Kelechi poured the palm wine from the gourd into the cup for Uche and as Uche raised it to his lips, he poured one for himself then dropped it on the ground.
“This one you have come to visit me this late” he began “is your wife pursuing you?”
“Are you pursuing me, you should be happy I’ve come to keep you company in this boring house”Uche said, looking around, the compound was almost empty
They sat on a fallen log in front of Kelechi’s father’s hut who had died long ago from injuries he developed due to a fall from the palm tree, he being the only son, he had inherited it, his step mother lived in the other side of the hut with her one daughter who was yet to marry.
â€‹â€‹Kelechi’s lived with his two children, the oldest girl being only four years old and a boy who was two years old, his friend was a young single father because his wife had died after giving birth to Chike from an illness. Apart from Kelechi being a palm wine tapper, he was also a hunter but not as reputable as Uchenna who seemed to always catch all the meat in the village . Uche observed his friend had gotten a lot leaner from the stress of the children, he was still good looking though with a growth of goatie on his chin which moved now as he chewed a kolanut, Uche bit his kolanut
” You know Kelechi you’re still a village man to the core “he said
“See who is talking”Kelechi replied
“I visit you and you give me Kola and palm wine, what if I’m hungry” he said
Kelechi ignored him”what did you give me when I visited ?”
“You ate pounded yam” Uche said incredulously
“What’s the difference
. It wasn’t even sweet”Kelechi said with a frown
“What do you mean, Ego is a good cook? ”
“Oh you are defending your wife eh, weIl the soup was sweet what with all the meat inside but the pounded yam had seeds”
“You didn’t say it that day when you were consuming it like one who had not eaten for years”
“I was hungry, I hardly get a woman to cook for me” Kelechi said and there was silence, Kelechi drank his palmwine
â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹”let’s not speak of the dead, I don’t want to remember” Uche said
“You’re still mourning Oby.. she wasn’t even your wife”
“You know I wanted to marry her”
“Yes, but when you heard she was a witch…I tried telling you years ago but you shunned me….are you still seeing her?” Kelechi asked, it was usual for the dead to haunt their loved ones for a few months after they die, he knew his wife haunted him
“No, I’m not ” Uche denied “It was just at the beginning…I was really affected”
The children ran out to play
‘Ain’t they supposed to be in bed?”Uche asked surprised
“I’m normally not a good Nanny”Kelechi replied
“You need to marry again” Uche said taking up his cup
“Working on it, I approached Chiamaka, she finally decided to get over Ifeanyi, she helps me with the children”
“Good” Uche said, happy for his friend
“Why is Ego not pregnant yet?”Kelechi suddenly asked
“Its her responsibility, you should ask her” Uche replied
“What do you mean I should ask her”
“Is she not your friend?”
“Is she not your wife?”
Uche dropped his cup and stood up
“I’m going, its getting late even, before my ‘wife’ starts getting worried”
Kelechi leaned back laughing”I know you would be anxious to go home, let me do and marry my own..” then he looked down ” you didn’t finish your palmwine”
Uche strolled out of the compound, without a word, Kelechi liked to gossip a lot.
When he got home, the house was dark, there was no light even from his brothers hut, his mind went to Oby who was usually scared of the dark, thankfully Ego had left a lowered lantern burning even though she was asleep, he went to urinate then went and sat on the bed, he looked at Ego and saw her back to him, he tried to picture Obiageli there instead but it was difficult, Obiageli was fair complexioned, Ego was a dark beauty, he sank into the bed and laid down, and drifted into sleep in no time.
Ego turned, saw Uche sleeping, wanting to wake him up but decided not to, she reached and put off the lantern and started touching him, when she leaned to kiss him he woke up
“What are you doing?”
“I want to make a baby”.she said removing her wrapper
” baby what..”he winced “I’m very tired, I need to sleep”he said
“But I’ve been waiting for you”.
” Its been a hectic day Ego, tomorrow…cover yourself so you won’t be cold” he said and shut his eyes turning his face away.
“Nkem” she called but he didnt respond. Ego sobbed throughout the night.
Uche woke up early and saw Ego still sleeping, he usually always woke up before her so it wasn’t a surprise, he stood up and went out of the hut taking a chewing stick to chew, Ekene called him over, Chioma was trying to make a fire and Emeka Ekene’s son, came out to pee
“Have you seen papa lately?” Ekene asked him.
“I plan to visit him today” Uche said, they went to the obi and talked as Ekene told him he wanted to marry another wife, Uche frowned at it but thought it wasn’t his business, he had his own issues to deal with
“I thought I should tell you, since she would be coming to the compound”Ekene said
“Who are you marrying?”.Uche thought to ask
” Adaku, She’s from the next village”he said, Uche nodded wondering what happened to Chioma.
“What about you , I think you need another wife, Ego seems to be barren”
Uche gaped”My wife is not barren”he defended, what was his business even
Ekene laughed ” its just been four years now and….we are worried” was it up to four?
Uche waited till he was done then stood up to inspect his traps.
“I’m going to the stream later today, do you have clothes to wash?” Ego asked him when he returned
” I thought you should know if I have clothes to wash or not Ego”he replied
“I just asked a question’
” All my clothes are dirty”he said, she stared at him before she went to begin sorting out his clothes in silence.
If she wasn’t sure of anything, she knew there was another woman, she only had to find out who it was.
*what’s your take on Uche’s treatment of Ego
Is Ego going to find out the truth?