I had not the slightest idea what Oluchi had meant by that question. How was I even to have had it? I was just an unexposed eleven years old for crying out loud.
The expression on Oluchi’s face when she asked that question depicted worry; genuine concern and the need for an equally genuine response. I didn’t know what I was expected to say but I certainly knew whatever it was, it had better not mean preferring some other person to Oluchi.
I told Oluchi that I had no idea what she was talking about.
“I don’t know what you mean. Can you please rephrase your question?” I’d asked.
“Am I not beautiful enough for you, Paul?”
I didn’t know what it meant to be “beautiful” in the manner Oluchi had asked, either.
I bet if it was now, I would have known; understood everything Uluchi was talking about, even before she completed that thought (being in a day and age where an eleven years old knows even more than some adults).
At the time, I knew “Beautiful” was usually used to express satisfaction for a job well done. I knew this because my step mother used “the word” a lot to express satisfaction, after an assigned job had been carried out by her children.
“Don’t you like me, Paul?” Oluchi asked, with a piercing stare.
“Of course I do! I like you a lot, Oluchi. You know I do. More so, when you bring me food” I replied, with a broad smile
There was no hiding it. Oluchi’s countenance said it all. That was not the response she was hoping to hear.
It actually seemed very far from it.
Oluchi gave me “the look”.
A look that screamed the question, “how more dumb can an eleven years old, be?🙄
Oluchi simply shook her head; reached inside her school bag to bring out what the sight of, got me immediately excited; salivating.
Oluchi handed me a lunch pack. Apparently, she’d had her mum pack me one today.
Oluchi was a life saver. I’d not eaten the whole of that day and didn’t have any hope of eating for the remainder of it, either.
A supposed “very expensive” breakable plate had slipped off of my hand while I was doing the dishes earlier that morning and my punishment for this was “No food for the whole day”.
It was not the first time I’ll be starved in that manner.
I almost shed tears of Joy to the sight of the very delicious spaghetti Oluchi handed to me.
I sat side by side with Oluchi, as I ate the spaghetti with relish.
That night, again, Oluchi came over to call me out of my room.
This time around, attendance was different.
Unlike our previous visits, where almost everyone are age mates, Oluchi and I were the only young ones present on this day.
“Our Mother” had a special meal made for what looked like “an occasion”. An occasion that was largely attended by strange faces. All elderly.
There was more than enough to eat and drink.
Oluchi and I seemed the center of attraction. .
Over here, on this day, Oluchi suddenly had no match in beauty.
Oluchi was grown too.
Oluchi had curves seated graciously in the right places.
Oluchi wore what looked like a wedding dress.
I was in a suit.
I was made to feed Oluchi and Oluchi was made to feed me.
We both looked very happy.
We danced, dined and merry.
Oluchi and I had a special seat.
This seat looked very much like a throne.
Very strangely, Oluchi and I didn’t seem so young any longer. In the presence of our “Mother” that night and every other night that followed, we looked as though we were in our “late teens”.
After a very long dancing session; after everyone had eaten to their fill, what was on display for refreshment, “Mother” went on to address us in the presence of everyone in attendance.
“My faithfuls. Bear witness today, as my children become one. On this day, they become bounded not just by body but also by soul. On this day, in your humble presence, leaders from all the various realms, I declare Paul and Oluchi, man and wife…” Turning to us, mother said, “You must never do anything that’ll bring heartache to one another in any shape or form. You shall love each other almost as much as you love me. Anyone who stands against one, stands against the other. You shall go forth to bare children; children that’ll grow up to glorify me…”
Mother’s speech was a very long, powerful but confusing one. She ended it with these words…
“…your bed has been prepared. You may now go ahead to consummate this marriage”
To be continued…
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