The waters falling from the shower were spikes to Ezinne. As the foam waned off her skin, she replaced them with new ones. She rubbed the sponge from her face to her shoulders and down to her middle. She stopped rubbing and stared at her belly, slid some foam off the belly and continued staring at it.
Still fixed on her belly, she began sobbing.
The water raining from the shower mixed with the teardrops hung at her eyes, washing them off and bringing in new ones. When the water washed off the remaining lather clung to her skin, she reached for her towel and cleaned up herself.
The doorbell rang. Rick. She stood front of the mirror and cleared every fold before going down the stairs. On opening the door, she met Rick and his friend.
“Echem, nn?. How was work?”
“We thank God,” Jide Echem said.
“You two loosen your ties while I go set the table.” She strained for a wide enough smile and ambled to the kitchen. After microwaving the rice meal, she set the dining and called in the men, ending their office talk of how to increase purchases and all.
She downed some of her drink and returned to her rice, pinned the salmon’s tail and sliced out its flesh into neat edges.
“I love this fruit wine,” Echem said. “Where did you get it from?”
Rick did not reply.
“Rick brought it from LA,” she said, and Richard offered to give Echem three bottles before he leaves.
They rambled on the previous day’s news of how the ocean banks overflowed again, and the folded-hands response of the Government.
“Could you pass me the wine,” she said to Jide Echem.
He passed the wine to her and continued his governmental talks with Richard.
“How’s Erneto’s condition?” she asked after sipping to evade the eyes on her. The last time they had eaten together like this, Echem asked her why she was so quiet, and she said she was merely obeying table manners, and immediately regretted her reply, because it insinuated that the men didn’t have table manners which wasn’t her intention. If she was asked the same question again, she wouldn’t have a reply to give.
“Erneto is okay,” Rick said.
“We’ll have to live in competition with Cherlet forever,” Echem added, in a way that said he wanted the conversation to continue. Someone else should pick the baton from him.
“What of the donations to the children hospital, is that still on?” Ezinne asked.
“Yes.” Richard mouthed a small piece of beef.
She returned the dishes to the kitchen and as she washed them, she tried to condone the noise from the men’s after-meal talks. They talked football. It didn’t last, no matter how Echem tried. Richard wasn’t a fan. They tried news, and it lasted for a while before they began talking work, the issues they would address in their next board meeting.
She sauntered to the sitting room and stretched on the long sofa. Finally, the men’s talks ended, and Echem rose to leave. He took his three fruit wines from the bar and made for the door.
They said goodbyes without meeting eyes.
Richard pulled off his sleeves and complained of how tired he was and needed sleep. He staggered out of the sitting room and she was finally left alone, she and the little sunlight fading from the curtains. She placed a cushion behind her head and switched on the TV. Musician’s cracked voices welcomed her.
The white clouds gave way to darkened ones, and the curtains blew with the invading storms that rattled the windows. No more of the musicians’ voices, but thunder roars, rattling windows and squeaking signal faults. All made her dwell deep and deeper in her thoughts.
The cushion behind her head was useless. Its softness couldn’t stop her from thinking. It couldn’t stop her from thinking of that killing moment; neither could it soothe the torture. Instead, it fuelled it. It brought those times back to life. It brought her tortures back to life. Three years gone, and it didn’t seem as such. She had forgotten nothing. The sore was still very fresh, tormenting her without pity. But how could she forget? How could she forget when she was to live with it forever, when she had been deprived of children forever? Nothing could wipe away the thought, no matter how soft the cushion was, or how melodious the musicians sang. Nothing could wipe away the thought of the doctor’s blades inside her womb, cutting her flesh, killing her innocent twins, killing her womb. Those were impossible to forget. She pressed the remote button and muted the TV. She should dwell in the thoughts, the best she could do.
The rain came down and battled with the storms.