The Lonely Woman

By Ikenga Chronicles August 5, 2017

The Lonely Woman

— Paschal Nwosu

Who didn’t know Ada, the damsel of Orlu? At sixteen, She was so beautiful, men paused in their strides to watch her pass by. Her skin, brown, like shimmering silk glowed. Her self assurance, her dark hair woven in rich braids cascading down her shoulder made her seem like a Queen.

And, she was a Queen.

She made men breathless with desire.

Her eye, gentle with its sparks rich in youth and lures of life smiled at the world with promises of ecstasy . In its dark recesses however, mirrored, a lurking fear of time:that enemy of beauty, not yet come to fore.

She was a remarkable woman whose laughter rang rich in all, who desired only one thing, to make her happy.

Eyes followed her and undressed her in her strides .

She loved walking, turning heads and smiling at other ladies, whose futile grips on their men soon waned. Or are brushed aside.

Men sought her company, suitors plagued her home, lovers fought over her to win her total affection. But Ada was for everybody but nobody in particular.

She loved life and cherished the company of men with money and power, mostly elderly and fetching. Sometimes she could not resist the lure of youth. On such rare occasions, Ada would be seen with younger men of her own age, who could do anything to keep her.

Only somehow Ada eluded their futile grasps to tie her up, although she longed to be with them–the young ones who talked strangely of love and dreams crafted in the clouds.

Even, one tried to get her pregnant.

Tried? Raymond had got her pregnant!

She had been so stunned by the test result which fell from her shaky hands like a kite downed by the hunter’s bullets. There was no doubt in her mind that Ray loved her, but she wasn’t sure she was ready to settle down. Not yet.

She was then 27, oval faced, with trim long legs, and firm breasts. Her complexion was alluring and flawless. She’d aborted the baby without telling Ray. The father never knew of the abortion until much later, with greater intensity of pain. But Ada had moved on.

“There’s enough time to get married,” she comforted herself, trying not to remember the unpleasant incident.

The years went by and Ada got by. Slowly her friends and admirers got married. Some came and asked for her hand in marriage but Ada would ask to the hearing of the men within the spacious living room of her parents, “Who is that man?” Then would come a long explanation of the individual values about the suitor.

Among the Igbo, marriages are intricate, cultural, classical and based on complex relationships .Who a woman eventually marries often is determined by these relationships.

A woman is married off sooner than she may expect because of her good character, beauty and family’s social importance. A woman’s education is desired but of little importance in relationship to her character and family’s social status.

Ada never bothered with school and dropped out after her secondary education. She was confident she would find a wealthy man who would take care of all her needs.

Getting married timely was greatly desired by young girls because everyday, the beautiful ones are born. But Ada was least perturbed by such mundane issues. Life was an endless thrill.

Then the men stopped coming by the time she turned 35! Her father got worried she would never marry . Or worse, get pregnant in his home. The old man, a wiry fellow, with great appetite for wine and dine had got on well with Ada, looking the other way.

Ada’s mother Prisca , a devout Catholic had dragged the daughter before many Priests to make her change her lifestyle without success. Slowly she’d given up.

Now 36, Ada looked washed and insecure. Her face had become marked by lines which heralded her history of self abuses.

She was lying in her room, in her father’s house on a wet July night with its chilly rains .The old oil lamp at the corner of the room with its yellow tongued flame seemed suffused by the darkness in which she groped for a meaning to her life.

It was no longer about her misguided values that mattered, she needed a man now to get her out of her father’s house now that her beauty had deserted her.

She was alone.

The question was no longer about who the man is, but where the man is. She turned on her bed, trying to shut out the darkness and the tears. Her weak body quivering .

Outside, the thunderstorms roared in anger as if indifferent to her torment.

Again, she heard the familiar cry of the baby crying out there in the rain. In one of those brushes, its voice too weak to be loud, too anguished to be ignored like a puerile hallucination. She became afraid, all over again and covered her ears to shut out the sound but it only got louder.

Obi!

She’d even given it a name. It bore the name of her greasy teacher who tore at her virginity in the dingy hotel room, to keep her from being thrown out of school in fear of defeat of her parents expectations.

She’d learnt the important lesson of her life then.That the lush spread between her legs throbbing with strange pain and pleasure could get her what she wanted from men of means and influences.

Obi only stopped crying when she started sobbing, her body quivering under the sheets in great distress.Even the thunderstorms stilled and stopped clapping to listen to her heart torn in shreds. A lonely woman, in her father’s house.

 

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