That was my wife, Chiamaka, approaching. People thought her puerile and naïve but I deemed her exquisite. She was blithe and permissive, carefree and lax.
We had been married for five months through the declarations of our parents and other adults. I was seven years old and she, just six. Her mother declared her my wife because she had been my favourite playmate. I never knew her father’s opinion. We cherished our union and understood the unspoken words, we always chose a spot away from other playmates on those days parents allowed their children play outside. I didn’t want other children playing with my wife; she didn’t want them eating her soup.
During one of those wonderful days, I couldn’t find her. She was obviously missing. I was worried. Jennifer, another
playmate had stopped looking at me from afar. She was standing close now.
‘Come and help me grind these leaves,’ she pleaded. As they’d be used in her mock soup cooked in a tin and eaten with moulded mud. I had ground the leaves half way when I saw Chiamaka. I stopped. My guilt stricken face refused meeting her questioning eyes. She left. I just broke our
Later, I saw her with Ebuka who didn’t like sharing his toys. I was devastated and jealous. My heart raced faster than my toy-car. I felt divorced. I glanced at her periodically all the while but she never
looked my way. I waited until play time was over. Instantly, I picked up the tin for cooking and went to her. ‘Take, I cooked this for you,’ I muttered with stretched arms.
She stared at me and collected it. ‘Thank you,’ she replied, smiling. ‘See you tomorrow.’ She entered her house. I smiled. I saved my marriage.
Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto is a student of Nnamdi Azikwe University, studying English Language and Literature. He emerged one of the top 3 winners of Etisalat flash fiction 2014.