The Queens, the Mission and the Oath!
‘I said where did you get this?’ Georgina yelled again.
Nwamgbeke grabbed back the photograph from Georgina. ‘Which kind of intalacassion is that?’ she asked. ‘I not having my husband picture again?’
Georgina’s eyes went steady on Nwamgbeke.
April stood from the bed. ‘Georgina, do you know the guy?’ she asked.
Georgina’s stare did not waver, as though too shocked to believe the scene.
‘Georgina?’ Loveth called.
Georgina did not move still.
‘What is going on?’ April said.
Finally Georgina exhaled out and started. ‘That man in that picture is the first man I know.’
The girls stilled, eager for more detail.
But Georgina wasn’t coming on fast enough.
‘I don’t understand,’ April finally said. Like them all, she had confusion all over her face.
Georgina exhaled again and swallowed hard. ‘You know,’ she said, ‘I’ve always told you girls about my brother in London.’
‘Yes,’ April said, nodding and coming closer.
‘Well, I don’t have any brother in London. I don’t have any brother anywhere. I don’t have anybody in this world at all.’
‘Georgina!’ April called, unable to understand.
Georgina pointed. ‘That man in that picture is the man that taught me what love is.’
Nwamgbeke’s eyes opened wide. ‘I not understand,’ she said.
Georgina continued to pant.
‘Georgina?’ April called again.
‘Ikechukwu is my best friend, my brother, all the family that I have ever known in this world! He is the reason I’m in this school in the first place.’
Nwamgbeke’s mouth opened wider.
‘How can you tell me he is dead?’ Georgina asked. ‘How can you say the love of my life is dead?’
Nwamgbeke threw her palm to Georgina’s cheek that instant. ‘Come on, swallow that lubbish you just vomited!’
Georgina clutched her slapped cheek, great shock covering up her face. Then she pushed Nwamgbeke off, so hard she fell away to the mattress. ‘Next time you lay your filthy fingers on me, you’d see worse!’
She stormed out of the room and banged the door hard behind her.
April turned to Loveth with her lips wide open. Loveth, too, looked every bit as confused and unsettled.
On the bed, Nwamgbeke started to cry.
April and Loveth ran to her and held her.
But the more they muttered ‘Sorry’ and ‘It’s okay’ and ‘Stop crying’ to her, the higher her voice went.
Outside, Georgina continued to hurry down the road.
Despite the haste in her steps, there wasn’t much awareness in her mind.
After a while, she kicked off her sandals and started to run.
Tears and sweat flowed down her neck.
Very close to a junction, her breathing got quicker and then she stopped and held her knees.
And then she dropped to the ground.
A woman roasting plantain and yam by the roadside screamed and flew up from her seat.
People heard her and started to gather.
An elderly man among the crowd grabbed a few sachets of cold water from the bowl of a nearby hawker.
He tore them open with his teeth and poured on Georgina.
Finally she opened her eyes and asked, amid laboured gasps of breath, ‘What happened?’
Two days earlier, somewhere on the other side of town, a couple had fought again.
The woman whose husband had infuriated was breathing heavily as she screamed at him.
‘You are just a useless he-goat!’ she yelled. ‘An ungrateful bastard, that’s what you are!’
The man who was been bathed with insults stood there, glaring and gritting his teeth.
‘But let me tell you,’ the embittered woman continued, raising a threatening finger, ‘this would be the last time I’d take this madness from you! Any other day I see you with another girl, I will throw my mouth open and spill!’
Now the look on the man’s face changed. He hasn’t said much during the argument but this last utterance by his wife hit him real hard.
He knew the woman he married and what she was capable of.
So that night, aiming to save himself from the danger of the unknown, he snuffed the life out of her in her sleep.
He’d used a pillow.
Afterwards, he wrapped her in the bed sheet and carried her to his car.
He drove away into the night and dumped her in the refuse site.
When he returned home and washed his face and hands and soul, he put a call through to the police and informed them that he has not seen his dear wife since a night ago.
‘What is your name and who is your wife, sir?’ the officer in charge asked.
‘I’m Chuka and my wife’s name is Rose. Rosaline.’
It was already late in the evening when Georgina finally knocked.
Loveth ran up from the chair and opened the door for her.
All the roommates were dull and quiet for long.
And then April stood and began. ‘Girls,’ she called, ‘it is my nature to want to have people around me all the time, but it is also more of my nature to have peace at all times. Now that it has become obvious that you, Georgina, and Nwamgbeke can never agree to let that happen, I’ve come up with a decision.’
All the girls’ eyes went to her.
‘I’m sorry but one of you has to go!’
Georgina nodded as though she’d known all along. ‘I’ll go,’ she said. ‘And I sincerely apologize to each and every one of you for all the noise and trouble that have come from me these past few days.’
She stood and walked to her bag and started to pack her things inside.
Nwamgbeke stood. ‘Please, I the one going not you,’ she said.
They turned to her.
‘What?’ April said.
‘I the one that cause problem again,’ Nwamgbeke said. ‘And moring over, I just coming so I not watching somebody else reaving because of me.’
Her face crumpled and she began to cry again. ‘I not watching somebody else reaving because of me again!’ she sobbed. ‘I not watching again!’
‘It’s okay, Nwamgbeke,’ Georgina said to her. ‘Stop crying. You can stay, I can always find somewhere else to stay.’
Nwamgbeke shook her head. ‘If you reaving then I reaving myself too.’
Georgina appeared sort of surprised by this statement. ‘What?’
Without another word, Nwamgbeke walked to her bag and lifted it and started toward the door.
Georgina caught her hand. ‘Stop!’ she said. ‘Where do you think you are going?’
Nwamgbeke struggled to pull free but Georgina held her firm, till she started to cry too and both of them clung to each other.
April looked at Loveth and took her hand and both of them came close and joined in the embrace.
Afterwards, the roommates sat together and Nwamgbeke narrated to them exactly how her husband had died and how his best friend, Chuka, now runs his company.
And then Georgina told them how she and Ikechukwu had met many years ago and how much love and help he’d shown her ever since.
‘Even without having touched her for a single day!’
And this was how the four roommates reached a decision together.
Revenge was not new to them and this time around they swore to dish out to all that have ever offended any one of them.
On April’s side, a middle-aged woman who was stepmom to her late boyfriend must be punished.
On Loveth’s side, almost the same—the large-sized woman who not only took her man from her but also hired thugs to torture her.
But the most serious case was that of the young man who had murdered his friend and taken over his company.
That man, of all the offenders, is also the most dreadful. The roommates are yet to discover the beast that has become of him.
April walked to the fridge and brought out a bottle of wine.
Loveth walked into the kitchen and brought four glass cups.
April opened the wine and poured for all of them.
They drank and sealed their oath.
‘So what about the party?’ Loveth asked.
‘And what about it?’ Georgina said.
‘I guess we are no more going,’ Loveth said.
‘Oh no, dear,’ Georgina said. ‘We will go, but now in a different spirit!’
The girls clinked their glasses together again and drank once more!