The entire arena was so moody and tranquil not unlike a graveyard that even the domestic birds within felt it. Though the 43-year-old Andrew was used to a quiet and lonely atmosphere, this very one that emerged unannounced was so intense for his liking.
He just returned from Blazing Hospital in Ojota, Lagos State, Nigeria where he lost his third wife to the monstrous death. The deceased, Chidinma who tied the connubial knot with him barely a year back, gave up the ghost while in labour; she had pushed for the umpteenth time in the labour room as instructed by the nurses, yet all efforts proved abortive, perhaps the unborn baby had vowed never to behold the planet, Earth. It was an unspeakable disaster, to assert the least.
As the poor Andrew lay in his magnificent bed, facing the ceiling, engulfed by thoughtful feelings, he abruptly recalled his second wife, Christy. He equally lost her to the cold hand of death – three years back – barely eight months after they got married. She was dastardly crushed by a fully loaded trailer along a federal highway in the city of Lagos when the driver derailed from his lane having lost his brake. Intriguingly, Christy also passed on in pregnancy; she was to put to bed in about six weeks time based on the result of the scan diagnosis she underwent.
As he remembered with deep sorrow how the news of Christy’s sudden departure came to his hearing on that fateful day, he fiercely rose from the bed, gushed out fathomless tears uncontrollably and eventually sat on the room’s tiled floor, felt so rejected. What else could he think of as he furiously sat on the floor than to recall the beautiful face of Adanna, his beloved first wife? Adanna died in his hand six years back right in their house lounge when he was 37.
“Oh, Adanna!” he roared at the top of his voice, still sitting on the floor.
Adanna who was heavily pregnant of triplets, had fell ill a few days back owing to cold weather. The wicked pneumonia penetrated her sensitive hormones that she was left with no choice than to wave farewell to mother Earth despite the medication she was placed on by her gynaecologist. She passed away while lying on her hubby’s laps as they were seated in the parlour in that forsaken evening.
Prior to her exit, she had complained of a sharp abdominal pain but when her hubby (Andrew) made move to take her to a near-by clinic, she declined, claiming that it wasn’t as serious as he presumed. Her claim was not unconnected with the fact that she had a strong phobia for injections, thus invariably avoided any incident that could make her caught the sight of a niddle let alone experiencing its pains.
The helpless thought of all these ordeals kept pounding in his perplexed mind as he sat hopelessly on the tiled floor. The thorny hands of death had refused to free him, thus making the ongoing bondage seemed endless. First, it was Adanna followed by Christy, and now Chidinma. Who was next? That could be the most apt question to be tendered at that juncture. Notwithstanding, life must ride on.
“God…!” Andrew exclaimed, stood up calmly. “Why me..?” he added hesitantly, went to his bed again and sat on it.
It was almost night, at about 7:45pm to be precise. In the absence of Chidinma who left the world some hours ago, he was the only one who lived in the two-bedroom apartment equally situated in Ojota, thus he had all chances of embarking on a suicidal mission; and it appeared that was the only option he could think of at the moment as he got his eyes fixed towards the PVC ceiling hung on the house.
Andrew was undoubtedly a well-to-do young man who worked with a multinational broadcasting firm as a marketing officer. Eight years back when he secured the promising job at 35 after several years of job-hunting, life became so nice and enticing to his person not until two years later when he thought it wise to tie the knot having successfully found Adanna who could be best described as an angel considering both her outward and inward idiosyncrasies; surely, little did he realize that he was on his way to a cursed land.
How would he communicate to his parents, relatives, friends, and of course colleagues, that he was about to bury the third woman that willingly came into his life just twelve months ago, having entombed two in the past? Based on his feelings, the best thing that could happen to him at this point was nothing but death; he wished he could just lie in the bed and become lifeless rather than resorting to suicide, which had already occupied his thoughts.
A few minutes later at about some seconds to eight O’clock, a knock was heard at his main entrance. He managed to walk to the metal door and let it open, never bothered to ascertain who was there.
It was Dube, his childhood friend who equally resided in Lagos but in a different locality. He presumed he was the one at the door because he had earlier in the day called him on phone, asking him to endeavour to come to his place as soon as possible. When the invitee made effort to find out during the phone call what actually the problem was, Andrew declined.
Prior to Dube’s arrival, all his neighbours who lived in the other neighbouring apartments that were built alongside his, had come to sympathise with his person on hearing the ugly news.
Dube walked in majestically though preoccupied with fear of the unknown, and closed the door behind him.
On sighting the guest, he only managed to offer him a handshake, and then gushed out tears again, indicating that all wasn’t at ease. He calmly walked to one of the single cushion chairs in the sitting room and confusedly sat down.
Dube followed him but remained standing. “Andrew,” he called. “What is it?’
There was no response.
Dube stepped closer to him, and squatted right before him as he was seated. “Andrew, I said what is it?” he reiterated. “By the way, where is your wife?” He supplemented.
“I lost her….!” He hinted noisily.
“You did what..?” Dube roared, frantically stood up. “Did I hear you clearly?”
Andrew nodded. “She died in labour.” He eventually cleared the air, sobbing.
“Oh my Go…d; not again!” exclaimed Dube, stood still. “You mean, Chidinma is no more?”
Andrew nodded again, took a deep breath and exhaled accordingly.
Dube shook his head continuously, managed to sit on the other seat sited closely to Andrew’s, and abruptly became mute.
TO BE CONTINUED.
- Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri
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