As I continue my memoirs, I reminisce on a lot of things. You see, humans are a funny lot.
Nobody came to our aid when we were suffering. Even our neighbours in the ramshackle building we lived in, saw how much we were suffering, and did not lift a finger to help us. Their favorite slogan was, “The recession is biting everyone”. Some rare times that my mother asked for financial aid, people would narrate their own ordeals.
“Even my children eat only once a day. There is no money in the country” some would say,
“I was even coming to ask for some cash from you” others would say, just to convince mother, that they had it worse.
But after father died, mother had done a quick and quiet burial, regardless of what her in-laws were saying.
“I am going to bury my husband with the little I have. If you don’t like it, kill me” she had said to the villagers from father’s side, who brought a long list of things for mother to buy.
However, people from father’s tricycle association, and all the people that had known my parents contributed money and threw a lavish party in father’s honour. They killed cows, and there was surplus drinks, but not even one morsel of food was given to the bereaved family.
“This is what your husband deserves. He was a man until his last days, and he deserves this respect” one of the Merry makers said, staggering from side to side, with a gourd of palm wine in his hand.
“But he is already buried” I quipped.
“Eno” my mother chided me, and I left them. Nevertheless, I didn’t stop thinking, that they could have shown father this love, when he was alive, before his failures had pushed him to suicide. Where were they, when father needed them most? But now, they were showering their feign love, on a dead and buried man. Yet, not a single pound of meat went to his family, we slept hungry that night.
As days turned into weeks, life returned to normal. We still missed father, but the pain was becoming blunt. However, I felt sad and guilty, whenever I looked at the well worn rocker, where he sat and rocked. I always felt like there was something I could have done for him.
*Flicks off tears with the tip of finger* I don’t want to make you sad, so let’s move this memoir along. I missed my father, but his death was not the worst thing that could have happened to me.
My madam, (remember the obese woman), had given me time off because of my father’s death. When I resumed at the supermarket, after weeks being away, she became so happy to see me, so much that, I began to wonder what was mixed in her morning tea that day.
“Sister-in-law, what are you doing here. You don’t work here anymore. Come, sit with me” she scooted for me to sit beside her on the couch.
“Sister-in-law?” I mused, but sat nonetheless, to gain clarity on my madam’s behaviour.
“How are you coping, I know my brother is doing his best, but then…” She was saying, but I did’t let her finish. I sat with her so I could understand her better, but she was confusing me the more.
“Brother, what has your brother done, madam?” I blurted out, cutting her off.
At the back of my mind, was the fear that my mother was seeing her brother. What would people say? That my mother had not completed her mourning, yet she was seeing a man. My mother might have been beautiful in the begining, but after the stress of father’s ailment,there was nothing beautiful about her face anymore. Yet her ‘Calabar’ waist could have enticed any man, with blood in his groins.
“Oh pardon me, I should address him properly. I mean, your husband” my madam intruded into my thoughts and I stared wide at her. Had I heard correctly, I wondered.
“Your mother asked that you stay with her a few weeks because of the bereavement, but a married woman should not be away from her husband’s house for too long. My brother is going to treat you well, he is a food man…” She went on and on about her brother, but I was no longer listening.
“Husband! When did this happen?” I mused absented mindedly, as alarm bells rung in my head.
“Did you like the clothes he sent you?” I heard her say, her voice sounded like it was coming from a distance.
I don’t know what propelled me, but I found myself running from my madam’s supermarket, to our house.
While I ran, things became clearer. The new clothes mother had, she had stopped going to the market and yet we were feeding, and she had even paid the school fees for a new term, for my younger siblings. When asked where she got the money, she told me it was from her savings.
You see, mother had no savings, not because she was not good at it, but because we barely had enough for our needs, to save. Mother had sold me off in the name of marriage, but the extent of my slavery was still unclear to me. If I had known, I would have run away, not run home.
Coincidentally, when I got home, mother was counting crisp naira notes, she was so engrossed in it that she didn’t notice me standing there. It must have felt good to hold such amount of money, after a long period of not having money.
“How long were you going to hide it?” I demanded, through clenched teeth.
“Be calm my child, and hear me out” mother pled. There was tears in her eyes, and my anger softened, still I didn’t let up.
“How much did you sell me for?” I insisted.
“I didn’t sell you, I got you a husband. Eno my child, you are twenty one, all your mates are married with children, was it wrong that a man asked for your hand?” She lamented.
“The brother of my madam, couldn’t you have gotten someone else?” I insisted
“It was not my idea. Your madam had said good things about you to her brother, so much that he came to ask your hand in marriage” mother began to sniff back phlegm and soon she was crying fully.
“Since your father died, even before, I have carried everyone on my shoulders. Now I am getting tired of the load and your new husband, is the help God sent” she cried.
I have never been to stand mother crying, so it shook my resolve, and I told her I would do as she wanted.
“You don’t need to cry mother, I will go to my husband, and I will make sure he helps our family continuously” I told her, as I held her in my arms.
That was the beginning of my fall from grace. Suffice it to say that, what I saw in my husband’s house, was far from what I bargained for.
Find out about Eno’s life in her new husband’s house, in Episode 3. You surely don’t want to miss this!
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