Caught in the middle 4: Life’s unpredictable twists
Uloma was a very happy woman. The birth of her son brought her peace, joy and bliss. She was in high spirits. Uloma thanked her Chi for hearing her prayers. She was glad that now, her place in her husband house has been secured. Onochie brought the family so much happiness.
Her husband Odogwu was equally a very happy man. He felt fulfilled at last to be the father of a son who would take over from him when he is no more. He didn’t spare anything to make sure that Uloma and their son was comfortable. He moved his family to Lagos, and continued his spare parts business.
Nnenna was happy too but she gradually felt the attention shifting from her as her father’s favourite to her baby brother and she didn’t like that. She loved being the centre of attention but her days of being the queen were over as her brother became the centre of attraction. But everyone was too elated to notice her.
Every morning before leaving for his business, Odogwu would go into Uloma’s room, smile at her and lift his son. He would bless him and tell him that he would be greater than him. He would ask Uloma what they needed for the day and see to it that they are comfortable before he leaves for his business place.
Moving to Lagos was Uloma’s greatest dream after having her son. She quickly became friends with her married neighbours Ijeoma and Bisi. Both women are married and have three and four children respectively. Even though Uloma was closer to Ijeoma because they both spoke the same language, she deeply respected Bisi for her wisdom and sensibility.
One day, while Ijeoma and Bisi came to visit Uloma and her baby, Uloma’s cousin, 15-year-old Ifeyinwa arrived Lagos to come help Uloma with her baby. Ifeyinwa was tall, beautiful to behold with tiny breasts on her chest and long legs fit for modelling. Her hair was neatly plaited and her bag was positioned well on her head.
When she got to Uloma’s house, she was surprised to see that her aunty has made friends quickly. Ifeyinwa didn’t hide her displeasure at the sight of strangers in her aunt’s house acting fussy over her and the baby like they were her family. She greeted Ijeoma and Bisi with respect but Uloma could sense something was wrong with her cousin.
After her neighbours left, Uloma called Ifeyinwa to show her round the house and tell her some of the things expected from her. “Ify, what is the problem, Uloma lovingly asked her cousin.” Ifeyinwa looked down and pretended as if she didn’t hear her aunt. But Uloma asked her if she was happy to be in her house, she answered in the affirmative.
“So, why are you so sad, Uloma asked again?”
“I didn’t like those women I met here when I arrived, Ify blurted out.”
Uloma was taken aback by her reply but composed herself and asked, “Why don’t you like them, don’t they look like good people to you she asked Ify?”
“Aunty, you are too trusting. This world is a wicked place, full of wicked people. You don’t know what those women want from you. Uncle is a very handsome man and they might be eyeing him so that they can snatch him from you, Ify said.”
Uloma bursted into uncontrollable laughter and didn’t stop until tears were falling from her eyes.
“So, you are making this sad face because of my new neighbours ehen kwa, Uloma replied.”
“Don’t worry about them, they are good people. And they are not interested in your uncle, Uloma reassured Ify.”
“Aunty, don’t trust people so blindly, Ify replied.”
“I have heard you odogwu nwanyi, Uloma replied.”
“Now, go and prepare boiled yam for you, Nnenna and Ugochi to eat, Uloma told Ify.”
Ify left her alone and ran off to do what she was told to do. Uloma heard her calling Nnenna to come show her where the yams were kept and went into her room to check on Onochie who was sleeping soundly. She couldn’t stop thinking about Ify told her.
When Odogwu came back home from his business, he was happy to see Ifeyinwa in their home. He had earlier discussed with Uloma to beg her uncle and his wife to release Ifeyinwa to them so that she could be assisting her around the house so she could take better care of their son.
“Ifeyinwa, how was your trip to Lagos, Odogwu asked her?”
“Uncle, it was far but fine. I didn’t know Lagos was this far. But I am happy to be here. Everywhere looks nice and different from what I am used to, Ifeyinwa replied.”
“Welcome, I hope your day went well, Ify asked her uncle”
“It is well. I sold many things today, Odogwu replied with joy. It’s as if my son brought luck and riches into my house.”
“Chukwu daalu, said Ifeyinwa as she excused herself to go take care of Nnenna and Ugochi.”
Eight months after she arrived Uloma’s house, Uloma was happy that her uncle agreed for Ifeyinwa to come live with her. She was hardworking, proactive and gentle with the children. She knows how to do the right things at the right time. She was respectful too.
“Nnenna, you should learn from your aunt Ifeyinwa, Uloma told her oldest daughter one day.”
“Nne, I don’t want to be like her. She’s evil, Nnenna retorted.”
But Uloma wasn’t happy to hear such words from her daughter. She cautioned her against calling someone she was just meeting evil especially someone who is her blood.
“Nne, you don’t know Ifeyinwa. Don’t believe everything she tells you. She’s a snake, Nnenna said.”
Uloma raised her hands to slap her but remembered that Odogwu was home and calmly pulled her ears. “Don’t ever say that again about your aunt, she has been nothing but good to you, Uloma told her daughter while twisting her ears hard.”
Nnenna ran off crying. She refused to eat dinner but her mom didn’t pay her any attention. She was used to her childish tantrums because she was Odogwu’s favourite. When Odogwu asked why Nnenna wasn’t eating, her mom said she had eaten earlier. She didn’t want him to know what happened between them and that she twisted his little girl’s ears because she called her cousin evil.
Three days later, Uloma noticed that she was pregnant again. She was happy but kept it to herself. She didn’t want to be apprehensive like she had been during Onochie’s pregnancy. She shared the good news with her neighbours Ijeoma and Bisi. They were happy for her. They told her to take care of herself better.
But it seems happiness was not part of Uloma’s destiny. Two weeks after she discovered she was pregnant again, tragedy struck her fragile peaceful home. She had been unusually happy because she was expecting another baby and she prayed it would be another son.
One morning, Uloma noticed that Onochie didn’t wake her up in the early hours of the morning like he used to just to suck her breasts like a hungry lion. When she looked at him, he was pale and motionless. Her son was dead and she didn’t even know it.
….Watch out for part 5