A Story Written By Aartial D
I let my hands run through the water as the boat sailed across the water.
I sent a glance at Aunt Chime, she was carrying little Ifeanyi and singing her a lullaby to make her stop crying.
I looked back at the village…where i was born, where i had lived, where i had started my life. I couldnt believe i was going to be leaving the village this way.
I thought of Ralph and i could only pray that his destructive soul rest in perfect peace.
I rested my head on my laps. Aunt Chime tapped me ‘Ivyy, are you okay?’
I raised up my head and smiled nodding my head. What could i have done without this woman? She had been very supportive during this time.
It was her suggestion we left Umueke to a faraway town the night we disposed Ralph’s body. So immediately after dropping his body beside the stream in the middle of the night, we had hurried back to the house, packed our little belongings and headed to the port that same night. We had spent the night there as we couldnt get any boat leaving the village that night.
But very early the next morning, we had boarded a boat going to Umeja.
Umeja was very far from Umueke and the journey was surely going to last for two days. Umeja wasnt an Igbo community, it was a Yorubaland and i wondered how i was going to fare.
Umueke had been part of my life. I was going to miss everyone…Henna, Kainene, Omalicha, Ijeoma, Jude, Chijioke, Ifeanyi and even Ralph…though he was no longer in this world.
But i knew deep within me that i was going to miss Henna more. It pained me that i didnt even get to tell her goodbye or apologise for everything. It pained me that i just left without a goodbye to those who mattered alot to me.
I looked at Aunt Chime again and she was engrossed with crying Ifeanyi.
I carefully unzipped my bag and brought out the phone Ifeanyi had given me. Tears trickled down my eyes.
I wanted to do away with every memory of Umueke. I wanted to forget i ever came from that village. I wanted a new life. A fresh start without worries or pains.
I wondered if i was doing the right thing. I wrapped the phone in a black nylon, closed my eyes and dropped it into the water.
I screamed loudly as the phone sunk deeper into the water.
‘Ivyy, what is wrong with you?’ Aunt Chime asked as people looked at us.
I started crying.
Oh my soul, God bless my sould.
FIVE YEARS LATER.
I marveled at the beauty of the mansion in front of me. The large swimming pool, the beautiful fountain, the beautiful garden and the beautiful cars parked in the garage.
Living in this house for sixteen months hadnt gotten me used to it.
I got down from the car, picked up my Dabana handbag and entered inside the house.
‘mummy!’ Ifepam screeched jumping into my arms.
‘oh Ifepam, you’ll not kill me…how was school today?’ i asked carrying her to the sofa. My daughter preferred being called Ifepam, thats Ifeanyi Pamela. Said Ifeanyi was too masculine.
‘school was fine mum, how was work?’
‘work was hectic, where’s aunt Chime?’
‘in the kitchen…’ Ifeanyi said biting her fingers.
‘stop dat! Its bad habit…’ i scolded.
‘heyy Ivyy dear, you are back!’ aunt Chime called emerging from the kitchen.
‘yes aunt…’ i said rising on my feet, i handed my handbag to Ifeanyi and she ran to my room to drop it. I followed aunt Chime to the kitchen ‘so whats cooking?’
‘jollof rice…’ Aunt Chime said stirring the pot.
She suddenly stopped stirring and faced me ‘Chief was here today…’
I nealy choked on the bottled water i was drinking ‘which Chief?’
‘how many Chief do you know? Chief Adetola of course!’
‘oh my God! What did he come here to do again?’
‘the same thing he has been trying to do over the years Ivyy’ she faced her pot again.
I placed my face on my palms ‘oh my God, that man should just let me be for goodness sake! I cannot marry an old man like him, why doesnt he understand?’
Aunt Chime covered the pot and looked at me ‘Ivyy, you know you cant run away from Chief forever, maybe its high time you gave into his request…’ my shoulders slumped ‘yes my dear, look around you, the luxury you’re living in, who gave it to you?’
‘God…and my hardwork…i worked hard for this aunty..’
‘oh please, lets be realistic. We all know that Chief made you who you are today. Yes, maybe you earned it with all your hardwork…but who was the person who took us in and gave us a life when we newly arrived here several years ago? Who was the person who paid all your bills and sent you to school? Who was the person who got you employed in his company as the assistant manager?’
‘Chief…’ i muttered slowly.
She shrugged ‘you see? Ivyy, marrying him will only bring us goodluck, its going to secure your future and that of Ifepam’s. She’s going to have attend the best universities in the world and marry a good man. Think about this Ivyy, dont miss your luck’
I looked down. Me…marry Chief?
I cant. I didnt love him.
I loved another.