My Christmas Cloth.

When Amanze left the village last christmas, he promised to keep in touch.

‘I want to go to the big city’ he would always say.

He is a big dreamer, goal oriented and very hardworking. Just to mention a few of the qualities that has made me glued to him for the past 7yrs.
Even though I haven’t heard from him in a year, I know he thinks about me as much as I do.

He would come to my house every morning & evenings, as he worked afternoons.
He is a tailor; one of the best in the village.

Amanze sews all my christmas clothes. He puts in extra efforts into mine, infact he always starts the process of ‘your christmas gift’ like he will say, in september.
I always look like a princess in them. Matching my outfits with the latest ‘akpola’ from Aba.
image

Now with Christmas in a few days, no word from Amanze, no christmas cloth or shoe.
5 suitors have come with wine and kolanuts for my Father to ask my hand in marriage, and I have turned all of them down.
I am the topic of the year for these jobless girls in this village. Walking to the stream and I hear comments like
‘Amanze nno! Amanze is coming tomorrow, you hear? Don’t go and marry!, Ekwensu’.

I don’t bother myself with their chitty-chatter. Atleast, I have suitors coming to ask my hand in marriage.
Atleast, I am a pretty girl with a good character. Do I need to talk about my immaculate body that has all the features in the right proportion, big enough to make any man turn twice when I walk past.

*sigh* I can’t be bothered about these jobless girls. A good number of them will remain by these stream side gossiping till their 40’s & forget to get married.

Biko, unto better things.

When Chief Agu’s wife came home in April, she mentioned that she saw Amanze in the big city. She said he does ‘Boi Boi’ for one big businessman in Alaba International.

‘Aunty, why didn’t you bring him home? Why didn’t you tell him to come home? He didn’t give you any message for me?
I remember chanting, as I followed her into her house.

‘He went out of my sight before I could ask him any questions’ She told me.

Anyway, I have decided to visit the big city to find Amanze.
No matter how big that city is. If Amanze is there, I will find him.

                      * * *

Legos! Legos! Legos! Legos!

I have been sitted at the bus station for about an hour & the bus is still scanty. Maybe I got here too early.
Well, I’ve heard that during christmas, buses going to the city are limited.
I didn’t want to take chances, that why I got here as early as 2:50am.
Its also the best time to sneak out of the house. If Papa knew about my plan, he would never allow me. I left him a note in the sitting room anyway. Just incase he wants to find me.
I miss Mama already. I would have told her about my plan o, but she tells Papa everything. Taa!
I always wonder why women idolize their husbands so much, even if he isn’t reciprocating the idolization.

‘Me, When I marry Amanze, ha!
I will respect him o. I will be submissive, like the Bible preaches. But I will have my own mouth, I will be a Boss of my own.
Me, Ebere Akachukwu! No man will ride me. Never!

                     ***
‘Are we in Lagos yet?’ I asked the man sitted beside me.

‘You have finally woken up, welcome back to life. You don’t know Lagos?’

‘I asked you a question, you’re relpying with a question. Mshew, please shift’ I murmured to myself, giving the man a look that clearly showed disgust.

I looked out the window to feed my eyes with the beautiful buildings around, as opposed the grasses and hills I saw half  through the journey that led me to sleep.

‘Ah! Redeemer’s University! I have heard about it. Our Igwe’s children attend this school’ I tapped the man.
This time, he was the one to give me the face of disgust.
I rolled my eyes and continued my gaze.

‘Nna, look at 3 beautiful universities on one street. I will attend one someday. I Queen Ebere Akachukwu will be a graduate someday’

‘Berger!’ The driver shouted.
‘Berger dey o’  Three women from the back chorused.

We must be in Lagos, I thought.

The women highlighted, took their luggages from the booth and the bus continued.

‘Ojota!’  The driver called again.
‘Ojota dey’ The man beside me replied.

He got down too. Along with 4 other people.

We were only three left in the bus.

‘After here, Oshodi last bus-stop o’ The driver shouted again.

Fear was taking over me now,
‘Oshodi last busstop? What about Alaba? ...I asked myself.

The bus came to a stop and everbody got down. Except me.

‘This is last busstop. Get down nau

‘Please, its Alaba I’m going to.

‘Come down, cross to that side, walk down small. You will see Alaba motor. The driver instructed.

                      ***

‘This Lagos is so crowded, I have never seen this many people run after one bus like this. Hian!

‘Looku Looku, leave the road! You be JJC? One man behind me said.

‘This your gown is one in town o! Princess Diana! Another man mocked. The both laughed hysterically.

‘Thank you! If only you know the amount of Love that was sewed in this cloth, you won’t dare laugh’ I shouted back!

Standing here in the last five minutes, confused on how to cross this busy road, with cars moving as fast as my heart was beating now.

I really can’t stand here forever. Taking the challenge, heart beating faster, I paced into the roads….then I heard a loud cry behind me….
   ‘Why didn’t you use the bridge!

Simultaneously feeling a huge bang on my head, weakness in my legs, And my heart had stopped beating as fast.

Quiet, Rest, Peace. All I felt for some seconds.
                    
                        ***

I stood at the side of the road, as I watched these strangers cry over me. With their hands on their heads & pity in their eyes.

I heard the sound of a siren come close, Two men picked me up. I saw me, I saw the white Christmas dress Amanze sewed for me last year, which was now red. I saw my eyes closed.

I looked around. The buildings, the people, the cars.
‘The big city’, I thought.

To the young boys we lost in Yobe. To the young kids we lost in Pakistan. To every soul that has left us, with dreams and goals unaccomplished.

Rest In Perfect Peace.

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