by Joy Okwori, published 7 months, 4 weeks ago
A GLITTER IN THE DUST.
"I want to live well, but not like this Nneka, not like a waste bin. I want to smile without tears trailing down my cheeks."
"Nneoma, you will live well, you will smile and your pain will be a thing of the past."
"What do I do with these boys? They will kill me before my time. I have spoken to them severally but they will not listen to me. Sometimes I am like a microphone in an empty hall; a drummer without an audience.
Ogbonna stole goats from our neighbors house, he sold it to some men who sell meat at the central junction. Now he is nowhere to be found, police men were at the house yesterday, and I was threatened; if he doesn't report himself to the station, they'll take me into their custody."
"Hian Nneoma, this is too much now. Nne, you didn't give birth to these boys so that they can take you to an early grave, they should heal your wounds and not cause you so much pain like their father does."
There was a moment's pause as Nneka stared down at her sister with so much pity. What curse was placed on Nneoma? It was from one big problem to a bigger one. Nneoma's husband had beaten her so much in the early days of their marriage. He was warned by the elders in the family to cease from doing so, but it was all to no avail. He rarely gives her enough money to take care of the home if ever he does, but he will rather go out to eat with friends, spend all his earnings on alcohol and prostitutes. Nneoma is still a very young woman yet her age was far younger than her looks due to hardship.
The teenage boys who should help change the narrative for Nneoma are now the ones making her so lean like a dried corn stick and so dark in complexion. Nneoma who was once as pretty as a damsel worthy of any palace has been reduced to nothing. As she stared at her sister, she couldn't stop herself from crying as well. "They must pay, they must pay for all these!" She hissed.
Money was not a problem for Nneka, she happens to be a successful public speaker who owns her own cosmetic company. She thought of the best way to bring her sister out of her present predicament, and an idea came to her.
"You have been in an abusive marriage for too long Nne, you should divorce your husband, and start living a good life. You have taken too much than any woman will endure in this generation. It is time to look out for yourself too. I have not come all the way from Abuja to leave you this way. We have been speaking on phone but I have never imagined that your situation is this bad. Please Nne, do this for yourself, you can help the boys only when you are helped yourself. It is the maltreatment from your husband and his family that made you lose your first two pregnancies, and these boys who are surviving must be frustrated.
They are too innocent to steal goats for trivial reasons. I will search for them until they return home but before then, I will pay for the stolen goats. I do not wish to let the police men come for my own sister. No now, there's no wisdom in that."
"You are right my sister, but I made vows to my husband on our wedding day to be beside him for better, for worse. I don't think it is a good idea to leave now, not when I have stayed back for this long." Nneoma was pale as she said this to Nneka.
"Just listen to yourself Nne, take a look at yourself and take a look at me. For better, for worse? This is not what that vow you took is all about my dear sister. Are you not tired of looking like garbage? You should be beside your husband and not beneath him!" Nneka shouted at her sister as it seemed she was not listening to her. I am married but I don't see any reason why my husband should maltreat me." Nneka was ready to persuade her sister into doing what will be best for her.
There was a sharp knock on the door, it was pushed open by Ikenna. Nneka rolled her eye balls at the sight of her sister's husband. She watched as he made his way to her sister. "Useless woman, all you have given me are useless sons like yourself. There is nothing good about you!"
"They are our sons Ikenna, and not mine alone. If you are a good father to them, you won't be throwing blames at me right now." Nneoma spoke back at her husband for the very first time in years. He raised his hands to strike her on her face but Nneka quickly held it in a flash of light.
"You dare not lay a hand on my sister, especially not in my presence!" Nneka said angrily. He pushed her away and eyed Nneoma. He left them and went out again. "What an excuse for a man!" Nneka said, obviously irritated.
Nneoma's eyes were red from crying. "I am ready to divorce him now, I will go and start afresh somewhere else" she said in a whisper but it was audible enough for Nneka to hear.
"Worry not Nne, tomorrow we'll take a flight to Abuja." Nneka said with a note of finality in her voice.