A Lover’s Night
Amoge lay down on her mat, the cold floor was one reason that kept her awake, she stared at the top of the room where she slept alone, changing positions in her restlessness. Gushes of cool wind came in through the window as if sent by a force, beckoning on her, giving her the courage to be where she really wanted to be; at the market square for mme n’abali, the night of lovers. ‘‘Why won’t he let me go?’’ she lamented that afternoon as her mother plaited her hair
‘‘It is for your own good Oge, your father is trying to protect you’’ replied her mother, steadying her head
‘‘From what? She asked ‘‘wasn’t that where he met you or would he have seen you if your father hadn’t let you go’’
Her mother tittered and said; ‘‘the men of today cannot be trusted, you are not just Ada, but you are our only daughter, your father will not allow you bring shame to his name’’
‘‘But—‘’ Amoge started
‘‘Enough!’’ her mother stopped her.
Amoge held her peace, no need to get her mother upset while she was working on her hair.
Another gust of wind came in, this time with hands, very strong hands that picked her up from her mat and quietly led her out of her room; she took quick but quiet steps to the backyard careful not to wake her parents or her younger brothers up and looking around to make sure no one was watching she stole into the night.
The drums invited her with their quick beats that made her legs move faster, as if impatient to get there before their owner, she had already begun dancing before she got to the venue; this has to be Ogbonnaya’s hand she thought, only he could command such melodious beat from the igba. Her heart stopped when she saw him, so did her body. He was exactly where he said he would be waiting for her; he was sitting by under tree a few feet from the dance.
‘‘Kachi’’ she called out softly
He looked up and his face lit up immediately, what he had been waiting for had finally come.
Onyekachukwu, son of Achunaifeuwanike, from the neighbouring village of Umuagu, was a wrestler and warrior, known not only for his strength and agility but mostly for his winning streak; no man alive had ever thrown his back to the ground and he remained the undisputed champion of the five villages, he was the man every man wanted to be and every young girl wanted to call husband. At six feet five inches he stood, with carefully crafted muscles from years of training and physical exertion, like most warriors he kept his beard but his was neat and trimmed saving him the scruffy look of his contemporaries. However what melted the hearts of all the girls including Amoge was him smile, a reflection of his gentleness and kindness, exposing his perfectly arranged set of teeth. A quiet and calm man, it was said that the only time he ever lost his temper was when he was protecting his people from external aggression.
Kachi got up quickly and ran to meet Amoge, but she caught him half way and they hugged tightly as though they hadn’t seen just that morning when she went to fetch water at the stream. He took her hand and led her to the dance pushing her gently into the midst of other maidens getting ready to dance, she was aware of the jealous eyes that followed them and danced her way to meet her twin friends, clapping hands with them they began to dance. Amoge danced more than she had ever done in her life, moving her buttocks, hips, her waist, her shoulders and every part of her body that she could twist and turn, she could hear kachi cheering her and she danced even more. The young men took over; dancing comical steps mostly to amuse their girls, Kachi’s steps resembled that of a fighter, his monkey styles made Amoge giggle and he dragged her tenderly to dance with him, pulling her close to him and they basked in their sweat and funk, and the pairing began.
As they dispersed, pair by pair each one to his desired route, Kachi escorted Amoge to her home and they reminisced on the night, holding hands as they walked through the forest. ‘‘thank you for coming out tonight’’ said Kachi
‘‘you know I would do anything for you. She replied.
If I asked you to marry me would you agree’’ he asked Amoge stopped short, her joy almost made her say yes but she restrained herself, ‘‘come and see my people first’’ she replied.
“In a fortnight I will come’’ he promised.
With a shy kiss they parted ways and Amoge strolled to her compound nonchalantly forgetting she had sneaked out.
‘‘Amoge nno o’’ a familiar voice greeted her with her father’s whip landing on her back exactly where kachi had scratched earlier.