AMAZING LOVE - Episode 16

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Eka having heard them came out to the balcony and the girl said to her mother, “This is her! Mo...

Eka having heard them came out to the balcony and the girl said to her mother, “This is her! Mommy this is my new tailor!” The girl was excited to see Eka. The woman’s jaw dropped at the sight of Eka. She looked at her from head to toes back and forth.  While the woman remained amazed by Ekaette’s beauty, Kingsley came out from the dining and said to the woman’s daughter, “Mary I beat you to it, I am the first she will make clothes for.” “Oh! Kingsley! You are here too,” observed the woman. “Yes ma, Ekaette is making clothes for me.” The woman cleared her throat and asked, “Okay, please can I see what you have done before?” Eka stuttered; Christy stepped forward and said, “We don’t have them in the house, they are at the shop. By tomorrow evening we will get some for you to see.” “It’s okay. Mary, give her those materials and let her take your measurement.” “Madam, you can come in with your daughter,” said Christy. Mary excitedly followed her mother into the flat. When they were seated, Eka painstakingly took Kingsley’s measurement and wrote them down on Dr. Gerry note pad on the dining table. Kingsley didn’t want to leave immediately he wanted to hang around a while and bask in the euphoria of being close to Eka. Christy wanted to make sure everything worked well, so she stood by and watched Eka.

She was surprised to see the questions Ekaette asked Mary about the fashion she wanted and how she wanted her clothes made. Even Mary’s mother was pleased. There was nothing to show she taught herself the art of sewing. When Eka was done, Mary’s mother observed, “It is hard to see nowadays girls of your age who have your figure and beauty being serious in such ventures. It is either they are chasing men or men are chasing them. I am really impressed, young girl. What is your name?” “Ekaette Efiong.” “You are very pretty; no wonder Mary wouldn’t let me rest. I can’t wait to see the dress you have made for someone else.” “I have some in my phone ma,” Christy said. “Please let me see,” Mary’s mother requested. “These are some of the designs she is capable of. You have no need to doubt her.” “Oh my God! Do you mean that she made these designs?” “Madam, you have seen nothing yet, wait till she gets into her groove, she is only just starting.” “Where is your shop please?” “You don’t need to come to the shop, Ekaette has finished her apprenticeship, and will be working from home now.” “I have really been enticed with what you have shown me. If Mary’s dresses come out this good, you will have won me over.” “Don’t worry ma, they will come out just right,” Ekaette assured her. “So how much is your money?” “Just two thousand five hundred Naira per dress,” replied Christy.

“Ah ah! I was expecting an amount less than that. So how much are you going to charge Kingsley for his school uniform, if you are charging Mary this much?” “Kingsley’s money is just one thousand Naira.” “That was the much I expected you to charge my daughter, she is just a teenage girl!” “Madam, if Mary brings a material for her school uniform, we will charge her one thousand Naira. The clothes she wants to make are not school uniform,” Eka explained further. “I will decide whether to pay the money or not when I see the samples you will bring for me by tomorrow. Your prices are on the high side, Mary’s tailor charges us between one thousand eight hundred Naira and two thousand Naira.” “Okay ma, we will get you the dresses by tomorrow evening.” “Don’t worry Eka, my mum will pay the money,” said Mary. “Shut up Mary! Are you the one to give me the money? Don’t mind her Eka, I can get home now and change my mind.” They all cackled and Mary and her mother left. Kingsley gave Eka one thousand Naira and ran off to meet up with Mary and her mother.

“Thanks a lot Aunty Christy for helping me. You know I would have either overcharged them or undercharged them. You made me look good before Mary and her mother.” “It is nothing Eka. The good thing is that your business has started. I am thrilled for you.” “Christy will you sew the clothes by yourself?” asked Dr. Gerry. “No way! Eka will sew all of them. The only exception is that she will make the clothes in my shop. Just so if she needs help in some way, we will help her. If we impress this woman and her daughter, they will bring Eka lots of customers… Eka, did you dish the soup for me? I want to be on my way home now.” “Yes I did, let me go package it for you. Eka dashed into the kitchen. Christy dragged Dr. Gerry into his bedroom and asked, “What were you thinking when you said to Eka you would be glad if she lets you share her heart with her for the rest of her life?” “I had to say something real and meaningful to her. If she decides to hold me by my words, I will be most glad to fulfill them.” “Gerald, please be reasonable, she is only a child.” “Oh come on Christy, I am not going to propose to her.” “You already have! She is a teenager and will remember what you said for a long time to come. She believed you when you said those words.”

“Don’t worry Christy, I will take care of that, I promise.” “Whatever you do, please make sure you don’t hurt her. You have seen what she has gone through.” “It is okay Christy, stop acting like mama. Eka is in good hands!” The two of them went back to the living room and met Ekaette already hard at work on Kingsley’s school uniform. “Aunty Christy, there is the soup; I have packaged it for you.”  “Don’t forget you will come to my shop by tomorrow, there are a few things I will like to teach you about sewing.” “Okay, I guess Dr. Gerry will bring me over to your shop.” “Yes he will. See you tomorrow.” “Good bye Aunty.” Dr. Gerry accompanied Christy to the bus top, while Eka went back to cutting Kingsley’s school uniform. Dr. Gerry did not take up to ten minutes before he returned, but those ten minutes seemed like eternity to Eka. She probably stepped out of the dining about three times to check if he was coming. Her heart beat fast, the words Dr. Gerry said to her when she was crying in her room had grown in meaning and size and was drumming away at her heart. She could not wait to hear him clarify his meaning a bit. If Eka had a mobile phone she would have buzzed Dr. Gerry severally to come back. Then she heard his footsteps at the balcony, they were unmistakable and heart sunk into her stomach. To think that the man she had dreamt of as her own, has even thought of making a wife out of her, made her heart palpitate with a sweet rhythm.

“Eka have you seen how one’s life can change in a moment? A few minutes before your customers came, you were in tears. Now look at the perspective, possibilities, their coming has created.” Eka was less interested in what Dr. Gerry had to say. Her eyes were fixed on his eyes, searching and probing those eyes to know what was in his heart. “Can I ask you a question sir?” “Go ahead Eka.” Eka stood up and took his hands. She stood so close to him that Dr. Gerry could feel her breath and sense her heart beat. That moment Dr. Gerry knew he was in some trouble for what he might have said. “You said some things to me back then in my room, did you mean them?” Before Eka could finish asking her question, Dr. Gerry was already thinking of a way to wriggle out of his fix. “Eka I meant what I said. You are a wonderful girl, but my only challenge is that you are still a child. It will take quite some time for me to act on those words of mine.” “It will take four years.” “So you have been counting?” “I have been counting almost every night…” “Every night? Eka nodded and let go of his hands and sat back on her sewing stool. “What is it now?” “I am scared stiff that before I am done growing up, you will find a woman that befits you, I am only a child.” Dr. Gerry counted four years on his fingers and for once they seemed like a few days to him.

“Eka, you are not fourteen, you are actually in your fifteenth year. When is your birthday?” “March 8th.” “You see I don’t have to wait for you for four full years, we are in October right now, by March next year you will be fifteen!” Eka smiled, but nonetheless a wry smile. She was afraid of what might happen before she turned eighteen. All through that night Eka lay awake on her bed, wondering if there was some way to make the years run faster. Before he slept, Dr. Gerry promised himself that he would wait for Eka even if it be for many more years. He slept with a smile on his face. Just when sleep had begun to exact itself on Eka’s eyes, she caught a whiff of that same evil perfume. She startled out of her half sleep and saw her grandmother standing in the dark and extending to her an old, dirty necklace made from native materials. Eka tried to shout the name of Jesus, but her tongue seemed stuck to the roof of her mouth; she could only pray in her heart, calling to God for help. Her grandmother said to her, “It is your turn now, embrace it.” The old woman took a step toward her to put the necklace on her neck, and just then, Eka’s tongue loosened and she yelled, “Jesus!!”

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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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AMAZING LOVE - Episode 16 An African Literary Blog
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