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Obiageri - Episode 6




Obiageri - Episode 6

By Amah's Heart


That early morning there was a town crier giving out announcement to the whole village, as he rode in his bicycle from kindred to kindred.

I listened from my hut, as I lay face up that morning thinking of how my day will begin.

I heard the crier announced that the upcoming new yam festival will last for fourteen days, and the igwe has asked all the villagers to participate fully in it by coming out during this days to join other villagers in celebration.

And no one should be found in the farm towards the evening during this new yam festival, villagers are allowed to go to their various farmlands in the morning and return before evening so that they will participate in the dance, masquerade display and so many other things.

And during the new yam festival one of the igwe’s son, his second son precisely will be picking a bride for himself, so all mother should prepare their grown up virgin daughters for this great occasion.

And any girl that will be chosen to be the prince bride must be a virgin, who has never lay with any man.

There will be eating and drinking for everyone during the festive period, every maiden of the land must participate in the dance and also in the maidens parade where the prince will get to pick a wife.

The town crier kept shouting out his announcement and all I did was to listen.

He has said the festive will be starting in two weeks time, when the moon will be full.

I was not a good dancer but Mma was, and she has always participated in almost every dancing festival, Mma is a beautiful maiden and dances well too, unlike me. 

I don’t even know how to throw steps or shake my body freely, I could have ask Mma to teach me but right now, I don’t want to talk to her.

A message was brought to my father from the elders as they said I’m among the wise and hardworking proud virgin of the land, that I should make sure I join the parade.

It was a big honor for my father and also to me for them to have found me a worthy maiden.

 my father was so proud of me and thanked me for not messing myself up with men of the land and for making him a proud father.

I was happy too, I still thinks of Ukadike as I wonder what he could be doing at every second that passes

Why am I even k!lling myself over Ukadike, what if Ukadike wants Mma and not me, maybe it was better I just forget Ukadike and focused on the present thing at hand. 

It will be hard but I will try, he appears strange and despite he was so handsome and strong he was a total stranger, and never speaks much.

I went about my daily task, I saw Mma towards the evening she was practicing some dance moves, i decided to watch her if I can learn anything but I was finding it difficult before I decided to go to her.

I swallowed my pride and asked her to teach me how to really dance, I don’t want to be left out in all the festive activities.

She agreed to teach me with a condition, which was to give her any animal caught in my next trap, I agreed, as I silently pray that a small animal like a squirrel will be my next catch so that I will give it to Mma.

She thought me few steps and I used through out that evening to learn, but I was still finding it difficult to move my stiff body as she was doing so freely.

Almost everyone, all the young maidens were getting ready for the big dance and parade.

I went to check my trap and also to fulfill my promise to Mma. 

As I got to my trap I met a big rabbit caught in the trap.

I felt so pained because I have already agreed with Mma that whatever animal caught in my trap will be hers, which was her payment for teaching me how to move my body and throw steps.

I brought back the meat and as I was entering I saw her and she asked me what I caught, I handed it over to her, she laughed out happily as she saw the big rabbit, she collected it and left.

That same evening, I watch as Mma’s mother prepared the meat and later carried the whole pot of rabbit to their hut. 

She did not even bother to give my father some of the meat or even me.

 I just waved it off, swallowed my saliva before going to wash off and go to bed.

I started following Mma when ever she was going for a dance practice with other girls.

Whenever I enters, I will see some of the girls whispering and laughing at me.

I will just ignore them and stay a little far distance and watch as they practice.

One of those days Mma left without informing me, I later went alone, as I got there, they started laughing again, and talking in a whisper, Mma joined them to laugh which was well expected, I ignored them, since I really wanted to learn how to dance.

Then one of them started singing with my name, making jest of me, others joined her and they started singing and dancing with my name.

The more I ignore the more they make mockery of me, I rush and grabbed one the girls, and gave her a fine slap that came with stars.

She fell to the ground, i wanted to do more than a slap but I just angrily walked out.

Other girls including Mma joined the rest to iñsült me as I leave.

I walked away and promised myself that I will never show face there again.

After all is not a must to know how to dance.

On my way home I stopped at the elderly woman’s place, I was happy to see her at home.

She asked me why wasn’t happy and I told her how other girls always make mockery of me.

 She asked me to breathe in and out many times until I feel calm enough and I did.

I sat with her as she asked me if I later got the stranger name, I told her that i did and that his name is Ukadike.

She smile, I started asking her about Ukadike, if she knows anything about him.

She said all she knows is that Ukadike is a great man, far greater than any of us can even imagine.

He was a strong warrior and many things in one, he doesn’t like associating with people because he is on a journey and he doesn’t want anybody to get attached to him. 

He is more than what he appeared to be, she asked me to be careful so that I won’t be hurt or shocked later.

I asked her if he was a spirit and she smile again but did not respond to my question.

I stayed with her through out that evening before going home.

I did not understand everything she said but all I was trying to do was to even forget Ukadike, since he has already picked interest in Mma although I noticed Mma has not being going to his place ever since that first day.

I was a farmer, a trap setter and act like a man, there was just a little feminine about me in attitude and voice.

 i do most of the things that men do while Mma looks beautiful, she doesn’t do much, she is a good dancer no doubt about that, and I won’t be surprise if the igwe’s son picks her or any of those rúde girls.

I can’t even compete with them in anything, the only thing is that I’m a virgin which to me is something to hold onto but it wasn't enough for me, Mma is also one and many of the fine maidens of the land.

But at least I can join others to proudly stand out when the virgins are called to come out.

The following day, I went to the farm to check my traps and to gather wood, all this while I have not even gone any where close to Ukadike’s hut.

 I try to avoid him and to shot him out of my mind and I have being finding it hard but I’m really trying to do that.

Is better I start now than to get more hurt.

 If he wants Mma, then is okay, I wonder why I even care when I don’t even suppose to care.

I did not even feel like going home on time that day, I just wanted to stay there quietly and think over my life, I don’t want to feel bad in the means of my own people, my father is the only person who cares about me, every other person makes jest of me and laughs at me, especially those other girls because I’m not like them.

I just sat in the bush as the evening came to settle, I did not even gather the wood I cut down, I was just there waiting for night to approach so that I will start going.

I kept my cutlass as I play around with the weed, I try to be my own friend.

My head was bent and I did not even notice when he arrived, Ukadike always appear as a ghost, he will just come unexpectedly, scaring me.

I looked up and he was standing there looking at me, with a plain face, I stood up and greeted him and without another word I started gathering the wood I cut down.

He moved closer to me, I moved far away from him, I just don’t want him to be tormenting my emotion, maybe is high time I just tell him to stop appearing to me.

As I move far from him he pause before saying

“Oby, obu gini na ewe ghi iwe (Oby, what is upsetting you)

I was surprised that he called my name, i have not heard him mention my name before, I felt good but I won’t let him see the full effect he had on me.

“oweghi…a dim mma (nothing, I’m fine) i replied 

He came to stand in front me and as I try to move pass him he held my hand and asked again

“What is it, why are you angry…I have not seen you for sometime now, what happened to you…?

“Ukadike, biko, hapum aka(Ukadike, please leave me alone) I said I was fine, you are just a stranger and I don’t even know you except that you defeated Nduka and lives in an excluded place, you also helps me sometimes, that is the only record I have of you…"

“And the record you have of me is quiet enough, there is nothing else to know….why are you angry with me, look at me and tell me why you are not happy…"

I breathed deeply, I wanted to ask him about Mma but I just wave it off.

I bent and started gathering my wood, he stood and watch me do it without another word.

After I was done, I try to lift it to my head he came to assist me, before saying that I should come to his place the next day.

I told him I have things to do, he didn’t argue he just nodded and helped me lift the firewood before leaving.

The following day, I was counting time when it will be dawn so that I can do what I suppose to do before going to see him.

I went to ask Mma why she has not being going to Ukadike’s place, since that first day.

 she told me that she was no more interested in Ukadike that since one of igwe’s sons will be picking a bride she was concentrating in getting herself ready for him and also Ukadike warned her that first day not to come to his place again, she told me that Ukadike said it with a strange air around him and really scared her, so she has decided to dump him aside, he was just abnormal, probably a spirit as many said he was and a total stranger too unlike the prince of the land who will soon be choosing her to be his bride.

Mama said that like aiming higher and do not want to settle for less.

She told me that I don’t even have a chance of competing because I’m not qualify in anyway, the only thing that may make me stand with other beautiful maiden during the new yam festival and parade of the maidens was because I’m a girl and probably a virgin too.

She kept talking while displaying her fine dance to me I totally ignore, is not like I can’t b£at the living day light out of her for talking trash about me but because I just don’t want to f!ght. It will upset my father.

I went to see Ukadike that afternoon and he was around as I got to his place.

He looked at me as I walked in, he curved his mouth into a smile, and I wish the mouth curve will turn to be a real smile and it later did. 

While I was wishing he will really smile to me for the first time he did.

He actually smile and i was shock, and his eyes shone so bright and I returned the smile.

He offered me a seat and sat beside me, he brought a roasted yam and some bush meat with palm oil mixed with grinded pepper and I ate with him in silent.

When we were done eating he asked me if it was because of my sister that came visiting him got me pissed, he took my hands into his and I was so calm and felt so free and happy with him.

I did most of the talking and even told him about the new yam festival and also about the igwe’s son taking a wife.

He did not say much, he just kept nodding.

 he asked me if i will like to marry a prince and I told him that if I ever have a choice to chose who I want to marry then I will chose a strong man, who cares about humanity, the man can be whatever, a prince or normal person all that matters to me is that he should care deeply about people and he should also be strong so that he can cultivate enough land for farming.

 In that way we will have a lot of food to eat and to share to others.

It was time to go and I promised to come again next day and he nodded quietly,

The next day I was there and I even followed him to the stream, and also the bush.

He enjoyed my company and I felt so happy to be around him.

The festival was about to start and the dancer were already getting ready to start their performance but I did not care about anything except Ukadike.

I was already carried away with Ukadike, nothing else matters to me, as sneaking in out of his place became a routine for those few days until I ended up in his bed.

He laid with me that day and I lost the virginity I was trying to preserve for the maiden's parade.

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

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