If Editi closed her eyes, she could still see the vision of Nneoma, lying naked on the body of her husband in her bedroom, on her matrimonial bed.
There were murmurs, as everyone looked on in amazement.
Without pausing to think, she said, “It is time to show the world who you really are, Mrs. Nneoma Jackson and my husband Akwang.”
She pointed to the screen, “This is it!” she exclaimed as the video started playing. She held the remote control and fast forwarded it to where they were having sex on her matrimonial bed.
Akwang looked stricken when he saw himself. He swallowed hard. It was obvious he was at a loss.
“Undress me,” he could hear his voice from the large TV screen.
Jackson’s eyes widened as he turned and looked at his wife. He fixed his eyes back on the screen. His heart was beating loudly.
Editi forwarded the video to where they had sex in the bedroom continuously.
The whole auditorium became hot as people began to murmur.
“How is my baby doing in the womb?” Akwang’s voice said from the TV screen. “Don’t tell Jackson of this now, until sometime in the future, when you know it won’t cause damages of any kind.”
Anger fell on Jackson as he flew at Akwang in a rage.
“You bastard, you slept with my wife!” he punched Akwang on the face and they fought.
Nneoma stood up and ran down the stairs of the auditorium. With her heart pounding. She slid into a taxi, shivering. Her body shook with fear, then contractions came. Then the pains of labor.
Back at the cinema, everywhere became rowdy as people began to leave the cinema in a long slow queue.
“Chai, na so men be na,” a woman said, shrugging her shoulders.
“If she knew that her husband was cheating on her, she would have gone to report to her pastor, instead of showing everyone. Is she the first woman that her husband is cheating on?”
People said different things.
Annie walked up to her sister and held her hands.
“Get my son from my mother in-law,” Editi said.
Annie searched for Akwang’s mother, and when she saw her sitting by a corner with Nathan in her arms, Annie said to her, “The mother wants him.” She handed Nathan to Annie and she carried him gently down the stairs in the midst of the crowd to where Editi stood.
“You and Mama should take him home. I will join you later,” Editi said firmly.
Her sister knew that she wasn’t in the mood to argue with her, so she held Nathan firmly and searched for their mother. When she finally saw her, she whispered to her, “Edy said we should leave with Nathan right now.”
Her mother’s eyes were filled with tears. She’d started crying since the video started to play.
She reluctantly got to her feet, collected Nathan and walked away.
Jackson and Akwang were severely injured. The fight was separated by some elderly men, who gathered round them and held each of them firmly.
“Don’t fight like women,” the men murmured.
“You were not man enough, that was why she preferred me!” Akwang screamed at Jackson as he walked out of the auditorium. His mother walked to him and slapped him hard on the face, “Shut up you fool of a son. If it were in the days of Moses, you would be murdered by now for sleeping with another man’s wife.”
Editi left. She went home and packed all her belongings, including Nathan’s clothes. She tore her marriage certificate and burnt them with a lighter. Then she went around each position she’d fixed Buhari and took each part into her handbag. She went away to her mother’s house, and when her sister saw her from the gate with her luggage, she cried out so loudly that their mother cried too.
Nneoma was nearly collapsing when she reached the hospital gate. She wondered if she had the strength to continue.
“Jehovah help me,” she muttered. The pains were beyond what she’d thought. When the nurses saw her, they ran to her and took her inside the hospital.
Her whole body shook as she opened her legs and the doctor checked her.
“Your baby is coming,” the doctor said, “But you have lost a lot of blood already.”
“Call this man in my phone,” Nneoma said shakily like she was catching cold. She handed the phone to him and the doctor called Akwang. He rushed to the hospital with his cousins and when he got there his heart fell at the sight of Nneoma who was already so weak and tired.
The doctor said Nneoma needed a blood transfusion, but she rejected the idea.
“Why ma’am? We have to do this to save your life and that of the baby,” the doctor said persuasively.
“I can’t do it. It’s against my belief, if Jehovah wants me to live, I will live. Please, I opt for emergency caesarean right away. Save my baby,” she said weakly.
“She doesn’t want any blood,” Doctor says to Akwang.
“Why?’ Akwang asked in amazement.
“She said it’s against her doctrine.”
“Can I see her please?” Akwang asked.
The doctor nodded as he led him to her ward. He knelt by her side and said, “We have sinned Nneoma. You conceived this baby of ours out of sin. You have been waiting for this moment for six years now, do you wanna die despite all of these?” Akwang said powerfully.
Nneoma turned to him weakly and said, “If anything happens, take the baby and go find your wife. Get your family back,” she said in soft whispers and then added, “Our baby is going to be born premature. Nurture her and love her.”
The doctors rolled her away. She was already exhausted by the time they were done with the surgery. The baby was taken out of her, and she could hear her loud cry. It was the last thing she heard–her baby’s cry. Then tears rolled down her eyes.
“Doctor, the woman’s heartbeat can’t be felt,” a nurse screamed.
It was past ten in the night, and Akwang was sitting on the hospital corridor alone. His cousins had gone. The doctor appeared with the baby, wrapped in white sheets. Akwang stood to his feet immediately and held the baby in his arms. Tears ran out of his eyes as he stared at the most beautiful little thing he had ever held in his arms.
“We lost her,” the doctor said.
“What?” Akwang asked confused.
“We’ve lost her, she is cold,” the doctor repeated.
He fell to the floor, holding the baby firmly to himself, and wailed.
The doctor carefully carried the baby from his arms and asked, “What’s her name, we are taking her to the ICU and we need her name.”
“Taraji,” Akwang cried out. “She wanted Taraji, Taraji should be written on the tag, “he said weakly.
The rain that night was heavy. When the next streak of lightning split the night sky, Akwang imagined Nneoma’s beautiful face again. He stood to his feet, and watched helplessly as her body was being rolled out of the theatre. He studied the surroundings and felt disoriented; nothing looked familiar. Wet, cold, and shivering in the raw wind life had just given him. He lowered his head, completely despondent. It was difficult to think about anything but the woman he was once obsessed about. Taking a moment to gather his thoughts and catch his breath, he leaned against the hospital wall and wept bitterly.
When Editi heard of Nneoma’s demise, she cried bitterly in her mother’s bedroom.
Akwang hadn’t called or texted her, and she never wanted to see him again.
After a few months she would go to America and take all the money from his account. He was in the ICU, looking at Taraji’s face when he got several debit alerts. He wasn’t bothered, all he wanted was time to think of what was better for him to do.
But then, after Taraji was healthy and strong enough to leave the ICU, he carried her to Editi’s family house and when he saw her, he knelt before her and said, “She is called Taraji. Even if you won’t ever forgive me for what I did, forgive Nneoma for the sake of this little Taraji, and let’s get back please.”
Editi was bold enough to walk away.
She walked away, relocated to America after a few months. She’d only been there for four months when she opened her door one morning and got a bouquet from Akwang, ‘You were the only woman I truly loved before Taraji came. How is Buhari? Let’s rewrite our story.’ She smiled when she read the note that was attached to the bouquet and tears gathered in her eyes.
“Your father,” she muttered to Nathan who cooed and laughed like he understood what his mother was talking about.
After many years, it was discovered that Jackson had another family at Ikotu, where he lived with his wife and adopted children. He had them while Nneoma was still alive.
On Nathan’s birthday, his father appeared in America with Taraji in his arms.
“She looks like Nathan, like you,” Editi said with an innocent smile as she held Taraji and hugged her firmly, “You’re now in my heart Taraji,” she whispered.
Akwang gave Editi a cocky smile and traced her bottom lip with an index finger.
“We were never divorced, remember?” he asked with a smile.
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4||Chapter 5||Chapter 6||Chapter 7||Chapter 8||Chapter 9||Chapter 10||Chapter 11||Chapter 12||Chapter 13||Chapter 14||Chapter 15||Chapter 16||Chapter 17||Chapter 18||Chapter 19||Chapter 20||Chapter 21||Chapter 22||Chapter 23||Chapter 24||Chapter 25||Chapter 26||Chapter 27||Chapter 28|