I opened the door and frowned when i saw my father standing at the doorpost. He was dressing in a native attire and he only wore that whenever there was a meeting with the council of elders….my father were among the ndi iches of the community..but i equally knew that their meetings were scheduled for only Thursdays..and this was a Saturday…maybe he had gone to the council with the issue with my mother.
I decided to confront him there and then, he couldnt continue hiding things from me..i was seventeen already and deserved to knew everything going on in my family.
‘wont you leave the door and let me in?’ he asked in a stern voice and i quickly stepped aside for him to enter ‘where’s is aunty Chime?’
I nearly eyed him but restrained myself ‘she’s not around’
‘get me a glass of water and food..i’m practically starving’ he said relaxing on a worn out brown sofa in the sitting room.
I relunctantly dragged myself to the kitchen…served him a meal of roasted yam and oil.
I watched as he ate hungrily and i waited till he was done before i spoke up.
‘papa, what about mama?’ i asked.
He looked at me angrily ‘havent i warned you to stop asking about that woman? Aunty Chime had complained about this to me and i would not hesitate to send you to Ezei if you keep asking about that woman, have i made myself clear?!’ He barked angrily.
‘but papa, she’s my mother!’ i retorted ‘she brought me into this world so i have every right to want to know about her welfare..what is going on and why are you all preventing me from seeing her?’ tears smarted my eyes.
‘shut up! Ajo nwata(bad child)’ papa said removing his cap from hsi head ‘you have no right to talk back at me because you are not smarter than i am…just because you are educated and versatile when it comes to english and technology does not mean you can underestimate this grey hair on my head! If i say i dont want you to see or talk about your mother, then i must have a reason and why will i even banter words with a child like you? Leave my sight this instant!’
‘papa, this is not fair…whatever evil you are planning against mama will surely backfire, i assure you…’ i wept as i ran to my room.
‘bia nwata! U dare speak to me like that…okay!’ i heard papa rant from the sitting room ‘we shall see’
I locked my door and crawled to the bed and wept.
I yawned and stretched lazily on the bed…i looked at the rusty old wall clock on the wall and it was just five minutes past two in the afternoon.
I felt hungry and thirsty and i stood up dragging myself to the kitchen.
I was heading towards the kitchen when i heard voices speaking in whispers…it was aunt Chime’s and papa’s voice.
I tiptoed to the curtain to listen to their conversation.
PAPA: That woman hasnt seen anything yet…i’m going to show her that she cannot mess with me and go scotfree…because i…the great George Maduemezie will show her the stuff i’m made off.
AUNT CHIME: I’ve never like that woman from the very first day i saw her. I told you she looked and behaved like a fox but you didnt listen to me..well, thank God you’ve seen for yourself, the kind of woman you married. After she’s killed by the council of elders, you have to marry another woman and get more kids.
My hands flew to my mouth…was mama going to die?
PAPA: Thats exactly what i’ll do..but sometimes, i feel for the kids..and i wonder how they will take it when they find out the crime their angel of a mother committed. They see their mother through rose-tinted glasses you know, especially Ivyy. That girl really spoke to me rudely today.
AUNT CHIME: Dont worry about Ivyy, i will take care of her. You dont have to let them know about their mother’s crime and when she’s finally killed, they dont need to know about her death, we would tell them their mother ran away with another man abandoning them, to save them from the emotional trauma…what do you think?
PAPA: Thats excellent. But can we hide the truth forever? What if they get to find out about the truth themselves?
AUNTY CHIME: Until then..but now they are too young to understand these things and will probably think we are being cruel on their mother, ur wife (she laughed)
PAPA: Stop it Chime, that witch is not my wife! You know, i actually loved that woman…i never thought…
AUNTY CHIME: Stop it George, looks do not portray the true nature of the heart..that woman is a fool…after her death, we have to take Ivyy to the shrine for cleansing, so she doesnt behave like her mother in the future.
My legs shook as tears ran down my eyes…mama was going to die.