“If you held Kunle half as tight as you use to hold your phone, you’d be married now.”
“Thank you, mama.”
“What are you thanking me for? Ifeoma is getting married this weekend, are you aware?”
“Yes mama. I m doing her makeup, remember?”
“You senior her, you know. Be their pressing your phone.”
“Mama my phone is an inanimate object. Kunle was human, ” then she added, “is human, since he’s still alive.”
Mama throws her hands in the air.
“Exactly my point. You are holding that inanimate object here like, look at you, you hold it as if it can walk away.”
Nneka rolls her eyes, “mama it can’t walk away.”
“Kunle did.” Mama says.
“Mama, I thought you wanted to go to market?”
“How about you? Ehn? Are you not going to go to market? Market for husband?”
“Its not my fault that Kunle left me. When he say he did not want to do again, should I force him?”
“I say you did not hold him well, Nneka.”
“Mama, if somebody want to hold me the way I m holding my phone now, will I not choke?”
Mama says nothing.
Nneka drops her phone on the couch and gets up. She goes into the kitchen. Picks a china and begins to ladle porridge on it.
She continues to ignore mama as she walks back to the couch.
Mama stares at her.
She looks at mama. “Mama what is it?”
“That’s what I wanted to ask you too.”
“Mama you worry too much, I m just 22. Leave me and let me eat this food.”
Mama pleads, “Nne, the girl your kunle went to marry is 21. And you know that husband is not easy to find, ehn. All this small small girls are too much competition this days, ehn.”
Nneka continues eating.
There’s a knock at the door. Mama goes to get it.
“Good afternoon mama.”
“Oh Francis, how is your mother?”
“She is fine ma. I brought the ugu you ordered for.”
“Thank you, my boy.” Mama takes it.
“Is Nneka at home?”
Mama hesitates, “yes but she is eating.”
“Oh OK, help me greet….”
Nneka calls from the couch, “I m here o.”
Francis blushes slightly. Mama frowns slightly.
Nneka comes to the door. Her smile is the special type.
“Hello Francis, hows the farm?”
“Oh its good.” He says. Francis is smiling a special number too. He is dark, rugged and ruddy. He is looking straight into Nneka’s eyes.
“You have not brought the watermelon you promised me o.”
“Nne, I want it to ripe properly for you.” His teeth are irregular but the smile is from his heart.
Mama watches the two curiously.
Francis leaves and mama groans.
“Nneka, but he is a farmer.”
“You think I did not see what the two of you are doing, ehn?”
“I have not told you I like him, mama.”
“But he likes you!”
“Is it wrong, mama?”
Mama whispers, “do you want to marry a farmer?”
“I don’t mind. You know I love watermelon, mama.”
Mama stares at Nneka reproachfully. Nneka laughs.
“Mama, see, Francis is a nice man. Yes he is a farmer, but he is a responsible man.”
“How do know?”
“Any man who can wait for something to grow for months, patiently waits, mama, I think he’s worth a try.” Says Nneka intensely.
Mama walks into the kitchen silently.
“I have sense afterall, mama.” Nneka says after her.
She continues to press her phone.