Everyday, almost ten different girls came to my house for one flimsy reason or the other. Even the ones that were not even ripe enough for marriage. In fact, my mothers had more friends and they brought in things like yam, palm oil, vegetable, bushmeat, groundnut, wrappers and the likes and tried to win my mother over so she could convince me to go for their daughters.
One particular woman was even willing to offer me her twin daughters. She even told me that I could sleep with them first to test their fertility before paying their bride price. Everything was driving me nuts that I soon began to run away from the house. I just couldn’t wait to return to the States.
One day, while driving through the village. I got pressed and decided to take a leak by the bush side. I went around my car and began to urinate into the bush when I glanced to the side and saw someone peeping at me from the back of the car. I quickly finished urinating and zipped up, wondering if one of the girls had found me.
The person peeked at me again and I frowned, ready to bolt the other way. Soon, whoever it was fully emerged, giving me a curious stare. It was a young woman and she was dressed in rags and looked so unkempt. The mad woman slowly edged towards me, sniffing the air and also turning her head here and there to scrutinize me.
I trembled where I stood as the mad woman drew closer and closer. Soon, she stopped in front of me and began to sniff my shirt. This time, my fear was replaced by curiosity. She seemed familiar. Those eyes…and those lips… “Zainab!” I blurted before I could stop myself.
That seemed to jolted her memory too. “Obim?!” She called and without hesitating, I snatched her and wrapped her in a tight hug and she began to jump a bit in joy in my arms and kept chanting: “Obim is back o… My obim is back!” I could barely say anything. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that I would get to see the love of my life again.
Then I realized that something was creating a barrier between us. When I pulled back and checked it out, my jaw dropped in shock. Zainab was pregnant. My Zainab was heavily pregnant and obviously in her third trimester.
Noticing the look on my face, she smiled and patted her bulge then said, “Baby, inside… Number four baby!” She lifted four fingers in front of her face. “Four!” She said for emphasis. “This one I keep. I keep this one o… I will not release it at all at all…” She vehemently shook her head.
“What!” I uttered, still yet to recover from my shock. “Who got you pregnant?!” I asked angrily. She scratched her head and placed a hand on her hip.
She seemed like she was trying to remember who had gotten her pregnant. Then suddenly she began to weep. “Obim, you leave… Ha… You leave me and go far far… He force me… Midnight… I sleeping… He come and force me… I get baby and he take it away… Obim he force me…” She paused and began to count on her fingers. “He force me 29 times…” She finally concluded through her tears.
To be continued…
© Angela Okoduwa