Even The Rich Also Cry
Egbe received the news of her husband’s death the next day. She asked the person who had called her again and again to confirm what she was hearing; her voice filled with pain. The person on the other end ended the call in irritation.
Egbe: “ Osanubua o! Hey! Hey! Hey! Ehizogie don kill me o! Hey! So he leave me make i fight this battle by myself? Hey Ehis, this no be wetin you promise me o… this no be wetin… you promise me… Osanuba lawowo o… ” She screamed, weeping. Benita tried to console her but she was inconsolable. Obianuju though, had different thoughts
Obianuju: “I am indeed sorry about your husband’s death but that was a selfish thing to do. How does he expect you to stand alone against such a man as Major Olayinka? What about your family, his family? He was wicked.” She said
Egbe: “wetin i go do now? Who I go turn to now? God, this is one big pass me o… this is too much o…” she said, still weeping.
Obianuju: “I still think you should give the child to the Major’s family. It is even now more necessary than before. With your husband gone, how do you hope to take care of your baby by yourself. You have no training, no skill. And your husband’s family do not like you. You have to think about your son’s future.” she said, coming to sit beside Egbe and placing her arm around her shoulder.
Egbe sat with her hands on her chin, staring into the distance.
The soldiers had left immediately at the end of the phone call with Major Festus so he did not hear of sergeant Osunbor’s death until the next day. He was very angry on hearing the news.
“The man was a fool! How can he kill himself and leave his family to face the world alone?” he thought to himself. He came downstairs and entered the kitchen to find his wife seated drinking something steaming. He mumbled a greeting which she ignored. He went to the coffee pot and poured himself a cup, added milk and sat down. The cook brought his breakfast of toast, scrambled eggs and pineapple juice and placed it in front of him.
Major Festus: “the sergeant is dead.” he said softly. The cook gasped in shock. Lady Florence raised her head and smiled
Florence: “now you have acted like the man I married.” She replied.
Major Festus: “he shot himself. I didn’t have to do anything.” He replied.
Florence waved her hand in irritation. It didn’t matter who had pulled the trigger, the man was dead; she was satisfied.
Major Festus: “I am still bringing the child into this home.” he said softly, staring at his eggs. “If I can find him and his mother” he added to himself.
Florence: “I don’t see the need for bringing a stranger’s child into my home. He can never replace Desmond. If you want, we can go for another surrogate mother option but I will never accept that child as mine.” She replied vehemently.
Major Festus looked at the cook and nodded his head. The woman quickly left the kitchen. He turned to his wife; his face was a hard mask of anger
Major Festus: “you must consider me an old fool. I have borne your lifestyle; the incessant shopping trips, the strings of boyfriends you have all over the world, pampered with my money and the fact that you have no womb, quietly. I have not complained or fought with you over all these despite my knowledge…Let me speak woman!” he shouted as Florence tried to speak.
Her mouth opened and closed and opened and closed; her eyes wide with shock. He had never shouted at her; ever. For as long as she could remember, she had always been the loud one; making demands which he had always met; always. “You are going to welcome that child into this house and treat him like a member of this family. You are going to love him like he came out from your womb and you are going to respect my wishes in this matter. You know why?” he asked, staring at her with murderous rage.
Florence: “why?” she asked softly, her eyes running all over her husband’s face in curiously. His anger surprised her.
Major Festus: “because if you don’t I will kill that young man you were with that afternoon; the same man that made you send an old man to go and pick my son instead of sending Prosper your driver or going yourself.” He replied.
Florence gasped as a chill of fear clutched her heart. “He knew…he always knew. God help me.” She thought and tried to swallow the lump that hung in her throat.
Florence: “I do not care what you do with yourself but you killed my son because you wanted a pair of hard firm body over you. Now, you are going to do what I say and enjoy it or I will make any man that comes near you regret it. Mark me Florence, I make no jokes.” He said bitterly then he got up and left the kitchen. At the door, he turned around and looked at her;
Major Festus: “we are leaving for Lagos in a few weeks time. You better start getting ready. I have sold the house. You should go and give your boyfriend a goodbye fuck.” He said then he walked away.
Lady Florence sat there deep in thought, as the cook came into start clearing the table.
The funeral was a quiet affair. Egbe watched as they poured the sand over the casket. Her husband’s colleagues had come in their numbers. He had been loved in the force; a man who always loved a good laugh, alcohol and girls and is quite free with his money will always be loved more than any other. She watched one or two lady officers that he had affairs with in the past, wipe their eyes with their handkerchiefs. She had not felt the need to cry. The tears had dried up several weeks ago. Her husband’s people had come too. She could see his younger brother smiling like a goat on the other side of the gravesite. “He thinks he has inherited property and possibly a woman to warm his bed. I so pity him. I pity all of them.” She thought to herself.
Someone had sent money to foot the bill for the burial. She did not know who but her brother – in – law seemed to know. He kept on grinning like a cat licking cream. She wondered what he would do if he found out that her husband left nothing behind besides debts.
As she turned to go; he, her brother-in-law, walked across the grass to where she stood. He tapped her on the shoulder, his face grave with concern.
Omos: “now that my brother is gone. It is my job to do what is best for the family. I want you to come and live with me.” He said.
Egbe looked him up and down and hissed in disgust. She turned again to walk away but his hand grabbed her shoulder painfully. She turned back angrily, ready to give him a slap if necessary. She stopped when she saw the sadness in his eyes;
Omos: “he is gone and you will never see him again. You can start all over again.” He said softly.
Egbe: “so I should start all over again with you. You who can barely feed yourself? You are willing to take a widow with a baby into your life? Something is wrong with you Omos!” she shouted.
Omos: “my dear when I say he is gone, I do not mean your husband o.” he replied, smiling slyly.
Egbe looked at him then realisation dawned. She grabbed the man and shook him
Egbe: “where is my son?” she asked, anger blazing in her eyes like the sun.
Omos: “the soldier paid all your husband’s debts and left money for you to start afresh. You could not have been able to take care of the baby.” He replied, trying to wrest free from her grip. He could see the anger and fear in her eyes.
Egbe: “where are they?” she asked, trying to be calm
Omos: “I don’t know. They said something about an eye for an eye or something. I did you a favour. We can now get married and start a new life somewhere.” He replied
Egbe: “if anything happens to my son, i promise you; i will make sure you never have peace.” She replied, she pushed him away and ran out of the cemetery.
As soon as the baby was brought to his home, Major Festus moved his family back to Lagos. A week later, he, his new son, who he also named Desmond and his wife boarded a flight for Germany. Egbe got to his house in Lagos after weeks of searching to find it empty. She stuck around for some days without seeing anyone then she returned back to Warri, heartbroken.
Question: Major Festus is heartless! Imagine, taking a widow’s source of joy from her. Do you think Egbe has given up her son? Do you think Lady Florence has the capacity to love baby Desmond like her own?