Mon. Feb 12th, 2024

 

PART 18

 

 

He gave uncle Chike ice-cream and shawarma. When we got in, he gave his brother his. Then he dropped some for uncle Emma and auntie Nneoma which I took to them. He took his share and handed me the rest which consisted of two wraps of shawarma and ice-cream. I dropped them in my room.

 

We were back in my room and he asked me to take position and took many pictures. We took pictures together.

 

“Come with me to Lagos to see me off”

 

“I can’t come”

 

“Why? My sister will ensure you are put on a flight to Enugu after I have left. Trust me”

 

I didn’t want to travel to be with him. I hadn’t accepted his proposal even though I had feelings for him. I felt it was wrong and I wasn’t ready to compromise no matter what. He was upset about it.

 

“If you won’t come with me to Lagos would you at least see me off to the airport in Enugu?”

 

“I will discuss with auntie Nneoma. If she permits me then I will come if not then we can only talk on phone”

 

“Your life is wired around getting approval before doing anything”

 

“I must be accountable to someone for my actions. Apart from that, my auntie is like my mother here. I tell her everything. If my mother in village says No and my auntie says Yes; my auntie’s Yes supersedes my mother’s No because I am here with her. My auntie likes you. You can capitalize on that but know that I will only see you off to Enugu airport”

 

“That’s fine then. I think you hang around adults too often that you reason like them”

 

“Maybe”

 

 

Finally, it was time to leave. Auntie and uncle wished him a safe journey back home. They saw them off to the sitting room door and went back to their room.

 

I saw them to their car. Emeka’s brother got into the car while we still talked by the car.

 

“Can I get a hug?”

 

“Please, don’t embarrass me here. My uncle and auntie are upstairs observing us and uncle Chike is also here watching. I can’t give you a hug”

 

“What of a peck?” before I could reply, he pecked me on the cheek and entered his car.

 

That peck was the closest I had gotten to an intimate relationship then. I smiled all day. I smiled all night. I reminisced on it. It felt awesome.

 

When I discussed privately with Chiamaka, she laughed and told me not to allow him go too deep until he has put a ring on my finger. “They are all the same. He has seen a beautiful well brought up girl who is obviously naïve and he desires her. He would want to spoil you but I know you will not agree”

 

“I thought you were his supporter, what happened?”

 

“I heard some rumour about him. He was already having s£x with the girl his father got for him before he saw you and now dumped her”

 

“Who’s fault is that?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Is it his fault she gave herself to him? Couldn’t she have waited until after marriage before giving in to his s£xual demands?”

 

 

“It is easier said than done. He will want to do same to you when you let your guard down. He has pecked you without your permission. It will continue from there until he has you under his control emotional and then he will strike”

 

“Yes, he will. After he has paid my dowry”

 

“Let us see. I know you are falling for him. When he comes back in June, he will make more moves. When he now comes back in December then he would have broken your resolve”

 

“Or he will do the needful quickly”

 

“But you are not ready. Or are you ready?”

 

That was a big question. Was I changing my mind to settle down early? Was Emeka emotionally getting me to give in to his demands? I liked him a lot and I missed him when we do not communicate. Would we still be talking while he is in Spain?

 

We had that conversation at the airport as he was going back. he promised to keep in touch. He was going to sync our schedules and see the best time that worked for both of us but we could chat at any time. When he was about to board, he pulled me into his arms and hugged me and whispered, “I will miss you baby”

 

I had tears in my eyes when we disengaged. His brothers had come to see him off too. They were to drop me back at home. They just smiled at us.

 

He called me when he got to Lagos. He called again for an hour while he waited for his flight to Spain. He called me when he arrived very early the next morning. He never stopped calling. He never stopped saying he loved me even though I never responded.

 

He followed up with my performance during the mock examination; I had to send him the result. He was impressed. Because I knew he was very intelligent, I couldn’t afford to look less in his eyes so I put in my best. It was a rewarding best.

 

 

I didn’t travel home for Easter because of my examinations. We were writing both Jamb and WAEC at the same time. I didn’t have time for anything and I spoke with him less during that period as he said he was going offshore in another country for two weeks and would be incommunicado. It would give me time to study uninterrupted.

 

Two days to Easter which was Good Friday, someone from the park brought a package for me. I was surprised. It was a small parcel. It also had an envelope in it. I opened the letter first and as I guessed, it was from Emeka.

 

Dear Akwa m,

 

I saw someone coming back to Nigeria so I dashed into a jewellery store to purchase this for you. I had seen it and planned to get it before I come back in June but I can’t wait until then to make you smile.

 

I love you Akwaugo, you mean the world to me. As you focus on achieving great heights, know that your lover, best friend, defender and husband is right here cheering you on.

 

Take good care of yourself. I know you are working hard and you will reap the reward.

 

Your husband,

 

Emeka…..

 

Inside the envelope was also €200. He didn’t need to send any money; I didn’t have a need. I opened the gift bag. I saw a pair of lovely chandelier earrings. I have never owned anything so gorgeous. I appreciated it so much. Also, I saw he added some bars of chocolate. How did he know I loved chocolate?

 

I sent him a message appreciating him for the letter, cash and the gifts. I told him he shouldn’t have bothered. He didn’t read my message until Easter Monday. He laughed at me and still told me he loved me as though I didn’t know.

 

 

I threw myself into preparing and concentrating on writing both my WAEC and Jamb. So far, the examinations had gone very well. When I wrote my Jamb examination, I was scared. There was chaos in the hall and a lot of exam malpractice. I was afraid they would cancel the centre. I didn’t want to suffer for other’s offence. I began to pray after the examination.

 

I rounded up my examinations in the last week of May. I was so excited. We jubilated in the school. It had been very tasking period for me but it was also worthwhile. Many of my friends claimed they would be going abroad to study. I almost envied them but then I remembered where I was coming from. If auntie Nneoma didn’t give me this opportunity, I would I have achieved all I had achieved? It was her benevolence; hers and her husband’s that set me apart from others.

 

A few days after we ‘graduated’ from secondary school, Jamb result was out. I was scared to check it; uncle Emma had gone ahead of me. That evening he came home and dropped a document on my bed and went away. I wondered what he dropped. I picked it up and was shocked it was my Jamb result. I scored 307 in Jamb. I ran out of my room to their room. I knocked and rushed in without waiting for ‘Come in”. I hugged auntie Nneoma in excitement. Apparently, she didn’t know about the result. When I showed her the result, she dropped on her bed in bewilderment. She looked at me and asked me if this was really my result. I confirmed it to her. She began to shed tears; they were tears of joy.

 

“Why are you crying? She has proved to you that you are a good mother. Our other relatives that stayed with us couldn’t make headway because they were on a mission. How many could pass promotional examination? Akwaugo has been exceptional from day one. She has behaved well and brought us only joy. If she can do this well in Jamb her WAEC result will be even better.

 

I didn’t tell Emeka about it and also my parents. I wanted to surprise them with copies of the result. I appealed to auntie and uncle to allow me spend the long holiday earlier in the village. Uncle Emma said I needed the break so I could go.

 

I traveled to the village in excitement to share my achievement with my family. Chiamaka was on holiday and with Kosi. She intended to travel with Kosi to Abuja to stay with his mother as agreed. she didn’t look forward to it but she didn’t have

 

 

a choice as her mother wanted to bond with her grandson. Surprisingly, Amanze was also in the village. He was going to travel with them to Abuja via Enugu state, he came to also spend time with Kosi before he relocates.

 

They were home when I came around. I wasshared the awesome news with everyone. Mother danced saying, “So they will call me Nne Dokita”. Father was full of praises. As expected from father, we went into prayers. We prayed for almost one hour before he asked my mother to prepare a special meal for us to celebrate with.

 

Good news travels very fast. My friends heard about my result. Some of them didn’t make up to 200 while those who did were excited, they will be entering the university. Before long, the gossip began. Those that had lived with auntie Nneoma claimed she deliberately did not want the other children to succeed that was why she returned them under the guise of they were promiscuous. Another story was that I was uncle Emma’s mistress that was why he sent me to a quality secondary school.

 

The news of Emeka’s proposal had also been heard in the village. Emeka’s father knew my family well and did not believe the gossip they brought to him. He told them he knew my father well and he is very aware he has raised to take after him. We were the best-behaved children in that village even though we had our initial upbringing in the city.

 

Emeka’s mother was a different matter. She wanted Emeka to marry the university undergraduate. The girl was loyal to her and was ready to dance to her tune. Since Emeka rejected her for me, Agnes’ daughter, she had not been happy. Emeka wasn’t someone who could be easily swayed and she discovered his eyes were fixated on me. She didn’t fight it; she waited for her chance.

 

I was hope for just five days when Emeka came to our home. I was excited to see him. He decided to surprise me by not telling when he would come in. He talked to father and Amaze for some time but his eyes were darting; he was looking out for me. Father called me and asked me to take Emeka outside so we could talk.

 

“Obviously, he did not come all the way to tell me about his work. He came to see you. Refreshment will be brought to him there. Go with him”

 

 

I excused myself, I went inside and then joined him under the tree.

 

“I missed you. I feel like hugging you”

 

“You want today to be the last time you will visit”

 

“Nah, your dad likes me. I have been respectful all this while. Let’s change the subject. So you have finished secondary school. You are a big girl now”

 

I laughed at him calling me a big girl. I gave him a copy of my result folded into four.

 

“What is this?” Emeka asked.

 

“Open it and see”

 

He opened it while looking at my face. When he finally opened, he looked at it and

 

I could see the look of disbelieve in his eyes. “You scored 307 in Jamb Akwaugo?

 

This is unbelievable. I didn’t even score this high. You will be on Merit list in

 

UNN straight. My sister’s husband is a lecturer there. He was the one that helped

 

fix Ugonna in school. I had mentioned you and he told me Medicine and surgery is

 

a competitive course. I can’t wait to tell him your Jamb score. You have made me

 

so proud. Come here” he said as he dragged me into his arms. I couldn’t deny him

 

that joy.

 

AKWAUGO

 

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