At The End Of The Tunnel – Episode 4
© Jennipher Duru
Mama Stella picked up her phone and called her mother in law as they got back home from the airport.
Mama Stella: Hello Ma. Good morning. I hope the family is doing well
Mother in law: Yes my daughter. How is everyone there?
Mama Stella: We are all fine. We just came back from the airport now. Brian asked me to send his regards
Mother in law: Oh ok. May God protect him along the way and bring him back to us safely.
Mama Stella: Amen and amen Ma. I will be sending you and dad some money this evening once I leave the house.
Mother in law: Ohh my dear, thank you so much. Your father and I are grateful.
Later that afternoon, Catherine visited Mama Stella. The two had planned to go and buy some shoes in town for the upcoming Couple’s night org-nized by their husbands’ place of work.
Catherine: Stella, I can’t wait for other men’s wives to look at our dresses, the ones you bought from India. I know that so many of them will be jealous
Mama Stella: I know right! Especially the Director’s wife. The woman is so jealous. Do you remember how she embarrassed that other lady last time in front of so many people?
Catherine: Hahaha. I tell you. She told her that the pair of shoes she was putting on was a counterfeit of the real Louboutin. The woman is a piece of crap. By the way Mama, I will need you to lend me some cash, about 250 Dollars. I want to acquire some new furniture for my garden. It’s the only set I saw and I couldn’t ask my husband because he just gave me a huge amount a few days ago. I will pay you back once I get my salary at the end of the month
Mama Stella: No problem my dear.
She went to her room and came back with the money.
Mama Stella: There you go sister. And please, don’t pay me back.
Catherine: What do you mean I shouldn’t pay you back? I can’t do that.
Mama Stella: I mean it. What are friends for? I am offering it to you as a birthday gift in advance.
Catherine insisted that she would reimburse the money, but Mama Stella refused. Catherine was so grateful and gave her a hug.
Catherine: I’ve never seen such a gracious woman like you Mama. God will continue to bless you
Mama Stella: Amen. And talking of blessings, Brian wants to divide our properties and put them in the names of our children. All of them have been in Brian’s name and it’s high time we changed in order to secure the future of our children
Catherine: That’s a good idea. The house we are currently living in is in my name while the one in the next town is in darling husband’s name. It’s good to share property amongst family.
Mama Stella: You are definitely right. Once he’s back from his mission, we shall do it as soon as possible.
Florence and Nadia were busy chatting in the kitchen as they prepared for lunch. It was a public holiday, so schools were closed. “Now that you are a grown up girl, you need to be careful with these boys hun! They can be very dangerous. Make sure you concentrate on your studies so that you can make your parents proud” Nadia said to her.
In the evening, Austin waved to his mom as he left for university. It was about 60 kilometers away from their home. The driver was taking him there as the long weekend had finally come to an end.
Six days later, Mama Stella was getting ready to see her husband in a day’s time. She was impatient to see him again as she had missed him so much. She sang happily as she hurried to the oven to remove the cake she was baking for him. “And voila!!!! The cake is ready for my honey” she said excitedly, putting the cake on the table. After a while, she finished the toppings and put up some words that read “Welcome home my darling”.
Nadia admired the cake “wow, mummy this is so lovely, I feel like eating it all now” she said
“Don’t try it. Otherwise I will cut off your lips” Mama Stella said jokingly. They both laughed. Mama Stella wiped off her hands with a kitchen towel and took her phone. “I don’t know why Brian’s number has not been going through since last night. I know they have network issues as they are in a remote area, but let me try again” she said. She dialed the number but it didn’t go through. The doorbell rang and Nadia went to see who it was. After a while, she came back to the kitchen to meet Mama Stella
“Mama, you have some visitors in the living room” she said. Mama Stella looked surprised as she was not expecting any visitors that day. “Who are they? She asked. “they say that they are from daddy’s place of work” Nadia said. Mama Stella went to meet them. She found the Director and another colleague of her husband seated.
Mama Stella: Good day Director, good day sir.
Director: Good day Mama Stella. How are you doing this morning? How is the family?
Mama Stella: We are all fine sir, by God’s grace. Would you care for anything to drink? Hot drink or cold?
Director: Oh no thank you. We are fine. We, we uh, uh. We have received rather sad news from our colleagues in Somalia
Mama Stella: What sad news? I hope my husband is alright?
The Director was quiet for a while. Mama Stella stood up and went towards the Director “please tell me what is going on? Is my husband ok?” She said
Director: We received reports from our colleagues in Somalia that there was a terrorist attack at our main plant yesterday evening. They used explosives to bomb the area. Unfortunately your husband Brian was in the innermost part of the plant when it happened and, and uh oh God! He lost his life there.
Mama Stella sat on floor and after starring at the Director for a couple of seconds, she scre-med “No! It cannot be possible. It cannot be possible! ” Nadia and the driver came running upon hearing the noise. They found her lying on the floor crying as loud as she could. Nadia went to hold her and she cried even the more. The Director and the other colleague tried to comfort her but Mama Stella was inconsolable. “It can’t be possible. My Brian can’t leave me. It is impossible” she kept on saying.
The driver was asked to pick up Florence from school. Now that she was a big girl, she and her friends always came back with the school bus. So she was very surprised to see the driver early in the morning. “What is going on? Why am I being asked to leave class at this time of the day?” She asked. The driver, who was trying hard to pretend that everything was ok said “Nothing wrong. Your mom said there is an important visitor you have to meet before they leave”
Florence laughed. “An important visitor! Hahaha. I know it’s not true. Am sure it’s dad who has arrived a day earlier. I can’t wait to see him. He promised to bring nice Somalian sandals and handbags for me” she said.
The driver’s heart sank. Tears dropped from his eyes but he quickly wiped them off. Florence was seated at the back so she couldn’t notice it. When they arrived home, she noticed that the house gate was open and some people had gathered inside the compound. As she got off from the car, she heard noise of women crying. She threw her bag on the ground and ran inside. She found her mom crying as neighbours tried to console her. Upon seeing Florence, her mom raised her hand and cried “Florence your daddy is dead! Florence my Brian is gone!!”
Florence sat quietly and looked at everyone around her. It seemed like a dream to her. Tears flowed from her eyes and she gave a desperate cry. “No daddy! No! I’ve been waiting for you. You can’t leave me like this” she cried. Everyone around her wept bitterly when they heard her. Nadia lay down on the floor motionless. Catherine entered the house and hugged Mama Stella. They wept on each other’s shoulder. Mama Stella looked at her and cried “Cathy, my honey is gone! He gave me the last k-ss at the airport and waved me goodbye. I wish I had stopped him”. Catherine couldn’t hold her tears. The house was filled with neighbours who had come to sympathise with the family.
Austin arrived in the evening and when he was told was happened, he held on to the chair that was nearby and sat down slowly. “What happened?” He asked. Catherine’s husband, who had come to the house, explained what the Director had said. Austin shed tears. Catherine’s husband cried with him and comforted him. It felt like a dream to the wh0le family. Mama Stella stood up and went to her bedroom. She opened the wardrobe and fixed her eyes on Brian’s clothes. She took one of his favourite shirts and held it rightly. She continued weeping “Brian come back my love. I miss you” she said. Florence entered her room and hugged her. “Mummy, leave the clothes. Stop crying and have some rest” she cried too. Austin also walked in and they both held their mom, who had become so weak. They all sat on the floor. Their minds were far away and couldn’t imagine what had just happened to them.
To be continued
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