THE FLOWER GIRL EPISODE 6
Tochi needed a lonely place where she could execute her plans to manhandle Chidimma so that no one would be out to save her. And there and then, the opportunity called. She then moved faster and grabbed Chidimma to a halt.
“Chidimma or flower girl or whatever name they call you, do you still remember me?”
“I know you because two of us are in the same class five,” replied Cliidimma, fidgeting.
Giving her a dirty slap, she said, “Take a look at my face very well and recall where you first saw this face.”
“Please I can’t remeMber.”
“You must remember it by force.”
She hit her again and pushed her to the ground. Chidimma’s school bag fell-on the ground and Tochi made for the bag, empting the content to the ground. She picked up the necklace and put it inside her own bag.
She then said to her, “I am collecting this just to remind you how you collected what belonged to me years back. Chibueze is my uncle and was the rightful person to be his flower girl.
Why then shOUld you leaveyour home town and come to my town and even my own family to take what belonged to me? Are you the only beautiful girl on earth? Look at me, am I not beautiful?” asked Tochi displaying herself cat-walking around. Amarachi admired her with a mild smile on her face.
When Tochi was done with her pasmaga. she later continued. “Who told you that Ukoli has no beautiful girls that you should carry ozu onwe gi and come to Ukoli to do your magic?”
Chidimma had just understood the genesis of Tochi’s anger but she kept quite because she didn’t know what she would say that would annoy her more. Another dirty slap landed on Chidimma’s cheek again and she began to howl.
“I will disfigure this face of yours today and make it look too ugly that no one will ever ask you to be his flower girl.”
“Please forgive me. You know it was not my fault. I never knew Chibueze before. He was the one that came looking for me.
“Sharrap! Mechie onu gi! Then why did you agree to follow him? Akpiri ogologo!”
“I never knew he had earlier contracted you.”
“Now you have known it, though too late, you have to pay for it.”
Tochi used her long nails to give Chidimma marks on her face. And Chidmma shrieked in pain as blood began to drop from her face. As that was not enough, Tochi asked Amarachi to bring out the rope from her bag.
“I will use this rope to strangle you to death so that you die and be forgotten.”
“Please, don’t kill me. You can do me any other thing but never you touch my life. Please I beg of you! Please! I beg you in the name of God…”
Ugomma had since the inception ran home and was lucky to have met her father, Akpunnku at home. She told her father that two girls were tormenting Chidimma and that she managed to escape to seek for her rescue.
“Where are they?” asked Akpunku who quickly bolted her food and rose on his feet.
“I left them at Ohia Ulasi, just around the ukwu oji tree.”
Akpunku hurried out of the house with a long machete in his hand as if he was going out to kill a long snake.
“Papa, should I follow you?”
“No! Stay back and take your lunch.”
When Akpunku got to the scene, he was surprised. Chidimma had been tied and she was lying helplessly on the ground yelling for help. On sighting the man with machete, Tochi and her friend took to their heels, leaving Chidmma behind. Akpunku gave them a little chase.
When he got to the portion where Chidimma was lying, he looked at her with pity Akpunku untied Chidimma and took her to her parents’ house.
A year later. Chidimma had another encounter with Tochi but in quite a different manner, and Chidimma decided to pay her hack by making her to eat a humble pie. It was in a singing competition organised by Mmaita Diocese of Anglican Communion.
The competition was organised for children ministry in the diocese and it was between Oseh and Ukoli parishes. Chidimma was the leader of Oseh Children Choir Group while Tochi led the group from Ukoli parish. In attendance was the Bishop of Mmaita Diocece, Rt Ven (Dr) Samuel Uzuakpunwa, who had earlier promised to dole out a set of musical band instrument for the winner of that year’s competition. which coincided with his 50 years birthday anniversary.
The parish priests of St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Ukoli, Rev Peter Okoli had fought tooth and nail to ensure that his parish won the competition which would serve as a catalyst in his bid to get promoted as the next archdeacon of his archdeaconry.
Tochi had earlier promised him that her group would never let him down. Rev Okoli had also spent huge amount of money on group’s preparation as he hired a university don in the Department of Music. UNN, Prof. Mbachu, to coach his group; Children Choir Ministry of St Mark’s was thereby subjected many days of thorough preparations in a bid to win the competition at all cost. As the leader of the team, Tochi was promised by the parish priest that he would take her along with family in his next overseas trip to London from where she join them to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
As a result, Tochi therefore, got some ants in her pants about the competition. To Tochi travelling overseas to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury was the best promise to have been made to her in her life time.
Contrary to what was happening at Saint Mark’s. the Mood at the Saint Andrew’s Children’s Chior Group was in a low key as the parish priest, Rev Timothy Ubaka, was not so much interested in wining the competition.
Rev Uhaka saw his group competing with St Mark’s group as a mere outing because his church did not in any way match with their opponent: Ukoli being the headquarters of Mmaita Local Government and Saint Mark’s serving as the cathedral of diocese which was the seat of the bishop himself. ReV Ubaka, therefore, saw winning the competition as not only a pie in the sky but also as a great challenge to his boss, the bishop. He therefore, paid no serious attention to the competition.
Chidimma, who was a good singer, targeted using the competition to showcase her talent to the world, having learnt that the bishops from other dioceses would grace the occasion. She then took it upon herself to ensure that her team excelled. It dramatically turned into a family affair in the sense that her father being the church’s chief organist and her mother being the head of the children’s ministry.
Though Chidimma knew that the competition she was preparing for was between her parish and Tochi’s, she decide to take it personal against Tochi. Same was Tochi. It was indeed a battle of two ‘enemies in the cathedral of Christ where One of the enemies must be forced to kiss the dust. But that was not th battle of strength; it was a battle of talent, Bishop lJzuakpunwa and his fellow bishOps had already been seated and were ready to he entertained by the beautiful looking children who were dressed to the nine.
Bishop Uzuakpunwa did not side any group neither was he interested in any side to win. All he needed was to be entertained and let the best side carry the day. Chidimma who had seen the competition from the other angle, decided to use it as a revenge not minding whose ox was gored. She was therefore. not afraid of puting both Tochi and Bishop to rout in their own church.
When the die was tossed. Saint Mark’s picked number one tally and were the first to sing. Chidimma nodded and said that was their first step towards a cerebrated malfunction. Tochi suddenly became stage fright and that psychologically devastated her. Looking at Chidimma who had earlier denied her an opportunity, in the past, Tochi had a chink in her amour.
To worsen the matter Chidimma fixed a straight gaze at her when Nile was performing on the stage and she became a hag of nerves. And her performance was very unnatural.
She sang with a frog in her thrat. Prof. Mhachu, Rev Ukoli and indeed eyerybody were suprised that Tochi was performing far below expectation. Her porformance as the leader totally demoralised the team and it was an outrageous outing.
Their time was over, and St Mark’s team shamelessly deseended down the altar. Chidimma who had put on a self-Stillslied smirk on her face got her team ready and cheered them tip with a capitivating smile.
The congregation had lost hope in St Mark’s team and so were the Bishops. All hope then lied on Chidimma’s team who were full ofanimal spirits. And they were ready to give the congregation and indeed the visiting bishops ertainment they deserved. Chidimma had also used the lapses on Tochi’s team as strong weapons to nail her finally to the ground. Hwylled with emotions, she mounted the podium and took reins, and the Hallelujah Chorus then began in earnest.
It was indeed a laudable performance and the entire congregation gave them a standing ovation including the bishop himself. It was a rude awakening for Tochi but for Chidimma, it was a tit for tat.
Tochi had no other option than to accept defeat with magnanimity. But such defeat was enough to make the angels weep. Such Pyrrhic victory had made Chidimma come finally to light not only in Oseh but also in the local government as a whole. In fact, she was all the rage.
Till date, the story of Chidimma would not be complet without the mention of this remarkable first ever which she won for the parish and Oseh community as a whole.