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Kelechi was waiting under a tree on the path to the stream. Since he returned from university...

Kelechi was waiting under a tree on the path to the stream. Since he returned from university for the holidays, he had been looking for an opportunity to make his feelings known to Ifeoma. He could see Ifeoma and her friend Oluchi trekking down the hill with plastic containers in hand. He rehearsed his lines as much as he could. His hands were sweaty. His heart was going like a rocket. He could hear sounds that existed only in his mind. As soon as they reached his waiting point, he lumbered into action.

Kelechi: Hello beautiful ladies!

Ifeoma and Oluchi: Hi Kelechi, how are you?

Kelechi: I am fine thank you. Please Oluchi, do you mind if I have a tête-à-tête with Ifeoma.

They both looked at him in confusion, unaware of what language he was speaking.

Kelechi: Please give me some time to have a chat with Ifeoma.

Oluchi: Oh, is that what you mean? No problem. Ifeoma meet me at the stream.

Ifeoma: See you there.

Kelechi: Ify my baby. I am flabbergasted to see you.

Ifeoma: Fla what? Your tire went flat and you have no gas? Do you have a car now?

Kelechi: No Ify…I mean, seeing you makes me thrilled and discombobulated.

Ifeoma: Disco? No, my mother has told me to stop going to disco parties. Sorry I can’t make it.

Kelechi: Ify my baby, I just want to express my love for you. You see, you are the….the what of my eye? Help me Ify. You know the fruit now...that Oyibo man (Whiteman’s) fruit.

Ifeoma: I only know mango, guava, paw-paw, orange, banana, coconut, and pear.

Pressure was getting the better of Kelechi, but he dug in deep searching his mind for the answer.

Kelechi: You are mentioning local, inconsequential fruits. Don’t worry; I will remember it at some point. By the way, I want to show you that my heart is filled with gargantuan love for you.

Ifeoma: What was that you said? Gagani ogwu? (A hungry, skinny fellow?) I thought of that the moment I saw you. You lost weight. Don’t they feed you well at university? Please I don’t want a gagani ogwu. We are already poor, so I would like to snag a man with some flesh on his bones…and in his pocket too.

Kelechi: Ify baby, you are misconstruing my grammatical eloquence and intellectual acumen.

Ifeoma: I biakwaa ozo (there you go again). Did you say aki oyibo (coconut)? Kelechi no!!! I am too good a girl for aki oyibohaba (come on)!

Kelechi: No, Ifeoma my baby! You need to appreciate the monstrosity of my affection for you
Ifeoma: Really? You have motor car now?

Kelechi: Ify baby, you are still not getting the multitude of...

Ifeoma: Ewoo! Kelechi what did you say? Ndi mmuo na eti udu??? (Evil spirits beating drums???) In this our own village or in the city where you go to university? Kelechi have you joined a secret cult in the university?

Kelechi: Ify baby mellow down to understand me. In my heart, there is a bottomless abyss of love for you and you alone.

Ifeoma: Nso!! (Abomination!!) I have heard our pastor mention that one – bottomless abyss. It is where the devil lives. Not you and I. I am not going there with you Kelechi.

Kelechi: Ifeoma baby, when will you wake up to the reality of the day?
Ifeoma: Kelechi I am here with you oh!! I am not asleep at all. I can hear you very well even though you confuse me.

Kelechi: That is what I am saying Ify my baby…

Ifeoma: Why are you calling me baby? I am not an infant oh!! Is it because I am not in university with you?

Kelechi: No Ify, it means you are my baby.

Ifeoma: Nso!! (Abomination!!) Do you know what you are saying? Me, your baby? Come on Kelechi. I may not be as smart as you university students, but I know from my biology class that a man cannot conceive a child now!!! Secondly, how can a grown up girl like me be your baby?

Kelechi: Ify my baby, I am only trying to communicate the extent of my emotional and psychological higgledy-piggledy whenever I see you.

Ifeoma: Kelechi you can’t insult me to my face like that now! How can you call me pig with something else added to it to make it look like it is not pig? But actually, you have called me a pig.

Kelechi: Ify baby…

Ifeoma: Please stop calling me an infant. The fact that I am not in university does not mean I have the brain of an infant!!!

Kelechi: Ify please relax. I just want to say that you are the… Wait, I am coming.

Ifeoma: Please don’t be long. Oluchi is waiting for me at the stream.

Kelechi: I won’t be long.

Kelechi walked to the other side of the road and placed a quick call to his friend Magnus, who had coached him on grammatical expressions for the on-going encounter with Ifeoma. Magnus did not take his call. Kelechi tried a few more times, but there was no response. Reluctantly he called Igbokwe, another friend. “Igbo, please my brain is letting me down. I have forgotten most of the things I memorized in preparation for a grammatical conquest of Ifeoma’s heart.” He spoke in a low tone to keep her from hearing. “Can you finish this sentence for me please…you are the…of my eyes. What fruit goes in that dash? I really need this one to finish off my work on her brain.” “Eeeem!!!” Igbokwe pondered the question. “Avocado?” Igbokwe suggested timidly. “You are a bush man Igbokwe. I mean an oyibo man fruit!” He hung up and went back to Ifeoma.

Kelechi: Ify, I just want to tell you that I love you.

Ifeoma: Is that what you have been trying to say all afternoon?

Kelechi: Yes Ify. I really love you. Will you be my girlfriend?

Ifeoma: Thanks Kelechi. I will think about your proposal.

Kelechi: I will be expecting your answer soon, then.

Ifeoma: No problem.

Kelechi: Let me walk you to the stream.

Ifeoma: Thank you!

She was smiling from ear to ear as they walked along the road to the stream. Kelechi had taken her empty plastic gallon from her as he sought to drive home the extent of his love to her.

Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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