ODILI NKE MBỤ M (ODILI MY FIRST) Series #7
Welcome to our story series page. Today, we are continuing with Odili Nke Mbu m series. ODILI NKE MBỤ M (ODILI MY FIRST) – Series #7. Do well to share the story.
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“My legs shook. I staggered back to my class like someone intoxicated with ‘nkwụ enu’ (up-wine). None of the pupils knew what was happening to me, not even the girls gisting.
Nkemjika greeted me but I’ve suddenly gone deaf and mute at the same time. She hissed like a snake. I heard it but I could barely hold myself let alone engage in word combat. I felt the urge to flee as fast as my legs could carry me.
My heart was contracting in pain and I needed a secluded place to go and cry my eyes out. I held the wall of the ‘ọta akara’ (nursery class) for support.
The likeness I had for Odili has become ill fate, I thought. It had never ended so well except for the times we newly met. The time we could hold our gaze at Saah’s compound which had me basking in shyness.
And the other times he had tickled my ribs on my way to the ‘iyi’ in the evenings. Every other effort to steal some lone times with him had been futile.
The pupils playing football on the field kept screaming my name, yet I matched inside the field like someone whose mind has been ‘eaten by a sheep’.
“Bia! Obianuju pụọ n’ụzọ!” (Gerout from the way!)
My name flew from different directions of the field but I could not make out the faces. I don’t know which pain was worse; the pain in my heart or the biting sensation in my lower abdomen. The latter was alien.
I stuffed my ‘ịgba ọka’ in the inner pocket of my pinafore and wiped a streak of tear that has escaped my eye with the back of my hand. I needed solitude and so, took the back of Standard Four class and headed towards the school palm plantation.
The school is blessed not just with massive farmland for teachers but also tall palm trees that stood out like ‘izaga’. The palm plantation was always eerie and so pupils seldom go there except there are ripe palm fruits to be picked or when pupils are weeding the farmland close to the plantation.
A figure sitting at the back of the class caught my attention. His face was buried in his hands. I had enough problems of my own. I made to pass him to continue my journey to the palm plantation when his face was raised. It was Nwude.
“Uju”, he called out my name.
I could see the embarrassment lurked in his eyes. A normal human being would cease to be in school after suffering the kind of humiliation Nwude suffered.
“Are you okay, Nwude?”. It was a ridiculous question for he does not look okay.
“Do I look okay?”, he asked flatly. Thankfully, he had his clothes on. That was one of the advantages of harmattan. In a bid for the dry wind to lick up any moisture had dried his clothes.
ODILI NKE MBỤ M (ODILI MY FIRST) Series #7
Nwude had no real friends. Because of his mischievous nature parents warn their children against being around him. The only ones seen with him are those that love playing pranks. The way he sat shows how vulnerable even a misfit can be. I sat close to him but the stench of the ‘abụ ntị’ coming out of his ears kept on turning my stomach.
Indeed, Nwude was a whole package.
“Try and be cleaning your ears, Nwude”, I said. Not feigning my disgust.
“Oo”, he answered without a fuss. I was surprised. The Nwude I know would have lashed out on me, giving me equal doses of what I meted out.
“Rienu ịgba ọka”. I offered him my meal, having lost my appetite. His face lited up. I smiled back at him and headed to my destination.
“Uju, thank you o”, he said with all smiles. Showing a set of stained dentitions. “But… Where are you going to?”, he asked with genuine concern.
“Let me go and greet the woman stung by a scorpion”. I lied to him about going to defecate to prevent Nwude from following me there.
The leaves crushed under my legs as I walked on the farm. The land was almost bare due to the dry season except for growing cassava stems. It would be easy for anyone to spot me on the farm as they were no vegetables and corn surrounding the farm to make it dense, so I moved farther.
The palm plantation was calm and airy. It gave me the desired calmness. The palm trees danced, the fronds swinging from one end to another. The squirrels jumped with reckless abandon, leaving me alone to battle with my storm.
I lowered myself to the ground and cried my heart out. I pounded the ground, sniffed, and let the gathered cloud in my eyes release their content. I was just like an infant that the mouth has been removed from suckling the mother’s breast. I could not believe that Odili could be gone without warning.
I knew he would be going back to college now and then. That was a temporary absence. For I knew he would always be back during the holidays. But to think that he went to ‘God knows where is what shattered my heart. I drew my legs to my chest and wept.
At the sound of the bell, I walked back to the class. I cleaned my eyes as much as I can but there were still traces of tear stains on my cheeks. Everyone was sweating except me.
On seeing George come close, I bent my head on my desk to conceal my swollen eyes. The noisy chatter in the class continued until Aunty Olaedo returned to the class. I fought to concentrate as the pain continued in my lower abdomen.
My face kept contorting in pain, being restless and wriggling like a snake.
“Obianuju!”, Aunty Olaedo called my name. “Come out here let me know what is wrong with you”. Her table was situated somehow in the middle of the class, close to the window. She faced the pupils while our desks faced the board. The position gave her a view of the pupils and the entrance to the class.
I could not stand upright. The pain was devouring me. I held unto my stomach and went to her table as she had summoned. There were whispers as I moved close to her. The pupils were talking in tiny whispers that it was difficult to make out what they were saying. Aunty Olaedo followed their gaze and asked me to turn as I approached.
“Uju, turn”. As I turned my back on her facing the class, she gasped. My pinafore had round wet patches around my buttocks.
……to be Continued.
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