Bisi thought for a while before giving the best advice she could think of
“I think you should go to your in laws and tell them about what happened. Let them get involved first, he might get upset if you tell your pastor”
Together they hatched a plan on Vera’s next line of action. They discussed till late and Bisi drove her to the market to pick the kids and dropped them off in their house.
Vera went to her in-laws the next day. She set out very early and explained the situation to them. Then, she went to her father and reported the matter to him. Her husband was summoned for a family meeting the next day. She didn’t know what was discussed, but her husband was calm for a few days after.
Vera was shaking her body to the melodious sounds of Fela blasting from their neighbor’s room. Her husband was cleaning his only good pair of shoes, a gift from a relative.
“Mama Miracle, your husband dey inside?” her landlady called from the entrance.
“Come inside, I dey here” Lucky replied the landlady.
The landlady stepped inside with a young man in tow.
“This na my husband brother Paul, he just come from UK”
“Welcome o bros” Vera curtsied before going outside to get drinks for the visitors.
When she got back, her husband had turned on the television and his attention was fixed on it though the guests were speaking to him. She saw from his expression that what they were saying was not pleasing to him.
She turned to serve them their drinks and as she was opening the bottle, she heard a familiar voice coming from the TV screen. She turned around and shouted “Lucky, turn it up!! I know that man”
Her husband promptly turned the TV set off. She gasped and looked at him, she saw the anger brimming in his eyes.
Her landlady spoke “How you take know the guy?”
“He was my classmate in university”
“You went to the university? What course did you study?”
“Political science, I didn’t finish though, it’s a long story. I …..” something made Vera look at her husband.
She saw sparks of fire in his eyes and realized that she had said too much, and she knew what was coming. She promptly fled the room, leaving the bottles of soft drink unopened.
The landlady and her guest looked at each other and knew it was time to leave.
“Papa Miracle, we go come back”
Lucky merely grunted in response.
They met Vera outside, leaning on the wall and listening to Mama Chidera’s rant about her stubborn children.
“Mama Miracle, why you run like that?” her landlady questioned her.
“No vex ma, I just remember something” Vera’s responded in low tones.
The landlady looked at Vera and she understood. She told her brother-in-law to go ahead and she called Vera aside.
“Vera, abeg come see me for my shop tomorrow, I wan follow you talk. You hear?”
Vera said she will do that, her eyes never leaving the floor.
The landlady squeezed a 500 naira note into her hand. “Take this one buy biscuit for my children”
Vera knelt down to thank the older woman and continued calling out thanks as she walked off.
Mama Chidera watched the exchange with interest. Everybody in the compound knew about Lucky and Vera even though she never said anything. Vera always had an explanation for her wounds and broken bones, she even pretended it was nothing after suffering 3 miscarriages. She was sure something of the sort was going on again.
“Wetin mama landlady find come? House rent wan increase again?”
Vera tried to make her voice steady as she replied “I no know o, Lucky no tell me anything”
Mama Chidera now abandoned her washing and faced Vera squarely “Vera, you don’t need to keep suffering in silence. You need help.”
Vera looked at her “What are you talking about?”
“You don’t need to pretend Vera, everybody knows what is going on. Every man beats his wife once in a while, but this is getting too much. This man has almost destroyed your womb, he has killed your babies three different times, how long will this continue?”
Vera looked up sharply, she had never told anybody about the miscarriages. She lowered her head again “Where will I go? I have nobody, nobody at all. Lucky is the only person I have.”
Mama Chidera looked at Vera with pity, she didn’t know what to say anymore. She just hugged her friend and that remained like that for a while.
Vera was the one who let go “Let me go and serve my husband his food” and she left Mama Chidera outside staring at her receding figure.
So I’m changing the name of the series to ‘silent screams’. *sigh….* I’m not getting any better at names. Please like, comment and share.