In Sickness & In Health (Preview)

Two days later, Pelumi went to see her mother. She didn’t understand why she had to go behind her husband’s back in order to see her own mother– his mother in-law.

“Mama, I’m a house wife, what could be better?” she said, staring thoughtfully at the bowl of pepper-soup in front of her as her question ate at her. What could be better she asked herself. Her mother was at it again. Another miscarriage and she did the only thing she could do to help her only daughter.

“Please drink the soup; it will help calm your stomach.” Pelumi smiled wearily at her mother, a comforting smile that she hadn’t been crying or thinking about her last miscarriage.

“Mama, but it hurts so much…” she sniffled, dropping her spoon. Her mother pulled her into her arms and hugged her securely. “I could have sworn I thought this was finally it! I thought I would be able to finally give Jide a child.” All the tears that had gathered up for the past two days began to drop down on her mother’s shoulders.

“Your father will be rolling in his grave if only he could see what you’re going through. I carried you for nine months, your brothers too. I never suffered from a miscarriage.” She sighed, patting Pelumi’s back gently.

“I know mama, but Jide and I still have hopes. I am only twenty-nine.” Pelumi said as she tucked a stand of hair that had fallen on her face to the back of her right ear.

“At your age, I was already through with my four children. Maybe the fault is from his side, his family. I don’t trust them. They could be cursed.” It became darn to Pelumi the reason why Jide didn’t want her going to her mother. She would point fingers and place all the blames on him and his family.

“His mother had him and four other children mama… No one is at fault here. It’s God’s plan.” She reassured herself. Pelumi looked at her watch; it was past time for Jide to be home from work.

“I’ll be going now. Let me go and make dinner for my husband.”

“Okay my dear.” Her mother got up to escort Pelumi to her car.

“Don’t forget to mix this new medicine well.” She tucked a small bottle into  Pelumi’s hands. Pelumi nodded, waved goodbye and got into her car.

Her mood was as light as the evening breeze as she drove to the local market before finally going home. She was going to make her husband a good cooked meal after his long day at work. She turned on her radio and allowed herself feel the newest jams in Naija. In an hour’s time, thanks to Lagos traffic; she was home. Pelumi pulled up into her garage, grabbed her hand bag with the items she bought at the market and headed inside.

Upon opening her front door, she heard voices. Of course Jide was home so she didn’t push further. When she heard giggling sounds coming from somewhere in the living room area, she pressed forward and to her surprise, she saw her and Jide at the dinner table, eating and smiling. When they saw her, their smiling didn’t cease.

“Well look who is here Jide.” She stood up and pulled out a chair for Pelumi.

“Come here honey, Linda made enough for everyone.” Jide waved her over to the dining area.

“Jide what is she doing here?” Pelumi asked as she approached the pair. In no circumstances will she ever be calm around Linda. There was no need faking any likeness, Pelumi hated her.

“What does it look like she’s doing?”

“Well I don’t know, why don’t you tell me?” she almost shouted but she quickly got a hold of herself, reminding herself of how much Linda loved to see her fight with her husband.

Linda coughed. “Pelumi, your food is getting cold.” Jide saw that his wife wasn’t going to move an inch so he gave an explanation a shot.

“She came over to say hi… I picked her up after work.”

“You picked her up after work?” Pelumi repeated nodding her head bit by bit.

“Yes. We saw that you were running a little bit late so she decided to help you out with dinner.” Jide finished. Pelumi chuckled. She went into my kitchen and used my pots! That was all Pelumi could think about at that moment.  Linda was feeding her husband; her ex-lover. Just when Pelumi thought it couldn’t get any worse, Linda spoke again,

“I’m very sorry about what happened. I know it must be painful but take heart, ehn.”

“Jide what is she talking about?” Pelumi dropped her handbag on the table and looked at her husband horrid.

“Well you know,” he shrugged his shoulders. “The baby. I just thought she should know. It’s no big deal.” he went ahead forking the pasta on his plate.

“Linda please leave my house before I do something stupid.” Pelumi requested quietly.

“She’s not going anywhere.” Jide raised his voice at his wife.

“Don’t worry; I’ll take my leave if that will make both of you happy.” Linda got up and patted his shoulders.

“When next you want to come into my house, make sure you let me know personally so I can find you a better position here; you seem to fit better as our maid.” Pelumi kicked the bowl of pasta that was in the middle of the table to the floor.

“Now, I won’t take that from you.” Jide said. “Apologize to her before she leaves.” Pelumi paid him no attention and took a seat. He got up angrily and joined Linda who was on her way out.

When Jide came back into the room, he was faced with an angry wife.

“You had the nerves to invite that thing into our home! Hasn’t she done enough damage to us already?” Pelumi asked once she saw him making his way into the dining area.

“I have noticed something is seriously wrong with you Pelumi. In fact, it’s since the incident of the first baby… You need to get yourself checked.” He stated callously.

“And you told her about our baby… about my loss. Jide you’re despicable!” Pelumi couldn’t fight back her tears any longer. Jide had managed to gossip about her to her number one enemy and made her the laughing stock for the next months to come.

“It is you who needs to get checked. After all it’s you who can’t give me a child.” Her mother’s words kicked in. She shouldn’t have said that, the slap that came afterwards confirmed it.

“Don’t you ever raise your voice at me? I have given you five children; it is you who can’t keep them in your womb like every other woman. How much more lazy can you get Pelumi? Nine months, that’s all it takes. You don’t do a thing except read in this house. I gave you two house helps but you kicked them away with your hot temper. You don’t work! You don’t clean! You do nothing and you still can’t successfully carry a child to term?”

Jide said a lot of things, some which hit straight home for Pelumi. She stood in awe in front of him with her palms on her now red cheeks.

“Now, I’m going to climb up that stairs, don’t you dare follow me.” And he was gone without another word.

Pelumi was enraged.  She was bitter and suffocating. Jide didn’t just do that! He didn’t just indirectly tell her that she was what was wrong with their marriage. She was the one who’d been jumping from one hospital to the other. What wasn’t she doing right? No! She was going to end it all tonight.

Pelumi rushed into her kitchen. She began pulling out all the cupboards till she opened the one that held her cooking knives. She took one of them out and without thinking; she sunk the sharp end of the knife deep into her stomach. Pelumi felt her lifeless body collapse slowly on her kitchen floor. She saw the gates of heaven, and at last, she was at peace.



8 thoughts on “In Sickness & In Health (Preview)” by Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

  1. In sickness and in health–and I guess Pelumi forgot about that.

    Nice one.

    1. She really did forget.

  2. hmmmmm nice piece ….bt I dnt wanna agree wit ur conclusion ……she cnt b in heaven na she commitd suside na

    1. This isn’t a conclusion @meyizzy just a tiny part from a bigger book.

  3. louis (@luwizdrizzy)

    WTH,sucide??? Rich people and their wahala….smh,nice piece oo

  4. Hmm… Please don’t tell me you wanna end it like this

  5. Alas!!!..This is not encouraging to read at all oh…I don’t like the ending tho.

  6. oh kk ma waiting 4 d next episode

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