OBIAGERI By Amah Heart Episode 19 Read and watch the story of obiageri Episode 19. Was written by Amah Heart.
OBIAGERI By Amah Heart Episode 19
Ifeoma was already learning how to take a step, it was a happy moment for everyone as she was already standing by herself without the help of anyone and trying to take a step.
The growth was so fast, I watched her go through all the stages, from knowing how to sit on her own, then crawling on her knees, and standing while holding onto something, she later became totally dependent, she does not need anything to stand by herself.
I watch her trying to take a step this few days and it was something beautiful to behold.
She was so fast which make me wonder if she was in any competition with another baby, but she wasn’t. I remember father said I was also very fast growing up and while the other children of my age where learning how to crawl I was already standing and practicing how to walk and my daughter just took after me
Today is another market day and we made enough cassava for garri, I also assisted Njideka and we both fried it.
Chioma was holding Ifeoma while Nnamdi was out in the farm the day me and Njideka processed the raw garri.
There was enough to eat in the house and we decided to sell some of the farm products, including banana and plantain which was crowded in Njideka’s backyard.
Nnamdi cut the fruits down, we took out some for eating and the remaining ones will be for sale.
Njideka wanted to go to the market to sell them but I insisted on going, Nnamdi volunteer to assist me and so he carried the garri in his bicycle to the market first and later return to carry the plantain and banana.
Ifeoma was already eating adult food, like soft yam and other solid food. I do not have to breast feed her all the time and for days now she was more into the general food which Njideka made sure is always available for her and she feeds Ifeoma to her satisfaction.
I know if I take her to the market, she will have to be strapped behind my back all through the day, while I attend to customer and Nnamdi is there to help me if I get tired but since Njideka and Chioma was home I left Ifeoma with them. They are always happy to hold her.
I gathered the remaining things into a basin bowl and left for the market.
Njideka asked me to buy some food stuffs after selling, and also to buy okro and smoke fish for Ifeoma who’s best soup is ogbno or okro soup.
Nnamdi was already arranging the whole thing when I arrived the market.
I joined in as we displayed our wares as other people were also displaying there’s
We asked other garri sellers how the market is going, how much is one cup of garri and they were kind enough to tell us that every market day is not the same, some days it goes up and the other it comes down below the cost price.
They said that two weeks ago they sold their garri at a normal rate but since last week it has been on the high side because is the season of cassava plantation, not for harvesting and it has not rain for some time which makes the ground hard and more strength is required in harvesting the cassava.
I thanked them and return back to our spot.
We were still arranging the place when people started coming to patronise us, the first thing we sold was plantain and it was remaining one and a full bunch of banana.
Nnamdi was with me, and he was very helpful.
The villagers who believed us to be husband and wife greeted us warmly, Nnamdi even calls me his wife in front of them and I respond.
I sometime laugh over it, especially with the way he will say “eziogbo nwunye m” (my good wife) whenever somebody is around.
Villagers even asked how our baby was doing and Nnamdi was glad to tell them that Ifeoma was fine.
When we go home we will end up laughing about it later.
The day was going and the weather was very hot, Nnamdi left to go and buy something with the money we have gotten.
He asked me what I would like to eat and I told him to buy hot ukpa, wrapped in a leaf. Ukpa looks like moimoi but is not processed with beans.
Is so delicious when is eaten hot.
I was alone, the garri has gone half, and market was good today as we had lots of customers coming to patronise us.
I was there when I saw the old woman walk upto me.
I was happy to see her and asked her what she came to buy in the market, I can help her buy them.
Is being three weeks since I visited her last.
“mama…o bu gini ka I bira ezuta na ahia…(mama, what did you came to buy in the market)
She told me she was only in the market to look round because the house was too quiet.
I wanted to put enough garri for her but she said the last one I gave her was still at home, she has not eaten much out of it.
She has enough food stuff back home and do not need anything, the suddenly she said
“Nwa m, o bia ra ahia taa…o nokwa gi nso (my chid, he came to the market today and he is very close to you)
I turned as i saw Nnamdi coming and when i turned back to ask her who she was referring to I did not see her again.
I looked around wondering which side she entered because the market was a little crowded but I couldn’t see her.
I asked Nnamdi if she saw an elderly woman right now and Nnamdi said he didn’t see anybody as he brought out the hot ukpa and a delicious akara (bean cake) that he bought
We sat and began to eat and I concluded that she was probably referring to Nnamdi or maybe I did not hear exactly what she said clearly
Her word echoes again to my ear and I have to look around to know if she was back to repeat it. I began to wonder within me what she meant by “O biara hia…o nokwa m nso (he came to the market and he is very close to me) onye kwanu ka o na ekwu…o bu Nnamdi ka onwere onye uzo (who is she referring to. Is it Nnamdi or is there another person)
I thought within me and quickly waved it off and went back eating and selling my market.
We drank all the water we came to market with, Nnamdi quickly left in his bicycle to get more from the house.
I sold the banana and it was just remaining one plantain
As I was attending to a customer, measuring garri for the person I noticed a man standing in front of my market and because I did not want to make a mistake with the counts, I was measuring with a cup which was generally used in the market to measure garri.
I did not bother to look up at the person as I remain focus. I only said to him while my eyes was still in the measurement.
“ewela iwe dee, anam abia iza gi, kam ma nye chara onyea garri (please, don’t be angry sir, I’m coming to answer you, let me just finish measuring garri for this customer)
The man did not say anything as he remained standing and calm, I quickly rounded up with the customer and after she paid and left I focus on the man with a full smile, I was happy that the market was moving so well and I have almost sold all the things I came with, it was just remaining one bunch of plantain and half bag of garri.
I breathed down as I stood and face the man
And for that second which turns into minutes we just stare at each other.
He did not say anything, I was speechless too and the only thing we did is just stare each other.
It was Ukadike, yes, Ukadike was right in front of me. I was breathless.
He didn’t move he was just standing there with a plain face and I can’t read anything from his facial expression
I managed to say his name and went quiet again
He did not respond and was breathing so hard and I couldn’t control my own heartbeat.
We were like that when Nnamdi came with the water and saw us staring at each other, I try to look away but I still return my eye to him
“o gini ka ochoro izu ezigbo nwayim. e wetara gi mmri…(what did he want to buy my good wife…I brought water for you)
Ukadike on hearing Nnamdi call me his wife his facial expression changed, he moved a muscle in his face before looking back at Nnamdi and suddenly said
“Ego ole ka i na ere nka (how much are you selling this one)
Did I hear him well, he was asking how much we are selling the plantain. I couldn’t even talk Nnamdi answered him.
He quickly paid and all this while I couldn’t take my eyes off him which made Nnmadi to ask
“Nwunye m, ogini mere gi, udo a dikwa (my wife, what happened to you…is everything alright)
I nodded and looked away.
Nnamdi was use to calling me his wife in public and I never noticed anything wrong with it until now that I can see how uncomfortable Ukadike seem every time he calls me that.
He lifted the plantain, pause for some time, he looked at me before walking away.
Nnamdi was so interested in the stranger and why we were looking at ourselves.
“ima nwoke ahu…I ma onye obu…ogini mere o ji na ele gi any uto ahu…gini mere…onye ka obu (did you know that man, did you know who he is, why is he looking at you like that, what happened …who is he?)
I waved off the question, I said something else to cover up.
That evening after we were done with the market Nnamdi carried the empty bowls and some other thing in his bicycle home. I gathered the remaining things and as I was about going I sighted Ukadike among the market people preparing to go home
He was looking at me from where he stood.
Our eyes glued for some time before I carried my bow and walked away.
On my way home I met the old woman and I quickly remembered her word to me earlier, which means she knows that I and Ukadike will meet our selves today.
I was quick to tell her that I saw Ukadike, “he even bought a full bunch of plantain from us, we did not say anything, I was speechless and I guess he was also”….
The elderly woman who seem to be going home smile.
Passer-by walked pass and looked at me as if I was talking to myself.
They have that awful look as if I was crazy, I greeted them and they responded but they did not greet the elderly woman and that was very rude, the villagers are nice people but I don’t understand why they didn’t greet the elderly woman, she is old enough to be there mother or even grandmother.
The elderly woman later said to me
“I know where he lives and if you want to know I can show you the road that lead to his hut which is not far from my hut. he doesn’t live among the villagers, he live a little far all by himself….when you are ready to go visit him then I will show you…and as for the people who did not greet me…don’t bother about that…I guess they did not see me…
“Why won’t they see you when I can see you? whenever I’m seen talking with you people looks at me as if I’m crazy and they never greet you…that is not right, even if they don’t know you or like you they should just greet and be on their way…you are not invisible so I wonder why they will ignore you…
“You are a special child and your vision is far beyond a normal human but don’t be troubled because of that. Ukadike will not be leaving the village soon…now that he has seen you…he will search wherever you live…it won’t be difficult for him to ask around and get full information about you…. He will get to know where you stay… and he will be told that you are married to Njideka’s only son and blessed with a daughter…Ukadike will be heart broken and will look for a way to kidnap you and take you away with your child but you can pay him a visit and talk things through…he has a lot more to tell you and you also have stories to tell him so think and get ready…you know that he is a strong willed man and he will do whatever he has to do to have what he has always wanted. His hut is not too far from me…whenever you care to know I will be willing to show you….
On the third day, I got ready to pay Ukadike a visit, I can’t run forever just as the elderly woman has said. All I think of this days is him, he consume my every thought and I wish to see him again, run into his arm and allow him to hold me because I have truly missed him.
Is time for him to also meet his daughter, Ifeoma.
*Obiageri. Episode 20.*
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 ripped 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 the 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 try to play with Ifeoma just for her to relax but she remained calm, 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 wait 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 when I saw her coming.
Ifeoma craw 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 die…you will live long and grow old in good health…you are not going to die…
She smile and did not say anything. she looked at Ifeoma, but did not bother touching her or lifting 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.
“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 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 not let me to hold her…children don’t like strange hands like mine holding them…
“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 being so helpful and 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 Njideka who plays a 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 for 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…and 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 act strange sometime 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 being 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…I am married to another man and I am so happy where I am…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, 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…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 circulated…as everyone has a different version of your story to tell…Ukadike and the igwe are at your defence and the rumour later died down…now the villagers thought you are probably killed by an 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 being 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 being 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 wide 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 man 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.