This is a double-extra special episode. I tried to cut it short but I decided it was worth sharing as it was. It’s two pages of a long juicy read. Enjoy!
She thought about it for the whole two weeks Dave gave her to think about it. She missed him a lot but didn’t want to make a mistake that would destroy their lives. She was so confused. She wondered what would happen if she returned to him and pretended as if nothing happened. Would his family come to disturb her again? She also wondered what would happen if she didn’t return. Would Dave really commit suicide? She suspected he would considering the way he was hell bent on her coming back to him. Could she live with him for the rest of her life knowing that she didn’t love him wholeheartedly?
She wondered who her soul mate was. Eric? She doubted it considering the way she hated him. She felt it was too late to start searching for her soul mate. She had made a mistake and so had to live with it. She hated the thought of divorce or separation and didn’t want to end up like her aunt, waking up alone everyday of her life. She decided to go back to him and make her marriage work.
When her husband called at the end of the two weeks, she told him she didn’t know if she would be coming yet and she was still thinking about it. She actually wanted to surprise him by going home the following day.
“Get ready for my funeral.” he firmly told her.
“No, don’t talk like that. Just give me more time. Okay?”
“I’ve told you,” was all he said before he hung up.
She worried non-stop about that statement throughout the night. It was a pity he had called late evening else she would have gone to see him. She tried calling him but all his lines weren’t reachable. She prayed she would meet him at home the following day since it was a Saturday.
She had to run an errand for her aunt before she left the following day. The traffic was terrible so she had to wait a long time before she got to the house. She didn’t know what was wrong but she kept feeling weird until she got to the house. She felt something was amiss but couldn’t place a finger on it.
She exchanged pleasantries with the gateman and asked if her husband was at home. He replied that he was. She got to the apartment and met their neighbor. They exchanged pleasantries. When the neighbour asked her why she hadn’t been around, she had to lie that she traveled. Her neighbor went back into her house while she knocked on the door.
She continued knocking, wondering what he would say to her. She knew he would be overjoyed to see her. That funny feeling came again when she knocked five times and he didn’t open the door. She continued knocking hysterically. When he still didn’t open the door, she rushed to the back door behind the building. Fortunately, the door was opened. She didn’t see her husband in the kitchen so she rushed to the living room. When he wasn’t there either, she ran to their bedroom and what she saw made her blood run cold. Her husband was sprawled on the floor beside their bed, foaming from the mouth. He had obviously taken poison from the small bottle in his hand.
Adrenalin pushed her and she ran towards him. She knelt down and for felt his pulse. Relief flooded her when she discovered he was still alive but barely. Screaming hysterically, she ran to call her neighbor. Her neighbor’s husband and the gateman carried him to her car.
She prayed throughout the short journey to the hospital. When they got to the hospital, the wait nearly killed her. She prayed and prayed. She begged God to give her one more chance to love him and she would try her best to do so. She called Aunt Vien to tell her the situation. Aunt Vien rushed down to the hospital to be with her. When their family doctor came out with a grim look on his face and shook his head, Oleng fainted instantly.
Her neighbor was there on time to catch her before she fell to the ground.
When she was revived, she was told that Dave was okay but she felt they were lying to her. She insisted on seeing him before she believed. When she saw her husband looking so pale, she burst into tears.
“It’s okay, Oleng. He’s fine. It was tough but we were able to flush out all the poison from his system. If he had been brought thirty minutes later than when he was brought, he would definitely have died but we thank God, that’s not the case.” Their family doctor assured her but she cried on heedlessly.
She held her husband’s hand and wept profusely on it. “I’m so sorry. So sorry.” she said continuously.
Aunt Vien and her neighbors gave her some privacy with her husband and went home. When Aunt Vien came back in the evening and met Oleng in the same position still in a melancholic mood, she scolded her.
“Do you want to be on the bed next to his instead of gathering strength to take care of him?”
Oleng raised a tear stained face to look at her. “You don’t understand. I came this close to losing him.” She gestured with her thumb and index fingers “It would have been all my fault had he died. I was being so stubborn to the man who means the world to me. What would I have done if he had died? How would I have been able to cope without him? I would never have been able to forgive myself.” She lamented.
Aunt Vien went to put an arm around her. “It’s alright, my dear. He didn’t die and we should be grateful to God for that. Nothing is your fault. You didn’t know he was going to attempt suicide. In the circumstances in which you left his house, one would understand your reluctance in going back.”
“But marriage is for better for worse like you told me, aunty. I should have gone back earlier instead of putting him on this hospital bed.”
“Stop it, Oleng!” her aunt almost yelled. “You didn’t tell him to commit suicide, did you? Frankly, I’m even angry with him for attempting to end a life that is not his. You left him, so what? That shouldn’t have given him the right to attempt suicide. Life goes on. After all, he’s not the first man with a broken home and he won’t be the last.”
“Aunty, how can you talk like that?” Oleng was appalled.
Her aunt removed her hand from her shoulders to look at her. “I’m only being realistic here. I left my husband because I couldn’t stand his second wife but look at me today, am I not still living? Life goes on no matter the troubles. Show me any one who says he or she doesn’t have any problem and I’ll show you a liar. Trouble must definitely come but we just have to face them and allow God to carry them for us,” she continued, “I never knew Dave to be a lily-livered person. I’m disappointed in him. I expected him to try to woo you back into his house and not take life into his own hands no matter how desperate he was. Learn from this Oleng, now you know what your husband is capable of.”
Oleng was speechless by the time she finished. She just stared at her aunt who looked wiser beyond her years. “Please will you help me talk to him when he finally wakes up?”
“I most definitely will,” she firmly conceded. “Now come and eat the food I prepared for you.”
When Dave woke up the following day, Oleng was by his side and quickly grabbed his hand and kissed it.
“Oh! Thank God. Thank God you’re awake. God, thank you.” She looked up to the ceiling in gratitude. “How are you feeling?”
Dave had to swallow several times before he was able to croak, “Weak.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be on your feet in no time.” She smiled brightly. “Let me get Dr. Ekang to examine you.” She rushed out to call their family doctor.
The doctor came along with her and checked his vital signs and smiled.
“Your husband is alright. He needs a lot of rest but he’s okay. Dave, you gave us quite a scare. Why would you do such a thing?…never mind. There’s plenty of time to discuss that. Just relax and let your wife take care of you.” Dr. Ekang said gently and smiled. He left the room after Oleng finished thanking him profusely.
“Dave, I’m so sorry. I’d already made up my mind to come back but I wanted to surprise you. I didn’t know you were serious about taking your life. Why would you do that?”
“It’s okay…my angel. I’m sorry for causing you so much pain,” he spoke slowly. “I…thought you had…left me for good and I couldn’t…face the future alone without…you.” Then he smiled a little. “Now you know why…I call you angel. You saved my life. If you hadn’t…come along, I would have died and…all because of a surprise. I’m sorry for putting you through the…the… pain.”
“No, I should be the one apologizing. My place is with you. I married you for better, for worse and I shouldn’t have refused to come back at the first sign of trouble…Dave, please promise me one thing. Please.” She solemnly requested.
“What is it, my…angel?” he inquired, his eyes never leaving hers. “You know I’ll do anything for you.”
“Please promise me you’ll never attempt to take your life again. Please. No matter the situation, please promise me that you’ll never think of leaving me again. You mean the world to me.” She passionately pleaded, gazing deeply into his eyes.
Dave raised her hands to his lips. “I promise…I promise. I love you.”
“I love you too.” She kissed him and hugged him on the bed.
Dave spent a total of two weeks in the hospital much to his chagrin. Oleng was surprised when her mother-in-law and Felicia came to see him in the hospital and didn’t accuse her of trying to kill him. She was even more surprised when they apologized for throwing her out and wished her a happy married life.
Dave told her that he had gone to Port Harcourt to plead with them to leave them alone. She was indeed surprised at the change in their attitude towards her just because he went to talk to them. She wondered if suddenly he had a way with words because he hadn’t been able to get through to them in the past. She was happy at the new development though.
When Dave was finally discharged from the hospital, he didn’t feel like going back to the house he had attempted to take his own life but he didn’t have a choice. When Oleng finished dropping him at home, she went back to Aunt Vien’s place to get her things. She was grateful to Aunt Vien who had spoken deeply with Dave, extracting a promise from him never to embark on such a sordid journey again.
They fell back into their daily routine of husband and wife before his family threw her out. Oleng tried more than ever now to truly love her husband while Dave even loved her more.
They laid on their matrimonial bed together when Dave decided to tell her what he had been keeping from her, waiting for the right time.
“Angel,” he called softly.
“Hmm,” she responded, albeit sleepily.
“How would you feel if we were to go back to Port Harcourt?” he enquired as he laid on an elbow to look at her.
“To do what? Visit your family?” She enquired gently.
“No, to live.”
“What?” She sat up, amazed.
He sat up also and placed a pillow behind him on the head board.
“When I came back from off shore, I discovered that I’d been transferred to Port Harcourt by the company.”
“What?” Surprise was written all over her face.
“Due to everything that happened, I was unable to tell you. I’m supposed to resume there next month.”
“Next month is just a week and some days away.” She said in alarm.
“I know. What do you say? Will you go with me or you’d rather remain here.”
She was silent for a while. To go back to the place where she had such sweet and bitter memories of her childhood wasn’t appealing but she didn’t have a choice.
“You know my place is with you. Of course I’ll go with you.” she informed him, smiling.
He kissed her. “That’s my angel.”
“There’d be some much to do before you leave. I’ve to resign first of all. We have to plan how we will move our things down there…accommodation. We haven’t even thought of where we’d live when we get there…God forbid! I won’t live in your family house.” She vehemently told him.
He smiled easily. “No one is asking you to. I’ve contacted a house agent there who is already looking for a house for us. I want to buy a house this time around. No more renting.”
“Really? That’d be wonderful. The privacy and all. Can we afford it?”
“Yes. You know money isn’t an issue for me. There’re a lot of things to sort out before we go there. I think I’ll have to go first then when you’re through, you’ll come and join me.”
“Okay, if you say so.” She agreed witheringly.
“Please make it snappy though. You know I can’t live without you.”
“Neither can I.” She returned, smiling and they both laid back on the bed to sleep.
Aunt Vien was sad when she was told of their migration plans. She lamented on how she would miss them when she was helping with the packing and all.
A week and some days later, Dave left for his new post in Port Harcourt. Oleng was to join him in two weeks.
The day finally came and Oleng and her aunt wept like babies. They kept reminding each other that Port Harcourt was only a few hours away and they would see each other frequently. Oleng thanked her continuously for accommodating her and all her help over the years. She finally entered her car and followed the lorry that was taking their things to her new destination.
Thus her life in Calabar was closed and she was back to Port Harcourt again.
“Now young lady, I have to answer the call of nature.” The old woman told her grandchild and got up from the bed to stretch her old bones.
Tonia wiped the tears from her eyes for the umpteenth time. “I’ve to go too but I can’t seem to move.”
Her grandmother chuckled and placed a hand on hers to lift her up. “Go and pee, my dear. We have little time before your parents and granddad get home. I still have a lot to tell you.”
“Okay grandma.” She made her way to the door but paused to stare at her grandma who was waddling to the bathroom. Tears gathered in her eyes as she recalled all the woman had told her.
“Strong woman.” She muttered before opening the door.
END OF PART ONE
*Hold on to your seat belts everyone ’cause we are about to change gear! Part two is coming soon with a lot of drama. Why is Oleng’s life so dramatic? Is she jinxed?*