Enitan opened her eyes just in time to see the doctor exit the room and her mum walk morosely to the side of her bed. Mrs Ige eased into the metal chair, reached for Enitan’s hand, hesitated and placed them in her lap instead.
“Adesua olowo orimi…” She started.
Her mum only called her that when she had offended her and wanted to appeal to her soft side. Enitan stared ahead at a big brown spot on the wall by the door. She wondered if that could have been blood from a decapitated patient or poop ejected by a mother while delivering a baby.
The room had a pungent smell. Maybe it was the smell of death that lingered or the smell of her mother’s weakness. She’d never know. But it made her sick.
“I’m really sorry.” Her mum continued, unable to find a safe ground for conversation.
“For what mum?” She bit the inside of her cheek to curtail the tears. The metallic taste of blood hit her tongue. “All these years…you watched this happen. You let this happen!” Her mum lurched forward, afraid she’d upset the IV tube connected to her arm.
Unbothered, she raged on. “First it was you, and when that wasn’t enough for him, he came for me.” She could no longer fight it. The tears marched freely down her freckled cheeks. “Why mum? Why? Why did you put up with all of that? Why didn’t you leave? Or at least fight back?”
Tears were running down her mum’s cheeks by now.
“Why did you sit back and…” Her throat became clogged and she bit her bottom lip. “Why didn’t I die?” She said, to no one in particular.
Her mum reached for her, carefully enclosing her in her arms.
“Don’t say that Enitan mi. I will not lose you.” She sniffed. “What will be my gain if I lose my only child? All these suffering would have been for nothing.”
Enitan pulled away. “And what exactly were you hoping to gain from this suffering in the first place?”
Mrs Ige looked in the other direction and fiddled with the edge of her blouse.
“Tell me!” Enitan barked, causing her to jump. Her mum looked pitiable but she needed answers.
Mrs Ige returned to the metal chair, her gaze unable to meet her daughter’s.
“You know I quit working because of your dad. He wouldn’t let me start a business either.” She wiped a lone tear with the edge of her sleeve. “He shut me out from my family and friends. I have no money, no one to help. If I leave him, where will I start from?”
She looked at Enitan with eyes pleading with her to understand her plight.
“Did you even try?” She couldn’t recognise the rage in her own voice.
“I’m trying to secure your future, Enitan. If we leave and he marries another woman, he’ll leave you out of his inheritance.”
Enitan laughed and then put on a stiff expression.
“Did you for once pause to think of the mental and emotional damage I would have suffered as the years roll by?” She leaned towards her mum and snickered. “Oh let me guess. You don’t mind having a damaged kid as long as she has enough money to take care of you when you are old.”
Mrs Ige was thrown back. “Enitan…”
“That’s all I am to you. A retirement plan.”
She got up and shouted at her. “Don’t speak to me like that. I’m still your mother!”
“You should have aborted me when you had the chance!” Enitan shouted back.
Her mouth fell open, as she staggered, holding on to the bed for stability. She felt like she had been hit by a boulder.
“What did you say?” She stammered.
“I know why you married dad.”
The door opened and a nurse stepped in.
“Why is there so much noise in here?” She looked from mother to child. “You shouldn’t be upsetting your daughter. She needs to rest.”
Mrs Ige turned to the nurse. “I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to cause so much ruckus. I’d take my leave now.”
She wiped her face and turned to say goodbye to Enitan but she had already lain down with her back to her. With a heavy sigh, she mumbled a goodbye and left ahead of the nurse.
“Are you okay?” The nurse asked, as she held on to the door. There was no response from the curled up girl.
Enitan bit her pillow to muffle the sound of her sobs as she heard the nurse leave.
Why didn’t I die?
Will Mrs Ige find the courage to stand up to her husband? Will Enitan make another attempt at taking her own life? Where is Mr Ige in the midst of all these drama?
Find out in the next episode dropping on tuesday.