We journeyed home, I thought coming to Lagos from east was far but going back was tiring, thanks to the comfort of the car and the air condition, I didn’t really feel the discomfort like i did while coming, Ada even slept off and i was just there imagining a life with Victor, my driver was at speed, it got to a point i asked him to reduce his speeding limit ” abeg life no get duplicate” the journey was real smooth, we stopped to eat and continued, before we finally got to east i stopped to do some shopping with Ada, I gave her enough cash to get things for herself and her people as i also did the same, Victor, big Mom and Joe keep calling to check where we have gotten to,
my driver wasn’t an Igbo person, he was from the northern side, but educated and very smart, we call him Zarky.
Thank God Ada was with me, I couldn’t even recognize some places, we would have probably be asking people for direction if not Ada who was our map, when i finally got to my state, I was happy, I’m almost home,
Is being more than 3years I left village, i can’t believe is being that long, I didn’t feel it because I was determined to make mama proud, just few things changed in my village, when we finally got home, everywhere was quiet, we left Lagos so early by 5am, and got to east by 3pm, it was really a long good journey, I was told mama and Papa went to farm and they will be back by 5pm. Since farming is their source of livelihood, school was on holiday so my siblings went with them, this will be a big surprise because no one knows i was coming, I asked the driver to go and drop Ada, as i walked round my compound, some people were sent to go and call mama them at the farm
The oha tree is still there standing strong and having fresh leaves on it, I can see those wicked tiger ants that use to deal with me back then climbing up and down, I smiled at them because i got good plan for the oha tree that’s if mama will agree with me, the rooms and kitchen was locked, so all i could do was to take a tour round my house, my driver came back after dropping Ada, Victor has called severally to confirm if i was home, Zarky came to stand with me like a body guard because he was very tall and well built, like a bouncer at the club, Victor must have had a good reason in picking him to be my driver,
“Zarky…you have seeing my village, I guess you haven’t being to east before
“yes madam, your village is too far o… But there’s no place like your own home, is okay, and is quiet too…i like it is just that we are use to the noisy city life…
“yeah, no place like home…is quiet because people has gone to their farmland, planting, cultivating, harvesting and those who are not farmers has gone for their businesses, we produce our own food here, and people from different part of the country comes to buy our products, like the garri, palm oil, yam, vegetables and some other raw materials, we love visitors and treat them specially, don’t worry when my people comes back, they will give you a special treatment more than the indigenes..
As we were still talking, I was hearing mama shouting from outside, “my Ujunwa has come back o” I started laughing because mama doesn’t call me Ujunwa instead she calls me my full name in a funny way that makes me hate the name, she calls me Obianaujunwa” but calls me Ujunwa Now,
my siblings ran to me throwing them selves into my arms, they have all grown big, my two brothers and my only sister, I couldn’t get enough of them as much as they couldn’t get enough of me, everyone was laughing and talking at same time,
I saw mama coming I realized i have truly missed her and her trouble as i ran to her before she will get to me and gave her the first ever hug of my life, she held me like her lost child, I felt water on my face and i realized i have being crying just being in her arms for the very first time i can remember, she loosed me and used her soiled hand from the farm to wipe my eyes, it will be a memory i will forever cherish, I left her to hug papa who just came in too, my heart wanted to boast with joy.
They saw Zarky and greeted him, without asking who he was, papa shaked him telling him he is welcome as mama enter kitchen with my sister to make food, papa slaughtered one of the goats for me, I was home, they have expected me every year and prayed to God to always protect me until i decided to come home, mama has said.
Neighbours and friends came, I got gifts for everyone as i instruct my brother to give them out to visitors, Ada later came back and joined my sister who was preparing fire for goat meat pepper soup, Ada was really helping out in ways i can’t imagine, I was glad i came with her, she told me she couldn’t wait for the goat meat pepper soup to be done and i laughed
Zarky was given palm wine and ugba, I told him to feel free and eat and drink, he will not be driving today again,
As the night approached, I asked Zarky if he wants to go to a hotel which was a miles away or he want to stay around, he said i should decide for him although he will like to stay around as Oga Victor instructed him to always look out for me but if there’s no room for him he will just sleep in the car instead of going far, I laughed and told him i was home there’s nothing to look out for and that he can’t sleep in the car, we can make room for him but if he wasn’t okay staying he can go go and lodge in a hotel where he will be comfortable and come back in the morning, he couldn’t decide on what he wants so i asked one of my brother to follow him and take him to a hotel, after mama has loaded him with fufu and bitterleaf soup and Papa feed him with palm win and pepper soup, he was happy and said he will Marry a wife from my village making everyone to laugh
So I later called papa and mama the following day after i have rested and told them about the marriage, they were both happy and asked if i was pregnant this one i was rushing to marry, I laughed and told them no, mama was full of questions
“is it that Hausa man (Zarky) that looks like a giant with that fine car that want to marry you…
“no mama, that’s Zarky, he is my friend and he was the person that brought me and Ada home,
“ah…eeyah…God bless him, hope he didn’t charge you too much, you would have just enter normal bus, that car is a big car o, and the money you will use to do other things you will now use it to pay Zaki, although he tried by getting you home safely, but bus would have being cheaper, me, even if is leg or bicycle you came with all that matters to me is that you are fine, you are okay, you have really grown some inches and added more flesh to your wa-ist, you are my carbon copy my own Uju, if i say i didn’t miss you I will be the greatest liar on earth, I have really missed you my daughter, even if you have come back without anything i will be so glad to have you home, I know i use to be a tough mother but as i looked forward to you coming back year after year i became scared that maybe you are angry with me and didn’t want to come again, I know you did like being called Obianajunwa that was why i decided that i will not call you that again if i have another chance to see you
“I missed you too mama and you can call me Obianaujunwa, I miss you calling me that, I was ignorance then that was why i hated the name but is okay because i know better mama and I didn’t pay Zarki he was only doing his job ,, for the period i will here he will be willing to take me where ever i want to go, he is a nice person,
“eeheee, see Obinajunwa has really grown into a matured woman, hahahaha, eeeh, please i want to asked for something can Zaki take me to the women meeting at the village hall tomorrow morning, let me also enter fine car so that other people can See Me…biko nwa m. Please…
“hahahaha mama, but the meeting hall is not far from here is just four blocks away…ahh mama, no problem, let tomorrow come first….. Hmmm, so papa, mama we have a big wedding coming and your in-laws will be coming in next week for introduction then traditional marriage, the white wedding will be in Lagos and you are all coming to Lagos not with car but you will be flying in an aeroplane, so get ready, Because God has smiled on us we will renovate this house starting from tomorrow, and that oha tree please let’s cut it down it has serve us well with alot of tiger ants is time to let it go and mama please i will love to cook ukazi soup tomorrow, please on your way back help me buy something from the market square…
“aeroplane kwa…chinnnneeeekeee…onye kam bu, who I’m i that God has remembered so well…Ujunwa Biko say whatever you want and it will be done for you, oha tree will be cut down tomorrow and I will personally prepare the Ukazi soup for you…you are welcome home my daughter.
It was really getting interested, people still stop by to say hello, mama finally made the ukazi soup, my favorite, just the way i likes it, the oha tree has being cut down, bushes that are close to the house were being cleared, renovation was on going, everyone is helping out for the upcoming big day, my happiness is almost full because i can’t wait to live a happy ever after life with Victor, I’m smiling right now and i know God too was also smiling because he made everything beautiful in his own time,
Ada still comes around, just like today she has being around helping out in any way necessary, Ada will be my Chief brides maid, I have already told her and she was so happy, dancing as if she win a lottery, she cant wait for the D-Day to come,
just as everyone is looking forward to that too, in two days time Victor and his people will be here, I have missed him, just the same way he sings it to my ears any time he calls, i equally misses him and i can’t wait to be officially yoked together with him in a holy matrimony
Mama has reminded me again about Zarky going to drop her and bringing her back too from the meeting hall, I told Zarky and he was willing to do my biddings ,
mama made the ukazi soup that morning before leaving with Zarky, who she has bribe that she will find an Igbo wife for him, he was happy as mama becomes his new Paddy,
After sometime, mid afternoon I felt hungry and was salivating already just thinking of my soup, as i entered the kitchen my younger ones also followed suit, they also wanted part of the soup, so i dished for everyone, papa wasn’t around, so i made his own food and cover it in a food flask where it will still be warm when he comes back,
As i balanced to eat Ada came flying down, washing her hand that she want to eat too,vi told her to join me but she said she wanted her own just the same way i dished for my siblings, that she also want her own,
So i asked her to go and dish herself because i don’t want any disturbance, Ada left to the kitchen to serve herself, I started enjoying my food, my phone was ringing, my kid sister brought it for me, it was Victor, so I washed my hand leaving my food as I went to answer the call,
I was still on phone when Zarky drove in with mama, mama wasn’t alone, like four other women where with her, Ada’s mother inclusive, I told Victor who I was still talking with on the phone, that my mum just came in with Zarky and he said i should give her phone so that he can greet her, mama was too happy to be on phone with her soon to be son Inlaw, mama was still on phone when my three younger ones came, they all want to talk with “uncle victor” I allowed them to take their chances, victor said he can’t wait to meet them in person,
Ada’s mother was among the women that came back with mama, immediately i was done with the call i went to greet them. They hugged me and they all seem happy,
The women where sitting close to where i left my food uncovered so I moved a little bit from them close to where Ada was sitting and eating too, I continued eating without a care to the world, Ada’s mother was looking at me so i offered her some she laughed and said she was fine, i actually bought a wrapper, hand bag and shoe for her of which i gave Ada to give her plus other things Ada also bought for her, she thanked me for the things i got for her, mama served them kola, which comes in biscuits, groundnuts and malt, juice or soft drinks, depending what the person wants,
I was still eating, enjoying my meal when i felt a hærd strike below my abdomen, I presume is probably from the way i was sitting and eating, I drank some water and sat properly, the strike came again and again, I drank water again and hit my chest, is probably me eating and leaving the food to go and receive call, the food probably got choked up, I keep drinking water until I finished the drinking water in front of me,
but this time it became so deadly, my stomach was on fire, I couldn’t even stand up, something hooked me twisting all my intestines, “what is wrong with me, I started wondering within me as i held my stomach, Ada who was watching me now asked if i was okay before i could answer her the last one that sent me to the ground came like thunder storm, I fell from the chair, I was on seizure, my wh0le body shakes, I started fuming like soap in my mouth, people where shouting, mama was scre-ming, my siblings were crying, but strength was gradually leaving my body, everything around me was becoming cloudy, all I could here is “give her red oil, it looks like she has eaten poison, blood is coming out from her nose and mouth, bring red oil…bring water, bring salt…
They keep shouting orders, as I felt someone trying to pull some liquid into my mouth, some where pouring cold water, I tried again to open my eyes, but everywhere was so cloudy that i can hærdly see anybody, all i keep hearing is poison, bring this and that,
How can i eat poison, the same food mama prepared herself, I dished for myself and for my young ones, the same food Ada also ate, why are other people not affected by the poison, why me, what kind of poison is that, why is it only me that ate poison among all the people that ate the food, did the poison fall from up, who will want to poison me, how possible is that, I’m a good person, my family are good people, who will want to do such thing, what is going on….why now that everything is going on well, when everybody seem so happy with me, what kind of poison is that…when I’m planing my wedding which is taken place by next week, why is the noise reducing… Why can’t i see clearly…something is wrong
I tried to shout but nothing came out, I tried opening my eyes but I couldn’t, I was gradually loosing strength, a strong arm lifted me up from mothers arm, I presume it was Zarky, the last thing i heard was they were taking me to the hospital, and i can feel Zarky was speeding, people were crying and i can also hear mama shouting my name, I wanted to answer her and to let her know i will be fine…but I can’t make any noise.
What is happening to me, oh my God…darkness was coming with force, the noise was becoming dim, is this how dying feels like, “God please I don’t want to die, please help me Lord, I’m scared…I don’t want to die, please Lorrrrrr
I finally blacked out.
To be continued
⬅️ PREVIOUS episode