Ijeoma 

 

The yams have started coming in, Mama is smiling. Obim is laughing as his huge arms bearing bottles of hot drink drip warm sweat. I’m looking at the dark skin on his back, my eyes shredding his under garment.
‘He’s darker down there’, I think. Onye-oji, black man.
“I’ll take you to the farms where our fathers bred their wives” he says as he draws me to a corner.
“And there, we’ll breed, under the watchful eye of the red sky; the sun”. His smile broadens to show his teeth, not white, just the color of coconut flesh after two market days.
“I can’t wait”.
Papa is counting the bottles of ‘hot’ his ogor is bringing.
I’ve gone to hide again, adjusting my trinkets and jigida. Nkem is adorning herself, even better than I’ve done. Her jigida is heavier than mine, a proof that she’d raided Mama’s box.
I hear my name and my stomach rumbles, like nchi was playing hide and seek inside it.
“Go and get the food” Mama says and smiles showing her gap tooth that only Nkem had inherited. The wench!

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The hot steaming tray is balanced on my tender fingers as I slowly dance to the admiration of my lover.
They have started eating. 

“Leaves! This is not food but leaves!” Obim cries. His delegates spit out the greens, they’re vexed.
“Do you want to poison us?! Eh, Oriakwu Achie!” Diokpa Ndu screams at my mother. My father has suddenly disappeared. 

I want to cry, I want to tell them I’m sorry. That that was the only thing I could prepare. 

But I look at them and laugh so hard, so hard that I almost choke on my spittle.
“But you’re all trees na! Eat before it gets cold. Di’im, it’s getting cold o.” 

Passers-by are laughing at me, but I don’t care. These guests that sprung from the ground asking my hand in marriage must be entertained. If they were going to be rude, I’d uproot the silly beings. Di’im must take me to the Okponta farms to breed me. 

“Her madness has begun again” I hear one say.
“Whose madness?!” I screech.
These snoopy villagers will leave me to rest, after today.
I pick a club and aim at her oblong head.
“Chim oh! O gbue ‘m oh!” I hear her scream and run. I’m set for this one today. My voice shall be the last she hears.
My throat begins to itch. The laugh. I let it out forcefully as I pick another large stick and raise my worn-out wrapper in readiness for battle. 

End.

 

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