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Obiageri - Episode 20




Obiageri - Episode 20

By Amah's Heart


I got ready and also got my daughter ready that morning. I told Njideka that I was going to visit the elderly woman.

Nnamdi wanted to come along and I told him not to worry that I just need to take a lonely walk with Ifeoma.

I don’t need a company and we will be back before night falls.

I put my daughter on my back and Njideka helps me to secure her tightly behind me with the baby shaw that Nnamdi bought.

Njideka added drinkable water and banana for us and said we should make sure we return on time before dinner.

I thanked her and left. 

I walked the long tacky and dusty road, with different apian ways until I got to the elderly woman’s place.

I didn’t see her in her compound so I called out to her as I walked round the compound.

Ifeoma was trying to push herself out so I untied her from my back to allow her to get some freedom.

When I placed her down, she did not move she just clung to me,  that was unlike her.

Ifeoma is always active and moves around anywhere she finds herself, She will giggle loudly and happily with her tiny few teeth growing out.

As she clung to me, acting as if something was scaring her, I lifted her to my arm and held her.

I called out to the elderly woman again and heard her voice from the backyard, telling me that she was coming.

I waited as I tried to play with Ifeoma just for her to relax but she remained unsteady in my arms, she did not cry or giggle, Just looking around as if she was seeing beyond me.

 Maybe seeing things I wasn’t seeing.

I sat on a chair, close to the old woman’s kitchen as I waited for her, I gave ifeoma banana to eat she rejected it, when I try giving her water she also rejected and remained quiet in my arms.

I peep into her kitchen to know if the elderly woman cooked anything. I saw a covered pot and a spoon on top of the pot.

I wondered within me what she might have prepared, 

 I saw her coming.

Ifeoma went deeper into my arms as the elderly woman approached.

“Mama ndewo…kedu ka imere taa… (Greetings mama, how are you today)

I watch her smile before she replied me

“a dim mma nwam (I’m fine my child) time is drawing close for me to wave good bye to this world…"

“Mama, you will not d!e…you will live long and grow old in good health…you are not going to d!e…"

She smile and did not say anything. 

she looked at Ifeoma, but did not bother touching her or carrying her, as much I would have loved her to do so but she didn’t.

Ifeoma felt sleepy in my arm so i held her closely hoping that the elderly woman will take her from me and hold her a little, maybe play with her.

l but she never did 

“Your daughter is your replica, so much like you, fearless and she has a clear vision…her chi will guide her and they will lead her right…her journey may not be so tough like yours but she will grow up as a wise child and will never allow injustice, she will not let justice to be sweat under the grass. she will be a wise child and stand for everything that is true and fair…"

“iseee…iseee (Amen) I don’t want her to go through what I passed through. not many can survive it, I want her to grow with wisdom and stand out among her peers…"

"...mama do you want to hold her, will you like to carry her for some time before we leave?

“She will never allow me to hold her, children don’t like strange hands like mine holding them and I respect..."

“Ifeoma do not fear strangers…she is very friendly and you are not even a stranger to me…I have known you for a very long time mama…back in my village and still meet you up in this strange land that has become a home, where I birth my daughter…Ifeoma..."

"...She is so social to everyone, she does not turn away from people who wants to play with her or carry her…but, if you don’t feel like holding her is all fine mama. I just want you to know that you are far more than a stranger to me. You have been so helpful, when i needed somebody to talk to, you were always there to listen and always advising, guiding me through the tough and difficult times. I derive strength from all your words…thank you mama for everything..."

"... you lead me to Njideka who plays the role of a good mother perfectly well. I wonder what I would have done if you have not come through for me just when I needed help, I cannot pay you for your kindness. ka chim gozie gi, gi ndu na aru isi ike…(my God will bless you. He will give you long life and good healthy).."

"...whatever may come after now I know I’m ready to face it. my meeting with Ukadike will determine what the future holds for me, do you think he still loves me…because all he just did was just to stare at me,  when Nnamdi called me his wife I saw his fierce look turn cold before he left, I saw him again amidst the crowd staring at me. he never said a word to me…or try to draw me into his arm like I have expected. I wanted to do that…run into those his strong arms, press myself into him and show him how much I missed him but i couldn’t do that. he caught me unaware and it was right in the middle of a market place. I don’t know…Ukadike acts strange sometimes mama. he is unpredictable, this few days all I think of is if he still love me like he use to…"

The elder woman was quiet all through as she listened to me talk on and on, Ifeoma fell asleep in my arms. 

The elderly woman later said

“Do you still love him…because I’m not sure that man will ever stop loving you. he is a strong willed man and do not give up easily…even if you were hidden in a rat hole he would have taken years to search you out. all he wanted to know is that you are alive and alright. Ukadike will let you go if been with another man makes you happy. he will not press as much as he would have love to but the royalty him will not allow him to take you away from whatever makes you happy. if you go now and tell him that you're married to another man and you're so happy where you're…" he will not give up immediately but he will eventually do and return home to his people as there igwe…"

"...he will feel hurt and pained not to you but to Akabugo and also to his father. he will take over the throne and rule and end up with a another beautiful virgin maiden chosen for him…Ukadike will find it difficult to love another because you have being engraved boldly in his heart…he will make a great igwe if you are beside him. Ukadike or Ezenwa as his people calls him will make a great king, very popular more than his father…."

“But what of prince Aka… if the bride price is not returned, I will still remain his wife if I happen to go back. I do not want that mama…I will rather remain here than to be prince Aka’s wife or allow Ukadike trade me with the throne. Is sad but is far better…everyone will have their peace. I can’t go back and another fight or argument between the two brothers will start all over again…mba…chim ekwela…(my God will forbid it).."

“You will have to go because your father is worried sick. And what if I tell you that Akabugo will be getting married to another soon? Your father has returned his money and Akabugo is getting a wife soon. And did you also know that your step sister told her mother that you are pregnant because she noticed you added weight and throwing up which she conclude was pregnancy symptoms but you denied it. Her mother told your father and also other villagers that you are suspected to be pregnant. When Akabugo was asked he denied the pregnancy and said his elder brother betrayed him and took your virginity and you paraded yourself when you are not a virgin…"

I was shock and opened my eyes wide while listening to the elderly woman, my heart was beating so fast. 

She continued speaking while looking straight at nothing

“…the rumour, enough gossip circulated…as everyone has a different version of your story to tell. Ukadike and the igwe are at your defence and the rumour later díed down. now the villagers thought you are probably k!lled by wild animal or ran far away from village. Some of them thought you will never return. They are preparing their daughter for Ukadike..."

"...Hoping that anytime he returns to the village a virgin parade will take place and he will chose a wife who will be the queen of the entire land. The competition is hot already as young maiden are seriously awaiting Ukadike to return and pick a bride among them. Ukadike with the blessing of igwe went on a journey to search for you and he has not return home ever since he left the villages. He has been moving from kingdom to kingdom asking and searching for you. You changed your name and the villagers believed you to be Njideka’s son’s wife so it has been a difficult search for Ukaidke..."

"... your father is heartbroken and pray every day for God to keep you safe…he stays in his hut and cry silently after your disappearance…his health is worsening everyday as he wish to see you, even if a glimpse. he doesn’t want to believe the villagers that said you were torn apart by wilde animal and your cloth was found in the forest by a hunter…those are rumours your father refused to take to heart. he believes you have a strong spirit and you can survive anywhere you find yourself but as a man who loves his daughter dearly he still have fears…knowing well you are a female, his only child and you were believed to be pregnant before leaving the village…that alone is his worries…and I know your return is close, you will shut all the mouth of the gossip carriers and those who believe you to be dead or married away.."

"...those who think you will never return, Because of your disappearance Mma’s sense of humanity is brought to order…she feels bad and thinks she was responsible for talking too much. She refused to tell anyone of her sadness as she silently wish you will return. She refused to join other maiden to do a dance practice for Ukadike’s bride to be parade and also for Akabugo. Anytime she sees your father grieving for you it troubles her conscience… guess who Akabugo has in mind to marry…"

I breathed deeply. I couldn’t even think with all that I have heard, especially with my father’s trouble. 

She never told me until now and how did she even know all this

Akabugo can marry any of the virgin maiden, he has always wanted a virgin and it pained him to know Ukadike took mine.

But whoever he settles with is not my problem, all i care about is how to return and see my father again.

He will be so glad to know he has a granddaughter already.

 I’m more glad that prince Aka has no right over me as his wife.

I feel so free with the news, I’m free to marry another man and he is free to marry another maiden.

I owe him nothing and that is what I have always wanted.

I turned to the woman and said

“I don’t know who the lucky maiden may be…but I wish him all the best in choosing his virgin bride…"

“Don’t worry my child…you will soon find out who the person is. go and see Ukadike my daughter. Like I have always told you don’t worry about a thing…it will all be alright…"

She told me where Ukadike pitched his tent so I left immediately to his place.

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

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