Mrs Martha Israel Nwosu, widow twenty-six years old.
The young man, a journalist with clear eyes, sat comfortably on the bench. His attitude encouraged me to narrate my story – the story of how I came here.
He had a calm smile that assures; it made me want to give him everything. Maybe it would change some lives. Someone out there may learn from my mistakes.
I was born a Christian but I had let that slipped off my hand when I was enveloped in anger. Anger is powerful than alcohol and poison; it can kill faster.
‘I was married to the greatest man a woman can ever dream.’ I began, ‘Martin Nwosu was rich, handsome, caring and everything a woman could ask for.’
The young man writes down on a piece of the journal.
‘I met Martin about two years ago, at a wedding party where I was invited. I noticed the tall, bearded Martin walking to me. Though I was on heels, he was still some inches above me. He asked to be my friend and I accepted. Who wouldn’t at such handsomeness? The friendship matured into courtship which I can proudly say I enjoyed. He was not the first man I dated but he was just different. He pampered me with gifts like a mother would do for an only son after many years of bareness. I couldn’t use many of the gifts; I had only kept them in my room. Sometimes when I was cleaning the house, I would come across some gifts I had forgotten, I would pick them up, a knowing smile would appear on my face.
‘Martin has many pranks and surprises that often pushed me to tears. He wasn’t a man but an angel. It was just too much for me to believe he was real.’
‘One day, the day of my twenty-fourth birthday, he did not call like he used to. When I called to ask about his insensitivity – it was my birthday, if he had forgotten – he hurriedly said he was busy and ended the call. I was hurt. How could he say he was busy? Was he busy to offer just a happy birthday?
‘It was my phone, an iPhone, which received the wrath of my annoyance. I sent it into the wall and it came crashing on the ground and it shattered. I spent the day at home, sitting on my bed. I would not step out – Martin, the spoiler of everything that could have made me happy on such a happy day.
‘My resolution changed when Lara and Essoen came in the afternoon, they are two friends I have except acquaintances. Lara is talkative. Essoen, on the other hand, finds it difficult to talk more than a few words. She could listen till Jesus come.
‘Because of that you are going to remain sober for the rest of the day’ my parrot friend had asked. ‘Because he just says he was busy’
‘You don’t get it, he did not even say happy birthday’ I had said.
I had to keep quiet because she was getting on my nerves.
‘Let’s just go out and celebrate it in our own way’ she added.
I was adamant since she had chosen to be insensitive to my pains I would rather remain in my room.
‘Please, you know, you are our friend, and we are not the one who annoyed you’ Essoen chipped, her first statement after I narrated Martins offence. I looked into her eyes and she pleaded with those white almond eyes. The word ‘please’ came out softly again from her lips like the flow of water through wool. Her beauty, her eyes – she was charming with such an expression. If I was an opposite sex I would have felt a thump of sympathy in my heart, an urge to yield her request at all cost. I conceded. We went out to have fun. I didn’t know where we are heading to. I didn’t know what we would do there. But I was going to have fun.
‘Thank you’ she smiled revealing her dentition. Her gum was visible as they held a series of the fine small tooth; again I had to pity men. I walked into the bathroom to prepare for a lunch with my friends not knowing I was preparing for the first biggest surprise of my life.
‘I didn’t know all this was drama until later.’
‘We drove in Lara’s car. The sky was blue with white stains; the sun was shining brightly. We got to the restaurant. As I stepped into the restaurant with my friends, nothing seemed off – men and women eating, gentle music from a hung television – but when I took a sit I see the odd thing. A greeting card!
‘What sort of card is this? Not suspecting I picked it, read the content. My picture was on the first page and on the second page was a quote ‘you are the reason I’m alive, happy birthday.’ Only one person can do this.
‘I stood and scanned the hall. I had stared at my friends for an answer and they both looked away simultaneously. I searched the faces of the people around. Martin stood walked to the centre of the hall. The man I loved stood in a blue suit, a bow tie across his neck – I felt underdressed in my pink gown. The white shirt revealing at the end of suit’s hands was a compliment to the blue colour of his tie. Like a choirmaster, he clicked his finger together to make three sounds and everyone in the restaurant rose to chorus ‘happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!! Happy birthday to you Martha’
‘I had smiled to myself for this surprise, my anger vanishing immediately like melting ice; I was Armstrong on the moon as I walked to the centre of the restaurant. He raised his hand for a graceful hug. People outside soon joined us to celebrate; it was difficult to hide my excitement and I laughed like an infant who had melting sugar at the corner of her cheeks. That day I went home inside my Martin’s birthday gift, a black Hyundai that had a sticker pasted at the back ‘Martins is made from Martha’
There I regretted not wearing the velvet dress he bought for me; the one Lara had said it revealed my entire boy size. ‘E be like the dress dey mould you.’ It would have made necks rake me, lustful eyes would stare, and most importantly, Martins would stare at me as though he had newly met me.
‘That was one of the surprises I experienced out of many.’
‘Martin proposed the following month at a restaurant in Lekki. He had sneaked the ring, a diamond placed in a small box, to my side of the table when I was chewing rice.’
‘‘Marry me’ he had said. I became stunned, the reaction I did was for me to cough, as if his words were a pair of fingers flirting on my lungs. I blinked as he opened the box, went on one knee like a gentleman he was and look up at me like a gentleman he would have always been if tragedy hadn’t struck. More pair of eyes turned at our table. The room became warm under the air condition as if the eyes were pairs of small heaters.’
‘Who would turn down a man like Martins? Exclude his caring attitude, you had got a man erect at six feet three inches in height which means I had to look up to meet his eyes, white crystal eyes that could make a queen blush. His shoulders will comfortably accommodate a pair of babies – a twin. I can’t wait to have a life signed to him.’
‘We had our wedding day the following, and a year and a half later I was carrying a baby girl. I love martins and would not let any other woman near him. Martins do not see things my way and he changed after my first child was delivered.’
‘And that was the beginning of the tragedy.’
‘Night chats became his works every evening. At times, he would hide under the pretence of work. He would ignore me and all my threat, my fight. I punched him countless times but he wouldn’t listen. I even broke one of his phones with a bottle on the tiles. It wasn’t my fault; it’s difficult to think straight when people don’t listen. He bought a new one but kept it at arm’s length, and his bag and other things, lest they suffer the same fate.
‘It continued this way until our daughter began to need us more. Little Mary had febrile seizures and the doctor said we should always be calm. It would stop when she grows up and we should have no cause to panic. It was going to last some weeks or months according to the doctors’ report. She would need to be taken to an open space to calm down. or if we are afraid, we should bring her to the hospital.’
‘The day of trouble came. Little Mary developed her seizure, shaking like she would go lifeless very soon. I stood watching her helplessly. I didn’t know what to do. Maybe I should fan her. It was useless. Maybe I should take her to the hospital and let the doctors decide what to do. She might not make it there. The doctor had said there is little we could do in such situations. I paced around the room. I called Martins who was still out late in the night. He answered in affirmative but choose that day of all day to sleep in another woman’s arm. Her seizure began in the morning. I was sleeping alone while Martin’s was somewhere, unknown. I cried as I watch her struggle with death. She held my nightdress as if it would save her, her eyes flicking between life and death. Then, she lay still and breathless and would not smile when her stomach or cheeks was tickle like before.’
‘Although the doctors had said, it is nearly impossible for her to die; I wasn’t going to take chances. I jumped into the house. With my key in hand, I drove into the night and headed to the hospital.
‘It happened on my way. I drove into an obstacle, little Mary collided to the front of the car. The image is still horrible.
‘That night, with my tear laden face, I was already seeing Martins corpse, there in the darkest part of hell. If he was at home, he would have driven the car. I would have held the girl to myself. He was with another woman and that has cost us – me – my first daughter. He would pay for his sins.
‘I had got the best object for the action, a new knife he bought some days ago. I kept it by side and took a position on the sofa, the lifeless body on the floor. I knew he would walk to it. I had announced to him earlier. He returned. When he saw it, he walked to it on the floor, staring at the result of his worst mistake. His back was turned to me.’
I couldn’t help but sob as I remembered everything.
‘I stabbed him – payback for an adulterous murderer. I stabbed him many times like forking a piece of yam. He moaned with each contact the knife makes with his chest through his back. He fell on his face and I did not stop until he was lifeless. Those who kill shall be killed the law of the country says. I stabbed him until he was not fighting for his life anymore, my hands and night dress wet with blood.’
‘Sadly, anger is a poison that intoxicates the mind. What a lost. What hopeless news it was. After his death, some revelations came. Martins wasn’t with another woman that night, he was at the hospital with his mother.’
‘You mean his mother was sick and he took him there.’ The journalist asked.
‘I have been wrong. I made a mistake of driving when I was tensed, then I committed murder – two murders if I should be right.’
‘I accept my guilt and would not want anyone to make such mistakes. That is it. The judge says it is a life imprisonment. Anger is dangerous. It is poisonous. It ruins.