‘Her stomach is growing,’ whispered Owah with wide eyes. ‘It was not so when she was brought.’ ‘You are right.’ Menum affirmed and covered his wife’s body. The Good Ogbanje, chapter two ‘Nne go
‘Her stomach is growing,’ whispered Owah with wide eyes. ‘It was not so when she was brought.’
‘You are right.’ Menum affirmed and covered his wife’s body.
‘Nne go and sleep. I shall watch her.’ He appealed.
Owah was adamant, she still slept in the hut, resting her head on the cold mould-wall till the next morning. Menum tapped her when he came in with new leaves and herbs.
Nne Owah recollected herself quickly, greeted him ‘osi oma,’ ran her eyes over her daughter and strolled out of the hut.
Menum had tears in his eyes as he removed the drained leaves and herbs and replaced them with fresh ones, very close to the fire. He had gone to the bush with Ezinna, the healer to identify the very best of nature’s gifts that will help his wife to recover.
The memories of their union came clashing in his head as he finished and sat by Ekwa.
‘Ekwa!’ he called softly.
A tear dropped as he pondered the meaning of her name.
‘You bring tears to me although the joy you brought is greater.’
Ekwa means tears. She had died four times as a baby and woken up each time, wailing with renewed strength as if she never died. Her mother squalled and tormented herself. The only seed of her womb. She wept, she was full of tears, tears of barrenness and now tears of an ogbanje. A child that will not stop coming and going. Tears, she called her Ekwa. The name stuck.
Her husband did not know what to make of her predicament. Ogbanje children must die, then be born again, die, born again, over and over again. But Ekwa came once, kept dying but has refused to be buried. When all hope was usually lost on her life, she springs up again strong like it never happened.
‘Please jump to your feet again, please Ekwa,’ Menum begged.
His existence will not forget Ekwa, will never forget one very great incident before the women and maidens sang her to his home.
If Ekwa was not of flesh, she would have been a farm goddess, a goddess of rain, harvest and New Yam festival. She was very dark even to the sole of her feet. Dark in her pupil, eyebrows, lashes, breasts, hair, enamel. The darkness of her soil skin encompassed it all.
Menum was the sixth son of his father. To praise his god, his yam seedlings did well and he quickly erected his own hut on an apportioned land with the help of his friends. His older brothers had occupied the space in their father’s large compound, although few of them moved to a new land like him. His other occupation was fishing whereby he throws with skill sharpened sticks into the running water on any swimming fish on sight. His hands did that like they were made for it.
The day he saw the whole of Ekwa was on an Eke day…….
Also read The Good Ogbanje, chapter one