Fiction: Unbridled

April 11, 2016 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

By

Okeke Okechi

Love? Of course! It’s really blind. It feasts on whoever it wants to, regardless of certain boundaries. Most times, it crumples up into the nipples of the heart; so innocent and innocuous.

Nene and Edouche walked towards the gate, speaking in a low and romantic manner. Their footsteps flickered gleefully on the floor.

Nene clasped Edouche’s hand, swinging it to and fro, like a dancing pendulum. She was going to see him off to the gate.

Edouche often called at Nene’s house. His visits had been more frequent, especially since Mrs. Ofoegbu was out for a conference in Accra. They usually stayed upstairs in Nene’s room, chatting and playing games. Sometimes, they discussed stories they loved. This day was no exception with Edouche’s visit. Meanwhile, Nene was always elated whenever Edouche visited because of the relief she got over the jaded claws of her father’s mansion.

Nene, a fair skinned fourteen year old girl, seemed delighted as she whispered to Edouche who was three years older than her. Both of them chortled, giving way to the showcasing of their teeth that glowed like a ray of light. They were head over heels in love with each other.

Immediately, Ojo, a middle-aged man stormed out of his cramped room that lay five inches away from the edge of the gate. He made a beeline for the gate at the blaring call of a horn outside. Mrs. Ofoegbu, Nene’s mother, drove in in a grey Lexus Jeep. Initially, Nene and Edouche were oblivious to her arrival until they got a blaring horn from her. At once, Nene left Edouche’s hand and stood aloof. She knew her mother never wanted her to be around boys, so she pretended. But Mrs. Ofoegbu had grasped the scenerio.

“Welcome madam!” Ojo greeted with slight difficulty. His baritoned voice shook the silence that howled around the drowsy evening. Nene watched her mother as she fluttered her hand at him as usual but with a cloudy beam.

“Good evening, ma” Edouche greeted with a bowed head.

“Kedu, Uche?”

“I’m fine, ma.”

“Are you leaving already?”

“Yes.”

“Extend my regards to your mother.”

Edouche’s mother, Adaora, was Mrs. Ofoegbu’s immediate elder sibling. And Edouche met Nene the very first day he followed his mother to visit Nene’s mother. That was in April the previous year. He became enticed with the way Nene smiled and the deep dimples that made a conspicuous hollow on her cheeks.

However, Mrs. Ofoegbu drove away to the garage without saying a word to Nene, who smelt a rat. She quickly walked Edouche to the gate with an unsteady gait and bade him goodbye. But to her dismay, Edouche stood there like an electrocuted object, refusing to go. He demanded a goodbye hug instead. “You’ve not changed” she shrugged and reluctantly gave him a three hundred and sixty degree hug. Edouche held her so tight, trying to plant a wet kiss on her lips. But she pulled herself out of the firm grip of Edouche and hurried inside.

***

“Why is your mother not here for the dinner?” Mr. Ofoegbu, Nene’s father asked her. But she gave him no response as she sealed her lips with a spoon of rice that almost choked her. She knew that her mother had asked the maid to get her food to her room. “It seems she’s working upstairs” Mr. Ofoegbu uttered as he hissed. He seemed dissatisfied. As a group manager of City Bank, Mrs. Ofoegbu was always busy with work at the expense of her domestic roles.

Mr. Ofoegbu’s eyes darted sporadically around his daughter. Soon, it became frequent. Much frequent. Initially, Nene couldn’t notice her father’s eyeballs planted on her. She was lost far in the stream of thoughts. Thoughts of bewilderment. She needed to muster plausible answers to give her mother.

“You’ve not eaten your food, Nene.”

“I’m. I’m actually eating” she retorted with a slight tremor in her voice. She took a spoonful of rice and pushed it into her mouth.

Meanwhile the bullets that popped out of her father’s eyes kept coming; this time, it was directly on her nascent chest. Nene became uneasy with her father’s gaze and began to rush her meal.

“You’re now a grown girl,” Mr. Ofoegbu’s voice dropped off into Nene’s mind, like a bomb in Sambisa. Nene nodded but with a slight fret.

“You should be careful with these boys” he said, staring at her intently. But she averted her eyes from his. ‘Did daddy see what happened earlier?’ she said under her breath.

“But dad” she called with a slight tremor, “is it harmful to love?”

At once Mr. Ofoegbu was taken aback and stared at her with his mouth ajar.

“Of course not.”

“Edouche and I love each other” she said gleefully, twitching her lips. Mr. Ofoegbu thought her daughter nefarìous.

“You can’t love each other” he yelled at Nene, who shuddered at her father’s rage.  “It’s an unbridled love. It’s a taboo! Or have you forgotten he’s your cousin?” Nene shrugged. She was dissatisfied and couldn’t bear what she heard.

***

It was nearly dusk the next day, and on the rear facades of the row building lay a deep-coloured light so tranquil that even the modest block in the mansion looked inspired and utterly empty, like a holy city of the dead.

The dying light slanted into Nene’s room, pulling out of swingsets and aluminium lawn chairs. Nene lay supinely on her bed, lost in the thoughts of Edouche. Her face was puffy and awash with tears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okeke Okechi

Okeke Okechi hails from Umuoma in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area, Imo state, Nigeria. He was born in 1995 and attended University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Alvan Campus) where he studied History and International Studies.

He is a budding playwright, short story writer, novelist and poet. He is working on a collection of short story and his debut novel.

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