The Widow.

A story depicting a part of what an average African widow go through.

Becky sat on her balcony, reminiscing on what was and what could have been. She took her phone and checked the time and saw that its already past 4:30 pm. She smiles and perhaps begins thinking, "By now, John would have been back. He'll walk in wearing his big, gracious smile with chalks–dust all and over him, covering his hands and perhaps feet. With the dusty body, he will rush at her, hugging her tightly as if he wants to imbibe her into his body. Then, he will use his dusty hands to hold her face and kiss her passionately for a few seconds– until she asks him to let her go. But he won't; instead, he will pull her lightly to the couch, where they'll sit, and he will reiterate his joyous moment with his students at school. He talks a lot, and she may complain, but which teacher doesn't? He stopped talking when she asked him to take his bath while she served dinner. 

After the dinner, a series of seemingly unending conversions will ensue between them. And perhaps when they get tired, they retire to their bed and sail to the dreamland– but not before telling each other their plans for tomorrow. And perhaps they'll do what the couple does."Tomorrow," she said it, almost inaudible. The priceless liquid dropped from her eyes as she thought of how far tomorrow could be. It has been what now? Months or perhaps even more since John, her husband, died, and every day since that day, she sat on the balcony having the same thoughts again and again. Her thoughts? That he will walk in with his hands and feet covered with chalk, with a wide gracious smile on his face... But of course, it's just a thought.

She reached for her half-filled, or perhaps half-emptied tumbler that was on a wooden table right in front of her. Just as she was about to take a sip of what was inside, she heard a thunderous sound on the door. She frighted a little and gulped down everything in the cup as she made her way to the door. As she walks toward the door, another resounding thunderous pestilence comes roaring from the door. Oh! Now she knows who is there and why he is here. She took a deep breath, composed herself, and opened the door.

"Good evening, sir," she greeted him as he walked to the living room. "Good evening, my dear; how are you doing?" Dave responded, "I'm fine" She answered, "How are you coping?" He turned and winked at her, But she didn't react."As you can see, I'm doing quite okay," she responded sternly. "Okay, I think you don't understand me. What I meant is, how are you coping with lonelinesses?" Dave whispered, making his voice sound somewhat seductive– to him. "Yes, I'm fine," Becky answered indignantly.

He sighed, sat down, and continued asking provocative questions. But she is smart. She kept on giving him the answers he didn't wish to hear. He stood up and attempted to close the gap between them. With each step he takes, She takes two backward. This agitates him greatly. He became impatience and said, "Why are you behaving like a child, like a teenager who doesn't know what this is all about. I know you know what I want, and you will be a liar to say that you don't need it also. Come, let's do this thing and be done with it. Why are you even behaving like this? You are our property, and you ought to do as we bid. Wait, don't tell me it is because of that good-for-nothing, impotent, dead husband of yours. He..."

OK, that's it, she had heard enough. Before Dave could finish his sentence, she landed a resounding slap on his right cheek. Anger was the makeup she had on her face as She looked like a wounded lioness. None of them could explain how she covered the distance between them and gave him that slap. He held his cheek with his left hand and looked at her. His eyes are all teary, and his facial expression betrayed the pain he was trying to conceal."Get out!" She barked at him. "Becky, you slapped me?" He wasn't even sure if that's an appropriate question he should be asking because, yes, she just slapped him. And it's a very good one.

But was it Becky that slapped him or a ghost? Well, the pain was what seemed to trigger that question in him. He doubts if a Lady's slap can be as painful as that. "You slapped me?" he asked. He was whispering–a threatening whisper, "Yes, I slapped you, and I slap you again if I have to repeat myself. Now get out," she said and pointed at the door with her left hand, still in shock. Totally clueless, he walks reluctantly to the door. He held the doorknob with his left hand, squeezed it hard, and twisted it. The door opened, and the air outside kissed his hot face; as he made and attempted to move out, he stopped, turned, and locked eye with her. "You shall see" that was all he said before banging the door after him, sending a reverberating sound to her. Not knowing if Dave's words were threats or just a mere verbal expression of his disappointment, she sat down on a sofa, rubbing her tummy with her left hand. If only Dave knew that she was already pregnant before her husband's demise, perhaps he may not have spoken ill of his younger brother or even called him impotent. Well, it is what it is. But is this what it means to be a widow? – a question she couldn't answer.**

A week later. A group of the mob was seen moving violently toward Becky's house. They moved with so much determination, like soldiers going to war, and if one may see them, one will be tempted to think that a civil war has begun. As they approach the house, a destination they seem to be going to, three out of the mob ran ahead and forcefully opened the door. They moved in. A few seconds later, they came dragging Becky out of the house. They brought her and threw her at the feet of an elderly man, who stood like a dry tree that needed to be cut down. She raised her gaze and looked at the man whose eyes were also looking down on her. She was afraid, and his body did well to publicize it.

She doesn't know what's going on. Just as She tried to say something, perhaps make a plea, the man spat on her. That's the highest level of disgrace to a widow in the land. A man spat on her. What has she done to deserve this? And to think that she doesn't even know her crime, she sobs silently. "You have disgraced our land, our tradition, and our culture," the old man said, "you have eaten from the fruit of promiscuity and have drunk from the cup of an abominable act." "What have I done?" She asked amidst tears."You have committed adultery. You have conceived for another man, and this shameful act of infidelity causes the death of your husband. You are a witch."

Becky couldn't believe her ears as those heavy words flew into them. She had not known any man except her husband; how could such allegations be made against her? She was faithful to her husband, and even after his death, she had refused to defile herself. How, then, will such allegations be made against her? She loves her husband! "Strip her naked!" The elderly man commanded. "she is a witch; we will flog her and banish her from our land. If she stays, only the gods know how many men she will send to join her husband in the abyss" She was stripped naked, not minding her State; she has flogged fifty strokes and banished from the land. 

As she walked out of her house with the little things she could carry, she saw Dave sitting some fair distance from her house. He stood up and walked majestically to her, looked at her from head to toe, and said, "I told you that you should see, and this is just the beginning. The very moment you step out of this land, you'll die. your unborn child, my nephew, shall die." He sighed and moved a little bit closer to her. "I know he is my brother's child, and I don't want anybody coming back to ask for his father's property or an inheritance. To be honest, I can't give it out. And isn't it even better that he died before coming into this wicked world?" He smiled and shook his hands wildly. 

Becky stood there looking at him, she wanted to say something, but she couldn't. She had lost her voice. She can't...Out of the blue, Dave gave sent her to the ground with a very hot resounding slap. Its sound echoed nightly. As she stood up, five fingers were painted on her face, and her eyes spoke of her pain. "Sorry, but I had to pay that debt." He said and walked out on her. What will she do? The whole community is against her. Even life seems to be against her. Once a joyful wife. Now a despised widow. She laid there and cried her heart out. First, it was her husband. Then her little Peace. Now her name. Who knows what life will take from her again. How she survived, I don't know? All I know is that six months later, she gave birth to me. The only thing that life gave to her was a widow. And when I was of age, she told me this story of Widow's maltreatment.

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