“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV). “There is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face” – Shakespeare. In simple English, Shakespeare is saying that it is not possible to know what is going on in people’s minds just by looking at their faces. Experts say that a person’s face can reveal a person’s inner mind in the following situations: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, amusement, awe, concentration, confusion, contempt, contentment, desire, disappointment, doubt, elation, interest, pain, surprise and triumph. Both Shakespeare and the experts are correct. It is possible to know what goes on in people’s minds from facial expressions: when they are happy, sad, surprised, and so on. But the face only reflects what goes on in people’s minds when they are genuine or they want you to know what is in their minds. If it were not so, Brutus would not have been able to kill Caesar because Caesar would have known. So many betrayals, murders, fraud, etc., that have taken place would not have happened. Also, sometimes people trust others and it is the trust that is betrayed; that is why these murders, fraud and other heinous acts happen. Unfortunately, the mind’s construction and facial countenance will continue to be different sometimes. People will continue to trust and so evil will continue to triumph sometimes.
Last weekend, we read the story of one Anita Ofili, who confessed to killing her friend, Glory Okon, because the deceased snatched her boyfriend 10 years ago! There are many lessons for us to learn in this matter. Anita alleged that Glory snatched her boyfriend, whom she believed would marry her. For me, any man/woman, who is very serious about marrying you, cannot be easily snatched from you. If he can be snatched from you, then he was never meant for you. He is simply not good enough for you. The bond between you and someone that is meant for you is usually very strong. It is not something anyone can easily break. I do not know what gave Anita the assurance that the guy would marry her. Ten years is enough time for the guy to realize that he made a mistake by going with Glory. It is enough time for him to come back to his senses and crawl back to beg for forgiveness. He never did and you still believed Glory was the problem? Glory never was. You have simply been living in illusion.
The next thing I want to talk about is the basis of Anita’s sense of entitlement. I went to the supermarket to buy an item one day. I did not know that the supermarket had only one left. As I was moving towards the item, a young lady increased her steps, got there before me and picked it. When I asked the salesgirl for the item, she said they were out of stock. I was disappointed and pissed off with the lady who got there before me. She apparently knew it was the last item. But did I feel she stole anything from me? Hell, no! That is how I see it if someone snatches your boyfriend/girlfriend. He/She is not your property. In Nigeria, you can only lay claim to a woman when you have paid the bride price, done traditional marriage, civil marriage or the marriage has been solemnized in church. These are the ceremonies that confer ownership on you. Your girlfriend or boyfriend is a product on the shelf. A faster finger can snatch him/her. There are scarcely virgins getting married anymore. These days, your fiancé/fiancée is either someone’s ex or current boyfriend or girlfriend whom you took off the shelf, so? That is not to say I support snatching of the girlfriends or boyfriend of your friends. It is morally reprehensible. It is a betrayal of trust, but it is not stealing. Only what belongs to you in this situation can be stolen.
But even if you are the owner, you have no right to take laws into your hands. Talk to men with beautiful wives and women with handsome or rich husbands. Their spouses get propositioned before their very eyes, but if they took laws into their hands, they would have been in jail for murder, homicide or manslaughter. Dem no dey die or kill for this matter. You simply take your property and walk away. You also pray for your spouse to live his/her marital vows or at least respect you.
The last issue I want to talk about is bearing of grudges. Anita alleged that Glory snatched her boyfriend 10 years ago. For 10 years, the incident remained evergreen in her memory. Anita is not a marriage material. Without a spirit of forgiveness, marriage cannot work. It is not only marriage but relationships generally. We all have been wronged by friends and family members at some point and vice versa. You might even forgive a person who wronged you, but you do not have to be friends anymore because of self-preservation, the belief that if you give some people a second chance, they will strike again. It is understandable to keep them at arm’s length, but to take life is a no-go area.
It is not just that Anita stabbed Glory, it looks like she did it with an intent to kill. Of all the places in the body, she stabbed her in the neck. If I may ask, which man would marry a woman who has a tendency to kill when she is angry? The truth is that husbands are very vulnerable. Your wife brings food and you eat; no questions asked. Once you hit your bed after a hard day’s work, you sleep off and you are oblivious of what happens until you wake up. So, a diligent man would not marry someone like Anita.
Back to what is on in the mind and facial expressions, many people are adept at deception. As a rule, you cannot call everyone you know your friend. You must know your friends to a reasonable extent. You should know their likes and dislikes, their strong points and their failings, etc. For instance, you can have a friend who is very nice and supportive, but weak with women. What you simply do is keep your wife and grown up daughters far from him. If your friend is not good with money, do not engage in any business transactions with him. It can end up destroying the friendship. There are people you would not do business with because of previous financial infidelity.
If your friend is the envious type, do not tell him/her your plans and accomplishments. Some people are terrible, they are never contented with what they have. Their eyes are always on their friends or neighbours and their successes. They forget that these people are also dealing with challenges. Nobody has it all. No man is six feet, tall, handsome, has a beautiful and homely wife, well-behaved children, happy family, flourishing business, perfect health and every other good thing, all at once. You simply win some and you lose some. Contentment with your state of being is the name of the game.