The Other Me by Rachael Aligbe
The burial preparation was more terrible for Mrs. Okocha. Since news had gone round her husband’s village that she was responsible for her husband’s death, the widows of the village didn’t deal diligently with her. She thought she had seen hell until after Chigioke was buried. His family had collected the properties they owned including the house they lived in and left her with nothing. Also, since Chigioke left no will, she couldn’t contend with them. She was grateful to God for the house which she and her husband had secretly acquired. His family members were not aware of it.
When they had chased her out, she moved to the other house with her children. Then her suffering took a different turn. Since she had just a first school leaving certificate, she couldn’t acquire a decent job. She had to do menial jobs to put food on the table for her children. As a result, all the children but Nonso had to drop out of school since she could barely feed them let alone send them to school.
The stress from having to cater for the children and the worry about what tomorrow holds took the better part of her that she fell terribly sick barely a year after her husband’s death. There was no family the children could call. She soon joined her husband in the great beyond. How she was given a befitting burial, only the children could explain. The children became wheelbarrow pushers and do other menial jobs to survive.
Nonso had a sense of responsibility. Even though he was the youngest amongst them, he felt responsible for his siblings. Aside being a wheelbarrow pusher, he began to wash the windshield of car owners in traffic jam. He was also an errand boy, a washer man and a host of other things. Much later, he began to work at a laundry where he earned enough to cater for himself and his siblings to an extent.
Since he loved to iron clothes, he was always whistling or singing whilst working. He was always optimistic about a lot of things. Even though things were not working as he planned, he made it a duty to lift the spirits of everyone he conversed with. Soon, customers became fond of him.