DOZ Issue 43 May 2019 - Page 38

these questions. Is time still on her side? Will the beauty last for ever, has it not already started to fade?” Edafe remained silent as Uncle Akpo spoke and did not interrupt. When Uncle Akpo was quiet once again, he rephrased his question. “Rukevwe, do you want to marry?” He asked. I nodded because I didn’t think I could speak without crying. “If you really want to marry then you must give up this lifestyle and you must do so at once.” For the first time since I arrived in the room, I lifted my head and looked him in the eye. Give up this lifestyle? Then what next? What would I do? How would I get money to look after my parents and siblings? I must have asked the last question out loud because immediately Uncle Akpo slammed his hand on the arm of his chair and shouted. “Shut your mouth this instance! Who told you that your parents are your responsibility? They are not your responsibility, rather, you are their responsibility and until you marry and go to your husband’s house, they are to take care of you. As for your younger brothers, they are not your responsibility either; they are your parents’ responsibility. Stop carrying a load that is not yours. Give it back to your parents. You and your brothers did not ask your parents to give birth to you - they chose to do so because they wanted to be counted amongst those who have children. Now let them shoulder the responsibility of looking after those children. You must leave this city and this useless lifestyle and return to Ughelli. Go and remain in your father’s house until a man comes to marry you. Forget about glamour, if you’re humble, it is only a matter of time before you will be exalted, but this life you are living now will DOZ Magazine | May 2019 lives, live your own.” “YES UNCLE AKPO, I HAVE HEARD YOU. I WILL DO AS YOU HAVE SAID. MIGWO SIR, THANK YOU FOR THE MONEY.” AS I TRIED TO STEP OUT OF THE CAR AGAIN, I REALISED HE WAS NOT DONE TALKING. take you nowhere. Remember I once told you that after sometime men would no longer desire you because there would be younger and more beautiful girls available. Well, I am saying to you now that you are almost going past the stage when a man will be interested in marrying you. If my calculation is correct you are already 29 years, are you not?” He asked and I nodded my head. “You see it, very soon, no man will be interested in you for marriage and once you miss your season to be married, you will end up a frustrated old woman. When that time comes, your parents who are now beating the drum to which you are dancing will be the first to ridicule you and compare you with your mates who are in their husbands’ houses. My daughter, be wise, don’t allow your parents ruin your life. They are living their 38 When Uncle Akpo was done, Edafe had another chance to speak to me and between the two of them they convinced me to return to Ughelli without delay. I was instructed to give up my flat and sell off the furnishings and other items that would be too heavy for me to move, and return to Ughelli. I agreed. I would do all they had said, and why not? After all, I had seen the foolishness of my actions. Just before the meeting closed, Uncle Akpo advised me that while in Ughelli I was not to get involved with men but focus on rebuilding my reputation as a woman of virtue. He assured me that if I did this successfully, my fame would spread far and wide and only serious men ready for marriage would approach me. As he spoke, Edafe nodded his head to indicate that he was totally in agreement with everything Uncle Akpo said. It was about 2:30am when Uncle Akpo dropped me off at my house in Ikeja. As I started to get out of the car, he opened his purse and handed me fifty thousand naira. “This is to assist you with your relocation to Ughelli. Make sure you leave today, there is nothing important you are doing here and so there is no reason why you should stay beyond today. You don’t have a job and so there is no notice period required. Sell off or give away your heavy furnishings, pack your bags and go back to Ughelli. Are you hearing me, Rukevwe?” He asked tugging at his right ear lobe with his thumb and finger. “Yes Uncle Akpo, I have heard you. I will do as you have said. Migwo sir, thank you for the money.” As I tried to step out of the car again, I realised he was not done talking. “This money is not for you to