It kept raining all day, with all the strength Nwanyi Nkwo had she held a long stick that serves as her staff, it helps her maintain the gravitational stand of the earth. She heaved a sigh of relief as she laid the ‘Azu Okpoo’ on her ngiga to the tiny smokes emerging from her cooking material which was three blocks that formed a circle nd fire woods beneath it.
She had tried to stand upright and something hit her head filled with grey hair.
“Awww, this wasn’t what i bargained for, i have given birth as other women would do in their husband’s house and death was so cruel to deal with me” she sat back on a mutter turned up side down, dropped her walking stick and used her wrapper in wiping off tears in her eyes.
“Oburu na onwu gburu my hapu okechukwu, Okalu ika mma” now her legs were clapping at unison , her tears were uncontrollable .
Nwanyi nkwo`s kitchen was situated opposite her small hut, It had loads of corns that were hanged directly to her firewood cooking stove. It had dust all over it and she kept starring at this corns with regrets. She had like 3molded pots that was outside the kitchen, they were kept where the raining water from the sky would enter without hesitation . the three had been filled and waisting.
“Mama nyenu anyi oka”(mama give us corn)
She was brought to life by three odd looking kids who were naked and was dancing in the rain; since it started raining they have been Playing ‘uga’ and other hide and seek games.
“I told you all this corn are for Okechukwu, wherever he is he must be hungry,am making sure his favourite is here for him till whenever he decides to return”
“Mana mamA mma anyi si na okechukwu anwuola.”(but mama our mum said Okechukwu is dead)
“Eeh! Ngwa si nu be mu puo” my son can never die in a battle he went to in other to save others… ” she raised he walking stick and the kids ran as fast as their feet can carry them.
Okechukwu had volunteered to go into the Mgboko forest to fight their enemies from the neighbouring town who has been terrorism them for a while. Nwanyi nkwo did all she can to stop him all to no avail; she was her only issue remaining… The only person with her, no grandchild or anyone to help her out get things when she needs them, she was 96 years of age.
Its been the 6th Nkwor market day since Okechukwu and 3other volunteers left the village and nothing has been heard. Others already believe they are dead and gone but Nwanyi Nkwor still reserves corn for him, washes his plate and cooks almost everyday hoping Okechukwu returns someday.
The shout was from beyond! Nwanyi Nkwo managed to get up from where she was sitting .. She came out of her kitchen, took few steps towards her late husbands ‘Obi’ ; that part gave him a clear view to where the noise was arose from; If it had been in the future where everybody already turned wizards using technology as an excuse, Nwanyi Nkwo would have gotten her self a second eye; she had eye problem for years now but have been putting up her early morning urine to help it normalize.
“Ogini na eme nwam?” Nwanyi Nkwo asked.
“Mama, ha nwulu anwu, o ndi galu ogu na ibiata” ( They are dead, its those that went to fight at Idiato)
The only memory Mama could behold was her looking directly to the crowd and seen two corps been carried and covered with palm fronds. She couldn’t wait any longer;
For how many market days she has been waiting, why at last?
Where’s the faith the gods promised us to have in them? What now happening? All the morning prayers to her ‘chi’ ? All the ‘Itu nzu’ ohhh! And that was it;
She fell and never stood up! Even when Okechukwu emerged from the crowd rushing to tell her he made it back alive; alone. She went beyond!
Nwanyi Nkwo waited to the last but the heart played her a very dangerous trick.
By Manuel Phrancis.
Public speaker, author and a motivational writer.