********* *********** *******
I’m a woman; a very terrible woman. No! Don’t think me mad. I’m sane enough to know what I’m saying. I have done terrible things. I’m a disgrace to womanhood. I have never represented womanhood in a very good light. I’m a prototype of wickedness and infidelity. They said that Jezebel was the highest wicked human being ever lived. But believe me when I tell you that I’m ten times worse than her. My wickedness is brazenly fierce. Between the Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well, who had slept with many men and the woman Jesus saved from being stoned to death because she committed adultery, which of them did you think a whore of the first order? I’m very much worse than your answer.
I never gave anybody the chance to talk to me. My parents did all they could; they offered me the best of advice, they scolded me appropriately, they corrected me, they provided me with the best of education one can ever desire, they showered me with love and they cared for me. In all these, I grew to become this monster. In my teenage hood, you dare not come to offer me advice, unless off course you a prepared to face my music.
Now, I long to change, I have to change, that is why I have admitted to all these sins. But I have to keep them from my husband. I want to nail them all to my past. I want to be a new creature. But as long as I live, life keeps on throwing forth punishments from my past. It pains to receive punishment from life with the measure one gave. I gave a full measure of grave evil deeds in my youth exuberance and I expect to receive my reward with the exact measure. “As a man maketh his bed, so he lies on it” this saying now makes a lot of sense to me more than ever.
I had believed that when I confess my sins, I would be free, free from the guilt that hunted me every now and then. I want to get rid of the heart of stone and replace it with the heart of flesh. I want to feel love once more again; to love and be loved.
I’m married to a very young handsome man and very peaceful. We are rich. I do not mean to refer only to my husband’s wealth but we are both earning handsomely. My husband owns a lot of companies, estates, built and owned many renowned private Universities here in the state. I’m a lawyer. I own and manage a law firm. And so we are very rich. Together we could buy the world; we could pull down mountains and dry up oceans. Wealth has never been our problem but fruit of the womb.
Lately, things have started falling apart between us. He doesn’t care as he used to. He has stopped kissing me before leaving for work. All those beautiful smiles that used to hang on his face are gradually fading away. He has stopped been chatty. But who would want blame such an innocent and good man if he choose to seize his love? This is the twelfth year into our marriage yet no issue. Our problem of not been able to conceive could actually come from either of us. But I’m sure I am the guiltiest of it, even though both of us were marked medically healthy. The entire medical test that we have gone for both outside the states and within had marked us medically fit to engage in procreation. Physiologically, we are sound. We both have balanced hormonal levels, normal menstrual cycle, normal sperm count; the spermatozoa of my husband are of a good quality, viable and are actively motile. My husband has nothing to do with our predicament but I do. Don’t think me foolish for taking the whole blame because I know who I was and I know what I have been in the past.
How could science not detect that I was guilty of our problems. How could it not detect the number of abortions I have had? How could it not suggest that I must have exhausted all the eggs in my womb? How could it not detect a single sexually transmitted disease of any sort that could hinder pregnancy, knowing that I have had a lot of sexual intercourse with men unprotected and carelessly? Why couldn’t it detect the high levels of abortion pills in my blood, which I took back in the day? We had flown outside the state for medical check-up, yet the results continued presenting us as fit and sound.
Night fall was fast approaching and it was about time my husband should have left work. I had come back from work some hours ago. Often times I close work earlier before my husband. As always, I stood by the window dressed in a white thin gown that flows down to my ankles, peering through the drapes that hung down to cover the louvers, waiting patiently on my husband’s return. On the sight of my husband’s car at a distance, almost approximately close to our gate. I hurtled down to the kitchen to make sure that the dinner was ready to be served. By now Ijeoma must have been through with the cooking. But to my greatest surprise, the pot of soup was still on the gas cooker. My stomach fluttered in anger. I was enraged. My heart was full of bile.
‘Ijeoma!’ I called out on top of my voice.
Ijeoma was a girl we adopted from the orphanage not as a child but as a maid servant. My husband had kicked against the idea of adopting a child. He wanted to have a child of his own; to raise him, care and love him.
‘Maa!’ she answered. She stood at distance away from me. She feared my usual slap, combo and knock outs and so she cowered back.
‘Why is the food still on the fire?’
‘I am so-o-ory maa,’ she stuttered. ‘But you ask me to wash the bed sheet, and so I tried to marry both task together.’
‘Come,’ I said.
‘I said come here!’ I yelled this time.
She trembled in fear as she moved closer to me, with her hand covering her face to block the never unseen hot slap.
‘You were supposed to be changing, don’t you? Don’t do this!’ I tiny voice sprang up from within and whispered to me those words.
Instead of a slap, I patted her at the back and asked her to go and continue with the laundry while I take care of the cooking. I could not believe that I actually controlled myself over that fierce rage. She should have been bleeding by now but instead she went away save. The little innocent girl has really suffered under my reign. The other day I walked into her room, she had pulled off her clothes and was about pulling on another, I saw how badly her skin was torn, the sapentine marks, the yet to resolve wounds, and the dark patched on her skin. On many occasion I have bathed her with pepper, her eyes and vagina receiving the major dose. Amidst the drawings and the marks on her body the one at her neck made my heart fluttered. The one at her neck was no ordinary mark, it was an identification mark. It is akin to the one the Fulani cattle herdsmen give to their stocks. At once I recognized the mark.
‘No! This is not true. It can’t be. It must be a coincidence. Oh! My God, let it not be true’ I fought the thoughts while standing dazed. I was jolted back to consciousness when she said, ‘Madam, are you alright?’
‘Yes! I am fine’ I said and left.
Aninze Chukwuebuka Harrison ©