The cry of the baby brought memories to her. She saw her inadequacy. During the first year of their marriage, they both decided not to have any child.They wanted time to understand and love themselves fully before a child comes. They were so much in love, and they feared rightly that a child might come between them. It was in the second year of their marriage that she conceived. In the fourth month of pregnancy, she had a miscarriage, she was rushed to the hospital and after treatment, and the Doctor told her she would not be able to have a baby again. She cried and cried. She broke down and wept. She became unrestrained and depressed when she heard the baby would have been a boy if not for the miscarriage. Banji had stood beside her. Now almost a year after, here he is in the hand of another woman.The woman had a child too. A child she couldn’t have.
Banke drove home and waited for her husband. As he came into the house later in the evening of the day, she went all out. She asked questions which Banji refused to answer. She cajoled, begged and pleaded for explanation for Banji’s recent change.The only answer she got was his asking for time. He said that in some few days more, she would get the answer to her questions.That was when she burst. She said a lot of-nasty things. She accused him of marital infidelity and threw it at him that maybe it was because she couldn’t give him a baby that made him go out. She told him about the morning incident and explained that she is ready to adopt the child if need be.The only thing she asked for is the truth. Is the child his?Then, only then did Banji get angry. He argued with her and told her he hated being distrusted in his house. He reached for his car key and drove out angrily.That was the last time she saw him alive.
She went through the burial ceremony and other activities almost lifeless. The reading of the will and all other things were still like a dream to her. She tried to cope and all those close to her husband helped her.The only thing that baffled her was the fact that none of her husband’s family came. She couldn’t understand it. She searched through his records and files there was no document pointing to a trace of somebody. She knew he was an orphan but at least he must have somebody. She was thinking when she got the letter at the office that will be of help but here she was with the cryptic note. She placed the letter on the dressing table. She went to take her bath and after dinner she was preparing to sleep when she heard a piercing scream from the security post. The cry was chilling and made her hairs to stand on edge. She rushed down to ask what was wrong from the maid.The maid couldn’t be of help. She rushed out towards the security post, which was where the noise came from. Her cousin was on her heels with the maid.Then she stopped. She saw a man with a young boy standing beside him with their backs turned to her.The man was trying to revive the now prostrate security guard. She stopped and asked a question.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?”
The man left the still innate body of the security man and turned slowly towards her.The child also turned.They are both split images of her dead husband Banji. She started screaming, a loud piercing, heart – rending scream. Then she fainted. She woke up to find herself in a room. She tried to focus her eyes and make herself aware of her environment. A white-washed room. An airy one with flowers in a vase beside her bed, a bedside drawer on which there is a small radio and a food flask. She finds out she is alone in the room with the air conditioner humming above her head. The lights in the room are subdued. She looks around the bed and sees a bell switch. She was almost pressing it when the door opened and a woman walked in. She is in a white overall, beautiful radiant and walks with a confident gait. She holds a stethoscope in her hand.As she comes in she realises that Banke is awake. She brightens up, gives a radiant smile and walks towards her.
“Thank God, you are now conscious”, she said.
“Where am I? Who are you?”, Banke asked.
“Take it easy and relax.You are fortunate.You’ve been in coma
for three days”.
“Me in coma?” she asked silently unbelieving
“Yes, you have been in coma”, she said and moved towards her.
“Please turn your back and let me look at the wound on your head”, she said with authority.
As Banke started turning, she seemed to recognise the face of the woman.Yes, the same woman.The woman she saw at Festac. The one her husband was kissing.The one who caused the loss of her husband she thought.
What am I doing here in the hospital? Who brought me here?Who is she?Why did she take care of me?What has she done to me?Is she my rival?Did she give birth to a child for my husband? Should I trust her?What of the person I saw who looks like my husband? Am I going mad?”