Like many African mothers, Obianuju whose name changed to Mama Nneka, was very happy when her child, her world, Nneka decided to stay. She began to walk like many proud African mothers with her head held high and brimming in confidence that came with when one had a child or had his or her compound full of them. Obianuju had suffered more than twelve stillbirths. In spite of the many abusive names that she was called, and the abandonment she suffered in the hands of men who blamed her for her stillbirths mysteries, she was determined to have a child. She visited many mountains and rivers, Alfas and prophets, witches and wizards. There was no miracle place she didn’t visit in her quest to have a child. All her monies fell into wrong hands and some evil men even tried to know her well.
She counted all that she went through all joy when she felt what many mothers felt. She was very happy when she felt a bump in her stomach. She stopped eating for two days just to be sure that it was not food that made her tummy to shoot out. Her husband, an old man who took her in when her penultimate husband sent her packing died two years into their marriage. Though Okafor passage pained her as he was the better of all the husbands she had had in the past. He was caring and loving. He treated her like a queen of a distant kingdom as if he met her as a virgin. Okafor was mocked in tavern by his friends for given Obianuju, a woman they said had tasted several penises, such care. The man endured many insults from family and friends just because of her. Obianuju was very grateful to him for taking her, a societal pariah as his wife. She made up her mind to take good care of the man who endured so much just to keep her as his wife. But death would not allow her to love the man the way she had wanted. Okafor died on his way from a communal function. His lose was a colossal one to Obianuju and the community at large, but it was one of those things they had to bear. Life is transient.
Obianuju cried many nights on her bed when people who could stop her comforting cries with their hypocritical words of courage had gone to bed. She would have loved Okafor to see her protruding belly. He would have sung her one or two of those traditional songs that used to make her feel good. But none could be like her Okafor. She had to be strong for the baby in her womb, she told herself. She had to do whatever it would take for her and her child to be saved.
Obianuju avoided heavy work during pregnancy just to have the baby in her womb and to shame those who had taken joy in mocking her. She finally had the child and named her Nneka, meaning mother is supreme. This happened when Obianuju was exactly forty-four years of age.
She treasured her only cloth and did everything to put the cloth in the best possible state a single mother could. She became the arch enemy of almost all of her neighnours and others outside her compound who liked to take advantages of child’s innocence. But to spoil Nneka and make her immoral brat, that she wouldn’t do.
Mama Nneka ran as fast as she could among the busy market people who had left their businesses to look at her sorry state. Those who knew her called her by her names but she didn’t respond. Two women held her, whispered about her nakedness into her ears, all to no avail. She freed herself from the grip of the women who held her and continued her walk. She knew nothing apart from her child and her safety. She quicken up to where they sell plantains, the place where she had sent her only child.
The blood on the road announced the spot. It told her the exact spot where her only child had met her untimely death. She knew it was the spot without being told. The corpse of her child and the monstrous truck had been moved away to an unknown place to avoid traffic by the authority. Mama Nneka sat on the tarred spot. She gave the tarred road some acrimonious punches in vengeance for drinking the precious blood of her only child. She yelled
To be continued.