Sammy looked on as his dad was swept off his feet by the two hefty army officers who accompanied his mum and it dawned on him that his dad was actually in big trouble. He stood bravely at a corner watching as his dad was getting bartered by the men while his mum kept heaping accusations at him.

Rebecca: “That is the man who wants to kill me at home. Look at the bruises on my body, he has turned me to his punching bag” she raved accusingly..
1 st Officer: “Bastard, you have the guts to lay your hands on a woman while we fight the book boys in Sambisa forest just to protect you. if you had that much power, why don’t you join us in the fight? You bloody coward” he cursed breathlessly as he stomped on Richard over and over again. On-lookers trouped around them and started pleading on behalf of Richard but it all fell on deaf ears. The officers seemed to be punishing him for more than just abusing his wife as she claimed he did.

Richard: “Officer please! Please!” he pleaded while trying to shield his face and ribs from their incessant assaults. His ribs despite his attempts at shielding them seemed to be snapping off under the effects of the officers’ jungle boots.

2nd Officer: “You are going to rot at the guardroom for the rest of your life, you dare abuse your wife, let’s see how many soldiers you can take on when you reach the barracks” he said lifting him up effortlessly from the ground and dragging him along with them as Richard kept pleading weakly for mercy.

Richard: “Rebecca please help me beg them. I have learnt my lessons now, I will never exchange words with you again so please just forgive me for Sammy’s sake”

Rebecca: “I am doing this for his sake, so he won’t have to grow up with regrets. I have to teach you a lesson otherwise you might end up killing me someday in his presence” she said not minding her son who was pulling on her dress to get her attention.

Sammy: “Where are they taking daddy to? Why are they beating daddy? Mummy” he started weeping still tugging at her dress.
Rebecca: “Baby don’t worry, they are helping us set your dad straight” she said looking down at him impatiently.

Sammy: “But I don’t like that they are beating my daddy” he snapped

Rebecca: “See Sammy leave me alone and just be a good boy by coming with me, we are going home”

Sammy: “No! I am not going anywhere without my dad…I want my dad” he said running towards the officers who were busy bundling Richard into their truck. “Leave my dad alone, my dad did not do anything, we were just eating, please leave my dad alone!” he held on to the arms of the 1st soldier who ignored him and kept on with his task. They finished, got into the truck and zoomed off leaving a wave of dust behind.

Richard was released after a week of detention at Marda Army Barrack’s guardroom without letting anyone see him. He said no word as Rebecca drove him home that day.

Rebecca: “I was able to cover up for you at work by telling the managing director you were suddenly hospitalized. I also did most of your work so you must really be grateful right? Sammy won’t stop crying for you…I think I made a mistake and I am really sorry. I tried getting you out the next day but they wouldn’t even let me see you” she prattled on and on. “And why do you look so lean? Weren’t you getting fed there at all? Baby I am really sorry” she said apologetically trying to concentrate on her driving at the same time. “I prepared your favorite meal of pounded yam and vegetable soup, I hope you will like it? I have warm water ready for you in the bathroom, I even added some mint to it just to calm your muscles” as she maneuvered the Range Rover into the parking lot of their bungalow house. He climbed out of the car and walked in without saying a word to her still. She quickly turned off the ignition and ran after him. “Aren’t you the one I’ve been talking to?” she said blocking him from going any further with her petite body. The hurt she saw in his eyes spoke volumes, her heart melted even more than it already had and she stepped aside for him as Sammy ran into his warm embrace. She stood isolated watching father and son bonding.

Sammy: “Daddy I really missed you”

Richard: “I missed you too buddy. Sorry I was away for too long, sorry you had to witness all that. I feel so ashamed of myself” he said sadly and looked beyond him to where the door of the bedroom stood ajar.

Rebecca: “Come Sam, your dad needs to rest, come now!” she ordered. Richard dropped him slowly and headed for the bedroom. He went straight to the closet and started packing some of his cloths. “Sam can you go to your room for a while? Will call you when your dad has freshened up okay?”

Sammy: “Okay mum” he said and ran off excitedly.
She walked slowly to him and perched on the side of the huge bed they shared.
Rebecca: “Are you going somewhere honey? Why are you packing your clothes?” she asked gently.

Richard: “I am not going anywhere” his voice sounded so hoarse even he could not recognize it.
Rebecca: “But why are you packing?”

Richard: “I will be staying at the guest room from now on. You don’t need to cook for me anymore or whichever things it is you used to do for me before. I am not packing out for the sake of my son. So don’t make it more awkward by asking more questions or nagging about it in your usual manner then later you’d go release your dogs on me. So please, can we live peacefully from now on?”

Rebecca: “How can you say that honey? I made a mistake and I have apologized, please don’t do this” she pleaded standing on her feet to move closer to him but he backed away.

Richard: “Don’t touch me! From now on, we seize being couples. So respect my space while I respect yours. Do you get my point?”

Rebecca: “No I cannot agree to that. I want you back as my husband, I cannot survive without you so please forgive my mistake this once. Please?”

Richard: “You knew you could not live without me and you did that to me? You disgraced me before the whole world, you basically murdered me without even knowing it. How do you expect me to live with you after what you did to me? How can you be so callous?”

Rebecca: “Okay…its fine as long as you will still live under this roof but let’s make sure Sammy did not get wind of what is happening, he might become more broken than he already is”

Richard: “You are really funny madam, so you knew this and you called officers to come beat his dad up in his presence? There’s no need talking to you, the more we talk the more irritated I get. So excuse” he said and walked past her without casting another glance her way. She watched him walk away and resolved within her to do everything in her power to get him back. She wasn’t going to stay passive while he slipped away from her forever.

He noticed the tension between his parents, he knew something was not right somewhere when he saw his dad sleep in the guestroom. He sat in the classroom with a drooping shoulder as his class teacher Miss Ophelia taught them on the subject, English Language. The class was beautifully decorated with paintings of the pupils from their creative art class. The wall was painted in rose pink with individual desks for each of them while Miss Ophelia had her desk with different types of teaching materials and the student’s books right beside the window. She noticed one of her pupils was far from the class and walked up to him.

Miss Ophelia: “Samson…” she called but the boy did not answer until she gave him a knock on the head “What on earth are you thinking about?”

Sammy: “Nothing ma…I am listening to you ma” he replied springing to his feet.

Miss Ophelia: “You were listening Uhn? What was the last thing I said?”

Sammy: “Uhn…” he thought scratching his head “You said what ‘was the last thing I said?’” The class burst into laughter.

Miss Ophelia: “Quiet everybody!” she barked. “So you think you are smart right?” she bent down, looked at him menacingly, grabbed his right ear and started twisting it really hard.

Sammy: “Ouch auntyyyy! Please ma, please ma” he pleaded.
Miss Ophelia: “Will you still try acting smart next time?”
Sammy: “No ma! I am sorry ma” he said touching his ear to be sure it wasn’t torn.

Miss Ophelia: “come and see me during break time okay? Something is definitely happening with you and I must find out what it is. You were brighter than this before and it’s getting less amusing by the day” she said and strutted back to the front of the class while he murmured a reply and sat down.

Ophelia went home that day thinking of everything Sammy had told her about his parents. She felt something stir within her for the helpless boy and shivered at the thought of it. She knew she had to do something otherwise her pupil will be the one to live a lonesome life later.
Question : Do you think Richard was right not to forgive his wife?

What would you do if you were in Richard’s shoe?

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