As the funeral service began, Sarah wept. If only Tamuno could wake up and forgive her. If only she could tell him she did everything because of her love for him. “Dust unto dust, ashes to ashes,” the priest said performing the rites. Funeral over, she entered the car with her children and recalled what led to her husband’s death.
Tamuno and Sarah had been married for six years without children. Though Tamuno was not bothered, Sarah was. An astute banker, he loved his wife and believed that the absence of children should not mar the joy of their marriage. But his wife did not think so. She went from one doctor to the other, ran various tests and was confirmed fertile. The same was said of her husband and they were advised to be hopeful.
But the advent of Beck, Tamuno’s brother, changed the story of the family. Beck was a young man, who came to live with them after his national youth service. He was very hard working and despite his academic qualification, he opted to help Sarah with house chores including cooking. To Sarah, Beck’s stay was a welcome relief because she had been on a search for a maid. “Aunty, you need not trouble yourself, I am ready to help with whatever chores there are in this house,” he said to Sarah.
Was she glad? Before they both knew what was happening, they became an item and went everywhere together. Tamuno was happy because his brother kept the company of his wife and she was no longer lonely or depressed. Initially, Tamuno wanted his brother to work in a bank but after four months of the young man’s stay in his house, he changed his mind and helped him secure a job in the state’s civil service. That gave Beck ample time to close early from work and return home to be with Sarah, who was six weeks pregnant.
Tamuno’s joy knew no bounds when Sarah got pregnant. At last, he was going to be a father. After the third trimester, Sarah gave birth to a baby
boy, who bore a striking resemblance to her husband. He did not spare any expense during the christening and it was a party much talked about. He named his baby, David, after his grandfather.
After eight months, Sarah was pregnant again. They were happy and this time, he requested that his mother should relocate to their Lagos
home in order to help his wife since a maid had not been found yet. Mama accepted and came to Lagos with a 12-year-old girl called Grace, who was one of her granddaughters. Sarah was happy to see everyone doting on her. She liked Grace and did everything to make her comfortable.
By the time Sarah had the second baby, a boy; Beck asked that he moved out of the home to an apartment of his own. His brother obliged since their mother and Grace were around to help. Three months after Beck left, an incidence occurred. That day, Mama had bathed the baby, taken her meal and went to sleep when Grace rushed in to wake her up.
“Mama, I saw Aunty and brother Beck in the bedroom,” Grace whispered. “Stop saying such things,” Mama said angrily. How on earth could Beck be in the same bedroom with Sarah? Beck had not even shown up in the house since he packed out. Though Mama went back to sleep, what Grace told her kept ringing in her mind.
A month after, the little girl came to say the same thing but this time, “they are quarrelling and I saw brother Beck trying to take baby from aunty,” Grace whispered. Mama was angry and decided to go to Sarah’s bedroom but there was no Beck there.
The car from the cemetery halted in front of their house and Sarah was jolted out of her thoughts. They all alighted and saw some policemen waiting for Sarah. “Are you Mrs. Tamuno? You are under arrest,” said a policeman to her as she made to enter the house. Some of the mourners who came from the cemetery with her protested but Sarah was whisked away in a police
van. At the police station, she understood that the autopsy carried out on Tamuno indicated that he was poisoned and she was a suspect. Grace had told Mama that she saw her pouring ‘something’ in one of the drinks in the kitchen. With all fingers pointing in her direction, Sarah confessed:
“I lied to Mama that Beck was not in the room because he hid in the bathroom. That day, Beck had come to ask for N20million from me or I hand over my children to him since he was their father. I had begged him to keep our secret but he kept asking for money because he was travelling to the United States of America for a post-graduate programme. Where on earth would I get N20million? Beck knew this but wanted to punish me. He threatened telling Tamuno and Mama. I knew I had to eliminate Beck before everyone knew the babies were his.
“On Valentine’s Day, I invited him over to a dinner in our home and poisoned his drink. I was in the kitchen and told Grace to take the first cup to brother Beck but foolish girl! She said it was their tradition for the eldest to be served first and she gave the drink to Tamuno! I almost passed out when I entered the dining-room and saw the glass meant for Beck in Tamuno’s hand and vice versa! I did it to save my husband, I didn’t know it would turn out this way.”
Culled from Punch.
Kindly note:Image is for illustration purposes.