Things changed around my house when Ukadi placed his “act of kindness” on hold and went back to Lagos to wait for the refund of his expenses upon my household. He was sure to come back in a month’s time.

My mother didn’t sleep at all. Every night, whenever I roused from my sleep, I would hear her humming a song. That was what she did whenever tension got best part of her. I didn’t know anything about  her secret moves but I was sure she was knocking heads with the elders.

My big brother, Ekene went sobre after many failed persuasive tricks to get me change my mind.  Of course he should. Ukadi promised to send him to America for higher studies and had already started processing his international passport to prove he wasn’t bluffing.

Emeka’s proponent was our youngest, Kenechukwu, 13. Kene came to me and told me that Ukadi was a very nice man. I was surprised to see him kneel down at my feet to ask me to marry the respectable man. I laughed but thought, well, he loved Ukadi’s oversea chocolates so much that he could drop his brain with him in exchange. What did he know?

My big sister had always been by my side, but had neither done nor said anything to show she’s for or against. I sensed she was by my side. She was a very humble girl – my exact opposite and didn’t think anyone should disobey their parents under any condition.

I had always thought she was too docile and had watched her experience hypnic jerks whenever anyone talked angrily.

My immediate younger sister, Nkechi was almost like me. She told me I shouldn’t marry a grey-haired man. She feared no one, spoke her mind, stubborn and defiant. I saw a lot of me in her whenever she refused to go for an errand for me, I didn’t take offence because I knew she was like me.

My father went to the bank to borrow some money and he was told to give his land as collateral and when he went to the surveyors to map out the land, the kinsmen who were required to be present as witnesses did not turn up. The surveyors withdrew and so did the bank and my father was stranded. I told him not to bother, there must be another way out of Ukadi’s grip.

                                     To be continued…..

© Florence Ezekafor