I walk down to the “ukwu udara” where we always meet. I look around to check for trails of your location that commence our hide and seek game but they are all buried in the dead dry leaves that grace the floor. I keep on waiting until the night meet me and severally I ask my “chi” where you must have gone to but got no answers.
It’s just a decade and I can remember everything vividly, it’s just like yesterday to me, our childhood indeed.
You tease me of being just fair and not handsome and you think Ihechimere is more attractive because he is dark and muscular. I remember dragging your nose playfully and let you pursue me when I touch your nipple and run away.
Those days we go to the stream and spend most of our time troubling the serene water in exuberance, afterwards we were beaten up by our “Ndi Nne”(mothers) for wasting much time.
That night you allow your tears to bathe my body when you learn that I am leaving for Enugu the next morning with Ichie Umeh (elder Umeh); you hold me very close to you and mutter those words my ears have been itching to hear.
You said “ihurum n’anya karisia onwe gi” (you love me more than yourself). Those confessions hit me so hard that it turns out to be the hallmark of my hustle.
I wish I can hear you call me again, I want to hear your lips say “Emi isiokpukpu” (naughty Emi) and watch your mouth open up to bring out your tongue to mock me, followed by your wink and exposure of your perfect dentition.
“Nne Nnem” (my grandma) laughs out loud on seeing us quarrel over who will wash the dishes after we finish eating in my place and she always calls out to us as “love nwantiti” (little lovers).
The ukwu udara is still as it has been, blooming but not evergreen because you are not here with me. Your presence makes the green leaves glow and the mild breeze appealing to the skin.
If only I did tell you.
If only I wasn’t shy at all.
If only I tried kissing you and damning the consequences.
If only I was serious and man enough to tell you I love you, not like a brother to a sister but a “mummy and daddy” kind of love – a love that causes marriage.
I was so young and foolish, waiting for the perfect time which did not come.
Now you’re married to Ubasinachi as his third wife. You’re maltreated. Your beauty has gone on exile and your nipples that pointed out to me are now ashamed, looking down all the time.
You lost two of your kids to malnutrition, your mother to poverty and your father to “nkwu elu”(palm wine) while tapping it to sell and meet his needs when he should be enjoying his old age in comfort.
The worst is, you now hate me and never want to see me for keeping quiet and resurfacing to spill the beans of my feelings that lingered for ten years, buried within my fears of the unknown; my fears of you saying ‘No’, slapping my face or telling your Nne or never even seeing me again.
I am waiting here again, will you come today!
Ifesinachi, kedu ebe ino (Ifesinachi where are you)…
© Achi Gp Nuel