‘Chi Chi is there a problem?’
‘No mama,’ Chinyere replied.
‘You seem sad?’ her mother insisted.
‘Mama…Emeka and I just broke up.’ Chinyere confessed.
‘What happened?’ her mother said calmly.
‘Mama, it just did not work out. It’s just…’
She was cut off by her mother who said what she always says, ‘You know, you are not getting any younger?’
She just looked at her mother, her heart pounding; her eyes wanting to tear up, but they relented, and a blank expression was put in its place. She decided to stay silent because she knew that more was coming.
‘When I was your age, I was already pregnant with my first child, you. How is it that your younger sister Dumebi is married and you are still trying to find the one? The one does not exist my dear; he only lives in your dreams. You need to focus on managing…’
At this point she could not hold it in any longer.
‘Mama, I have heard you. I have heard you! I am not living in a fantasy world where my perfect man exists, but neither am I going to settle for less. I am simply looking for a decent man who has his head on his shoulders.’
‘Yes, but so far that man has not found you. Didn’t you tell me that Emeka was that man?’
She did not want to tell her mother that she lied; she only said that Emeka was ‘great’ because she thought that she could manage him and it stopped her mother from having this conversation with her.
‘Emeka was great mama, just not great for me.’
She lied again. She didn’t feel comfortable telling her now. This was the same conversation her mother had with her every time she said she was single. She was just twenty-six, she wasn’t thirty –yet, she didn’t deserve this.
‘You see your high standards are unattainable. Don’t you know that all your Aunties and Uncles are asking questions? Some have even gone as far as to ask if you were gay.’
A shiver ran down her spine, on Chinyere’s face was a mix of emotions: anger, pain, frustration. Her hands clenched, she was hurt.
‘What!’ Chinyere exclaimed.
‘Yes,’ her mother continued.
‘Luckily, they respected themselves and begged forgiveness from me. I mean who says that!’
‘Exactly!’ Chinyere agreed. She breathed a sigh of relief, at least for that second, her mother and her were on the same side.
‘But Chinyere…’ Her mother started. She paused for a moment, obviously for dramatic effect.
‘Am I what?’ Chinyere asked annoyed.
‘Mama, what is that supposed to mean. So because I don’t have a steady man in my life I am gay. I said man mama, not woman!’
‘I am your mother; I have to ask these questions.’
‘I am not gay, mother.’
‘No need to be rude Chinyere, I might be your friend, but I am still your mother.’
Chinyere fell silent. So this is what her life had come to. Her family had to ask her whether she was gay. At that moment, she wished she was a man, a man that didn’t have to deal with all this. Was it so hard, was it so hard for people to just stay out of her life.
‘So what happened with Emeka?’
‘Mama, nothing, don’t worry. I will get married by God’s grace; I will give you grandchildren. But mama I am a woman, and I am more than a future wife. I am brilliant, I am great at what I do, and I patiently wait for my future husband. But until then, I am me.’
Her mother was lost for words, not exactly sure what to say after that. So she ended the conversation the same way she always did.
‘Okay Chi Chi, if you say so.’
‘Emeka, what is wrong with you, let go of me!’ Chinyere screamed.
‘Is it true?’ He asked angrily, taking hold of her arm. She couldn’t relive herself from his grip. He had the strength of two elephants.
‘No, I told you No!’ she exclaimed.
‘But why is it that Femi and Martin seem to think it was you that was with him in the club?’
‘I was not in the club with Luke. I told you before, we are just friends and that night I was with my mother. Emeka you are hurting me!’
‘Shut up! Tell me the truth!’ He squeezed her arm even harder; she could feel his hot breath on her face. She moved her face away from his and he turned it to face him. He stared her down, revelling in the depths of her pupil and saw what he instilled in her – fear. She couldn’t say anything anymore, the more she tried to pull away from him, the more the he held on to her. She felt like her arm was going to snap in two.
‘Please Emeka, let me go.’ She whimpered.
He realised what he had done, he realised that he had hurt her and released the tension in his arm.
‘Oh, Chi, I am so sorry. I don’t even know what came over me, please forgive me. It won’t happen again.’
The number of stories she had heard from friends, family and the movies about abuse, she knew it was going to happen again. She went to her house, changed into a long sleeve shirt and drove to her mother’s house. All she wanted to do was to tell her everything, but before she could, her mother started, ‘You know you are not getting any younger…’ If only her mother remained silent for a few more seconds.
Photo Credit: madamenoire.com
Georgette Monnou was born in Lagos, Nigeria and has lived in various countries since then. She is in the final year of her Law degree in the UK. She updates her two blogs regularly, which are inspired by her passion for Nigeria and life itself.http://theunspokenwords93.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://wordsanddesigns.wordpress.com/.