“That’s exactly my point. Why would I want to be a laughing stock?” Ezinne bemoaned.
“You have to take life easy, otherwise you would have high blood pressure. Do you read what they write about celebrities in newspapers, blogs, and the likes? Those things are hardly ever nice yet we swipe our butts and continue to live. We read stories about us just as everyone else does, without even being able to relate it to ourselves except of course for our names that are written on the pages. Thank God for the Association and for the possibility of court claims”
“You have a tough heart Aku, you always have. I don’t think I can be as strong as you are” Ezinne simply replied, grateful for the breeze that had just blown over her, the umbrella under which they lay did little to reduce the heat from the afternoon sun. She couldn’t understand why anyone would come out in this heat and call it relaxing, even with the pool beside her. But then who was she to object, Akunna had practically dragged her out of her house, refusing to let her wallow in her self-pity and fear. She had only told Akunna of her boring and regimented life, purposely avoiding any mention of her husband. She racked her brain, wondering if she had given any hint that put Akunna on notice that her marriage had crashed. She couldn’t think of anything she would have said.
“Interesting, so you stabbed your husband and ran to the village? Did he die?”
Ezinne awoke herself from her thoughts to stare at Akunna, how could she know that?
Akunna’s eyes queried her “come on girl! You just asked me if any one stabbed their husband and ran, so why are you looking like I magically unearthed it from your mind?”
Ezinne smiled to cover the embarrassment, she had given away herself so easily and now it was difficult to do a damage control.
“I was just asking a question” it sounded lame even to her as the words dropped out of her mouth but still she said them hoping the other woman would believe her.
Akunna gave her a look that said ‘do I look to you like a fool’ than gave a long laugh.
“Ezinne, you are such a terrible liar, remember that day we went with Mazi Osondu’s son to the stream and had to lie to your father when we came back that we went to the market and fell into a pool of water. Imagine how stupid you looked telling your father that both of us fell into a small pool of water and we were completely drenched from head to toe?”
Ezinne smiled, remembering the good old days when she got away with a lot of things, her father rarely used the cane but when he did she knew that she had over chewed her grace. He would warn and warn and let her go on many occasions after telling her her offence of cause. That day he had pointed it to her the reason why he didn’t believe her story, looking back now she could swear her father would pass for a just judge. How else does one look at his child, see through her lies, tell her plainly what the truth was and still let her go?
“Your father knew you were telling him a lie, yet he let you go. Maybe if he had beaten us more often you would know by now that lying is a terrible thing. It destroys more than it saves” Akunna teased, her own father had died before she was born and so Ezinne’s father was the only father figure she had had growing up. Her uncles were too busy with their lives to care about her family, thankfully they had left her father’s farms and properties for her mother, and her mother too wasn’t a lazy woman. She had worked herself to her bones to ensure her children fed well and went to the best schools they had in town then.
“I haven’t actually told a lie in a while” Ezinne replied with a smile. That much was true, well of course except when she had to save herself and her daughter from the wrath of her husband after all Sarah in the Bible had to lie to save Abraham so that was a holy lie, wasn’t it?
“Now that you’ve said it I don’t believe you. You can’t even tell lies with a straight face, you know you blink more when you lie”
“Ok fine, I agree” Ezinne conceded raising her hands in mock surrender, there were only a few who knew her well and Akunna was number one of those few and since she hadn’t changed much, Aku still took the lead.
“So back to my question, did your husband die?”
Ezinne shook her head, sending her gaze towards the children play area.
“Did it have anything to do with your child” Akunna question when she noticed the trail of Ezinne’s eyes.
“Everything is for her. I didn’t want her growing up in the violence. But that was not why I stabbed him. No, I didn’t mean to. He was pulling at my hair and the pain just blinded me and in the confusion I launched at him and next thing I know there is blood everywhere and I can’t control it. I don’t know what came over me so I ran. It all happened so fast.” She was talking so animatedly, that Akunna thought she had lost her mind until she met her eyes.
Akunna longed to hold her but she didn’t, instead she stayed put where she was, allowing Ezinne empty herself of her pain, she realized the depth of hurt and resentment the other woman bore and for the first time it felt like she was having her release.
“This stays between us” Akunna told Ezinne when she found her voice and the weeping had subsided “It stays here, no other member of the crew would hear of it” she assured her friend, afraid that she might betray her.
“I just wanted to be happy. To have the happy ever after that we read in books and watched in movies”
“I still believe in happy ever after, I may have missed it once, but I wont miss it again, even if it means being married to my work and myself. I will live happy ever after so don’t give up now please Nne inu? All will be well” Akunna comforted her.