THE BLACK WIDOW (Scene IV-V)

Posted: February 18, 2014 in DRAMA
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by Tim Nwaobilo

CAST

Adanma- Widow
Silas- Widow’s husband
Ikenna- Widow’s brother-in-law
Chinyere- Silas’ cousin (village women leader)
Kelechi- Widow’s mother
Roberts- Doctor

CONTINUATION…

Scene IV

(Knocking on door)

ADANMA: Who is there? I’m coming. (Door creaks open.) Oh, Chinyere. Come in.

CHINYERE: You don’t need to tell me what to do. I know what to do when the door is open.

ADANMA: What can I do for you? What brings you here this morning? I hope there is no problem.

CHINYERE: (shouting) What kind of a stupid question is that, eh?

ADANMA: Chinyere, look here, I don’t know what I have done to you in this life. If not for my marriage to my late husband, I would never have met you. So why have you kept torturing me? Even while my husband was alive, you never gave me peace. You were always instigating my husband against me. My children were like dogs to you and you always hated them. Since my husband died, you have capitalised on that to be cruel and wicked to me. You are flesh and blood. More so, you are a woman like me. I thought you were my husband’s cousin, but you treat me worse than a stranger will. If I should ever suffer for my husband’s death, should you be the one to make me go through all these?

CHINYERE: You should not blame me, you should blame tradition. Moreover, did you not kill your husband? Husband killer!

ADANMA: (shocked) What?!

CHINYERE: You not only eventually killed your husband, but you ate up your two previous children.

ADANMA: (angrily) How dare you say that? My first two children died after an illness. My husband died after an accident. How can you accuse me of killing my own blood and my husband?

CHINYERE: (mockingly) Tell us which juju-man helped you kill him, because it is not possible for Silas to die just like that. You must have gone to use juju on him. Witch!

ADANMA: I am not a witch and I loved my husband from the day I met him, till he died, and even now. I had no hand in his death. Am I the truck driver who hit him? Why would I go to a medicine man to kill my husband? Why would I kill a man I loved, and who was the father of my children?

CHINYERE: You should be asking yourself that question.

ADANMA: I am innocent of my husband’s death. And I beg you, in the name of God, please stop doing this to me. I woke up this morning with pains all over my body. You gave me a mat to sleep on. Can you sleep on a mat on the ground overnight?

CHINYERE: (making jest) I did not kill my husband.

ADANMA: Neither did I. Please give me my mattress so my children and I can use it. We also need our chairs back.

CHINYERE: Until your husband’s mourning days are over, or until you prove that you did not have a hand in your husband’s death, you will continue to sit and sleep on the mat. You should even be grateful for the mat. Other women sleep on the bare ground. Look, don’t lock this door at night. If you lock it, in the morning you will be disgraced in the village square for resisting tradition and custom. Make sure you don’t lock it.

ADANMA: (puzzled and terrified) Why?

CHINYERE: I’ve told you what I have to say. If you lock it, then you will have yourself to blame. Witch! Husband killer!

ADANMA: (crying) God, why must I go through all these sufferings? Is it now a crime to love one’s husband? Why must I suffer over my husband’s death? What kind of tradition punishes women when their husband dies?

…………………………………………………………………………………..

(Insects chirrup; it is night.)

CHINYERE: She’s lucky she left the door unlocked. Women follow me. Adanma, wake up.

ADANMA: (drowsily) What is it…and who are these women with you?

CHINYERE: Get up!

ADANMA: Who are…oh…oh, you brought your women to come and continue your tradition on me. And what is inside that bowl?

CHINYERE: This is black dye. You are going to rub it all over your body.

ADANMA: I don’t need to rub any thing on my body for any reason. I don’t need that thing.

CHINYERE: If you are not going to rub it on yourself, we are going to do it for you. If you don’t cooperate, we will force you.

ADANMA: Ok, wait. But why do I need to rub that dye on my body?
CHINYERE: Because you are mourning your husband and we believe you killed him.

ADANMA: I have told you before, I am innocent.

CHINYERE: Quick, women, remove her dress and rub the dye on her. See, Adanma, you better confess about killing your husband and why you killed him so we will be a little lenient with you.

ADANMA: (weeping) I didn’t kill my husband. Why should I desire to be a widow?

CHINYERE: (hissing) Then you will have it the hard way. Women, start rubbing it on her.

Scene V

KELECHI: Pull that stool closer and sit down. How are the children?

ADANMA: They are fine. They were sleeping when I left. I left them in the care of my neighbour. She thinks I went to the market. I just had to do it to come and see you, so I can’t stay long here.

KELECHI: So how do you feel now that your late husband has been buried?

ADANMA: I feel…I don’t know. Relieved? May-be. But I’m glad he has been laid to rest. Now I can move on with my life. I never knew I would be able to witness the burial ceremony. In fact, two days to the funeral, I dreamt that I fainted at his funeral. My spirit was so down that I felt I would be the next to be laid to rest.

KELECHI: (snaps fingers in mild revulsion) God forbid!

ADANMA: Mama, I’m telling you, I was on the verge of losing it.

KELECHI: Thank God you didn’t lose it, even after all those evil women did to you. Imagine them accusing you of being behind Silas’ death. Unbelievable.

ADANMA: (slaps palms together) Not only did they say that, but Chinyere accused me, to my face, of killing my first 2 children. She said I ate them up.

KELECHI: How could she say such a thing when everyone knows they died after that strange illness.

ADANMA: That was the question I asked her, but she could only insult me more. As if that is not enough, they have made me sit and lie on the ground all the time. See my body, I have not been able to wash off all the dye that was rubbed on me. They also forced me to drink the water used in washing my husband’s body.

KELECHI: (angrily) But why?

ADANMA: They said that if I loved him very much till his death, then I shouldn’t be scared about drinking the water obtained after washing his body.

KELECHI: A sign of love?

ADANMA: Yes, mama. A sign of love!

KELECHI: That is nearly barbaric.

ADANMA: It is outright barbaric. And I told Chinyere that.

KELECHI: So what did she say?

ADANMA: She said I was just a widow with no respect for tradition.

KELECHI: (stomps foot angrily) Tradition my foot!

ADANMA: That’s exactly what I told her too. (Short pause.) Mama, I don’t know what to do after now. I may have to look for a better-paying job than the one I am presently doing.

KELECHI: Are you sure?

ADANMA: But what else can I do? Silas’s salary with my own was barely enough to cater for all our needs. And now it is only me left to be the bread-winner. I have to look for something else to do.

KELECHI: So what do you intend going into now?

ADANMA: I don’t know. I’m just confused. I don’t know the next step to take. I don’t want to make any mistake. My children are very important to me so I have to be both their mother and father.

KELECHI: (heaves a sigh of pity) You are a strong woman, my daughter. Being a widow doesn’t mean your life should come to an end. It only means a new phase of your life has begun. New responsibilities, new challenges.

ADANMA: Yes, mama.

KELECHI: Let me get you something to eat.

ADANMA: No, mama, I should be on my way.

KELECHI: (insisting) You should eat something. You know you need all the strength at this stage.

ADANMA: I know, but I have to be going. My children are still with my neighbour. Soon she’ll be wondering what has kept me so long in the market.

KELECHI: Adanma?

ADANMA: (heaves a sigh of surrender) Ok, mama. Just give me some water.

KELECHI: (jesting) Ah! my daughter. You will never change. I’ll keep your food till your next visit.

ADANMA: (laughing) It will be spoilt by then.

KELECHI: Just bring my grand-children next time.

ADANMA: (humourously) I have heard, mama. But you haven’t brought the water yet.

KELECHI: Ah! my child, I have forgotten.

ADANMA: Ah! mama, you will never change. (Both women laugh.)

TO BE CONTINUED

Tim Nwaobilo is a young mechanical engineer with a flair for literary works. He writes poems, short stories, plays, critiques and articles quite frequently. He has had his short stories and several poems aired on some local radio stations and is a columnist for some blogsites. He spends half the year in Port Harcourt and the other half in Ile-Ife.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

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Comments
  1. Someone nearly dropped tears at a point. But, hopely a new phase of life, a fresh air, a transformation surge was about taken over…optimism.

    Tims, the optimistic light you shaded towards the last gave taste and reassurance to your play.
    Though, fictitious, but character, guile and panache encapsulated here are awesome.

  2. Anene Francis says:

    Getting more and more interesting as the story unfolds. Great job mr Tim.
    Sit reserved. Before the next scene comes, let me go get popcorn (and handkerchief in case) lol.
    (Anyway, I was wondering how far apart Adanma live from her mother, Kelechi for her not to be aware of the said evil tradition and mourning rites. Not important sha)… following

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