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THE HOUSEWIVES’ TALE (Episode 32)

“Ifeanyi!” I call out for the fifth time, knocking on the door to Ifeanyi’s bedroom. I am determined not to leave the door until he answers me.

“Yes!” he finally answers, his voice revealing his irritation.

“Sorry, did I wake you up?”

“What’s the problem?” he growls. He is not going to make this easy for me.

“Food is ready,” I call out. “Can I come in?” I ask.

“No! I’ll get the food when I am ready.” There is a note of dismissal in the words.

I walk away then. I will try again when he is in a better mood, or when he is in a place where he cannot tell me not to come in.

***

“Hey! Keep off my man!” Chinwe barks at Mercy with a mock frown, making Mercy to burst out in an equally mock laughter.

“Oh pleeeeeze! I have my own man!” she sniffs. They both laugh heartily.

I observe them for a bit from the dining room area, where I am setting out food for them, before walking back to the kitchen to get drinking water and glass cups.

“Oya o! Food is ready. Let us do and start going to the hospital,” I call out when I am done setting the table.

They both made a beeline toward the dining table.

“Hmm! All these single ladies sef! See them scurrying like rats at the sound of food!” I tease, smiling to take away the sting from my words.

“Ehn! Ya buruwa!” Chinwe retorts, sticking out her tongue at me.

“Don’t mind her! As if she didn’t do worse!” Mercy concurs, rolling her eyes at me.

They dig in, after dishing the rice from the serving bowl.

“Oh. My. God!” Mercy moans. “What did you put in this food?”

“You mean, like rat poison or otapiapia?” I ask, feigning innocence. The truth is, I expected that reaction.

“You’re not serious!” She laughs, shoveling another spoon of the rice into her mouth.

“I added coconut milk anyway,” I supply.

“Wow!” Chinwe exclaims. “I am actually enjoying coconut rice. I normally do not like it.”

“I am a chef like that!” I say, feeling proud.

“But it looks like jollof rice,” Chinwe observes.

“Yeah, that’s the whole idea,” I respond. “You think you’re going to eat jollof rice, and then – BAM! Coconut rice!” I am grinning as I rise to go and start dressing up.

“Chai! See how my friend is talking about food as if she’s talking about something as exciting as shoes or clothes!” Mercy says with a chuckle. “What marriage has done to some people sha!”

The import of that statement hits me fully after I have entered my bedroom. For a few moments, I battle within me as I debate on whether to return to the dining room to reply her accordingly, or to simply ignore her.

Then, I remember my vow.

***

“So, which man were you two talking about?” I direct my question at Chinwe, who is seated beside me on the passenger’s side.

“When?” she queries.

“In the parlour, when I was setting the table,” I answer.

“Oh! That.” She smiles. “Chukwuebuka nau.”

“Chukwuebuka?” I ask, mildly confused. “Do I know him or about him?”

“Yes nau! Abi, have I not told you about him?” She turns fully to face me.

Mba oh! I would have remembered!”

“Hmm? Well, he’s just a guy –”

“Babe, have you seen Jumia’s hot deals for the week?” Mercy pipes up from the back of the car, cutting short what Chinwe had been about to say to me.

“No, I haven’t,” I say.

“Yes, I have,” Chinwe responds at the same time.

“Uhm… I was asking Chinwe,” Mercy says.

I bite the sides of my mouth to stop myself from giving her a rejoinder.

“I have. What about it?” Chinwe says stiffly, her tone betraying her displeasure with the way Mercy brushed me aside.

“Did you see that hot red gown with black trimmings? That dress is a must-buy for me o!” Mercy gushes, oblivious to the tension. “In fact, I am buying it now,” she says, her fingers flying across the screen of her phone.

“Are you kidding me?” Chinwe gushes as well as she cranes her neck around to face her, caught up in the moment and forgetting her previous annoyance. “That dress is the bomb! Have you seen the Channel bag? It will go nicely with the dress. Chai! If to say Ebuka dey around, I for buy them o!”

“Channel bag? Let me look for it,” Mercy says.

“I love shopping with Jumia,” she continues, while operating her phone. “They know how to meet my certain needs.” A chuckle ends the remark.

“You sound like a shopaholic,” Chinwe says with a laugh.

“Well, I work for the money. Why won’t I spend it?” Mercy returns.

“Sha, be saving o! You never know when you will need it,” Chinwe cautions.

“You sound so like an old lady,” Mercy says. “This is the kind of thing I expect, maybe, someone who has kids to say.” She continues in a falsetto mimicry, “You never know when school bills will be called for.”

“Chii, allow her to ‘eat’ her money nau,” I say, chuckling mirthlessly. The hell if she’s going to succeed in making me feel disadvantaged, because I’m married with a child.

Chinwe laughs. “Abi oh?” And turning to Mercy, she says, “Nne, libe ego gi nnu? Onweedi!

“Yes oh! I worked for it, so I’ll spend it anyhow I want!” she replies, the barb Chinwe sent flying right over her head.

What a waste, I think, stopping at the gate of 82 Division Hospital to have my car scanned, before driving in, and finding a spot to park my car.

I call Nkaiso, and she tells me they are close to the gate. So, I decide to wait for them at the car park. “We’re waiting for Nkaiso and Mimi to come, so that we’ll go to the ward together,” I explain to my companions.

“No problem,” Mercy says instantly, almost interrupting me, as she brings up her hand toward Chinwe to show her something else she found on Jumia.

Ka m biakwa,” I say to them, stepping away from the car.

“God, please, give me the grace to keep this vow I made to you, and please, bring my friend Ijeoma back to us,” I mutter under my breath, when I am out of earshot of my parked car. I take a couple of deep breaths, steeling my resolve to be nice to everybody. Then, I walk back to the car, just in time to see Nkaiso’s car coming into the car park.

There are hugs and pecks and greetings as we all meet each other. The boisterousness is heightened for those who haven’t seen each other for quite a while. We chat animatedly as we walk down towards the wards.

***

There is an air of somberness and solitude around Ijeoma’s bed.

“Why is her nose covered?” I turn to ask the nurse who is bustling around her.

“She is now on oxygen,” she answers.

“Wait – oxygen?! Does it mean she’s getting better or worse?” I ask, feeling fear creep up my spine.

“Worse. She developed pneumonia.”

“Oh God!” I gasp. Suddenly unable to hold my weight upright on my quivering legs, I drop down on the straight backed chair right beside the bed. Tears leak out of my closed eyelids.

I feel hands on my shoulder. I look up to see Nkaiso and Chinwe flanking me and looking grim.

“She’s supposed to be getting better…” I choke out in a near whisper.

“She is getting better. Where is your faith?” Nkaiso reprimands softly.

“The doctor says she isn’t allowed to have visitors anymore, except family,” the nurse speaks up. She has finished with what she was doing, and is about to leave. “I allowed you all because of her sister,” she addresses the other women while gesturing at me. “But I am afraid, you all have to leave now.”

The five of us file out of Ijeoma’s room, and head straight for the reception.

Once everyone is seated at the reception, I excuse myself, and go off in search of Ijeoma’s baby.

Looking through the window into the neonatal ward, I see Godfrey standing and watching as a nurse feeds the infant. I wave, trying to catch his attention. He sees me, and comes out to meet me.

“I just saw Ijeoma,” I say without preamble. “How did the pneumonia happen now?”

“I don’t know,” he replies with a sigh. “I’m just tired of this whole thing. I have asked the doctor to tell me if I am wasting my time and money by letting her stay on in this hospital…”

“How can you talk like that?!” I exclaim, cutting him short. “Where is your faith?” I ask, using Nkaiso’s words on him.

“I’m done having faith. I’m tired. I have not had a good sleep or rest for the past how-many-days! I am stuck with a totally adorable daughter that I don’t know what to do with. All because of what? Because my wife refused to let modern medicine help her. It is not as if there was no money for CS. I’m tired of holding on, and praying and having faith and sitting beside her bed, watching and waiting for her to open her eyes, only for her to keep degenerating. I am tired!” he declares, before turning to stomp away from me.

I stand there, stock still, struggling to wrap my head around his words.

“Oh! And by the way…” – he turns back – “thanks for telling my mother-in-law about the situation on ground –”

“Yes, about that…” I start, cutting him off. “I want to apologise –”

“No, no. No need for apologies!” he cuts me off, with an eerily-bright smile, one which doesn’t quite reach his eyes. “If anything, you saved me the trouble of having to explain to her what happened to her daughter. So, thank you.”

He turns again to leave.

My shock has turned to alarm. What is happening to Godfrey? I stand there, not knowing what to do, or how to start talking the man out of this mindset of his.

“And…” – he turns again – “if she degenerates again, I’m signing to have the life support taken out from her. My heart cannot be broken any further.”

And this time, when he turns away from me and walks away, it is for good.

I leave too, and find my way back to the group in the reception. There is a mild argument going on. Mimi is telling Mercy off. Mercy has probably sent off one of her ‘married women with kids’ jabs, and Mimi is having it out with her.

I ignore the ruckus, and pull Nkaiso away from them, before proceeding to explain the situation with Godfrey to her in a nutshell.

“Let’s get back to Ijeoma’s room,” she says with a faraway look in her eyes. “We need to pray for her.”

“We are coming!” I throw back at the rest of the gang, while Nkaiso and I walk briskly towards the ward.

Written by Adaku J.

Glossary: Ya buruwa – Let it be

libe ego gi nnu? Onweedi! – Eat your money. Nothing is happening.

Ka m biakwa – I am coming.


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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30 comments

  1. *wipes tears from my eyes*

    O Lord, biko don’t let Ijeoma die. Biko. Thank Sir. :'( :'(

  2. Another good read. This series is serious

  3. Hmmmm, this is really touching.

  4. ha Godfrey is really in a dark place. Ij wake up

  5. The most annoying part of all this is that it could have been avoided. Its true shaa what they say – not all educated people are enlightened.
    I pray she survives this so she can learn her lessons.
    Meanwhile, all that advert for Jumia, hmm.

  6. Nice read as always, but Adaku likes fight too much. It’s not everything that she should respond to, or see as an insult.

  7. Nna eh Walter, is it me or is today’s THWT really this short? Na wah oh.

  8. Dear Adaku J,
    Just so you know, I don’t like tragedies. I trust you to do the needful. Thank you.

  9. Dear Walter and the writer of this piece. Don’t let ijeoma die. If she does, I don’t know who u r, but I have s set of skills….I will find u and I will kill u.

  10. Jeez! Sharon. Should I feel threatened? Thanks everybody for reading

  11. Hmmmm! Touching. Education can never replace common sense. Ijeoma, see what you have gotten yourself into. Adaku, please don’t let anything happen to Ijeoma.

  12. too early to have death in this story…she shudnot die

  13. Walter and Adaku. If ij should die ehn, I will contract the NCIS Naija team to find you and when they do, I will do worse than Naomi has threatened. Her friend is being all nice to all and her patience is being stretched all for you to tell me ij is on oxygen. Bia bia Bia, wake ij now sharp sharp or else…….

  14. Please, God, Ij has suffered enough for her silliness. For the sake of her baby and her grieving family and friends, bring her back. Amen. *wipes tears. This is so tragic. Exactly the reson women should borrow themselves brain and do the needful all the time.
    Now that we have that out of the way, Onye budi this Mercy ka o bu gini bu aha ya sef? Nwa uchu!! Instead of saying she is jealous of married women with kids, she opens her mouth to spew trash!!! Anu ohia!!! Hope she washed her mouth out with Jik and stuff after all that nonsense that came out of it. Lekwanu anya o!!!! Wetin married women with children do this agbaya sef?

  15. This again is a beautiful piece.Very compelling and emotion-laden like all the others.
    But i think tragedies are not just created for the simple twisted pleasure of getting readers to cry.A good writer only introduces tragedy if it will serve a useful purpose:a cautionary tale.You are a very good writer.I do not know any useful lesson I’d learn if IJ dies.Someone already threatened to seek u out and kill u if u kill IJ.Lol. I won’t go that far.I’ll only resort to emotional blackmail:if you kill IJ,are u any better than Boko Haram? Lol.
    please,let IJ live.

  16. Is that the better method now? Atink blackmail is also classed amongst the terrible acts oh!

  17. *Sighs*
    Mercy, or Merci, any1 your name be.
    It’s not good when you pull your frustration on innocent married
    women. Best this is, get yourself a
    husband too, instead of running your mouth like a tap that has a loose screw!
    Mctcheeeew!
    Ehen, that said. If you Walter and Adaku kill IJ ehn, my own action will be all the threats you’ve received so far combined and more o! Don’t say I didn’t warn you o, ehen…*Whew*

  18. I am just so sad right now.Ij’s husband sounds so defeated.Pls,don’t let her die.It will really spoil everything.Hmmmmm. That aside,Ada should try to understand that the nonsense that old maid is spewing is cos no man is ready to make her his baby mama.Agadi nwayi.Taaa gerraway.Onu nshi

  19. Hmmmm.I rest my case. In fact, I am not just resting my case, I “sleep” my case ni. Ogini? The suspense is too much na,. Ok. Sorry, can IJ please not die? Thanks. Even if she decides to die sef, I trust Adaku to use her super writing skills to stylishly wake her up *bigsmile*. Don’t mind dat single bitch o, she’s just so lonely, loneliness kills na… And she feels making d married ones feel bad will help her… Lol… Psychologically, she’s going tru reaction formation…. Lol

  20. Your blog is like a gold mine to me! so many good stories to read.
    keep it up…

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