“Uzoma made me do it”….

Jan 8, 2016 | Fashion

 

This short story is inspired by my recent visit to Eastern  Nigeria for the new year celebrations.. Every character  and tale is purely fictional …

“Uzoma made me do it”

Nma’s eyes are beginning to fail her and she increasingly leaves me to do the market runs.The Bishop and his wife are visiting all the way from Umuosu and shall be stopping by ours for lunch. Nma makes the best Mgbam(delicacy made from moulded Egusi seeds) and Ofe Ukazi (Ukazi soup) in the whole of Umuakwu..Even if I say so myself.. Anwuli was heard wishing she could swap places with me, if only just to eat Nma’s soup to her fullest.I am not sure she would love the occasional hot knocks  I receive on the head till date.. Just for slouching my shoulders a bit while I walk..

This is not about Anwuli though!!.. Nma has asked me to hurry on to Ahia Ebe (Market) all the way in Umuamata.  Mama Emenike has the best Ukazi leaves in the whole area and she promised to reserve some for Nma.”Njide!! go quickly o!! and come back in good time, so we can start preparations”, warns Nma. I am quite notorious for my scatty ways. I promised her earnestly, “Okay Nma don’t worry, I will go very fast, select the freshest Ukazi leaves and be back well in time to help you “.. I promised..

Off I went, my legs hitting the red soil and nimbly manoeuvring the rough undulating roads. “When are they(government) going to come and grade this road again”? I wonder in deep despair. “It’s getting quite bad, if Uzoma’s people come for my iku-aka (Marriage introduction) as he promises they soon will, that his very forward sister; Chimuanya shall look down her snobby nose at our bad roads”. Sigh!

I hear the whining sounds of wheels turning..Without looking up I know the sound belongs to De Emenye’s bicycle. He is the care-taker for the Central Secondary School Field, where the annual football matches are played . “Ndewo De Emenye!” I greet in false Cheer.. “Ehe! Njide” he replies. I hurry off while mumbling an explanation about rushing off to the market for Nma. He lost his wife a while ago and is known to chatter on for quite a bit. Usually I am quite a sport, but there are too many things on my mind today. Such as the allegations Da Mgbechi made about Uzoma’s mom  and her plan to marry him off to the daughter of Eze Akatobi.  Of course those are just tall tales.I shall not let them bother me.

..and just as I was crossing Iyi Umuelema (Stream), on the road that interjects between Nbarogbom and Umuamata, I looked up and saw a beautiful Sunbird, perched quite low on an Ube tree.. It smiled at me, widely, winked and spoke to me in Nma’s dialect. Nma is from Ikwuano and they speak in lilting enchanting tones, not as brash as the clicking tongues of the Ngwa people, where Dad is from.

I blink in shock! ” A bird speaking?? I must be going mad. In a split second, everywhere was transformed! There became a mystical quality to all around me.. My skin glowed brighter, the green grass looked lusher, the red soil brighter, the stream so nice and inviting, as the bird sang to me.

Njide.. Njide..

I know you are worried..

I heard about Uzoma…

Worry not.. Worry not..

His heart lies with you..

 

Come into the stream..Come into the stream..

Immerse yourself in the cool healing water..

Swish and splash.. Smile up to the skies..

Njide Njide… Your worries are over..

 

I found myself walking slowly into the stream… Something in my head  told me I could trust this strange beautiful speaking bird.I felt safe, her words seemed so familiar yet filled with wisdom. I settled in the streams and let the waters cascade down my skin,over my dress,  and oh! the wonderful things she sang to me..…. she asked me to

…..believe…

..to be proud of whom I was..

To stand up straight and smile always..

To believe in myself and fear not fate..

To trust in good and strive for the best..

To ask and all my dreams would come true..

To speak only kindly and love ever trustingly..

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Oh how I danced and with each jiggle my worries ebbed away. I felt my strengths return and my heart sang with joy. I could taste it! The water, the air, the song!.. Bliss!! I closed my eyes and twirled faster in the water!!…..…then I slowed down.. and opened my eyes.. the singing had stopped and darkness had returned..

“Oh my Goodness!!! It’s too late to go to Umuamata! The markets are closed! I have been in this water for two and a half hours! Where did the hours go?? Where is the bird?? What shall I tell Nma! I am in trouble! What will she cook for the Bishop and his wife”???

Please help!!!!!!

xxxxx

The End.

Written By Ezinne Chinkata

Location: Iyi Umuelema in Umuakwu Nsulu, Isiala Ngwa North L.G.A. Abia State.

 

 

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