She conducted herself in a manner every good mother would, even as far as going to this child’s school to rave and fight for her if any teacher, for any reason at all under the sun, lifted a finger to inflict punishment on her. She was dear to her, obviously.
Now, Chioma’s husband, Bashiru, was a domineering man – a bastard, as many have referred to him as. Maybe he deserved the title that was his appendage. He never gave her pocket money of her own and, worst of all, he never let her do anything to experience the least trickling cash flow. He said he wanted her to be a housewife, yet he managed not an iota of human decency to give her any money to look after herself. She had to quit her job when they got married and even after her relatives came to plead to him to let her do something for herself, at least, open a shop, he denied the request, saying, “I want to her at home at all times to look after my child”. You see, the woman had not been able to bear a child and for that reason she put her all into being the best mother she can for his only child yet, and a virtuous wife to her husband. That however never satisfied him.
She was fortunate to compel the compassion of her relatives who, amidst all, thought to give her money periodically to cover some of her basic needs, but she decided to give most of the money she got from them to her husband, to assist him in building their personal house, which took them eight years to reach completion. When the house was almost complete they had a quarrel, and he told her not to expect anything from him when he dies. Her heart, also, must have been crushed into imaginary pieces when he confirmed that the house, which she had contributed towards its successful completion, was not going to be hers, but his daughter’s. A joke was all she chalked it up to. Imperatively, though, every time they had an argument these words surfaced, angrily, and convincingly.
The more she tried to make amends and live peacefully with him, the worse he treated her. The emotional trauma and drainage was out of this world. This young lady was not up to forty, but the suffering she had been made to endure in the family had made her look older than her age literally. He started calling her names and blamed her for not giving him a child. He called her “barren” always; tried to pick a fight with her at the slightest window of chance he had. She got fed up with all his cruelty and resolved to set things straight with him. She stopped slaving for him. She only cooked for him and cleaned the house, but she refused to wash and iron his clothes. Eventually, he employed a young boy to do that for him. He complained bitterly about her sudden change of character and this, purposely, spurred her to give him a piece of her mind. The words, uttered in anger broiled with tears, hit him hard. He became a changed man afterwards, nonetheless very slowly.
Later, she noticed that on some occasions when they had a quarrel, Jumoke refused to speak to her while she was away at school. Whenever she called her, she would say something like, “Hello… who is this? please stop calling my phone… don’t call this line again,” then she would hang up on her. This was a girl she raised from when she was a toddler till adulthood of eighteen years – what a farce! She reported this to her friend because she was worried as to the reason her daughter would be so hostile towards her for something she knew nothing about. Her friend, Chinyere, came to the house while she was on holidays and tried to talk to her, to find out why she was acting the way she did. She told her that it was because her mum was quarreling with her father. She advised Jumoke to desist from taking sides with her father and treat her mother in the same way she had loved her, if not for anything, but for the fact that she had been a good mother to her all these years. The girl said she did not care, because all Chioma had done for her, even her own mother would do all, and more. It was a shocking news to her because she never for the fraction of a second suspected that her friend was not Jumoke’s biological mother.
She reeled in astonishment. The biological mother Sade, in question, was a nurse; the mother who had never