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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

THE HERO IN ME - STORY

Written by: Muoka Chibuzor


The year 1998:

It was a bright sunny Sunday morning, and the chirps of the birds were so melodious that audiophiles would fall in love with the tunes. People woke up to greet their neighbours happily and the breeze in the neighbourhood was so cool and calm. The leaves of trees swayed in slow motion from side to side. And in fact, the aroma and sensations of happiness could be perceived in every nook and cranny.

Jasmine stretched her hands and move her body sluggishly on the bed while opening her eyes slightly to look at her alarm clock, which was positioned directly to her on a small wooden stool.
8:00 am! Ooh, i overslept, she quickly rushed out of bed and prepared herself for church service.

As she stepped out of her apartment, it crossed her mind to call Tonia her very good friend back in school and break the good news to her.

Phone conversation📱

👰📱-Jasmine: Hello Tonia… It's me, Jasmine.

👱📱-Tonia: How are you doing? It's been a while.

👰📱-Jasmine: am okay, I called to tell you that am getting married next month being 2nd of June. But the traditional marriage first before the white wedding.

👱📱-Tonia: wow, am so happy for you. I must attend the traditional marriage. Anything for my bestie.

After the call, Tonia was tensed. She was lost in thought and was in stark disarray. She soliloquizes…
"Even my junior in school is getting married and here I am… God, please answer my prayers." She raises her head to look at the ceiling of her apartment.

Diana, Michael's mother calls her son to see reasons with her.
"My son Michael, do not marry this lady, she's from another tribe, she can't even cook our indigenous food nor speak our native language. 
What do you hope to achieve with such a woman?
How far can you go with her? amid these great disparities."
Michael's mother queried.

Michael was disturbed by his mother's reactions and incessant questions.
"Mother, I must marry her. We were taught during our National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program that Nigeria is one and we can marry whomever we wish, irrespective of our tribal differences and cultural heritage. So far as there is LOVE."

Diana sparked, and raged with fumes in great vexation, she pointed at her son for his inalienable contempt. And she said thus,

"LOVE be damned!
Whoever taught you that is mentally retarded.
If you! want to marry her, you must not wed her in the church immediately because I heard that people from her tribe are into witchcraft and their young women commit series of abortion. You will wed her only when she puts to bed a child.
Only on that condition shall I bless your marriage as your only surviving parent"

Michael saw that his mother was actually in for a war and decided to yield to her demands of no church wedding till the first child is born.

4 years later…

What is happening? Michael asks his wife Jasmine with every seriousness, and his facial expression was as strong and mean like that of an Egyptian mummy.

Did I marry you to be childless and troubled all the days of my life? He asks in disappointment and annoyance.

"You have failed repeatedly, but I ignored you, it's time I tell you that you have crossed the Rubicon, just pack your things and leave me in peace. You are my worst nightmare and the Genesis of my marital frustration!, I will marry another woman!!!"
he said pacing up and down in his 3 bedroom flat.

Jasmine looked at her husband in awe, she was deficient in what to say. 
Suddenly she fell on her knees in reverence, clinching her two palms together, she bursts out in tears and spoke softly…

"I admit life has frustrated our sole ambitions, my dear husband please spare me your wrath and forgive my unprecedented miscarriages. 
These things are usually beyond human control.
God's time is the best.
It was never intentional"

On hearing what his wife said, he wavered his head in utmost disappointment and spoke in the meanest way ever…

"Dear chameleon,
You can change and act as you wish, your tricks and crocodilian tears will never melt my decision. 
Tell your God that he is disinclined to acquiesce your request.

The days of my abject gullibility is gone. The earlier you vacate my house, the better for you.
You have robbed me of children for years and today you had the guts to tell me that my mother was responsible for your infirmities.
My mother warned me about you but I felt she was being just annoyed that I married you.

She told me that you and your tribe are child eaters and I have actually come to realise it's true.
If not, how can you have about 12 miscarriage in the past 4 years?
Sometimes I wonder why God, allowed me to fall into this trap of yours"

He pushed his wife off his way and slammed the door forcefully at her. She was still kneeling, soaked in tears as Michael left to the drinking bar.

Jasmine, fell on the floor, rolling and tearing her cloth into shreds. She spoke words of regret.
"The priest has killed me oooh...
Whom shall I call?
Where do I go?
What have I done to myself?
What took me years to build, is crashing before my eyes…
Oh God engulf my enemies!"

Jasmine in Depression 
Just then there was a knock on the door, it was Tonia, Jasmine's closest friend. Jasmine immediately stood up, wiped her eyes dry, and proceeded to open the door.

Aaah Tonia its been a while, welcome ooh. Jasmine said, trying to wear a happy face, but the sadness within her was unconcealed and totally obvious. Even her dressing was incomprehensible.

What is wrong with you?
 Tonia asked as she saw Jasmine's reddened eyes.
Jasmine looked at her in weakness and decided to let the cat out of the bag. Believing that a problem shared is half solved. 
While staring at the floor persistently, she spoke and teardrops fell from her eyes just like rain drops from a darkly clouded sky.

"My husband told me to park out of his house because I have been unable to retain any of my pregnancy. I went to our church priest who after series of prayers told me that my husband's mother was unhappy with me and wanted me out of his son's life. I told my husband what the priest said and he accused me of witchcraft and mischievous desires"

Jasmine paused and looked at her friend who was seriously listening to her story.
What do I do? Tonia.

Tonia was shocked at the development before she could say her mind, a resounding knock vibrated the entrance door.
Jasmine rushed and open the door, behold Diana, Michael's mother… Talk of the devil and they will appear, Jasmine said to herself.

Good afternoon mama, Jasmine greeted, but Diana snubbed her, 
where is my son?
I heard you now indulge in a conspiracy.
She asked as she moved into the parlour.

On entering, she saw Tonia who was her favourite customer at Oshodi market, Lagos. 
Tonia greeted her and she replied with great elation.

My customer, how are you? 
What brought you to our house?
Diana asked.

Ah, mama I am okay, I came to see my friend Jasmine, Tonia replied.

I see... Diana said smiling with anger at heart. 

At the moment, Jasmine was occupied in the kitchen as she started preparing a meal for her mother in law.

Diana sat down and said…
"Dear you look beautiful, you will make a good wife for my frustrated son.
Don't mind that hooligan that rigmarole in this house 247.
She's a witch and must leave my Son's life.
My son is wealthy and will take good care of you."

Tonia was mesmerised at the impious wants of Madame Diana as she called her.
Madame, how can I do this to my friend?
I can't, I won't… how can…

Shiiiiii shi ii iii … Diana cautioned Tonia and said in a low tone…

"Opportunity they say is a visitor… She has visited you and you have been blinded by emotion and sentiments.
In life, we have preys and predators. The question is, for how long will you keep being a prey and not a predator?
Mere looking at you, I sense you have attained the age of 32 and yet unmarried.
Michael is my son, I breastfeed him and whatever I tell him, he must do."

Tonia stood up immediately and left the parlour in annoyance. As she approached the kitchen, Jasmine asked her what the problem was. But Tonia replied,
"It's nothing dear, I just came to tell you to take things easy, soon all will be well. I will be on my way because of an emergency meeting at my workplace, we would talk later."

When Michael came home, his mother advised him to marry another woman. Diana went straight to suggest Tonia to him.
"My son, why not consider this Lady Tonia, I saw her today and she's matured enough and is equally one of us, she's from our tribe and would possibly make a good wife.
If you keep dwelling with the child eater, you might be the next food for consumption."

Mama are you sure? Michael asked.
Yes, I am, Diana replied while patting him on the back.
" just try and get Tonia's contact from the witch's mobile phone, call her and initiate a relationship. Be fast to get intimate with her"

Michael was elated with his mother's suggestions. He did exactly what he was told.

Jasmine was oblivious of the situation of things, her friend Tonia was now sleeping with her husband.
Michael now detests and avoid her like an evil plague.
Michael even went as far as getting married to Tonia traditionally, without letting Jasmine know.

Jasmine was no longer comfortable in her matrimonial home, she now dwells more in the house of God.

The priest often came around, consoling and encouraging her to not give up.

"You are born to win,
The challenges of today are stepping stones for a greater tomorrow.
You are a conqueror because the HERO is in you.
God will turn things around and he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

You will only look with your eye and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your HERO, and the Most High your habitation."

The words of the Priest energised Jasmine and she saw life from a better perspective, believing that the trials of today are testimonies of tomorrow.

2 months later, Tonia and Jasmine were pregnant for Michael. But Jasmine never told him, as instructed by the priest.
" If you tell him, and he tells his mother, your troubles continues."

Michael thought of what to do about Tonia's pregnancy, he consulted her mother who said,
" You are to take good care of Tonia and leave Jasmine.
Ensure you take Tonia to a good hospital, we know that The witch will normally eat her child but we won't allow her to eat another's.
It's time you bring Tonia closer to you, bring her home and chase out the witch."

Michael did just as her mother said. Jasmine was heartbroken to discover that her trusted friend was pregnant for her husband.
"Tonia how can you do this to me, 
How can you? After all, we have been through.
Oooh am finished!"

Jasmine wailed, but her luggage was already outside the apartment. Michael made sure she left immediately. Jasmine cried as she moved back to her parent's house. She moved in abject dejection.

Tonia was just relaxing inside the house, in the comfort and protection of Michael. They started living happily as couples.

7 months later, Unknown to Michael, Jasmine never miscarried her baby. It was a miraculous wonder.
Michael never bothered to ask about her welfare since he chased her out of the house.

Both women were due for labour. Jasmine's parents took their daughter to the hospital, while Michael took Tonia to the hospital.

How is she? Michael asked the doctor few hours after Tonia entered the labour room.
We are doing our best, the doctor replied.

3 hours later, a nurse came out in rush. What's the problem? Michael asked. 
She's losing lots of blood, and it appears she might collapse, we need 3 packs of blood to support her life. The nurse said in haste.

Michael suggested to donate, it took a little time for the medical experts to ascertain that his blood would match Tonia's.

Jasmine had already delivered a baby boy, and her parents were full of Joy. She immediately called the priest to tell him the good news.

Unfortunately, during the blood transfusion, Tonia gave up the ghost. The doctors immediately operated on her and brought out the baby, it was a baby girl.

Michael cried bitterly on hearing the death of Tonia but was consoled by the nurses as they presented the baby girl she left behind.

Diana suddenly fell sick, the sickness was so serious that the villagers rushed her to the town clinic.
A few minutes later, Amadi the great witch doctor went to meet Diana. And he said,
" Why did you fail?
You failed to accomplish your own part of the deal.
Jasmine was never to bear a child for Michael until she leaves the house as a barren woman."

I never knew she was pregnant, Diana cried.

Am sorry, I can't help you! Amadi said. Making it clear to her.

There is no room for doubt, nemesis has caught up with me, Diana lamented.

A few hours later, Michael landed in the clinic where his mother was.
Diana was so troubled, she had to confess her evil deeds of being responsible for Jasmine's miscarriages.

Michael was disappointed in his mother, 
" Mother you have failed your son and humanity.
How can you indulge in such?
Oooh, you really betrayed my trust."

Michael rushed to meet his wife Jasmine but was told the good news by their neighbours.

When he got to the hospital, he knelt before his wife in tears and asked for forgiveness. He told her, his mother's confessions and all he did.
Jasmine forgave him. 
"To err is human, to forgive is divine," she said.

3 days later, Diana died.

Jasmine took Tonia's child as hers and the dawn of a happy home began.

God is the HERO in me, she told her husband.
Will you let him be the HERO in you and never believe you can do it all on your own? She asked.
Yes, Michael answered affirmatively.

Today, I pronounce this two as one, as Husband and Wife before God Almighty.
May the groom kiss the bride.
The priest announced happily.

And they kissed each other in the presence of the church congregation.

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