“Once upon a time, a woman’s place was well defined, but now there was even talk of women breaking kola. What did he care? Kolanut was bitter and he didn’t understand the fuss.” – @NfkenureTweet
Nkeonyere lay on her bed afraid to begin the day because she knew what she had to do. She would log into her phone to find the files and spreadsheets with all the information she needed. Kezie was a planner. Was. Kezie is now a was. Kezie is dead. She pressed her fingers against her eyes in an attempt to clear her thoughts. Their honeymoon came to mind. Tired, after hours of flying, she’d asked for her passport as they settled into their hotel room. Kezie gave her a look.
“Why?” he asked.
“I want it back.”
“I want to have your passport. I want to keep it with mine.”
“You say that like it’s a romantic thing. It’s not.”
“I’m sorry. I mean I want our passports to be together.”
She insisted, so he returned it. It was clear that he was hurt. If they had still just been dating, she may have thought nothing of her passport’s whereabouts, but there was something symbolic about giving up her identity days after agreeing to spend the rest of their lives together.
When they began the trip back home after two idyllic weeks, she handed her passport to Kezie and his eyes shone as he squeezed her hand.
“I just want to take care of you,” he said quietly.
And he had. Dating for four years, albeit long distance, had not prepared her for how much of a nurturer he was. After so many years of watching out for herself, it had been unsettling to relax, to let herself be taken care of, to not have to wonder if he would take advantage of her in all the many ways the women around her were by their husbands. She would not let such nonsense happen to her. She’d begun her first job straight out of secondary school, helping to take care of her family when her parents’ shops burnt down at Tejuosho. She could take care of herself.
Kezie is dead. She had to find the humour in it soon. Her family had a morbid sense of humour that they only unleashed when it was safe. Kezie’s appreciation of her jokes had been one of the reasons she gave him a listening ear when he first stepped to her. It was nice to talk to someone who didn’t respond with the typical Nigerian god forbid when she made a reference to her own death. Death is inevitable, why hide from it?
When the pallbearers had lifted her mother’s coffin, she’d whispered that it was probably lopsided because of her single mastectomy—their mother had been rather large chested after all. Her siblings had folded over in uncontrollable laughter. She knew that Kezie was the one for her when she saw him try to stop his heaving shoulders from shaking as he laughed quietly to himself. She would teach him not to hold back so much.
At his own mother’s funeral, pregnant with their daughter and at his side, she held his arm, whispering in his ear silly things his mother had told her about his childhood. How they both loved to eat stewed beans, eating until the gas built in their stomachs, until mother and child could contain it no longer. Perhaps his mother would be reincarnated through their daughter since she’d suddenly started craving beans after his mother had passed.
“If I fart now, can you tell if it’s your mother’s?”
“Nke m stop it,” he’d whispered, holding back the laughter that threatened to bubble out. “Maybe you should consider a career in graveside stand up.”
“I would kill right?”
Unable to contain his laughter any longer, he let it all out, right there at his mother’s graveside.
When Nkeonyere decided to give up her job to stay home after the second baby, she could tell he wasn’t thrilled about it. Perhaps being married to a housewife wasn’t the progressive or sexy image of the upwardly mobile couple he would have liked to project. How things looked were very important to Kezie. When he would have fancy post-work drinks and his mates asked what his wife did for a living, she wondered if he was ashamed. It had been the right thing to do, though, after the nanny had left suddenly. She couldn’t leave her ten-month-old with a strange new nanny, or with even more strangers at a day-care. Besides, it wasn’t about him, she was the one who had to deal with the new self she was creating as she went down this unexpected fork in self actualisation. She was the one who had to deal with pronouncing the words I am a housewife, every time she was asked what she did. She was the one who smiled when new acquaintances decried the possibility because she certainly didn’t look like one.When she insisted, they politely tried to assure her that it was cute. “A housewife? How retro!”
While she was filling a form at an embassy, a clerk asked her why the space for her earnings was empty. When she explained that she was a housewife, he responded flippantly, “just put how much oga gives you,” and she began to cry right there like a callow youngster.
She was a housewife, a woman defined by husband and children. It seemed its imagery was all that was really wrong with it. She wouldn’t be who she thought she was if her only problem was how she was perceived by others. She told herself only a few people loved what they did for money, it wasn’t like her old job saved any lives. Didn’t it matter that what she received every month from Kezie was three times more than any of her highest earning friends? That she never had to answer or account to him, like many of them had to with their husbands with their own money. She had more than enough to do with as she pleased, except for the months when she didn’t, because she never had a budget. Kezie was almost never disrespectful about money. Almost.
“You are always one good deed away from being broke. I’m not saying don’t help the world but you have to know when you can afford to,” he’d lectured.
Even his generous alms giving were planned well in advance. He’d made few concessions for emergencies, and if she asked him for money for someone in dire straits, he would show her on his beloved spreadsheet that it had been accounted for months in advance because he knew her. Otherwise, he could not be moved. “The only thing I don’t trust you to do Nke m, is actually plan.”
At first, she bristled at the slight but had come to accept that he was right. It wasn’t just money. She was terrible with any kind of planning; she hated routines, schedules and budgets. She’d been in the same bed watching him get ready for work while they discussed it yet again.
“You just can’t plan life, Kezie. You have to roll with the punches,” she’d preached.
She was good at taking care of the unexpected, that was her strength. Like the time they were on a plane and just as it began to taxi, he’d whispered with budding pearls of sweat on his face that he was going to throw up. She knew the shrimp the night before had been a bad idea. It would be horrible if he got sick on a flight out of Lagos in the middle of an Ebola panic. She’d pressed a finger to her lips to quiet him, emptied her handbag, placed the brown paper sick bag in it, and passed it to Kezie. She blocked the view of the flight attendants who were prowling the aisles while he handled his business. When he was done, she closed her bag and placed it under the seat in front of her, secured by her feet until the plane was safely in the sky before walking to the loo to dispose of the paper bag.
“What if I have Ebola?’ Kezie asked when she returned.
“I would not be sitting beside your dead ass.”
She loved it when he was out of his depth, besieged by the unexpected, looking to her with pleading eyes until the calm in hers stilled his. Those moments were few and far between, but sometimes she got to save him too.
Dawn was a full hour away. Kezie stood in their bedroom facing the large mirror in a pink shirt and plaid boxers.
“What has all your planning ever got you?” Nkeonyere taunted from beneath warm blankets.
He was hunched over his trousers.
“I’ve made all of my dreams come true. I have a good life, doing what I love, with the girl of my dreams right here in my bed. I have the best children, a girl and a boy, just like I planned.”
“Oh, you planned that, did you?”
“Yes, I planned it. I kept thinking girl girl girl while we were at it, and what do you know? It was a girl. Figured it couldn’t hurt the next time and it worked too. If I left it to you, we’d have a litter in this house.”
His vasectomy a few months after their son was born had taken her by surprise. Sex after two kids was not as robust as it once was. There was a new awkwardness that she could not account for, so she accused him of being repulsed by her new maternal form. He’d confessed that his fear was of having more children. She’d never really given thought to how many kids she would have. Both pregnancies had been quite tasking and they did have one of each. What more could she ask for?
“Nkeonyere m, I get what you mean. My plans make me happy and show me where I’m going, how far along I am, and what to do to correct course.” He buckled his belt and gave himself a once over in the mirror. “How do I look?”
“Like a man with spreadsheets up his ass.”
“Why does everything come back to my ass?”
“It’s the only thing you give out unscheduled around here.”
“Don’t be too sure about that.”
“I can one up you and all your planning though,” Nkeonyere said after a pause.
“How my dear?” he asked, bending over the bed to kiss her.
“Who has the same great life and isn’t getting up at 5:30 in the morning to take their place in the rat race?” With a big smile on her face, she wrapped her arms around his neck then blew her morning breath into his face, a potent coup de grace.
“Jesus Christ! You win! You win!”
“Yes, I win,” she declared, spreading her arms over her head in victory.
It had taken a while to see that she was winning. The luxury of time to do as she pleased, now that the kids were independent young teenagers, was hers. She was free, fastened now only loosely to the routines of motherhood. Choosing to stay at home, meant she had to be there for every bath time, every poop, every fever, every recital, volunteering in their classes and at school. Raising children had meant giving in to the most rigid routines, something she wasn’t exactly suited for. It had taken more than she ever thought she had—it hadn’t taken and she had given.
She began by lending money to market women and petty traders, but this time for a fee. They learned to keep accounting books that sometimes had to be in code or kept away from the eyes of oppressive husbands. The Housewife Agency allowed other stay-at-home women to find hourly jobs in seconds. Women logged into the app which matched them to available temp jobs placed by other women near them that took into account their free hours which was usually while the kids were in school. She had the idea to make it discreet, the app looked like a game and the “players” were rewarded with tokens after winning challenges that could be paid into their accounts only when they specified. Understanding that for most of the women, staying at home was not a choice, their men wanting to keep them financially dependent, meant the app had taken off mainly by word of mouth. A rating and feedback system for the employers and the workers kept everyone in check. It was important to know what places were really safe for women, what was expected on the job, and who paid promptly. The employers needed to know proficiency levels, prompt workers, who was dependable. For Nkeonyere, The Housewife Agency was a win over an internal battle, it was freedom from her own mental unease and a realignment with her core beliefs of who she was meant to be. Saying this out loud had made Kezie roll his eyes.
“I would have ‘leaned’ into it,” he’d challenged.
“Leaned into what?”
“Being a kept man.”
“You can say that from the security of being your own person.”
“Being my own person would mean ignoring societal expectations of my role as a man. You have never acknowledged your privilege as a woman to choose to stay at home, maybe I wanted that.”
“So why didn’t you? We could have talked about it. You would have been better at it than I was.”
“I made more money.”
“Because you are a man.”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
They talked about death many times. What they would want if both of them should die and leave the kids orphaned. One such time, Kezie opened his laptop and began to type some of what they’d agreed. They’d just returned from a funeral and Nkeonye, worn out from the ornate ceremony, flopped onto the bed then stretched to unbuckle the straps of her heeled sandals.
“How long before you start dating when I die?” Kezie asked as he typed.
“I will set free my inner ashawo before your body is cold. My highly sought-after oats will be sown far and wide, it will be legendary I assure you. They will sing songs about it. Time will be recognized as before Kezie’s death and after.”
The chair groaned as he swivelled away from the desk.
“Where exactly are these oats now?”
“Simmering and waiting in anticipation,” she teased.
“You will show me those oats today!”
Her phone buzzed, tearing her away from the memory.
“Wait for me Nkeonye, I will soon be there,” her father panted into the phone. “Do not speak to them without me.”
“Don’t worry, dad. My lawyer is on his way already.”
“These are not matters for lawyers. You know why they are there, these things are always an ambush which is why they are there so early.”
“I can handle it myself.” She hung up the phone, unimpressed by her father’s attempt to rescue her, but grateful nonetheless. She would need every backup in the next couple of months. She wondered if her father would lay the same ambush if her brother died suddenly. Men only ever seemed to understand fairness when it came to their own. Would her sister-in-law wake up to find erstwhile loving in-laws ready to take back everything that was her brother’s?
Her father-in-law was in her living room waiting to see her, all she wanted to do was be alone and think of Kezie. She remembered their last morning together.
“Stay at home with me today.”
“Important meetings all day, but I already planned to have Friday off.”
He gave her his famous have I ever let you down look. If he said it, he did it. Kezie was as dependable as time.
“I will spend Friday with you. I will stay in bed and practice my future career as a house husband.”
Everyone loved Kezie, he played along to get along, something Nkeonye had never learnt to do.
When she walked into her living room, her father-in-law was pacing. He looked quite smart in his grey Senator two piece and black loafers. His face looked the same, not like his son had just died.
“Good morning, Sir.”
“How are you?”
“I am okay Sir, and you?”
“Well, what has happened has happened. We must push on.” They sat facing each other, the large marble coffee table the only buffer. Nkeonye’s father dashed in, his hurry accentuated by the misalignment of buttons on his shirt.
“Achike, good morning,” he greeted his ọgọ.
“Good morning Obum.” They shook hands. Obum had expected them to become friends after the union of their children. They were, after all, men of the same age who had run in the same orbit but in different social strata, but Achike had rebuffed his friendly invitations to have a beer till he got the picture and left well enough alone.
“Are you okay?” her father asked her.
“You haven’t missed anything.”
They sat down, her father with her on the other end of the sofa, waiting for Achike to speak.
There was a chance that her father-in-law would not say what Kezie had expected of him, that he was actually there to console her, that he would only ask what plans needed to be made and what he could do to make it a less stressful time in their lives. When Achike began to speak, all she could think was that Kezie was right, the know-it-all. Dead and right.
Nkeonyere was tired and felt heavy. She didn’t respond with the fury she once would have relished. She began measuredly. “Let me make something very clear, Sir, whatever you think of me and all the different facades I’ve had to put up over the years—the innocent shy bride, the tired new mum with nothing to say—your son wanted that, and it was fine. Let me assure you, from now on, we will be playing by my rules. You will get exactly what I give you. I mean my time and access to your grandchildren. Children you haven’t thought of since their father died. I have my own family to lean on. I have no need to align with yours. I’m sure even in my acting as a good wife I made that clear. I hold no traditions sacred, I believe in no gods, not even the ones you visit on the sly after Sunday mass. None! I am beholden to no one. Kezie, who held me back, is gone. I say all of this to you, so you know where I stand.”
She was proud of herself for not yelling, proud that she could unburden herself in such clear terms without the steam of hot tears. “If you want to make your son’s funeral a nightmare for me and his children, allow me to laugh in your face. Kezie is dead and gone. I care nothing for his body. You will not blackmail me into spending money meant for his children to assuage your ego. I will have a simple funeral like we planned. Kezie had a plan for both of our funerals. If you insist otherwise, a ga’m a hapuru gi ozu.”
The expression on his father’s face would have tickled Kezie. Achike’s mouth hung open in shock as Nkeonyere continued, “I will give you his dead body as a parting gift. I do not care for it. My husband is dead and I will mourn him with my children here. You can do anything you want for a funeral, kill twenty cows if you like, pay for full page newspaper ads because you want the world to know how much you loved him. I can give you a large sum right now but it will be all you will ever get from me, so feel free to go overboard with money that should be for the living because you want to give him a befitting burial. Or,” she paused, now at the edge of her seat, “we do things the way he wanted. Did Kezie in all his life ever spend money on a party? You know he didn’t, and believe me, he will not do it in death, not while I am alive. If I die kwanu? He made solid plans for that too, very well documented and thought out plans. In summary, Sir, if you want a good fight, I absolutely look forward to one.” She fell back into the couch, body tensed and squared up for his reaction.
Stunned, Achike turned to her father, who looked just as taken aback.
“Obum did you hear your uncouth daughter talk to me like that?”
“Achike, did you ask my daughter to hand over documents and property to you two days after her husband’s death?” Obum asked.
“And what is wrong with that? Is everything my son worked for supposed to go like that? Look at her, what will happen when she remarries? Or are we supposed to pretend she will mourn him forever? You and your family want to carry everything Kezie worked hard for. You have to know that’s not possible. Okay, let’s forget that part for now.” Achike yelled, slamming his keys on the table, “Kezie’s untimely death is no reason for him to be buried like a pauper, my son deserves a befitting funeral.”
“And he will get one. A simple one, just as he wanted.” Nkeonye replied.
“There is no such thing. You city children need to stop being naive. The Umunna is on standby waiting with their list, he will not be buried until they show us a spot.”
“Is the Umunna a vulture? Do they only feed on other people’s responsibilities? Why is it only at weddings and burials that we hear about Umunna and their parched throats that need to be doused?” Nkeonye asked.
This time Achike addressed her father like he felt sorry for him, like he was a pitiful creature who had lost it all. “This is what you get when you raise your children outside of our traditions. You people stay away in the city and leave your homes to rot.” Pivoting to Nkeonye, he continued, “The Umunna is a political class in our ancient and very democratic society in charge of many forms of our administration. It is made up of members of every family in our community. The Umunna is not a bunch of villagers waiting for the next burial or wedding for you to feed them. They come together to make important decisions about land, arbitration, taxation, market days and much more. The sad fact is that when you all leave for the city and choose not take active roles in your own societies, the quality of decisions made will be affected by the quality of decision makers. Did you and Kezie join your age-grade associations here in Lagos?”
“So, when there was a levy to build a new public school, your family did not pay, right?” He did not wait for a response. “When the market burnt down and women who were breadwinners of their families died, did you and Kezie know the Umunna decided their children’s education would be sponsored by the community? Who tends to the graves left behind in our communities? How do we pay the young boys we employ as security and cleaners? How do we pay for these things? We tax ourselves, that’s how.” Achike’s eyes flashed with contempt as he jabbed his fingers repeatedly in her direction. “You people want to come and celebrate your lavish weddings, to be buried in the land of your ancestors when you have not paid your dues. You celebrate your roots but are reluctant to water them. The truth is that some of these outrageous demands are from records of outstanding monies that you owe!”
Chastised, Nkeonye nodded her head.
“Okay, I understand now.” She was glad the man had got a chance to get on some moral high ground. They could both ignore the part where he suggested he was now head of her family and that he and his other sons would take care of her and the children from now on.
“I have heard you, Sir. I am sorry for my outburst. Tomorrow I will start making plans and will send you details of the funeral arrangements that Kezie wanted. If there are any requirements he may have overlooked, we can discuss them. My father will liaise with you to handle the traditional obligations and we will settle any debts that we owe.”
“We have to decide the burial spot and—”
“He may be buried here in Lagos.”
“You want to bury my son in Lagos?” Achike asked incredulously. “Do you hear this nonsense, Obum?”
Her father responded with a wary shoulder shrug. It was nonsense to him too, he was wondering what he would do if his daughter-in-law ever spouted such words in his direction. But what could they do? Things were changing. Once upon a time, a woman’s place was well defined, but now there was even talk of women breaking kola. What did he care? Kolanut was bitter and he didn’t understand the fuss. He associated it with fighting to stay awake in the trenches right before Owerri fell. He looked at Nkeonye, from the moment she could crawl, everything you told her she couldn’t do was exactly what she would fixate upon. He thought of the time she’d held a spoon over a flame and then pressed it to her cheek to learn about energy transfer. The faded crescent was still there. He would never admit it but he saw many things from her point of view now. Why were there different rules for boys and girls? He had to admit he had never given a thought to these things. It was just the way things were, until Nkeonye came along and shook it all up.
Achike looked in Nkeonye’s eyes and saw that she held his gaze. He did not know what to make of her, his monthly visits had never revealed that she had a mind of her own. She took care of the children, she served food and drinks, that was all she’d ever done. So, he had underestimated her. He should have barged into the house with his two boys, straight into the recess of their bedroom, and made off with every document in sight, the old way. But Ikenna had talked about the internet and passwords and access codes.
“The two of you have given your own speeches and now it is my turn,” Obum began. “Nkeonye, your husband Nnakezie has died. He came from a family, he did not drop off a tree like an overripe fruit. As ndi Igbo, no part of our lives is in isolation, all this talk of what Kezie planned makes no sense. Who plans their own funeral? When you are born and until you die, every part of your life is intertwined with all the people who come before you. If Kezie has asked to be buried here in the city, it is a rejection of who he is and where he is from. I do not believe he would do such a thing.”
“Achike…” Obum paused, then laughed quietly to himself, “your son died and I commiserate with you, no one should bury their child.” He laughed again, a dry mirthless sound. “Your son Kezie died. I get it. It goes back to a time when families lived together, when a woman and her children had to belong to a man. When her safety and the propagation of the family line meant she had to be absorbed by some other man in the family. Achike, are we still huddled in huts, scared of rival villages who will take away women and children who have no men to protect them? What are you protecting Nkeonyere from?’
“What are you talking about Obum?” Achike looked about, first at Nkeonye and then around the room at invisible witnesses.
“What we will not do is make your son’s death a Nollywood movie. You sat there and spoke about raising foolish city children who know nothing about our culture. Please, let me ask you, Achike, where did you raise your own children? Did you stay in the village to till the earth or did you leave like many of us in search of education and a modern life? Your son, Kezie, that I knew, spoke no word of Igbo, and yet you comfortably throw stones from your mouth. How much culture and tradition did you teach your own children? What diaspora associations were they supposed to join? The ones still segregated by the sexes that you call democratic? If our traditions say that a woman can’t inherit and you are still party to such nonsense in this day, maybe Kezie’s rejection of you and our traditions are valid. Nkeonye’s response to you concerned itself only with Kezie’s funeral. I like that, because the main part of what you came here for this early morning, that one is dead on arrival. Do you understand?”
The hum of the air conditioner at full blast was the only sound in the living room for a few seconds.
“I don’t blame you one bit. It is Kezie who married into a family of traders that I blame.” Achike paused, looking at both faces for a response, but father and daughter stared back with identical empty countenances. “So, you have nothing else for me ehn?” He waited a few more beats then stood to leave. When he got to the door he added, “I told Kezie from the very beginning that he could do better, and I was right.”
Nkeonye’s response rose out of her like the steam from a boiling pot but her father was faster, clamping a hand on her shoulder to stop her.
“Let it go. It is not every rain that falls that we put a bucket out for.”
“This rain hasn’t even begun,” Achike rebutted before walking out.
Obum waited a few minutes after his ọgọ shuffled out.
“Sir! You have called me three times and I have answered you three times. Daddy, what is it?”
“This thing that you do, where you have the strongest head in the world, one day, a stronger head will jam you.”
“I haven’t heard you say that in a long time.”
“Kezie was good for you. You came into this world searching for a fight, and with him you softened. He’s dead barely two days and you have come out swinging. There must be a reason why he wanted you to lay low with his family. They are his family and he knew them. You are not an island, none of us are. Our traditions are handed down to keep us together.”
“Dad, I’ve come to realize that the people that like to go on about tradition are the people who traditions take care of. Tradition doesn’t care about me and, to be frank, I could care less about tradition.”
“Nkeonye, so if I die you will throw my body away, you will not care what happens to it?”
“I have not said that. But you need to put your house in order, and as it has just been made clear to me, you must settle any debts in the village before you die. You see that nonsense people call a befitting burial, I will not be part of it. Also, won’t it be your sons in charge of your funeral and your estate? I will have no say as a woman.”
“There is no man or woman in these things, everyone contributes what they can.”
“When it comes to money, maybe, but it is only man when it comes to leadership.”
“He will be back with his other sons, you know.”
“Only Ikenna will agree with his plans. Ekene has no time for such rubbish and will let me know what they’re up to. I have arranged for security until all of this is over. Kezie told me to do whatever I needed. If his father was still alive when he died, to consider taking his body back home. So, I have to decide what I want to do. I know that I cannot be completely in charge, if it happens in the village. It will be difficult to control their excesses but I need them to understand that this will not be a carnival, after all, Kezie was not an old man who died in his sleep.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes as Nkeonye’s head swirled with many images of Kezie. When her father began to speak again, there was a tenderness to his tone that she wanted to run away from.
“When you first came home and told me about Kezie, that you had decided to get married, I’ll admit that I thought to myself, this boy does not know what he is in for. I gave your marriage two years tops, because I know you, you are a bull. I don’t know how he managed you. Believe me when I say that his death is a big loss. He was a good man.”
“Because he managed me so well?”
“Because he was good for you, Nkeonye. And you were good for him too. In all my years I never saw two people more suited for each other.”
The tears welled in her eyes and she wiped them away. Her father rubbed his eyes, and when she looked there were tears in his. He smiled as if to say, yes, I’m crying too. They sat, letting the tears fall quietly, separate but together.
“You should not be alone. Your siblings and friends should be with you.”
“I haven’t told people yet. I’m not ready to hear all the hollow words people think they have to say when someone dies.”
“Rest then, but we must begin tomorrow to get it over with. I will be here to help with all you need. We can keep people away until you are ready to face them.”
Nkeonyere climbed back into bed as soon as she had the house to herself, then sent a message to her lawyer. He wasn’t needed today after all. She had no plans for the rest of the day. Everything could wait until tomorrow. The children could stay with her sister as long as they liked, they needed the distraction.
She thought of nights with Kezie that she would never have again. Hours spent alone in the house singing and dancing to early J. Cole, even older Kanye, pretending to be Jay and Bey, and ending the night with Frank Ocean and Rihanna. During their last date-night, as Kid Kudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” began to play, he sang along to her and they swayed together. When he kissed her, she tasted the Hennessey he’d been drinking.
“I have a package for you, Madame,” he said as he pulled her closer.
“Really? That’s the line you are going with?”
“Look, we both know it’s happening, it doesn’t matter what I say.”
“I want to see your calendar first.”
“What do you mean?”
“I want to make sure this isn’t on your calendar.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I want to see in your calendar that you don’t have get Nkeonye drunk on Patron shots and have your way with her.”
He laughed, holding onto her. “Would it really be so bad if I did?”
Hmm. Kezie ooo. Dead.
Tomorrow, she would log into his accounts, click on the file titled Oops! I’m dead but I gotchu babe, which had all the information she would need, account details, passwords, insurance plans, deeds, certificates. It went on and on. Plans for the children’s education, schedules for their preparations and exams fees, plan Bs and Cs if they didn’t get into their first choices. Budgets and monies adjusted for inflation—whatever that meant. He’d shown her a thousand times and a thousand times she rolled her eyes at him. Still, she had not spent eighteen years with Kezie and learned nothing. She would try her best to follow his projections in the data he left behind. She wished she’d had the chance to laugh in his face today like she had planned. This pregnancy would require bedrest just like the first two. It was tempting to hold on to this serendipitous part of him and she could adjust Kezie’s projections with this update, but she was sure of what Kezie would have wanted. Besides, she didn’t want to do it all again, not without him.
Nneoma Kenure has a BA in English and Literary Studies. She writes lifestyle articles and reviews Nollywood movies at Afrocade.com. She hates writing but knows the power to create is her only chance for apotheosis.
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