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Contract Marriage - Episode 18




Contract Marriage - Episode 18

By Amah's Heart  

“ Tell me about your family.” Ife repeated the question a second time as they sat, eating a snack of toast bread and brewing hot coffee at the kitchen dinning.

Omar sighed . 

This was a topic she had avoided for Fifteen years of her life. It represented  the darkest times of her entire life that birthed the story of who she’s turned out to be.

“ I’d rather not talk about it right now.” She said quietly with sadness written in her eyes.

Ife sighed softly.

“ We all have our fair share of life experiences that has laid the foundation of every fiber of our being ….. but you see, there’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” He said calmly.

Omar fell silent for what seemed like eternity. She stood up slowly and open the backdoor of the kitchen which led to a balcony. It was 6am in the morning, and there was still darkness. The half shaped moon litted the sky, giving expression to the coldness of the morning. The heavy downpour of rain had also finally reduced to light drizzles.

Omar felt a hand on her shoulder and knew instantly that it was Ife. He had followed her from the moment she transitioned from the kitchen to the balcony.

“ Omar.” He called softly. 

She turned and faced him.

He was silent for a moment before he spoke.

“ There is something eaten deeply inside of you…… and this is the reason for your nightmares…. You need to let it out, so you can heal up….. because bottling it in will only make you hardened and depressed….. What is your story Omar?” He asked.



 15 years ago!

They sat on the block of stones outside their verandah. It was dark already, save for the moonlight that lit the background. Their mother had gone to fetch firewood for their dinner.

Although, it was the sole responsibility of Omar to fetch the firewoods, but she had spent the whole day hawking and was already exhausted.

She sat with her younger siblings in form of a circle. An habit that had turned into a daily ritual for them. They were four in number with Omar being the first, then Grace, followed by Peter; the only male child among them, and Mary; the last born.

“ Sister Omar….. tell us our favorite story.” Mary; the last child, pleaded.

Omar yawned.

“ Not now Mary…. Maybe tomorrow… I am tired.” Omar replied tiredly.

“ But you promised to tell us today.” Peter reminded her.

“ Did I?” Omar asked, feigning surprise.

“ Yes you did…. You always postpone our stories this days.” Peter complained.

“ But I’m tired!!.... I had to hawk all day!!.... If you cannot wait till tomorrow, then forget it!!” She replied harshly and sighed.

“ Ok fine!” She began softly as she stiffled a yawn.

“ Why don’t we do it this way tonight?….. Each of you will tell me how your day in school went….. then tomorrow, I promise to tell you all stories.” She said softly.

They all smiled and agreed.

“ Ok, I’ll start first.” Grace said cheerfully.

“ No…. Mine is more interesting…. Let me start first.” Peter said.

“ No you can’t start first!!..... Have you forgotten that I’m your senior?” Grace challenged Peter.

“ You might be my senior, but after dad, I am the man of the house….. you will get married off someday, but I will still remain!!” Peter fired back angrily.

“ Stop it you two!!.... This shouldn’t be a cause for argument, let us start with Grace!!” Omar instructed.

Grace chuckled loudly, and wagged her tongue at Peter. While Peter folded his hands stylishly and frowned.

Grace was about to tell her story when they heard the familiar sound of the motorcycle.

They all froze!!

“ Daddy is coming!!.... run…. Run…. Run!!” Grace announced and in the speed of a lightening, they all ran inside the only little room they all shared and switched of the candle light, closing the door behind them as they heard the footsteps of Mr Edeh approach with his walking stick paving the way. 

And then, everywhere went still.

Until the coarse voice called out.

“ Omare!!” The voice thundered but was greeted with no response.

“ Omare!!..... Get right here now!!” The voice thundered.

Omar crawled in the darkness, until she located the handle of the door and opened it. She left hurriedly into the presence of her father.

“ Good evening sir.” She greeted quietly, with her head bowed.

“ Are you telling me you didn’t hear me calling you Omar?” Mr Edeh's coarse voice filled the room.

“ No sir…. I was sleeping.” Omar lied.

Mr Edeh cleared his throat loudly and belched.

“ I believe your mom has discussed with you as she said she would….. you must get your things ready!!..... Your bride price will be paid this week and the wedding preparations will begin immediately….” He said with authority.

Omar stood silently rooted to the spot. She knew better than to argue with her father, except she wanted another round of aggressive beating.

He observed her silence, and continued.

“ You are seventeen years now and you are no longer a child…… now that you are done with your secondary education, it’s time for you to get married so that you will assist in raising your younger ones….. besides Chief Ogbu is a wealthy man, and he will take good care of you.” Mr Edeh added.

Omar was still silent.

The door opened and Mrs Edeh entered and greeted her husband. She had just returned from fetching the fire wood, so she began preparations for the family dinner immediately.

“ You can leave now!!” Mr Edeh instructed and Omar left his presence, recoiling back to the small room she shared with her siblings with tears streaming down her eyes.

“ Omar….. mummy is calling you!” Grace called out to her amidst the darkness of the room.

Omar got up immediately and left to the kitchen, fuming in anger.

“ I thought I told you I don’t want to marry that man!! ….. why is daddy still forcing him on me?” She asked her mother amidst anger.

Mrs Edeh gazed at her daughter and sighed.

“ Omar my child… this is not my wish for you, but you must make sacrifices for your family.” She answered softly and sighed again.

“ You see.” She continued. 

“ Ever since your father lost his job five years ago, we have been living from hand to mouth….. Chief Ogbu is a wealthy man who has a good record of taking care of his wives, …… so he will take care of you and this family…. He is coming this weekend for the wedding rites already….. please my child, this family is counting on you…… do not disappoint us..” Mrs Edeh begged Omar.

“ Mom!!..... How can you all be so selfish!!.... Why should I be the one to make the sacrifice of being the fourth wife of a chief that is old enough to be my father!!..... All because of your selfish gains!!.... Go and tell your husband that I won’t marry chief Ogbu!!” Omar retorted amidst sobs and walked out of her mother’s presence.

The weekend came and Chief Ogbu came with some elders to carry out the wedding rites.

But Omar refused to come out when she was called upon. It took Mr Edeh excusing himself from his in-laws and going to Omar’s room to threaten her, before Omar reluctantly came out.

She wore a frown and ignored the songs the women sang in her praises, as she sluggishly walked up to the elders.

Their smiles and laughter irritated her more as she approached, until she was taken over by rage.

“ I don’t want to marry you!!!” she yelled at chief Ogbu angrily, and ran out of the compound in tears, ignoring the call of her parents.

Omar didn’t come home until it was midnight. 

She quietly called out to Grace through the window of their small room, and Grace opened the front door for her. 

That was the beginning of her woes.

As soon as she entered her father’s house, she saw every member of her family seated in the living room.

They had been waiting for her to come home. Omar saw this and was about to walk out, when her father pulled her by her clothes and gave her the beaten of her life.

Mr Edeh was no doubt enraged by Omar’s misbehavior before his in-laws and he never failed to take it out on her. After beating her to his satisfaction, he locked her in the store room and kept the key in his pocket for 3 days, then he threatened everyone not to open the door.


 Back to reality.

“ I never forgave my father for torturing me that night and locking me up without food and water for three days.” Omar said with tears in her eyes.

Ife exhaled deeply.

“ I’m sorry for all that you went through Omar….. but how did you get out of the store room?” Ife asked her.

“ On the third day, it was Grace who broke me out of the store room. That was the beginning of life outside my father’s house.”

Ife narrowed his gaze and gave her arm a light squeeze.

“I journeyed down to Lagos through the help of one of my neighborhood friends named Ruth….. she took me to her Aunty’s place to live with them…..that was when I met Paul; Ruth’s Aunty’s eldest son…..” Omar said and sighed, but she was not done.

“ Paul told me he loved me and I believed him…..  I got pregnant….. his mother found out and threw me out of the house…..the streets became my home and survival was tough for me….. when my due time came, I gave birth but lost the baby…… it was during my struggle I came across the agency that shaped the path of my profession….. it was through this agency that I met my friends; Ashley and Judith.”

“ Once again Omar, I’m really sorry about what you went through….. I believe everything you went through happened for a reason, and one of it is to strengthen and make you an inspiration to as many who are also passing through similar situation.” Ife said. 

She nodded her head calmly and he gave an encouraging smile.

“ Come on, let go finish our breakfast.” Ife said and led her back to the dinning table.

(D not take credit or Plagiarize AMAH'S HEART stories)

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