s talk, let’s talk.”

She stood up, walked to the door, turned back, looked at the house as if saying goodbye, then said, “We won’t go through court hearings or any divorce issues. My parents will return the bride price. Keep all the properties; they’re in our name, but you can have them. You can always see your children. I’m doing this because of the good times we had. You were a blessing, and through you, I got a mini-me. Goodbye.”

She rushed out. I tried to stop her, not wanting her to drive, but she said she didn’t want to see me. I begged, kneeled, but she didn’t relent. She drove off.

I packed my bag and went to Nneka. I told her everything, and she understood why I was feeling down. She tried everything to help me feel normal again, but a part of me was missing. A part of me was unhappy, wishing everything would just stop.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 18

Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. Before we knew it, Nneka became pregnant. As soon as she found out, she moved into my house. Despite my reservations, I understood she needed me.

I still couldn’t reach Ima, and I was too scared to face my parents with everything that was happening. Meanwhile, Nneka pressured me about not wanting to be pregnant out of wedlock. She insisted we get married quickly before she started to show. I tried to explain that my parents wouldn’t support the idea and that I hadn’t divorced Ima yet. Nneka wasn’t buying any of my explanations. Our discussions turned into arguments until I finally caved and decided to inform my parents about the situation.

My mother nearly threw water at me in anger. My dad was deeply disappointed, but they agreed to return Ima’s bride price and pay Nneka’s dowry for the sake of their grandchild. My mom told me how my actions had turned Ima into a different person and how much she was suffering. That made me incredibly sad, but there was nothing I could do. Everything happened so fast; it seemed like it all happened at once, and nothing could undo the actions taken.

Nneka and I had a small, simple wedding, unlike the elaborate one I had with Ima. It was just a modest bride price payment in our living room with close family and friends, except for my mom. She didn’t come. In fact, she went to Ima’s parents’ house during the ceremony.

Nneka and I continued our life together, but it felt different. The butterflies, the sparks were gone. I looked at her and saw a beautiful woman, but the electric connection was missing. It felt like half of me was always sad or deep in thought.

I tried to support her during her pregnancy, but everything reminded me of Ima: fatherhood, schedules, appointments, everything. I discovered another side of Nneka: she loved going out and being social. Even while pregnant, she wanted to club, attend parties, and live an expensive lifestyle. While I wanted to provide for her, I knew I might go broke trying to meet her expectations of being a luxury power couple. Sometimes, I tried my best to get her the designer items she requested, but when I explained I was in a financial bind, she would flare up.

“How can I be married to a superstar and wear cheap things? This is not the life I envisioned. Stop being stingy with me because I know how much you gave Ima monthly!” she said angrily. I looked at her, baffled by her outburst, and wondered why she couldn’t see things from my perspective. We constantly had issues over trivial matters, and though I was growing tired, I kept telling myself it was the pregnancy.

I managed her tantrums until she gave birth. Nneka insisted on getting a maid. I never liked the idea, and Ima and I had agreed never to have one. When I was not around, Ima was. I shared my concerns with Nneka, but she argued she couldn’t do it all alone and wouldn’t pause her life for a child.

After a lot of back-and-forth, I reluctantly agreed, hoping Nneka would monitor the maid because I didn’t trust strangers with our child’s life. Two months after giving birth, I had to attend a night event. While dressing, I noticed Nneka was also getting ready.

“Why are you putting on so much makeup? Stay home tonight,” I suggested.

“Who said I’m staying home? Baby, I’m going out with you. I miss us going out,” she said.

I was close to yelling. “How can you feel relaxed leaving our child with a stranger all night?” I asked as calmly as I could.

“Babe, it’s been so long since I went out. My mental state isn’t good. I need to dance off the stress,” she responded, still applying makeup.

“Babe, are you serious?” I asked in disbelief.

“Babe, just wait for me. I’m almost done,” she said.

I shook my head, grabbed my car keys, and drove off without eating. While driving, I couldn’t believe her actions. I remembered I hadn’t spoken to Ima and the kids. After returning Ima’s bride price, she started responding to my messages, and I usually hung out with the kids alone or spoke to them through her phone.

I immediately dialed her number, and she picked up.

“Hey,” she said.

“How are you?” I asked.

“Fine. I’m not home. Going out on a date. I’ll call you tomorrow so you can talk to them,” she said.

“Okay, thank you,” I said and ended the call. Knowing Ima was going on a date hurt me deeply. I had to park the car and rest my head, overwhelmed by emotions.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 19

I went to the party, and while drinking and dancing with some friends, I spotted someone who looked like Nneka. I hoped it wasn’t her because I knew my anger wouldn’t be pretty. Moving closer, I confirmed it was Nneka, chatting with a few ladies. I walked up to her and dragged her outside by the hand. She resisted, but her petite frame was no match for my build.

“Are you crazy?” I asked, my anger flaring, not caring if people were watching.

“You’re embarrassing me. Can you stop?” she pleaded.

“You embarrassed and disrespected me first. What the hell are you doing here?” I demanded.

“What are you doing here? You think I’ll stay at home just because I gave birth? That’s not the life I envisioned. I didn’t choose to marry a celebrity to be stuck at home. Should I leave you to party with these girls and give them fame? No way,” she retorted.

I was stunned that Nneka would leave our child for a party, but her words shocked me even more.

“So it’s about the fame, the lifestyle, the money, the enjoyment, huh?” I asked, hoping she’d deny it.

“Come on now, who doesn’t like better things? Let’s go and have fun. The baby is fine with her nanny,” she said.

I looked at her, feeling the urge to punch something but held back and walked away. She didn’t follow me but went back into the party.

As I headed to my car, the only person I could think of was Ima. The urge to call her was overwhelming.

“Hello,” she answered.

“Hey, you’re not sleeping?” I asked.

“No, I have some reading to do. I have a case,” she said.

“Can I join you?” I asked.

“Are you okay? Is everything alright?” she asked, concerned.

“No, I want to see you,” I admitted.

“Why? You have a wife. Please stay focused on your family,” she said.

“You were and still are my family, Ima. I haven’t been the same. Please, allow me to see you,” I begged.

“Why are you doing this? I hate this, please. I just said yes to someone and would love to start fresh,” she said.

“Ima, please just hear me out. I’m losing it. I’m the father of your children. Please,” I pleaded.

“Where are you?” she asked. I told her, and she agreed to meet the next day, but I insisted on seeing her that night. She finally agreed, and I drove to her new apartment.

When I arrived, she was already waiting for me at the gate. The woman who would do anything for me, the one who would move the world to make me happy—there she was, Ima, just like when we used to date. It hit me hard how much I missed her.

She got into my car, and we drove in silence to her apartment. Once inside, she handed me hot chocolate and my favorite cookies. I looked at her lustfully, and she quickly moved to her desk.

“What is going on with you and your wife?” she asked.

I stood up and walked toward her. Touching her back, I could sense I still had an effect on her, so I capitalized on it.

“I just realized we never argued all through our dating and marriage,” I said.

“And when issues came up, we got divorced. Wonderful!” she replied, still typing.

“I’m deeply sorry, Ima. I know better now,” I said.

“You know what?” she asked.

“That I crazily love you and miss you so much,” I said.

“Are you having issues with her?” she asked.

“Damn her. I want us to talk about us. I miss you,” I said, getting closer.

“Please stop this,” she said, closing her eyes and trying to dodge my lips.

I knew Ima loved me and that I had a strong impact on her. I didn’t budge and kept going.

“STOP!” she tried raising her voice.

“Keep shouting if you want to wake our kids up,” I said before locking lips with her. The emotions were raw, the passion intense. We ignored everything, and I had to feel Ima again. After the intimacy, she cried, saying we shouldn’t be doing this after two years of separation.

“I’m not going anywhere anymore. This is my home,” I said.

“Are you crazy? You have a child,” she said.

“I will take care of her, but I’m done with the guilt, pain, and bitterness,” I said, heading to the shower, leaving Ima speechless.

THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 20

Nneka tried calling and begging for forgiveness, but my experience with Ima made me realize that Nneka is not the one for me. We are opposites, and life with her would not be peaceful. I sent her a message saying I would come home, but we needed to talk about an issue. She pleaded for me to come immediately, but I refused.

I spent the weekend with Ima, and we went out. I felt free and realized how well our children were growing. However, Ima was not as free as she used to be. A part of her spark had dimmed, and I could see uncertainty and fear in her eyes. I kept holding her hands and waist, saying,

“I’m sorry, I love you, honey.”

I cooked for them and tried making up for lost time. Nneka saw a picture of Ima and me online during the weekend and sent a series of messages, threatening to hurt herself and the baby, saying many things. I just blocked her and continued having a good time with Ima. I finally went home with some military personnel because I did not trust Nneka.

I explained everything to her and promised to take care of the child, but we were not meant to be together. She cried, took a knife, and behaved erratically, but thank God for the intervention of the armed men. They held her and told her not to hurt anyone even after the meeting. I had to get a restraining order against her. I promised to rent her a small accommodation, support her, and be a present dad to our child, but I had no feelings for her anymore.

Ima and I decided to start over, but she asked that we sell the house we built and start fresh. We went for counseling, and she agreed to give us another try. I asked her out, proposed with another ring, and had another small, intimate wedding.

We continued living in peace while I supported Nneka financially for our baby. She is doing well, and I try not to ask too much. I do not meet her to bond with the child. Ima picks her up, and we bond with the baby.

Every day, I try to live a life of assurance towards Ima. It has not been easy, and I have decided to make up for the hurt, pain, and betrayal. I keep my phones with her and give her access to all my gadgets.

She questions my whereabouts, and I try to give her updates without her asking. It can be tiring, but I promised her, “I will do anything to heal you.”

Ima is glowing differently and beautifully. I can see the spark and love returning. I see the peace and harmony my children are growing in, and I know for a fact that it pays to do the right thing.

Finally, I do not believe a soulmate is predestined. We make our soulmates. Marriage is not easy, with or without children. It takes God, dedication, loyalty, friendship, and transparency for marriage to work.

That person you think is better than your spouse seems better because you are not living together.

THE END

22 thoughts on “THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS 1”
  1. Amazing, I hope there’ll be more chapters😊 , I’m the same with the person who posted above first, just wanted my name to show rather than anonymous

    1. Good evening Nneka, thank you for your nice comment. chapter 3 is up now! kindly subscribe to get notified whenever we post. Thank you so much, do well to share our link.

  2. This story reminds me of my dramatic son and how my husband supports and cheers him up🤣🤣🤣
    Reading through this story brought tears to my eyes constantly 😭. Especially the place where he came back home after five years with a car. That is what every parents prays for. Pls may his marriage enjoy lasting peace🙏

  3. Hmmm Oga be careful ooo it doesn’t always end well…. Go home to your family 🙄

  4. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ off course your life will never remain the same hmmmm. I’m just speechless

  5. And this is the best story about marriage I have ever read… Because it ended with joy💃💃. @Miracle Uche thank you for this piece

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