Monday, September 7

10

Something Bigger Than Love 2 - 2

TWO



At school, Adaku sat at the last row for BCH 301, a borrowed course from the Biochemistry Department.

That was always the only lecture she bothered not where she sat, what time she joined the lecture and what she could jot down.

She didn’t like Dr Arinze, the course handler. She didn’t like his steady mean face, and how he often frightened people with the course.

‘I’m sorry for you but if you ever intend to become a biochemist in the future and score anything below C in this course, there is no going forward for you,’ Arinze said this often during his lectures.

Unlike the other students that came from other departments and weren’t intending to become biochemists, Adaku did not usually feel relieved.

Halfway through the class, Arinze faced the board to draw yet another structure of amino acid. ‘Fail the structure and you’ve failed the entire question!’ he warned.

Mary put up her hand. ‘Excuse me, sir?’

Arinze turned. ‘Yes?’

‘Sir, the first Tyrosine you drew started with an N, why now an H?’

Arinze stared at Mary. ‘What department do you come from?’ he asked.

‘Zoo.’

The slim lecturer shook his head. ‘I wonder why you need to borrow a course as complicated as this,’ Dr Arinze said and turned back to what he was previously drawing.

Mary sat down.

‘Sir, if you think the course is too complex for us, why are students from your department struggling through it too?’ someone said from the back.

The lecturer turned. ‘Who said that?’

All eyes pointed the person out.

Ada stood.

‘What is your name, young woman?’

‘Adaku Onochie.’

‘Class rep, can I see the attendance?’

A tall boy stood up and walked to the front with a sheet of paper.

Dr Arinze took it from him and peered into it for long. He finally handed it back slowly, almost grudgingly, and turned back to the board without a word.

Adaku sat down.

Felix would later tease her that Dr Arinze would have carved the structure of Isoleucine on her face had he not seen her name in the attendance.

Ada did not smile, till he prodded her side and she smiled and said, ‘O-oh, Felix, stop!’

***

Mr Johnson gave Obinna N20, 000 and a new shirt.

He travelled the next day without his bag.

The journey to the village was bumpy.

The ticket seller at Jibowu had said ‘full A. C’ but the A.C only worked for a few minutes and the driver turned it off, even before they could pass Redeem Camp.

When more vocal passengers continued to shout in protest, he turned the CD player up and asked them to wound down their windows.

Obinna’s mind blanked out when he got to Nwagu Junction.

He feared to board the bike that would take him to his town.

He didn’t know how to start explaining when he gets home.

Finally on the bike, he kept his face straight, afraid to be seen.

Finally, he entered their compound and breathed a sigh of relief.

He told his mother first.

Mama Obinna screamed and clutched her chest, her legs joggling. Then she felt her son’s forehead, as if checking for fever. ‘Ewuu, nwam, ewuu!’ Her head swayed.

Obinna blinked hard to let down his tears.

His mother stood quickly and started to wipe the tears with the end of her wrapper. ‘Mbanu, ozugo, you’ve suffered enough, nnaa,’ Mama Obinna said to her son. ‘Mba, no more tears, inu?’

Obinna nodded.

Mama Obinna’s head swayed again. ‘Hey, ewuu!

‘I will go and tell them, Mama,’ Obinna said.

Mama Obinna shook her head. ‘Mba! Sit. I will go and call Amaechi. We will all go together.’

They set out to Ahanna’s house that night.

Ekedimma was a slight woman. She had sixteen children but only four had survived. Her own case of ogbanje children was rumoured to be the worst in the whole of Iruowelle.

She did not wait for Obinna to finish. She stood and grabbed his shirt. ‘Tell me what happened to my son!’ She shook him. ‘Tell me what you did to him.’

Ahanna’s younger sisters started to cry.

Soon their wailing filled the air, drowning out the previous chatter of nocturnal insects.

The yellow flame of an oil lamp flickered nearby.

Mama Obinna stood and held Ekedimma, patting her back and murmuring ndo to her.

Dibe, nwanne m, na o ga-adicha mma—take heart, my sister, all will be well.’

Ekedimma shrugged her off, but she let go of Obinna’s shirt.

She didn’t say much again afterwards till they left.

The next morning, at first cockcrow, she came to Obinna’s house with two of her kinsmen.

Their message was brief and straight. ‘We need you to swear for us that you know nothing of Ahanna’s death. You will follow us to Agulu in two days. Their Haba is a strong deity.’

‘No,’ Mama Obinna said. ‘My son will not swear at a shrine. We have a church and a priest.’

The three turned to themselves and talked in low tones. The eldest man among them who had spoken before turned back to Obinna and his mother. ‘Ok. If that’s how you want it.’

Uchechi and Onochie came soon after.

While Uchechi was still spitting out ‘Hey!’ and shrugging every so often, Obinna asked her, ‘Kee maka Ada—how is Ada?’

He didn’t understand why she hadn’t come along with them.

That night when he asked his mother, Mama Obinna told him to rest, that tomorrow is not running away.

Much later when he asked Uzo, his younger brother, Mama Obinna appeared from nowhere before the boy could open his mouth to utter a word and asked him to go and sleep, that the night has gone deep.

Kee maka Ada?’ he asked Uchechi again.

Nwam, nwunye gi no nu skoolu,’ Uchechi said this like a song. ‘O no nu skoolu o-oh!’ Her shoulders rose and fell again. ‘Hey!’

‘My son, your wife is in school.’

That night Obinna did not sleep.

He thought about Ada, what she was doing at the moment, if one useless university boy had touched her.

He didn’t think about the oath.

Father Gabriel delivered the oath in the morning. Obinna did not wait for him to finish when he took the Bible and said the words swiftly.

He got home before his mother and left before she was home.

He boarded the bus to Awka at Nwagu Junction. He stopped at UNIZIK Junction and came down.

He asked a girl under a wide yellow umbrella and she pointed across the road. ‘The hostels are there,’ she told him.

He crossed the busy road to the other side.

The first hostel he saw was a tall building with little compound space.

He stared at the flight of stairs, pondering whether to climb or not.

A girl came down with a bucket before he could reach a decision. ‘Good afternoon,’ she said and passed.

He was happy the girl was more well-mannered than she dressed. Her jean shorts stopped way too far before her knees and a good portion of her thighs showed.

Fair tempting skin.

Obinna turned to her. ‘Excuse me, fine girl.’

The girl turned. Her braids were newly done and they shimmered. ‘Please, I’m looking for somebody.’

‘Ok.’ The girl took one step back toward him. ‘Who?’

‘My friend. Her name is Ada. Adaku.’

The girl’s forehead creased. ‘Adaku?’

‘Yes.’

She shook her head. ‘Not sure I know her. Do you know her Room Number?’

‘Room Number?’

‘Yes. You can call her and confirm.’

‘Oh.’ He fiddled in his pockets. ‘Ok. I will do that, thank you.’

‘You welcome.’

He took a deep breath and turned to leave.

Emotions whirled inside him as he walked back to the junction.

He’d turned when two girls passed him. He wanted to stop them and ask, but eventually didn’t.

They were too expensively dressed; he was sure Adaku wouldn’t know them.

But it had been Candy and Debby.

He crossed the street and entered a bike to Eke-Awka Market.

There he got himself a Nokia phone and an MTN SIM card.

The next morning, Adaku and Felix met each other at UNIZIK Junction where they boarded a bus to Ibadan.

10 comments:

  1. Getting really interesting, keep up de good work.Kudos

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  2. Hope he will not misunderstand Adaku's plan in case he run into her and Felix!

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  3. Hmmmmm dts just getting more interested.

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  4. I love dnbstories...nice one I wish I can jus get d complete book n read d suspense can kill

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  5. What a narrow miss...only if he had asked

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  6. How did he intend to find her without an address bikonu. Nsogbu

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