Miriam’s Tale

Hi lovelies, I’ve missed you. It’s been very hectic for me recently, but, I’m back now. Today we begin a new series; Miriam’s Tale.

It’s a story/diary series about Miriam, young wife and mother to two kids who suddenly lost her husband. The series follows her struggles as a widow and single mother, the skeletons Which came out of the closet after her husbands death, and how she was able to get past it all. Enjoy and share.

Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

The things adversity make us do……..

We either toughen like eggs in hot water, or soften like carrots. It’s at those times we remember the ability to adapt is one of the primary characteristics of humans. Then we take a good look at our environment; like a good look, not through rose-tinted or sunglasses, but a really good look, through microscopic lens. Everything looks new to us, it’s like: that day is the first day of the rest of our lives. Life is now divided into the before and after.

We become psychic, develop (or become more aware of) our extra senses, we now see beyond our noses. We take note of the fact that the Mama Nkechi’s only said ‘hi’ to us for two seconds today, whereas before the ‘adversity’, it was five to ten minutes of them asking about my entire lineage. But as the days rolled into weeks, they spent less time saying ‘hi’, until they began avoiding me, and next was pretending to not notice me. I don’t know what’s next, but I know it isn’t just her, the neighbours; it’s almost all my friends and acquaintances. They all avoid me and I don’t blame them. I would love to run away from me, right now. It really isn’t a good time being me; my husband died seven months ago, leaving me, jobless with our two kids.

My name is Miriam Okoro, and this is my story.

The beginning is always the best place to begin a tale, so I’ll go back and walk you through how I got to be at this point.

I met my husband while in my final year in university all those many years ago. I was that tall, slim chocolate beauty y’all want to be, lol. So I met him at a wedding. A friend’s brother’s wedding to be precise. My friend Ijeoma had asked me to help with serving her brother’s friends at the after-party at their parent’s house. You know how we used to do after-parties back in the day, where the couple’s friends will see them home after the reception, and the party will continue there.

So, it was at this party I met Ken.  Ken is/was the tall, dark and handsome dream of every living breathing female, the ones our mothers warn us against, but want us to bring home eventually. He made small talk with me every time I served him one of the numerous delicacies available that night, and I shyly responded. When he was leaving, he offered to take me home, and I replied that I lived just down the street and would walk home later. He insisted, and I acquiesced. He didn’t just take me home, he got my phone number as well.

On our first date, he told me he wanted to marry me. I was like; huh? Is that how they marry in your village? Lol! Ofcourse I didn’t believe him, and that cemented the fact in my mind that he was just one of the usual random predators. Ha! He thinks I’m a jjc? No o! I was born and bred in Lagos and I’m pako to the core. I did all the initial gra-gra I could, but all that was inconsequential when a few months into our relationship, I got pregnant.

I know, I know, don’t y’all be judging me and saying “upon all my forming of street smartness”, I know. Anyways, pregnant, all the forming disappeared. I was very grateful when he began the marriage process, in fact; to save myself and my family considerable shame, I might have begged him to marry me.

So, with pregnancy and marriage, I ended up having an extra year in the university, but the birth of my son Daniel made it worthwhile. When I finally graduated, it took another year for me to get posted for my NYSC (shout-out to the Nigerian system). By the time I went for Service, I was pregnant with baby number two. With a lot of stress and strain on my part, I struggled through my service year.

Ken, myself, and our two kids were the picture perfect family (so I thought). We lived in a 3-bedroom flat in an upscale part of town, we had a nice car, and could afford a budget holiday outside the country, you know all those perks that placed us in the upper middle class range. I wasn’t working yet because we had agreed that I wouldn’t until the kids were older and in school.

Then calamity struck. That day dawned like every other day. It was a Saturday; Ken had travelled the day before to Abuja where his parents resided to see them. Ken was such a good person, father, son, husband; he covered all his bases very well, so very well. I spoke with Ken that morning, he called to find out how we were faring, Sara had a slight fever the day before, I had given her a mild analgesic, and maybe she was teething, because I could sense she was more irritated than ill. Poor baby, at two years, she couldn’t yet express herself succinctly, unlike her brother Dan; that one was a born broadcaster.

You know how it goes in all those Nollywood movies, when they dramatize relaying the news of a dead loved one that was my story. That afternoon, his younger brother came around, and in a short while his uncle was at our house too, there I was, attending to my in-laws like a good African wife. Their brother wasn’t in town, wonder how they didn’t know that. Anyways, not my business.

Pastor and Mrs B our friendly middle-aged neighbours came over, and in my mind, I was like; ok, this is getting to be a party. Looking back, I’d like to think the conversation was stilted, or that they were cues, but I didn’t notice anything off.  Jude; my husband’s brother had lived with us for a while after school, before he got a job and moved out on his own, and as such he knew the B’s. It wasn’t until the B’s first daughter, Funmi came over and invited my kids over to their apartment for ice-cream did I guess something was wrong. I informed her that their uncle had brought them some ice-cream which they had just had and as such they couldn’t have any more for the day, when Mrs B and Uncle Francis simultaneously said I should let them go with Funmi. I immediately got goose bumps. I knew then something was wrong, they had bad news and needed the kids out of the way to break it to me.

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