Moxie (7)

 

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“Nne Ekene, how is your day going?”

“Nne Ekene, won’t you greet your friend again?”

“Which friend?” Nne Ekene hissed

“Leave my way you cursed woman”, she continued as she brushed past Oriaku

Oriaku was rendered immobile by her friend’s hatred. She continued to stare at Nne Ekene’s back until she retreated out of sight.

She quietly walked back to her stall blinded by unshed tears

It had been two days since her daughter Nnedi’s disappearance. She hoped and prayed that Nnedi was fine wherever she was.

The sun was already high up in the sky and Oriaku had not sold a single item since morning. The day before wasn’t any different.

She started to gather her wares together. Better to sit at home than waste time here doing nothing. Everyone avoided her stall as if she had contracted an incurable disease. Just then a couple of girls Nnedi’s age sashayed past and one whispered to the other audibly,

“See the mother of the murderess”

“Yes oh”, replied the other before they both burst into laughter

Oriaku quickly secured her wares and locked her stall. Even as she trudged home she could feel the eyes of the townspeople boring through her back. She could hear their mocking giggles and not so subtle whispers.

She met her husband and her father-in-law staring at the floor when she walked into the sitting room. She greeted them both and went to Chidi’s room to check on him.

“Why did you lie to me, Mama?”

Oriaku was taken aback by Chidi’s outburst

“How did you know?”

“I got up to sit by the window when I overheard Nma and Isi talking about it”

“Who told you to get up?” Oriaku asked feigning anger

How could she explain to her teenage son that she didn’t tell him because she was trying to shield him from pain? How could she tell him that with his surgery date so close she was worried that something could go wrong?

“I did not want to upset you my son” she said instead

“You are all that I have now”

*****************************************************************

Oriaku heard the shouting just as she was putting finishing touches to supper that evening. She stepped out of the kitchen to behold Mama Chimezie

“The things you bought on credit to send your disgrace of a daughter to kill a peace loving man must be paid for immediately”, she barked

“But I don’t have your money yet”, Oriaku replied conciliatorily

“Pay me my money now”, she yelled

“Mama Chimezie, have mercy on me. You of all people know that my family and I have been through a lot these past few days. I promise to pay as soon as the month ends”

“If you know what is good for you, better go and find out what is wrong with your family to warrant your horrible luck”, Mama Chimezie jeered

“Let me just pity you, I will be back at the end of the month”, she said stomping away

***************************************************************

Ihenacho’s brothers, Okoye, Nwafor and Orji were seated in his living room discussing their brother’s funeral arrangements. Okoye as the eldest male family member after Ihenacho presided over the gathering. Other family members from their extended family were present as well. The women and children were still in their private quarters.

With the burial plans concluded, Okoye braved it to Chinwe’s room. He knocked on the door, his throat dry.

“Come in”, came the muffled reply from within

Okoye entered. His brother’s wife was seating on the floor clad in nothing but a black wrapper tied over her chest. Her eldest daughter Adanna was beside her on the floor

The black wrapper Chinwe tied across her chest revealed the upper part of her breasts. Okoye’s breath quickened with suppressed desire as he felt a stirring in his loins.

He cleared his throat, “Chinwe, I came to see how you are faring”

“I am husbandless and my children are fatherless. But we are managing”, she sobbed.

“Do not speak like that”, Okoye chided.

“My brothers and I are here to take care of you. Whatever Ihenacho has is ours. His responsibilities are also our responsibilities now that he is gone. We have just concluded the funeral arrangements. Everything has been taken care of”

“Thank you”, replied Chinwe.

Okoye turned to go. In the darkened corridor, he struggled to adjust his trousers to accommodate the bulge between his legs before he joined his brothers in the living room.

*************************************************************

There were seven other girls sleeping on the floor on wrappers. She found a tiny corner to spread her wrapper and wait out the night. As soon as it was daybreak, Nnedi thanked her host for the night and made her way into the streets of Onitsha.

She headed straight for the Lorry Park. She asked the people in the park if they had seen Ik that morning. Nobody had seen him so she decided to sit under a tree and wait for him.

She bought a plate of food from a vendor with the money she got from the wiry man the previous night. Nnedi waited and waited. She had almost given up hope of seeing him when she saw his lorry roll into the park.

Her face lit up in a smile as she made her way through the crowd to meet him. She threw her arms round him and shrieked in delight. Even in the twilight, she could see the look of astonishment on his face as he allowed himself to be gathered in her embrace.

“What are you doing here”, he asked

“Please let us go home”, she replied tugging at his arm

He locked the doors of the lorry and they set off

Home for Ik consisted of very tiny room with a mattress on the floor. A line hung along the length of the room served as a clothes hanger. There were nine tiny rooms altogether in the compound served by a single well in the middle, there was no kitchen. Some of the neighbours had kerosene stoves by their doors which they used for cooking. The bathroom and toilet were situated at the back of the building.

“This is all I have to offer you”, he said meekly

She smiled. It will do she thought to herself

She excused herself and went to the bathroom to take a bath and when she returned Ik was nowhere to be found. She quickly dressed up and lay on the bed waiting for him. When he returned, he handed her a bowl of the tastiest rice and stew she had eaten in her entire life.

“Let me go and take my bath while you eat”, he offered

Ik had a transistor radio. He put the radio on and listened intently to the news. Nnedi wondered why someone so young was interested in politics and what happened in government. After the news, the radio station began to play music; a funky, high-life tune. Ik turned down the volume a bit and got into the bed beside her

She let her hand rest on his thigh and slid it up gently. He caught her hand and caressed it carefully for what seemed like an eternity. Nnedi leaned in and kissed him on the lips as her hands grew more insistent.

“Are you sure”, Ik asked breathlessly

Nnedi nodded

He gathered her in his arms and held her tightly. He kissed her face, her eyes, her ears and her neck until he got to her taut nipples. When he claimed one in his mouth she moaned softly. From her nipples, he continued downwards.  His velvety tongue connected with her moist center, causing Nnedi to let out a cry of pleasure.

Ik’s ministrations were even better than her classmate Peter’s, she thought. Peter had used his fingers down there but Ik was using his tongue and she felt like she was flying on unseen wings. For a brief second Ihenacho’s crude lovemaking crossed her mind but she quickly set the thought aside.

Finally spent and in each other’s arms, Nnedi rested her head on his chest listening to the steady thump of his heartbeat. She hoped that he had not fallen asleep already.

She ventured, “Ik, please can you take a message to my parents in Umuaku?”

“Anything for you”, he slurred half asleep

Nnedi smiled in the dark

moxie, dawanspeaking, dawan ejomah, fiction, series

 

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