Cynthia slammed her fist to the front door the second time.
She tried the bell again. Nothing.
She pounded the metal door again.
The handle turned and someone pulled it open from inside.
“What do you want?” Vanessa’s face was devoid of any sign of familiarity.
Cynthia pushed her aside and walked into the room. “All I’ve come for is an explanation.”
“Explanation of what?”
“This wickedness, what is in it for you? What do you stand to achieve?”
“Does that give you the right to barge into my house?”
“You are such an ungrateful bitch. After all I did for you, you could go this far to—”
Vanessa thrust an open palm forward. “Hey, hush it right there! What and what did you do for me? What? You spend his money like it’s yours and buy me useless gifts like I’m some sort of school girl to you!”
“Yes, Cynthia, remember that afternoon, it was me, it was me he came for before you smiled your way into him, like you’ve always done!”
“Vanessa, what are you saying?
Vanessa turned to herself. “I don’t blame you. He’s been but your puppet. Everything would have ended that night but, oh no, he is more concerned about making sure you are ok than seeing the picture the way it really is.”
“Which night are you talking about?”
“The night at Chief’s party. Ever wondered why you were the only one so stoned you didn’t even know how you got into Chief’s room?”
“Vanessa! You lured me to that party, you poured my wine and…you called Richard!”
Vanessa’s lips curved in a wicked smile. “Cynthia, this is not the first time you’d be taking what’s rightly mine. You did it while we were in school. Charles, Obinna, you stole them from me. Have I not always kept quiet and left everything to God? But this time around I’m not ready to wait on the never-coming intervention of the Almighty. I had to fight for what is mine.”
Cynthia shook her head, great puzzlement on her face. “You are this evil?”
Vanessa gave a tiny snort. “No, you are the evil one, bitch. You are the witch that had stood in the way of my happiness ever since I’ve known you. You have always been my nightmare, but this time around, I choose to say no.”
Cynthia’s lips parted but no word came out. She shook her head, inhaled deeply and tried to pull her shattered pieces together. They seemed too far apart.
She didn’t drive back home herself, she couldn’t. She had to call SK, her mechanic, to come and drive her to Ikeja.
Mma regained consciousness today. It was the happiest day for Richard. It seemed it.
He’d thrown out a large “Thank God”, grabbed and folded Dr Hope’s hand inside his.
Dr Hope shook her head, a feeble smile hovering around her lips.
Then she straightened out her features and told Richard the bad story. “We lost the baby. She bled so much.”
“Oh.” Richard went quiet. He hadn’t considered that part. He finally gave a stiff nod and told the plump doctor that it was ok, saying the words to himself at the same time. As long as Mma was fine, everything will be ok.
He asked if he could see her but Dr Hope said no, that it wasn’t time yet.
When he returned the next day and entered Mma”s room, her sight weakened his feet.
Mma, quiet and solemn in her blue hospital gown had a line of tear in her left eye. Before it dried, another would replace it. She saw Richard and wiped the tear and turned away.
Richard came to stand beside the bed. “Mma, I’m so sorry.”
He said the words twice before Mma turned to him. “Why?”
Mma”s voice was weak, nothing like how she used to talk.
“I’m so sorry for what you have gone through.”
“Not your fault na. Please buying me Five Alife, I not liking this yellow one again.”
“That’s Lucozade, Doctor said it’s recommended.”
“I not taking it again.”
About thirty minutes later and Richard returned with a carton.
Mma stared at him. “I telling you I wanting to opening shop?”
Richard smiled. “What else do you need?”
Mma rolled her eyes. “I wanting chicken before, but the doctor saying the baby is flowing away so I will just eating bread.”
Richard felt a painful thud in his chest. “I’m so sorry, Mma.”
Mma”s eyes clouded over with warm liquid. She pressed down her lids and let them out. “I liking to see how he will looking before,” she sobbed. “I really liking to see, but now…” She jerked into tears.
Richard sat on the bed and took her in his arms.
Dr Hope had told Cynthia that it might not be such a good idea, but she insisted.
When the nurse showed her the ward, she delayed some minutes at the door before going in.
She stood in front of the space staring at Mma. She knew not what to say. Or maybe she struggled with how to say what she had to say.
Mma stared blankly back and then turned her face away.
“I’m so sorry, my little dear, I…I didn’t mean to–”
Mma turned. “Killing me?”
Cynthia dropped to her knees.
Mma’s eyes narrowed in surprise. “Please, standing up, ma,” she said.
“Forgive me, Mma.”
“I forgiving you, please standing up.”
“Oh thank you!” Cynthia stood and rushed to her. She bent over and hugged Mma tight.
“Please releasing me small, I still feeling pains.”
“Oh sorry!” Cynthia obeyed quickly.
When she called Ngozi to bring in what they’d come with, Mma stared at the colourful tins and packs of provisions and concluded in her mind that she was going to inform other patients in the nearby wards to come and be buying provisions from her.
Cynthia has gone and Mma was deep in sleep when Vanessa visited.
Copyright © Daniel Nkado 2014. All rights reserved.
Consented personally by the author to be used on Alifediary only.
Daniel Nkado is a Nigerian writer and journalist, author of bestselling Ola – The Tale of a Young Moon Maiden and founder of DNBStories.com.
Interact with him on www.dnbstories.com or @danielnkd on Twitter.