My husband, Emenike, is the bravest man I know. Before we were married, we never spoke for once even though his younger sister, Chioma was my good friend. He nodded occasionally whenever I was in their house and always avoided looking at me.
One day, according to my father, he suddenly showed up in my father’s compound with his father, Chief Okwudili and his uncle to let my father know of his intentions to marry me.
“Mazi Okpere, release Chinaza to me. I’d take good care of her.”
My father said he looked at him and asked,
“Do you love her?”
And he replied, ” I’d learn to.”
Three weeks later, I was walking to my new home with my small bag of clothes on my head and a few buckets and pots my mother gave me. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the sudden marriage but I knew what it meant for my family. Emenike had given them more than what they asked for and my father had been greedy and asked a lot for my brideprice. Mazi Okpere’s retirement plan had always been my brideprice.
Emenike was the bravest fighter and hunter in our village, Umokoro. He also fought in neighboring towns and always delivered heads to our King after every conquest. He was rich and I knew all the other maidens were envious of me.
The night of our marriage, I lay on the bed tying a new wrapper over my carefully scrubbed and scented body, terrified. My mother had taught me what to expect.
“He might be rough or nice, it doesn’t really matter. Make sure you please him. Marriage is about endurance.”
I couldn’t keep calm as I waited for him. I hardly knew this man. “What if he was rough with me?”, “What if I don’t please him and he returns me?”
Questions kept flooding my head.
He came in dripping wet tying a towel around his waist.
I stared at the many scars across his broad chest down to his navel.
“You are beautiful” he said to me as he sat on the bed and touched my face.
I bent my face down. I could hear the sound of my pounding heart against my chest.
He gently rose my head up and searched my eyes for a while before he spoke.
“Have you ever been with a man?” he asked.
“N…nn..No” I stammered and coughed.
He whistled softly and went out returning few minutes later with a bowl of spicy bushmeat,a jar of palm wine and two cups. He sat with me on the bed and started feeding me slowly, encouraging me to eat it all.
I was stunned. Even my father wasn’t this kind to my mother.
“Won’t you eat?” I asked him smiling, the meat was too good. He laughed and I stared, mesmerized.
Emenike wasn’t only a handsome man. He had strong features and his perfect white teeth shone when he laughed.
“When I killed the antelope yesterday, I had you in mind.”
I chuckled softly. I hadn’t expected him to be so kind.
When I had eaten to my satisfaction and had about four cups of palm wine with my new husband, I started feeling giddy. I tried to get up but the room swayed before me. I sat back on the bed giggling. Emenike kissed my forehead and rushed to get me water to wash my hands. When I was done, he pushed the bowl and cups to the corner of the room, and walked slowly towards me.
With one tug from his little finger, my wrapper came off and he traced the outline of my body with his fingers and groaned.
“Chinaza, you are mine from this moment till forever.” he said frowning.
Tears sprung to my eyes as I imagined his frown was because he didn’t like what he was seeing.
My parents would be devastated if he returned me.
He noticed my tears and removed his hands from my waist abruptly.
“Naza, did I hurt you?” he said looking as though he himself might cry.
“I can wait for you till you are ready. You’re my woman. I’d never hurt you” he said as he reached for my wrapper in an attempt to cover me.
“No” I said, stopping him.
“We must obey the tradition”
He shook his head.
“To hell with tradition. I live by my own principles”
He knelt before me,
“Naza do you want me to make love to you tonight? Can you be honest with me, my wife?”he asked as he kissed my tears.
I nodded, touched by the passion in his voice.
“Stand up” he said.
I stood and he parted my legs slowly with his hands and buried his face in between my thighs kissing my core.
My legs began to give way and I almost fell. I was hearing loud sounds and my hands flew to my mouth when I realized I was the one making sounds my own brain didn’t even recognize.
Emenike held my already wobbly legs firmly with his big hands and continued.
To be continued.
Owoeye Jesuloba Grace.