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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

My Husband is Into Voodoo (5)

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My baby was stone-cold when I touched him. I quickly picked him up and shook him gently. No response. It was then I screamed and ran out of the room.

We took him to the hospital but it was too late. My son was already dead on arrival. You can imagine my state of mind when the doctor broke the news to me. I must have fainted because I woke up to see myself in a hospital bed.

BJ and my mother were bending over me, both looking extremely worried. 
"Thank God you are awake, dear," my husband said, taking my hand.
The first question I asked was, "Where's my baby? I want my baby!"

On waking up, I had thought it was bad dream I had had, that my little boy was dead. But from the sad look in my mother's eyes, it was obviously quite real. My boy, whom we had named Ray, was gone.

I broke down once more, screaming, weeping bitter tears of anguish and pain...

Worse was to come.

Within the space of a year and a half, I had four miscarriages. The last one was especially painful as it was another pair of twins. The doctor at the private hospital I attended could not understand why I was having all these miscarriages as tests showed there was nothing wrong with me.

All these misfortunes took a toll on me and I became a sad, depressed woman. I took comfort in food and with time, my weight ballooned.

This made BJ to complain.

"Don't you think you are eating too much?" he said one evening at dinner. I was about to dish out a second helping of rich and fried chicken from the main bowl on the table.

I looked at him.

"Because you've put on so much weight and you need to watch it. You know, your sexy shape was one of the things that attracted me to you. You are losing it fast. Do something about it, like eating less for a start. And exercising. There's a gym in this house. Use it!" he said.

"I've heard you," I stated, though I still went on for the second helping of food, sat down and devoured it.

He didn't understand. I had to take solace in something or I would go crazy and food was my comfort, something that gave me immense pleasure, numbed some of the pain I was feeling. So, what if I had gained weight, I thought later that night as I studied my body in the full length mirror in my bedroom.

"I don't look that bad. He's just complaining about nothing," I grumbled to myself.

However, the following day, I decided to take my husband's advice and went to the gym. I worked out first on the treadmill and later the exercise bicycle.

It was tough going as I had not done any exercise in a long while. After about half an hour, I was panting like one who had run a marathon and I gave up. 

"I'm not competing at the Olympics so why am I bothering myself," I said aloud as I left the gym.

I wiped the sweat from my face and neck with a towel and made my way to the kitchen for some fruit juice and mid morning snack of biscuits and cake.

The Seer's revelation
Later that year, my beloved grandmother, whom we all called Nene, died. I was close to her as I had stayed with her for some years as a child and I cried on hearing the news.

BJ didn't want me to attend her funeral as I was pregnant again-about six months gone. But I would not hear of it.

"I have to go. There's no way I'll miss Nene's burial," I told him.
"Remember your condition. The doctor said you need bed rest," he argued.
"I'll be fine. I won't do any dancing or other vigorous stuff. So, don't worry. Nothing will happen to this one," I assured him, patting my bulging tummy gently.

The following week, we travelled down to the village for the burial. Everything went well and Nene was given a burial fit for a woman of her calibre and great community leader.

After the funeral, BJ returned to Lagos as he had to travel out of the country on business. I stayed behind to keep my mother company.

"Take care of yourself. And have enough rest, dear," he said as he kissed me goodbye and gave Stephanie a hug.
"You worry too much. I'll be alright," I stated, smiling at him. Stephanie and I stood in front of my late grandmother's house where we were staying, waving at him as he left with the driver.

A few days later, my mother, some of her siblings and some other family members and I sat in the living room receiving visitors who had come to sympathise with us as was the tradition.

Among them was a cousin from my father's side of the family. I had always considered him a strange fellow. He was said to see visions, predict the future and see things others could not.

He had long dreadlocks that cascaded down his back, a style he had had since I had known him as a child. He lived in our village but was famous in nearby communities for his visionary and healing powers. He was popularly called the Seer.

The Seer sat quietly while the other visitors drank, ate the kolanuts and other snacks served them and talked loudly. I noticed that he kept staring at me most of the time.
Sometimes, he would look at my stomach, shake his head and sigh.

I ignored him as he had always acted strange anyway, so there was nothing new about his behaviour.

But an aunt who sat near me noticed. When she demanded why he was staring at me and shaking his head that way, he ignored her as he mumbled something to himself.

Then suddenly, he spoke.

"The termite that eats the fruit, destroying it, lives inside the fruit. The goat is giving birth while the owner is away and the new borns are dying..." he said.

Everybody stopped talking and turned to stare at him. My mother and aunt exchanged glances.

"What are you talking about, Seer? Whose goat is giving birth?" my demanded.
"Let me handle this, Sister," my aunt stated calmly.

She went up to the Seer, whispered to him and they left the room. From the open window, I could see them standing under the large almond tree that nearly covered half of the compound, in deep conversation.

When my aunt returned, she and my mother went into an inner room, shutting the door behind them. I became curious, wondering what all the intrigue was about.

I didn't have to wait for long.

Later, after most of our visitors had left, my mother called me into her bedroom.

My aunt was already there. I sat on a chair facing them both. It was my aunt who spoke and what she said was so shocking that I nearly had another miscarriage...

What did Oluchi's aunty tell her that so upset her? Don't miss the concluding part of her intriguing story tomorrow. So, log in for the details! 

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