Onyinye Ubah

You sit down with your hand supporting your jaw. In recent times, your pocket has been lying shamelessly to you all through this year of pandemic. It was unimaginable that something as simple as adding one and two together has been giving you twelve, clearly different from the law of mathematics. To worsen the situation, your mother in Onitsha has been on your neck to bring home a wife to her so as to stop being the object of mockery in Ndi Iyom, her women’s village meeting. How would you explain to her that you cannot feed yourself properly in Lagos , how much more of looking for another mouth to feed in this harsh economy?

While still thinking, your girlfriend, Agnes Nwamosiso calls your phone. You refuse to pick. There isn’t any major problem between you. You only refused to pick because you still haven’t figured out what excuse to give her for failing to provide the money for her bone straight wig. To be fair on her, she has been a nice girl. Apart from her recent nagging, she is the kind of girl that you can comfortably take home to mama.

Your phone rings the second time, your heart begins to race speedily again. Luckily, it’s not Agnes Nwaomosiso. It is Obinna, your best friend. The joy in his voice over the recent happening in town is palpable. He tells you of the arrival of the Obodo oyibo men in town for Christmas. Ekene Dubai, Ike Malaysia and the famous, Edu Brazil have started performing magic with dollars and hard currencies in clubs and hotels around your village.  They make dollars rain anywhere they go. He tells you of their escapades with girls from Uga to Ukpo, Umunya to Umuchu, Neni to Nimo, Awka to Awka-etiti, Enugwu Ukwu to Enugwu Agidi. Your heart begins to race in fear of the unknown including your girlfriend. Their arrival marks the unofficial season for the usual end of the year competition of showiness among young men. Come to think of it, you have never been active in this competition of showiness. You have always been a spectator, constantly watching how the obodo oyibo men try to intimidate the home based Naija men. This competition is seen in gatherings like the annual meeting of your umunna, your kinsmen. Your only contribution to this gathering is to use your teeth to open the cork of bottles of beer for the accomplished men, of whom some are even your age mates. You are never found wanting in the forefront of cutting and sharing raw meat amongst your umunna at the Obi, usually done at the end of the meeting. The last time you tried to air your opinion on a matter during the meeting of the umunna, the chairman stood up and asked if there was anyone who had something reasonable to say and made it clear the meeting was for serious business and not foolery. Those words sent shivers down your spine and you sat down quietly. You began pleading with your ancestors to open the ground to swallow you to avoid the heavy embarrassment. It is no news that wisdom in such a gathering has a lot to do with the strength of your pocket.

Few days after, you notice that Agnes Nwaomaosiso no longer picks your calls and has not been calling you either.  You are torn between heaving a sigh of relief from her constant nagging for bone straight wig and the fact you are missing the woman you love. In the process of whiling away time, you see her pictures on Instagram wearing a bone straight wig with gold tint. You become troubled. Since the arrival of these obodo oyibo men, you have not been comfortable with her movements and body language. You zoom the picture; to your greatest shock you see some part of Ike Malaysia’s body in the picture. You raise an alarm. This is the pictorial representation that someone else has taken sleep from your eyes in broad day light. In your heart of hearts, you would have bought the bone straight wig and more for her but how can a man whose house is on fire be chasing mere rats? For many nights, you are deprived of sleep.

Every night, as soon as you close your eyes to sleep, all you hear is Agnes Nwaomaosiso’s voice screaming in hotel room 306. At first, you thought it was your name she was screaming, only to discover it is a name that starts with letter ‘I’, whereas, your name start with letter ‘A’. You listen closely to know if it is a cry of help, of which you will gladly go and rescue her even if it means putting your life on the line. No. Yes, you heard right. She is fine. She is only in the arms of the man whose name starts with an ‘I’. It is obvious he is taking a territorial charge of her rotunda waist and hips. You wake up from this nightmare breathing heavily. There are thick beads of sweat on your head. The dream is as real as reality itself. You sit up on your bed scratching your head and your beards in confusion. You know trouble is brewing. It is not just brewing, it is full blown.

Your heart break becomes fully activated when you hear rumours that her bride price will soon be paid. Is it the same Agnes Nwaomaosiso that you sat under the blue sky on some nights and playfully disagree on the names to give to your children? Is it the same girl that you have already going to the Aboki that sells jewellery to check out for her ring size? Is it the same girl that says it is either you or nobody else? The one and only girl that you always sell your dreams of how your name would soon be on Forbes’ list irrespective of your humble beginning? Unlike every other year, you could not travel to the village to celebrate Christmas. You quietly sit back in Lagos to nurse your bleeding heart. Your ears and eyes had already seen enough drama and you wouldn’t want to add more to it in the name of travelling down to the village for celebration .

January crawls in slowly with harmattan still tagging sluggishly along with it. Agnes Nwaomaosiso is nowhere to be found. It seemed the young lady has discovered a goldmine beyond her imagination. Rumours are flying in town of how the obodo oyibo men have began their disappearing acts to their base, leaving many young ladies heart broken and others with unwanted pregnancies. You push everything aside and devise some strategies to pick up yourself in the New Year, after all it’s only a heartbreak and not murder. February sets in. One bright morning, you see a missed call. You check it reluctantly to see it is. It is Agnes Nwaomaosiso. You sit up from your bed trying to figure out if it is another nightmare or your anxiety. Before you could finish wrapping your head around the story of bone straight wig which later turned into a bone of contention between both of you, the gate opens. You look through your window to see who it is. There you see your girlfriend stepping into your house. Her eyes are bereft of joviality. You couldn’t figure out exactly what it is. She has around her a cloud of gloom. Your eyes run quickly to her rotunda waist. It seems to have gathered some extra pounds of flesh around it. You are not sure if the extra pound of flesh is as a result of Christmas chicken she must have stuffed herself with or the unrefined fluid from a man’s genitals. While debating the cause of the extra pounds of flesh, your eyes are reddened as you look away in pains while contemplating if time would be able to heal and uncover some untold stories of what had happened over the past one month. Then, you remember your late grandfather’s last words:

                                    ‘One day, an egg will walk.’

Photo credit: Ezer Gallery

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