AMAZING LOVE - Episode 13

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The group of young people led Eka to a tailor shop where she would have her clothe woven. The samples of work done in the shop pleased ...

The group of young people led Eka to a tailor shop where she would have her clothe woven. The samples of work done in the shop pleased her and so she was glad to give them her clothe. Due to the volume of work they had to do in the shop, Ekaete could not pick up her clothe that day. She was told to come back the next day by twelve noon. Eka left with her bevy of new acquaintances and headed home. At the gate they all exchanged greetings and Eka went in to go cook up the storm Dr. Gerry requested. For a moment she stood in the kitchen and wondered what to cook. She felt going native would be just fine, so she settled to make a pot of Egusi soup. Everything she needed was in the house, except for vegetables. On her way to go have her clothe woven, she had seen a miniature market on a street typical of most West African streets.

She walked down to the market to buy the vegetables she needed. Eka intended not to waste time in the market. She was minded to make a quick work of her cooking so she could devote her time to planning her new sewing business. When she made her way into the section of the market where soup condiments were sold, all the women began to call at her at the same time, “Oyinbo pickin (foreign child) come and buy from me!” “Sunshine I have what you want. Come and buy Okporoko (stockfish) from me. I have some as beautiful as you are!” “Come and buy red oil (palm oil) from me! Ada (young maiden), I have a son as good looking as you are. In fact the two of you are to-match.” The barrage of requests to buy from them and the words the women used to describe her got Eka overwhelmed. She turned and bumped into the shop in front of her and began to make her buys.

“Madam, how much is that ugu (pumpkin leaf?)” Eka asked. “My daughter it is fifty Naira only. How many should I cut for you?” “I don’t want it cut, give me two. How do you sell your uzuza (local spicy vegetable)?” “It is up to you. If you want to buy a quantity as low as thirty Naira I can sell to you.” “Can I see the quantity for fifty Naira?” The petty trader raised a tuft of uziza leaves and shook them in the air and said, “This much is for fifty Naira.” “That is just the much I want. I will take.” Eka took it from the woman and put it into the nylon bag where she had put the ugu leaves. While she bought the things she needed from the trader, the women in that section continued to talk about her beauty and to call her to buy from them. “Mama Jeremiah, when she is done buying from you please send her this way. My red oil is just what she needs for her hair to keep shining,” said one of the traders. “Baby oku (hot baby), I have sweet fufu, please buy from me, I have not sold anything today!” “Mama Silas you dey lie (you are lying!) I saw you sell a black nylon full of fufu! Allow the girl to buy from me biko (please!) Eka was done buying, but the women were calling her to buy several stuffs from them. She asked the woman who sold the vegetable how much her money was, so she could pay and dash out of the market.

“Sorry sisi (young lady), your money has been paid.” Eka was shocked and so asked the woman, “Who paid for what I bought?” “The man behind your back.” Eka turned and saw a tall, fair skinned man, grinning from ear to ear at her. “Who are you? And why did you pay for what I bought?” “Don’t be offended beautiful, how do you expect me to allow a wonder woman like you to pay for the things you bought when I am around? The angels of God would be unhappy with me, because you are one of them.” Eka ignored him and his lines; she turned to the petty trader and asked, “Please madam, how much is your money, I want to pay?” The petty trader leaned forward and whispered to Eka, “Aunty, please let him pay, I will get more money from him.” Eka turned and stormed away from the woman’s table. She walked very fast to make sure the man couldn’t catch up with her. But she was wrong, the man ran after her and pleaded, “Please don’t treat me like this. All I want is to know your name and number. Believe me, I saw you in my dream last night.” Eka yelled at him like a rabid dog, “Can’t you see I am only a child?!!!” The man was frozen and could not say another word. After Eka had put some distance between him and the man, the man whispered to himself, “I have made an angel of God angry.”

When Eka got home, she painstakingly prepared the soup, so as to impress Dr. Gerry. She had no idea Christy, Dr. Gerry’s sister, was coming to visit them that evening. When Eka was done cooking, she memorized what happened in the market that day; she intended to narrate it, with some drama, to Dr. Gerry.  About 5:00 pm Dr. Gerry returned with his sister in his company. When Eka heard a knock at the door she ran happily to go get the door and start her narrative of that what happened in the market and the man she met. When she opened the door, her mouth froze and her heart skipped several beats. Christy could not move either, she wanted to but her feet chose not to comply. Eka and Christy stared at each other for what seemed eternity. Dr. Gerry had to ask them, “Do you two know each other?” Christy found her voice first, “Gerald, you only told me half the truth! She is beautiful beyond words.” Succinctly, Dr. Gerry responded, “Perhaps that was why I could not describe her aptly to you.” With her heart still pounding away against her ribcage, Eka asked Dr. Gerry with a stuttering speech, “Dr. Gerry, is… she… is she your girlfriend we have been waiting for?”
Christy stretched forth her hand toward Eka; languidly Eka shook her hand, still waiting for an answer to her question. Finally she was put out of her misery, “Ekaette, I have heard so much about you; and frankly nothing I was told comes close to what my eyes can see now. I am Christy, Dr. Gerry’s sister.” Eka took a loud sigh of relief and a smile crossed her face. “Aunty Christy you are welcome,” Eka said at last. As the three of them entered the flat with Eka in front, Christy reached out and felt the texture of Ekaette’s hair. “What is this thing Ekaette? Is it hair?” Eka turned and asked, “What?” “The stuff on your head is it hair?” “Yes it is my natural hair.” “Natural!!!” repeated Christy loudly. “Are one of your parents from abroad?” “Hahaha! Aunty, stop teasing me. None of my parents have been to Lagos before much less being from outside the country. I was born this way.” Christ grabbed Eka and held her head under the light and rummaged to get to her scalp. She was shocked to see it was real and then her eyes fell on her skin. She ran her hand about three times on Eka’s skin and asked, “What cream and soap do you make use of? They must cost a fortune.” “I use the same soap as Dr. Gerry. I think it is Lifebouy. I don’t know the name of the cream I use; I found it in my room when I came here.”

“Christy give Eka some breathing space. Eka I am famished did you cook anything.” Dr. Gerry really wasn’t that hungry, he wanted Christy to see how good a cook Eka was. Eka, slowly returning to her usual funny self said to Dr. Gerry, “Breathe the air and you will get a whiff of the meal I made.” Dr. Gerry inhaled the air and said, “You prepared soup, didn’t you?” Eka started laughing. While they played, Christ keenly observed the two of them. She could see the friendliness and the spark between them. But Eka was young, too young for her brother. When Eka left for the kitchen Dr. Gerry went after her and whispered, “She is the one who gave you the sewing machine. Forgive me; I should have mentioned it earlier.” Eka returned and knelt on the floor to thank Christy. Christ was tall, shapely and strong; with two hands she pulled Eka from the floor and said,” Don’t do that, you will stain yourself, when you want to thank God, you can roll on the floor. I don’t deserve it. I know you want to thank me for the sewing machine, it is nothing. Go serve the food. You and I have got to chat.” Christy was also keen to taste Ekaette’s food.

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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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AMAZING LOVE - Episode 13 An African Literary Blog
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