AMAZING LOVE - Episode 42

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Dr. Gerry’s mother arrived at Udo’s shrine panting heavily. One look at her Udo observed, “I perceive all is not well madam Chambers....

Dr. Gerry’s mother arrived at Udo’s shrine panting heavily. One look at her Udo observed, “I perceive all is not well madam Chambers. What has brought you in a flight to this shrine will not return home with you. Have a sit and let the cat out of the bag.” “Amen o! Indeed that which drove me from the city to your shrine shall not return home with me.” Mrs. Chambers (Dr. Gerry’s mother) sat on the floor instead of on the shrine stool. “The toad does not run around in vain during the day. The horrors of the past seem to have found a foothold in house!” Mrs. Chambers continued. “Your words are still meshed in riddles. Which horrors are you referring to?” “The water cult which laid our people waste many years ago has found a way into my household…” “God forbid! Madam Chambers, I said God forbid! The water cult cannot resurface in our land! Church people have eviscerated whatever remained of it in this land. The water cult is history! What you saw must be some other thing.” “I hope you are right Udo; but what I saw looked every bit like the sort of beauty by which the water women ensnared our men. Her eyes, her skin and her shape looked exactly like those of the river girls. The woman I speak of is now engaged to my only son Gerald. Udo, look into this matter. I am scared stiff!”

“Does the lady in question have a name?” “Yes. I noted that down. Her name is Ekaette Effiong.” Udo stood to his feet and hurried to a corner of his shrine and in a jiffy returned with a small earthen water pot. With incantations flying out of his mouth like bullets, he began to fill the pot with water taken from another pot. When he was done he threw ancient money into the pot and shouted, “My water lords, with this I appease you to allow me a sneak into the water kingdom! There is one amongst us, her name is Ekaette Effiong. Who is she? Is she a child of the water world?” A storm began to rage in the small earthen water pot. Dr. Gerry’s mother stood up and put a distance between her and the water pot. For a moment there was no reply from the water world. So Udo scooped up a portion of black powder and cast it into the pot. The storm in the pot moved to a new level and mist filled the shrine. From the thick mist a feminine voice finally spoke up, “The one whom you seek amongst us is not one of us. She is far above us.” There was no other word uttered. Udo waited in silence for the voice to volunteer more information about his enquiry, but there was none.

Turning to Dr. Gerry’s mother, Udo heaved a sigh of relief and said, “I told you, the new age churches have swept our land clean of those water creatures who hunted our men like games.” “But Udo, the voice which spoke to you said she is above them. Is Ekaette of another kingdom stronger than the one which we dread?” Udo pondered her question for a moment and sat down on his mat and began to consult the spirits which he served. With keen interest, Mrs. Chambers watched him, reading the look of his face to know what transpired between him and the spirits. The consultation took too long and the wait almost choked Mrs. Chambers. Like a child who had found its mother after a long search, Udo raised his head with a smile and announced to Mrs. Chambers, “This one is a blessing! She is not what you think! Your son is highly favoured! The lady you think had come from the water world is a blessing! She must not be offended! She has a basket load of blessings and favour on her head! She will bring your son good fortunes and shall make your heart glad!!” Udo’s words were like sweet music to her ears. She wanted to hear them over again. “Great seer, slow down please. Do you really mean the things you have said?” “I am Udo, the son of Essien. The position I occupy as a seer is centuries old. Have I spoken before and it was later found to be lies? The girl, Ekaette Effiong, shall make your heart glad. Your son is blessed to have her for a wife! For doubting my words, I shall return your consultation fee to you. When my words have come to pass, you must return here to find out what you must do for doubting my words.”

“Be not angry wise one. My heart cannot bear the enormity of the good things you have spoken concerning my daughter in-law. The shift is too much, I came here almost certain that she was a witch only to find out she is a blessing to my household. However, whatever you will charge me for my error, go ahead and charge me. I am equal to the task! The joy in my heart at this moment knows no bound! If you need seven cows, you only have to say it. I have a safe that is twenty years old.” “God Madam Chambers. When my words will have come to pass, we will see if your safe can handle what you must do for insulting the eyes of the great seer.” Udo blew white powder on the money Mrs. Chambers had given him and handed them over to her. She took the money and hurried away from the shrine. On her way home, she walked with a skip in her stride and smiled broadly.

Two days after, Mrs. Chambers was back in the city. Her total change of attitude toward Eka was hard for any of her children or sons in-law to figure out. While they pondered what might have changed their mother’s attitude toward Eka, she began to nag ceaselessly about Dr. Gerry’s wedding date being moved forward. When no one seemed to buy into her argument, she stepped up her demand. “If you people will not bring Eka home as my son’s wife, can she be brought to spend a few days with me in the village?” “Mama, can you tell us what has changed? You didn’t seem to like this girl a few days ago. Now you can hardly go a day without talking about her. Tell us, what did they tell you about her in the village?” asked Ema. “Nothing which is of any interest to you. I want my daughter in-law with me period!”

On Eka’s part, she could not fathom what made her mother in-law change her earlier hostile attitude toward her. “Simbi, we don’t have to go to war on our knees. My mother in-law has had a change of heart toward me. A day hardly goes by without her calling to know how I am doing. She is amazingly friendly with my parents and I. Now I know God brought Dr. Gerry indeed.” “I am very happy for you Eka. At some point I was afraid that she going to be the reason for your beautiful relationship with Dr. Gerry  to crash. I already had begun to pray for God to deal with the old woman.” Switching the subject, Eka asked, “How is it going with Sammy?” Simbi took a deep breath and with a glow in her face she said, “This guy might just be better than we thought. He might be my own Dr. Gerry. Already I think he is. He loves me for being a Jesus freak and I think he is one too. Love can’t get better than what I have now.” Simbi leapt forward and hugged Eka. “I am glad to hear this. Every night I ask God to bless you far more than he has blessed me and will bless me. I can never forget you for the things you have done for me. I still remember that rainy day my parents threw me out and you came to my rescue. I still remember the two hundred Naira you gave me. Believe me, I still haven’t spent it.”

“Are you kidding me?” “I am very serious. To spend it makes me feel like something special to me would be lost to me forever.” “It is money, Eka. Just spend it.” “I am not going to spend it. I have poured every memory of the good things you have done for me into that two hundred Naira note. One look at it reminds me of how you reconciled me to my parents. I can’t forget you coming to help me with your dad when I and Dr. Gerry had a case with NK. I won’t stop praying for you till God has made you bigger than you can imagine.”

The church hall was filled to capacity. Standing on the pulpit, facing each other, were Simbi and Sammy. On the third row of seats were Eka and Dr. Gerry looking on as Simbi and Sammy exchanged marital vows. Sammy could not wait for Simbi to get through University Education. After Simbi had gained admission into University of Calabar, Sammy would drive to the city every weekend to spend time with her. Having to say bye to each other every Sunday night made both of them sad. Sammy could not take it any longer, he popped the question and Simbi readily accepted and so their wedding plans began in earnest. It was quite a wedding whose details will leave you salivating for long…


Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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AMAZING LOVE - Episode 42 An African Literary Blog
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