“Aww…it is so beautiful!!!” Amaka exclaimed
“Yea…the painter did a good job here” Elizabeth led them inside the room that would serve as her room as well as the children’s room.
She had picked Mrs Ojukwu from the hospital and they had come straight to the new two-bedroom apartment. The woman has responded positively to treatment, though she would need more help and therapy to get back to her feet.
“Thanks to the good Doctor who suggested this place when I told him I was looking for a house, I think I will like it here” Elizabeth put the bags down and brought out some light curtains and ropes, she took a nail and a hammer and headed towards the window
Amaka emptied the bag for the remaining things “At least you have a compound to yourself, no nosey neighbors…and good radiance to that your crazy landlady” she brought out another small curtain “Where is this one going into?”
“The bathroom over there” Elizabeth pointed, she had a nail trapped between her teeth, and on between her fingers
“You now put curtains in the bathroom too? Chai see oyibo” she walked to the bathroom “Who did he say leaved here before?” Amaka shouted from the bathroom
“His brother and the family before they moved to UK!” Elizabeth called back “Ouch!” she exclaimed painfully
“What!” Amaka asked
“I hit the hammer on my fingers instead of the nail” she sucked the fingers and tears welled in her eyes, Amaka came out of the bathroom
“This is not a work for a woman!” She sniffled “I wish he was here, I wouldn’t be doing this…we would have been probably married”
Amaka helped her down from the chair she used as ladder “You have to stop Lizy, stop reminding yourself how life would have been if he was here” “She brought a chair closer and sat heavy Elizabeth down “He is not here…”
“That is the point!” Elizabeth relaxed her tired back on the chair back-rest “this has not been easy for me, sometimes I feel like this pregnancy is a curse to me, a punishment for all my sins” “She roughly wiped few drops of tears from her eyes “It has not been easy without him…taking care of his mother, and then this…” she shook her head “I miss him terribly Amaka”
“I know girl” Amaka went to her friend and gave her a hug “You have me, you have your mother and the little Angel Omalicha, we will take care of you”
Elizabeth nodded, sniffled and chuckled “don’t mind me, I act like a baby these days, I guess being pregnant is taking its toll on me”
“It suits you though” Amaka picked the hammer again
“Don’t lie now Amaka, it rather made me to add more weight. I look like a pregnant rhino” they both laughed as their laughter faded Amaka asked
“How is mama?”
“She is fine, she can make few audible speeches and walk short distance. Doctor Nkama said he will be coming from time to time to check on her”
“That is nice”
“Amaka” Elizabeth called
“Hmm” Amaka continued nailing the curtains in the children’s room
“I want to give Ebube’s Mother his ATM card”
Amaka paused “why? Ebube gave it to you so you can take care of yourself”
“He also said I should take care of his mother”
“And that is exactly what you are doing! Girlfriend, you need this money to take care of the babies, Omalicha and your mother in-law…ehn sorry that came out wrong”
“I don’t think I need it Amaka, I feel guilty, you need to see how my heart jumped down to my stomach when I paid for this place with his card” Elizabeth looked sober
“Believe me girl, you are doing the right thing and Ebube would have been pleased with your efforts. Not every lady will want nurse her dead fiancée’s mother…” Amaka consoled her friend
“I love that woman like my own mother, so I feel she should have her son’s money not me”
“Okay” Amaka sighed “can you concentrate in her getting better first, then the money issue will come later”
“Okay” Elizabeth Adjusted her weight on the chair “We have been on this room for hours o, Amaka finish this now we still have to go for shopping for baby things”
“Ehn-ehn…don’t come at me now o, you are the one that is sitting with your long stomach like ‘OandO ’ fuel Tanker” Amaka jokingly lashed back
“Me?? OandO fuel Tanker? Amaka you are disqualified from being a friend!”
“Okay” Amaka climbed down from the chair “You better start learning carpentry work because this ‘disqualified friend’ is quitting” Amaka feigned resignation
“No no no…Amy baby you can’t quit on me now” Elizabeth stood up “Oya no vex, I no disqualify you again na…” they both laughed.
That same day, as she waited for Amaka to return for them to go to the market, she was in her new room, the room she would share with the babies when they come, she unpacked her personal stuffs. She brought out the ring; the beautiful ring he wanted her to keep for him, she held it in her palm and brought it to her cheek, her tears washed the ring and her cheek made it warm “Ebube my love, I wish you are here to see what we made together” she brought the ring closer to the window and the ray of the sun made it radiate more “God, is there any way you could bring him back to me? Can you make him alive for me?” she knew she was asking impossible questions.
They wanted her to wipe everything that would remind her of the past, the past that had him in it. She had not changed her sim, she had hoped that he would call one day and tell her that everything was a dream, and that he would come back. She wanted to keep hoping, but her faith was failing “If he is still alive, he would have called no matter how difficult it is for him” Her mother had tried to persuade her to let go.
She sat on the bed and wept “They said he was shot twice, but… but …they didn’t bring his body home” her voice broke with sobs “They left him in a strange land”
Omalicha ran into the room “Mummy there is dead cwocwoche (cockroache) in my yoom”
Elizabeth quickly wiped her eyes “Oh babe, they are dead Roaches, they won’t bite…”
“Mummy are you crying again? You cry too much these days” the child said in her baby voice “Is it the babies that are kicking you?” she touched the Elizabeth’s stomach “Is your stomach paining you?”
Elizabeth shook her head “No baby, I am fine…”
“Let me talk to them” Omalicha lifted Elizabeth’s top and brought her mouth closer to it “Babies don’t hurt mummy, you hear? Sleep quietly so mummy’s stomach will not pain her again”
Elizabeth closed her eyes tight and the tears dropped, she groaned, her heart bled. When she heard Amaka’s voice down the sitting-room, she quickly slid the ring on her finger, removed her old sim from her phone and dropped it on top of the bed, she inserted the new one and went down to meet her friend.
She would transfer some of her old numbers in it later.
“They want Dialogue” Adsame commented
“That is the only way General” replied Ebube
Adsame drank from the bottle and wiped his mouth with the back of his hands “General Adsame dialogue with no one” he drank again
Sagal brought a cellular for General Adsame, he stood up and walked a little further away from where he sat with Ebube. He returned after answering the call, sat down and handed the phone back to Sagal. As Sagal walked away, she threw a glance at Ebube and Ebube looked away, Adsame saw it.
“You want to Bleep her” He said casually
“Who?…ehm…no…” Ebube chuckled
“I saw the way she looked at you” Adsame said after a long pause “Don’t make that mistake Soldier, nobody bleeps my woman”
He took in air and exhaled “I will be going to the border in the morning, I have some arms delivered to me” as if he read Ebube’s mind “My men controls there now”
They sat in silence, Ebube had a lot to say to him but he wanted to choose his words wisely “The UN is eager to see this war end, they can do anything to foster peace now” he waited for Adsame to reply but he didn’t, it was obvious that the war lord was done with the discussion.
“Why did you joint the Military Ebube?” that was the first time he called the soldier by his name
Ebube thought for a while “My father was a police man; he was shot by militants”
“So you joined the Military in other to fight your father’s battle?”
Ebube didn’t answer, he couldn’t because he didn’t even know why he joined the Navy. Adsame looked at him from the corner of his eyes, he gave a smirk and shook his head.
“I was once in the Army, a Major General” Adsame said nonchalantly
“Why did you choose this part then?”
“I didn’t choose this part, it chose me” he shifted the sand under his feet with his feet “Someone have to be the crusader” he looked at the Nigerian soldier and laughed “You are wondering why I worked against my own government and become a wanted man?”
“We planned the coup that brought Mohammad Barkhad as the military head of state, he was supposed to hold the country for five years and hand over” Adsame scratched his beard “He became greedy after four years and begged us to extend his tenure, some of us didn’t see what he was planning, until he called me in his office one day and made me a deal; “ ‘I want to rule Somalia as long as I live’ he said, and he felt I could make it possible to him, being the second highest ranked officer”
“He wanted to be a head of state for life?” Ebube asked
“He has spoken to others, some bought the idea because of the money and lifestyle he offered them, but few others didn’t give him their support, so he wanted me to convince them” he scratched his beards again, this time, a little longer “Somalia was already in a huge mess, the country was already in deep debt and depression, Mohammad Barkhad, his family and his group of supporters plundered Somalia and visited foreign countries on lavished vacations. He looked down on the sand and observed a red-head ant with load on its back
“I couldn’t support Barkhad even though he was a good friend. So I met with the few faithful and we planned another coup to overthrow him” Adsame took up the bottle and drank “The coup failed and we were tagged ‘the Resistance’ Barkhad brutally murdered the men and their families one by one, I went into hiding with few that remained” he exhaled, he was indifferent as he told the story, years of pain had toughened him. He stood up from the stone he sat on “I later heard that his loyal soldiers came to my house two days after I left, in search of me. My two daughters where raped and killed, my wife died two months later”
“How did you get the news?” Ebube Stood with him
“Cartan, my servant. He was spared so he could give me the news of what happened whenever I returned”
Ebube waited for the ex-General to say more but he didn’t. Ebube picked his cap and walked silently away from Adsame
“Soldier!” Adsame asked
Ebube stopped and turned
“Tell your UN men that I will come if they will assure me that Barkhad will be there, I want to look the son of a bitch in the face and give my conditions”
“One more thing soldier…if this turns out to be a trap, my men will unleash the greatest terror ever seen in Africa and you will not be spared”
Ebube hurried out of his sight. At the same time, Adsame was quick enough to catch Sagal peeping through the window. He has observed her for days and he was convinced that she was emotionally distant from him, even when he bleeped her that morning, she has lay dead to him. He knew something was wrong, he sensed someone had bleeped his woman behind his back and he suspected the Soldier.
“you are pregnant for him”
Elizabeth turned to see where the cold bitter voice came from; standing before her was a beautiful dark woman with a nose like that of the women from Niger. If not for her color, and her Kinky natural hair, one could mistake her for an ‘Oyibo’ woman
“Excuse me?” Elizabeth said in confusion
“That thing!” Ada pointed at Elizabeth’s bulged stomach “It is for my husband isn’t it?” the woman was ready to loose every church training and throw Elizabeth on the hard floor.
The first thing that came to Elizabeth’s mind was “this may be Ebube’s ex-wife ” the conversations that followed said otherwise.
“I don’t understand ma, I think you mistook me for someone else” Elizabeth made to hurry away to avoid the stares from shoppers, but Ada followed her, screaming;
“Sure you know what I am talking about! I got your name from his phone, I saw the picture of you that he took, I followed him secretly to your place” Elizabeth kept walking, Ada couldn’t stand being ignored, she drew Elizabeth back roughly “How dare you? how dare you destroy my home and you think I will watch you bring this bastard in?”
“Madam please I don’t know you, I don’t understand what you are talking about…”
“Chike loved me dearly, for four years we have taking care of each other, he never bothered me for not giving him a child yet, and then you showed up…”
Elizabeth was angrier than surprised as she realized who the woman was, she hit Ada’s hand off her arm “You are a fool to think that I will stoop so low to get pregnant for Chike…”
“Oh! So you finally admit to knowing him” Ada gave a wicked smile
Shoppers has gathered around them, few with their baskets, they murmured to each other, some deliberately said their displeasure loud for Elizabeth to hear
“Whatever I had with Chike ended years ago before he married you, I am not stupid to get pregnant for…” she didn’t finish her statement when
she saw Ada lift her right hand to slap her. Elizabeth held Ada by the wrist, Anger flared through her nostrils “I swear I will beat you until you will forget your name if you try what you want to do now…you dey mad!!! You didn’t ask question before you tracked me? They didn’t tell you what I am capable of?”
Ada was taken aback “What will you do ehn? Husband snatcher! Shameless fat dog on heat…”
Amaka ran to the scene and grabbed her friend by the waist “It’s okay babe, let us go now, see you are creating a scene, and this is a supermarket…”
“Leave me Amaka, let me beat Jagajaga comot for this woman body…ah ah…she and her husband, them send them to torment my life?”
Ada was led out of the supermarket, but both women met outside. Elizabeth hurried towards Ada as she wanted to enter her car
“See, I don’t know who you are, but it is obvious that you and your mental unstable husband deserved each other”
“Get out from my sight, mad woman” Ada said
“Not before I sent a message to your husband, tell him that I have had enough of him, and that if I ever see him around me again, I will kill him and go to jail. My husband is a military man o, he will only blink an eye and you and your husband will no longer see the bright sky…”
“You are married?” Ada was surprise
Elizabeth was already walking away “No o I impregnated myself, Anuofia ” she turned toward Ada “You both should get off my back o, except you want to die”
“What did you tell her” Amaka asked
They were already at Rumuobiokani Round About “Something to frighten her enough to warn her idiotic husband”
“So you would have fought that woman with this your long belle?”
“Before nkor? I am not handicapped i can beat that woman with both hands tied to my back”
“So you chose a married woman over me!”
Ada hung her car keys by the wall. She just got home and wasn’t surprised to meet Chike, he has no job and no money.
“What are you ranting about?” Chike stretched himself on the sofa
“You are shameless Chike, going after a pregnant married woman? Fantasizing about her? Snapping her pictures? How pervert can you get? I am ashamed of you” for the first time she bore her anger on him like acidic rain. Every of her words dipped it fang inside him. Ada has not spoken to him that way before.
“For months I cried, I begged you to make love to me but you turned away, I felt I was the problem so I bought new cloths and lingerie, yet you took no notice of me. I prayed until my voice cracked, I called on God until heaven couldn’t stand my voice anymore, I wanted you back…” She unleashed her rage
“…you called me ‘thin’ and said I should add some flesh, I tried Chike, I tried to be the perfect woman for you. I didn’t know you are after a fat pregnant wife of a military man? Your Ex!”
Chike stood up and made to enter the room, she followed,
“What was it for you Chike, how much did you miss her? What did she give you that I couldn’t give? Was her fat a*s the catch? was it her boobs? Mine wasn’t enough?!” she shouted closed to his ears
“Ada I will strangle you if you continue like this I swear” Chike warned
“Oh…like you almost did the last time? When you injected that poison in my vein? You think I am scared of you now right? Well, News flash Chike, I am not scared of what your dark sinister self can do to me…I don’t care”
Chike pushed her aside and wanted to leave the room but she barricaded him again,
“you are a coward Chike, a big pervert…”
“Do you want me to tell you the truth Adannaya, I never loved you well enough to make you my wife, my mother pushed me into this mess” he meant to hurt her with his world, but was taken aback when she started laughing
“You know Chike, months ago I would have cried and begged you to love me, but now…I don’t care anymore, I don’t need you to be a fulfilled woman…”
Her last statement made his ears tingle, he turned abruptly “What do you mean by that?” he asked harshly
“Chike read my lips, I don’t need you to be fulfilled!”
“Ada…are you cheating?” she got his full attention now
“Chike let me warn you, next time you want a side chick, pick someone your own size. That woman I saw today will kill you and nothing will happen”
Chike was silence, he has not been in contact with Elizabeth for weeks, he was in her house yesterday and was told that she moved. She finally married the Soldier? When…How? Anger took over his whole being, he didn’t like losing, Elizabeth would not win. He would rather kill her and kill himself
“Where did you meet this pregnant lady?” he asked Ada; his voice was dangerously calm
“it is none of your business”
“Of course it is my business dear wife, and you will tell me” he walked towards the woman.
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