I ASK her about my little Che-Che . I ask her if she saw the money I sent for his school fees, together with the phone. She answers ‘Yes’
She tells me that everybody is fine and my papa has forgiven me after many years. His kinsmen no longer make carricature of him.
‘ Thank God’
‘ Ehen! Uju, have you heard?
‘Heard what Mama- who died?
‘ Tufiakwa!! Nobody died in our family o’
I sigh out a relief ‘ So what happen?
My mama clears her throat’ Do you know that Chekwubem’s oyinbo wife, nkita has left him. Hiann!! Wonders will never end !
‘ You say?…hey! Tell me something! I become interested.
I HEARD my mama shout at little Chekku. ‘ Che-Che. Oya drop that stick osiso. You want to kill my fowl. Spoilt child. Let me catch you. See how he keep head like his father’
‘ M.a.m.a easy on him na. He is still six years old. He will learn soon’
‘That’s how your papa spoilt you. Naughty children. Anyways—‘
I cut in ‘ Mama , so what happened to Chekwubem and family?
‘ My daughter. Story story o! Where will I start? Hey!!.
He came here and begged your papa , saying its not his fault. That when he travelled , his mother told him how you followed one of these useless boys and soon you got pregnant. Now he has realised that the child is his spitting image. Oyinbo wife has left him, he came back to the village. He is rich o. But he is lonely and heart broken. Now he says he wants to marry you. He can’t do without you. Can you imagine?
I asked my mama what papa said to him.
‘ What do you expect him to do? He chased him away. Thank God , he did not cutlass his head off’
I laughed even harder when mama told me about chief Ubaka’s fourth wife. That she has made life a living hell for him.
‘ Hmm… Serves him right. Wicked man’
My mama asked if I would give Chekku a second chance.
I DONT know what I want. Should I continue my lifestyle and hope that one day, I will find the man for me? My emotions are controlling me- I still love Chekwubem- what will happen if I accept him?
‘ Mama I have to go. I don’t have airtime. Greet papa for me okay. I have a customer. We will talk later’
I walk to the shop’s door. A car has stopped on the road accross the gutter. The woman walked to our shop . She always does her Brazilian hair here.
‘ Welcome ma’ I said. ‘ Come inside.’
She smiled and followed me.
WEEKS later I travelled back home. My mama was happy to see me, but my papa was disappointed that I did not come back with oyinbo husband.
In the evening. Chekwube came to our house. He must have heard of my arrival. He came down from his car. He has grown quite rich in six years.
He knelt down and crawled with his knees till he reached our doorstep.
My papa wanted to kill somebody but mama begged him to allow Chekku speak.
HE Grabs my hand and stare into my eyes.
He is squeezing my arm ‘ I am so so sorry. Uju m. I was a fool. My mom and brothers made me look stupid. Come back to me . Please. We can start over again. Biko’
Any choice I make will determine my future. Things are not the same and won’t remain the same. My head start to grow very big this time, with joy and importance.
Mama ask him’ what about your wife nkata abi
nkita? As if she did not know already.
‘ She was never meant for me’
I am laughing so hard.
Then I want to cry, but the laugh is taking control.
‘ God will purnish you. ‘ I managed to say’ You played on my innocence and treated me like a rag’
I am feeling powerful.
‘He has already…I’m sorry.’ Chekwubem replied and held my arm tightly’ Please Don’t Laugh at Me, I will do anything to make you Love Me again’
I shake my head and look at my papa. He is smiling now. Mama is the happiest person alive. My son’s happiness is now in my hand.
Chekku came back for me, to me. He still wants my heart medicine. Or did my mama wash special ogiri and blow it spiritually to him? I will never know.