By Gideon Odiase
She’d prepared Akpu and Egusi soup, garnished with assorted meat and stock fish, which she learnt was Mama’s favorite dish. She served it when mama had already settled in and was more relaxed.
“Don’t bother yourself, I am not hungry and when I am, I will go into the kitchen and prepare it myself”. She was stunned by her comments and just left the food by her bedside. She thought of her behavior hitherto and she felt the need to talk to Ugo about it. It was in the middle of the night and the light was dim, they were both on lying on the bed, she had her head rested on his chest. “Dear, I don’t like how Mama is treating me. Since she arrived, she’s not eaten my food or reply my greeting” Amaka said, in a low tone, as though a third person could hear them, “I can’t believe you are worried about that, give her some time, and besides, she’ll be here only for a couple of weeks”. “I have something to tell you, I will be travelling to Canada in two weeks. My company is taking us on an 8 weeks training.” Ugo said, and he studied her reaction; She unwrapped herself from him and went under the blanket. She wasn’t sure of what to feel, whether to be happy, sad or angry, coupled with the fact that she’d be staying alone in the large house with her annoying Mother-in-law.
A quick screech of the tires from the sudden application of brakes followed by insults and angry gestures as Amaka, who was driving back home on her way from the airport, where she’d dropped Ugo off. He’d been her only reason to stay in that house and was already lost in thought of how she’s going to survive without him around her when she almost hit a school girl crossing the road. She parked at the road side for a moment, cried out her heart and after a while, she headed home. On getting home she was greeted with a familiar drama; a nagging and annoying mother-in-law, practically impossible to please. She was already getting used to all her charade and was about turning the knob to the door of her bedroom when Madam Chika spoke about her marriage, calling her barren and a ‘thing’. Those words shook her lungs and she turned with tears rolling freely from her eyes, as she took painful strides towards Madam Chika.
The knocks on the door in quick succession ejected her knees from the soft rug where it had sunk deep, surrounded by patches of tears which soaked it forming a map-like pattern. Her facial iridescence had been eclipsed totally by pouring lines of the eye salty liquid. She hurriedly opened the door and hugged Officer Joe, so tightly that her breasts flattened on his chest. “I called you as soon as I saw her” she said in between throaty sobs, making faint grunts as she tried forcing back free flowing mucus into her nose, she was emotionally broken. “It’s going to be okay, let my men begin their investigation”.
Three junior officers went into the house which was a very spacious apartment, well cushioned and furnished, even up to the ceiling. The officers took down Amaka’s statement which said she arrived home from the airport only to meet her laying dead on the ground of the spacious sitting room.
Officer Joe took his time to comb the scene and try to demystify the reason behind the deep gash in her head along with other sharp cuts on her body… The window was protected; there were shrapnel of glass on the ground just in front of the now destroyed standing mirror. His mind immediately geared back to that moment he was almost sold out by Amaka’s embrace, the image of her plastered arm surfaced and when he approached her about the injury, she said it was sustained few days ago in an office accident.
As she was being questioned further, one of the officers brought a handful of freshly blood stained cotton wools with a medical scissors. On seeing this, Amaka’s heart gave a Samba-like rhythm! “Who used these?” Officer Joe asked, showing her the exhibits found at the scene of the crime. She cooked and brewed words in her mouth and when she spoke, it was all mumbled up. She was cuffed and then arrested for further questioning. She later confessed – after being threatened to be tortured in ways she would never have imagined, to the murder of Madam Chika, stating that she’d been provoked to anger by her comments which resulted in a fight and she died in the process, after being deeply wounded by the glass weapon wielded by her. The news spread all over town like wild fire. She was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor. She had allowed herself to be tapped up to anger in an intense moment when she should have taken the dirt in the face and then take a cleansing shower, before figuring out her next course of action. The truth is; mirrors reveal things, it’s their job, even when they are broken.
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