Kelechi, The White Woman and Emeka the Village Idiot
Kelechi refused to be part of the party that betrayed the beliefs of his homeland. How could he, a titled elder, be turned around by such sacrilege? That there was another God. One that was stronger and greater than Amadioha. Never! Never! Not in his lifetime would he betray the virtues instilled in him. So when the village chief called the meeting with the white men, he refused to attend. Instead he decided to go to the farm with his family. His reasoning was, if this new God was so powerful then he can come and find him in his farm.
The sun was hot that day, burning his back as he toiled the soil, but Kelechi would not complain. Instead he rejoiced because he knew he was ahead of everyone else in the village that went to that stupid meeting. When his yams would mature, ready for harvest, theirs will be at least a few weeks behind.
‘Papa I’m tired, my legs and hands are paining me.’ It was his youngest with the protruding tummy, like it was filled with beer. Kelechi didn’t bother responding to him. He knew his son was lazy, him and his mother and today Kelechi didn’t have energy for such stupidity.
Later that day, when the sun started its slow descent to its resting place. Kelechi sent his family home like he always did and continued working on the farm. He enjoyed the little solace he had from these last few hours before he went home. It was during this period of solitude that the series of dramatic events that would alter Kelechi’s destiny occurred.
They came; four of them in their long gowns and cheerful faces. She was the only woman in the group, who came to talk to him about their new God. They had an interpreter with them, Emeka, the village idiot. No one else but Kelechi referred to him in such a way. It started on the day Kelechi rescued Emeka from a trap Emeka set up on his farm to catch bush rats. No matter how long or hard Kelechi thought about it he couldn’t comprehend how a man could be caught in his own trap.
When he saw Emeka in the trap, he didn’t rush to save him. No, instead he sent his son to call the whole village to come and see their esteemed son. The one praised because he had left the village as a youngster and returned speaking a language no one knew but was claimed to sound like the white man’s own.
Emeka’s head was bent over, body sunken, as Kelechi made fun of him to the crowd before finally releasing him from the trap. What made it worse for Emeka was that Kelechi then proceeded to carry him like a baby all the way to his home with the village trailing and laughing behind him. When Kelechi left him that night it wasn’t the pain from the injuries that made Emeka not sleep it was the pain of the humiliation he had just felt.
As they spoke to him about their God; Kelechi could not help but notice how beautiful she was. She was not round shaped and full figured like the women he had seen all his life. Her breasts were flat and looked like a man’s. Her hips didn’t look like it could survive the torment of childbirth but something drew her to him.
Emeka the village idiot kept on rambling on about how this new God was merciful. Didn’t want wars. Encouraged forgiveness. But all the while Kelechi’s eyes were fully on the woman. She had pale skin, long flowing hair, that looked golden to Kelechi, but what drew him to her, what troubled his soul the most was every time their eyes clashed. Her eyes were beautiful and blue; something he had never seen before. They seemed to stare into his soul and stir his loins.
As they talked his eyes stayed on hers and he smiled. She smiled back her eyes softened and then he saw something that he had never seen before, the colour of her face changed. It turned to bright pink or was it red and at that very moment Kelechi knew he had to have her.
‘Village idiot, tell this people, I’m not interested.’ Kelechi said and stormed off.
That night when Kelechi got home he went to his youngest wife’s hut even though it was not her turn. His encounter with the white girl had revitalized him, that neither him nor his young wife slept that night. He did things to her he hadn’t done since he was a young man all the while full of the visions of the white woman.
When the cock crowing announced the beginning of another day, he got up and made the journey to his farm with thoughts of her still in his head. For the rest of that day, he felt useless. He ploughed areas of his farm that didn’t need it and removed weeds that were plants he had sowed. His mind was on how he could make the white woman his. Would he have to follow their new God to make her his fifth wife? Amadioha forbid. Besides he had heard this new way didn’t allow marrying multiple wives.
He willed his mind to forget her and by the time his family had gone home leaving him to his solitude, he had almost succeeded, that was until she showed up.
She was suddenly standing there looking at him. She wasn’t wearing the gown from yesterday; today what she was wearing gave more pleasure to his eyes. She greeted him in a language he didn’t understand and then she started talking about something. She walked towards him, then walked away. She touched him and withdrew her hands as quickly as the contact was made. She would look at him and then withdraw her eyes. Kelechi didn’t know what she was doing but he knew the effect it was having on his loin. After watching her do this dance for a while, he grabbed her forcefully and kissed her. He didn’t want to be rough with her, but he was scared she might run away from his arms, but she didn’t. At first she pretended to put up a fight like all women do, but soon she was matching his kisses with the same passion and urgency.
That day would be the first time they have would sex and that day his manhood failed him. It was over before it even started. He shouted and blamed her for moving her waist too quickly, that he wasn’t ready. When his eyes caught hers as he stood over her screaming he ran away from what he saw in eyes. Fear, maybe disappointment he couldn’t tell for sure.
So when the following day at the time of his solitude, she was there again standing watching him, Kelechi knew that Amadioha had given him a second chance to prove his manhood. That day he made her scream with pleasure, how many times he could not remember, he would do this again the next day and the day after that and soon those moments became the time he longed for the most. Little did he know that someone was watching them with evil in their heart.
This continued until what Kelechi felt for her wasn’t just a need to satisfy his loin, but a need to satisfy the longing in his heart. The longing he had every evening as it drew closer to when she would come. The stronger and more painful longing when he kissed her good night.
He didn’t know what this longing was but he knew he had never felt it for his other wives. He knew she felt the same too because he started to notice subtle differences in her. Like the way she looked when she came to see him. She would have charcoal like paintings in eyes and her face will look like she painted them and her lips would be red today, a different colour tomorrow. Kelechi didn’t know what these things were but they marvelled him and he took joy in knowing they were done for him only, because before she left each night she would wipe them off.
She would talk to him in between the breaks of their lovemaking. At first he didn’t say anything back because he didn’t understand what she was saying. What would be the point? It would be like two mad people talking to each other. But soon that is what they became, because Kelechi started to tell her his worries and even though she couldn’t help him, just her listening made him happy.
The time she left each night started to get longer and longer and soon he feared that they might be caught. He soon quickly put that thought behind him, after all he was a titled man who was allowed many wives and concubines so why would this matter to him or anyone.
But they say when the gods want to punish you, insignificant things suddenly weigh as heavy as the elephant.
The night it happened was a beautiful one. The moon came out in all its glory and smiled as bright as the sun, and the stars danced with glee all around it. Kelechi told his family he would not be coming home that night. He had made up his mind that he would spend the night with the woman that had stolen his heart. He tried to explain to her what he had in mind when she showed up that evening. He wasn’t sure if she understood but when it came time for her to leave and she didn’t, he knew he had succeeded.
They lay together looking up to the sky their naked bodies lying on the palm leaves that made up their bed. She was talking and pointing to the stars, looked like she was showing him the shapes the stars made. Kelechi enjoyed this very much but he knew he would rather be admiring her body, so he decided to do that instead.
It was in this state of admiring her body, him on top of her that suddenly everything around him went crazy.
‘He is raping her, can’t you hear her abnormal animal screams, he is forcing himself on the poor woman.’ Kelechi heard Emeka the village idiot say.
Suddenly he was surrounded and in the arms of ten young men that made up the village army. In their village what Emeka was accusing him of was punishable by death. Kelechi tried to fight the youths, but their number over powered him. He told them not to listen to Emeka that they should ask the white woman. That she was his concubine and consented to what they were doing. But since no one other than Emeka understood what she was saying, his answers didn’t match hers.
The youths tied up Kelechi as was their custom and marched him to the centre of their village. He pleaded for them to cover his shame but they would not listen to him. When they got there and announced his crime to the crowd that had gathered. Kelechi knew he would not see the joy of another sunlight.
He didn’t know who in the crowd threw the first stone at him, but he knew who was the last. The white men were there but he couldn’t find the woman he loved. This and not the pain from the stones hurt him more. The white men were talking to the crowd, holding some of them back, but Emeka said this was the way they showed their support to what they were doing.
The last stone the one that sent Kelechi on his journey to the next world was thrown by the smiling face of Emeka the village idiot. When the blood from Emeka’s stone started to flow from his face Kelechi could have sworn he heard him say, ‘Who is the idiot now?’