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Home  ›  Romance  ›  What Goes Around
What Goes Around
by Ify Tony-Monye   (Author)
Read First Three Chapters

CHAPTER ONE

The piercingly loud sound of a car horn jarred her from her slumber and she woke up with a start, wondering what on earth the noise was all about. It only took a couple of seconds for her fuzzy brain to clear and she remembered what day it was. She must have drifted off to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. It hadn’t been her intention. A lazy smile tugged at the corners of her lips and her eyes came alive as soon as they focussed on the garment hanging on a hook stuck on the wooden door of the wardrobe. She looked around at the disarray that was her room, and then at her bedside clock and realised it was time to get up. After a few stretches on the bed accompanied by tired groans, she kicked off the duvet and stood up. Slipping her feet into the fluffy pair of slippers beside the bed, she stood, walked to the window and threw open the curtains. Daylight flooded the room.
Everyday holds potential for beauty. It was a new dawn; a beautiful day for new beginnings; new hopes and new dreams. The leaves on the trees bowed gracefully at the slightest prodding from the gentle breeze. The warm mid-morning sun sat content playing hide and seek with the few clouds up in the sky; that was until they threatened its very presence up there. Letting go of all playfulness, the sun instantly charged itself up and let loose great bursts of energy so brilliant and blinding that the clouds were sent cowering behind the cosmos in fear like a child hiding behind its mother for safety and protection. Smiling, because it had won dominance of the sky, the sun blinked thrice, quickly sucked up the released energy and returned once more to its initial warm and soothing state much to her delight. Having just experienced the sun’s ferocity, the clouds stayed put behind the cosmos, planning and waiting for the right time - maybe another dawn, to retaliate.
She chuckled and let the curtains fall back in place before heading to the bathroom. As she sat on the loo to have a pee, she felt that even the elements were in consonance with what was to take place in a short while. She cleaned up, brushed her teeth, and then put on a dressing gown. With one last look at the garment hanging on the hook, she went to oversee the flurry of activities downstairs. She had engaged the services of a wedding planner to manage things but couldn’t help wading in to check on last minute details. She didn’t want the slightest mistake or omission to throw a dark cloud over her bright lovely wedding day. She decided to leave dressing up till the very last hour before the chauffer turned up with the car to convey her to the church.
She’d placed a call to the cooling van company and was waiting for someone to answer when she bumped into her mother. Mouthing ‘good morning, mum,’ and pointing at the phone against her left ear, she engaged in conversation with the recipient to ensure all drinks were in stock and perfectly chilled. Next, she dialled the caterer to enquire about the food, and finally the cake maker. Both the video man and photographer had their jobs cut out for them trying to take still and motion pictures of her to put together a ‘before and after’ portfolio whilst she rushed around. She was about to ring someone else when her mother realised she was witnessing a bridezilla in action. Snatching the phone from her, mother gently but firmly propelled daughter towards the bedroom warning her not to emerge till she’d had a relaxing bath. A playful push into the bathroom put paid to further argument from the bride and her mother shut door, barricading the doorway with her bulk till she heard the reassuring sound of running water. Everyone sighed in relief, as it meant they could now get on with their assigned duties to ensure the success of the wedding without further ‘interference’ from the perfection-crazy bride.
They all found themselves in the church a couple of hours later. The bride looked amazing in her strapless ivory satin and organza wedding gown. On the tight-fitting bodice was panache of sequins clinging to the fabric like early morning dewdrops on leaves and blades of grass - refusing to let go but hanging in there all the way down from the plunging neckline to the contours of her ample bosom. A line of sequins trailed downwards like a lonely stream from her cleavage, tapering to a sharp point where it met her belly button. Then, a band of the same glittering objects, about two inches wide, outlined her narrow waist in a very stately manner where the gown fell all the way to the floor in folds and folds of organza. The gown itself was creatively finished off at the hemline with sequins that were individually hand sewn in the shape of lovely roses in full bloom. There was an ivory satin lining underneath the garment, adding more volume to the already bulky gown. This made it look more like a beautiful ivory ball gown than a wedding dress.
On her head was a diamond-studded tiara; her shoulder length jet-black hair severely pulled back from her face so that not even a wisp was out of place. It was styled in such a way that the veil could be attached to the bun at the top of her head and allowed to freely flow downwards till it reached her shapely bum – the part of her anatomy she was rather proud of. Her eyes shimmered brightly, sparkling almost like the diamonds on her tiara when they caught the light. Clad on her feet was a matching pair of ivory satin shoes with stiletto heels. A necessity if she wasn’t to trip and fall over her gown. She was only a couple of inches over five feet. She held the tiniest of purses one could ever imagine in her left hand, almost like that of a doll. The ivory satin purse was held together with a thin metallic clasp and had a sterling silver chain for a handle. With her beautiful posy of flowers clutched in her right hand, she presented a picture of the perfect bride on her very special day; just like Cinderella transformed into a swan adorned in her fineries and glass slippers before midnight. Only in her case she yearned for things to remain as they were when the clock struck midnight, and not return to status quo. She may look like Cinderella, but her story was nowhere like Cinderella’s and that was how she wanted it. As she stood at the entrance of the church waiting for the cue to step in, she couldn’t help but imagine what her husband-to-be looked like on this occasion, and what thoughts were traipsing the length and breath of his mind at that precise moment.
She was quite nervous and had serious butterflies in her tummy. But nobody looking at her would have ever guessed how edgy and scared she was. She looked very calm and collected as she stood just outside the church ignoring the breeze that played with her veil and teased the bottom of her gown, making it flap noisily around her legs. Her mind wondered off to memory lane and all the upheavals that preceded the day’s event. Her love for Difu was like a raging fire that consumed her entire being. The fire burned brighter with each passing year and it was what sustained the relationship till this happy day. A tumble here and there nearly thwarted the relationship but “che sera, sera”. A sharp tug at her veil from the breeze brought her back to the present.
The man of her dreams was equally immaculately attired for the ceremony. At five feet eleven and a chocolate brown complexion, he looked very dashing in a well-tailored black tailcoat with broad lapels and a single button in front just at the waistline. A waistcoat made from the same ivory satin and organza as the bride’s outfit, inclusive of hand-sewn sequins to match, was part concealed beneath the coat. He wore a grey pair of trousers with micro-thin stripes running vertically from top to bottom, along with a custom made black pair of shoes. The groom had no spare flesh on his body as a result of his daily workout routine that he adhered to religiously. He had no facial hair whatsoever and his lips had a slight natural tint of red. His pointed nose earned him relentless teasing from friends and family alike and the name Pinocchio stuck for life. He wasn’t prone to telling lies but his nose was unnaturally long for an African. He sported a crew cut and looked quite dapper with everything put together the way it was. He was handsome, and he was well aware of it.
Many of the ladies in the church would have given anything to be his bride, envying the fact that she’d obviously made such a good catch. There were quietly muttered oohs and aahs from most of them. A quick word here and a quick word there; whispers, as they tried to find out as much information as they could about the groom from their neighbours. Such was the racket they created that an innocent bystander would have been pardoned for likening the sounds they made to that of hundreds of bees buzzing around and within a hive. Some wanted to know what he did for a living. Others wanted to know whether he had any brothers that shared similar features with him. Yet even more were trying to figure out the best man’s availability. This was the way to go if one was really smart. It was pointless and sheer stupidity hankering after the groom as he was already snapped up.
The best man was dressed from head to toe in an identical outfit as the groom, though didn’t look as dashing to steal the limelight from him. He was a good head shorter than the groom for starters. Very dark but unblemished skin hung round his frame. To be fair to him, though one wouldn’t call him ugly, he couldn’t be referred to as handsome either. He was just an ‘okay’ guy and one single glance at him gave away the fact that he’d probably not seen the four walls of a gym in a very long time, if ever. That not withstanding, he could still make someone a good husband if given the chance because he had a kind heart and a good disposition. Both men each had a lavender rose in their breast pockets to go with the wedding colour theme.
The maid of honour was dressed in a lilac, off the shoulder, body-hugging dress which accentuated her very shapely body. With diamond stud earrings on both earlobes and a diamond choker round her neck, she looked absolutely stunning and was sure to catch more than one young man’s eye before the ceremony came to an end. Her hair was held back from her face just like the bride’s with the exception of a ringlet of hair falling down from both temples and almost reaching her jaw on each side. Where the bride had a veil attached to the bun on her head, the bridesmaid had a crown of ivory and lilac flowers round hers. She was almost of the same build as the bride except that she wasn’t blessed with a large bosom like her friend. Her modest C-cup breasts were good enough for her. That was her answer to anyone who wanted to know if she felt lacking in that quarter in comparison to her friend. Her mother had drummed it into her ears since puberty that an ample bosom maketh not a good woman. Being good was something that came from the core of a person’s being and not his or her external features. One man’s beef being absolutely toxic for the other as they say, there were boob men and bum men all over the world and, what she lacked in front she more than made up for behind, so there.
Uche was quite melancholy outside the church where she stood fussing over the bride like a mother hen with one of her chicks. Her emotions all over the place like a pregnant woman with hormones wrecking havoc within her system. There was a strong concoction of happiness, deep pain, and a teeny-weeny bit of jealousy going through her system as she performed her duty. Happiness, because she’d known the couple for as long as they’ve known each other and was glad to be present and playing an active role on the day they were getting hitched; deep pain, because she was losing a lifelong friend, confidant and companion. They’d been to elementary, high school and university together. Their holidays were spent together at either party’s home. They shopped at the same places, wore identical clothes, and even had the same brand and colour of cars! They were almost inseparable and the word ‘almost’ comes into play because, try as they did, they couldn’t secure employment with the same organisation. It was a big blow to their plans but one which they did not allow to deter them from making the most of the time they did have together; jealousy, because Chizo seemed to have it all whereas she could do nothing but desolately speculate about her own future – would she die a dried up and bitter old maid or would she eventually meet the man of her dreams and have cupid’s arrow go through her heart?
Uche had issues with men and relationships in general. She’d lost count of the number of attempts she’d made at initiating and sustaining a relationship over the years, all of which ended in disaster and were usually very short-lived. At some point she’d even begun to wonder whether there was something physically and mentally wrong with her, making her incapable of holding on to a relationship with the opposite sex. She did well to mask the emotional turmoil in order not to ruin her friend’s special day, after all the fact that she was still single was no fault of Chizo’s. No. The fault lay with her, and maybe with all the single men out there that failed to either make advances at her or appreciate her once they got to know her, enough to have a lasting relationship with her. Giving credit where it was due, Chizo had done her fair share of match making and organising a few blind dates to no avail. So, she really couldn’t hold that against the poor girl.
The main part of the church where the congregation sat was decorated in a very breathtaking fashion. Each pew had a big lilac and ivory satin bow at the end nearest to the aisle, creating a distinct and stunning pathway decked in ivory and lilac amongst the sea of faces and colours from outfits and headgears that majority of the female guests were sporting. A long red carpet ran from the main doors of the church, through the aisle and right up to the stairs that led to the altar, finally disappearing beneath the massive altar table. Every alternate pillar in the church had brightly coloured flowers arranged in a garland at the top section, with a combination of delicate scents emanating from each floral arrangement. All together, they drenched the church with heady smells that made one wonder whether one hadn’t mistakenly walked into a large flower garden. The internal walls of the church were cream coloured. They created a perfect backdrop and contrast for both the flowers and stained glass windows and thus making their colours more vivid.
The altar was not left out completely as far as decorations were concerned. Several beautiful and highly decorative bouquets of flowers in equally attractive vases were strategically placed within its confines. The church looked splendid indeed. Chizo had to remind herself to say a big ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ to the people behind its splendour - her family and close friends. They’d saved her quite a tidy sum that she would otherwise have spent on a florist.
There were kids of all ages running around the church, seizing the opportunity provided by the interlude between the arrival of the bride and her bridal train, and the commencement of the wedding proper to play hide and seek. Their parents ignored them and rather engaged in short conversations with the other guests converged in the church, many of whom had neither seen nor heard from one another in a very long while. It was the perfect avenue to indulge in a bit of catching-up and gossip. The choristers were silent at the moment, leaving it solely up to the organist to swathe the entire church with soft and gentle music from his organ. Difu Okwuosa was having a bit of playful banter with his best man, Dozie Okolo, as they stood side by side near the altar whilst awaiting the arrival of his bride.
‘So this is it, man!’ Dozie said, patting him on the back. ‘I can’t believe you’re truly deserting the brotherhood! If I wasn’t physically standing here beside you I would have concluded I was having a dream.’
‘Yeah, this is finally it, Dozie,’ he replied. ‘And I don’t see getting married as deserting the hood, rather I see it as a step in the right direction towards kick-starting the next chapter of my life. You should sincerely start thinking about doing the same.’
‘Have you got any doubts, any worries?’ Dozie asked more seriously, ignoring his last statement.
‘Nope. None whatsoever, my good friend.’
‘Are you nervous?’
‘Not at all, mate,’ Difu replied with a smile. ‘I’ve got this very unusual calm feeling inside of me; almost as if I’ve just had a cold shower after some hours under the blazing hot sun. All I want now, Dozie, is for Chizo to walk through those doors and up the aisle towards us so we can get this show on the road.’
‘Are you that eager to get this over and done with?’ Dozie asked mischievously.
‘What man in my position wouldn’t be, eh? I’ve got great plans for tonight, my friend, very great plans, so I see every second spent going over these formalities as a delay,’ Difu replied, laughing at the same time.
One wouldn’t entirely blame him for his impatience, as the road to the altar had been one hell of a rocky one, with cuts and bruises all along the way. You could say that he was a dreamer who was about to have his dream come true, and you wouldn’t be very far off the mark. What he desired most at the moment, therefore, was to be done with the ceremony and be gone with his bride to a place where true lovers and soul mates could be to express the depth of their love for each other without interruptions.
‘Make sure you take things easy tonight, would you?’ a concerned Dozie asked in all earnestness, every trace of light-heartedness gone from his voice.
‘Why?’
‘We wouldn’t want to have to convey you to the hospital in an ambulance by the time this night is over, would we?’ he asked.
‘Get out of here,’ Difu replied, grasping his meaning and giving him a playful punch in the tummy. He had insisted on not having a stag night much to his friends’ disappointment solely because he couldn’t handle their innuendoes and tawdry jokes. Yet here was Dozie having a dig at him right in front of the altar without fear and respect for the maker and creator of all things! He should have known better than to assume he’d escaped from such conversation.
‘I’m being very serious here, man,’ Dozie continued. ‘It looks as if you have a lot on your plate for tonight and all I’m saying is not to overdo it. You’ve got the rest of your lives together so take it real nice and slow.’
‘Aye, aye, captain,’ Difu responded, saluting him like a sailor and they both burst out laughing, enjoying the brotherliness between them.
Just then, there was a bit of commotion as mothers rushed to bring their children back to their respective pews. The organist had just started the first few notes of the ‘bridal march’ and the bride had made an appearance at the door. Standing bang in the middle of the doorway with the folds of organza neatly arranged where the hemline of the gown met the floor, rays of sunlight streamed into the church through the space round her body illuminating her. The thousand and one sequins on the gown as well as the diamonds on her tiara shimmered in the light too. The show was about to begin and she was a sight to behold. Certainly what the doctor would have ordered as a remedy for sore eyes! Both men turned to face the doorway; Dozie looking on in undisguised admiration and Difu catching Chizo’s eyes and holding the gaze, his cheeks puffed out with pride. They were finally where they yearned to be and it felt absolutely wonderful.
‘God, she’s beautiful,’ Difu muttered under his breath. He couldn’t believe that this apparition in the doorway was his, and his alone for the rest of his life. He would have bet his last kobo that there were many jealous men in the congregation at this very moment and there was no gainsaying that he was blessed to have her.
‘You lucky devil,’ Dozie responded. ‘How on earth did you manage to capture a combination of beauty and brains?’ he whispered back.
He wasn’t just paying lip service to his friend because he knew the bride was as intelligent as she was beautiful, and very rarely did the two qualities go hand in hand. He had been jealous of Difu’s obvious good find at the outset of the couple’s relationship but that had gradually fizzled away to be replaced with admiration and a lot of goodwill. He was glad he didn’t let the green-eyed monster destroy the special bond and friendship that existed between him and Difu.
‘Ask me that question again when this is all over,’ was the reply. ‘Have you got the rings?’ Difu asked urgently, switching to matters at hand.
Dozie felt through the fabric of his suit where they should have been if he had them and his fingers met the reassuring bulge of the rings. ‘Yep,’ he answered. It would have been very disastrous had he forgotten to come along with them. He was quite positive Difu would never have forgiven him had that been the case.
‘Good.’
As she walked down the aisle on her father’s arm, the whole congregation on both sides stood up and turned a full 900 towards the left and right. The only audible sound was the ‘bridal march’ played flawlessly by the organist up in the alcove reserved for the choristers.
The bride’s mum was quite distinctive in her attire as only ‘mothers of the bride’ could be. She had chosen to wear a bright red skirt suit, which succeeded in enhancing her very light skinned complexion. Matching shoes and a red hat completed the picture and her fingernails were fully manicured and painted in bright crimson nail polish. The lady in red was all smiles and nothing bar an earthquake could have dampened her spirits today of all days. As her husband and daughter came close enough for her to catch his eye, she gave him a wink and he reciprocated. Those who were quick enough caught the exchange between the couple and smiled. It was very rare indeed in recent times to see a couple who had been married for as long as the bride’s parents and were still (one assumed) very much in love with each other.
The bride’s dad wore a well tailored black suit and trousers, matching black pair of shoes, a white shirt which his servant had done justice to (the collar starched and ironed so much so that it stood stiff and upright against his neck, almost chafing) with a red carnation stuck in his breast pocket in the bid to be ‘in sync’ with his wife’s own colour during picture time. The two complemented each other, as he was dark skinned in comparison to his wife’s light complexion. Chizo’s mum, along with her aunties, uncles, friends and well wishers sat to the left side of the aisle while Difu’s mother, family and friends were seated to the right.
Kosi Okwuosa, never one to be seen or known to ape anybody’s style opted for a more traditional appearance. She had a way of eliciting information from people without appearing to do so, thus, she’d been able to discover what the bride’s mother was to wear from the bride herself, safeguarding her reputation by that single act. It would have been catastrophic to turn up dressed in a similar fashion to the bride’s mother as far as she was concerned. Standing out amongst the crowd was the name of the game and she did anything and everything possible to ensure she was the one unique person at every gathering. Upon discovery that Nkoli was to be formally dressed for the wedding and also going for red, Kosi had then talked her tailor into making an eye-catching outfit out of beautiful blue chord-lace with miniature diamond studs dotted equidistant from each other all over the fabric. The very capable and talented tailor had created an awe-inspiring long skirt and blouse with bell-bottom long sleeves and a daringly low plunging neckline - a bit too revealing for someone her age but then, that was Kosi for you, her motto being “aging is all in the head”. She had a silver and black striped aso oke draped across her right shoulder and secured to the left side of her waist with a brooch, just like a sash. On her head was a massive hat made from the same fabric as the aso oke - this, in place of the normal turban headgear that everyone else wore. So enormous was the hat that it obscured the view of the guest seated directly behind her and it was either remain in the position, twisting her neck from side to side, or move. The lady chose the latter. Kosi looked fabulous and she delighted in the knowledge. She experienced great joy in being the best dressed at any occasion she attended as often as she possibly could. She wore a diamond-studded choker round her neck and a matching set of earrings on each ear. Difu was her only child and she’d pulled all the stops for the ceremony. Her late husband’s brother stood beside her, stepping in as the father of the groom.
‘Henry would have loved to be here today,’ he whispered to Kosi.
‘He’s here,’ she replied. ‘And he’s probably having a better time than all of us because he can mingle without being seen or heard.’
Tochukwu Okwuosa had nothing to say to this response from his sister-in-law. It was obvious that she was still in the firm clutches of grief even after so many years and he didn’t want to disillusion her, not today anyway. If believing her dead husband was present in the church was going to help her get through the day in one piece then so be it, after all, no harm was being done. He had a complete physical resemblance to his late brother but sadly that didn’t endear him to Kosi, as that was where all similarities between the two men ended. Henry and Tochi (as some people preferred to call him) were as dissimilar as two opposite sides of a coin in mannerism. Kosi somehow always found ways to subjugate Tochi at every given opportunity despite their being within the same age bracket and him being a man. The worse thing was; he let her, and annoyingly so without a fight! This was very spineless of him as everyone often told him but he ignored them.
‘You’re looking good today,’ Tochi said, changing the subject.
‘Thanks,’ she muttered.
‘Not that you don’t look good everyday,’ he quickly added, ‘but you look absolutely fantastic today.’ He never quite got the hang of how to talk to Kosi while his brother was alive. Henry’s death worsened matters because Kosi had completely closed up like a clam. One didn’t know what was right to say to her and how she’d respond to whatever was being said. This made conversation with her very difficult but Tochi had to make an effort today, as it was a very special and happy occasion.
‘It’s my son’s wedding, Tochi,’ she said, as if he needed reminding. ‘And he’s all I’ve got left.’
Tochi nodded, accepting her explanation. Kosi looked straight across at her son and he smiled reassuringly, trying to let his mother know that everything was okay. She seemed to have got the message because she flashed him one in return. On seeing the dazzling smile, Difu took a deep breath and exhaled in relief. It had been touch and go with his mum since he’d announced his engagement to Chizo and at last, things had gone to plan. If Kosi was happy, then it must mean everything was all right. What more could he ask for? He wondered.
At that point, Chizo and her father had reached the front of the altar and the priest asked, ‘who gives away this young lady?’
‘I do,’ Augustine Ofoma responded. Taking Chizo one step further, he relinquished his hold on her hand and retreated to the space beside his wife. She placed her right arm in the hook of his left arm and he held her reassuringly, caressing her fingers as he held her. This was definitely a couple not averse to showing the world how affectionate they were with each other and theirs was a relationship to emulate, assuming they remained this affectionate behind closed doors.
Difu stretched out his hand and enclosed Chizo’s in it, and then both faced the priest who immediately started the marriage proceedings. For that, Difu felt the priest was clearly a man after his own heart. He hoped the rest of the ceremony would carry on just as swiftly as it had started.
‘Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to witness the union between our children, Chukwudifu and Chizobam, in holy matrimony. Before we move further, I need to know if there’s anyone here that has reason to believe that these two should not be joined together as man and wife. If there’s such a person in our midst, please speak up, or forever hold your peace.’
Thereafter came a few nail-biting seconds of silence, everyone waiting and praying that nobody disrupts the marriage proceedings. On getting no response to his question, the priest said, ‘good,’ and went on with the ceremony to everyone’s relief. It was smooth sailing from then onwards and in about half an hour, Difu and Chizo were officially man and wife. Very few people either noticed or paid much attention to the pretty and well-dressed lady that came into the church just then and quietly slipped into a vacant position on the last pew. Realising she’d arrived too late to create any tangible impact, Awele scowled and left as quietly as she arrived. Another opportunity would rear its head. She was sure of that.
‘You may kiss the bride,’ said the priest, and that was all Difu needed to clasp his wife of a few minutes in his arms, giving her a deep and long kiss. The kiss went on longer than expected and it was obvious to all within the precincts of the church that the couple were lost in their own world. The priest gave a discreet cough and when that didn’t have any effect, he raised the microphone to his mouth and said, ‘Chukwudifu, we’re still in the church, son, and the honeymoon has not yet started.’
This made everybody break into laughter, clapping and cheering at the same time. An embarrassed Chizo, face flaming red, kept her eyes cast down, as she couldn’t believe they’d just done what they did in front of everyone - her parents more especially. Difu led his wife back to the seat and both sat down for the gospel and sermon. Apart from the usual words of advice one would expect from a priest on one’s wedding day, the service was lovely and one couldn’t find fault with any aspect of its delivery.
Soon it was time to sign the marriage register, after which they left the church to the sound of Mendelssohn’s wedding march and then stood outside to have their pictures taken. The process seemed endless. Everyone present wanted to have their picture taken with the couple, not just a general picture with everyone huddled together. No. They all wanted pictures that identified their relationship with the newlyweds.
Difu and Chizo eventually managed to make a getaway to their hotel for a short breather before proceeding to the reception. The stopover was necessary as Chizo hadn’t had a bite to eat all day and, coupled with the various activities so far, hunger and exhaustion had kicked in. She realised it was either stop or keel over in a fainting fit. A loud rumble emanated from her stomach just as they pulled up to the entrance of the hotel, which was her system complaining about the lack of fuel to function appropriately.
‘Are you all right, my love?’ Difu asked as soon as they’d disembarked from the beribboned Lexus with the ‘Just Wedded’ plates. He’d heard the noise from her stomach and was immediately concerned.
‘Yes, Difu,’ Chizo replied. ‘I feel a bit faint, though.’
There was no response from Difu, but once they’d made their way through the hotel lobby to their room, he asked, ‘would you like a glass of cold water or something stronger?’
Chizo moved straight to the bed where she lay fully clothed and supine, half in with her legs on the floor. Kicking off her rather painful shoes and wriggling her toes to restore circulation, she replied, ‘I’d rather have a chicken mayo sandwich and a glass of orange juice, thanks.’
As soon as Difu picked up the phone to order room service Chizo added, ‘I suggest you make that two glasses of orange juice and two sandwiches. We don’t want you falling flat on the wedding cake at the reception now, do we?’ she asked with a smile.
‘We most certainly don’t, my dear,’ he answered and placed the order. He’d hardly put the receiver back in its cradle when there was a knock on their door.
Difu looked at his wife enquiringly and she shrugged. She wasn’t expecting company. Neither was he. Walking towards the door, Difu asked, ‘who’s there?’
‘Room service,’ came the swift reply.
He opened the door and said, ‘that was quick. I only just put the phone down but do come in.’ The man walked in bearing a tray laden with their order plus a bottle of champagne and two glasses.
‘I didn’t order any champ…’ Difu began only to be quickly cut off.
‘Compliments of management, sir. The manager and the entire staff of the hotel would like to say congratulations on your recently tying the nuptial knot and the drink’s on the house,’ the man said. Bowing, he left the room as quickly as he’d appeared because he was under strict instructions not to hover around for a tip.
Difu locked the door after he’d gone, turned and took one look at the tray, and then his wife and both started laughing. She had declined a strong drink but it appeared the manager and his staff had other ideas. He hadn’t expected such a gesture from them but felt it was in order considering the fact that he’d not only booked all their available rooms but was using their ballroom as well. He opened the bottle of bubbly, poured out little measures into each glass and, passing one to his wife, made a toast.
‘To us and to the future.’
‘To us and to the future, darling,’ Chizo echoed and then added, ‘may we have many happy years ahead,’ and they clinked glasses and drank the champagne.
‘What say you, woman, should we forget the reception now that the party’s already started here, and commence the beginning of the rest of our lives right this minute?’ Difu asked after gulping his drink and setting the glass aside.
‘I’m so very tempted to take you up on that offer, husband of mine,’ Chizo replied with a seductive smile on her face, ‘but our parents would never forgive us, neither would our friends and family. They’ve gone to so much trouble to organize the wedding that we shouldn’t let them down.’
‘You’re quite right, my darling. Eat up then because the sooner we get this charade of a reception over and done with, the sooner we can be alone together,’ he said with a knowing glint in his eyes. They were incorrigible and nothing could change them.
The couple arrived at the reception ground feeling and looking refreshed. They waited in a corner room for all to be calm before making their grand entry. Most of the guests were already seated while a few more were still making their way into the hall, quickly scanning the room for any spare seats. The cake maker was fussing unnecessarily at the front of the hall just to look busy and attract a bit of attention to herself and the cake. This was a marketing strategy and one that had never failed her in the past. She hoped at least some guests would patronise her in the very near future.
The Master of Ceremonies picked up the microphone and introduced the chairman of the occasion after testing it to make sure it was functional. He then called Chizo’s parents to the high table, then Difu’s mother and uncle, one or two elders from both sides, and some important personalities in their midst. Two special high backed cane chairs with red plush cushions were reserved for the bride and groom, and a short row of seats behind them was left vacant for the rest of the bridal train. The band struck up special music to announce the arrival of the bridal party while the guests stood up to acknowledge their presence.
The pageboy and little bride led the procession, followed by four bridesmaids, the couple, and then the best man and maid of honour brought up the rear. The bridesmaids stopped every ten seconds to shower the couple with confetti, slowing down their progress to the high table. They eventually got there and the couple took their seats while the rest sat directly behind them. It was time.
The chairman said the opening prayer, then there was presentation and breaking of kola nuts as tradition required before he gave his opening speech.
‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he began, ‘without further ado, I’ll commence my speech. I promise to keep it as brief as possible so as to move on to the next stage of the ceremony.’
Difu and Chizo shared a secret smile. It was as if the chairman knew Difu was in a hurry to have his bride all to himself. Both knew perfectly well what kind of music they made in bed but tonight’s promised to be special, one to remember hopefully for the rest of their lives.
‘I’ve known the groom since he was a mere boy running around naked in the rain with his playmates,’ the chairman, Dr. Kanayo Umeh continued, causing another ripple of laughter to flow through the guests. They simply couldn’t picture the distinguished gentleman before them as a child running around in his birthday clothes under the rain. ‘I remember quite vividly the day he picked a fight with one particular lad and had come home beaten black and blue by the lad’s elder brothers. I’m quite sure my nephew learnt a hard lesson that day. The lesson was that you never go into battle without a well thought out plan and strategy. The reason I say this is because, next I heard, some boy’s mother had come to my sister’s house with her son bleeding from a cut on his upper lip and a black eye and he never looked back from then onwards.’ Everyone roared with laughter and Difu cringed inwardly, wondering what other tale his uncle was going to come up with next.
‘I also remember what happened to him as a sixteen year old boy on his first attempt at chasing skirt.’
At this Difu groaned audibly and covered his face with his right palm. Chizo simply glanced at him and looked on in apt concentration, as this was a tale she’d never heard before and one that promised to be interesting. Kanayo Umeh carried on as though he hadn’t heard his nephew’s groan.
‘Now, I don’t know what gave the young man the courage to try and single out one of the girls that lived on the same street whilst she was in the company of a group of three friends. Neither do I know what made him remain where he was when it became clear he wasn’t making any headway, but he came home covered in dust and debris from head to toe, looking more like a cement bag carrier than my nephew. All attempts by my sister and brother-in-law to get the truth out of him that day failed and it wasn’t until I came visiting the next day that he told his father and I what happened. The little girls had teased and taunted him and when he refused to leave, showered him with sand and all manner of debris from the roadside till he ran home.’ The guests laughed and Kosi playfully wagged a finger at her brother warning him to stop. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, you can rest assured that his father and I didn’t let him become cowed by that experience for life. Hell no! We gave him proper schooling on the art of wooing and getting a girl, and he seems to have mastered the trick because the result is right here before us. My only regret is that Henry, my brother-in-law, did not live to see this day. God rest his soul.’ There was a few seconds of silence to pay respects to the dead man and then he went on. ‘I would have loved to share some more of my nephew’s escapades with you, but the only thing that has saved him from the embarrassment such revelations would have caused is the time constraint on me, so, I’ll save the tales for another time,’ he said, half turning to face Difu. ‘Thanks, uncle,’ Difu mouthed and Kanayo acknowledged with a nod and turned once more to face the guests.
‘When Difu started dating Chizobam, I knew something special was going to come out of it so, I watched the relationship blossom with time. Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t come out full force to be seen to support my young nephew whilst he sowed his wild oats. God help me had I done so for my sister would have banned me from her house for negative influence on her son. Anyway, I occasionally slipped him the odd Naira note whenever he was broke and wanted to impress his woman with a date or a gift and I must say my ‘investment’ has paid off and I’ll be collecting soon.’ There was more laughter for a short while before he continued. ‘Today, they’ve both proved me right by becoming man and wife. Both of them are well-educated professionals in their respective fields. Chizo has all the qualities any man would want in a wife, is that not so?’ he asked nobody in particular but waited for a response all the same.
‘Yes,’ said a few of them. ‘It is,’ some others said. ‘Of course,’ yet some more said. ‘Sure,’ the last few added.
These answers came simultaneously from the men folk, most of the married ones receiving funny looks from their spouses as if to say, ‘so you think these qualities are lacking in me?’ Difu, studying the faces from where he sat, found the whole scenario hilarious and wouldn’t have traded places with the men on the receiving end of furious glances from their spouses for anything. Those unfortunate men were certain to face a very unpleasant kind of music from their wives when they got home.
Kanayo nodded in agreement with them and said, ‘good. Taking a good look at my nephew, I’d say Chizo is very lucky to have him as a husband because he’s everything a woman would want in a man,’ here he paused, then added, ‘and more!’ making the green eyed monster in the single ladies become hyperactive.
‘From what most of us witnessed during the church ceremony, you’ll all agree with me that it won’t be long before we hear the patter of little Okwuosa feet as they run around the house,’ he said, laughing, and everyone, including Difu, joined him in laughter. Poor Chizo simply blushed to the roots of her hair at his insinuation and she cursed her complexion for the umpteenth time because the fact that she was embarrassed was clear for all to see. She had taken after her mother in complexion and would have given anything at that moment to be dark skinned and safely hide her discomfort behind the darkness. ‘But I have to caution you, young man,’ he continued, turning sideways to face Difu and wagging his forefinger as he spoke. ‘Slow and steady is the watchword. Make sure you only have as many offsprings as you’ll be able to cater for financially and have enough time to spend with.’
‘Yes, sir,’ Difu answered, his shoulders still heaving uncontrollably with laughter but a subtle kick from Chizo beneath the table soon put paid to the laughter.
‘Can we please have the cake maker come out and say one or two things about the cake, telling us why she’s chosen this design in particular.’ The lady took the proffered microphone with a ‘Thank you’ and went on to market herself and her product to the best of her ability. This was the part of weddings she enjoyed most and like today she always dressed to kill, loving her three minutes of fame. Everyone applauded at the end.
‘I’ll now call on the bride and groom to join me in order to cut the cake,’ she concluded and moved back slightly to create room for them.
Difu and Chizo complied with her request and came down from the stage on which the high table was set up to join her. Both held the knife with an ivory and lilac bow on the handle that had been perfectly placed at the centre of the bottom cake – Chizo first and Difu’s bigger hand covering hers as they held the knife.
‘Now, I’d like you to cut the cake at the count of three – one, two, three…’ the lady said and on three, the knife went slicing down into the soft insides of cake and there was a big round of applause.
Duty done, they both went back to their seats and the cakes were removed tier by tier - some to be cut up and shared amongst the guests and others wrapped up for the couple to take home. Shortly afterwards, they stepped down from the stage once more but this time to perform the bridal dance. Chizo had specifically asked to have ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’ play for her bridal dance so, the band had to down instruments and give way to the old classic.
You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen…
As soon as the guests heard the intro to the song they went totally ballistic. When the first line of the song came across, those who knew the lyrics joined in, some of those who didn’t, hummed along and the rest just made up the words as they sang along – anything, provided the made up words rhymed with the actual song and were in tune to the music.
Difu sang along, the words solely for Chizo as far as he was concerned. Chizo mouthed, ‘bravo,’ and Difu, encouraged, went on singing. After a while, he drew her closer and whispered, ‘you’ll pay for this later, woman!’ in her ear.
‘Pay for what, sir?’ Chizo asked innocently, knowing full well what he meant but feigning ignorance. Difu had tried bribing her with everything possible to get out of doing the dance but Chizo had stood her ground, asking him to do it as a wedding gift to her. Presented like that, he couldn’t deny her that one wish so here he was on their wedding day; singing almost out of tune and jigging about as best he could all in the name of dancing.
‘For turning me into a clown and worse still, laughing at me make a complete fool of myself,’ he replied.
‘Oh, relax and loosen up for once, Difu,’ she playfully chided and closed her eyes in complete abandonment, totally enjoying the music and counting on her husband to see to it that she didn’t take a false step and trip over her dress.
By this time ‘Dancing Queen’ had ended and Lionel Ritchie’s ‘My Destiny’ was playing. Difu had looked at Chizo in surprise when the song started and she’d smiled. She’d opened her eyes as soon as the music started just to catch his expression. That was his favourite song and she’d thought it appropriate to play the song as well today. Difu said thanks and they went on dancing. The guests filed out of their seats one after the other to shower the couple with wads of Naira right after Chizo’s parents, and then Difu’s mum and uncle had been to do the same thing. The stream of guests seemed interminable and eventually, Difu had to plead to go sit down. This was the part of the ceremony he’s dreaded most and he’d had enough.
‘Okay, love, you’ve won this round,’ he said, addressing his wife.
‘Thanks for being gentleman enough to admit it,’ she replied with triumph.
‘Can we now please get back to our seats?’ he asked desperately, his eyes darting here and there on the sharp look out for more guests making their way to the floor before he could escape.
‘Say ‘pretty please’,’ Chizo carried on tormenting him.
‘Pretty, fabulous, beautiful, please. Now, can we go?’
‘OK, lead the way,’ she said, capitulating to his pleas.
She didn’t need to say it twice. Difu raised both hands in a plea to the guests to let them sit down, smiling all the way back to the high table with Chizo in tow. As soon as they were seated, a pre-packaged lunch of mouth-watering jollof rice and chicken was served to the guests. It was a chance for the couple to finally put some proper food into their stomach. With the guests happily tucking into the food, the ushers went round sharing disposable cups and wine for the toast. They slowly worked their way from the back to the front and by the time the chairman was ready to propose the toast, majority of the guests had already downed their wine – quite typical! The fact that their cups were empty didn’t deter them from clinking cups with one another though. To them it didn’t really matter whether the wine was drunk before or after – it was all one and the same thing. Toast over, it was time for presentation of gifts. Once all gifts and envelopes were accepted and souvenirs handed out, Difu stood up to give a vote of thanks.
‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he began after clearing his throat. ‘My wife and I would like to express our profound gratitude to you for your ability to grace our wedding with your presence. Today wouldn’t have been such a success without you all and I say thank you very much, and thank you very much indeed,’ the guests cheered and clapped in response. ‘To those of you who have a long distance to travel,’ he continued after the cheers and applause had abated, ‘I must emphasise that there is no need to rush off this evening. I have made arrangements for comfortable accommodation for all of you but hey, if you must travel today, I pray for a safe journey back home. We’re earnestly looking forward to an opportunity to repay your gesture in kind. We hope to see a lot of you at the after wedding party later this evening. Thank you once more and see you soon,’ he concluded.
The chairman retrieved the microphone from him and said, ‘Difu, I like the way you said “my wife and I”. It signifies that you’ve already adopted the ‘we’ attitude instead of ‘I’,’ and everybody laughed. ‘Things should be fine between both of you if you continue that way,’ he went on, ‘and I’d like to officially welcome you to the married men’s club. I pray you enjoy every minute of it.’
‘Thank you,’ Difu responded, grinning.
‘I’d like to bring this ceremony to an end but like Difu mentioned earlier on, there’s free accommodation at the Hotel Le Meridian for anyone interested. Just show up at the reception with your invitation card and the rest would be taken care of. Phase two will take place at the hotel’s ballroom so that eliminates further travelling once you leave here. Let’s pray.’
Everyone stood up for the closing prayer which went on for a considerable length of time with almost every aspect of the couple’s lives covered before they finally shared the Grace. And then, one by one, people started leaving the hall. Difu and Chizo headed for their ‘Just Wedded’ car and were showered with grains of rice and confetti as they made their way out of the hall to the car. Dozie, Uche, and the rest of the bridal train followed in a second car, leaving the couples’ parents and family to make their own way back to the Ofoma’s or the hotel.
Difu and Chizo on arriving at the Hotel Le Meridian made their entrance through the VIP lounge where they were whisked away straight to their room at the penthouse. Once there, Difu opened the door and lifting Chizo, carried her over the threshold.
‘Put me down this very minute, you clown,’ Chizo said, playfully pummelling him in the chest. ‘You’ll hurt your back and that’s not going to be acceptable if it happens. Not tonight of all nights anyway. Remember you have a lot of work to do by the time this night is over and I demand perfection, nothing below par, do you hear me?’
‘Keep quiet woman, and permit me to follow tradition,’ Difu grunted under her weight and gently put her down on the bed once he reached it, following the action with a kiss. He should have been carrying her over the threshold of their house and not a hotel room but it would have to suffice for now. He would still do the real thing when they eventually returned from their honeymoon.
As if she’d read his mind, Chizo said, ‘but this is not our house. The tradition you refer to says I should be carried over the threshold of our house, not a hotel room.’
‘Then I’ll simply have the pleasure of repeating the performance when we do get to our house, won’t I?’ he asked as he went back to the door. Taking the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign from the inner doorknob, he opened the door and hung the sign on the outer one before shutting the door and locking themselves in. This was a sure sign to all and sundry to stay clear until notified otherwise. Chizo didn’t bother responding to his question but rather held out her arms invitingly towards him and he was instantly drawn to her like a piece of metal to a magnet. The song and dance that went on from that point onwards was left to one’s imagination.

CHAPTER TWO

‘Difu? Chukwudifu?’ Kosi Okwuosa called out for her son.
She’d just returned from shopping and had expected him to be at home to welcome her. Since he hadn’t responded to her calls, she suspected he wasn’t, and that, if truth be told, irked her. The good Lord knew she had tried all within her powers to instil some important values in her son but all her efforts have so far proved abortive, and she partly had Henry to blame for that. The manner of their son’s nurturing had always been, and still was, a serious bone of contention between them. She was neither an advocate for corporal punishment nor a believer in leaving to waste the life of a lone offspring for fear that some harm might befall him or her, but, she attributed the successful upbringing of a child to firm and stringent measures. She couldn’t come up with any new ideas on how to tackle her son’s case and that was a big problem to her. Had Henry gifted her with a hundred percent backing on her methods the problem would have been half solved.
‘Difu no dey house, ma,’Urenna the housekeeper informed her mistress in Pidgin English, confirming her suspicion.
She had been recruited from the village and that was the best she could do given her almost non-existent educational background. It was either that or speak to her mistress in Ibo, so, Kosi had to make do with the Pidgin English. She had wanted to send her to evening classes but Urenna preferred being paid a monthly salary. Reason being that going to school could better her future in the long run but, receiving a regular stipend, no matter how small, would go a long way to alleviate the suffering undergone by her poor parents and siblings back home in the village in the short run.
Kosi could recall the day she’d gone to pick Urenna from the village. Difu had cried to accompany her and she’d capitulated after a while. Going to Aniugwu would be quite an adventure for the boy. Besides, it was an opportunity to show the boy his roots. Kosi and Henry had never quite gotten round to taking him home since birth so Henry wasn’t averse to the idea of Difu visiting his hometown. His only regret was that he couldn’t join them. Maybe some other time. Difu had been to see his grandpa Tobenna on several occasions because he too resided in Lagos and not Aniugwu. Tobenna never got over the shock of Zikora’s sudden death and gradually became a shell of his old self. He stayed away from social events and got so bad that he began taking less and less interest in his business. It got to a point where Henry had to wade in and take over the helm of affairs. Tobenna hardly noticed. He became a recluse, pining away for his wife and having imaginary conversations with her. His decline was a sad one to watch but he mercifully died in his sleep four years after Zikora. His funeral was a celebration of life.
Eight year old Difu had no recollection of those visits to his grandpa and would have had no image of Tobenna in his head had his picture not been on the wall of Henry’s study. This trip to Aniugwu wouldn’t be a conventional one of going to the village to see one’s grandparents but young Difu was excited all the same. To make the trip less stressful, Kosi had sent the driver ahead of them by road, a day prior to their own departure. The plan was for her and Difu to fly to Enugu and then complete the journey from Enugu to Aniugwu by road. Being on a plane wasn’t a novelty for Difu. All he was interested in as soon as they touched down at Akanu Ibiam airport was how much further Aniugwu was, and how long it would take them to get there. The driver met them promptly at the airport and they were soon on their way. Between a series of “are we there yet, mum?” from Difu, Kosi pointed out a few landmarks and places of import along the way. An hour and a half after their journey commenced, the driver pulled up to a breathtakingly beautiful, well-crafted wrought iron gate.
‘Wow!’ It was young Difu. Though accustomed to affluence and luxury, the sheer size and height of the gate, along with its surrounding fence was daunting.
‘Wow is right, son,’ Kosi said jokingly just as the massive gates swung open inwards and the driver took them down the long driveway to the porch. ‘Your grandpa – bless his gentle soul – had good taste.’
Difu couldn’t contain his excitement as his eyes darted to the left and right. As soon as the car drew to a halt he opened the door and was on the ground before Kosi knew what was happening. She could only but call out to him to be careful. As he explored the grounds Difu had just one wish – that Dozie was at Aniugwu with him. It was boring being a lone offspring at times and this was definitely such a time. There was so much space for him and Dozie to have played Cowboys and Indians but alas, it was just him. The rest of the tour was done wistfully but the excitement gradually took over again. There was no point making himself sad over what could have been since he had not the power to alter a thing. He chose to make the best of the situation. Having seen what the outside looked like, he sought out his mother indoors.
The house in all its magnificence was a huge waste of space and money because it was hardly inhabited save for the presence of a gateman cum security man. There was a permanent arrangement for cleaners to come in twice a year to give the place a thorough cleaning. Dustsheets covered every piece of furniture in the house with the exception of one guestroom and the kitchen. The driver had seen to that upon his arrival yesterday. He deposited Kosi’s overnight bag in the room and took the pre-packed lunch and dinner to the kitchen. Kosi had no intention of cooking or washing up even for the one night they were to spend in the village so she had disposable plates, cups and cutlery to the rescue. Having seen to all of Kosi’s needs, the driver retired to his quarters for some shuteye. He had a long journey ahead of him on the morrow.
Kosi had sent word of their arrival to Urenna’s parents through the driver and it was arranged for Urenna to be brought to the house in the morning. Maduka did not join in his wife’s excitement at the prospect of Urenna going to the city. It was his duty as a man to see to the upkeep and well-being of his family but his fall put paid to that. He’d heard more bad news than good from those that had sent their children to the city but his hands were tied. “Not everything is as it seems,” he’d told his wife, but Akugo brushed his fears aside. Maduka’s protests became weaker with each passing day as one hungry night followed the other. Whatever meal his wife managed to put together from their small farm produce was gone as soon as he’d shared the ‘Grace’ with his family of eight. The plates were always licked clean. The children took it in turns to lick the plates after each meal and Maduka could always painfully tell from their faces that their bellies were far from full. The sight never failed to tear at his insides. Urenna was his eldest at eleven. If accompanying Kosi back to Lagos was going to bring succour to his needy family then so be it. He reluctantly gave his blessing and Akugo prepared Urenna for the journey.
On the appointed day, Maduka refused to set foot out of his inner room. Poor he might be, but pride he still had – a drum full! Giving his blessing was as far as it went. He wouldn’t debase himself any further by handing his daughter over to Kosi like a sheep to the slaughter. Let Akugo perform that task. Last time he checked, she seemed more than pleased to do so. Once he heard them leave, Maduka emerged from his room and made his way with considerable difficulty to the doorway. He watched them from there till they disappeared round the corner. A lone tear slid down his right cheek but he refused to wipe it off. Life is cruel!
As they made their way to the Okwuosa’s residence, Akugo gave her daughter what to her was sound advice. She asked Urenna to work diligently and be at her best behaviour at all times, reminding her of one or two girls from the village that had been ignobly sent back home from the city for improper conduct – whatever that meant. Urenna nodded and clutched the bundle comprising of her entire worldly possession tightly in her right hand. Akugo needn’t have worried. Having experienced adversity in its worst form, Urenna made a strong resolve not to be like those other girls returned to their parents. It was now obviously her lot to improve her family’s living condition and she was determined to see it come to pass, even if it meant working till she dropped.
Where Difu had been awed by the opulence and grandeur of the Okwuosa fortress and mansion, Urenna was cowed. She repeatedly asked Akugo whether they were in the right place. The sight before her affected Akugo too but in every way positive. Good things were coming her way. That was her interpretation of the situation. She gave her daughter a gap-toothed smile and then spoke, all the while in Ibo language.
‘Indeed we are in the right place. It is your destiny to lift us out of poverty, my child, and the time has come. I hear the house in the city is as grand as this one. Above all, you will be in Lagos – the land of opportunities – where the houses rise way up into the firmament. God knows I have never set foot outside Aniugwu but I’ve heard good things about Lagos. Mgbokwo’s daughter bought her a foot pedal sewing machine and a motorcycle for her husband. Make good use of this opportunity, my child; not just for us but for yourself too. I’m not sure another as good as this will come knocking.’
The gateman let them in but kept them waiting just outside the entrance to the house. Kosi came out to meet them after about ten minutes. Difu was by her side. Akugo genuflected in reverence while Urenna went down on both knees.
‘This is my daughter, Urenna,’ Akugo began. ‘She is a good girl and a hard worker. I promise you won’t regret taking her along when you leave.’
Kosi flashed her a false smile and asked the driver to retrieve the items she’d brought for Urenna’s family from the boot of the car. Out came twenty-five kilograms of foreign rice; twelve and a half kilograms of beans; twenty-five litres of vegetable oil; and a large carrier bag containing twelve yards each of four different designs of Ankara fabric – enough to make four identical his and hers outfits for Urenna’s parents. Akugo watched in fascination as each item was placed on the ground but never imagined they were meant for her. When Kosi informed her that they were her goodwill gesture to the family, Akugo broke out in ululations. She sang, praised and danced in elation. Charity has never been known to cure poverty but Kosi’s gifts were a lifesaver. The last time Akugo had a new Ankara material was five years ago when she bore Maduka his only male child. And what about the foodstuff? She’d never been in possession of that much food at once in all her life. She could just picture her family’s reaction when she returned with the goodies. She prayed that the Lord would bless Kosi and her family and replenish her pocket with double the amount of money she’d spent. Kosi answered ‘Amen’ in all the appropriate places. Within her she merely wished that the wretched woman would just leave. If her prayers were so powerful and potent, Kosi wondered why Akugo hadn’t prayed her family out of poverty. The poor live a life of self-deception when it comes to matters of religi

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Product Details
Author: Ify Tony-Monye
Publication date: 7/17/2014
Pages: 386
Product dimensions: 169 x 240
More About This eBook
Overview
Set in the West African Country of Nigeria, ‘What Goes Around’ is an enthralling story which cuts across three generations, deftly woven around the stigma attached to childlessness and the trauma every childless woman goes through at the hands of family and the community; love, hatred and revenge; each element so entwined as the story progresses that the reader is sure to be held captive from page one to the end. Unintended murder, and then a double suicide rocks the community, the circumstances surrounding these fatalities gruesome enough to send any witnesses off their heads. A monster is born to Chizo and Difu, further escalating an already precarious situation, but who really is to blame? They say love is a disease, a cure for which few have, but will love conquer all? Only time will tell!
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About Author
Ify Tony-Monye is a Systems Analyst and Quality Improvement Associate based in Lagos. She started writing short stories as a hobby since early childhood, though only members of her family ever got to read them. She obtained her B.Sc. from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and then had a brief banking career before obtaining her M.Sc. from the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
Having achieved the target she had set for herself academically, she relocated to Nigeria and then decided to go back to her first love – writing, knowing that therein lay her true talent with a lot of resources yet to be tapped. ‘What Goes Around’ is her first published work of fiction. She’s currently working on her second novel entitled ‘Three Lives’ and the framework for her third novel is already in place.
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