Caught in the middle 8: Life’s unpredictable twists
Mr. Onyema constantly visited Uloma after the birth of her son and tongues started wagging.
But to Uloma, he was like her guardian Angel sent from above to make her life easier.
People started murmuring in church corners that Mr. Onyema was Uloma’s lover.
Many women in the church started calling Uloma Delilah who charms men while pretending to be a saint.
Many of them started ignoring Uloma in public because they didn’t want their husbands to know they associated with a loose woman who left her husband in the city to come back to the village to sleep with a widower.
These women didn’t hide their disdain for Uloma. They dropped snide remarks here and there. Even when some of them visited her and the baby, they kept looking out to see if Mr. Onyema would drop by so that they can go to town with juicy stories.
Sister Gloria wasn’t happy about the stories she kept hearing about Uloma and Mr. Onyema’s relationship but she didn’t know how to tell her. She had defended her honour among members of the women fellowship in church when they raised the isuue.
Sister Gloria loved Uloma like her own child and doesn’t want to hurt her. But when the stories became too much, she summoned the courage to ask her about it one peaceful morning.
“Uloma, are you sleeping with Onyema?” Sister Gloria blurted out one morning while she was bathing Uloma’s baby.”
Shocked at her question, Uloma almost broke the plate of food she was carrying. She looked at her hard and shook her head.
“I am not sleeping with anybody. He is just a friend,” Uloma replied.
“Uloma, a man can’t just be friends with a beautiful woman like you. He is looking for something.” Sister Gloria said.
“But he is just a friend and a good one at that. He has been very helpful and supportive of me since I met him.” Uloma replied.
“Nne, that man wants to sleep with you. Stop denying this glaring fact. He is after your honey pot.” Sister Gloria said.
“I don’t know how you came to that conclusion but he hasn’t said anything about sleeping with me since we met months ago.” Uloma said.
“So why is he always coming here with the pretense to see the baby, queried sister Gloria?
“I don’t know what you are talking about. I am not doing anything wrong, Uloma defended herself.”
Sister Gloria shook her head and said: “Why are you pretending that you don’t know when a man wants you?”
“Mr. Onyema is clearly in love with you and you know it. You shouldn’t encourage him further if you don’t want anything to do with him, Gloria advised Uloma.”
“I have heard you. I will do that if it will make you happy, replied Uloma.”
“That’s my girl”, replied Sister Gloria.
“A woman must preserve her dignity especially when she is living alone.” Sister Gloria said finally.
Uloma finally faced her food but was lost in thought about what Sister Gloria told her.
She wondered why the church members were talking bad about her. She wasn’t doing anything wrong. She now knew why some of the women in church stopped their children from coming to her shop. She started crying. It took the intervention of Father Obinna to get her back to high spirits.
“My child, why are you crying?” Father Obinna asked Uloma.
“Nothing is wrong father. I was thinking about my life and I couldn’t stop myself from shedding tears.” Uloma lied.
“You know you can tell me anything if something is bothering you.” Father Obinna said.
“I know Father, replied Uloma.”
“Can I ask you a question, Father Obinna said.”
“Go ahead Father.” Uloma said.
“Are you dating Mr. Onyema, Father Obinna asked?”
Uloma couldn’t hide the shock on her face even though she tried desperately to mask it.
“I am not having sexual relations with that man”, Uloma said almost angry at Father Obinna for not trusting her.
“He is just a kind man. Have you forgotten you introduced us, Uloma asked.”
“I know my child. I am just tired of getting reports from church members about your relationship with him. Some people have threatened to leave the church if nothing is done about it. They said you are a bad influence on young girls and wives in this parish, Father Obinna said.”
Uloma was heartbroken. She started crying crying again. She swore to Father Obinna that she wasn’t having an affair with her benefactor.
Father Obinna assured her of his trust in her but advised her to know how to explain her predicament to Mr. Onyema so that he would limit the way he visits her and the baby.
Uloma thanked him for his trust and understanding. She also informed him that she would like to visit her daughter, Nnenna in Lagos the following month.
Father Obinna assure her of his support but noted that it would be better if she brought her daughter back to the village so that she could keep an eye on her and raise her well.
“A daughter needs to be raised by her mother, said Father Obinna.”
“I agree with you. I will go and get my daughter from Odogwu before he turns her against me.” Uloma said.
“Whenever you are ready to embark on that journey, let me know. I will go with you.” Father Obinna said.
“Thank you Father. God bless you for being so kind and good to me”. Uloma said kneeling down in gratitude.
“You are welcome. Let me leave you now. I have to visit Mrs. Obumneme. She is the hospital. Her husband just informed me. Father Obinna said.”
“Ewooo. Send her my regards, Uloma said. God will heal her.”
“Amen. Stay well my child.” Father Obinna said and doing the sign of the cross.
After Father OIbinna left, Uloma was determined to get her daughter Nnenna back since the Father was going to support her.
She knew she couldn’t face Odogwu alone. The thought of seeing his face when she reveals what she came for fills her with fear. She was still afraid of Odogwu and his anger. She winced remembering the way he beat her at any slight provocation.
But it took Uloma two more months to summon the courage and strength to go to Lagos. By that time, her son Chinedu was four months old. She wanted her son to be strong before she embarked on such a long journey.
She prayed with Sister Gloria who assured her that everything would be fine. Uloma hugged her as she entered Father Obinna’s official car and they left for Lagos. She prayed fervently to help her get her daughter back from Odogwu who had done nothing but hurt her during their marriage.
After hours of being on the road and stopping at several times to feed and breastfeed her baby, Uloma got to Lagos. But she started developing cold feet when they approached the house where Odogwu and her daughter lived.
But her fear was not the only thing that would go wrong. She discovered something heartbreaking after she knocked on the door. Ifeyinwa opened the door and she was clearly pregnant.
Uloma was shocked beyond words. She entered the nhpouse with Father Obinna and Nnenna who looked emaciated hugged her and her baby brother. She refused to leave her mother’s side. She greeted the Father who responded with a smile.
Uloma couldn’t hold back tears. It was clear that Ifeyinwa had been maltreating her daughter. She wiped her tears and that of Nnenna as she asked after Odogwu. She knew he wasn’t home if not, he would come out to threaten her.
Ifeyinwa replied. “My husband will be back soon. He is responsible for my pregnancy and would come pay for my dowry after I gave him a son.” Ifeyinwa said looking at Uloma with so much hatred in her eyes.
Ifeyinwa said that she and Odogwu would be married soon and her poarents know everything about her relationship with Odogwu.
Uloma looked at Father Obinna and he shook his head. It was now clear that her uncle and his wife had wanted Odogwu to marry their daughter instead of her. Her heart was beating faster than a racing car and she couldn’t breathe well.
Stay tuned for part 9