The girls eventually lost their lives despite the doctors’ efforts. Their mother was devastated and traumatized. Just like her sister, it had taken her a long time to conceive and had almost been kicked out of her husband’s house by his family but was saved by the love her husband had for her. She refused to stop crying and lamenting over her misfortune.
Morenike: “I know how you feel little sister but what has happened has happened. Please take heart so you don’t do yourself harm” she consoled her sadly.
Morenikeji: “It is easy for you to say because you are not in my shoes. You know how long it had taken us to become mothers. Now the two blessings God used to wipe away my tears and to take away my reproach are dead and gone forever. Couldn’t I have died in their stead? Of what use is this life to me anymore? Please leave me so I can do myself harm. Why do I need to be healthy when my children are dead?” she countered bitterly.
Morenike: “All I am saying is that you should take it easy. I know it is painful; I am pained too, losing the only nieces I have but my dear, this is not the end of life for you so don’t give up. You can still have other children; there is nothing impossible for God to do”
She leaned back on the chair with her hands on her head.
Morenikeji: “Other children at this age? I am already seeing signs of my menopause and you know my husband is hardly around. What if I find it difficult to conceive just like earlier? Our parents were unable to have other children after us, you are unable to have other children after Kemi and I had just two too. How do you think Id be able to have other children too?”
They heard several feet shuffling outside, looked towards the entrance and saw that it was two of her inlaws. She quickly stood up to greet them, wiping her tears.
“Welcome iya Ibeji and Olori ebi” she went on her knees in greeting.
Iyabeji: “Please hold on to your greeting there. We have not come to condole with you in anyway, we have come for something even more serious than the death of your children” she eyed the two sisters rudely and took her seat, seething with anger.
She watched as the children ate the food she had prepared. Abiodun without waiting for her had ran into the kitchen to serve himself and his little sister the rice and stew he had found in the kitchen when they returned from school.
Mary: “Abbey, did I ask you to go carry the food?” she asked, eyeing him disdainfully.
Abiodun: “This is my father’s house so why do I need anyone’s permission to eat? When my mother was here, we always met our food on the dinning as soon as we arrive from school but these days, we hardly even meet any food at home” he replied without taking his eyes off his food.
Mary: “Do I look like your mother? Or do you think I came here to act as your cook or housemaid?” she retorted.
The boy kept quiet. Hearing her mention his mother always made him want to punch her in the face but he knew he dared not try it.
“Are you not the one I am talking to little boy?”
Abiodun: “Please what do you want me to say? My mum taught me not to talk while I am eating. Kemi, are you enjoying the food?” he suddenly turned his attention to his sister.
Kemi: “Yes. Don’t fight aunty Mary Abbey” she said innocently.
The exchange between the two siblings suddenly made her more irritated. She went over to them, snatched the plate from them and headed for the kitchen. They went after her.
Kemi: “Aunty Mary I am still hungry” she complained.
Abiodun: “Give us our food now. We just started eating” he stamped his feet on the neatly tiled floor.
Mary: “Aren’t I the one you are ignoring? Today, I will show you I now own this house” she said, opened the waste basket and turned their half-eaten food into it.
Abiodun: “Why did you do that?” he was behind himself with rage.
Mary: “Because I want to. Now get out of my kitchen and go clean up the dining you messed up with your dirty eating habits”
Kemi: “I am still hungry” she began to cry.
Mary: “C’mon get out of here!” she shoved the girl roughly towards the door.
Abiodun: “Don’t push my sister like that. I will surely tell dad when he returns from work” he said, barely able to hold his own tears.
Five hours later when they were supposed to have had dinner, their father arrived from work. Kemi who had been crying for food all day stood up immediately with lines of dried up tears criss-crossing across her face.
Mary: “Welcome back honey” she blocked the girl from reaching her dad with her body. She hugged him and collected his briefcase.
Joseph: “Thank you my dear. Ever since you came into my life I have peace of mind”
Kemi: “Daddy…” she called weakly from behind her stepmum.
Joseph: “Hey baby girl!” he bent down to scoop her up but was surprised at the tell-tale of weeping on her face. “Have you been crying? What happened?” he cast a look at Abiodun who was not even looking their way. He sat rigidly on the floor where she had made them sit all day.
Mary: “She is crying for her mum as usual. These children of yours are spoilt. They have refused to give me rest of mind. Each time I give them food, they will go and pour it inside the dustbin saying its their mother’s food they want” she said sadly.
Joseph: “Is that true?” he set the girl back on her feet.
Abiodun: “It is not true daddy. She refused to give us food and each time we take it ourselves, she will collect it and pour it inside the dustbin” he explained with bitterness in his voice.’’
Mary: “Honey do you really think I can do something like that to the children who are just like siblings to me?”
Kemi: “Daddy I am hungry” she began to cry again, clutching her tummy.
Mary: “Come let me show you the food inside the dustbin. How can I pour the food I cooked with my own sweat away when two little kids are hungry?”
Morenike: “Se o sii o(hope there’s no problem?)” she asked with her hands in between her laps.
Iyabeji: “Ko ma baa sii naa la fi wa (we are here in order for there to be no problems)” she replied with the same attitude she had on while replying to her sister’s greeting.
Olori Ebi: “We can no longer condone all these nonsense happening in this family. Remember how long it took you to conceive?” his voice quivered as he spoke. He was an old man barely hanging on to life.
Morenikeji: “What nonsense is happening in this family?”
Olori Ebi: “What do you call the death of our children? Is it making sense to you? Well I’m not here to argue with you on what it’s called. From our findings, we have found out that the issue is from your family” he eyed Morenike.
Morenikeji: “What do you mean by it’s from my family?” she sat up on her chair.
Iyabeji: “Why exactly did your sister leave her husband’s house? The ill-luck she brought with her is what caused the death of the girls so we have decided that she must leave this house”
Morenikeji: “That is impossible!”
Olori Ebi: “If you refuse for her to leave, we will have to throw the two of you out”
Morenikeji: “You wouldn’t dare!” she pranced up to her feet, visibly shaken by their ultimatum.
Question: Will she stand by her sister until the end? Who will Joseph believe; his children or his wife?
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