The heavy bangs on the gate woke mama
ifeanyi, baba orakwe’s first wife. She had been
at home for a while as a result of a strange
illness which started about a month ago.she
switched on the light in her room and looked at
the wall clock , it was just ten past six in the
evening and she wondered who could be banging
at the door with such a strange force that was
definitely not just from one person at such time
of the day?.she wondered where her husband
was and why he was not attending to the person
knocking on the gate since he was supposed to
be outside attending to his numerous customers
who could be buying water to prepare the
evening meal.she was lost in her thoughts and
wished she had the strength to walk to the gate.
She could not because obviously she was
bedridden and had relied on her children to get
her basics need within the house . Her husband
did not check on her and she was used to it.
She had managed to get her phone which was
under her pillow and dialed her husband’s
number to inform him of what was happening
and ask of his whereabouts.
“HELLO, BABA IFEANYI. WHERE ARE YOU?
” in my room ,,he replied..
” IN YOUR ROOM? DOING WHAT? ” she asked
surprised at her husband’s reply.
“BUT PEOPLE ARE KNOCKING ” she informed
” That’s is their problem . I have informed them
in the morning that anybody that is not in before
six pm would sleep outside. You are lucky to be
bedridden. I know you would have fallen victim
your self. Better act deaf and dumb to the
noises and stop wasting your call credit. They
will come in by eight a.m tomorrow.”
He concluded and ended the call before his wife
could say anything.
“HELLO BABA IFEANYI,” she said looking at the
phone to realize her husband has ended the call.
She knew he would never come to see her
though the resided in the same apartment and
where just rooms apart from each other. Ever
since her sickness started , she had not seen
him. She only spoke to him on phone whenever
she wanted to ask for anything even if her
husband was in the sitting room which was
directly opposite her room. And he only picked
the calls at his will. Sometimes intentionally
missed her calls and never bordered to reach her
back. She was only left at the mercy of her
three children .ifeanyi. Chijekwu and chioma.
Ifeanyi had fought with his father on account of
his bad behavior and had left the house to live
alone while chijekwu was in higher institution .
Chioma was awaiting admission and had gone for
añ evening coaching class in the neighbourhood .
She leaves by five pm and return by seven pm .
She knew chioma would also be outside the gate
knocking to get entrance inside . Chioma had
remained her only help and she can’t imagine
her sleeping outside . As she was lost in
thoughts on what to do next, her phone rang and
she knew it was chioma since the time was
already seven thirty , her usual return time.
“hello chioma, i don’t know please. Please call
your father maybe he will be touched to open
because of you. ,, not knowing what else to say,
The phone soon rang. It was chioma again. She
called to inform her mum that her dad’s phone
was switched off. mama ifeanyi knew that this
was deliberate. She thought of what to do to
save salvage the situation but there was really
nothing she could do considering her disability.
She felt for the poor tenants who had gone out
since morning and had not gained entrance into
the apartment’s they had paid to live in. What a
cruel husband she has.
Out of pity. she managed to crawl to her
husbands room to beg for his mercy. It was now
she discovered that even the second wife who
sold food and other confectioneries in town had
not even come in. She went with her two
children in the morning and they returned at
night depending on how heavy the sale for the
day was. She sometimes came home earlier than
usual complaining that market was dry and there
was nothing she had doing in her shop . she was
sometimes helpful to her and she could not allow
them all remain outside while her wicked
husband enjoyed the scenario.
She finally crawled to his room with strenuous
effort and knocked.
BABA IFEANYI; ; please for God sake’open the
door for those people. It’s been almost three
hours they have been outside. They must have
learnt their lessons. “”She said persuasively and
bursting into tears.
”’WHY CAN’T YOU MIND YOUR BUSINESS AND
LEAVE ME TO HANDLE THINGS THE WAY I
WANT;;;””he barked out of the room.
OUR children and even your wife is there too. .is
that not enough to draw your mercy? ?
She lamented. .
:::”””EVEN IF MY FATHER WERE THERE, that’s
were he,d remain till eight a.m tomorrow. ,If you
want to join them you are free, ” he said not
showing any remorse.
***OUT SIDE THE GATE, ALL THE TENANTS
HAD RETURNED FROM WORK AND IT WAS JUST
NINE P.M . THE GATE WAS CROWDED AND
THERE WAS SO MUCH NOISE THAT
NEIGHBOURING LANDLORDS AND TENANTS
CAME IN THERE NUMBERS TO SEE HOW THEY
COULD BE OF HELP TO THEM. “””;;
MAMA BLESSING! SO YOU ARE ALSO HERE?
one of the landlord who recognised her as baba
orakwes second wife asked in surprise.
‘”””I am here sir O! chioma is here. We’ve tried
his number and he has deliberately switched off.
Mama ifeanyi is sick and there is little or nothing
she can do to help matters. Please help us in
whatever way. We cannot sleep outside, “”SHE
“:OKAY, CAN I GET ONE OF THE YOUNG BOYS
AROUND? one of the landlord asked.
Uche signified and met with the landlords.
They agreed that Uche should climb the high
fence and break the padlock open with a
hammer which was thrown into the compound.
He did and successful opened the gate.
While the aggrieved tenants were preparing to
move in. baba ifeanyi appeared from nowhere
and demanded to know who jumped the fence.
He was pushed down by the angry mob and
almost lynched. It took the intervention of fellow
landlords to stop the tenants .Even his wife and
children watched with interest as the tenants
dealt with him. .