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Friday, July 21, 2017

Two Brides And A Ring (2)


"Mama, where're  you? Guess what happened!" Ama said as she rushed excitedly into the house that afternoon. Hearing sounds in the kitchen, she headed in that direction.

She saw her mother sitting on a low stool in a corner of the kitchen, pounding some spices in a small mortar.

"Always rushing everywhere! What is it now?" her mother said testily.

Ama leaned against the kitchen cabinet, the enticing smells from the soup pot on the stove assailing her nostrils.

She inhaled deeply. "Hmm. Smells good! When will the soup be ready, Mama? I'm hungry!"

Her mother eyed her before saying sarcastically:
"It will be ready faster if you help me with some of the work! There's some okro in the sink. Wash and chop it for me!"

"Ok, Mama."

"So, what were you so excited about?" her mother asked.

 She briefed her mother about her friend, Comfort's engagement to Ebuka.

"Which Ebuka's that?" asked the woman.


"The same Ebuka, Madam Ogechi's only son that lives in Canada. He came home to look for a wife and his mother chose Comfort for him. You know the woman and Comfort's mother are close friends- so she wants both families to get even closer through marriage. That's what Comfort told me," said Ama.

"Is that so?" her mother said, moving towards the stove to stir the bubbling contents in the pot.

"Yes, Mama! I'm so happy for Comfort! Soon, she will be going to Canada to live with her husband!"

"And  why should you be happy about that?" her mother asked.

Ama took her eyes off the chopping board where she was cutting the okro and gazed wonderingly at her mother.

 "Why shouldn't I, Mama? Comfort is my friend.  We've been together since we were in JSS 3. We are like sisters. I should be happy at her good fortune!"

"And is Comfort the only one entitled to such good fortune?" asked her mother. "What about you?  As beautiful as you are, shouldn't you have a man like Ebuka- who's rich and lives abroad- as a husband?" her mother pointed out.

Ama shrugged her slim shoulders.

"Everybody has his own destiny. One day, my time will come, " Ama said confidently.

"That's where you're wrong my child! Your time i!"s now! Now that you're young with your youthful bloom. You have to use what you have to get your heart's desire. Life doesn't give you anything. You take what you can out of it!"

"Mama, what are you talking about?" asked Ama in a puzzled manner.

"Let's finish the cooking first. Then we can talk," she replied, extending her hand. "Hand me the okro."

 ***

Madam Ogechi walked her son Ebuka to his car parked in the large courtyard of the compound. He had spent part of the day with his mother, father and two siblings who still lived at home and they had spent most of the time talking about his forthcoming marriage to his chosen bride, Comfort.

"Since you still have over a month left before returning to your base, I think we  can do the introduction ceremony. What do you think, Ebuka?" his mother asked.

He shrugged.

"It's ok with me."

"I'm glad you liked the girl I picked for you. Comfort will make a good wife for you. And give you many children!"

Ebuka laughed as he opened the car door. "Not too many, Mummy! The days of having so many children are long gone!"

She smiled and hit him playfully on the shoulder.

"You young people don't want too much responsibilities, that's why you avoid having many children! Drive carefully on the road. Comfort will bring the food you requested for when she comes to visit you on Sunday. Call me when you get back to the hotel. Bye my dear!" she waved as he drove out  through the high gate onto the street.

***
"Mama I can't do it! It's not right!" Ama protested loudly. She and her mother were in her bedroom, both seated on the bed.

Her mother held her firmly by the shoulder.

"What's not right here? This is a golden  opportunity  you need to grab before it slips through your fingers! Listen to me, Ama. I'm your mother and I want the best for you."

She went on to explain why she believed it was the best thing to do. "The guy is loaded, handsome and stays abroad as well. He's a perfect catch!"

"But he's engaged to my friend! How can I do that to someone I consider a sister?" said Ama.

"Engaged,  not married, " her mother clarified. "Besides, if the worse happens, you can become his second wife!"

Ama stared at her mother as if the woman had lost her mind.

"How can you even say such a thing, Mama? Your own daughter, a second wife?"

"What's wrong with that?" her mother countered. "It's not a crime in this country to marry many wives. Even your father did it. Didn't he leave us and move in with his second wife when you and your brothers were still young?"

Ama stared at the floor, frowning deeply.

"I don't want to be in that kind of marriage. I want a man I can call my own and not the one I'll be sharing with other women."

Her mother laughed scornfully. "You're really naive! As long as you marry a Nigerian man, you'll always share him with other women because they are all unfaithful. Your father is a typical example!"

The argument went on and on with her mother so persistent that she eventually wore down Ama's resistance.

Her mother was full of smiles when Ama finally agreed to her plans to get close to Ebuka, Comfort's fiance and win his heart.

"But Mama, what if he doesn't like me?"

Her mother smiled softly at her.

"Don't worry,  my dear. By the time I'm dome with you, he'll find you too hard to resist! You say Comfort wants you to accompany her over the weekend to visit him at his hotel? That's a good opportunity to put our plan to action!"

***

After church service that Sunday afternoon, Comfort and Ama went home to change into more casual clothes then headed for the hotel where Ebuka lodged at the GRA Phase 2.

 Comfort did the introductions when they got to Ebuka's room.

"Dear, this Ama, my best friend. Ama,, my fiance Ebuka!"

Ebuka shook Ama's hand, smiling genially as he gave her a look over.

"Your friend is really beautiful," he said, as he sat down on the settee.

Ama smiled shyly at him.

"Thanks."

"So, what will you girls like to have?" Ebuka asked, as he opened the small fridge filled with assorted wines, beer and soft drinks.

"A malt will be fine," said Comfort, glancing towards Ama whose eyes were fixed on the TV.

"Ama? Aren't you taking anything?" Comfort said.

"Oh! Whatever you're having is cool with me," she said.

Later, as they sat drinking and chatting, Ama's phone rang. She got up to move towards the small balcony to answer the call and her skirt caught on Ebuka's glass of beer which fell on the rug

 "Oh, I'm so sorry!  Let me clean it," Ama said quickly. As she bent down to pick up the glass, her low cut blouse fell even lower to reveal the top of hef full, ample bust. Her head raised up to see Ebuka's eyes fixed on her with a look of desire in them.

Ama looked away and sat down, but from the corner of her eye, she could feel Ebuka's eyes on her, assessing her in a speculative way. At a point, Comfort went to use the bathroom and Ebuka came to stand by her on the bed where she sat.

"I want you to come see me tomorrow. Alone, without Comfort. Can you do that for me?"

Ama looked up at him and shook her head.

"I can't do that! What will my friend say when she finds out?"

"Who's going to tell her? There's something I want to discuss with you. In private," he said.

She thought for a moment then said: "Ok. I'll think about it."

"Let me have your number then," he said quickly, glancing towards the bathroom.

He was back on his seat when Comfort returned.

"Baby," he said, drawing Comfort to him, making her sit on his lap. "I was just telling Ama about that new joint at Rumuola my friend and I went to on Friday night. Maybe, we could go hang out there later tonight. What do you girls say?"

"Sounds great!" said Comfort, her arms wound round his neck, as she kissed him lightly on the mouth...

To be continued.







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