“Don’t stare a hole into my face Ben, it’s Chiwendu…your Chiwendu”, She giggled, a rhythmic mixture of luscious melodies, inciting Ben’s senses to react against his will. Of course, she was his Chiwendu…wait, when did he start thinking of Chiwendu as “his”, he cursed at himself, hating the way his body felt alive just by looking at her. “Same old vibes”, he thought as he struggled to take control of himself, puzzled at what she was doing in Enugu.
“I thought we agreed you were going to stay with your family at Aba, what the hell are you doing in Enugu”, his shorts yanked free from Buchi’s hand, making Ben realise that he was still standing there, his face downcasted, “and you bought him…i mean all the way…just for a day’s visit?”.
“Buchi and i are here to stay Ben, mama…”, Ben did not wait for her to finish, he went rogue at once.
“What?! “, he howled, he should had known, this was all mama’s doing, her way of replying him. She sure was having fun ruining his life.
Ben stormed past them and into the living room where mama was seated pealing melon seeds in preparation for her special delicacy of egusi soup, and humming her favorite song.
Her eyes lit up as she saw Ben, “…bia, have you seen your son, he’s…” mama started excitedly.
“… why did you have to call Chiwendu kpa, isn’t the situation complicated enough for more dramas eh mama, you are supposed to be my mother!”, Ben raged.
Awestruck, mama shook her head, signed and walked sluggishly into the kitchen without uttering a word, leaving Ben perplexed.
“What are you blaming mama for, she wasn’t the one who called me here, i was going to say mama Shade, remember her? She came to purchase some goods at Aba, then stopped by for a visit. She was the one who told me about your return from obodo oyibo”, Chiwendu explained.
Ben felt like an idiot, he had judged mama wrongly, he knew mama was hurt and her silence preached same.
“Why won’t some old women just die young!”, he muttered to himself, as he recalled mama Shade, “madam olofofo” as she was wontly called, mama’s “soul sister” and confidante. Sometimes Ben wondered what mama saw in her enough to refer to her as her friend, that woman was surely a “home wrecker!”. Chiwendu shot him a confused look, waiting for him to explain the reason for his outburst, but Ben only sighed and went after mama.
“Why the fussy look? Any mother-in-law drama lately? Nne Nnemdi asked, as she sat beside Amy on the sofa, who was in deep thought and was unaware of her entrance into the living room.
“Well…i will survive…i guess”, Amy shruged, just the mention of mama made her shudder, she was the exact definition of “terror”.
“Ben seems like a nice guy, i can tell he’s deeply in love with you, but that one has got his wings tightly entrapped to his mother’s claws, it’s always hard to get out. I’ve seen it with Obiora, it was difficult to get his mother to agree to our marriage”.
“He loves his mother alot, it’s only fair he gets her approval, i don’t judge him for that, it’s just that it’s taking so long, sometimes i feel like we are being drawn apart by each second”.
Nne Nnemdi understood the words Amy weren’t saying, she had felt same way too, only that her mother-in-law wasn’t hell bent on taking it to her grave.
“Ndo, enwe ndidi…all will be fine”.
“Kpawww! Kpoow! Kpawww!”, plates clattered against plates, and spoons against the stainless steel sink making deafening sounds that could be heard all the way from Okpara square.
Ben sighed as he watched mama vent her anger on the creaky kitchenwares which she cherished alot, old habits.
“What wrong did i commit for wishing for a child eh Chineke, you gave me just one, yet took away my peace. Now i have become a witch gbo? A curse on my motherhood!”, Mama yelled admist her whimpers.
“Ozugo mama, ọ dị m nwute, you know i didn’t mean those words, i am just…was not…”, he stuttered.
“You really want a reply? Okay i will give you one…”, mama adjusted her wrapper thrice, her hands trembled as she struggled to keep it in place. Arms at akibo, she spurted, “Ever since you were a child, you have brought nothing but problems to me, and whenever the issue escalates, you run away and leave this old woman to clean up your mess. For sixty-five years, i have never known peace, mgbe…not once! Will you be at peace when you see my ozu finally lowered into the earth, gbo? What haven’t i done for you?”, Mama exclaimed, as she weeped uncontrollably.
Ben went dumbstruck, he hated seeing mama in such state, she was right , all he had ever brought to her was trouble.
“All i ever wanted was for you to be the man your father wasn’t! Growing up without a father, you alone can understand the pains better than anyone else, but no, you decided to be the exact same monster he was, and even worse, you got two women pregnant! Two igbo blood! Am done for!”.
“You got another woman pregnant? Ben?”, Chiwendu voice came scurrying in, her arms crossed, her faced flushed with anger, the beast inside of her awoken. Ben panicked, unable to utter a word, he just stared at the floor, as if waiting for it to swallow him up.
His worst nightmare had just begun!
Thanks for reading ECHOES! I hope you enjoyed it.
Chapter 5 coming soon! Anticipate!