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The day he proposed was the most magical day of her life. She never for once thought any man could love her let alone wish to marry her. But that was the story of Nneoma’s unlikely romance with Nnamdi; a city boy sprung by the beauty of a small town, uneducated girl. It was almost too good to be true, and on several occasion the girl had warned herself to be careful. But then she was in love with a gentle man whom she thought was the best thing that ever happened to her.

Nneoma was a girl with many issues. She was insecure and naïve owing to the very dysfunctional family she had been born into. At an early stage in life she watched her mother leave her and the rest of her siblings in pursuit of a better life, one without Nneoma’s lazy father or the extreme poverty the family had known. For years to come as she grew up, she learnt to take care of herself just like the rest of her siblings did too. Their father was simply a useless man, a man very destroyed by his demons to care! So she didn’t depend; never expected anything from him. instead she survived, working odd jobs for people who took advantage of her and denied her assistance. Yet this was nothing compared to what was to befall her later in life…

When Nnamdi came along he had practically swept Nneoma off her feet. It was during the Yuletide season of 2006 and she was so surprised and excited by the idea of being wooed by a city boy. His life was perfect in every standard…at least from what she could see. So she  gave in easily, losing her virginity on their second date on the football pitch of a local secondary school. It was in the night and she simply cared less what the consequences might be. The sexscapades thrilled her and had happened for several  days until #Christmas was over and Nnamdi returned to Lagos. He promised to come back for her but she wasn’t quite sure if she trusted him. As weeks passed in the New Year her  biggest fear became that of getting pregnant. Over the years she knew the tales of so many young girls getting pregnant shortly after the Christmas break was over; girls whose naivety had been taken advantage of by city boys looking for cheap pleasure. She didn’t want to become pregnant just yet because she could barely take care of herself. And luckily for her she didn’t.

In April 2007 Nnamdi returned to meet her just as he had promised. It was almost unbelievable because never in her wildest dreams has she imagined he truly meant what he told her. For a week their romance blossomed during which time she didn’t have to struggle to fend for herself. He told her about himself, how he was a young graduate who had just landed a lucrative job and how his mother wished for him to find/marry a decent girl that would bear her grandchildren. He told her he loved her, and had proposed to marry her one night after several rounds of sex. Nneoma thought she had nothing to lose by marrying him and so had eagerly snatched the cheap ring he was proposing with, jumping happily as she observed the ring and wondered whether that was truly happening to her. They made love the entire night.

By the following morning Nnamdi disclosed his plan to the girl- he wished to take her to Lagos! He didn’t want her to keep staying and suffering in the village. So he was going to bring her to Lagos with him, keep her with his uncle until it was time for their wedding. Meanwhile, to Nneoma the idea of traveling to Lagos was heart-warming. The farthest she ever traveled outside her town was the next town, and so the mere idea of being in the megacity fascinated her. She eagerly accepted Nnamdi’s plan and without thinking it through had hastily prepared for the journey. She never bothered to tell her father where she was going; the old man didn’t even care anyways. Her siblings on the other hand were all in distant places, each of them pursuing their lives. Nneoma was not bothered about anything bad happening to her for she was seventeen, had a lover she trusted and was optimistic about the future. And most importantly she loved Nnamdi and was prepared to be the dutiful wife, prepared to worship him for the rest of her life. But did she get to do that?

When they got to Lagos Nneoma was astounded by the magnificence of the place. It was like nothing she had ever known! Interestingly too she had found herself in one of the deluxe parts of town- Lekki Peninsula. A cab drove her and Nnamdi to a mansion which the young man told her was his uncle’s house. But as they walked into the beautiful house, Nneoma could sense something wasn’t right. She tried to tell herself it was probably nothing; perhaps she was just intimidated by her surrounding, she thought. But no matter how she tried to brush aside her worries she couldn’t quite succeed. She remained disturbed by the place even as Nnamdi’s supposed uncle was introduced to her. the man just kept staring at her breasts lustfully the entire time while his wife walked out to the sitting room as though her feet shouldn’t be touching the floor. She was apparently a sophisticated one and spoke through her nose as though she was whispering a totally alien version of the English language. Their daughter who was about Nneoma’s age was just downright mean and saucy. Nneoma could sense it immediately that the two of them would never cross the same path. But what else could she do? If Nnamdi said that was his family then she had better get around pleasing them so they could like her just a little bit to approve his marrying her…

~Emmanuel Benson

*This is a work of fiction by the above-named writer. No part of this piece may be reproduced without permision.


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