Naomi 10 months ago

Escape

I get scared whenever I see coffins. Coffins denote one thing, and that thing is death. Only dead people are put in coffins, and it breaks my heart that someone somewhere is crying, mourning the death of that person in the coffin. Today, I can see a coffin. This time at a closer range. I don't squeeze my face and turn it the other way as I have done to the rest; this time, I stare right into the coffin. Feeling nothing but freedom.

"Dry your eyes, Agatha," Ireoluwa says as she hands me a not-so-clean handkerchief. I didn't realize a tear had tried to escape. If only I had the courage the tear had, perhaps things would have turned out a little differently. "Mummy, is he going to come back?" It was my last son, segun. He was just three years old. How would he understand? "Dead people don't come back. We won't see them again". I replied to him while rubbing his big head with my tiny hands covered in gloves. I closed my eyes as a thought flashed through my head, 'Do I really want him to come back?'

We were such a great couple. He was perfect to me and a great man to my children. Perhaps he played these roles too well, for no one else seemed to care about his flaws. They did notice, but his flaws seemed trivial; they didn't give it even the tiniest of attention. "There's no perfect man, Agatha. It's either one is Poor and handsome or Rich and ugly. There's no complete combo. In your case, you have rich and handsome, so don't let go of it."

Those were the words of my father ever since I became a married woman. The words that seemed to have handcuffed me to the bed of thorns disguised as marriage. Perhaps if I didn't hold on to these words, things would have turned out differently. "Take heart, my child, losing a husband hurts more if he has left no child behind. If your case, yours left five. Take solace in them". An unknown aged woman consoled. I nodded my head. It has always been because of the children. Perhaps if it wasn't because of the children, things would have turned out differently.

My best friend Ireoluwa has been of immense help. She came running when she heard the news and has not left my side ever since. In the ceremony today, sympathizers would have mistaken her for the wife of the deceased, but I am the one in white attire, not her. She is, however, still a part of the deceased, only that she's unknown to the public. For if she wasn't a part of the deceased, she wouldn't have been servicing his matrimonial bed while his wife was away.

I weep not because I have lost a husband but because I do not know how to live without a husband. My life has always been tied to Ayomide. I have basically breathed the same air with him and lived to please him. If it wasn't so, I wouldn't have remained his wife whenever he beats me like an animal. I wouldn't have remained his wife whenever he cheats on me with women who are my friends!

Ayomide made me a laughing stock, but guess who's lying in a coffin right now out of stock to his mistresses? You guessed right! It wasn't always like this; he was a good man once upon a time. We had beautiful memories together until he decided to be possessed by all men are the same syndrome. Perhaps, it wasn't the endless advice from my parents that made me remain in my marriage; perhaps it was still because I genuinely loved my husband. If it weren't so, I would have been the one to send him straight into the coffin all by myself. But I wasn't the only one he had offended. And that was why I was not the only one responsible for his death.

"We, therefore, commit this body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life." That was the last thing I heard before I fell to the ground shedding genuine tears. My Ayomide was truly gone for good. If only he didn't visit Ireoluwa that faithful day if only he didn't eat the poisoned food I asked Ireoluwa to serve him. If only he didn't ask Ireoluwa to remove his pregnancy for the fourth time, perhaps she wouldn't have agreed to such an obnoxious act. But he had wronged too many people. We would have still killed him, one way or another.

Ireoluwa tapped me on my shoulders and whispered."The deed has been done," and walked away. I watched her as she walked away, swinging her wide hips with only one thought in my head. How to live with five young children without a Husband.

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