AMAZING LOVE - Episode 18

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Determined to show she had come a long way in sewing, Eka poured all her attention into the of making the clothe. Christy’s apprentic...

Determined to show she had come a long way in sewing, Eka poured all her attention into the of making the clothe. Christy’s apprentices stood by and watched her labour on the clothe; Eka could hear them wondering in whispers, “What is a girl as fine as she is, wasting her time making clothes for?”  Minutes dragged into hours, and finally Eka stood up from the sewing machine with her clothe design all sewn up. She asked for Electric iron and straightened the clothe. Both Christy and her apprentices were impressed with the details of her sewing. Christy could see Eka’s taste for expressing details in her work, she was meticulous and it showed in her sewing. Christy taught her a few more things she felt Eka should know and generously commended her sewing skill, “Eka, I am really impressed, if you stay this focused and willing to work hard and improve yourself, soon I will not only send you customers, but will do some projects together with you.” “Thank you aunty!” “Ema! What happened, I hope your baby is fine now?” Christy asked her sister, Ema, who just arrived at her shop. “My baby was fine all along. I wasted money going back to my house. Don’t mind my husband, each time my baby cries, he concludes that the baby is about to die.” “So it was nothing?” “Christy, it was absolutely nothing. My baby woke up and began to cry, that was all. This is Ekaette right?” “Damn! The girl is fine!”

“Eka, this is my younger sister Ema,” said Christy. “Aunty Ema you are welcome.” “Thank you Ekaette. Girl, you are fine! Next time I get pregnant, you will spend the whole nine months with me. I would like this beauty to rob off on one of my children. Your appearance makes it seem that the rest of were mass produced while you got all the attention from God.” Eka blushed and bowed her head in a subdued laugh at what Ema said.  Turning to her sister, Ema whispered, “Gerald do win lottery o (Gerald has won a lottery).” “That is what NK wants to take from us.” Dragging her sister into her office, Ema asked, “So what is the plan now? Is Gerald going to do anything about Eka becoming part of the family?” “Come on Ema! That is too early for now. Didn’t you see very well? Eka is still a young girl!” “I know she is sixteen, but she…” “No Ema. Eka is fourteen!” “Are you kidding me?! She doesn’t look it! But if we keep waiting, won’t someone else take her from us?” “That is why you and I need to deal with NK. I know she would like to snatch Eka for her lawmaker friend from behind our back.” “NK won’t be our only problem; there will be many more like her. You have to be ready to fight them off every week. Don’t forget we are keeping an underage girl without her parents’ consent. If people get wind of it, they will go straight to her parents.

“If they threw her away based on spurious claims, imagine what they would do if someone gave them a little money to claim we abducted her.” “Her parents threw her away! What exactly is your point?” “This is my point Christy; and I feel you might not like it, but it is my point nonetheless. We should take Eka to go see her parents and let them know she is living with us, has begun a business of her own, which we started for her of course and is happy to live with us.” “What will that achieve?” “It will achieve a lot. You said she is fourteen, from my quick math; she won’t be ready for marriage until the next four fears. That is a long time and let me ask you, do you know what will happen in the next four years? NK is already sniffing around and what other people will do? We don’t know yet.” Christy pondered Ema’s words and said, “I hate the idea of going to see her parents now. They don’t deserve to see Eka for the rest of their lives. I only want to see them when Gerald is ready to pay her dowry. In fact I hate them! Can we talk about this later? Right now I can’t hold the thought of going to see Eka’s parents in my head. They are evil!” “Christy you are not thinking along with me. You just said her parents are evil. Let me ask you, do you know what fifty thousand Naira can make them say in a police station?” “Ema, if you want me to say yes to going to see her parents, forget it! I am not for it right now.” “If that’s how you want it, fine. But I hope we won’t regret this decision someday.”

About thirty minutes later Ema and Christy put Eka in a taxi and sent her home. They did not see it, just after Eka’s taxi took a left turn from the street on which Christy’s shop was located, another taxi followed Eka. In the taxi was NK. She wanted to know where Eka was living and to make her an offer she hoped would turn her head. When Eka got home she slowly passed Faustina’s apartment, hoping to catch a glimpse of her or her husband, but there was no one in the flat. She gave herself to sewing Kingsley’s school uniform. By evening, shortly after Dr. Gerry had returned from work, Mary came to inform Ekaette that her mother would like her to bring the samples of her work. On Eka’s request Dr. Gerry accompanied her to see Mary’s mother. Eka was very glad to have Dr. Gerry around her. She took a hold of his hand and would not let go. Even while they were in Mary’s house, she made sure she kept some form of contact with Dr. Gerry. Once in a while she would look into his eyes and smile. Mary’s mother was impressed with the finishing of the clothes Eka brought as samples. Eka had also thrown in the one she sewed that day at Christy’s shop.

“Ekaette, your work is lovely. I like them, I must admit. So how much have you decided to whittle off from the price you quoted yesterday? I want you to sew Mary’s clothes.” “I will chunk off two hundred naira from the price I gave you for each clothe,” replied Eka.  “That means you are charging two thousand three hundred Naira for one clothe.” “Yes ma.” “No, I will pay two thousand two hundred Naira. That is a good bargain to start our relationship on. In the future you can charge me more.” “Madam, you can haggle price a lot! Okay, for a start I will take that much.” Mary’s mother gave her some money to start work on her daughter’s clothes and assured her she would make more clothes when she was done with making Mary’s clothes. When they were back home, Eka fixed a dinner for the both of them. Unlike other times, Eka ate with him at the dining table and would not take her eyes off him. Dr. Gerry was aware she was head-over-heels about him, but was careful not to commit too much. He knew he had a long time to wait. After their meal, they had a pulsating conversation about every conceivable subject. Eka’s voice would ring out with joyous laughter as Dr. Gerry said something funny or demonstrated one to her. If not that Dr. Gerry would go to work the next day, they would have talked on till dawn. Even in their dreams they carried on with their chat, saying to each other the things they did not have the courage to say at the dining table.

By early morning Eka was up, buoyed with the love in her heart for Dr. Gerry, she entered the kitchen determined to cook her best food for him. She whistled tunes and hummed songs and in-between her cooking, paused for a little jig. Once in a while she would hear funny sounds form Faustina’s apartment and would wish she could see through the wall to know what actually went on in that flat. Just then a thought occurred to her and she froze with fear. Dr. Gerry had not for once spoken about the people who lived in the next flat. She would usually leave Dr. Gerry’s food on the dining table for him to take to work when he wakes up in the morning. That morning she decided to leave a note under Dr. Gerry’s food flask, asking him to wake her up before leaving for work. When Dr. Gerry was ready to leave for work and saw the note he was glad to see her wake and flash her wonderful smile at him before he would leave the house. Eka woke from sleep looking a bit groggy. “You asked me to wake you before leaving for work.” “Yes I did. I want to ask you a question.” “Okay, go ahead.” “Who are the people living next door? I have never heard you mention them.” Dr. Gerry looked at Eka in a funny way and wondered if she was fine. “You are not fully awake Eka, are you?” “I am very much awake, why did you say that?” “The flat next door is empty. There is no one living in there.” Eka’s jaw dropped so low a train could fit into her mouth.

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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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AMAZING LOVE - Episode 18 An African Literary Blog
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