“Doctor! Nurse! Come quick, daddy is not breathing well”, Charity screams. The doctor and nurse run after her to the ward. They meet Mr Jide restless and gulping for air. The doctor sends Charity who is panicking out and he begins to make efforts to stabilize him. After few minutes, they come out looking dejected.
Charity: “Doctor, how is my father, can I go in and see him now?”
Doctor: “I am sorry, madam. We tried our best but we lost him. He had high blood pressure that resulted in stroke”.
Charity grabs the doctor’s jacket, “What are you saying, what did you do to my father?”
Doctor: “You have to be strong, ma’am. We did our best for him”.
She releases him and runs to the ward. “Daddy, please it’s me your daughter, just wake up for me. Daddy you can’t die now, don’t leave me alone in this world. Daddy listen to me, I will pack out of Chuck’s house and come and live with you. Just wake up please”, she is screaming at the top of her voice as she keeps shaking her father’s corpse. Her uncle who is shocked by his father’s death comes and takes her away.
Iyabo runs into the ward carrying the container of food that she had prepared for her husband, she freezes when she sees Charity coming out in tears.
Iyabo: “Where is my husband? I want to go in and see him”.
Charity: “Daddy is gone!” she lets out a shrieking wail.
Iyabo: “Gone bawo? I was told that he is on admission here. Has he been discharged?”
Charity: “My daddy is dead ooo, he died and left me all alone in world”, says amidst sobs.
Iyabo drops her bag and runs to Mr Jide’s brother. “What are you people saying? My husband is dead? No now, Jide cannot just die like that. He cannot just die like that o”, she runs into the ward and freezes on seeing her husband’s pale and stone cold body. “Jide, how can you just die without waiting for me? Ah! What an empty world, Jide you were there for me and I abandoned you when you needed me most. You made several efforts to get me back and I resisted because I felt you were not rich enough for me. I left you and went into the world, got some money and started a business that is flourishing but even with my business, I know no peace. Deep within my heart, I knew that I can only find peace when I return to you, I realized it too late, the cold hands of death played a smart one on me and snatched you from my hands. I will miss you, my husband. Yeay! Death come and kill me too, kill me o. indeed we do not know what we have until we lose it”. She throws herself on the ground and begins to roll.
Charity walks up to her stepmother and kneels before her.
Charity: “I am sorry, ma. You tried to correct me but I refused to heed your admonitions. I was seeing men in secret when I was at home and when I went to the university, I became wild; I am now paying dearly for my sins”.
Iyabo embraces her. “I am sorry too my daughter, my approach of correcting you was wrong. I was unnecessarily harsh and violent and that pushed you into the hands of men. At that age, all you needed was motherly love and guidance but I was jealous of you because I didn’t have a child of my own after the first one died and so I wanted you to end up wayward. As parents, it is important that we draw our children to ourselves and correct them with love that way they can open up to us whenever they are undergoing any peer pressure. Your father was a good man but I was never contented with him because he couldn’t make me pregnant after my first child even though it was not his fault. I left him at the slightest provocation so that I can be free to flirt with other men with the aim of getting another child so that I don’t die childless. After everything, all the other men also couldn’t make me pregnant. How can I even get another child when I constantly remind you of your dead mother and make mockery of the fact that she died at childbirth? I hesitated to make up with your father until it was too late and this is a lesson that we shouldn’t put off until tomorrow the good we can do to people today because tomorrow may be too late. My daughter, God cannot be deceived; whatever we sow we shall reap. I am sorry, please forgive me”, they continue weeping until the hospital workers ask them to leave the premises.
Charity runs out of the hospital like a mad woman. Staring at her father’s corpse had caused her to remember all that she has suffered in the hands of Chucks and how he had prevented her from visiting her father when he needed her most. Several thoughts of vengeance against him runs through her mind. “I will poison his food and he will die. No, it will be suspicious, maybe I will just strangle him in his sleep, but I can’t do that, he is stronger than me, he will over power me, ah, okay, I know what to do. Chucks must surely pay for all that he did to me”. She is still soliloquizing when she runs into a car that was coming along the road.
Stephen: “Jesus Christ!” he avoids hitting her. He gets down from the car. “Madam, you need to watch carefully while you are walking on a main road such as this”, Charity recognizing him as Stephen tries to cover her face with her veil, ashamed of her condition, she makes to walk away but he stops her.
Stephen: “Madam, is anything the matter? I can help you, I am a lawyer. Jesus! Charity!”
She attempts to walk away but he grabs her on the arm. “Charity? My God I almost couldn’t recognize you. You are a shadow of yourself, what happened to you? Why are there scars on your face? Were you ever involved in an accident?”
Charity unable to speak begins to weep. Stephen leads her into his car and drives her to his office.
He offers a seat and a glass of cold water.
Stephen: “So, tell me. What happened to you? Why are you like this?”
Charity continues to weep.
Stephen: “You need to put yourself together and talk to me. You know I can help you”.
Charity: “It is Chucks, He has turned me into his punching bag, he beats me up at the slightest provocation. I am a prisoner in my own house”.
Stephen: “Who is Chucks? Oh, you mean your husband? No, you can’t be serious. You mean he did all these to you? How could he be this heartless? I knew it, I saw the violent tendencies in him the first time I met him, I warned you Charity but you wouldn’t listen to me. Now look you, I almost couldn’t recognize you because you look 50 years older than your age. Its okay, wipe your tears. Where is he now?”
Charity: “I don’t know, he leaves the house without informing me and comes back anytime he likes. Sometimes, he goes away for days and when I try to ask me questions, he beats me up”.
Stephen: “My goodness, that man is an animal. Why didn’t you speak up? Do you know that you could have lost your life in the hands of that monster? When you die, the bastard will mourn you for few weeks and marry another woman”.
Charity: “Speak up? Did you say I should have opened up? To who? How can I tell people that the man I call my husband beats me up every day? How can I face my people and tell them that the husband I chose for myself has turned my bedroom into a wrestling ring? You want me to stare my friends in the face and tell them that my husband rapes me? Who do I tell that I am a prisoner in my own home? How can I even speak up when my greed and insatiable love for material things caused me to abandon you after all you did for me?”
Stephen: “What! You mean he did all these to you? Your husband rapes you? That monster ought to be behind bars. Yet, you should have spoken up. No woman who is experiencing domestic violence in her home should suffer in silence because of shame or what people will say. There are agencies set up to help women who are victims of domestic violence. You are supposed to enjoy your marriage and not to endure it. What if he had killed you? Would you have forgiven yourself for suffering in silence? Anyway, I will help you. He has to pay for all he did to you. Where is your father now? I lost touch with him last year after I travelled for a course in Oxford”.
Charity begins to weep uncontrollably at the mention of her father.
“What is it? You are not in good terms with your father? Talk to me”. Stephen says.
Charity: “My father died few hours ago”.
Stephen: “What! The gentle Mr Jide is gone? May God grant him eternal rest. He was such a nice man, he kept on calling me even after you broke my heart, he was like a father to me, he will be greatly missed. Wipe your tears; I will take care of his burial expenses. The gentle Mr Jide will be given a befitting burial. And for your husband, you have to go home now and get me your marriage certificates and some other proof of violence against you that you have so that we can begin the legal process of making him pay for all he did to you”.
Charity: “There is no need for any legal proceedings; I have made up my mind to kill him myself. Yes, Chucks hurt me so badly that nothing will give me joy than to snatch the life out of him”.
Stephen: “No, Charity. Vengeance is the Lord’s. Do not take laws into your hands, you will end up hurting yourself in the process. I am a human right lawyer, I and a team of other lawyers are involved in cases like this. Don’t worry, you just leave everything to us”.
Iyabo having cried her eyes out picks up her bags and leaves the hospital. She boards a taxi and goes home feeling like her world has crumbled. As she reminisces on the times she shared with her husband and how she had been putting up making up with him until death struck, she begins to regret all her actions including the way she treated her husband’s only daughter. The ringtone of her Nokia phone jerks her back to reality. She checks the screen of the phone, it is Iya Bisi who owns a shop close to her in the market.
Iyabo: “Hello, I dey hear you”.
Iya Bisis: “Market don catch fire o, our shops and everything wey dey inside don burn to ashes. I don die o, na loan I collect from bank buy goods iyo!” Iya Bisi’s voice carries all the pain in her heart.
Iyabo: “You say wetin? My shop for market don burn to ashes? Why now? Where do I go from here? My husband is dead and the only shop I depend on for sustenance is burnt down. Now I am paying for all my wickedness to my step daughter”. She collapses on the chair.
Alhaji has just finished withdrawing money from the bank when a gang of armed robbers storm the premises and begin to shot sporadically. The robbers who are all masked are trying to run into the vault room when Alhaji recognizes the birth mark on Chucks hands. He begins to contemplate if it is his son or not. “My son is an armed robber? No, that can’t be possible. But this person has his body structure and birth mark in the same spot. Okay, let me call his name and see, if he is the one, he won’t harm me and he will allow me go as his father. Chucks!” he screams freezing Chucks who is holding an AK 47 gun.
Chucks: “What! Alhaji, how dare you call my name? “
Alhaji: “My son, so you are an armed robber? Unbelievable! Please allow me go, you can’t rob or harm me, I am your father, your own blood. Let me go now”.
Chucks: “Did you say you are my father? What moral justification have you to call me your son? The children you threw out of the house long ago? You pushed me into this sort of life because I needed a means to survive even though I have a rich father who never catered for me and my siblings. Oh, you want me to allow you live so that you can expose my identity to the police right? I don’t trust you old man”
His father opens his mouth to plead with him when Chucks shots him on the forehead killing him instantly.
Charity gets home to meet the television on, “So, Chucks came back to the house and left the television on”. She goes into the room and begins to search for her wedding certificate, she remembered that Chucks had collected the certificate on their wedding day but she couldn’t remember where he had kept it. She is in a hurry to pick the certificates and other documents and leave the house before Chucks returns when a breaking news on the television screen attracts her attention. The news caster had reported that a gang of robbers who had gone to rob a bank were involved with the Police and some of them were shot dead. When the details and photos of those involved in the robbery were provided, Charity is overwhelmed with shock when she sees Chucks picture as one of those shot dead.
Charity: “What! Chucks is an armed robber? Oh my God, no wonder he leaves the house mysteriously at night and even stays away for days. My God I am finished, my father just died and my husband has been shot dead. God, where do I go from here? I am finished, my life is ruined. See what my materialistic nature had caused me. I was carried away by flashy things not knowing that all that glitters is not gold. I was not patient enough to marry Stephen who stood by me at all times”, she begins to cry hysterically.
Few months later, after the burial of her father, Charity goes to visit Stephen to thank him for the role he played during her father’s burial.
Stephen: “You are welcome, Charity. Please make yourself comfortable”.
Charity: “Thank you so much for all the support you gave us during my father’s burial. I don’t know what the family would have done without you. You practically took care of all the expenses. You are now rich, Stephen”.
Stephen: “All glory be to God. You know with prayer, hard work and dedication, nothing is impossible with God. I won that mega case that I was working on for two years before you ditched me. That gave me lots of money and after then it has been festivals of victory for me in court. I now have my own Chambers with junior lawyers working under me. It pays to wait on the Lord. How are you, sorry about the death of your husband”.
Charity: “Hmmn, Chucks has been buried and all his properties confiscated, including the stolen car he gave me as a wedding gift. I am back to my father’s house now. After the mourning period is over, I will use some of the money we got during the burial to start a little business”.
Stephen: “Don’t worry, I will help you in any way I can. I will give you some money and then I will encourage that you go back to the University and get your results so that we can look for a job for you. By the way, I met Stella some weeks ago, she hawks groundnuts in the streets with a baby strapped to her back. When I confronted her, she said a rich man got her pregnant and ran out of the country leaving no trace behind. With a Pass degree and the unemployment situation in Nigeria, she is hawking to feed herself and her child. That is what happens when we lose focus in life”.
Charity: “Thank you very much for everything. I guess life doesn’t forgive. Stella is paying for her mistakes just the way I am paying for mine. What about us Stephen, I still love you; you know that I have always loved you”.
Stephen: “Like seriously? You must be kidding me. I am a married man now, I got married early last year to the daughter of our state governor, I tell you, my union with her is a marriage made in Heaven and my wife just gave birth to a bouncing baby boy last month, I just got back from UK where she had the baby a day before I ran into you. I love my wife so much, she means more than the world to me. I have moved on, you should too. God will give you a better man in due time”.
Charity: “I don’t mind being your second wife, please Stephen”.
Stephen: “No, Charity. I believe in the principle of one man one wife. I can never marry you again”.
Charity walks away with her head bowed low as the reality that she had lost Stephen, her father and everything forever dawns on her.
One year later, Charity becomes very ill. Even though she had been feeling feverish and weak after her father died, she had put off going to the hospital because she is barely struggling to feed herself having exhausted all the money that Stephen gave her for business before relocating to join his wife and son in the UK. She continued to indulge in self medication which worsened her case. After suffering from rapid weight loss, recurring fever, extreme and unexplained tiredness, she decides to go the general hospital closest to her. The doctor recommends a number of tests and the results showed that she is HIV positive. Ashamed of what people will say about her ailment, she refuses to go for treatment and ignores all medication given her by the hospital. She relocates to the village out of shame and there she dies after six months.
When Stephen heard of her ailment and death, he is grateful to God for giving him the grace to abstain from forcing her to bed or even raping her when she denied him sex.
Stephen: “Only God knows where she contacted the disease from and how many people she has infected. I thank God for helping me not to force my way into having intercourse with her”. He says.
And thus our story for this week ends. We do hope that you enjoyed every episode even as we strive to improve and serve you better. Did you learn some lessons from this story or you have questions and suggestions concerning this story or the previous ones, please feel free to drop your comments below!
….THE END. (Stay tuned for Another Inspiring Story… AdeLove Stories.. Premiere Naija inspirational Blog)
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