Adaobi grew into an adorable and respected lady in the community. The shiny and smooth texture of her dark skin glitters like the palm seed of umuachi forest. The gods have blessed her with immense beauty, such that it has attracted great men her way. Besides her beauty, she is respected for her courage and passion for knowledge. She was among the first few girls in umuachi who had the opportunity of attending university. Life went well for her until she cracked the rotten kola nut.
Ikechukwu was a young and handsome man, and for many unexplainable reasons Adaobi fell in love.
“Love! The medicine for a broken heart;
The fortress for an insecure heart,
And the home for a lost heart.
But how can I love,
When my heart has long been given way?
How beit, that feel love swelling in me,
When my heart is caged far away?........”
“This poem I wrote when I first realized that I love Ikechukwu, even when I try hard not to.”
Tears rolled like brimstone from her eyes, as she remembers the beautiful moments she had with Ikechuhwu.
“Why didn’t you marry Ikechukwu?” I asked
“My daughter, I met my father and mother, and then explained my situation to them. But they said they were helpless and urged me to embrace the fate that the gods have given me. Moreover, your grandmother didn’t like him because he is from a poor background.
It hurt me so much that ours was a forbidden love. Unfortunately, when the Igwe learnt of this new development, he demanded my immediate resignation from the school – the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He also threatened to stripe my father of his rite of ownership over his inherited property and banish him for betraying the trust of the king.
Your grandma, my mother, told me to quit my relationship with ikechukwu and marry my betrothed, or face the calamity of the gods. It felt like it was the whole world was against us.
Papa and mama was able to persuade me into accepting the prince; my parent were interested in the royal family and all the benefit they could derived from the Igwe and I was the sacrificial lamb, my happiness was exchanged for royalty.
I could have ran faraway with ikechukwu
To a faraway land where there is no igwe and no prince;
- A place where we can love each other forever.
But I didn’t, I lacked the will to fight for what I want…………. I had to let go of the love of my life because I was weak. Even when he told me to stand against selfish tradition believes, I still pushed him away. He was broken, rejected and lost.
It’s was a beautiful sunny morning, the songs of the ‘ummuna’ woke me up from sleep to the dawn of a new day. I was kept in the fattening room for two weeks; usual of royal preparatory bridal making, with preferential treatment according to custom, I was fed mostly with vegetables and fruits. In no time my skin radiated like the morning sun.
On the eve to my traditional marriage, I sat outside on the raffia mat reminiscing of my relationship with Ebuka. Staring at the moon, the possible life that waits played like a movie in my head. I’m getting married to a stranger and I hope all my wishes come true………. I picked two stones and threw them towards the direction of the star…………….and hoped for a miracle.
The traditional ceremony was successful; it attracted dignitaries from all clans. It was a display of rich cultural heritage, and there was plenty to eat and drink. We received lots of gifts from family and friends.
As tradition demanded, people watch with fear and keen interest, for it was time for me to prove my purity to the entire guests……. Mama was tensed as I was led to the prince chamber, then…………..the eldest woman among the ummuna who performed the ritual came out with a white handkerchief and shouted…………”she is pure”…..mama jumped up with excitement as if wanting people to notice her presence ……. as she danced and bragged among her age grade. I watched her with a faint smile on my face. My chi has not abandon me………………………………….
The ceremony was a huge success, and I was officially welcomed into royal-ship.