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Sleeping With Yesterday (Episode 37)

Posted by on September 25, 2016.

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Dayo looks down at the policemen down there in the hospital compound. He is sure that in this position that they all are – their fingers on the trigger – the order must have been to shoot Nnafuka at sight. Normally he would wonder why that would be the case when they have not learnt of any evidence brought against Nnafuka, his wife; then he remembers that it is a military government, that it is General Abacha that sits on the affairs of the country, infesting each sector, especially the armed forces, with the ‘do anyhow’ spirit.

In a blink of an eye his political consciousness leaves him and he is faced again with what is happening before him, the drama that he has become a major actor in.

“I said, Dayo, what happened to our daughter?” Nnafuka is determined to have him hurry to the end of his confession.

“I-I,” Dayo stammers. At that moment he feels a huge blow on his face. He closes his eyes to see light bursting abundantly in the dark. As he opens his eyes it is Nnafuka’s voice that pans out like a xylophone, each syllable in her words clear as music.

“I will slap your face again if you don’t tell me what happened to my baby.” Her face looks dark now. As she talks, Dayo notices that thick saliva veils her tongue.

“The afternoon that you were away to get things in the market, I came home from work to meet Iya in our bedroom. I was surprised. When I asked her what the problem was, she mentioned that she needed to talk to me about something. She began to say things about you and Seun. She mentioned that the extended family had held a meeting because of our marriage. That was why she had to delay her coming. That her delay had nothing to do with her farm and the rain at all. The extended family, all of them, had decided that since I chose to marry you, an Igbo girl, that I had intentionally decided to corrupt our bloodline, and they would have none of it. Iya cried to me. She said that the family had decided to cut my father’s side off because of this.”

“And you could not take it.”

“No, I couldn’t take it, Nnafuka. I don’t know about you but family honour in my place is supreme.”
Nnafuka almost bursts into a ball of flames. “Did you not think about this, Dayo, before you asked me to be your wife?!” A little silence. “And to think that you led me to believe in you as a husband, my husband. I thought that you were with me through all the things that your mother was doing.”
“Nnafuka, I was torn between losing you and losing my own family. It was more than tough for me. But I held it in. I held a lot in. I held in what my uncles said to me when I visited them in the village in the sixth year of our marriage. I held in their advice which were wrapped as plain mockery – them saying I was aging, that my mates, those of them in the village, Lagos, Ibadan, Benin and other cities had successful marriages, that they each had at least three children. They talked of how other mothers stopped my mother in the village market to ask if her son’s wife had conceived. They filled me with more and more shame.” Fresh tears slowly swell in Dayo’s eyes.

“So, it is not fear any longer. It is now shame?”
“There was fear too, Nnafuka. There was fear of losing you, fear of losing my root. I needed you, yet I needed my family. I was left with no choice.”

“Choice? Dayo, what did you do?”

“I went into the storeroom and ground some of the fertilizers used for the flowers.”
Down there, the doctor who Dayo and Malik had spoken to earlier comes out. He narrows his eyes at what the crowd is focusing on, throws his hand on his head and says, “What is this?” Nobody answers him. He goes to the officer-in-charge, who has been pacing from one end of the positioned policemen to another as if he is waiting for an animal to run out of a hole and fall into a trap he has set.

“Are they attempting suicide?” the doctor asks the officer.

“Ah. Good. A doctor here at last,” the officer-in-charge says. He walks to three of his men and taps them on the shoulders. “Come.” He then turns to the doctor and says to him, “You will take us up to that room where they are, doctor.”

To Be Continue

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