Image Source: www.theguardian.com 
Rita
was alone in the house, and on days like this, she was either reading or
listening to music but today was different. She had found her housemate dead in
her room yesterday and no matter how hard she tried to understand why Aisha decided to
take her life, she couldn’t comprehend. It was a Sunday evening and the tears
had refused to go away, creeping in whenever it felt she didn’t notice and stealing
down her eyes and unto her cheeks in a trickle. She wiped every tears with the
back of her palms and sniffed as she blew her nose noisly into her
handkerchief. She replayed all that happened yesterday after she had called
Aisha’s elder brother, Hamisu over to the house.

“How
did this happen?” Hamisu had asked her with a heavy voice as he gestured to his
sister’s body on the bed, her hands dangling at her sides and her eyes
closed (a gesture Rita had done for her friend as she couldn’t bear to stare
into those eyes any further).

“I…I…came
in…I saw…I saw her…I…called you…I” Rita had said and burst into tears.

“What
do I tell our father? This is an abomination and it is a huge sin to our
religion.” He said aloud.

“I…I…am
in shock…I ….I…” Rita cried aloud.

“Listen
to me Rita, this must never be heard anywhere…you must never tell anyone how
she died. Am I clear? My family have gone through a lot to be through such
scandal as this. It’s unheard of and I am really disappointed that she dared
take her life.” Aisha’s brother said in pain.

“What…what…do
we do?” Rita asked, still in tears.

“I
suggest that we clean her wound up and wrap her wrist with a bandage and tell my
family that she died of fever. That’s the best I can do, if I tell them the
truth, it would come bearing down upon them and they would not be able to
forgive themselves for it.”

“Okay…I
won’t tell anyone…” Rita sniffed.

“Could
you tell me what happened? Do you have any idea as to what might have triggered
this….this abominable act?” Aisha’s brother asked.

It
was at the top of Rita’s tongue to say, that Aisha had learnt of her womb’s
damage and had approached Chuka to tell him the truth but he shunned her which
led to her taking her life but she caught herself. Her brother was disappointed
enough that his sister had done the unthinkable, soiling her memory would do
her no good, so instead she said.

“I
don’t know…I just noticed she has been moody and I…asked her what the problem
was but she didn’t want to share it with me…”

“What
of Chuka? Have you heard from him?” Aisha’s brother asked.

Hamisu
had never liked Chuka and he knew that the reason his sister decided to stay
with her friend instead of with him at his place was because she wanted free
access to her boyfriend.

“Well…they
were not together anymore so he stopped coming here and she stopped seeing him…” 

Rita lied. She didn’t want to say anything that’ll burst the bubble and she
certainly didn’t need Aisha’s brother storming off to Chuka’s house to cause
damage. She shouldn’t be protecting Chuka but she was sure that was the best
decision she had made, she needed her friend’s soul to rest peacefully.

Aisha
had watched Hamisu make phone calls and soon, some men had come into the house
and carried Aisha’s corpse out of the house. That was the last time she ever
saw her friend and according to the text message she received from Hamisu this
afternoon, Aisha’s body had already been laid to mother earth.

Rita
stood up from the sofa and taking the packet of candles she had bought early
this morning, she quietly struck the match and lit them praying with all her
heart that Aisha’s soul finds peace.

********
“Mummy
do you really have to go?” Shade asked her mother as she watched her pack her
stuff into the suitcase.

“Yes
baby…”

“So,
who’ll take care of us?” Shade pressed.

“The
maid is there and the nanny…”

“That
maid that doesn’t like sitting at a place…” Shade fumed as she walked over to
the dressing table to pick up her mom’s lipstick.

“I
have spoken to her and you heard me shout at her and threaten that I’ll replace
her if she ever lets you and your brothers out of her sight. I have also spoken
to nanny to keep an eye out for you and your brothers. Don’t worry I’ll be back
in ten days.”

“Okay…but
I’ll miss you…” Shade said as she slathered on the red lipstick on her lips and
smiled at the mirror.

“I’ll
miss you too bunny buns…” Her mother said, calling her nickname.

Her
father walked into the room and said briskly.

“Momsies are downstairs…”

“What?
Which momsy?” Tosin asked.

“Both…”
Bode said and turning on his heels he walked out of the room.

“Bode!
So you called them shebi? Even after our agreement…” Tosin shouted at her
husband’s retreating back.

“What’s
up mom…did daddy do something wrong?” The ever-inquisitive Shade asked.

“No…go
downstairs and greet your grannies…they are here to see you…” Tosin said.

“Yay!
I hope they got me something special…” Shade said and ran off.

Tosin
stared at her daughter’s retreating back and shook her head. She was so
thankful that after what happened yesterday, like clock-work, Shade was back to
her bubbly self. The doctor she had seen at the hospital had assured her that
there was nothing to worry about and had given her some prescriptions for her
daughter, just to avoid any kind of germs. Shade had also been subjected to
quick tests which showed that she was in good condition.

Tosin
hissed and wore her fluffy slippers and headed out of the room, by the time she
got downstairs, her mother and mother-in-law were already conversing with the
kids, especially Shade, whose mouth refused to stop running like a tap.

“So
granny…as I was saying, your new glasses is like that of the doctor that I went
to see yesterday…” Shade started.

“Really?
Doctor? Were you ill?” Tosin’s mother asked, placing her hand on Shade’s forehead and feeling for her grandchild’s
temperature.

Tosin
quickly spoke up.

“Good
Evening mummy…” She greeted the two women genuflecting in respect. “Don’t mind
Shade…she talks too much…” Tosin said giving her daughter the ‘I’ll kill you’
look.

Shade’s
eyes immediately widened when she realized that she had mentioned about the
hospital that daddy didn’t know anything about.

“Hospital?
What hospital? You didn’t tell me that Shade was ill.” Bode started.

“Awww…I
called you at the office but your secretary hung up on me…I was trying to reach
you on your mobile but you’d turned it off.” Tosin said in a shaky voice. She had
actually called Bode to tell him that the handy man had called her to inform
her that the generator was faulty but when his secretary had acted all jittery
on her, she had hung up the phone instead.

“What
were you doing with Shade at the hospital?” Bode asked again.

“I…err…I
saw a rash on her skin and I panicked and …I called you and when you didn’t
pick…I took her to the hospital…and err…” Tosin stammered.

“To
Dr. Adebayo?” Bode asked.

“No…a
colleague had told me of a hospital and err…I decided to take her there…but at
the end of the day, it was nothing. It wasn’t even a rash…I guess I was hallucinating.”

“How
could you have taken her to a hospital that’s not on our health plan?” Bode
asked.
Tosin
wanted to speak when her mother-in-law spoke.

“Well…when
Iya Tosin and I are gone from the house, the both of you can speak about the
hospital. Right now, I want to know why Tosin, doesn’t want to see reason with
her husband as regards this err…Abuja work.”

“Tosin
I hope you know what you are doing?” Her mother asked.

“Mummy…I
am going to be the most stupid person on earth to drop this opportunity. C’mon…is
it because I am a woman? If Bode was the one who got a bigger opportunity in
Abuja or had to relocate to Abuja due to work reasons, I bet no one would
complain.”

“Of
course we would complain if he doesn’t sit with you to make you understand why
he has to go! Bode called me to say that you have made your decision to
relocate to Abuja without giving him room to discuss it with you…” Bode’s
mother said.

“But
it’s my life and my job and I get to make the decisions.” Tosin started.

“See
this girl ooo…are you high? Are you single or married?” Tosin’s mother asked.

“Married
ma…” Tosin replied.

“I
don’t think I have anything else to say…” Tosin’s mother said, standing to her
feet and beckoning to Bode’s mother. “Iyabo! Do you want to help them
understand the meaning of marriage?”

“Ahhh…oti
ooo…me ke? I never even understand the man wey I get for house na my son palava
I wan carry put for head.” Bode’s mother said and stood up. “The both of you
should sha settle amicably, as for I am my sister here, we are going out to
chill…we can’t continue training our children when they have children to train.”

Bode
watched in dismay as his mother and mother-in-law gave their grandchildren
quick kisses and bade them goodbye.

“So…what
next?” Tosin asked, as she stared at him with hands on her waist.

“Do
whatever you like…no one’s stopping you…” Bode said, and headed towards the
stairs.

“I’m
sorry mom…” Shade whispered.

“Oh…will
you shut up?” Tosin spat at her daughter.

To be continued tomorrow…

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