“Nkechi. Bia, it’s like you don’t know how serious I am. I’m serious o. I like you very much and I want you to be my girl.”
Nkechi twisted her fingers together, looking everywhere but at Chukwudi. She smiled sheepishly and swayed from left to right like a tree caught in a gentle harmattan breeze.
“Ehm. Chukwudi. I like you too, but please give me some time to think about it.”
“What else is there to think about, biko?” Chukwudi gesticulated. “You like me and I like you, ngwanu, let’s start our love.”
“Chukwudi’m. Please just give me some time to think about it.” Nkechi said. “I have to go now. My mother is waiting for me.”
“Eh. Okay nwanyi’oma. I’ll see you tomorrow ehn.”
“Nkechi! Nkechi! Come here.” Mama Nkechi called from the kitchen.
“What were you doing with Chukwudi, the okada driver, under the mango tree at the primary school?”
“Ehm. Mama. We were not doing anything o” Nkechi fidgeted. “We were just talking.”
“Talking ehn? About what?”
Nkechi moved her weight from one foot to the other, her gaze lowered to the floor.
“Ehn! Ehn! Nke-chi! Nke-chi! How many times did I call you? Don’t let all this small small village boys deceive you. A word is enough for the wise.” She said, standing up from the kitchen stool.
“Get me that slippers Emeka brought for me yesterday. I’m going out.”
No. She would not allow anyone to spoil the plans she had for her daughter. Emeka, the provision store owner, not that useless Okada boy, Chukwudi, would marry her daughter immediately she finishes with her Junior Secondary.
“Chukwudi come out o! Come out!” Chukwudi opened the door, surprised to find Mama Nkechi.
“Chukwudi! What do you want from my daughter?” she screamed at him.
“Mama Nkechi. Good after…”
“Don’t greet me Chukwudi.”
“What is the matter?”
“Leave my daughter alone. Chukwudi, leave my daughter alone o.” She clapped her hands. “She already has a suitor. A befitting suitor.”
“But what?” she shouted. “Eh! Eh! Leave my daughter o. I have warned you.” She stormed off.
4 months later.
“Nkechi, take this,” The chemist man handed a pregnancy test strip to Nkechi, “go inside that bathroom and pee on it, then bring it back.”
“Hey. Wait let me follow you. Before you’ll go inside there and do rubbish.” Mama Nkechi followed her into the bathroom hurriedly.
“See it here.” Nkechi handed the strip to the chemist man two minutes later.
“Ehm. Mama Nkechi” the man looked up from the strip. “Nkechi is pregnant.”
“Ewo! This girl has killed me o!” she exclaimed, dragging Nkechi closer and pummelling her with blows.
“Who is responsible? Tell me. Who is responsible?”
Nkechi twisted and turned, trying to free herself from her mother’s grasp.
“Mama! Mama, please!” Nkechi sobbed, tears running down her cheeks.
“Answer me Nkechi. I said, who is responsible?”
“Mama Nkechi. It’s okay. Stop beating her.” the chemist man intervened. “Just take her home, and ask her gently.”
“You must give me my son today o!” Chukwudi burst into the compound, machete in hand. “Mama Nkechi!” he shouted.
News had reached him that mama Nkechi with the help of Emeka, the provision store owner, had paid for and successfully aborted Nkechi’s pregnancy. He was not going to take such a thing. He loved Nkechi, and they were going to raise their child together.
“Which son did you leave in this compound that you want to collect?” mama Nkechi shouted back, stepping out of the house. Chukwudi flicked a quick glance at Nkechi, who had rushed out behind her mother.
“So, it’s true, okwaya, that you’ve killed my son. I’ll kill you today.” Machete raised high, he rushed towards Mama Nkechi.
Two minutes later, Nkechi lay in a pool of her own blood. Chukwudi had mistakenly hacked her head, instead of her mother.