Yesterday I decided to start a miniseries centered on love. In other words, a good old love story. I love writing fiction even though it’s much harder for me but the hardest of all is the love story thing.
Unfortunately, my laptop and network issues conspired to prevent me from posting this yesterday. I’ll therefore be posting two installments (hopefully) today. Enjoy the first part of Maduforo and Chinwe’s love story.
The compound was littered with leaves from the almond, orange and pawpaw trees even though she’d told her daughter to sweep the compound the minute she got back from school. It was about four pm and a good two hours since the girl must have gotten back from school.
She tapped her foot as she stood in the middle of the compound and surveyed the mess.
Her voice rang out like thunder and the young girl who’d started shaking when she heard the sound of the gate bolted out of the house.
“Good evening Ma” she stammered.
“So you were inside and waiting for me to come and greet you ehn kwa?”
“No ma, I was reading my book for our test tomorrow”
“I’m talking and you are talking, is that what they asked you to be doing that your sukul that my husband sent you to?”
Chinwe studied the pattern that an earthworm was making on the earth and silently prayed that her mother would not remember the unswept compound.
“Look at my compound looking like a goat shed, did I not tell you to sweep this compound when you returned.”
“You did Ma.”
“Every morning, I tell you the same thing yet you always forget because of book. But you don’t forget to eat or drink water okwa ya?”
“Take this bag, remove the meat and smoke it lightly. If you like let it burn and you will see if I give you any food for a week.”
“Thank you Ma” She grabbed the bag and ran to the kitchen before her mother could remember another offence.
“Good evening Mma”
“Good evening Mpa”
The young man who approached the couple was wearing a green pair of trousers and a white shirt with a black belt holding the slightly large trousers to his waist. There was wide parting on the light side of his tidy afro, the parting was the rage among the educated men in Lagos and Maduforo was the first person to have that parting in the whole town. He had just returned from Ibadan where he was studying medicine.
“Evening nwam” the man replied while his wife grunted.
“Is Chinwe around? I brought some books for her to read” he unconsciously swung the bag he was carrying.
“She’s inside with her brothers, you can go and see them” the man responded.
When the boy went into the house, the woman turned to her husband with fire in her eyes.
“Mrs please what have I done again?” he asked
“Master I don’t like this boy and his visits to our compound to see Chinwe”
“But he comes with books for her” her husband cut in.
“Is she the only girl in this town that he will only bring books to her? Tell him to stop visiting us.”
“But I can’t tell him that, you know that Isiguzo his father is my closest friend and Chi is the most intelligent girl in this parts. Matilda, she is probably the only person who can reason with him at the same intellectual level”
“All that one is story, Chinwe is going to be a sister and I don’t want this wandering he-goat to spoil my plans. His parents have started smiling at me strangely and extended unwarranted friendliness towards me, I hope they won’t come here to look for a flower that they did not plant” she countered.
“Let us worry about that when the time comes, Chinwe will have to make her choices herself.”
“You’re too soft on her, how can you say she’ll make her choices, what does she know that she wants to choose.”
“Woman keep quiet and allow me enjoy fresh air”
Just before they retired for the night, Matilda went to Chinwe’s room and asked her to bring out all Maduforo had brought for her. She peered at the books suspiciously but she couldn’t find anything to criticize based on their exterior, she couldn’t say the same about the contents because she couldn’t read.
“Keep the books well Chinwe, so that you can give it back to him before he goes back.”
Chinwe said nothing, she simply bent her head and looked at the ground.
“ I hope there is nothing going on between you and that boy, remember that you were promised to God at birth to serve him, you will become Sister and I will be Mama Sister the blessed woman.”
“Let it be as you have said”. She told her mother. Matilda left the room to join her husband outside, muttering to herself as she walked.
Later that night, Chinwe ran her fingers over the jar of pomade and set of combs that she had hidden from her mother. Maduforo had brought her the latest scented pomade and the beautiful set of ivory combs at Onitsha. The combs were too beautiful to be used on her hair, she planned to admire them every day because her hair was not worthy of soiling the pristine glory of the combs. She’d use the pomade sparingly too so that her mother wouldn’t sniff it on her and ask why she smelled like a harlot.
She smiled at the thought of her mother’s shock when she’d discover that Maduforo was going to marry her. She’d told her father of his intentions to marry her when he finished his studies and he had told her not to tell her mother until the time was ripe for telling. Marrying Madu would make her the happiest woman in the world and she was willing to sacrifice her mother’s dream for her happiness.
“Sister Chinwe indeed” was her last thought before she closed her eyes.