Ice for heart (chapter 3a)

Mr. and Mrs. Akinwande stood at her door determined to have a word with Ezinne irrespective of what or who intended to interrupt them. They had lived in the compound for almost a year and within that one year there was hardly any day they saw her move with her husband. The man was almost always out of the house. She lived upstairs adjacent to their own flat and they had only heard from discussions among other neighbour’s that Ezinne was her husband’ stress reliever. They understood immediately why she was ever hidden indoors and why whenever she went out, she always had a scarf around her.
Ezinne glared at them when she opened the door, it had taken her sometime to respond to the doorbell and as if they were determined to ruin her moment of aloneness they stood there, waiting. She snickered when she saw the lady latched on to her man’s arm. Maybe she would have done the same if she were the one on the other side of the door. They were probably expecting to be welcomed with violence after all that was what her home had become-a training ground for boxers – only that in her own case there was only one boxer whose hands were bereft of a boxing glove.
Titi Akinwande couldn’t help but notice how pale and weak the other woman looked. Her eyes were bulgy, probably from too much crying. Her neck bones were prominent, almost gorging out underneath her skin. Mrs. Titi held herself from reaching out to embrace her, pure compassion flowed from her heart as she wondered how much suffering the other woman was enduring and how much of it was her own undoing. Here was a woman who was married yet she was alone. She paused to consider if there was a story there. There had to be something that had gone wrong. Something the woman herself must have missed or caused. Guiltily she cautioned herself, here was a fellow woman who was being violently abused by her husband and she stood face to face with her practically judging her, without even getting to know her first. There was no justification to a man battering his wife.
Ezinne led them into their small living room, her gigantic wedding picture occupied one corner of the room, it was a miracle that he had not used it as a weapon against her. The wooden center table stood on a brown, leopard skin decorated mat. It blended smoothly with the brown and orange curtains, which decorated the living room. A flower vase sat on the table within it lived a dirty old flower. A little shame came upon her as she considered the living room. It had been quiet a while since she sat in this room, most of her stay in the house was behind, from the kitchen to the room and then to the back door. There was a film of cobweb hanging at one corner of the ceiling. She redirected her eyes to her visitors. Hopefully the cushion would not be as dusty as the room itself was. How possible that would be, was beyond even her. Well they said that hope does not disappoint us so possibly her own hope wouldn’t disappoint her at this point.
She watched the couple sit before taking a seat opposite them, her eyes fix on the wall behind them she noticed the way the wife considered her and she felt naked. It was like the woman could see through her and she felt the urge to get more clothes on.
“How are you ma?” came the voice of Mr. Akinwande. It sounded like he was just trying to fix his voice into the already lost moments.
“I am fine, thank you sir” she replied. It was the appropriate response. What else were they expecting her to say? Was she supposed to spill her guts to these complete strangers. Pastor or no pastor they were humans and sooner than later everyone in the area would know the gory details of what transpires in her house. They would probably use it as illustration when preaching to their congregation.

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