They had just finished love-making. It was a blissful moment. Outside, the evening rain tapped gently at the crest of their room’s wood-paneled window. Gentle, yet, audible. The candle-like rays of the dying evening sun shot out desperately, clawing at the sudden accumulation of dark clouds in the sky. In the distance, not only the continued hoots of owls could be heard, but also the chants of young girls singing ‘yaabaa’ in readiness for the waking of the moon. This night, it will be four hours before the moon pecks at the cloudy night sky. Inside their room, the sun rays that sipped through the shaft’s corridors played romantically against her jewelries scattered all over the bedside stool. It was a sight to watch. Love was in the air. And it was evening!
Dee-or and Esor had been lovers for about nine years. Although Esor’s parents disapproved of their relationship, the lovers never gave in to the persistent threats and insults from Esor’s parents that greeted them from day to day. In his mind, Dee-or kept the hopes of resolving the differences alive. He never gave up on the fact that Esor was his future wife, and that being confrontational with his potential parent-in-laws could jeopardize his chances of having Esor for a wife. “I can’t let their attitudes drown my love for Esor. I’m sure they’ll understand one day how much we love each other,” he usually consoled himself after every poignant encounter.
This eventful evening, Dee-or had thought, “Why don’t I ask Esor how she feels about our relationship and what she thinks about my being her future husband? After all, we’ve been dating for nine years now…”
“Esor darling,” Dee-or called. Esor was in the outer compound discussing with Dee-or’s cousins. From the barrage of laughter that floated into the room, Dee-or could deduce they were having a very hearty conversation.
“Yes, Dee. On my way!” she answered. “Hey. You all have got me into another trouble…pray for me…,”she whispered to Dee-or’s cousins.
“You had better pray harder yourself,” shouted Neeka with a throaty laugh. Neeka was the hearty one of the bunch. His brothers and friends knew him for his cheery attitude. He was very industrious. However, he loved singing, dancing and drumming. Neeka was one of the best drummers become singers in the entire Baedae Village. “Esor, you know he’s not a monster, my cousin I mean.”
“Whoever says his mother’s soup isn’t the sweetest?” Esor quipped racing to the door, her long straight legs disguised by an almost ankle deep flannel skirt. She made it to the door in seconds. “Yes, dear, I’m here. Now what? Lonely again, darling?”
“Yes and no.” Dee-or answered with a broad smile. “Yes, because I’m lonely without you. No, because you just asked me the usual. Can we talk for few minutes?”
“Always at your service, mister.” She kissed him and sat hand-to-chin next to him. “What are we talking about this evening? The New Yam Festival is months away. Easter just came and went. The rain is here though…I’m sure the implication of that isn’t lost on you, is it?”
“Not at all. But that’s not what I was thinking about… at least for now…” Dee-or was interrupted before he could complete his sentence.
“My father once told me ‘a frog does not jump in the daytime for nothing.’ Dear, the way you just started suggests something serious weighs on your mind. After our years together, I don’t need a soothsayer to tell me how ogbonnor and okro mix can make the soup thick. Dear, tell me: what is it…?” Esor asked.
“Alright, alright! I’ll tell you. But you have to be very sincere with me. Not that you’ve not always been. It’s just… well, this whole thing is some how sensitive. Promise you’ll take it kindly. Well, e-n-m, I wanted to know how you really feel about this relationship. We’ve been dating for about seven to eight years now, and as you know, I don’t have any other intention but to make you my wife. Esor darling, I’m not oblivious to the attitudes of your parents towards me. I’m equally grateful to you and your siblings for accepting me for who I am. What do you think? Please talk to me.”
Outside, a rooster crowed. Nearby, a herd of sheep trotted passed, surprising a group of chickens that were pecking at the base of a groove of plantains into a stampede. In the distance, the sound of kere tumbee could be heard. It has been rumored round the village that the Zia Festival this year would be marked with a special outing of tumbee. At the waterfront, young men were already honing their summersault tactics and styles in readiness for this upcoming occasion. Dae Deekor, the only surviving carver in the village, has been doing overtime lately.
“Dae Kor, what with all these new young faces around you these days?” Korodumaa had asked the other on his way from mui-bara. “Vultures don’t just gather unless there’s a feast of flesh.”
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