DEATH IN THE POT
The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.
DEATH IN THE POT
My heart seemed to have woken up from a very long and deep slumber!
As I opened my eyes slowly, I wondered what had happened to me that had made me so weak and sick.
I looked around me and there was a faint light.
The room was somewhat dark
“Where am I?” I asked myself and tried to stand up.
I felt very sharp pain in my right hand and had to relax back in bed
I traced what was holding me down and realized that it was an intravenous line.
I was shocked!
Never had I been admitted in the hospital before talk less of being treated intravenously!
Where am I?
The scent of the room was so familiar but my brain couldn’t say exactly where it was.
I tried to feel my side and felt the blanket, then the fluffy pillow case, then towards the back, my bed rest!
Am I in my room?
My eyes widened as I tried to locate the bed side lamp.
I switched it on
In my room?
What had happened to me?
I looked at the intravenous line and saw blood!
I was scared that I was having blood transfusion until I saw that the drug bag itself was empty!
I had to quickly disconnect the line from my hand and locked the cannula
I placed my legs down on the floor and tears flowed down freely as I remembered how I got to this state.
How because I smashed Doris’ tablet against my expensive television, she had rained some dangerous blows on my neck to the extent that I thought that my jugular would burst open although I didn’t mind at that point if death could come
I remembered how she had handed over the pregnancy result to me and how overwhelmed I was at the news
I remembered scenes upon scenes all the events of that night
I remembered my promise to myself to make my marriage work.
Oh how much I had deceived myself!
I remembered how she had shown me her appointment letter to resume a very beautiful job with the United Nation Women empowerment department immediately and how I had received it with mixed feelings
I pitied her for the fact that she had just taken in and the job might be too stressful for her
I was not happy that job would carry her all the way from Abuja to Lagos and even outside Nigeria most times.
But I pretended to love it.
I wanted to save my marriage
I wanted to make it work!
Until, she showed me the bad video!
The suicidal video!
The video that made my heart stop beating at once!
The video that …that…that….
Even the voice of my heart stammered as tears clouded my eyes.
I was in disarray and my heart was in a very great tumult!
I closed my eyes firmly so that I would not even think about it at all.
But the more I closed my eyes firmly, the more I saw the picture clearly
The more I heard the words clearly – the words that accompanied the video- the more my tears flowed!
The more I hated Doris!
The more I swore never to have anything to do with her again.
The more I swore to deal with her if she ever came close to me again!
The video was horrible!
It wouldn’t leave the television of my eyes!
It was so clear like the 3D images on a LCD television.
I looked for something I could throw again!
Something I could transfer all my aggression on but I couldn’t even stand at all!
I was weak in my legs!
They couldn’t even carry me again!
I fell to my knees and buried my head in my pillow as I wept.
As my cries subsided, the video resurfaced again- the pillow was the television and I watched on.
I watched as that woman opened the two legs of Doris;
I watched as I saw and heard the clanging of surgical instruments.
I watched and watched until my eyes could not watch again!
I only could burst into tears!- real, bitter tears!
Then, I looked at the pillow again and my projector-eyes relayed the video further.
I heard the voice of the female doctor who shifted to a side for me to see Doris’ face!
I saw her once upon a time innocent face and my heart hardened
She smiled as she waved at the camera
“I am not scared at all. I am a woman. A unique woman! There is no pain in my dictionary” she said, boldly
“So, what are we about to do?” the doctor asked her
She smiled and looked at the camera again
“To secure my job at the UNWED, I have to be on an anti-motherhood drug” she said
“OK?” the doctor asked, a very irritating laughter on her face
“Reproduction enslaves women!” Doris chanted
“Yes!” the doctor replied, her gloved right hand in the air, she was smiling happily
“Pregnancy is the temporal deformation of the body of a woman for the sake of some worthless men!” she said again and my heart shattered
Had I been such a bad husband to Doris this much?
“Why should women submit to radiation while the men sit and commit adultery all around?” that was the next thing she said
“I wonder o!” her supporter replied
“Why should she be exposed to hazards of contemporary reproductive technology and genetic engineering?” Doris continued
“Tell them o!” the doctor chanted like a tout
“Why must we be exposed to those dangerous technologies that would invade and violate our bodies, thereby impoverishing our sense of personhood?” Doris asked, looking sternly at the camera
“Why are we just being treated as objects of research and experiments because we are pregnant?” she continued
“Hmmm!…ask them o” the woman replied too
“Whose breasts sag?” Doris asked
“Women!” the woman replied
“Whose tummy enlarges?” Doris asked again
“Women!” the woman answered
“Whose tummy gets decorated with horrible stretch marks after delivery?” Doris asked for the umpteenth time
“Women!” the woman too didn’t appear to be tired of answering
“Who still gets rough handled and beaten mercilessly even while nursing the baby?”
“Who dies have serious hypertension and cardiac issues?”
“Enough is enough!” she screamed and her partner screamed with her as they giggled and clapped happily
There was silence as she continued her solidarity speech
“I am here because I have just secured a job and I have just gotten a positive pregnancy result that might want to disrupt the whole thing. Since I am the owner of my body…..I wanna remove the thing!” she said, almost joyously and I shook my head as everything replayed in my head
“So, you want abortion?” she asked
“Yes o!” she replied happily
“What about your husband?” the doctor asked
Doris burst out laughing
“It’s just like him shaving his beard nah. He gets back home and says, ‘Doris, I wanted to look good, so I shaved on my way from work’…that’s it! This thing would disfigure me. I wanna shave it off and tell him when I get home. Why would he get mad?” she laughed again and my fists were formed into dangerous balls
“If he gets mad anyways, I wouldn’t be surprised! No man wants his wife to be greater than him! Just selfishness! So, to hell with him” she exclaimed as she gave the doctor a ‘high-five’ which sounded so loudly.
Then, the operation started!
I couldn’t even bear to look at the video again as all I could see was blood!
I picked the pillow and started banging my head in it as I wept!
My tears were not for anything but anger!
I was very angry!
How did I get to fall in love with this murderous lady?
How did everything turn out to be like this?
Who was that medical doctor?
She looked quite old, with her grey hair and all she could advise a young lady just starting her marital life was to go against her husband?
Just then, I paused and stared into space
Why was I crying?
What wrong had I really done?
Did the issue really worth my tears?
I loved Doris so much, so much so that it hurt me!
I gave my heart to her, thinking I could bring to life the precious marriage of my parents which didn’t last long at all!
But it only looked as if I had just been stabbed deeply in my heart!
She could only toy with the heart I had long given her!
I gave her since about almost two decades now and she could only stab it now?
I stood up and checked the time
I was shocked!
I had never missed going to work since I was employed at the Insurance Company at all!
Where do I start from?
What lie was I going to tell my boss to make him believe me?
Should I go and have a quick bath?
I was so confused!
I ran to my phone and picked it up.
Not a single missed call!
I was so shocked!
Just then, my land phone rang and as I turned to check who the caller was, that was when I remembered that my neck was not in the right shape at all!
It creaked and I squeaked in pain as I wobbled to the phone
Who in my office knew my home phone number?
“Hello, this is Plot 11, Karshi Avenue, Abuja. Who am I online with?”
“Yeah, good morning Mr Pelumi Olaniyan. This is Franchise Insurance Company, Lugbe. We call to check on you to find out how you are faring this morning”
“Oh, thanks, I am so fine.”
“There should be ice block in the freezer. You could use that on your neck as well”
My heart missed a beat
“Who am I speaking with?”
“Don’t tell me you don’t know the voice of your wife or I would be so disappointed”
“Geez! How did you get my company’s phone?” I was alarmed
“I realized that you might not be able to go to work today and being the workaholic that you are, I decided to help you out at work since I am yet to resume at my new workplace”
“What!” I exclaimed loudly and she laughed again
“I handled the situation so well that even when you resume, your boss would say I did better than you. So never worry. I am a certified accountant, don’t forget!” she snickered again and my heart jumped into my mouth
No matter how good she was, who does that?
Which boss wouldn’t see that as insubordination?
Oh my God!
“That is actually not funny Doris…” I was saying when she cut in
“If you wouldn’t mind Mr Pelumi, I was in the middle of some important documentation when the thought of calling you dropped into my mind. I would love to go back to work while you get enough rest. We shall see later. Bye” she said and dropped the call.
I stared into space for a long time bereft of the very next step to take
Was I supposed to rejoice and jump up that she had gone to work on my behalf?
Was I supposed to be grateful that she called a medical doctor to work on me after she had dealt with me?
What was supposed to be my reaction?
No matter how I felt about her, she still remained the callous, ambitious, wicked murderer of an unborn baby who never thought about my feelings nor put my heart into consideration whenever she carried out any action.
“Who does that?!” I screamed and threw the receiver down angrily.
“You haven’t been coming home for many days now. Then, of a sudden, you came up with a divorce threat, then you cancelled that and did something so very stupid, I mean, so very stupid Doris!” I continued talking with my wardrobe as if it was Doris, the words coming out forcefully underneath my clenched teeth!
“Then you called your husband to show him the stupid stuff. He is human and still in his right senses and he reacted normally to the gory sight! Who in his right sense would see blood and hear such callous statements as those and wouldn’t even do more?”
As I continued my discussion with my wardrobe, gesticulating as I did, I started to wonder.
If I were to be a wife beater, she wouldn’t have survived that night at all o
I would have beaten her blue black!
I would have given her marks on her body that her generations to come would live to see forever
I wasn’t going to deal with her for aborting the baby
I never would have known she was pregnant if she didn’t tell me.
Why would she tell me?
To show me she didn’t care about my feelings or my person or my authority as her husband or as a man!
I would have descended on her and dealt so serious with her because I had never felt so insulted in my life; I had never been frustrated that much; no one had ever treated my love with contempt that much; she made a fool of my love.
But I loved her!
Oh yes, loved!
“I now hate you Doris! I hate you! I hate you!” I said repeatedly in order to convince myself into believing I really did!
My head became so heavy and I felt dizzy that I had to quickly fall back to the bed.
I was there for a few minutes before I decided to stand and by the time I did, my sight caught my image in the mirror bed.
I was shocked
I had bruises on my forehead –they were sore and swollen
“What!” I exclaimed as I proceeded to start looking at my body for any further damage
My right hand was swollen too –very swollen
Which doctor set the cannula for me this badly?
I picked up the receiver again and dialed the office.
I was already fuming, shaking my head and repeating ‘It can’t be’ a million times as it dawned on me that Doris could have been the medical doctor that had had me treated
“Hello. This is Franchise Insurance Company. How can….” She was saying when I cut her short
“Where is the doctor?” I asked, trying to reduce the intensity of my hot panting
“Which doctor?” she asked
I wanted to scream and tell her she was crazy, she was mad, she was stupid but I couldn’t!
My heart still beat for her
I had really fallen in love with her- she was my wife after all
“The one who you called to treat me- The one who fixed the cannula for me” I said and she laughed
“I was the doctor that treated you. I am sure you are getting better now” she said
I was fuming so much the hotness of my breath would lighten up a chimney!
“You couldn’t call a medical doctor for me? You set a cannula all by yourself?” I asked, biting my tongue with furiousness
“What do you mean? I can do virtually everything as well. Do you need a medical doctor for everything? I did it and it worked!” she said and my anger reached the boiling point that I clenched my fist tightly
“So, what happened to my forehead?” I asked slowly so my voice wouldn’t betray me
“You banged your head against the wall as you staggered to the room” she said and I was sad
I was sad that in that sad and discomfited state of mind that I was at that time, she had allowed me to stagger back to the room all by myself
I was sad that she couldn’t even show me some love when I was unconscious
I was sad that she took me for granted really!
“Thank you” that was all I said into the receiver as I dropped the call
I looked round the room as tears welled up in my eyes
Was I really a man at all?
“Pelumi, why would you be crying like this? Why? Why would you allow such a thing like this to break you? Why would you cry?” I said to myself as I faced the mirror
I was breathing so hard, my chest rising up with each breath!
As I looked at myself in the mirror the more, I pitied myself.
What would Doris gain from all she was doing?
With my head banging as if six hefty men were pounding yam inside it, I walked out of the room.
“You need to be strong man! Be strong! You are a man! A great man!” I kept telling myself.
Then, I got to the dining table and it
“She prepared breakfast?” I asked myself as I walked towards the table
My stomach responded quickly as the worms sang melodiously and I knew I was very hungry
I opened the bigger plate and found a folded paper!
I opened the second one and found another paper
The headache that befell me at that point could kill!
I had to pull out a chair and I sat in it!
I picked the first paper and unfolded it.
GO TO THE KITCHEN AND FETCH SOMETHING TO EAT
That was what was written therein and you can’t imagine how mad I was!
It wasn’t that I was expecting her to cook something or anything because I had been used to preparing food for myself for many days back.
But to think that she couldn’t even provide food for me after inflicting such wound on me was ridiculous!
I picked up the second paper and unfolded
CHECK THE ROASTER IN THE KITCHEN. YOU ARE ON DUTY
I was taken aback
What was she talking about?
But I was curious-so curious!
I picked my pieces together and dragged myself to the kitchen and looking at the wall, I was so shocked
I saw two large cardboards on which was written boldly as the headline
EQUALITY IS THE KEY!
I stood at the entrance and allowed the words to sink well
All she was fighting for was equality between her and me?
I walked inside the kitchen and found Sweeping Roaster, Cooking Rooster and Laundry Roaster with our names equally distributed under each platform neatly!
I didn’t know when I really started laughing hard
The laughter was coming from nowhere at all- maybe my head though because it was not from my heart.
Tears rolled down my face as I laughed on.
I moved to the sink and picked the sponge, still laughing crazily
Or was I becoming mad?
Immediately I finished washing the dishes, tears stains on my face and my head thumping in reaction to the stress of my forceful laughter, my phone rang and I picked
I had been lying to her for many months now that I had travelled to Port Harcourt so that she would not come to visit and see this mess.
I thought I could fix it but it was just obvious that I had failed
I picked the call
“Oluwapelumi, how are you today?”
“Dead!” I didn’t know when that came out of my mouth but when it did, tears followed because that was a failure!
I never imagined that I would tell anyone about my failed marriage- not anyone, not my mum!
“Dead? Ki lo sele? What is wrong?” she asked, so frightened
“Mummy, I am so dead! I am dead! I have failed! My marriage isn’t working! I have become a dummy” I said and my mum screamed
“I will be there in few hours. I am in Abaji right now. we just passed the checkpoint. Please, hold in. I will join you at home soon.” She was saying when I dropped the call
My mum was obviously in total disarray!
“Why did I tell her? Why?” I kept asking myself to no avail.
As I cried and cried, my phone rang again and it was from my children’s school
“Good afternoon Mr Olaniyan”
“We call to inquire why we haven’t seen your hand this session at all. It is unusual of you at all. We would soon start driving the defaulters home”
“For school fees?” I had to ask as my head wasn’t even booting anymore
“I will get back to you please. Give me to the end of the month” I said and dropped the call as tears rolled down my face.
The children were in school that was near home until she said we should throw them into a private campus secondary school where they paid millions per session
It was easy when they first started because she had things doing and money was coming in from her side but since she became like this since almost a year ago, our common purse had suffered
I was so crazy!
I couldn’t think of anything again
I staggered to the first aid box for the sleeping medicine but the container was empty
I flung it away.
I looked through the box again and the only weird thing I could take was methylated spirit.
As I downed the content and it burnt my tongue down to my inside, I threw the bottle away also and picked up my phone to call my wine store
I was confused!
I was not thinking straight!
“Hello Madam Uche, this is Daddy Jerry”
“Papa Jerry, Kedu”
“Odinma mama uche. I need ten bottles of good alcohol” I said and she laughed
“I know you nah. You dey pull my legs ko?” she laughed on
“You don’t want to sell market?” I asked sternly and she knew I was serious because in less than ten minutes, there was a knock at my gate and I staggered out as I paid and collected my goods.
Even as I guy, I had never tasted alcohol!
My mum had said that alcohol was for those nearing destruction!
Well, wasn’t I near destruction?
I opened the door, feeling the sensation of the spirit I had taken earlier.
I took five bottles of alcohol into the freezer and took five back with me to the sitting room.
I sat on the floor, holding my tummy in serious pain
Then, I uncorked the wine bottles and started my drinking business!
It was very bitter even against my teeth but I had heard that it made one stronger and more courageous, so I was consoled!
I needed something that would not make me appeared so broken before my mum
I had just finished the fifth bottle and was lying on one of the settees when the door opened and Doris came in.
I didn’t even hear her drive in.
She walked inside and dropped her handbag
There was no greeting from her and I just looked away because I wasn’t seeing so clearly anymore.
I was dead drunk!
Then next thing I heard was
“Is my food ready?”
Immediately I heard that, I knew there was an impending trouble, so I kept quiet
“Are you deaf Pelumi?” she asked and I refused to respond again.
The next thing she did was pick the remote control of the television and she increased the volume of the TV set to the loudest.
The volume of the home stereo sprang on the top of my brain as if pepper was added to the surface of a fresh wound
I wanted to talk but I couldn’t!
I wanted to stand up but I stopped myself
“Pelumi!” she shouted, her voice competing with the sound of the stereo system
I didn’t respond
“The school called me to say we haven’t paid the fees of Jerry and James” she continued
As much as I didn’t want to listen to her because since I was so vexed, I didn’t want to do anything devilish, I listened anyway
“Are you deaf Pelumi? I am talking to you and you are acting deaf? Do you want your life to be destroyed? What sort of disrespect is that?” she asked, obviously infuriated
I had never acted that way to her since we had got married.
I had always pampered and showered love on her since I said ‘I do’
She definitely must be hurt and pained!
But she had done more!
As I tried to pity her, the alcoholic devil in me reminded me of the many dirty things she had done in recent times and I growled silently
“Well, I have paid the school fees o. I have paid it. Since you are so deaf that you can’t hear me speak to you, I will repeat it that what you can’t do, I have done it singlehandedly o” she said again and my anger reached the peak.
Any careless move from her would mean a serious danger!
Just then, the devil ministered to her because she stood up suddenly and came directly to meet danger where he was lying on the cushion
She touched danger!
She shook danger!
She punched danger!
Then, danger moved slowly and sat down, facing her- his eyes must be really red but she didn’t fear the danger obviously
She was shaking from anger and lifting her hand; she opened her mouth and spoke
“So, you weren’t sleeping? You heard all I had been saying and you couldn’t respond? You must be crazy!” She said and suddenly, her hand landed on the face of danger!
Danger’s eyes shone with anger and by the time he took hold of her, she became like a pot in the hands of a potter
Should he break her or smash her or hit her?
I was holding her in my hands and in her face was naked fear!
Should I obey the little love I still have in my heart for her and just put her down?
Or should I just end her since the death feeling I had towards her was greater?
But the little love still won!
I was disappointed in myself!
I was mad that I couldn’t control myself.
I was mad that she controlled me!
Whenever I held her, I always felt that I was holding my mother
So I couldn’t beat my mother and the mother of my children
I wouldn’t stoop so low!
I set her down and she ran straight into her room, shaking with serious fear
She was weeping!
I returned to the settee and laid in it as if nothing had happened
Although, lots had really happened!
My heart still thumped heavily and loudly at what almost happened!
Then, there was a knock at the door and I was reluctant to stand up
Whoever was at the door didn’t come at the right time!
The knock persisted but I didn’t stand up.
The door to the room opened and Doris came out
“Who is that?” she asked
That was when I remembered that my mum was coming.
I sat up and stood immediately.
“Come in” she said again and I tried to loosen up and smile so that my mum wouldn’t meet me looking this bad!
The door flung open
… But it wasn’t my mum!
“Is this him?” one of them asked
“Yes” Doris replied, nodding.
Doris called policemen on me?
“Mr Pelumi Olaniyan, you are under arrest. Please, your hands up!” one of them said and I looked into Doris’ face.
Her hair was rough and her eyes were swollen from crying.
She was still shaking!
As the policemen wore the handcuffs on my wrists, there was a knock on the door and it flung open
It was my beautiful mum!
A tear ran down my face as my face dropped.
“Pelumi!” She called, dropping her bag and walking straight to me.
She held my hand but the policemen pulled me away from her grip
“Oluwabukunmi” she called at Doris but she looked away
“Take him away! He is a wife-beater!” Doris said and the policemen pulled me away
“That can’t be true Doris!… He is never like that. I didn’t bring him up that way. He is disciplined. He is my child and I know him like the back of my palm. He can’t be a wife beater!… He rarely gets angry at all! What is this oooo?” my mother wailed as she faced Doris.
I looked back at both of them and I saw as my mother went on her knees before Doris and the latter pulled away from her.
“Pelumi” my mummy cried after me as I was being bundled into the Black Maria.
As the door closed and the car started moving away, my mum ran after the black maria as far as her small legs could carry her.
I watched on as my heart bled seriously!
Then, I saw her as she fell!
She fell on the hard tarred road…
…and I swore!
I swore with my whole heart that it was over!
It was really over!
Watch out for 4