4 Petals

This story is set in Nigeria. This was written in 2018 and it hints a lot at what widows face here, especially those in the villages. Enjoy🤗🤗🤗

              

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When she was just a little girl, Adesewa Ododo Abidemi always pitied the widows in her village. They, unlike others, pass through unfair hardships after their husbands die. Adesewa always hated how they were treated by the town's people or by their own relatives.

These widows were faced with so many plights by everyone. Their hairs were shaved off; most of them were locked in a room or forced to sleep with their late husband's corpse in order to 'confess their sins of having a hand in their deaths' or whatnot. Worst of all, they were forced to drink the water that was used to wash the dead body.

To add more insult to injury, they were either publicly and unfairly disgraced by being branded as a witch who killed her husband; or they were passed on to their late spouse's closet relative for marriage like an extra baggage when said relative comes for the husband's property.

Adesewa hated it. She hated how these women where given no choice in matters concerning their lives. She hated how these women were discriminated against for no good reason. At a young age, she took it upon herself to visit the widows, apologizing on the behalf of ignorant, barbaric fools that hurt them.

On several occasions, elders or people have warned her to stay away from them and not to socialise with them, but like the stubborn girl she was, she completely ignored them.

Adesewa did everything in her power to make these widows enjoy life. The moment she came back from school every weekdays, she'll take her bath, eat and hurriedly do her assignment before she zoomed out of her house – her destination always being the town's Widows Home. She usually went with gifts her middle class parents gave to her to give to them and she rightfully distributed it among the widows – be it money or food.

Adesewa had six big brothers, two sets of triplets. The elder set were Oluwatoyin, Oluwatoni and Ogunwale; while the second set were Ololade, Oladayo and Adewale. Before they left and settled in Abuja, they helped their father in building a new Widows Home, causing their younger sister great joy.

Soon, after years have passed, it was time for Adesewa to head to the city for her university education. Lots of tears were shed that day, mostly from the widows. Adesewa promised to send them letters every week to both her parents and the widows. Although she was afraid to leave the widows, in fear that the discrimination the villagers have for them will return when she's gone; her mother and father eased her worries, promising to take care of them like they have done in the last couple of years. Adesewa, now relaxed, left the village after the widows had uttered their blessing and wishes on her.

During holidays, Adesewa usually visited – along with her brothers if they have the time. She always come bearing gifts for her parents and the widows.

On a particular holiday, when Adesewa came back, she was met with a gloomy and sad atmosphere. She asked what had happened to make the atmosphere so depressing and she was told a shocking news.

One of the widows, Olajumoke, was dead. She was killed in a mob when she was accused falsely by a seller who yelled that Olajumoke stole her money, when it was actually a greedy teenager that did it. Because of her status, she was immediately attached by a mob. She was stripped naked, paraded around before finally being stoned to death.

Adesewa cried that night. Everyone tried their best to calm her down but none of them could. Olajumoke was her best friend, her second mother. Like her parents, Olajumoke was always there for her and will always help her in crisis. To hear that her mother in all but blood was brutally murdered with no solid evidence, all because of her widow status, hurt Adesewa like a bullet to the heart.

Adesewa had never felt so weak in her life until that day. She couldn't do anything to get justice for her friend and she felt pathetic. She was a law student but here she couldn't do much with that knowledge, with how ancient these people were with their tradition and customs as the centre of everything. Sometimes, Adesewa wished that these traditions were on an ancient scroll or something so that she can burn it to ashes as she smiled.

After the burial of Olajumoke, Adesewa lost a certain amount of her the usual cheerful spark in her eyes and went into deep investigation. Until she proved her dead friends innocence, she not getting any rest. She lost a little weight and eye bags appeared under her eyes. Everyone was worried sick until her brothers finally had enough. The seven of them had a yelling match and the out come of that match had Adesewa breaking down in tears. Her brothers comforted her, one of them taking her in his arms, and before long, she was fast asleep. She didn't wake up until 2pm.

A day or two after her breakdown, the other widows took her to the market and that is when an interesting drama unfolded.

A thief has been caught and they were beating the shit out of him. Shouts that he should confess rang loudly in the market. Having had enough of being plummeted, the boy finally said who he was. They boy, out of fear, started confessing who and who he has ever stolen from in his life, and boy did one of his confession hurt deep.

Turned out that he was the one who stole the money that Olajumoke was falsely accused of stealing. He told them how he fell some of the seller's goods, causing her to get distracted. The seller's bent down to pick her fallen goods while Olajumoke continued selecting the fruits she was about to buy. He took the money and hurriedly ran away.

This confession had so many of them screaming, mostly the widows. The crowd turned to them, most of them with guilt and regret in their eyes. The seller came begging, falling on her knees, pleading for forgiveness. But Adesewa wouldn't grant that. She wouldn't grant any of them forgiveness.

Adesewa suddenly bent down and started playing with the sand below her. She then grab a fistful of it and raised it up, hands stretched at the crowd.

"Those of you who wrongly accused my friend, Olajumoke, and those of you who participated in her launching; by the blood of the innocent woman you killed: I curse all of you." That got a lot of people shouting in alarm, but she paid them no attention. "By the blood of Olajumoke, the innocent blood you all split, I curse all of you who killed her!" She continued, her voice getting louder. "It will never be well with you! You shall all suffer and you shall die in suffering! It shall never be well with you!" And with that, tears streaming down her face, she threw the sand back on the ground.

People began pleading with her to undo her words but she just flip them off. She stomped back to the Widows Home, with said widows by her side.

The next day, the elders came pleading, seeing as most of their hands are soaked in the matter. Adesewa told them off, not wanting to deal with their bullshit. She warned them that if any one tries to harm the widows or anybody close to her, she won't hesitate in bringing the village down in flames.

Her brothers just watched the drama unfolding before them in amusement, knowing their sister wasn't kidding around. The elders left their house in shame, tails between their legs. The widows that were there laughed in amusement as they hurriedly left the compound.

Before Adesewa left, she vowed on Olajumoke's grave that she'll make the village better and rid them of their ignorance. And she worked on that vow. Very hard to be precise.

Adesewa became a successful lawyer and graduated first class. Years later, she arrived into the village with a bang. With the help of her colleagues, the king and the government, her village became better than before.

Most of the old, barbaric customs and traditions were dropped. The widows weren't outcast anymore and weren't treated as yesterday trash; the children received a better education and the village sang with joys and praises at the new development.

Currently, it was the last day of the New Yam festival and the people were celebrating, but Adesewa was nowhere to her seen.

Unknown to others except her family, she was in her usually spot – under the large Sakura blossom tree where Olajumoke and three other deceased widows were buried.

"Olajumoke, Morayo, Iyanuayo, Ifeoluwa, I've did it." Adesewa whispered, a sad smile on her face. "I've fulfilled my promise and vow to you all." She looked up at the starry sky before she closed her eyes for a moment, a tear escaping. "I just wish you three where here to see it."

"Who says they aren't?"

Adesewa abruptly stood up and turned around, her guard up. She relaxed when she saw her mother who folded her arms around herself.

"Mama. You shouldn't be out here. It's too cold." Adesewa frowned disapprovingly at her as she walked up to her aging mother. She removed her thick leather jacket and placed it on her mother.

"Thank you jare." Her mother said with a chuckle, giving her cheeks a thankful pat. She looked at the graves before them and Adesewa followed her example. "Olajumoke, Morayo, Iyanuayo, Ifeoluwa will be proud of what you've done, my daughter. In fact, they might be having their own celebration in heaven." She chuckled. "I know for a fact that Olajumoke will be tearing up the dance floor, even putting the gods to shame with her dance steps."

The imagery of that caused both women to erupt into pearls of joyous laughter.

"Yeah... She would." Adesewa breathed out, lips stretched in a content smile.

Mother and child bask in the moon light and the comfortable silence that envelope them. The crickets and the hoots of owls made it the night more pleasant.

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Adesewa inhaled and exhaled heavily, drawing an amused glance from her mother. She grinned at her mother who just rolled her eyes fondly.

"Mama, Sewa, there you are." The women turned their necks to see Oladayo walking up to them. "Papa and the rest are waiting for you. Let's go."

The three of them headed down the small hill where the four widows were buried and followed Oladayo back to the village and joined the others in the celebration.

Unknown to them, four, ghostly figures were watching them, smiles on their lips. They whispered a word of thanks before they disappeared, never to be seen again.

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