Timbers

The remote village of Ezeke was renowned for its sacred laws and ethics. Every atrocity was punishable by ostracization, except infidelity.

That particular evening was serene, the trees swayed their branches and their leaves fell. Just then, a dry stick broke off the mango tree seated at the middle of Maazi Ikenna’s compound. It fell and brushed his shoulder where he sat in crossed arms on a large root above the surface.

He was startled, and was brought back to the present; then he realised he’d been there for over three hours.

The night was coming and his young wife Adaoma was yet to return from a journey to the famous Ariara market. He strolled towards the gate and back to the front door. At the third approach to the wooden door, he decided to go in and retire for the night and raise alarms by morning if she didn’t return then. He wasn’t just hungry, he was angry that his wife of four years was inconsiderate about his meals and made the goods for her petty shop a priority. She’d gone to the neighbouring state the day before to get goods for her shop.

The gate swung open and Adaoma ran in as if something pursued her. Maazi had difficulty understanding her utters. She was talking so fast between her heavy pantings.

“Woman calm down and speak.” Maazi was infuriated. He’d cooked the lashes to give her and rehearsed the words as he would say them to her. He equally planned how he would deny her warmth and sensual company for the next full moon. There, was the young wife at his feet, trying to make him forget all his devises with those displays. Unapologetic displays. He’d encountered similar dramas in the past and each came with different stories. He calmed her and patiently waited for the excuse of the moment.

Onye nwe m, our vehicle broke down yesterday and we all slept in an open space, I slept with a man from Obinze,” Adaoma stuttered as she passed her fingers between each other.

Maazi freed himself of her grip and retired for the night without saying a word.

A week after, Maazi died. He coughed blood throughout the night and gave up by the morning. Such deaths were common among men that harbored unfaithful wives in their homes. Adaoma had an affair with a strange man from the market trip and Maazi paid no heed to it and never dissolved their union.
He’d died, ignorant of the young wife’s affairs. Adaoma seized that one time chance to have her way just the way Maazi had always done.

She equally told Maazi of the act on her return, but he failed to understand that she had truly gotten intimate with the man. Maazi was a man who trusted his young wife with everything he’d owned.

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