A Story Written By Aartial D
It took minutes after clearing the plates and hearing papa complain of the bitter taste of the abacha for me to realise that i had plucked the utazi leave instead of imezi.
Yes, the utazi and Imezi do look alike and i must have mistaken it for imezi.
I seethed in anger…why do God spare the unjust and endanger the just?
Maybe they were spared this time but next time, there were certainly going to die because i wont use the imezi next time, i was going to use Otapiapia or indoseed.
I blinked twice clutching my books tightly to my chest to ensure i was seeing the right person.
My friends went ahead hugging him while Henna just stood by his side clutching his arm. Yes, she had told me he was going to be arriving this week but maybe i really wasnt prepared to see Ifeanyi again.
‘hi Ivyy’ he said coming closer to me.
I percieved his masculine scent and i felt like relaxing in his arms..before i could speak, he came closer to me and engaged me in a bear hug. Due to the books in my hands, i couldnt hug him back but i relaxed my head on his shoulders.
‘how have you been? I missed you’ he whispered into my ears still holding me tightly.
I saw my friends making funny faces and snide remarks.
I paused to think…did i really miss him too? Maybe i was too preoccupied with my family problem to even miss him.
When he had left the village recently, i had missed him. Because i no longer had my companion with me. One who would hold me close to him tightly shutting my ears to prevent me from hearing mama’s screams as papa pounced on her.
One who would climb the roof with me so i could give food to mama who had been locked up in a room to mama and also help clean her wounds…then climb out through the roof before papa comes back.
One who encouraged me and helped me in anyway he could. Yes, he had left the village without keeping in touch with me..not even replying the messages i sent to him through Henna….i really felt his absence when he newly left but i soon got accustomed to it.
I got used to it.
We sat under a pawpaw tree opposite aunt Chime’s compound…aunt Chime had gone for one of their numerous women meetings and i wondered if mama had been killed yet.
‘i’m sorry i didnt keep in touch Veebeauty…’ Ifeanyi said calling my per name.
I was still angry at him and he knew that ‘you havent still told me your reason of coming here..you really have to go before my aunt sees you here’ i wasnt smiling.
‘Obim…’ he said holding my left shoulder ‘i really wanted to contact you but…but…’
‘i just felt there was no need..i felt you might get into problems with your father again and i wont be there to take the blame…and you might suffer everything all alone’ he said.
True, papa had been wary of our closeness and he accused Ifeanyi and i of having a sexual relationship…and whenever papa tried to hit me, Ifeanyi was always there to take all the blame for my sake.
Tears came to my eyes…papa had always denied me happiness for no just reason…was i really his child? Why did he favour Dada more than me?
‘Ivyy…’ he said wiping my tears with my back hand ‘i never stopped thinking about you’
I didnt say anything. I couldnt say anything.
‘i asked about you countless times from Henna…and i told her to safeguard you from boys’
I nearly laughed. Henna? Henna whom had been trying to force me into a relationship? He made a mistake entrusting me to Henna.
‘i heard everything about your mother from my father…’ he said and i abruptly turned to him ‘but i’m sorry i wont tell you…because i know how much you love your mother and i…i dont want you to see your mother negatively…because i know how highly you think of her…heck! You wont even believe me when i tell you all she has done’
I quickly stood up grabbing his shirt ‘Ifeanyi! Tell me what is going on with my mother! Tell me!’
‘heyy calm down…’
I held his shirt even tighter ‘tell me all you know about my mother please…please i beg you…is she dead?’ i cried.
He drew me to himself and kissed my hair ‘my baby’ he breathed ‘i’m so sorry for all the pains you are passing through right now…i’m here, so everything will be alright henceforth’
Mama…please dont die…i cried.