Tue. Feb 13th, 2024

PART 33

 

Emeka left there and came to join me upstairs. He sent Scholatisca away and just sat down. I was also quiet. I checked the time and it was past 4:00PM. I had group class that evening by 7pm. I told Emeka I had to go back. I didn’t know his sisters were on their way up.

 

“Go where? To go and meet your lovers? You are not going anywhere” Ugonna announced as they fully ascended.

 

I ignored her. I turned to Emeka, “We are having a practical test on Wednesday. Our slot is tonight. I told you about it. Please let me leave. Or you come with me”

 

Adanne interrupted, “You have a serious allegation against you and you are more interested in going back to school?”

 

“Adanne, this is my future. Without me they cannot have the class; we have to be complete. Why should others suffer for my sake? I have to leave. Emeka needs to make up his mind who he believes”

 

“You are going nowhere. I want to see how you will leave. Harlot. Adulteress. ‘She is from a good home’ my foot. If I didn’t see with my eyes how would anyone have believed me?” Ugonna shouted at me.

 

 

“I don’t owe you an explanation. I owe Emeka and I have spoken my truth. How the evidence came about I don’t know. As per the nudity, ask Emeka. That’s all I have to say” I picked up my phone Emeka dropped on the side stool, went into the room and locked the door. I heard them making noise but I was no more interested. I will not be held prisoner. I called auntie Nneoma and I told her everything. I let her know I was being held against my will in Emeka’s house. She didn’t waste time. I stayed in the room. In less than two hours, auntie Nneoma was in the house. She came combat-ready.

 

When Adanne and co. saw her, they didn’t dare challenge her. She asked for me. She called out my name and I came down. “Get into the car, the driver will take you back to school. You can’t miss that practical” as I left. I heard her say to Emeka, “I am very disappointed in you. You decided to give your wife public disgrace not knowing you are disgracing yourself”

 

I left for Enugu. I had bathed and changed in the bedroom before leaving. I went straight to meet my group members. My eyes were red. Amaechi kept looking at me. After the class, he made me wait behind and asked what was wrong. I started crying again. He allowed me to cry until I was calm. I told him everything. He was shocked.

 

“How can your husband believe these allegations? I have known you for years now and I don’t believe a word they said. Let me see the chat?” I gave him my phone to look at it. He smiled. “Whoever replied these chats is a s£xual pervert and it is not you. I wonder why I was dragged into the issue. Anyway, all I can say is, focus on your education. Let your husband decide if he wants to believe them or believe you. You can’t afford to fail”

 

Auntie Nneoma called me. She asked me to come back home that night. I went to her. She was preparing to travel but now, with what was on the ground, she cancelled the trip.

 

“I listened to all they said and saw the evidence. It is damning but I don’t believe it. I told them the Akwaugo I raised will never do something like this. I can beat my chest on it. Emeka is not saying anything. I expected him to defend you knowing all you suffered in the hands of his sisters. I have told them, if they are no

 

 

more interested, we will gladly return their bride price. I can’t believe Emeka will fall for this. Emeka is a disappointment”

 

“There is another problem”

 

“What is it?”

 

“I am pregnant”

 

“For Emeka now. Is he aware?”

 

“Yes, he is”

 

“That’s not a problem. If he doesn’t want the child, keep it. Your parents and I will care for him while you study. See, Akwaugo, there is nothing new under the sun. I believe your sisters-in-law plotted against you. Why? I will never know. This too will pass. I am very disappointed in your husband though. He didn’t prove to be a man”

 

“How do I tell my parents? If they find out I am pregnant, they will be disappointed. I didn’t want that”

 

“Leave all that. You got carried away with your love for Emeka. I was also carried away by his charm I didn’t know he was lily-livered. How can he believe you would do such? It is his loss”

 

“Auntie, I can’t lose Emeka. I love him. I will die if he leaves me. Auntie, please talk sense into him. I can’t be with another man. I have done things just to make him happy as my husband. Another woman can’t enjoy what I have suffered to build; tufiakwa!!”

 

“He is not the only man on earth. We will pray and he will come back to his senses. There is nothing prayer can’t do. We will fast and pray. In your condition, you can’t”

 

“I will do anything for this nightmare to be over. On one hand, it looks like Emeka believes me but on the other, it looks like he doesn’t. He didn’t stand up for me

 

 

when they refused me going back to school. I would have sworn he loved me. He told me several times. I believed him. Why doesn’t he believe me? Why doesn’t he trust me? Auntie I swear, I haven’t been with another man. No other man has seen my nakedness. No other man has touched this body. If Emeka leaves me, I will die”

 

“God forbids! You will not die. You will survive. He is just a man. You have God and you have always trusted him. He will see you through. Don’t worry. There is no mountain he cannot make a plain”

 

“Is it because I didn’t wait for the Church wedding before we had s£x that God is punishing me? Emeka refused. Is it the things Emeka made me do? Are they sins? What could have made them plot against me? How can God be awake and allow this to happen? I am ashamed. It is better I die. My parents; it will kill my father. It will break my mother’s heart. God, why have you forsaken me”

 

As I cried auntie Nneoma wept with me. I cried myself to sleep that night. There was so much at stake. I didn’t see it clearly until now. My life had been turned upside down. Our wedding was just close. I just found out I was pregnant. What else will happen now?

 

I had to be at school all through the week. I called Emeka, he wouldn’t talk to me. Instead, Uju called me. She said to me confidently, “I heard all the accusations levelled against you. I have told Emeka it is either you are a fantabulous actress or they are lies. My fiancé believes so too. Are you aware Jacinta wasn’t allowed back into her home? Her husband has thrown her out and is asking for his bride price to be returned. She is in the village now without her children. They said he is guilty that was why he threw her out for exposing him like that. But I think he is disgusted at the extent she went to ruin Emeka’s relationship. Emeka is confused now. Give him time, he will come around”

 

The case had gotten its first casualty. I went home for the weekend. I went to Emeka’s house. I noticed he had moved me out of the room to another room. I stayed there. I cooked, Emeka wouldn’t talk to me or eat what I cooked. I felt frustrated but I didn’t leave. I left on Sunday evening. He didn’t say anything to me.

 

 

This went on for three weeks until my father called me concerning the wedding. I knew I had to tell him.; I had to tell my family. I travelled home with auntie Nneoma and I told everyone what happened. Father was quiet. He sat down without saying a word for ten minutes. Then he picked up his phone and called his friend, Emeka’s father.

 

They exchanged pleasantries then he said, “My daughter is here and has told me she was accused of infidelity by her in-laws. I was surprised nwanne. I expected that something so grievous would be brought to my notice immediately. It was when I asked about the wedding, she told me this. Anyway, please come with your son and the witnesses. I want to hear from the horse’s mouth”

 

“My friend, you have raised your daughter well. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for mine. I know where I stand on this issue but I am not her husband. We will come to see you right away. Maybe we will get better clarification”

 

We waited for hours but they didn’t come. My father called his friend back and he told him to be patient, he will get back to him. I cried. I didn’t understand how my world was falling apart. Why won’t they honour my father? Why disrespect him like that?

 

“Akwaugo my daughter, every Christian who wants to be Christlike will go through persecution just like Christ did. I never expected you to face the challenge you are facing now but who are we to question the all-knowing God? I was rushing for this Church wedding because I know he had carnal knowledge of you. Don’t be surprised, some men become extra loving when they meet their wives at home. I know he did. Nne, my Ada, I am heartbroken seeing you go through this but know one thing, I believe you. Is there something else you want to tell me?”

 

I looked at auntie Nneoma and she nodded. I knelt down in the presence of my parents and said, “I am pregnant”.

 

My father shut his eyes tightly and shook his head in deep pain. He then asked, “Is he saying the baby is not his?”

 

“He asked if it was Dr Maduka’s baby and I said no. His family is not aware”

 

 

“Akwaugo, you deviated from the path we taught you. You got carried away by the things of the world. This is our cross, we will carry it. No matter what happens, make sure you graduate from the university and be a medical doctor. Do you hear me?”

 

“Yes, father”

 

Three weeks in a roll I had been coming back with the usual attitude from Emeka. The fourth week, I came back for the weekend. I went to my room upstairs. I was there when Ugonna and Jacinta badged in. It frightened me.

 

“What is the problem?” I asked in confusion.

 

“Akwaugo you are leaving this house today” Ugonna shouted at me like a madwoman.

 

“What did I do?”

 

“You went back to your lover didn’t you. We have evidence of that. Emeka is fully aware of your adulterous ways. You cannot stay here and think all is well. Stand up and leave” Jacinta answered me.

 

“I don’t know what you are talking about. Let Emeka come himself and ask me to leave”

 

“I sacrificed my family for you to leave this house and you must leave” Jacinta replied dragging me from the bed. I resisted but they both dragged me. I screamed and shouted but they continued to drag me. I screamed for Emeka, I screamed for his father and I even screamed for his mother. They were nowhere in sight. I screamed some more. Ugonna and Jacinta dragged me down the stairs. They pulled my hands and dragged me down the flight of the stairs. I intensified my screaming. I felt pains as I was descending and so I screamed, “My stomach, I’m pregnant”. They did listen; they continued dragging me. I screamed for Emeka one last time and I saw him rush in with his parents. By then, I had started bleeding. Emeka rushed to us and stopped them. It was too late; the deed had been done.

 

 

“Didn’t you hear her. She said she is pregnant. How do you drag a pregnant woman? How?” Emeka screamed at them as he rushed upstairs to get his keys.

 

I was hurt. I was humiliated. Above all, I was bleeding. I looked up at Ugonna and Jacinta and said to them, “If I lose this baby, you will be miserable for the rest of your lives. I will never forgive”

 

Emeka stopped me, “Stop talking. Let me take you to the hospital”

 

I was beyond being shut up. I told him too, “Emeka, if I lose this baby, I don’t want to have anything to do with you again. If I lose this baby, your family killed it because they don’t want us to be together. Remember that”

 

I saw my mother-in-law in tears. She came and helped carry me into the car. I

 

asked for my bag and it was brought to me. They joined Emeka to the hospital at

 

Abakaliki. I called my brothers. I called auntie Nneoma. I was still bleeding by the

 

time we got to the hospital.

 

AKWAUGO

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