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Saturday, 17 September 2016

NKEM - Tale of A Lady's Man (Part 3)

By On 17:01:00
 She could not have said anything more before visiting the kitchen. “the world of a man is in his stomach and the other places,” they say.

“Yea what were you saying,” I asked as if I was ready to have another narrative essay of Amaka and the suspected result of her escapades.

“Nkem, even though I am disappointed that you could think about me this way, I wouldn’t blame you for being afraid to lose that which belongs to you. All I seek, I find in you,” was all I could utter as I reciprocated with an open palm running down her face to the chest and a warm embrace that lasted as long as was enough for the soup she kept on fire to get burnt to carbon black.

“My God!” she screamed as she let go and headed to the kitchen. She then returned with a gloomy face – one which I was truly sorry for. “The soup is gone,” she said as though reporting the death of a loved one, with her hands wrapped round herself tightly, her mammaries beautifully suspended.

I was worried because she had nothing to eat for the night. I had just finished the fried rice which was left in the afternoon. She was to make do with the soup and some semo while we took tea and bread the next morning. It was late to go out to the streets in search of fast food but I had to make some move so my lady can have something for the night.

I made for the wardrobe, got my wallet and headed towards the door but she held me back and said softly, “no need, I was only worried about how bad you’ll feel about the burnt food.

I was already belly-filled knowing that she had accepted the fact that what she suspected about Amaka’s condition was false. I was in fact fed up with having to hear that name – Amaka.

I was not convinced that she will be fine throughout the night. I struggled to let go and moved towards the door. She reached for the door – before I could – and held the handle, removing the key from the door so that I had no option than to stay back. Resting her back on the door with both hands spread open in a way that sent an invitation for a passionate hug, lips pushed away from her face in a perfectly rounded shape, making two pinked-coloured halves – one above and  the other below –  she whispered, “let me eat you up and I will be okay for the night.”

I stood still, eyes wide open, feet lifting, thoughts waning and strength failing, while the movie reel-rolled.
The rest is story.



Monday, 12 September 2016

NKEM - Tale of A Lady's Man (Part 2)

By On 23:27:00
Having failed me, my thoughts became ashamed to even rise again and make meaning from what it had already taken in.
I could barely think of anything plausible as Nkem repeated, “Nna we need to talk,” her eyes on me like the scorching headlamps of those heavy duty trucks that plied the highways at night. I could swear that I was safe but whether my thoughts agreed too was uncertain as I went tachycardic.

When a woman summons you for a talk, silence with very open ears were the key as every word uttered before she concluded could be used against you in her own courtroom. So, I kept mute as I tried to stare back at her – I had to stare back just to nurture confidence.

“I was at Amaka’s house today,” she started. “She is not well. She complained of abdominal pain all the while we were together. When I asked her to describe the kind of pain she experienced, she said it appeared something was moving in her tummy and she kept feeling as if she would throw up the next minute especially at early hours. She also complained of loss of appetite each time she caught sight of cooked food.” I was still mute but listening attentively in its literal sense just to stay out of trouble. “She also complained of slight headache and change in the colour of her urine.” At this point, she stopped and I knew she was waiting for me to say something.

I could swear that I hardly recorded all she said, but being honest with her would do me no good. I had to delay my response with a light contagious smile which I succeeded in transmitting to her. I could only remember I heard abdominal pain, emesis and anorexia. I guessed that was about the time I was still wholly in the room with her.

“Yes yes yes,” I responded with a relief in my heart that I could at least remember a part of what she said. “Advise her to report to the clinic the next day. There are a number of laboratory investigations she would have to undergo to ascertain what is wrong.”

“What are those tests?” she asked with a stern look. “Nkem, you know that these terminologies are strange to you. You may not understand them. Besides, you are not even a health professional,” I jokingly teased her.

The Nkem that I know would not give me a stern look even when there was no money in the house. But this time, I kept thinking my head out with inaccessible results.

“Nne what is it?” I queried. “This is unlike you and this is certainly not one of your choreography or drama sets. You always told me about your worries even before I noticed; eh nne, o gini – what is it?”

Nna, is there something you are hiding from me?” she asked. “Something like what?” I retorted this time with a stone face. “Can I still trust you?” she asked further. “Nne why all the questions?” I was beginning to lose my mind.

“There was one other thing she told me. She said her LMP – Last Menstrual Period - was thirty-seven days ago as against her regular maximum of thirty-five days. So what could be the cause?” At this point, I realized I was in a make-shift postgraduate lecture theatre – where I had to compulsorily give a lecture - all the while we discussed. I went into elaborate explanation of what could have caused the slight delay of Amaka’s MP, with my mind roaming and trying to affix its tentacles on the possible relationship between Amaka’s condition and the weird look I got from Nkem.

Returning to my senses, I began to make hazy conclusions out of all she had said and the questions she asked.

Amaka was in our house a few weeks earlier. Nkem had gone out to get some items from the shopping mall down the street, returning to meet Amaka waiting had waited for a while. I nodded with my neck stiff as I thought rhetorically “Could it be what I’m thinking?”

Nkem held my hand, moving the other hand lightly from my forehead down to my cheek, then to my neck region, with her stationary eyeballs fixed on mine – that experience that will send some ecstasy down your spine and to the floor in form of cold – and said, “sweetheart tell me it’s not true and I will believe you.”

I was still bewildered and before I could say a word, my stomach contracted like a piece of body tissue soaked in a hypertonic solution. It seemed I was hungry again. I just realized we had spent so many hours talking.

I stroked my tummy and – I trust Nkem - she quickly picked the signal and reached for the women’s department.
Still stuck to my seat, I kept thinking.

...to be continued


12 September 2016

Tachycardia – An excessively rapid heartbeat

Emesis - Vomiting

Anorexia – Persistent loss of appetite

Hypertonic – Describes a body part such as a muscle or artery that is under                                         usually high tension.

Read Also: NKEM - Tale of A Lady's Man (Part 1) 

Read Also: NKEM - Tale of A Lady's Man (Part 3) 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

NKEM - Tale of A Lady's Man (Part 1)

By On 23:24:00
It was a cool evening of a hectic day. “Nna biko kunie - please rise,” Nkem tapped me by my left ear lobe. She had learnt to use that spot to clear the way whenever she needed something. She always gave it a different meaning from what mum always did when I was younger. She would go ahead to caress it and would not let go until I gave what she wanted; not to imagine what her needs always were.

“Nne biko hapu m ka m zuo ike – please leave me to rest,” was all I could mutter as I wished it were just a dream and that the hand never existed. Slightly letting ajar my eyelids to see if she were gone when I did not feel another touch for a while, I was disappointed to see a shadow walk across the room towards me in deafening silence. 

“Please do not touch me again,” I mumbled as I asked not to be disturbed again until I rose on my own. But deep inside of me, I recalled that I was talking to a woman who took a plea for a joke until it hurt. “I know you only touch me like that when you need something but you have to understand that I need to have some rest,” I muttered clumsily, hoping she did not hear me this time.

I could visualize a smooth white surface with a familiar finishing. My ceiling - made of Plaster Of Paris - always glittered like no other I had seen before. I yawned and turned around to behold my lady seated over the other end of the room meditating on what I could hardly decipher. Calm and lovely as always, she walked behind me, and with both hands, stroked the favorite pair as she whispered to my ears, “I left you some bathing water and after you have had your bath, you will eat your food. I made your favorite.”

This time, I was grateful it was not a dream, as I did not attempt to resist her love show. I said something which I still remember, “thank you my dear, I have nothing more to ask than what you have offered.”

I knew that if I did not feign weak, I would have had to get up by my own strength. But I did the needful; I reached out to hold her while she pulled.

Feeling lighter than feather now, I looked into her eyes as she let out her magic smile. She repeated what she always said to me - that made me dance in imaginary steps – those words which I never got to hear vocally but always read from her soft lips. I always took the credit for a perfect lip-reader. Just as you would imagine, those words meant so much; they came with different meanings each time.

“Nna, I knew you needed to rest. So I kept your food and waited for you to rise so that we could eat together,” she said in her usual slow and romantic pace that reduced my attention to mere pulp as she leaned over. I was again happy it was not a dream.

Still feigning weak, I rose with arms stretched out, while Nkem lay beside me like a baby who had nothing to worry about. My eyes were finally wide open to light and reason. Oops!

As my nerves went stiff but pliable, I wished she never talked about anything after all. “Nna, we have to talk,” she mumbled as she rolled over on the bed. My nerves relaxed and went stiff again. I could do nothing but nurse inconclusive thoughts of what would follow.

While in a passionate and gluey hug, I kept thinking. 
Nna – Father or affectionate address to a man.
Nne – Mother or affectionate address to a woman.
Nkem – Female name, meaning ‘Mine.’

14 August 2016

Friday, 17 June 2016

REVOLT – a glance at gender discrimination

By On 22:04:00
Rising from my bamboo bed in the wake of dawn could be likened to sailing in a boat made of seaweed. 

“What could that be?” I thought. It was four in the morning and it seemed like war had broken overnight. Angry high-pitched voices jarred my eardrums as they scrambled to be heard, crying voices sounded like pockets of rain water on the roof. They all headed to the palace. I had realized our rickety door was open all along but had no idea how. I called out to Papa, who hardly woke up early after drinking heavily the previous day. He barely responded but would require the strength of a warrior to rise.

It was morning and a lot of flip-flops were headed to the palace. I had realized what it was that kept our door open. “Mama might have gone to the palace earlier,” I thought.

They littered the palace, half clad and energetically wielding fronds, wooden turning spoons, pots, pestles, mortars, and other utensils as if it were an open day of cooking.

“Our wives, what brings you to the palace looking so sad?” the Onowu asked. “Onowu, we want to see the Igwe. Tell the Igwe that Umuada would want to see him," Mgboye, the self-acclaimed leader of the women roared. “Please relate your message to me and I will pass it on to him,” the Onowu pleaded. “We will only talk when the Igwe appears before us," Mgboye responded as she gazed at the other women who gave slight solidarity nods. The Onowu then went in to inform the King about the demand of the women.

“Get my cabinet members to assemble immediately,” the King told the Onowu. After a long wait, the King finally appeared before them.

“Women of Ama, I greet you,” the king said stepping forward towards the fierce-looking women while his cabinet members stood back. There was deafening silence such that the sound of a pin falling on the ground could agitate the ear drums. “Tell me what it is that brings you all in this unhappy mood,” the king added.

The villagers, young and old had all gathered to find out what the women were up to. I saw mama at the rear as she clutched our pestle.

Mgboye then stepped forward. “Igwe, we the women of Ama greet you. We are not happy that the status of the woman has been stepped upon so much that we now feel ashamed to be the women that we are. We have been deprived of the benefits of Onye-ocha’s school. We have remained at home with all these – each person raising what she held – while the men went about playing eche and drinking away their fortune. We still go to oye to sell palm kernel, aki and ukwa, which we have picked from our farms to provide food for our families. We cultivate and weed our farms. Our husbands will come back late only to beat us for being too tired to sleep with them.

We passed our message through our Ezenwanyi but did not have our grievances attended to. We have therefore decided that henceforth, no woman will sleep with her husband and the widows will no longer sweep the market place. We will all dance naked at the market square in four market days. Umu nwanyi ibe m, ekwukwaram uche unu – My fellow women, have I spoken your mind?” Mgboye said in a very high tone. “Yes Mgbo, you have spoken well,” they  echoed as they rasied their weapons while chanting protest songs.

“Women of Ama, lighten up your hearts and go home. I shall sit with the members of my cabinet and the elders of the land. I shall send emissaries to you. I assure you that the weight thrown on you by the men will be lifted. I have spoken,” the Igwe submitted and left them.

The women sang praises to the Igwe as they returned to their various homes.

They had planned to revolt.

© Chukwuebuka Valentine Eze
17 June 2016

Papa - Father
Mama - Mother
Onowu – King’s right hand man
Umu ada – Group of women married in the same community
Mgboye – Female name
Igwe - King
Ama – Community name
Onye ocha – White man
Eche – Local african game played with seeds in holes
Aki – Kernel
Oye – Second market day in Africa
Ezenwanyi - Queen

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