Rays Of Love And Blood! (1)
CHIOMA loved Lekan with all her heart. Their love affair transcended tribal and cultural barriers. Chioma had vowed she would marry Lekan despite the fact that Lekan was a Yoruba man and she was an Igbo girl. They had been dating for the past five years. Chioma’s parents were not in support of the relationship, ditto Lekan’s parents, who had warned him of impending doom if he ever put her in the family way. Lekan was lucky to get a good job after his graduation at the University of Lagos. He studied Sociology while Chioma studied International Relations. Their relationship started way back in their first year at the university. Lekan was a six-footer; he was handsome and light-skinned.
“Chioma,” her dad called, “if you ever get pregnant for that ‘Ngbati Ngbati’ man, I’ll disown you as my daughter! How can you fall in love with a Yoruba man? Are you out of your mind?” he questioned.
“But dad,” she pleaded, “I’m truly in love with him… I can’t do without Lekan. He is my man of men. He has all the qualities I want in a man, dad.”
“Shut up, Chioma,” her mum intervened, “if you ever say that again I’ll slap you! Among all the Igbo guys seeking your hand in marriage you can’t find any right suitor but that useless, good-for-nothing, irresponsible and worthless Yoruba man! He must have charmed you with Juju! I really can’t understand all this! Tufiakwa, a Yoruba man! An abomination and taboo of the greatest magnitude!” she got up in anger.
“But mum, dad, you can’t do this to me…” she broke down in tears and wept, “you know Lekan loves me… you know he makes me happy… you know he has all I cherish and desire in a man…why mama? Why papa? Oh, God, I’m already pregnant for him!”
“You did what? Repeat what you’ve just said Chioma!” her dad interjected, standing up in fiery anger, “Pack your bag and baggage, everything you have in this house and leave immediately! I disown you as my daughter as from today! You won’t bring shame and disgrace on my family! This is disgusting and irritating! Love? Love my foot! To hell with you and the so-called Lekan! If you’re not marrying an Igbo man, then you’re not my daughter! Before the count of three I want you out of my house! Your so-called pregnancy is nothing but a maggot in the septic tank! You’ll regret your actions, Chioma! You’ll live to regret it, I swear!” he was livid with rage.
Chioma went inside her room in tears and painful sobs. She packed out of her parents’ house that fateful hot Saturday afternoon. ‘What more can I do, where would I go?’ she thought questioningly. She shook her head sorrowfully. Truly, she was two months pregnant for Lekan. Now that her parents had disowned her, she knew she had only one option – to see Lekan and tell him the mind- boggling and worrisome development. The scorching heat of the tropical sun pierced through her smooth and velvety skin. The lovely and pretty Chioma walked hurriedly; the pain and grief in her heart was too much to bear.
Lekan lived in a two-bedroom flat at Olaifa Street, Surulere, Lagos. He was the Administration Manager of West Coast Manufacturing Company, Ikeja. That eventful Saturday afternoon he was watching a movie while relaxing on a three-seater couch. Chioma knocked and entered the living room, with stress and confusion boldly written on her face.
“What is the problem, dear?” Lekan asked the completely distraught young lady.
“My parents have disowned me, Lekan, because of you…” she said in tears.
“They have sent me packing from home…they even threatened to kill me if I come back to their house. Lekan, I am in trouble…you know I am pregnant for you…”
“God! Good God, what kind of problem is this?” he said rhetorically. He switched off the television set and hugged her. Then in a flash he remembered what his own parents always said about the relationship; how they disapproved of the whole thing. The words of his parents the previous day came to his memory.
“Lekan,” his dad called, “we don’t want you to marry that Igbo girl. This is the joint decision of your mum and I. We sent you to school, isn’t it? And we are your rightful biological parents, if we come to your house again and meet this Igbo girl you call your fiancee you’d better forget you have parents living. We’ll disown you as our child, no more, no less.”
“Added to this,” his mum cuts in, “we have a very responsible, well-mannered, pretty Yoruba girl from a reputable family we want you to marry. Her name is Adetoun, Toun, for short. We’ll bring her to your house this weekend, on Sunday. You can’t marry an Igbo girl… lailai, over my dead body!”
“But mum, dad,” he protested, “you can’t marry a woman for me…that’s impossible! We just won’t cope. I am an adult. I am free to choose whosoever I want as wife. I am in love with Chioma and she is my heart’s desire. This Toun or whatever you call her is a stranger to me. I don’t know her from Adam. And sincerely mum, dad, you want to destroy a happy relationship. Chioma is already pregnant for me and I am honestly in love with her.”
“Whether you like her or not, we shall see when we bring Toun to your house this coming Sunday. You good-for-nothing son that has forgotten his roots,” his mum concluded.
Lekan reflected on the words of his parents for a moment, shook his head sorrowfully and was lost for words. He wondered if he should tell Chioma the pressure he was getting from his own parents, too. He knew this would break the heart of Chioma, who had no place to go since he had already put her in the family way. She was two months pregnant at the moment. They were both between the devil and the deep blue sea. He made up his mind to say what had transpired between him and his parents the previous day so that she wouldn’t be shocked when she sees his (Lekan’s) parents come in with a lady the following day. Lekan sat her down and explained in details how his parents were opposed to their relationship. Chioma broke down in tears and cried when she realized the dilemma and confusion that has become her lot.
“Your parents will make trouble with me when they see me here tomorrow,” she said between sobs. “What will I do? Lekan, tell me the next line of action? I love you, Lekan. I don’t want to lose you…”
“I love you too, Chioma… I can’t deny loving you…” he replied.
“You give me so much joy,” he continued, “with you by my side I can face the world…only the deep can call to the deep. The feelings I have for you is sweeter than sugar… please, just be patient with me… I know this evil wind won’t take us along in its gale.”
That very Saturday, Lekan’s parents, along with Toun, contacted a powerful juju man who gave them a love potion and assured them confidently that if Lekan sets his eyes on Toun he would definitely fall in love with her and hate Chioma instantly.
It was Sunday, the D-day. Chioma and Lekan were having their breakfast when Lekan’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Olulana, knocked and entered. They were accompanied by Toun, the young lady they wanted Lekan to marry. Lekan was the first to greet them followed by Chioma.
“Good morning ma, good morning sir,” Chioma greeted Lekan’s parents and curtsied gently, but they didn’t answer or acknowledge her greetings.
“Let me get you a glass of water,” she gestured.
“No, thank you,” Lekan’s mum replied sharply.
“And, for your information, we are here to see our child, not you. You can go to hell!” Lekan’s dad retorted. Chioma could sense trouble instantly…
To be continued next Saturday.