When at last Mrs Gozie had a son after her ten years of marriage, she seemed on top of the world. She often contemplates on the rigorous experiences she went through to prove herself a real woman. Countless names were associated with her. Her series of visits to the so-called miracle centres yielded feck results. She was constantly humiliated by her folks. What she suffered outside the family was just a tip of the iceberg to the reproaches she got from her once loving husband.
Her situation pegged her to a somewhat repeated introspection. She could not understand the cause of her situation or the circumstances that surrounded her infertility. For all she could remember, she did not play away from her youth like her other friends. Her background had much effect on her moral upbringing. Her relationship with the male folk was sound and was a point of reference to her peers. She hoped for a favourable reward from God at her due time because, for her, she had prepared for it.
On the contrary, therefore, was her present situation which had made her object of ridicule. Even her husband who initially showered love on her on finding her still a virgin on the first consummation of their marriage now chid her at the slightest provocation. He even accused her of bewitching him and lured him into marriage. Several occasions, this had resulted in the rough treatment of different types. She could not but bear her plight with resignation. The pressing need to prove her innocence threw her to search for any available remedy; through good and foul means. In the course of this search, she lost her faith in God. What a poor fate!
In a seeming compensation to her efforts, she conceived in the eleventh month of their tenth marriage anniversary. Wow! What a happy day when the husband learnt that the wife is to be called a mother at last. The lost happiness automatically returned. They tried their best to conserve this pregnancy. Mrs Gozie went an extra mile to ensure that the pregnancy was not lost to any unforeseen circumstance. She later was delivered of the child alive and healthy. After the travail, she spent hours admiring the creature that its absence brought countless grief to her overexcited life. She uttered beside herself, “Welcome dear redeemer!” She called his name ‘Maduabuchi’ (‘Man is not God’).
Maduabuchi was pampered to the least. He was not allowed to participate in any tiring exercises. She spoon-fed him and almost made him lazy. Maduabuchi enjoyed all kinds of favour from the parents especially the mother. He was even enjoying the protection of the mother while he was committing crimes. At a very tender age, Maduabuchi became notorious and delinquent.
It was raining heavily the day Maduabuchi sneaked out of the house to pluck pears from their neighbour’s tree. Nobody knew what was happening and the mother cared less about it. He had plucked a very large quantity when he ran out of luck and slipped from the tree and fell headlong. Because no one was with him to help him out, he died with his head deep inside the ground.
When night came and he was nowhere to be found, the mother ran helter-skelter in search for her one eye. She went to friends’ houses only to learn that they did not know where he was. It was then that it dawned on her that the child must be in trouble and a terrible one for that matter. She remembered that so many times, their neighbour’s wife had complained to her about the mischievous behaviour of their son. Mrs Gozie had stopped her with a wave of a hand and termed it wickedness on the part of the woman. She had even accused her (the neighbour’s wife) of trying to kill their only son. She rushed to the pear tree with her lantern calling as she went. Lo! And behold the son dead with the head still plugged into the ground.
What an ordeal! She could not cry. She could not shout. Can this be true that their only son had died carelessly like this? What was she going to do? Can she take her own life and unite herself once more with her dear son, probably to make up for her defect in training him very well? It was a hit.