It’s sad how some really unfortunate things can happen to good people in life. Such is Mrs. Chuka’s story. She lost her husband to death barely a decade after they were married, and instead of remarrying had decided to care for her children all by herself. She didn’t have all the money in the world and merely had a job as a cleaner at the Murtala International Airport. But she was very hardworking. Asides working her job as a cleaner, she also did some side [legal] businesses one of which was preparing fermented cassava popularly called fufu which she sold to restaurants and some two star hotels within Lagos. These sources of income helped her train her two sons through the university. Her last child [and only daughter] was about to graduate from the University of Lagos where she was studying Psychology when the troubles started.
The woman was at home one evening when her daughter surprised her with an unexpected visit. And as they got discussing, the beautiful young woman had disclosed to her mother that she was nearly two months pregnant. This got Mrs. Chuka alarmed, for her daughter was not married and the people would certainly talk. She didn’t want to be put to shame. To that her daughter told her not to worry; it was a man who got her pregnant not a boy. And her man was very pleased she was pregnant. As a matter of fact it was part of the man’s plans towards marrying her; he needed to be sure she was fertile enough to bear him children… So he was prepared to marry her, which was why the girl had come to see her mother to inform her what was happening so she wouldn’t continue to be in the dark.
Mrs. Chuka’s mind then calmed down. She went from apprehensive to happy; after all not only was her daughter about to get married, there was a grandchild on the way. Consequently, in the coming days the would-be in-laws came around to see the woman and officially ask her daughter’s hand in marriage. Before long the traditional marital rites were performed, the couple eventually solemnizing their union in the court. And just a few weeks afterwards the pregnant young woman became critically ill. Her husband rushed her to the hospital. It was then the doctors discovered Ezinne was having an ectopic pregnancy. As a matter of fact, the Fallopian tube had already ruptured and surgery was urgently needful. Her distraught husband made the money available and provided everything they wanted, and it was left for the doctors who then battled to save the young woman’s life. Unfortunately, one complication resulted in another and despite how hard the doctors tried to save her life, she ended up not making it. Hers was the first tragedy and her mother was devastated.
Five months later yet another unfortunate incident happened. It was two days since she last heard from her first son, so Mrs. Chuka had decided to drive over to her son’s place and find out how he was doing. It was weekend, and after she got to his apartment in the fancy part of Surulere and knocked severally on the door without response, she used her spare key to open the door. As she stepped inside the house she was met by an unpleasant smell which almost forced her to turn around and leave. But she had covered her nose with her handkerchief instead and began to walk around the big apartment in search of the source of the stench. And then she found it, in her son’s room. He was lying in his bed, dead and bloating with what was apparently stab wounds on his chest. The white bed sheet was covered with his own blood, and flies were having a feast. The woman stared at her son’s body in disbelief for a while before she finally opened her mouth wide enough to scream just enough for everyone to hear before she collapsed.
As the police later investigated the crime, a young woman named Yemisi was arrested in connection. She was the victim’s girlfriend who had been with him for nearly six years since their university days. As she told the police during interrogation, she discovered that her boyfriend was planning to get married but not to her, so she had come to his house on that unfortunate night to find out whether there was truth to what she was hearing. To her greatest surprise, her boyfriend of many years told her she indeed heard well in the rumour mills. As a matter of fact, the girl to whom he had proposed to was already pregnant for him and the wedding would be soon. She went further to disclose-
“I didn’t know what overtook me at that moment. It was as though the love I once felt for him was suddenly replaced with this intense hatred; deeper than what I could ever explain. I did not fight with him though. Instead I was just quiet as he explained why he did it; he had tried so many times to get me pregnant without succeeding and so had figured out I was probably not the one for him. He apologized that I had to learn about it the way I did. Afterwards I left. But I returned in the middle of the night, used my spare key to gain access and was quiet enough so as not to wake him. I didn’t really have a reason for wanting to return; there was no motive to him. If anything I was just in shock and numb. So I entered his room and he was asleep. And it was then I realized how much I hated him so much for jilting me. Without thinking through my next course of action, I walked to the kitchen, got the knife and returned back to the room where I stabbed him to death in his sleep. Afterwards I locked up his apartment and left, remaining in shock ever since until you came to arrest me.”
Mrs. Chuka’s health had never been the same again ever since…
~ Emmanuel Benson
*This is a work of fiction.