Dozie stopped in front of our gate and I hurried up to get out of the car before mother could catch up with me.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw her running towards us!
How could she run in such manner with shopping headpan full of foodstuffs on her head? It was amusing but I was embarrassed instead. I ran to her to take the load from her. She doubled to panted.
“What we’re you running from, mama?” I asked in pretence as if I didn’t ‘t know why. She scowled at me and panted more before scampering to Dozie who had made a U-turn to head home.
He didn’t want to stop. He was probably afraid she might make a scene but my mother waved him severally to a stop before he could zoom off.
He rolled down his tinted glasses and smiled at her. He looked more handsome when smiling. I hoped I was not beginning to like him.
“Good evening, ma. How are you doing?” He greeted and got out of the car and I noticed for the first time that Dozie was very tall and well built. I had not looked at him well before now. He kept smiling but mother was in for no rapport.
“Keep your good evening to yourself young man. What are you doing with my daughter again? Have I not warned you to stay away from her? What is wrong with you boys of nowadays?” She shouted with both of her hands on her hips.
An elderly man who was passing by stopped to look at them. He rested his palms on the knob of his staff and waited in confusion, working hard at getting the head and tail of the matter.
I walked up to him to lead him away, whispering to him that it’s not a serious problem. I didn’t waste time because he could use his staff as a weapon on the offender.
“I don’t mean any harm, ma. I only came to drop her off.” Dozie said.
“Come, does it mean that you don’t have any business to attend to at this important time of the day other than going about dropping school girls off to their homes? Who sent you on such provocative errand?”
“Sorry, ma! It won’t happen again. I’m sorry.” Dozie apologised.
I gave Dozie a sign to say I was sorry, he smiled, put on his sunglasses and lowered himself in his car.
“I will be coming on Sunday, ma, to make sure you have accepted my apology.”
I giggled and mum frowned at me. That was adding salt to injury. Dozie shouldn’t have said that. I wondered if he was fooling.
“Leave this place at once before I spit on you. Amaka, get inside.” She said and pointed at our house as if I didn’t know where it was. “Any day I see you with this man, I repeat, anyway I see you with this wayward man, I will cut off your legs. Try me, Amaka. Look, young man, I don’t want to see you around this area ever again. If I do, both of us will put legs in one trouser. And the entire village will gather because of us.”
“I understand ma. See you on Sunday.”
“Well, if are the proverbial fly without an adviser, I assure you will one day follow a corpse to the grave. Count your teeth with your tongue. Amaka is for someone else. Leave her alone.”
I waved bye to Dozie and mother scampered after me to the house.
During the weekend, Father went to Lagos as planned to meet with my uncle to discuss Ukadi’s issue and came back happy. My uncle promised to meet with his friends to raise the money.
I was extremely happy when he told me. My father had decided to keep it as a secret to my mother and the rest of the family member.
My father said it was unfortunate that his wife, who was supposed to be by his side through thick and thin was siding his adversary.
I told him Ukadi could not possibly be his adversary. He said he was – he became his adversary the day he placed a heavy load on his head.
He was right. By asking him to pay him the money he spent on his family member, Ukadi had embarrassed my father before both kinsmen and had put him in a tight corner. What friend ever did that? He proved he had no single respect for me and my family. He carried my fathers legs out in the open.