THE FLOWER GIRL EPISODE 2
Obele and his family were done with the Morning Prayers and were busy doing the morning chores. Mma, as her father fondly calldd her, was not in a hurry because she had been sent home a fortnight ago from school as a result of non-payment of school fees.
Her going back to school for her studies was still up in the air. Her father, Obele, was almost set to leave for his farm. He had tidied all his implements together and as well dressed in his usual farming attire.
“Mma, since you no longer go to school, you have to join me in the fa-fa-fa-farm today;” her father who looked tattered in his attire stammered as he ordered her. “Papa, does it mean I will no longer go to school again?”
“Do-do-do-do you want me to-to-to steal to send you to school?”
“But papa, my mates that are in school, do their parents steal to keep them in school? I don’t like staying at home any longer.”
Ndudi was not comfortable with the dialogue ensuing between Chidimma and her father. She got browned off and walked out of the kitchen in a haste to join in the natter.
“Nna anyi, Chidimma must go back to school. Two of us have to gather some money for her school fees. Mama Chisom has just paid me for the hair plaiting which I did to her couple of days ago. I am willing to bring the money out and join it with yours. I think it can solve the problem at least half way.”
“And do you think I have any thing now to-to-to offer? I have used all I have to buy few yam si-si-seedlings which have been sown into the soil to replace the one swept away by floe; few wi-wi-weeks ago.”
“But every evening, you go to Mama Nneka’s bar to drink nkwu-enu. Where does that money come from?” Ndudi stressed, getting ready to go at her husband hammer and tongs.
“You won’t understand.”
“Understand what? Gwa m!”
“Nwanyi, I don’t have time for your palaver this morning. Rather, I suggest that by tomorrow, we should te-te-take Mma back to school and appeal to the headmaster to collect the part payment of the school fees and allow her to-to-to take the promotion exam…”
“If there is anything we are.going to do, it must be now. I mean today …” Ndudi insists.
The entrance of a young man into the family compound interrupted Ndudi’s disposition and consequently averted what should have resulted into a mini fight. The trio stood calm still looking at the man who appeared to have entered into a wrong house.
“I greet the occupant of this house.” said the young man.
“You are welcome,” replied Obele who moved closer to offer him a hand shake. Shaking hands with the tall visitor made Chidimma believe that her father was indeed a short man -Obele measured exactly half of the man’s length. Chidimma greeted the visitor too and returned to her morning chores, leaving the parent’s and the visitor alone.
“It appears you are looking for somebody’s house.”
“Yes. yes…” replied the young man as he looked at Chidimma with half an eye.
Obele and his wife Ndudi were steering at him waiting for him to mention the name of the family whose house he was looking for.
“Hope you have the identity of your destination.”
It was Ndudi that broke the silence.
“Yes. I do.”
“And whose family is that?”
“It appears I am at my final destination.”
“How do you mean?”
“I am looking for the parents of one little girl called Chidimma.”
“Chi-chi-chi-chidimma who?” stammered Obele who was visibly surprised.
“Papa!” answered Chidi mina who had just rushed out of the house to collect something.
“Kai! Go away. Did I call you?”
“Yes papa, you called me.”
“Are you the only Chidimma in Oseh? Will you get into the room at the double!”
Chidimma ran inside the room leaving the visitor convinced that he had met the Chidimma, the talk of the town. He saw the young girl looking exactly the way people described her. The young man’s eye had not stopped looking at the particular entrance from whence Chidimma entered the room.
“Stop looking at her. We will help you get the one you are looking for.” Ohele teased the man.
“So. which Chidimma are you looking for? What is her surname?”
“I don’t know her surname. But I think she is this…”
“Nna anyi, ask him if it is a flower girl he is looking for?” asked Ndudi.
“I-i-ichoku! Why must these lips of yours refuse to be shut?” Obele getting upset with his wife. Ndudi apologised and left the scene. The visitor watched the couple with mixed feeling not knowing what to say at the moment.
“Yes, I am actually planning for a wedding. I just returned from the United States of America and hoping to wed next week. My people directed me to look for one girl called Chidimma who had done the work of a flower girl for so many couples and they attested that she is good at that.”
“You-you-you you mean you live in America?” excited Ohele.
“Yes I do.”
“Please let’s go inside.”
Obele called on his wife to bring forth kolanut for the visitor.
“Please what is your name?”
“My name is Pascal.”
“You mean this is thename they call you there?”
“My people equally know me with that name here too.”
“Don’t you have Igbo name?”
“I do. My Igbo name is Chibueze.”
“Yes, da-da-da-that is the name I had wanted you to call because that is the one I understand the meaning. And that is the one you should always be proud of telling people first.”
“It is okay, nna anyi. What you are saying is right.”
“Are you from this town?”
“No, I am from Ukoli.”
“So you mean you came all the way from Ukoli this morning to lu-lu-look for my dor-dor-dor daughter?”
“Yes, because I want to have a celebrated wedding ceremony.”
“Were you born and bred in Ukoli or in-eme-eme-eme-A merica?”
“I was born and bred in Ukoli. It was about ten years ago that I went to America.”
“I hope you do speak lgbo in America?”
“We are trying our best, nna anyi, only that the whites will not understand you when you speak such.”
“If they can’t understand you. you have to teach them after all, they were the one that taught us theirs. Again you have to speak it always in the gathering of Igbo people. Also, all parents must speak the language to their shu-shu-childrcn.”
“Nina anyi. it is like you have much fondness for the language.”
“Why not? That’s my mother tongue. And that is my pride.”