Part 7
Opeyemi Akintunde

It didn’t take about two weeks for the feelings to dissipate from my heart. Guess why?

It suddenly dawned on me , he was not Yoruba. Though he was not Igbo, he was not from Yoruba either. I reminded myself of the torture I went through in the hands of my in-laws.

I also realized that my Spiritual life was gradually reducing..I decided to focus my attention on my reason for coming to Church.

The only problem I had was Joan. Joan was always on my neck about making myself visible for my Pastor, but I didn’t take her advice.

Exactly few months to two years of losing Chike, Joan called me one evening…

” Mayowa, Chike’s family wants to have a service of Remembrance in honour of Chike, I believed they have reached you as well” Joan said

” Rememberance ?” I asked very surprised.

” Oh! They are yet to call you?”

” Yes!”

” Well that’s shocking, I got a mail this morning from his younger brother, Tobe.”

” I guess they won’t be calling me, not after how they raped me” I said with the wound in my heart suddenly becoming fresh.

” They raped you?”. Joan was taken aback by that…

” Joan, Chike’s death took a lot from me. Don’t let start recounting it. Long and short, I was subjected to a lot of torture in the name of widow’s rite.”

For the first time, Joan was not chatty self. She went quiet…

After a while , she eventually spoke…

” I am sorry you had to go through all these”.

It seem like the conversation between Joan and I had, was too hard for her to bear, because unlike her I did not hear from her a whole week. I called her, my children called her but she didn’t pick up , and neither did she return our calls.

My phone rang one Saturday evening while playing chess game with my children. It was my Father in-law calling me. Since Chike died he had not called me once. It was only my mother in-law that made it a duty to call every first day of the month. I know my mother in-law longed to see me and the Children but I couldn’t let her fulfil the longing. I was scared of the men I saw at Chike’s burial..

” Hello Papa…” I said on picking up

“Mayowa, Kedu”

“ọ dị mma Papa”

” Mayowa, your husband’s brothers are planning to do a rememberance service for their brother, you have to be there, it is in two months time. Make sure you bring the children with you. Ị na-anụ na?( Do you hear?)”

I replied in Igbo as well… Marriage to Chike for a decade had made me Igbo by marriage, I understood the Igbo language in bits and pieces and likewise I could speak in that same measure..

” Papa, I have heard you..I will be there”

I ended the call with my right hand shaking. I had to use the other hand to stop it from shaking. I should have told him I couldn’t make it, but did I the ‘liver’ to say that to my authoritative father in law…

Two months passed so fast.

I was not planning to stay with my children in the family house. Instead, almost a month ahead of the rememberance service, we searched online and found a self service apartment in a G.R.A close to my In-laws hometown. From the apartment, we would have to drive thirty minutes to get to my in-laws place.

As a way of watching my back, we came to the town a week earlier. I didn’t want any ambush set on the road on the day of the arrival.

We also travelled by road. My mother in-law had suggested that we fly in and my Crime novel instinct told me to change the plans.

As the taxi drove us into the GRA. I Was happy I made the choice of the apartment. The environment was serene.

We further drove through another gate. On getting in, we saw similar blocks of flats. We alighted , paid the fare and dropped our boxes.

We looked lost, not knowing where to go. I brought out my phone, dialed the number of the agent. He directed me to the office of the person in charge.

I walked into the office, to find a plumpy woman seated…

” How can I help you?” She said with the sweetest voice ever…

Part 8
Opeyemi Akintunde

“Good Afternoon ma, I booked an apartment for my….” I was saying

” Your name please?”

” Mayowa Nwosu”

” Oh! Welcome ma…Oh! Your children are…. wow! Hello dear, Wow you remind me of someone” The woman said facing Nonso.

” You look so much like my son”… The woman said

” Oh!” I replied

” I mean, this was exactly how he looked when he was your age” She said smiling at Nonso. Nonso was a replica of Chike, likewise Amaka. I was dark-skinned while Chike was very fair-skinned. Both of my kids took after Chike…

” Wow! Interesting..Thank you ma” I replied. The woman had a warm Spirit. I felt at ease around her…

” Please sit” She pointed at a couch. She picked up her phone and spoke calmly to the other person.

After few minutes, a man came to the reception. He brought a small shuttle which I suspected he wanted to use to transport our luggages. I was so exhausted I didn’t pay attention to the man, but Nonso my son said…

” Mum, the man looks so much like Uncle Kamsi” He said and I looked towards the man. My heart stopped for a few seconds.

Kamsi was my brother in-law. Not only did he look like Kamsi, he had a striking resemblance with my Chike. I tried to see his full face feature and I could say he and Chike were probably twins separated at birth…

” Hello Sir…”

” Hello Ma” He answered very cautiously

” Are you related to the Nwosus?” I asked softly.

He looked at me and shook his head in the negative.

His face tensioned. I could see that the question did not sit well with him.

” He is not related to anything Igbo, He just looks like one.” The Woman said from behind.

” So sorry about that, He looks like someone from my husband’s family” I said as I was relieved as well. I didn’t want any of Chike’s family knowing about my whereabouts. I wanted to lay low till the day of the Rememberance where I planned on spending just an hour at the function before disappearing and without saying goodbye.

The man carried two of our bags with the intention of coming back for the others…

” Nonso and Amaka, pick your bags”

” No, I will come back for it” the man said

” They have hands…” I replied, carrying two other bags as well, that way there won’t be the need for the man to return the second time.

We got to our apartment, it was a two bedroom apartment. It looked very cozy and neat…

” Can we stay here forever” Chiamaka said.

” Yes!” Nonso agreed…

I smiled. My dream was that my Children would live a good life but circumstances;
was proving otherwise. Back in Rivers, we were living in a one room studio apartment close to my small restaurant. It had one living room where I slept most times, it had a bedroom where my kids slept. The house had a separate toilet and bathroom. We also had a kitchen. The money I received from Chike’s business partner was being spent wisely. I therefore could understand why my children felt good about stepping into the beautiful short-let apartment.

” This is my room” Chiamaka said running towards one of the room

” The other one is mine” Nonso said too…

” What about me? Where do I get to sleep?” I said happily

” You can stay in my room” they both chorused. I couldn’t help but laugh. Nonso and Amaka were God’s gift to me…

Another laughter besides mine jolted me back to the present. I turned and realized the man who had brought our bags was still at the entrance…

” Oh! I am sorry , I thought you had gone..” I said. I also had caught him off guard as I saw his wide smile. There was a look of Longing in his eyes…

” I am sorry ma. If you need anything , please feel free to call the number on the table.”

” Ok..thank you sir!”

” Ma’am I should be the one thanking you. Thank you for helping with the luggages. Not all guest treat workers with such utmost respect . Thank you ma” He said

I looked at the man, he still had the striking resemblance to my Chike, but his eyes were sad unlike the happy eyes my Chike had.

I dipped my hands into my pocket and brought a few naira notes…

” Please have this!” I said

He stepped back in total shock and shook his head in the negative.

” No ma, thank you ma, you have shown enough generosity towards me. ” He said hurriedly leaving our apartment…

I instantly liked that about him. He definitely was a well trained man. He had integrity, he was not greedy a person.

I called out my children and gave them a short lecture about the man, teaching them the moral in my encounter with him.

We had a very sound sleep.

I woke up around 5am. I wanted to wake the children to pray but I decided to let them be. The journey was a long one. I decided to clean up the house instead. I checked the apartment and there was no broom in sight. There were no cleaning essentials around.

I went to the table where the intercom was and dialed the number from the paper…

No one answer despite several calls. I concluded all the staff were still sleeping.

I waited till 7am and called again. This time around gratefully the woman picked up…

” Good Morning ” She said heartily

” Good Morning ma, this is Mrs Nwosu, one of the guest that arrived yesterday.”

” Oh! Good morning ma. Did you sleep well?”

” Yes I did!”

” Thank God. Is there something you need?”

” Yes ma, there is no broom in our apartment, I mean cleaning essentials.”

” Oh! That’s because the man who brought you cleans the apartment. I will send him to you right away.”

She ended the call!

The first thing I thought about was the man ..

” Does it mean that he does a lot of chores around here. He must really be poor?”

I soon forgot about him and went
to have my bath. Nonso and Amaka said their prayers, had their bath and resumed watching TV. After having my bath I came out of the bedroom to the living room to tell them to turn down the volume of the TV.

What I saw shocked me to my bones…


1. The Story was Inspired by the Living Word

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