My Father once told me a story about a herbalist that had a spare parts shop in the middle of the market square, shadowed underneath the big Iroko tree. In the crime ridden Nkwo market, his shop was the only one missing the thick metal criss-cross bars and Yale padlocks that decorated the others. In fact his shop had no door at all. Despite this, no one ever stole his wares. On the front of his shop, was a bold saying “He that invades the house belonging to another man, leaves his house open to be invaded by others.”
One night two robbers from outside our village, came to exercise their profession in the market square, they attempted and failed to break down Yale padlock after Yale padlock until they got to the herbalist’s shop. Their eyes lit up with joy as they walked in, shoulders held high like men who had just won kalu-kalu (the poor man’s lottery), and thanked their gods for blessing them with such a gift.
My Father said that, when the villagers woke up the next morning, they found these two men naked sweeping the floors of the market with their shirts. The stolen goods from the herbalist shop were neatly stacked beside the Iroko tree.
I do not know why this story came to my mind, standing here looking at the tragedy that lay in front of me. I wasn’t sure if what I was seeing was true or not anymore. You see, I can’t trust my mind anymore. My mind has been playing tricks on me for a while ever since that day with Fatima.
Fatima was engaged to marry Baba Idil, a man that didn’t deserve her. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She walked with grace, a peacock would have been jealous of and the glare from her eyes was strong enough to melt the sun. So there was no way my heart could have won the moral battle of staying away from her. Let me be clear though I didn’t want Fatima because she was so beautiful, I wanted her because that was my thing.
I’m known to my friends and conquests, as “Ekenne the one shooter bull”, this is because like a bull, once I have slept with a cow, you will never see me dip my manhood in the same cow again.
‘Ekanna, (this is how Fatima pronounced my name, why? I cannot tell) you know I am meant to marry tomorrow, so what we are about to do is very wrong and goes against my tradition. Are you sure you mean what you are saying.’
‘Yes Fatima, I mean it.’ My tongue was kissing all over her naked body and heading south, there was nothing I wouldn’t say at this point to get what I wanted.
‘Yes, Fatima, I love you, what we are about to do will only further enhance our love, in fact, I think we should get married. I can’t bear being away from our love.’ This did the trick and five minutes later I was pulling up my trousers with a big smile on my face.
Fatima was excited, she kept going on, about how much she loved me, how she couldn’t wait to tell her parents about me. They would be disappointed that she wouldn’t marry Baba Idil, but at least she would still get married. I knew right then, I had to set her straight.
‘Fatima, thank you for this special time we have shared, I hope you know I wasn’t serious about us getting married. You have told me on numerous occasions how Baba Idil is your true love. I don’t want to put asunder, what God has joined. So please marry your husband tomorrow and don’t talk to me anymore, if you see me on the left side of the street, please cross over to the right, because I’ll deny knowing you.’
What Fatima did next was very strange, I expected her to cry like the other girls before her did, maybe get angry and throw things at me, but instead all she did was smile. Yes, you heard me right, she smiled like the half moon that announced the arrival of the new yam festival. Then she started nodding her head like the agama lizard, the voice I heard when she spoke next, didn’t sound anything like hers.
‘Ekanna, the man that invades the house belonging to another man, leaves his house open to be invaded by others.’
Since then my mind has not been my own. It started off with little things. I would call a girl the name of another when we were making love, I would ride my bicycle to the market square but end up forgetting it and walking the 20 kilometres it takes to get home. Then it started becoming more serious.
One day I woke up and found myself naked sitting in our family living room, in the middle of the afternoon. On another day I left home fully dressed in my trousers at least I remember wearing them, but then I became the focal point of everyone’s stare. The adults who saw me, pretended like what I was doing was normal, but then the children started to laugh and point at me. I couldn’t tell why they were doing this until I was almost at my mother’s stall. My little sister Ada, saw me and ran over with a piece of cloth to cover me, she was crying and asking if I had gone mad, why was I walking the streets with no trousers.
These incidents became regular as each day passed. They came at different times of the day and were each different in nature. The only similar occurrence was at the end of each incident I would see Fatima smiling like the moon and nodding like an agama lizard, her words would ring out in my ears and the noise it made was deafening.
Fatima died; she committed suicide a day after we had sex, the day she was due to marry. She left a letter saying she took her life because she didn’t want to bring shame to her family, but she didn’t mention what this shame was or my name at all. I was so glad that she didn’t but to be truthful nowadays I’m not so sure.
Today is the two-month anniversary of Fatima’s death and the sun set on it announcing another day of cow conquest for me but would end in tragedy the extent to which I still cannot believe. Her name is Blessing, the name of the cow that would feel my three-inch pizzle later today. Blessing was a true blessing to mankind from the gods. She had flawless skin that glowed even when the moon refused to shine it’s light, and her backside, well let’s just say that tales of its size had reached men from villages afar, who came begging for the chance to court her.
‘Broda, I’m not going ooo, I’m tired of running errands for you every time you expect your latest girl. If you want me to go, then you must buy me my own Fanta.’ Ada said, and stubbornly crossed her arms in defiance. With anyone else I would have been upset, but this was my little sister whom I adored more than anything in the world.
‘Ok, my little princess you can get one for yourself too.’ Ada smiled and thanked me.
The series of events that happened next, I’m still trying to make sense of. I fell asleep; at least I think I did. I was awakened by the soft caress of female hand, by the time my eyes were fully alert, Blessing was standing in front of me her ample breast dipping into my face. I reached out, pulled her to me and started kissing her. Her sweet voice rang out as I took off each item of her clothing.
When I was fully lodged in her, urgently ploughing away, her laughter changed. Suddenly it wasn’t the sweet singing voice of birds that belonged to Blessing, but the spine chilling voice that belonged to Fatima. I pulled away as fast as humanly possible only to see Fatima’s face smiling and nodding at me.
Something snapped in me, I think my mind couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed Fatima by the throat and squeezed like a snake does its prey. She fought for a while but then I heard the last breath of air escape her.
I lay on top of her for a while content at getting rid of the evil that ailed me. That’s when I heard the screams.
‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? EKENNE WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? NWAMU OOO, MY CHILD… EKENNE WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ADA?’
That’s when I saw her lying there my pretty little sister, she was naked her torn clothes lying beside her. By her waist was a small pool of blood and her eyes had rolled back in her head. I screamed and shouted at her. I shook her and begged her to wake up, but it was all in vain. That’s when my father’s story came back to me. I saw Fatima standing, smiling, head nodding in satisfaction and finally I understood the saying, “He that invades the house belonging to another man, leaves his house open to be invaded by others.”