Friday, January 25, 2013

Ntenako: Chapter Three


Mbintu’s wife was at home getting restless, wondering what happened to her husband that he has not come back. “Did he get himself ambushed?” Thoughts crisscrossed her mind. He was a much focused person by virtue of the demands of his job. He did not drink like his neighbor Agbor_ndakor.  It was certain that whatever danger he fell in, he will fight till his last breath. She tried to go to bed, but sleep will not come. “A toad never crosses the road in broad day light if nothing was pursuing it.” This was not like my husband. The husband I have known for these numbers of years. She took her loin, tight it round her waist, put her child on the back and tied another loin over the child, then she gently pulled the squealing door.  The door has been there before she came, so rust has made it a home. Each time any of them is going out or entering back into the house, the door announces to the world that they are entering or going.
Mma Atungho looked outside and beheld the darkness that has stormed the village. As she stepped her leg outside, she felt a presence. She tried to greet, but no one will greet her. She called aloud, but there was no reply. “Did I just see a ghost? Did I?” Many things ran across her mind. If she went back into the house, there was no guarantee that the person who just saw her may not come back to hurt her. If she continued, he may pursue her to kill her. She knew she had a catch 22 in her hands.  She will walk a little bit further and if she felt any movement, then she will scream. That will be enough for Mbintu to hear and come out of wherever he was. It was a Hobson’s choice she had, seeing the husband. Mbintu is the man who has given her too much pride; the man who has time and again laid his life for her, and the man who has borne her opprobrium.
Mma Atungho increased her pace as she wondered again if it was just a chimera. She courageously segued through the night and reached in Agbor-Ndakor’s house. The door was wide open. When someone had a baby, they left the door open so that anyone who wanted to come and visit did not have to knock and they did not have to warrant anyone getting up to open the door. However, almost everyone knocked for formality except the younger generation who had missed taking etiquette 101. Mma Atungho knocked and entered.  When an aficionado espied her, she called out “Mongoegh a beisi!” The little fire has emerged, he means.  While villagers could get away from Mbintu with invectives, they could not with Mma Atungho. She returned fire for fire and verbatim literatim.
There were so many people visiting, so she could not easily see or hear Mbintu. Then she asked if anyone has seen her husband. By the time they could answer, she had seen him at the far end just around where the baby was lying. He was in his desultory state, narrating one hunting prowess to another to the complete entertainment of the visitors.  A neighbor touched Mbintu to alert him of the wife’s presence.  When Mbintu was in a crowd that was listening to him tell his tales, it was as if he was under a spell. He felt no pain and felt no gain; he saw nothing and saw nobody. He was like a rouĂ©. At that moment, everyone was to him a booboisie.  “Ta Mbintu,” the wife called aloud. “I am throwing greetings your way ooohhh.” She greeted. Many people called him Mbintu despite his age because he had made himself too simple and rustic. Actually, he was a man of the people.
Everyone there was amazed. Some naughty fellows began murmuring that, “You see; this woman has no respect for anyone other than Mbintu who is fucking her.” “I will fuck her too, so she can respect me like she does Mbintu.”  His friend horsed around. It was as if someone else had heard them, and that could bring real trouble at times. It could cut their enjoyment short. However, in most cases, people ended laughing because whenever you came to a born-house (a house where a child was born), there was a lot of jocularity going on. It was the same way with wake-keepings. People liked to sit around those who crack jokes and some of the jokesters could tell them all night long as long as their cups were continuously being replenished. If they became inebriated, they allowed him to sleep the alcohol out while they listened to the next comedian.
Their side of the corner was drawing a lot of attention form the outburst that came with that joke that everyone had to look at them. People now began asking them what happened. Who said what. Whoever would say it may face the wrath of Mma Atungho right there and she may actually give them a very bad day. His joke could be a gimcrack, but who knows what may annoy a woman? No one was ready to be the cause of the setting the born-house asunder, so they quickly stopped quiet as if thunder had struck. Then the attention was quickly turned to Mbintu and Atungho. 

St Arrey of Ntenako

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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