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Wednesday, June 4, 2014


They were obviously in love. Their eyes told the story. You didn't need to ask any question. The aura surrounding them spoke volumes, it was the brightest of pinks. You were around them and all you wanted was to whisper words of love to anyone you thought was dear to you. Their hands were always on each other and they were never far from each other.
When they announced their engagement, the entire community was in support and looked forward to the day. Together, they counted down to the wedding day. Theirs was a marriage created on the platform of Eros, woven in time and fortified in destiny. It left everyone thinking about their partners and what it would feel like to be in love like them.

With joy, the community woke up one morning to see her rounded belly. She was swollen, expecting a child. They rejoiced with her and she was never short of help. Her compound was swept clean every morning by unknown people long before she awoke. Her pots were always filled with water at every time of the day. Her back yard had firewood that would last her for many moons as did their meat supply which never dwindled. No one wanted her worrying over anything. As an unspoken rule, she was never alone. Be it her neighbor, her relatives, her friends or even passersby, someone was always with her.

With time, she grew heavier. Her steps slowed, she was always tired, but her beautiful spirit remained. Then one day, she told her sister who was picking melon for the family dinner that it was time. “Ahubi” ran to the farm to call her husband and then the mid-wife who would deliver the baby. After much laboring with the entire community camped in their compound, she brought forth a girl child. Alas, it was a dead one. The umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around her neck. She never rent the air with her tiny cry. Outside, the villagers waited and waited, wondering what was wrong. They wanted to celebrate. They had waited for this day since the day they all saw the bulge of her abdomen. They waited. And waited. Still no news. Then the midwife came out. She was fully dressed and ready to go. There was no smile on her face. She hurriedly pushed a path in the throng of villagers and left without a word or a form of greeting to anyone. Those in her way saw that her face was streaked with tears. After waiting for another 2 hours, sadly the villagers made their way home. There would be no party that night celebrating the baby’s coming.

Life went on as usual for the couple. Another 3 moons and “Elonye” noticed her breasts were tender again. She spoke with “Agaba” her husband and they decided to wait and see. The villagers later noticed the gentle swell of her abdomen, no one made a comment about it, but they were all happy for her. Elonye took the necessary precautions; she did nothing that would stress her. The elderly women in the village each gave her a piece of advice; some as ridiculous as closing tying her legs together others as simple as telling her not to bend. Agaba and Elonye would laugh secretly at the end of each day. As the date of her delivery drew near, Agaba tried to distance himself from Elonye. He didn’t want to be too attached in the event that this one wouldn’t stay. Elonye longed for her husband’s company, but he kept telling her he was trying to gather food so they wouldn’t be hungry.
The baby came in the middle of the night. His screams rent the air as he came into this world. Elonye was tired, but Agaba was ecstatic. He proudly introduced himself as “papa” to the baby. He held the baby in his arms until the midwife spoke harshly to him and picked the baby up and handed him to the teary eyed and tired mother. They all went to bed.
Agaba heard a scream and rushed from the mat where he was sleeping to his wife’s side by the bed. The baby that was so full of life the night before lay still and pale in his mother’s arms. Agaba asked what happened, but all he got was the sound of wailing from Elonye. How did this happen? What did this all mean? How could they lose the second one? The light went out from their eyes. They tried hard, but there was no comfort anywhere to be found.

Again, Elonye noticed her tender breasts which were as big as ripe watermelons. Her hips had started getting wider. She watched carefully and when the time for her monthly flow had passed, she knew she was once again blessed with child. But there was no joy in the knowledge. She thought to herself, this will be a “born-throway” just like the 2 before it. Her mother realized her line of thought would even kill any chances they had for the baby surviving and decide to live with them till the baby was born. She brought forth again with time and like the first one, she knew this one wouldn’t stay. There was no cry when the baby came out. The midwife immediately covered up the baby’s body and handed it to a stone faced Agaba. He knew without a word what he must do. He had done it twice already. Without a glance at Elonye, he threw the package into his farm bag and made his way out of the hut. There were no more tears to shed. Elonye was a shadow of herself. Her husband had become a stranger at the time when she needed him most.

In the village, there where whispers all around. A “child-eater” was what they called her. They said she used the lives of her children to make herself look younger. Then the name calling changed to “Omabonu”. As usual she will give birth to waste it. Elonye heard all the whispers. Agaba tried to be a good husband, but what was left of their love was a carcass of what existed before.

Fate was kind to her, she took in again. She told no one this time and tried to conceal her growing stomach by wearing loose fitting clothes. She went about her chores as normal and would never act tired or weak in front of anyone. Agaba found out one day when she was bathing and was shocked that she didn’t tell him. Her excuse was telling him wouldn’t make it stay. He hugged her and apologized for being distant and took more care to attend to her. Together, they waited for the “cursed day” to come so they would get over with it.
The mid-wife was surprised when she was summoned one morning to their compound but without question, she gathered her old bag and made her way to their compound. She thought with pity to herself how this couple had tried without luck to get a baby. She prayed and crossed herself before she entered the house and implored to Owoicho the God in heaven to please make this one stay for Elonye’s sake.

This was a difficult delivery. Aunty Aigba the midwife kept praying and muttering unintelligible words to herself. Agaba knew something was different, but he dared not move further into the room so as not to incur Aunty Aigba’s wrath. But he whispered prayers to Owoicho and promised to be a good father and even go to church regularly if He spared Elonye. He was so afraid to whisper any prayer for the child, that he just cried it out in his heart. By mid- day, Elonye still hadn’t brought forth and she was too tired. She beckoned to Agaba to reassure him of her love and make him promise he would take care of himself and find a good wife who would bear him strong sons to carry his family name. Agaba begged her and told her not to talk like that. He told her not to worry about children that they were enough for each other. He cried and begged her, but she was fast slipping away and he could feel it.

Then suddenly, a bright ray of sun filtered into the room like a presence, Elonye looked in the direction of the window and with a burst of energy and a look of wonder on her face, she gave a mighty push and the baby popped out, screaming her displeasure at being disturbed. She was a feisty one, looked as beautiful as her mother with skin so soft it looked like it was made of butter. Her mouth which still hadn’t stopped screaming was exactly like her fathers’. They all stared at the baby with bathed breath, afraid to carry her. Afraid to be attached. Afraid that at the last minute, she would go like the ones before her had done.
The baby screamed again and Aunty Aigba hurriedly picked her up and wrapped the shawl around her. She observed that the family hadn’t even bothered to buy anything for this baby. Agaba hastily brought down an old bag from the ceiling and rummaged through it for something to wear for the baby. He was crying. He couldn’t believe it.
Aunty Aigba spent the night at their place. She didn’t leave because she too had hope which had just been re-ignited. She didn’t want anything happening to this baby.

Elonye refused to give her a name even as the baby suckled on her breast. All through the night, all three of them watched the baby. No one said a word to each other, each engrossed in his own thought. By morning, no one moved until the baby screamed for food. Elonye got up and picked her up. She called her “Omabonu” because she thought that as usual, this one was born to be thrown away.

Everyone waited for her to die. Omabonu proved them all wrong. She stayed. She grew up to be a darling just like her mother. She was well brought up and she knew she was treasured by everyone, but it never got into her head. When she was 5 years old, she saw her mother throwing up one day and got her a cup of water. She asked what the matter was, but Agaba told her to go and get her shoes so they would go out. He had a gleam in his eye and Elonye’s smile couldn’t be dimmed. They were expecting another child.

The baby came and they named her “Ikwubiela” for indeed, it was only death that spoiled things.

Then another baby. Only this time around, there were two not one. Two very strong boys. She named them “Amedu” and “Okopi”.

Again, she was blessed with another one and she named him “Alechenu” for no one would have thought she would indeed have children who would live to grow up.


  1. Felt really good to read.

    You should definitely try stuff like this more often.


  2. Wow! You're such a sweet story teller. The way you write is so beautiful, I could picture the couple and even felt their pain, disappointment and final joy. I'm so glad you made this story end in a happy note.

    I'm becoming addicted to your stories and I'll try as often as possible to leave a comment, if that's all I can do to encourage you.

    Please keep them coming.

  3. Blessings and nicely done.

    stay blessed.