“Our wife…you are welcome.”
“The woman of our son’s life, you are welcome home.”
These were the greetings Morayo received when she returned
home from work that evening. In her sitting room sat Gbade and his relatives,
from his mother to his uncles and some of his siblings.
Morayo genuflected in greeting, smiling at each and every
one of them and asking about their health and life in general.
“You don’t ask about us…if we didn’t come here today you
would never have inquired over our welfare.” Gbade’s uncle said with a smile.
“It’s not like that sir, work has been so hectic and I
haven’t found the time.” She said in apology.
“Don’t mind my brother, how are you?” Gbade’s mother asked.
“I am very well ma…” Morayo replied, still wondering what
Gbade’s relatives were doing at her house.
“We came here to see you and Gbade…both of you.” Another
of Gbade’s uncle said.
Gbade cleared his throat and said.
“I called them here Mo’…I actually begged them to come and
intervene in our marriage. We have gone through a lot since the death of our
son and have shut them out of our lives and problems. Now, it’s time to let
them in.” He said.
Morayo stared at him and nodded, she took a seat on one of
the sofas in the sitting room. Gbade’s mother was the first to speak.
“Some time ago, Gbade came to me with a woman, a young lady
whom he claimed was his wife and I refused to acknowledge her. I told him then
to go back to his rightful wife as I have never seen a love so true between him
and Morayo. As though I was right, just this morning, Gbade called me and said
he’d like to talk to me, I invited him over to the house and when he came he
told me that his eyes had cleared and he wanted bygones to be bygones.” She
looked at Morayo and held her gaze. “That’s why we are here Morayo, I would
have called your family to join in this meeting but they do not reside here in
Lagos and sending for them on such short notice might not be convenient for
them.”
“We are here as elders of the family to mend what has been
broken, to patch up the torn parts of your relationship. You are both still
young and you can start afresh just like it was before.” Gbade’s uncle said.
Everyone turned to look at Morayo, expecting her to say
something but she didn’t speak, she just stared at the ground. Gbade stood up
to speak.
“This is a union that has been solid for years and I’ll be
damned if it gets destroyed now.” He said.
Morayo looked up at him she couldn’t believe the words that
flew out of his mouth. She stood up and walked up to him and stopped a few
inches away from him.
“What did you say?” She asked.
Gbade stared at her and said calmly, “I said that our union
has been a solid one right from the time we started dating, and I won’t let it
crash to the ground as though it never existed.”
“Where is Ogonna?” Morayo asked trying to control her
temper.
“Ogonna? What has she got to do with any of this?”
“You haven’t answered my question…Gbade.” She laughed
mirthlessly. “Where is she?” Morayo asked.
“I have no idea….” Gbade started.
“She’s at the hospital, she suffered an ectopic pregnancy, a
pregnancy she carried for you and when you found out that the baby didn’t
survive, what did you do? You left her!”
Gbade’s eyes widened in surprise.
“You think I don’t know? I have my sources…” Morayo said.
“We are not here to discuss Ogonna but you and I…” Gbade
started.
“To hell with you and I!” Morayo screamed at him to the
shock of his family members. “You have the guts, the audacity and the temerity
to stand here as innocent as a lamb and play the injured party. How long did we
live as man and wife after Lolu died? Don’t you see that the problem is with
you? You are so obsessed with having children that your better half is nothing
more than a means to an end. I can’t believe I didn’t see this side of you all
along, I always thought you were everything I ever wanted in a man. You called
your family here, for what? To beg me? To tell me stories of how loyal wives
stay with their husbands? I stayed with you when you were at your worst, I
loved you when I didn’t have any love left for myself and I would have
sacrificed my all to make you love me again but nothing I ever did worked. Now,
my eyes open and I can see brightly. Gbade, leave my life! I am not scared of
actually being separated from my husband just in case you think I’d rather die
than leave my status as a married woman.” Morayo said in anger.
“Morayo…I know you’re hurt…” Gbade’s mother started.
“No! I am not hurt, in fact I am far from hurt…Gbade
actually pushed me into greater things and I am so happy that he left me.”
Morayo said.
“The both of you still live together as man and wife…at
least you want your marriage to work. If you didn’t want it to, you won’t have
stayed here now that he’s home.” Gbade’s uncle said passionately.
“When did he return? He returned last night. Do you expect
me to find a house in a bustling city like Lagos within twenty four hours? If
it’s the fact that I’m still here that’s fooling all of you, I am sorry for leading
you on because in less than a week I should have moved out of this place. God
knows I don’t want to see him anymore!”
“Morayo…please…” Gbade’s mother said.
“Mummy, I’d say I’m sorry but I’m not. Leaving this sham of
a marriage is the best thing that ever happened to me.”
As she stormed off to her room, Gbade and his family stared
at her in silence and if a pin had dropped, it would have been heard miles
away.
**********

Nkiru held on to the bag of items she had to take to the
beach for sacrifice, her mother was calling her phone unceasingly and the
traffic was taking too long. She wished she had found the ring, at least life
would have been better.
“Sister, your money…you never pay.” The conductor said to
her.
“Oh, I’m sorry…” She said as she zipped open the bag of
items and brought out her purse. She handed the money over to the conductor and
placed the purse inside the bag again.
The man sitting next to her in the bus smiled at her. Nkiru
didn’t talk to strangers so she didn’t even smile back. The man leaned in and
whispered into her ears.
“I see items for sacrifice…” He said.
Nkiru stiffened, she clutched the bag tighter to her and
didn’t speak.
“No need to feel threatened, I am a peaceful person.” He
said and smiled.
“Can you mind your own business please?” She said.
“Have you heard of that phrase ‘a life for a life’?” He
asked.
Nkiru looked at him, the day was dark as it was well into
the evening and she couldn’t really make out his face in the interiors of the
almost dark bus.
“No…” She said.
“Do you gamble?” He asked.
“What sort of stupid question is that? And no, I do not
gamble.” She said.
“No wonder you do not understand.” He said and suddenly stopped
talking.
Nkiru looked at him and after a long silence she asked.
“What don’t I understand?”
He didn’t reply.
“You started the conversation so, finish it.” She said.
“Do you think that getting items for sacrifice will help
your cause? You went to a temple for help and now you’re seeking solution from
those at the beach. Powers don’t mix. Beware or you could fall the victim.
Remember, it’s a life for a life.” He said to her, then to the conductor of the
bus, he said; “I’ll come down here.”
Nkiru froze and stared at the man, she wanted to stop him
but she couldn’t as soon as he alighted from the bus she found her voice.
“Wait!” She shouted. “Wait…who are you?”
Suddenly the traffic that seemed to last for eternity eased
as the bus literally flew down the road. Nkiru was afraid, she was very afraid.
***********

“I need to talk to him…perhaps he’d listen to me.” Ogonna
said. She was seated on the bed in the room she used to share with Ebube.
“You’ve been calling his phone and he hasn’t been
responding.” Ebube said.
 “I need to go there!”
Ogonna said, suddenly standing up.
“Ogonna! You had an operation and you’re still recovering,
you can’t go anywhere. I don’t know how you convinced the doctors to discharge
you early.”
“I told them that I had an examination tomorrow.”
“What? I thought you said you’d tell them to give you a
letter for the lecturers.”
“Well, I didn’t tell them that. The first thing I need to do
is, try to get my family back together.”
“Your family?”
“Yes, my family with Gbade…we were expecting a child
together so, we are a family.”
“What do you want to do now?”
“I know that this is all Morayo’s doing, she thinks she can
have my Gbade now that I am weak but she’s not going to get him without a
fight.” Ogonna spat.
“Look at you! Are you listening to yourself? Morayo is done
with Gbade, she even has a new man in her life so, don’t drag her into this.”
Ogonna stared at Ebube.
“Ebubs, I thought she was just your boss but the way you
sound, it’s as though you both are friends.”
“Yes, we are friends and we became friends when you started
dating her husband. You and Gbade did cruel things to her and I was by her side
to help her back on her feet.” Ebube said.
“You betrayed me! You betrayed our friendship.”
“For the right cause. You helped wreck their marriage and I
was there to help her pick up the pieces of her life.”
“How dare you? You evil bitch!”
Ebube shrugged, Ogonna ran to her and pushed her.
“Be careful Ogonna, I can hit you where it hurts. Remember
you just had an operation.” Ebube warned.
“F***k you! Damn you! You’ll pay for this, I promise you…I
swear it!” Ogonna said and stormed out of the house.
As soon as she left, Ebube exhaled, she hadn’t wanted to
tell her former roomie the truth but it had slipped.
***********

Ihuoma was at the beach with the prophet and her mother, she
was lying on the sand, her glassy eyes staring at the skies and the stars. Her
mother panicked as she kept dialling Nkiru.
“Nkiru ooo…where are you?” Her mother asked, pacing about.
“It’s almost time. Where is she?” The prophet asked.
“We agreed to meet here, she went to buy the items and …I
called her ooo…I called her just before I left the house…she said she was
on her way.” Nkiru’s mother cried.
“Hmmmm….if we don’t see her, then, the cleansing has to be
postponed till three days time and I doubt that your daughter will be alive
till then. You see, I am needed urgently at Badagry for a prophetic mission and
I leave first thing in the morning.” The prophet said.
Nkiru’s mother fell on her knees.
“Please prophet…please…don’t leave us like
that…please…I will find her…I promise…” She cried.
“Then go and find her and make sure she comes here now or
else!”
Nkiru’s mother scampered off.
*********
Nkiru sat in her room at Ihuoma’s house, the bag of items
was beside her and she stared at the ground. There was a knock at the door but
she didn’t answer, she had latched the door shut and she was going to open it
till cock crow at dawn.

To be continued tomorrow…

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