I heard a familiar voice talking with the feiry man Ukadi kept at the gate and drew the expensive golden blinds apart for confirmation. My father stood there looking disturbed. I frowned my face a little in annoyance towards him, for not takingg the necessary action to rescue me before dusk the previous day and for affirming that I be kept in Ukadi’s house all through the weekend.
Wearing an exaggerated sad face, I walked into the common room where my father perched in one of the luxury sofas uncomfortably. When our eyes met, he stood up and said in a whisper; “What are you doing here, Amaka? Has it come to this? Do you realize you’re not properly married to him and that sleep over is not allowed?” I stood rooted to a spot surprised at him. Did Ukadi not say to me that he told my father I would be spending the weekend in his family house?
“But father, he forced me here and said he told you I was in his house,” I said as tears rose to my lower eyelid.
“What happened?” it was a command to speak up fast.
“He manhandled me on my way back from school, forced me into his car, drove to this place and locked me up in a room….Did he tell you he took me to his house?” I questioned and listened, my ears lobes enlarged
“No.” he said and I felt his anger boil but this time for Ukadi. I braced up.
“He treats you like an ant father, as if you worth nothing. We all are like ants before him because he feels he’s richer than us,” I looked towards the staira to make sure no one was listening and continued to lay all of Ukadi’s crimes before my father hoping it would bring the marriage plans to abrupt end.
“Dont talk like that Amaka. If he is richer does he feed my family?”
“No father, sorry for that but his actions proved to me that he has no respect for you,” I said forcefully and looked in the direction of the stairs again and wondered what Ukadi and his mum were up to, they were supposed to be downstairs to welcome my father.
“Did both of you sleep in the same room?” He asked after a thoughtful silence.
“Did he touch you?” He asked looking at me through the corners of his eyes. I bent my head, looked at my entwined fingers as I gently rubbed my right thumb on my left palm sniffing.
“Get your things. Let’s be on our way, I feel very sad about this. We need to be on our way” he said
I increased my sniffing from two sniffs a second to six, rubbed the tears that crowded my eyes off as I flew upstairs before Ukadi and his mum would come downstairs to make my father change his mind with their affluent charm.
As I stepped on the fifth step, I came face to face with Ukadi and his mother who followed behind him like his tail. I waited on the count of ten and tip-toed back to the general room, hid myself behind the giant flower vase close to the foot of the stair to watch the expected drama secretly.
Both men met exchanged greetings while Ukadi extended a handshake and to my greatest amazement, my father reached out for the handshake, grinning like someone whose president of his country paid a surprise visit. I expected a loud brawl capable of bringing the neighbors to Ukadi’s doorstep. Not grins and whispers. Disappointed, I withdrew and hastened upstairs.
My ideal hero on rescue mission was supposed to leave with me in a hurry, rejecting pleasantries in the bid to show off how annoyed he was and of course should rebuff Ukadi’s every offer including to take us home. My father seemed to treat lightly the grave sins Ukadi committed against him and the whole family.
He offered to drop us off in his flashy Acura MDX and my dad jumped to the offer without considering how I felt about the whole thing and when we reached home, everyone treated him like the purest diamond, with all of their teeth exposed in a smile meant to please him, I realized how deteriorated they had turned because of his affluence
I didn’t utter a word but waited for him to leave so I could sit with my captivated family. I needed to tell them all that marriage with a man thirty-three years older than me won’t happen.