Story Telling

Esther Chizaram Ngele: Labels and Love

Esther Chizaram Ngele

“Plot 15 Hillary Street, Danjuma Estate, Second floor back.” Onyinye paused. “yes!” She went on. She was telling the deliveryman over the phone on her balcony.

What a beautiful view it was from up here. She thought. Oops! here he comes. Onyinye rushed into her room to wear a wig. Checking herself once again in the mirror before she left with a smile. Once she was downstairs in front of her gate where Sani parked, they embraced each other and then kissed. He held the door open as she glides elegantly into the wagon. 

Sani has been a great guy for the past two years of their relationship. Their love story was what many would hope for, but only a few could experience in their lifetime. She was his and he was hers. And even as she was about ending her NYSC program, life was in the right perspective for them. They had prayed and planned her posting to Abuja and it worked out perfectly fine.

During the three weeks in the orientation camp, Sani drove all the way to Kubwa just to see her. No transfer mission. Regardless of their cultural differences, they only language they understood was love. In fact, that was the only major factor for them. Sani, a northerner and Muslim, Onyinye an Igbo girl and a daughter of Mary. But somehow they have been so indoctrinated that cultural and religious influences seemed to have been suppressed. It has worked in the past and it will mostly certainly work for them.

“Nkem! My oga say make I follow him reach Sokoto for the political meeting” Sani said. “Again?” Onyinye replied.

The past six months have really dragged by. And each day, Onyinye was seeing the big deals. The labels were becoming glaring. Now they were so different. The odds against them were high now. His ‘born to rule’ mentality was really stroking his ego. And of course, she had gold digger written all over her by virtue of being an Igbo girl.

Ave marrrriaaa! Sani hummed. “How come you can sing that song?” Onyinye asked with a smile.

“My grandma was a “Please stop! Don’t impress me!” Onyinye taunted.

Ever since their silent tribal war began to brew, Sani was quick to make up stories about his non-existent ancestors from Eastern Nigeria who were Christians before his Muslim heritage. This was just to align himself with his love Onyinye. But there it was; the label of tribe and religion.

These late nights were. A part from each other. And in the arms of another.

It was the D-day; all preparations were set. “tun tun!” Onyinye hurriedly opened the text message to read. In hopes that it was from Chukwuemeka, her soon to be wedded husband. There it was …

With tears, she knew she was doing the best thing. The tribal tag. The destructive label of love.

In these Streets of Texas:

It was a cool beautiful evening; Jamal would rather wait outside for Donald to hurry out with the ‘slice of the good life pizza’. The cool breeze in Mckinney Ave, Dallas Texas was quite refreshing. He was standing by the SUV with a hand on the roof rack. The siren from a police car grew louder.

“Hey what you doing there?” the policeman asked as he cruised closer. “Hey, I’m talking to you!”, “why are you standing there?” he asked again, clearly growing impatient.

“Excuse me, what did you say?” the officer snapped. He swiftly got out of his car. He was a middle aged Whiteman. “Put your hands in the air!” He yelled. Few passersby stared with curiosity. Donald caught sight of his brother being pinned at the trunk of the car, and came running.

“Common man, take it easy. What did I do wrong?” Jamal replied. “oh you just gonna tackle me?” “Are you also gonna kneel on my neck too?” Jamal said with a quavering voice. “Is it cos I’m black huh?”

The officer released him with a smack on the head. As the crowd were beginning to get loud with their shouts, “Black lives matter!”

“you watch your mouth next time nigga!” the officer scowled and entered the car and drove off. Jamal stood in tears as Donald came to put his arms around him. That was his label for being a Blackman. The race tag.

South Africa

“Hey, bru come chow bobotie!” Kungawo called out to Olumide.

Kungawo and Olumide shared the two adjoining wood and granite shops at 106 South Frere Road Paarl. They got along pretty well. Olumide had been residing in South Africa for quite a few years that he had also picked their style and slang. Kungawo sold some of the most beautiful granite in. Olumide on the other hand, was so crafty that he could craft his future from a wood.  

“mm! thanks boet! Real spicy!” Olumide replied as he settled on the bench to eat with Kungawo.

“Ag, man take it easy, why you talking to my client for?” Kungawo snapped at Olumide. “Ag bru! I …” Olumide was saying when Kungawo yelled “Voetsek!” angrily. 

“Ag bru! Why you look so pissed?” Lethabo asked Kungawo. Lethabo owned the adjacent store to kungawo’s. Kungawo narrated his irritation at Olumide’s ‘over zealousness’

“No worries we bring the Skebenga and take care of him” He added.

“They are already running our economy, next you know, they run our government and try to become our masters!”

“We will bliksem him so bad, he will run back to his country!”

“Yebo! Yes” Kungawo affirmed. “This night we deal with him once and for all!”

The lights suddenly went out. On the third knock, Olumide groped in the dark room to open the door. “Aargh! He screamed as he felt the sharp cut in his tummy. In excruciating pain, the blows came landing on him. His body was in hell. He could feel a hot fluid slipping through his fingers as he held tightly to his stomach. There it was, another jab on his shoulder he was dying. He screamed as loud as he could. But it was as if he was a fowl being slaughtered with no mercy. He was losing it all. His strength, his breathe and the hope of survival.

Scrunched up on the floor, he looked up as one of the dark figures held a torch light up to reveal their faces. “Ah! Kun….”

“Common bru! Ubuntu!” Olumide said as blood spurt out from his mouth and he breathed his last.

How can the death of another human being bring relief?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: