This piece was originally published on artymedium.com of course by yours truly! Enjoy.
“Amaka, how many times have I told you to stop dragging that your useless feet up and down the house like you don’t know today is Eke market?”
Eke market day was once always one to look forward to. Mama’s voice always sounded differently every Eke market. It was always like that was the only day the gods had declared her fortunate.
Mama sells like say juju dey worry her even to the intimidation of the once friendly Mama Ugo who would shout, scream, curse and threaten Mama.
“No be the same market we dey sell?”
“E be like so o but i no fit tell if na the same Chukwu we dey serve.”
Mama would reply Mama Ugo as if she was having an aside and at times, she’d finish her drama with a dance shouting ‘Otito dili Jesu’. Sometimes when Mama Ugo couldn’t take it anymore, she’d start whispering and hissing up and down like someone whose blood money taboo is not to speak up. Such was the norm every Eke Market.
After the day’s sales, Mama would continue to laugh at Mama Ugo with Papa over a plate of well prepared ofe ukazi, garri and palmwine. Mama Ugo’s tantrums never really bothered Mama but now I wished she had taken it seriously.
Mama always had enough to feed us through the rest of the week and enough to buy herself some abada and Georges. Papa’s gun on the other hand always killed the best meats. He was the greatest hunter the village ever had and my brother, Okonta, taps the best palm wine and like Papa always said, “Nkem, you made the best meals” and I’d reply “daalu Papa”.
Life was smooth and Eke market day was a blessing until one morning. It was another Eke market, when Mazi Okafor ran to our stall. Okonta had fallen from the palm tree and he didn’t make it. Mama Ugo’s ‘Eziokwu!’ shout sent Mama and her buttocks to the ground. What Mazi Okafor forgot to say was that Papa on hearing the news slumped and died and years later, all I have left is a figment of Mama staring into oblivion every eke market day wishing our present was a dream as she listens to the chatterings of passersby about how Mama Ugo had become the new her.
© 2016. Ebukun Gbemisola Ogunyemi