Dare was tall. He was six feet two inches tall and very handsome. Dark skinned, full, and
well-arched eyebrows that made you think he was vain enough to get them professionally done. When he smiled it reached his eyes but his white and clean dental set was the first thing you noticed about him that day at the bank. He had just completed his transaction, turned around from the counter, and bumped right into you. He smiled at you, apologizing profusely. You drank in the beauty that his smile was. Titi, the girl at the counter, had noticed him looking at you – you remember her name because she changed your life forever. She gave you two pieces of paper – one, a receipt for your transaction, the other, a scribbled note that reads ‘blue shirt has one hundred and sixty million in checking account only. More in savings.’ You put both papers in your handbag as you cross the gutter in front of the bank while deciding if you wanted to go to the Amala joint behind the bank or make the long trip to Akara suya – your favorite food joint in Akure.
He was tall in life but in death, he looked taller. His dark skin looked a shade darker but matches the mahogany coffin his best friend had picked. He looked peaceful. You notice for the first time how long his eyelashes were.
Gideon, one of his friends, had just finished his eulogy when his mother, holding unto her aged breasts ran into the church wailing and bellowing ‘Ha, e sho ni! E sho ni ooooooooo, Dare. Today should not be the day I bury my only child!!!!’ You stand up and pull her to yourself. As you comfort her, her eyes plead with you to be pregnant. A redeeming gift from her only now dead child. You wanted to tell her about the three pregnancies Dare beat out of you. But you don’t. You gently rub her shoulders instead.
Seven months from the day you met Dare you were married to him. The day after Dare missed the third anniversary of your wedding and you had decided you were done, you found out you were pregnant. You aborted the pregnancy. Someone at the hospital must have told him because he confronted you about it in the kitchen. You shoved him slightly out of your way. He staggered. You think his head hit the edge of the fridge but you’re not sure. He fell. He bled. You waited a few hours. You called his doctor. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
At the graveside, you fling yourself unto the casket when it was lowered into the grave. In your heart, you curse the day he drove up to you while you were waiting for a taxi under the scorching sun. You curse poverty that made you see the beauty in the beast he was. You curse cultural and societal expectations that made you stick with him after beating your third fetus out of you with his fists.
The doctor asked you if he had taken his medication recently. You say he had been traveling so you weren’t sure. When the police came to ask you how he died, you whisper to yourself “E sho ni. Today is not the day. Today, my mouth speaks no evil” but to them, your tears flow like a river. In the end, they say he died from Sickle cell complications. You are AA. Your marriage to him could have worked.
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