The house became too big and silent; Obianuju kept going from room to room, looking for Emeka. It was too painful to watch, Yvonne decided to pack a few things and take her to her own house. After a few days, Obianuju began to come out of her melancholy, but she changed from a sweet girl into a rude one. When people tried to give their condolence, she would snub them; she would give anyone who tried to look at her sympathetically, the stink eye.
Obianuju: “Why do they keep saying sorry, my husband is not dead” she said one day to Yvonne.
Yvonne: “But he was in the plane crash, he is dead. You have to move on” her friend replied
Obianuju: “What makes you so sure he is dead, did we see his body?” she retorted.
Obianuju made a conscious effort to avoid black clothes, she used to love dark shades of clothes, but since the crash, she changed her wardrobe, replacing the dark shades with bright hues. People wondered why she was not mourning her late husband, and this made them gossip whenever she passed by them. One day, after lectures, she was walking to her car when someone bumped into her, she turned to look at the person when her eyes fell on a man, her heart caught in her chest.
Obianuju: “Emeka!” she exclaimed and ran after the man, barging into anyone that was in her way. She caught up to the man and pulled his shirt backwards. The man turned and looked at her quizzically.
Obianuju: “Sorry, I thought you were my husband, he was in the plane crash. He is dead” she said with such finality that it penetrated her subconscious, and she broke down and cried. She crumbled on a floor like a ragged doll and bawled her heart out. All the while, she had been disconnected from her feelings, going on like nothing happened, never showing the world how broken she was. But when she proclaimed Emeka dead, all the walls fell away, releasing a flood of grief. People passed by, looked at her and shook their heads; they could not understand why a beautiful woman was lying on the road crying. After crying her heart out, she raised her head and saw that the man she had grabbed was still standing there looking at her.
Man: “Are you done?” he asked
Obianuju: “Yes” she replied, stood up and dusted herself. She made to go towards her car, but this time, the man grabbed her hand.
Man:“I am Dr Charles, a psychologist, I can help you through your pain, free of charge, here is my card, call me” he said and pushed a gold embossed card into her sweaty palms. Obianuju just stood there watching him walk away; he looked so much like her Emeka, with the same body build. She put the card in her bag and walked to her car.
Getting to Yvonne’s house, she packed her things and went back to her house. She got the services of a house cleaning company to clean up the whole house; she was ready to put her life back together. She told herself that, even though she had lost Emeka, she would live a life that Emeka would be proud of. She called Mckinney Airlines and requested for the necessary paperwork for the life insurance and the compensation. She had decided to open a trust fund for girls who wanted more out of life, more than the society allowed them, because of gender inequality. She would sponsor any girl to any level of education they wanted; those who were more interested in vocational education would get the help and also funds to start a business. She made the announcement at the dinner she organized for all Emeka’s friends and business associates. At the dinner, they also discussed how they would organize a proper burial for Emeka, even though his body was nowhere to be found. Ulysses and some close friends agreed to go to Umueke to inform Emeka’s family.
The law firm in charge of Emeka’s assets visited Obianuju where they intimated that, in the demise of Emeka, she was the beneficiary to his assets including the company. Overwhelmed by the news, she remembered the man she had grabbed at the school’s car park, she had got his card, so she called him. They arranged a meeting for the next day. For the first time since the crash, she wore black, a black jalabiya with a black turban; her eyes were covered with a pair of aviator glasses. Their meeting was scheduled for around lunch, so they had it in an upscale Chinese restaurant.
Charles: “What will you have?”He asked.
Obianuju: “I am just a village girl, not used to Chinese, so just order something tasty” she replied. While they ate, Obianuju told him of her journey from Umueke, the plane crash that claimed her husband’s life, and how scared she was, to face her late husband’s father. After their meeting, she felt stronger and ready to take on the world.
Ulysses and two others travelled to Umueke to break the news of Emeka’s death to his family. They had a sense of foreboding entering the same village where they had escaped with barely their lives years ago, from a mob demonized by culture. They were admitted into the Udo’s compound with enthusiasm because; they were recognized as Emeka’s friends. They were served with served pounded yam and ofensala, with freshly tapped palm wine.
Mazi Udo: “Why didn’t my son come with you, did he ask you to come test the waters. Tell him he can come back to the village, cleansing rites have been done, he is free because, it was found that at the time of the incidence he had not defiled her” Emeka’s father said after they were done eating.
Emeka’s uncle: “But that does not mean that the seductress, Obianuju, wherever she is, dead or alive can enter this village, even her corpse cannot enter this village”.
Ulysses: “Emeka is dead, he died in a plane crash. We came here to inform you, and also invite you to the burial organized by his wife” .
Emeka’s uncle: “Wife, Which wife?” the uncle asked. Emeka’s father just looked on blankly.
Ulysses: “He married before he died”
Mazi Udo: “Ewo, my enemies have succeeded oh. My son Emeka, Ogbonnaya” Emeka’sfather erupted into a loud cry.
Mazi Udo regained consciousness, and refused eating for days, Ulyses decided then, not to tell him the wife Emeka had married. The mourning house was opened, and the villagers trooped in, to give their condolences, they all agreed that though there had been cleansing, Ohamiri did not forgive Emeka. They consoled Mazi Udo and his family for the death of their son outwardly, but in their heart, they were happy. Many of them had lost belongings when they fled the village, some were relations of Mazi Emenike who had been sentenced to life imprisonment and now languishing in prison,some others were just jealous of Mazi Udo and his wealth, he seemed unscathed, and he was wont to boast of his son who was still alive and doing well somewhere.
During the mourning, Mazi Udo , alongside some his kinsmen went with Emeka’s friends to Lagos to bring his widow to the village to perform the mourning rites. Obianuju was on the patio with Yvonne, they were discussing the burial arrangements over iced tea,when the security men told them that people were at the gate looking for the madam of the house.
Security man: “Oga Ulyses follow dem come o” the security man emphasized.Obianuju turned to look at her friend,her eyes full of fear.
Obianuju: “Those must be Emeka’s people, I am so scared, what will happen” she said through quivering lips.
Yvonne: “Whatsoever happens, we are here to support you, you are Emeka’s legal wife and this is not Umueke” her friend replied. They went towards the living room after telling the security man to let the people in. Yvonne sat down, while Obianuju went to get chilled drinks from the kitchen. When Mazi Udo came in with his kinsmen, his eyes fell on Yvonne.
Mazi Udo: “So my son left obodo oyibo to come here and marry fake oyibo?” he said looking at Yvonne’s fair skin and her ombre brazillian wig. Obianuju came in at that moment holding two bottles of Hennessey
Mazi Udo: “What is this cursed woman doing in my son’s house, somebody explain it to me” Emeka’s father thundered. Obianuju knelt down before him with tears streaming down her cheeks.
Obianuju: “Nnayi, please forgive me” she pleaded, holding on to his feet.
Mazi Udo: “I should forgive you, for killing my son. I am not your father, go and look for your mad father” he said and flung his leg, it caught Obianuju square on the mouth. Ulyses rushed to them and helped Obianuju up, he handed her to Yvonne to clean her up, as blood was dripping from her broken lips.
Ulysses: “Now you might be Emeka’sfather, but that woman is the one he loved until his death, his wife .You will respect her or you will be thrown out of this house” he said, the veins on his neck protruding out.
Mazi Udo: “I can see you all connived with that Ohamiri slave to kill my son and take his properties, but it will not work. This is my son’s house and I will stay”
Ulysses: “Only if Obianuju wants you to stay, she owns this house and all of Emeka’s properties now, this is not Umueke, this is civilization”
Mazi Udo: “No matter what happens, that cursed woman will not inherit my son’s properties, not after causing so much problems and killing my son with her curse” Emeka’s father said and sat down with finality, his kinsmen nodded their heads in approval as they all took their seat.
Obianuju laid restless on the Sofa; she was tossing, switching positions. The mind had become a busy road for different thoughts kept plying. The time was two in the afternoon when she finally felt dizzy and dozed off,
Ohamiri showed her face in the bucket of water she was about to take her bath with,
Ohamiri: “So you think you can run from your destiny,Obianuju! You can never run from me! I’m your mistress. The only goddess you can serve. From birth I had chosen you!”
Obianuji: “No, I have decided that my destiny treads a different path!” scared, she managed to say.
Ohamiri: “Only a fool tests the depth of a river with both feet! How far do you think you can go in life without me! It’s this mere mortal your infidel of a husband you’ve chosen over me! If you don’t return to me. I promise to steal your joy away pinch by pinch until your find no essence in living!”
Obianuju: “I…I…” Ohamiri disappeared.
Obianuju woke up frightened; she looked at Yvonne and felt relieved seeing Yvonne busy making some Barbeques at the patio
Questions: Do you think Obianuju can conquer Ohamiri? Should Obianuju accept fate and go back to Ohamiri?
…. SEE Episode 8 Below (You don’t want to miss this!)
SEE Episode 13
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