As early as 5am after the first cock crow is heard, she has to be up and start preparing for her day. She has to leave home as early as possible to be able to bring enough proceeds later at dusk. She knows deep within herself that she has to get going in order to meet the early customers and snatch them from the hungry claws of her colleagues. It's a market day after all, and the market would be overflowing with buyers and sellers from far and near. Some will come as wholesalers or retailers while others as the final consumers. The market also constituted of those who came with goods to trade.
With her vegetables ready from the previous night she is ready to go or so she thought to herself until she remembers her useless drunkard of a husband is yet to pay back the money he had borrowed two days ago. In her confusion, she wonders if she should wake him up and demand for it or just let him be and save herself the precious time she would waste without yielding any good. She knew the unlucky fellow of a man she married and also knew that he would have nothing to give to her. The only encouragement she had was the fact that she is going through life's struggles for the sake of her lovely children. With her goods well balanced on her head, she headed for the market and kept thinking to herself where it all went wrong.
"He was never like this", she thought to herself. He was the kind of husband every woman would love to wake up to every morning. He cared so much about her and his children. Well not until that fateful day. The day that changed it all. The day their precious daughter fell and drowned in the well. She was about five years old and a very curious infant. The carelessness that lead to that incident could not be explained by her but she just knew it happened. That day, something died in her husband as well. That was also the advent of his drinking habits and although he never laid a finger on her, she just wished he would recover.
The child was obviously her husband's favorite as she was conceived in love. She believed she convinced on the night before her husband left for the north. Throughout her marriage, that was the most passionate and outstanding love making they shared. She felt as satisfied as a new born baby after receiving his first milk from the breast of his mother. She was so sure she got a view of heaven as she climaxed. Truth be told she ached also for her child but she took it all in like her husband had always said "she is a strong woman after all".
Coming back to reality, she remembered she still had three children to take care of and although she had lost her second child, she had fought the risk of loosing more in a community where the risk were high. Getting to her destination, she realized it was just a few minutes after 6am and the market was already bustling with traders. She arranged her vegetables and just before noon had made all her sales.
Picking up her little purchase for the day's meal and what she had made from her sales, she headed home. Then the thought of going home frightened her as she remembered her husband whom she still prayed for everyday to come back to his senses. The only thing which brought joy to her heart was the smiles that would welcome her home from the lips of her children. " I have lived today and survived" she thought. "I live to survive another day".
(To be continued...)
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The tale of Fate and Talent of Ondo Born Two times winner of Nigerian Sports Writers’ Award - Oludare Oluwashina.
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