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I am Ojonugwa Felix, a civil engineer. I hailed from a small hamlet in Kogi state. I lived all my life in
the city with my parents. I have never been to the village before, until that year when my uncle insisted I
handle his building project in the village. My dad was pleased with the idea because he saw it as an
opportunity for me to go to the village for the first time in my life. My dad and my mum changed all my
plans toward the project just to be incorporated into my plans.I was to start my site survey on the 17th of
August but my dad pleaded with my uncle to put all plans on hold until December when all of us will
travel for Christmas and use one stone to kill two birds.

The preparation for our trip to the village was well planned, it was like we were relocating to the village.
You could see excitement in both dad and mum as we planned for the journey. My original intention was
to spend few days in the village and come back to schedule my site plans but the story was soon twisted
and became complicated.

We arrived home on the 20th of December like one big celebrity family. Myself, dad, mum and Becky
made the journey. Ele could not come with us because of his final year project in the school. Everything
in the village looked strange; their lifestyle, the people, the environment and everything. My major
challenge was electricity. We could go on for days without seeing power blink. Another major problem
was getting water for the family. Only two houses own a well in their compounds.

Others depend on
stream water for survival.
A week after our stay, myself and Becky didn’t find village life easy at all and that pushed dad to engage
the service of a temporary maid. She does all the house chores including fetching of water. Initially, I
didn’t like Linda because she was so dirty and unkempt. Her body odour alone was unbearable and
really offensive. Whenever I eat any food she prepares I feel like throwing up. Her Igala intonation is
something else, so local and primitive. After a few days, I had no other option so I began to accept her
the way she is.

My mum started buying some clothes for Linda to make her more presentable. Becky gave her almost all
her clothes she came with and some pairs of shoe. Since she spent most of the time in our place, she was
made to take her bath twice before going back. Everything about Linda changed in a short time with the
help of my family. My attention was on my primary aim of being to the village, that is, my uncle’s
building project. I spent several hours on site everyday because the workers in the village were not
conversant with the mode of work I was used to. That really slowed me down a big deal. Mum and dad
took advantage of that to extend our stay in the village.

My mum became so attached to Linda because of her hard working nature. Three weeks after our stay,
mum will rain praises on Linda like she were one super woman. Linda is this, Linda is that. I became
irritated by mum’s exaggerated praise of Linda. My irritation grew worse when mum began to tell me
Linda is the type of woman she desires for her son as a wife. What a humiliation, how could mum think
Linda could make a good wife for me? Ordinarily, I won’t even take her into my house as a maid.

Old age must have affected mum’s reasoning, I thought within myself and I waved it off. My attitude changed and
I became hostile to avoid mum’s words to get into me. I love my mum but the part she was threading
could make me lose my respect for her. so I avoided her as much as I could.

The more I avoided mum, the more she poked me. Everyday she painted a picture of a super woman in
Linda just to get me interested in her. But how could mum think I will ever have anything to do with
Linda? A girl her nakedness cannot make me have erection. I don’t want to sound like I hated Linda but
we are not close to compatibility. Our gap is like that of heaven from earth. I can’t even present her to
any of my friends. Mum must be joking, I assured myself.

When it became obvious mum was serious with her plan to tactically and maybe forcefully make me
succumb to her pressure, I left the village without telling them. I gave three days assignment to my
workers on site and instructed the site supervisor to shut down the site after the three days’ work is
completed. I switched off all my devices to avoid any call from mum or dad. Two days later, my family
joined me in the city.

Dad was really angry with me, why did you leave us in the village without a word?
My dad queried me angrily. Even though dad seemed to be part of the plan to join me and Linda
together, he pretended he was unaware. I didn’t reply his verbal query. I simply apologised and I thought
that was all.

I was shocked to my marrow when I came back from work and find out Linda had joined us in the city. When
she saw me, her smile sent a lot of messages to my head. I barely answered her greetings because I was angry
seeing her. I knew mum was behind all this. I went into my room straight without saying a word to anybody. I
locked up myself all through the night.

Becky tried to get me open the door but I knew she will prevail on
me so I ignored all her pleas to open the door. I woke up at the middle of the night and realised I haven’t
eaten dinner. I was really hungry but I didn’t want to come out of my room. Right there I made up my
mind the time is ripe to get my own place.

The company I was doing a part-time job with had earlier
offered me a self-contained apartment close to their current site but I declined because I knew it was a
means to get me work overtime. The offer became my best option now.
But I can’t just move into an empty apartment. I need many things to put the place in order and
habitable. I could start with just a mattress and a chair, I thought within myself.

I sent text to Taofeek,
one of my site boys living close to the site. “Please help me get a medium size mattress and a plastic
chair first thing tomorrow morning. I will make a transfer into your account as soon as I become aware
of the amount required”. Then I sent another text to the project manager, “sir I’m ready to take the

He replied immediately with; “wow, that’s ok”.
As soon as it was dawn, I picked my bag and put up everything that was important to me because I was
not going to come back that day. I woke up so early before the family devotion just to avoid everyone.

I also didn’t want to set my eyes on that witch of a thing called Linda. She must have bewitched mum. She
can’t bewitched me, I told myself. I left home without anyone knowing my plans. Even Becky was kept in
the dark over my plans.

The irony of my story is about to begin…

I moved out of the house and got myself fixed up in my new apartment. The environment was quiet
because the area was under development. Not too many people were living there yet. Taofeek had
arranged for boys to clean the house and set it in order before I got there. Besides the loneliness I faced
in the house, there were many basic things not in the house. No curtain, no spoon, no plate, no fan and
many more. Dad called me at about 9pm; Ojonugwa, where are you? Aren’t you coming home tonight?

He asked. I lied, yes sir, we are still in site and may work through into the night. Okay, ensure you take
care of yourself, he advised. Thank you sir, and we hung up the call.
That night, I couldn’t sleep because of mosquito and my decision to leave the house. I was restless all through
the night. Something told me I was not doing the right thing but I was stubborn in my mind. How long will I
run away from my dear mum because of one village girl? Towards the early hour of the morning, an idea
dropped in my mind. I have been dating Ronke for sometime now, but I was yet to formally propose to her.

She has expected this proposal for quite a long time but I wanted to settle down first before proposing to her.
I will just go ahead and propose to her and if she says yes, I will just take her straight to my parents for
formal introduction. With this, mum will bury her plans about Linda. That was a perfect idea, I told myself.
But assuming she did not accept my proposal? I was worried, but I made up my mind I will propose to
her today.

Hello Ronky, how are you today and how is your schedule today? I asked her on phone. I’m fine and I
hope to be free after work. She closes by 4pm. Okay, can we hangout this evening after work? That will
be a nice idea, she replied. I got a nice engagement ring and some money ready for the date. I was a bit
agitated about the date for fear of Ronke’s rejecting my proposal. I got to work very early just to ensure I
finish up my assignment for the day because of my date with Ronke. We agreed to meet at our usual
meeting point by 5pm. I was there thirty minutes earlier unlike before that she has to wait for me.

Ronke arrived by 5:03pm dressed in a gold coloured dinner gown. Her perfume was nice. the smile on her
face assured me I will get a positive answer. Her high heel shoe made her a bit taller than me on this day.

I offered her a seat, holding her right hand in a very gentleman’s manner. Ronke, you look charming today,
I complimented her. She was happy and you can see it on her face. Thank you for the compliment, she
replied. What will you take? I asked her, using my right hand to beckon on the waitress. I didn’t allow her
make an order when I began to tell the waitress what she will bring for us. While I was still making our
order my phone rang, I looked at the screen it was dad. I knew why he was calling me.

I haven’t been in
the house for two days. This time, he must have known my reason for not coming was more than site
work. I ignored his call until it went off.
Who was that?, Ronke asked. Never mind, I told her. Her facial expression changed immediately; her
smile dropped noticeably. Was that one of your girlfriends? She broke the silence. Girl what? I don’t have
a girlfriend except you, I assured her. Then why didn’t you pick your call? I brought out my phone to
show her my call record. It was your dad, why did you then ignored his call? She asked me surprisingly. I will explain to you later, let’s face why we are here. As I finished talking, our order was ready before us.

That distracted us and we both forgot the issue of the call.
Do you think Ronke will accept my proposal?
Will her presence in my life solve my problem with mum?

I proposed to Ronke and she agreed to marry me. I was so happy that mum’s trouble will soon end. We
talked, played and laughed and dined in a romantic mood. Will you mind seeing my parent tomorrow? I
asked Ronke. The look on her face didn’t give approval. You don’t want to meet them?

I asked. Not that I
don’t want to meet them but you just proposed to me few minutes ago and you want me to meet your
parent tomorrow. Don’t you think that it is too sudden? I have not even reconsider my decision yet. You
have not given me time to think about us and pray about everything first. Moreover, you just ignored your
dad’s call just now and you want me to see him tomorrow. You equally promised to tell me why
you refused to pick his call but you haven’t done that yet.

I will tell you in due time, and that’s why I want you to follow me to see them tomorrow.
My phone rang again and I thought it was my dad or mum. I knew I couldn’t ignore the call this time
considering the look on Ronke’s face. I brought out my phone to answer my call, then I noticed it was my
uncle. Ojonugwa, why have you abandoned my work for this long? My uncle queried. I knew I was at
fault so I begged him to give me a week and I will resume his work again. As soon as he dropped his call,

another call entered. It was Becky. She must have missed me. Hello Becky! She didn’t return my greeting
before she asked rudely “brother, where are you”? I have not replied when she commanded me “wherever
you are now, start coming home”. That was all she said and hanged up. Becky is the last born and the
only girl in the house. She is so dear to us that her words are sometimes more powerful than dad’s own.

For Becky’s sake, I decided I will visit home after my meeting with Ronke but I needed to get Ronke to
agree to follow me home the next day.
My dad was very angry with me when I got home. You think you are now grown and you could just leave
home without a word? This is the second day you’ve been away and you never called until I called you
yesterday. I also called you today but you refused to pick my call and you never returned my call.

I demand an apology and an explanation now. Dad’s eyes were red and full of anger. Mum did not say a
word as she watched dad rant at me. I am sorry dad, everything that happened wasn’t intentional. But
please dad give me today again and by tomorrow I will give a detailed explanation why I left home
without a word.

My apology appeased him a little but my request did not go down well with him. But my dad trusted me
that I have sense of right judgment, so he gave me the benefit of the doubt. Becky offered me dinner but I
was already full from my date with Ronke. I have a surprise for you Becky, but just guess what it is. You
have been confirmed as full staff with Boldile Limited? No, guess again, I teased her. Just tell me and stop
stressing my brain, she begged me. You are meeting Ronke tomorrow. Becky knew about Ronke but they
have never met before. She was excited and full of expectation.
Guess my parent reaction when I brought Ronke home.

The thought of facing my mum with Ronke as my wife-to-be kept me awake all night. Ronke is beautiful
and elegant. She is a year older than me with high taste for modern fashion. If you judge her by her
dressing, you will never agree she is a sound Christian. Her make ups and jewelries are always flashy.

I have no gut to tell her to be modest in her dressing when coming to see my parents. But I knew that her
flashy appearance will be a big subject when she finally shows up at my house. Getting her convinced to
follow me to see my parents was a big deal, convincing her to dress to impress mum will be another issue
so I let it be.

True to my fear, Ronke’s dressing that day was hot. Her nails were so long and noticeable. Her lip gloss
was bloody. Her gown was above her kneels. Her makeup was excessively heavy. Everything about her
outlook was flamboyantly done. I guess she intends to impress my people. I wished I could tell her to go
back and change to something more local. Dresses that will make her look more like a girl with
inferiority complex will impress mum than all she wore.

I lost my composure as we make it to the family
house. More so, Ronke is not that African like girl who will bend all her kneels to greet my people. She
lived the best part of her life in the UK and she behaves like Europeans.
As we alighted from the taxi in front of my family house, I began to miss my steps. But I encouraged
myself, “Ojo, you must be a man”. It was Becky who opened the door for us and without introduction,
her smile and gestures showed acceptance, I knew I had crossed the first hurdle. But Becky was not the
main hurdle, neither is dad a big deal but mum. I ordered her to take her seat while I go in to call on dad
and mum. When she sat down her gown jumped and you could practically see her light complexioned
thigh displayed. I was very uncomfortable but I have no idea what I could do.

I told Becky to ensure she keeps her busy and get her entertained because I don’t want that witch called
Linda to ever come near her.
As I went in to invite dad and mum to meet my fiancée, I summoned courage to be bold and firm about
my choice. I will never allow mum to intimidate me or make me feel bad about my choice. Dad, mum I
have a surprise for you at the sitting room, can you follow me as I unravel this surprise to you?

Dad jumped out of the bed and dragged mum to follow us. My eyes were fixed on mum, I wanted to see her
reaction before I say anything but her face was indifferent. Dad, mum meet Ronke, my fiancée. Ronke,
meet my parents. Ronke puts up a smile without saying anything. Is she expecting us to greet her first,
mum asked. Good day daddy, good day mummy, she greeted in her European intonation still seated.

Dad replied, how are you my daughter but mum gave her a look that could make one forget his name.
Mum never said a word as she angrily went back to the room. The atmosphere changed, there was
coldness everywhere. The embarrassment melted all of us including dad and Becky. Becky went after
mum but dad tried to make up for the embarrassment mum just caused the entire family. From the sitting
room you could hear mum’s voice, yelling at Becky. I looked at Ronke’s eye and I saw a painful tear
dropping down her cheeks. I wished I could stop the tears but mine was invincible within me. I have
never felt embarrassed this way all my life.
The battle just began…

To be continue on

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