This is my first work of fiction on this blog. Do tell me what you think. Here goes…..
Nonye was headed home from Warri, where she had gone to see her fiance. He was a laboratory scientist in a private hospital, that paid him good money because of his experience. She was proud of him, her Ikedi. He was tall, built, gentle, and courteous. Best of all, was his closeness to his mother. She believed that a man who loved his mother as much as he did, would treat his wife right. And she would be his wife.
They met 2 years ago, after being introduced by mutual friends. She liked his quiet mien. He was not forward, as most men are; neglecting to ask for her number, though they hit it off. Days later, he called and when she asked how he got her number, he shyly replied that her friend gave it to him.
Okwudili was her side kick. He was a trader in odumota, who she had dated casually for some months. He did not have Ikedi’s humility. Talking at the top of his voice, like she was deaf. Besides, she often wondered if she was his only girlfriend. When things got serious between she and Ikedi, she broke up with Okwudili. He wasn’t having any of that.
Appearing at her doorstep early one morning, he knelt to beg her. “Baby, I love you. How can I make it right? In what way did I offend you?”
“You didn’t offend me, it’s just that I met someone else”, she replied tersely. Boy, it sure felt good to be begged.
“I want to marry you. Just say yes, and I’ll start the process. Let me invite my parents”
Nonye was adamant. Okwudili left and came back the next day with the keys to a Honda Accord 2012 edition. She was blown away.
“Just say you’ll marry me and this car will be yours”he pleaded, dangling the keys before her.
She shook her head slowly. “You can’t buy my love, I’ve told you it’s over”
Nonye smiled to herself at the memory of his frequent calls and texts. Though she stuck to her guns, he persisted.
The bus conveying her to Enugu was small and uncomfortable, but she wasn’t worried. She had spent 3 wonderful days with Ikedi, and though he did not show her the town, or introduce her to his friends, she enjoyed the visit. She understood how busy he was. These scientists held the power of life and death in their hands. One wrong result, could lead to a misdiagnosis, and end a life. He even discouraged her from calling him during the day or visiting him at work but, it showed her how passionate he was about his job.
Once home, she embraced her mother and gave her the bananas she bought along the way.
“How was the journey? “her mother asked, munching happily. It was a joyous thing to be a mother-in-law. She smiled when she remembered her friends who mourned their over age unmarried daughters. “Serves them right”she thought. “Not bringing up their daughters well”
Nonye saw that her mother was lost in thought and shook her head. She waited for her to snap out of her reverie before replying. “It was smooth, mama”
“My son, nko?”
“Very well, mama. He gave me some money to give you”
“Really? That’s good?”she exclaimed. “How much is it? Let me take my share before your father comes in”
“I’m serious o! Was I not the one who encouraged you to leave that useless trader for Ikedi! He is more polished and gentle. That one is not even a graduate”
“But he bought a car for me! Ikedi doesn’t have as much money as he does”, Nonye protested feebly
“I know but, we know Ikedi’s family. He is a young man, he will make it in life. It’s not good to marry made men sometimes. They end up treating you like a rag” her mother sermonized.
“Sometimes Ikedi worries me o” Nonye murmured thoughtfully.
“In what way?”her mother asked, mouth full of banana.
“For instance, he didn’t have utensils in his kitchen. I offered to buy him some. He refused to give me the money; insisting that a pharmacist at work has better taste, and would get them for him”
“What did you say to that?” her mother enquired.
“Of course I wouldn’t take that” she shook her head stubbornly. “A house I am moving into? Who better than I to decide such things”
“That’s my girl! I would have doubted you were my daughter if you had acted otherwise”
“I just hope he is not having a relationship with anyotne else” she worried
“I don’t think so. It’s not likely. He is a responsible young man, from a good home. These professionals think differently from traders. Maybe the lady offered to help him and he didnt want to seem rude”
Nonye sat chin in hand, mulling her mother’s words in her mind.
“Did you notice anything else?”
“No, it’s just that I expected him to introduce me to his friends but, he didn’t even let me visit the hospital”
“I thought you said he doesn’t joke with his job, that his boss places more responsibility on him, than on others?”
“Yes, I did”
“Men are moody creatures my dear” her mother got up to exit the room.”Give me my money,biko,before I hear stories about it.
It was the morning of the first of 3 traditional rites, before Nonye could be considered betrothed to Ikedi. She was in her room putting finishing touches to her makeup. It was supposed to be a quiet affair, while the 3rd rite would attract more fanfare. She envisioned herself, Real estate executive, married to her Laboratory Scientist. They would grow their family together. In a few years, he would have his own car, his own private laboratory, a fat bank account; and their 3 children in the best schools. She was willing to wait for him to make it big. After all, th
e patient dog eats the fattest bone.
Standing before her mirror, she admired her slim frame, her dark complexion, her brown eyes that Ikedi loved, her hour glass figure. What did it matter that her 2 front teeth had a crooked shape? Ikedi loved her despite that flaw.
“Nonye, bia godi” she heard her mother call her angrily from their sitting room. She walked briskly through the passage, flung aside the curtain at the entry and searched the room for her mother. The sight that greeted her, made her response die on her lips. Okwudili had come with his mother, and 2 relatives or friends, she couldn’t tell which.
“What is going on here? “she enquired, facing him directly for answers.
“Akwaugo “he smiled eagerly.”I came for you”
“You came for who?” she screamed incredulously. “Are you aware that my husband is on his way here with his people? What kind of disgrace is this?” “
Nne, I’ve been sending people to beg you, you refused. I had to come from Lagos, leaving my boys to run my shop, just for your sake. Look at what you’re doing to me. Baby, you’re breaking my heart”
Nonye stormed out to get her father. A wise though soft spoken man, he would know what to do. She had spotted her mother in the corner, about to burst with anger, and knew she would only worsen matters with whatever she had to say
“Daddy! Daddy! “she called as she toured the 2 bedroom bungalow,looking for him
“O gini, Chinonyerem?” her father responded. He was supervising the arrangement of seats for guests
“Come and tell Okwudili to leave our house” she fumed, chest heaving from the effort.
“Tell him yourself” he replied. “I have nothing to say to him”
“Is that all you are going to say?”
“He is a grown man. I don’t think he left his house just to fool around. His intention is to sway you. Since you have made your choice, tell him he is invited to the ceremony, and walk away. See if he doesn’t leave”
To be continued