Muddled Lines

The muddled lines…

Like yesterday’s torrential rain- heavy and far reaching in it’s effects; Nnamdi is. His absence today is not devoid of the effects of his presence yesterday. Today is better and at the same time worse off because he came.


Even though I could wish that the hands of the clock retrace their ginger steps; nothing has really changed. Given the same set of circumstances, my choices would still likely be the same… blank will be my thoughts until I find remembrance in my nightmare riddled sleep. But, then that is only an unanswered prayer in as much as today is my usual visit with his mum. She remembers and is not afraid to say it…unlike me.

“What kind of a wicked daughter in-law is this? If only she had not been so stuck up and uptight- things may have turned out differently…” Lost in her soliloquoy, Mama Nnamdi did not notice her daughter inlaw’s entrance and so Uloma’s greeting went unanswered.

With a long suffering sigh , Uloma repeated her greeting and hoped her sad faced mien and full genuflection would be enough to appease Mama… She shuddered as she remembered her last visit- but for the intervention of the clan brothers who were visiting Mama Nnamdi to commiserate with her on the loss of her son, perhaps she would have been literally torn to pieces. That day, she had retrospectively regretted her acceptance of Nnamdi’s proposal the third time he asked… Her reasons for the initial refusal now justified, she could not help wishing away that day from her own short history- too bad wishes had not yet started turning to horses…

Her history with Nnamdi had not always been bad, he had been the refreshing rain that washed the earth’s dust clean off her stained heart. Now that he was gone, her parched soul refused to acknowledge the permanence of that fact. His love and tender, sensitive attention could easily have been a lift-off from a sizzling romance novel. He always knew the right words to say and followed it up with appropriate action. Then, he proposed and like the good girl she had always been, she rushed home to Mama with the news. Mama’s carefully deliberate questions were what she expected- so it had been done to her sisters before her.  Her family was peculiar, they could only marry from select members of their community. Growing up, they had been taught never to accept any man, until they had come home to verify his suitability.

All her sisters had been lucky, their suitors passed the test. Nnamdi did not. Mama’s sad frown and the shaking of the head had alerted her to the possibility even before Mama said the dreaded N word – NO. Like a death knell, it sealed the destiny of their Romeo-Juliet tale. So, she had rejected him until he wore her defences down with his calm “can-do” trait. Truly, he made good on his promise – she could only imagine what he told his people that saw them trooping in single file to begin the marriage proceedings.

Even as his customary goodnight kiss on the night of their traditional wedding rites stepped up a notch till she could palpably feel the desire coursing through his veins; it had been the N word rising from somewhere within her that she had now grown to hate that halted them. If only she had not…

Nnamdi had been an only son, so his death left his mother childless, while her marriage to him was as yet only in name. No one could really blame her, since most people in the town also agreed that the church wedding rites completed the marriage process- which meant that until the dotted lines were signed in church, they were not expected to consummate the union. But, of course as always a few people believed otherwise and those were the major advocates of her crucifixion. Her  Osu status only made things worse; as one of them wickedly pointed out- ” you broke the conventions of the land and you expect the gods to take it casually? “.

“What do you want here again? Are you not satisfied with the evil  you have brought to me?” Mama Nnamdi’s harsh voice broke her out of her reverie and she shook her head sadly and attempted another knee on the floor in an unwanted peace offering. Her case had become the proverbial ostrich’s , herself fully stuck in an unwanted home where her very presence brought tears, curses and pain- yet who could break the bond?

The Igba ukwu rites had been completed so whether or not she liked it, she was a full fledged member of the family. But, none of the eligible relatives had been willing so far to step into her Nnamdi’s larger than life shoes. Oh, for a Boaz- rescuer of downtrodden females!…

Copyright – Onaoluwa Abimbola 2014


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