On my way to the market to pick up the wool for the cardigan I wanted to knit for grandmother, Obiora cornered me and blocked my way. He demanded that I listen to what he had to say and pay attention. He then began what I’d seen him do a million time.
He started by telling me about his recently completed MSc, and how he had been offered a residency permit in Canada, how he was a described by his professors in medical school as, ‘up and coming’, filled with potential. He continued by telling me about how his professor’s ‘prophecy’ had come to pass, and how he was one of the leading physicians in the dermatology ward, and how he would soon open his private practice.
He then told me of his mum’s efforts to get him married, and how many women push themselves on him, but I was the on he wanted. He recited his strings of promises which I could say by heart because I had heard it a lot of times.
How he would marry me and we would move to Canada a week after our marriage. How he would send for my mother and siblings a year after we’ve had our first child, how he’d train my siblings, especially Okoye, how he would send Okoye to the best engineering school in Ontario, and then Ifeoma and Chidima to school and empower them.
On a normal day, I’d just stare at my hands and make up a lie to escape, but today, I was tired, I was exhausted. I looked up at him and said, ‘Okoye, you want to marry me, isn’t that so? But can you handle me? Would you be there when the demons are threatening to eat my soul? Where would you be when I can no longer bottle the madness, I don’t want to marry a money husband, a marriage of convenience, I want a man that would be there for me. I want someone that would promise to hold my hands even when I am being pulled by the spirits, someone that would walk with me, side by side, all through my days.’.
With this being said, I pushed him away and walked hurriedly into the darkness of the market.