The rain came unannounced, beating an incoherent rhythm on the leaky corrugated iron roof. Holes in the roof had let in sunlight, which formed various patterns on the floor and walls of the dark room. In an instant, the holes became inlets for rainwater. Bisoye stood up from the bed. She bent with difficulty to carry her three children, one after the other, from their sleeping positions – two raffia mats laid near each other on the bare floor, to the bed.
The bed creaked as she laid them, as if complaining that the added weights were too much for its old frame.
She had shooed them to bed after their evening meal. They had chattered noisily and fought over the little pieces of meat that were like lifebuoys, in the thin sea of palm oil and vegetables that was soup. Now they slept in peace, oblivious of the rainwater splashing on their bodies.
She missed their chattering. It was better than the silence that now pervaded the room, punctuated by the drop-drop sounds of dripping rainwater as it hit the plastic bowls she had placed around the room to collect it.
Like the silence between her and Olayemi, her husband, since she got pregnant again.
Olayemi worked hard to provide for the family. He had told her that he wanted his children to have an education and a good life, like the serious looking bosses he had at work. He was older than his bosses, but they shouted orders at him that he dared not disobey. He did not want more than three children.
She had been annoyed when he had brought her small tablets, which he said could prevent conception, if she used a tablet daily. She asked him how the little things can prevent procreation. His answer was a stammered incoherence. When he suggested the use of a rubber sheath, she shrieked as if she had been stung by a soldier ant. He could stay off her, she said, if he had decided to create an artificial barrier with respect to their intimacy.
So he stayed off, not minding her bickering of him denying her.
When he lost his job at the textile factory where he had worked for ten years, and had risen to become a foreman, he was not bothered. He was sure his experience would earn him another job in good time.
Frustrated at not getting a job, he had sought for and found solace in her. He began to sleep with her again. Each time, he asked her if she was safe. Each time she said yes without thinking, because she liked it that they had gone back to normal. But once she became pregnant, the arguments had begun.
Then, prolonged silence in the evenings ensued. He would come home and not talk to her, but rather whistle sad tunes of his frustration. She believed her mother’s saying that what a child will eat, it brings into the world. But it seemed her three children brought less and less as she bore them. Hardship was a constant companion in her home, even when her husband was employed. Now, the little money she made from petty trading barely sustained the family.
Perhaps, this unborn child will come into the world with enough, and even remember to bring all that its predecessors forgot, she thought.
And as she waited for her husband in the watery silence, she rubbed her belly with renewed hope.
P S: Hi peeps, this is a different adaptation to a work I have here before. It’s been so long and just couldn’t resist the urge to post something. Hope you enjoy.