The person I created in my head to come save me didn’t come as I was married off when I least expected it.
I remember the day of my marriage vividly like it all happened yesterday. I had seen Mr. Kunle talking to dad a few days earlier which he brought with him palm wine which signifies peace-offering in our tradition. I was worried it might mean a marriage proposal but mama assured me it wasn’t for me but for a land acquisition he wanted from father as that was the information father gave her.
I still wasn’t convinced and satisfied at the explanation; who gives a wine to acquire a land? Especially father’s land which was very small and not good for farming as it had been handed down generation after generation all growing yams over the years. I saw him in our compound few more times and wondered what land he really wanted to buy.
He kept visiting that I ignored him and thought to myself who visits many times just to marry a girl? One time father made me serve them kola during one of his visits which he touched my buttocks and acted like it was a mistake.
I quickly shifted and he just smiled when I glared at him. As I walked away, I heard him whisper to father I was a difficult nut to crack in our local dialect of which father replied in low undertones and made them burst out reeling in laughter. I wondered what he told him and made up my mind to run away anything I seen a marriage ceremony group in our compound but for over a month none came and Mr. kunle stopped visiting which made my mind at ease.
Father did know what he was doing as the times which I was less suspicious, marriage preparation were made without mama or my notice. He collected the bride price secretly and made it his mission to be known by everybody but us. We should have found something out-of-the-way when my step brothers suddenly returned home just a year into their cattle rearing apprenticeship but we just thought the job was too stressful for them under the heating sun and they were back home to try another job maybe cultivate fathers abandoned land.
But the days went on, They just roamed and lazier around with no attempt of finding a job but it wasn’t our business as they are always known for being lazy. Unknown to mama and I they were waiting for me to go away so the start rearing the cattle father took as my bride price without involving us, that spoke for the happy mode they were in every time.
It was a cold night in January and the harmattan has begun; dry skins and droughts. Everywhere was foggy, one could barely see someone when they are approaching until they are near enough especially in the early morning hours. This season is popular for the dry throats and coughs and dried up streams. It gets so cold and dry at the same time that bush fires are prone as it dries up everything.
Mama and I retired into our room after a tiresome day at the farm covering germinating yams with wet sand to prevent the sun from baking it up before it even matures. We had our usual dinner of boiled yam, palm oil and roasted maize which was really a satisfying meal.
Our compound was unusually lively with my step mothers chatting heartily among themselves with their friends who were visiting and I thought it was too late for such visits. T
hey were casting glances our way as we sat in the middle of the compound near the fire we made to keep us warm and it was obvious we were the object of topic for their conversation but since it wasn’t the first time we were being glanced and gossiped about by my step mothers and their friends we just ignored them. It was always talks about mama and her inability o have more children and sending me to school against fathers rules but mama never replied them back she was always soft-spoken.