Short Story | Set Up To Fail

This is a short story idea which I thought of the other day. I hope you enjoy the read. I haven’t actually sat down to write anything creative in months so pardon my rustiness! You can help me out by suggesting themes or topics to incorporate into future short stories, I would really appreciate it and I would give you credit!

It was going to be the perfect day. All the preparations and stress had led to this very day, the day of the white wedding. In a few hours Yinka and Elizabeth would be joined together as husband and wife in front of  their closest friends and family members. It was one of the most anticipated weddings, with everybody knowing how good a pair they both were.


The room was filled with noise, all seven bridesmaids hopping about, trying to slip shoes on and make final adjustments to hair. The makeup artist was putting the finishing touches on Elizabeth’s face, and she felt the cool droplets of the setting spray settle on her skin and lock the beat which had been achieved.


She opened her eyes and looked at herself in the mirror, holding her breath as her eyes took in the sight of her makeup. It was a natural look which really brought out her beautiful features. Her light contour and highlight were done to perfection, and her nude lips were in a slight pout. Her weave was curled, with some curls cascading down the sides of her face. She was overcome with emotion as Nonye, her best friend, zipped up her strapless white dress.


She loved what she saw in the mirror, she could not believe this day had finally come. She took in the sight of her dress which was a simple, body hugging piece which brought out her slight curves. It was strapless and fit her perfectly. In awe, her eyes also caught sight of another pair of eyes rested on her reflection. She turned around and made eye contact with her mother, who had a sad and cold look on her face. She walked towards her mother, wondering what was wrong.


“Mum, I just can’t believe this day has come,” She said, smiling and trying to fight the tears from falling.


“I can’t believe my only daughter is standing before me, ready to become one with another man,” Her mothers’ voice was slow and heavy.


“He is the love of my life, and I know he will take good care of me,” Elizabeth said, sad eyes looking at her mother. Mrs Onwuka was a light skinned woman of a heavy build. Her eyes held several secrets and her face showed that she had been through a lot over the years, but nonetheless was a strong woman. She was a tough woman, a woman who Elizabeth had known to show no weakness at any point. The woman had raised 3 sons and 1 daughter with the fierceness of a lioness, tolerating no nonsense. It was the first time Elizabeth saw her mother allowing emotions come to the surface, a rare moment.


“Let me tell you something Elizabeth. You’ll experience many joys apart from the joy from your wedding day. You’ll have many celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, and you’ll become a mother one day..” The voice of the 50 year old woman started as Elizabeth smiled, listening to this blessing her mother seemed to be giving her.


“But nothing will ever prepare you for the day you find out he has been cheating on you all along. You might think you’re the love of his life, but you must know the harsh truth. The harsh truth is that one woman is never good enough for these men. As beautiful as you are, you will get older and your beauty will fade. You will try your hardest to sustain your relationship but it is inevitable that he will stray. More beautiful girls are born every day, they’re everywhere and he will go to them or they will come to him. Don’t ever think you’re not replaceable because you are. He will get tired of you, it doesn’t matter how faithful you are or whether you’re the best at everything expected of a wife, he will stray, and most of the time it will be with females who do not even possess half the attributes you do,” Shock consumed Elizabeth as she stumbled backwards, away from her mother and her poisonous words.


“How can you say such a thing?”


“Because it’s the truth,” Her mother said in a small but harsh voice.


“It will not be my reality, I won’t accept it! I reject it!” Elizabeth shouted slightly, her hands curling into fists.


“Your father did the same to me. I gave that man everything and yet he sucked my soul. I was one of the most beautiful girls around at that time, and yet I was pushed aside and trampled upon as he chased after girls who could never have measured up to me. I was happy, and he stole my joy. I couldn’t leave and I was trapped, all I had was my children. Don’t be surprised when you find out.. all men cheat,” The aged woman said and got up slowly, walking towards Elizabeth. Mrs Onwuka reached towards Elizabeths’ face and stroked it slightly, her eyes razor sharp and narrowed.


“It happens to all of us.. and It will happen to you,” The woman said before leaving the room.

That evening, they took their first dance as husband and wife during a reception that would be remembered by many. Elizabeth lifted her eyes and once again made eye contact with her mother who looked cold and grave, lips set into a thin line. Her father and mother were seated together. For so long they had put up a facade about having such a loving marriage, but now it was like a big rip had been created. She noticed the little things, how they seemed close together but were seated far apart, how they barely ever showed affection. They were bound, but were in two very different worlds. Her father showed no regret or remorse on his face, as he had gotten away with all his desires.

Her mother on the other hand looked like the weight of the world was on her shoulders, threatening to crush her at any second. While her husband had gotten away with everything, she had faced the retorts and the comments about her faults as a wife. She had been simply told to behave more, to nag less, to face her children and leave her husband to do what he wanted. After all, he still returned home to them in the end and provided for them, right?

The words hit Elizabeth again, and she clutched her husband tighter, rejecting the fate her mother had tried to impose on her.


6 thoughts on “Short Story | Set Up To Fail

  1. joycedaniels says:

    There’s this show called husbands of lagos on irokotv. One of the ladies denied her husband “his right” so he ended up cheating.
    So according to my co-workers it was basically her fault. When i tried to argue that it wasn’t, i was told i should be prepared because a man must cheat and you can only try to help by giving him access to “his property” whenever he needs it. Obviously i didn’t agree with their theory so i was told i was still young so i was just talking. I tried arguing that some good men are still out there and defintely not all of them will cheat. The guy there said forget every man is like that so just be prepared to forgive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amaka says:

      It’s sad! I personally believe we never know how we will react until we find ourselves in that situation. Until then, the best I can do is write stories reflecting at least a quarter of the emotions people in those situations feel.

      I also feel that a lot of people have this ‘all men cheat’ mentality which indeed sets them up for failure, because they’re expecting it! Adultery is disgusting and we need to stop accepting such a filthy flaw as a norm, but will people listen? They’re simply reflecting the society they’ve grown up in where cheating is the norm.

      Really sad, honestly. Why can’t we demand more from these men? Why must we settle for these sad ideologies? People are always blaming the woman somehow and its equally disappointing because a woman can tear herself into pieces for a man and if he wants to cheat, HE WILL. It’s not every time people should go and blame women! At the end of the day, the man should have self control!

      Lol I might get dismissed as being too young to know what I’m saying but sha that’s my take on it. Thank you for letting me have more deets on the argument

      Liked by 1 person

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