The much desired reunion was going on quite well until máaḿi asked for his name. I turned my face away, knowing what was going to come next.

Chi kínní?” Máaḿi loosened the wrapper tied on her waist and retied it almost immediately. I saw a smile trying to rear its head on the face of my brother and I glared at him in response.

mi o sure pé mó gbọ dada – I don’t think I heard correctly.”

“My name is Chinedu Onukagha, ma.” My naive fiancee replied, oblivious to what was about going down.

ẹn bá mí ṣeré àbí? Because I don’t see how Tinuke mí ọḿọ Abeni would do this. Ḿó tí ẹ jẹrè ẹ.” Máaḿi was becoming frantic.

“I think you should give them time to rest instead of bombarding their tired minds with questions.” My father stepped in. “Tinuke and Bayo have not been home in the last five years and I don’t think this is the right way to welcome them. Besides, the young man looks exhausted.”

I sighed and stopped to give a loaf of bread and some money to the little children who assisted in taking our bags inside, before leading a confused looking Nedu into the house. Too tired to offer any explanation, I made my way into my old bedroom, laying down to sleep. I needed all the energy I could get to make máaḿi see things from my point of view. She could be very stubborn with things like this.

Dinner time wasn’t so good either. Zainab, bro Bayo’s wife had prepared amala and ewedu soup, much to my mother’s chagrin. She still tried to find faults with her. I remembered vividly the events that had brought me back home the last time. It was their introduction ceremony and máaḿi was so against it, making a fuss about how her ‘one and only’ Bayo would end up eating ‘tuwo’ all the days of his life. It got worse when we had to travel over to Kaduna to meet her parents. Máaḿi had insisted that she wasn’t going as she didn’t want to end up getting poisoned. The fact that Zainab schooled in the Western part of the country did little to persuade her and she had only ended up giving her consent when she was reminded that Zainab would end up bearing our family name. The same couldn’t be said in my case.

I watched as Chinedu struggled to enjoy a meal he had never taken in his entire life, trying really hard not to show his distaste.

I had met Chinedu during my service in Anambra. He was the son of the principal in the school where I served. At first, we had a pretty hard time getting along but somethings cannot remain hidden for too long.

“Ọḿọ Igbo, when you are done eating ehn, I have reserved a room for you in a hotel not too far away, so… know.” Máaḿi was going too far.

“Máaḿi! It’s my fiancee we are talking about here.” I retorted.

“Ooo! So they have now given you wings to talk when I’m talking abi? I said it! I shouldn’t have allowed you to serve in that place. Mr Bamgbose had wanted to help you run things out but you insisted you didn’t want it. Now you see what they have done to you. Talking back at your own mother?”

“Chinedu is going nowhere, máaḿi. If he takes a step out of this house, I’m leaving with him. Yourself and Dad wanted me to come home. Please, don’t send me back with your actions.” I walked out angrily with Nedu at my heels.

I couldn’t understand máaḿi’s worries about relating with people of other ethnic groups. She made sure it sunk into our heads while we were younger but I thought she would have gone passed that after Zainab. I guess I was wrong.

“Babe, I think we should listen to your mother for now. She isn’t asking me to go away totally. She is just saying she can’t live under the same roof as me and I totally understand. Let’s give her some time to think this through while I’m not under her scalp.” Chinedu had always been the understanding one but he needed to understand that things like this did not work that way.

“I know my mother, Nedu. Once you succumb to her wishes, forget us. She would only end up frustrating me and trying her best possible to keep us apart. She did it with Bayo and she had almost won.” I could feel my anger rising.

“Calm down Tinu. Everything will be fine, trust me.”

“I hope so, I really do.” But I couldn’t see how.

I decided to go speak to her the next day as there was no other way I could get her to give her consent.

“Ehnehn, I just got off the phone with the son of Barrister Aremu. He said he would like to meet you. And he is so handsome. I’m sure you will like him.” I felt discouraged immediately.

“Máaḿi, I came home with my fiancee” I raised my hands in frustration, stating the obvious.

“Oh! Is it that ọmọ Igbo? I have told you it’s not possible. I cannot sit and watch you marry into a tribe that eats human flesh.”

That was just insane.

“Máaḿi…” I had begun to say.

“Let me finish o.” She said, raising her hand to shut me up.

“They don’t even take proper care of their home. Don’t you know mama Nkechi that lives next to us? She comes to me daily to ask for money to feed the children. The husband even beats her on a daily basis after he comes home drunk. Is that what you want for yourself?”

“Máaḿi, I’m not mama Nkechi and Chinedu is a nice person, as well as his parents. They don’t eat human flesh, as far as I know. Máaḿi, people say the Yorubas are very dirty but does that mean you are?” I looked at her pleadingly.

“I really love Nedu and want to spend the rest of my life with him. I cannot do that if you are constantly against us. I beg of you, máaḿi.” I went down on my knees just as my father walked in.

Ìyàwó mí, it would only hurt this child if you keep on refusing and she would end up going far away from us. Listen to the daughter you have raised for this long. She cannot disappoint you.” My father chipped in.

Máaḿi with resignation on her face, gave her consent. I was going to be Mrs. Onukagha and that made me more than excited.

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