Kero walked the comb through the few strands of hair left on her head. The sharp pains that she always felt in her kinky hair were gone. She closed her eyes. So this is it, the end. Just half an hour ago she had put a call through to 767, the police hotline.
“Hello, hello. Please I need help” She screamed.
“Calm down madam. What is your name? How can we help you?”
“My name is Ovu” She gasped. “I am calling to report a murder at
24 Aremu Olatubosun Street, Mafoluku”
She hangs up the phone and looks at the phone booth manager probingly.
“Why you dey look me like that abi na crime to call from your shop?” She barks.
“Aunty no vex o! I was not hearing your phone call o. I want ask if you know that two buttons don comot from your shirt”. The boy drops his gaze.
She takes a sharp glance at herself to find that her left breast had leapt out of her black silk shirt. She quickly re-adjusts herself and looks around.
“Thank you dear” She gives a half smile as she hands him a dirty fifty Naira note.
“Keep the balance”. She yells as she hurries away with her luggage.
Her tortuous six-hour, five-on-a-seat journey from
to Sapele did not have as much impact on her as did the untimely fall of a giant. Lagos
She had been married to Tade for seven and a half years. They had been dating each other since her first year in school. Tade had studied Architecture, a four-year course and she studied Law for five years. She had known him too well and trusted him all the way. Though he had graduated a year before she did and had gone on to do his National Youth Service, she still saw the flames in his eyes, which she saw on the eve of their first courting anniversary when he told her “I love you Ovuokero”. He had never lied to her.
Cupid, the god of love seemed to have dwelt in her marital home while the god of fertility refused to accept whatever tokens she offered. For seven and a half years she contested the position of the most barren with male pawpaw trees in her compound. The pleasant memories of her marital life were buried in the gold-plated jewellery box that Tade bought for her two-years ago, on her thirty-fifth birthday. That was two weeks before the doctor had told that she had cancer. She watched tears streak down Tade’s cheeks. She knew he cared from the way he grabbed the doctor and shook him hard till cry wrenched away his grasp from his overcoat. He had shown her support and had promised to love her till the end. He lied. He began to avoid her like an HIV patient after her birthday, the thirty fifth. He had hit her hard with his fat fists on several times.
Seven and a half days ago, He walked into the house with a short fat woman and a chubby little boy. She did not need an introduction as she could see her husband’s genetic signatures boldly written all over the boy’s face.
“Ovy” His voice quavered “Meet Wale, my son. This is Halima, his mother. It happened in Bauchi eight years ago during NYSC.”
Kero passed out.
Eight hours ago, Tade staggered into her room early morning, smelling of beer. He dragged her out of bed and pulled her into the kitchen. He pulled with what had remained of her falling hair.
“Male pawpaw.” He called as he hit her in his drunkenness.
She reached for the big knife with the brown handle and hit him till she saw him fall onto the tiled floor after his blood. She packed her bags knowing she had buried all her pain in his lifeless body.