Ogechi was on her way heading back and thought of how her mother in-law would react if she returns home empty handed.
“And my husband will scold me for it, he will think that I’m getting back at Mama for how she treated me this morning, because it’s not possible for the things she asked me to buy to be found omitted from the market. Oh Lord, what am I going to do now? How do I resist this urge?” She thought, finding herself on a cross road, deprived of the next action to take.
Okwuchi who couldn’t wait to hear the news of what happened kept on calling Nkechi to know if she had heard something.
“No, I have not, I’m still keeping my ears to the ground”
“What if she evades our plan this time? You know that this is the only opportunity I have left” Okwuchi feared
“You don’t have to be scared, she won’t escape our plan this time.”
“I just hope so. Do you know anybody that went to the market today?” Okwuchi asked
“Yes, but why do you ask?”
“Can you call the person to inquire if something is happening with Ogechi over there? Just stylishly ask the person to find out what is happening. You know, if Ogechi had been caught, it will spread round the village square like wild fire”
“Yes, let me see who I can call” Nkechi said and then called one of her friends who took some merchandise to the market.
“Hello my friend, where are you?”
“I am in the market?”
“OK dear, I wanted to come to your house to discuss an important issue, but since you are not at home, we will will have the discussion later”
“Ok, but I hope all is well?” She asked
“Yes my dear, it’s not something serious. But tell me, how is market? What is going on over there?”
“Nothing much. As usual, everybody has emerged to have their goods sold. And you, you did not come?”
“Didn’t have much for sales. OK, let’s talk later. Bye” Nkechi bid, disconnecting the call: “Does it mean Ogechi did not go to the market again? It’s been over an hour Okwuchi told me she left” Nkechi thought, dialing Okwuchi’s number and informed her what her friend said
“Are you serious? Up till now, nothing has been heard?”
“So I was informed” Nkechi responded
“That girl is a witch. Are you sure she hasn’t figured out our plan?” Okwuchi said
“Just don’t know what to say at this point. Having our hopes alive is the only alternative we have left.”
“Nkechi, if nothing is done today, then know that I have lost my son for good. None of my tricks will bring him back to this village again since he is already suspecting that I’m pretending to be sick”
“Just have faith, she won’t take your only child away from you. I am solidly behind you” Nkechi assured
Ogechi was feeling released from the urge, she then thought it wise to rush to the market.
“I think I’m no longer feeling the urge again. This was exactly how it happened last night and I was able to return Mama’s money. Yes, it’s happening again” she said, and then began running towards the market.
But little did she know that the urge will return at the exact time she will be buying the items.
At the table of the stockfish woman, she managed to steal one big head of the fish without the woman’s knowledge.
While picking it, she knew that what she was doing was very bad, but she couldn’t help it.
After paying for the ones she bought, she left the woman’s table with her heart beating fast, fearing to be caught.
“Oh Lord, I’m in your hands, please protect me. I don’t know what I’m doing, I only saw myself doing it. Help me get away from this place. If I had known that it will be like this, I wouldn’t have come to this place, I thought that the stealing urge has left me like it did yesterday night.” While she was still praying, her eyes caught the smoked fish that was on another woman’s table: “And dried fish, I still have to buy it, it’s in the list” she said, but the urge was becoming uncontrollable
“No Ogechi, not again. Just leave this place ones, remember you still have the other woman’s stockfish in your bag, better leave before she notice that one of her goods is missing” she said to herself, trying to control the urge, but she found herself moving towards the woman’s table.
When she reached there, she began pricing. After selecting the ones to buy, she brought out the money to make payment and requested for balance.
Immediately the woman went inside to get her balance, she stylishly pick about six pieces and pushed them down her bag, carefully observing around to know if somebody saw her.
After the woman got her balance, she then
wrapped the ones she bought and handed it to her.
And she hurriedly left. But the way she left got the woman wondering why she left in such a hurry.
“I don’t know, but the way she left is telling me that she did something while on my table” the woman said, checking her stocks, to know if any was missing.
Ogechi who was heaving a sigh of relief that she had bought the things she was asked to buy thought it wise to run out of the village market before the women realised that she had stolen their goods.
She was still on her way running home when the smoked fish woman discovered that her fish were missing.
“Where is that girl? Thief oo, she has stolen my fishes” the woman shouted
At this moment, the stockfish woman had discovered that one of her fishes was missing. On trying to search for it, she overheard the smoke fish woman shouting that somebody had stolen her fish.
“Wait a minute! I saw that girl stopped in front of that woman’s shop, are you sure she did not steal my fish as well? Let me search for it well to be sure” she said, carefully searching for it.
“I don’t think that fish is here, I did not take it inside, it was here on this table. So that girl stole it” she said, heading towards the stockfish woman’s direction.
“My sister, I think we are on the same boat, I can’t find one of my stockfish. I am sure she knew something about it.”
“Ow, she stole from you as well, because I saw her buying something from your shop? God has exposed her today. I know that girl, she is Okwuchi’s daughter in-law.”
As they were shouting over their stolen goods, people began gathering to know what was happening.
After narrating what happened, they awed in shock.
“That girl is shameless. How could she have done a thing like that? I know her family very well, and her husband is well to do. That family is so unfortunate to have a daughter in-law like her. No wonder she didn’t greet me well when I saw her on the road, she was in a haste, avoiding to be caught.” One of the women said
“You mean you saw her leaving the market?” The stockfish woman asked
“Yes, I just saw her. She hasn’t gone far yet, you can still catch up with her and grab back your fish from her” the woman who saw her suggested.
“And not only grabbing back the fish from her, she will be made to face the consequences of her actions according to the laws of our land.” One of the women said as they ran out to nab Ogechi.
As they were leaving, some of their friends who had somebody to look after their shop for them followed them as well, to make sure that their fishes returned to them.
While the pandemonium was ensuing, the woman whom Nkechi called earlier to inquire about anything happening in the market called her back to gist the latest development.
“What? Are you sure it was the Ogechi that I know?” She asked pretending to be shocked
“I’m very sure, the news has gone round the market, and the people that saw her confirmed she was Okwuchi’s daughter in-law. That girl is a disgrace. I pity her husband, he can’t bear the shame.
Very soon, they will catch her and disgrace her. This is terrible.”
“This is not good my friend, this is not just good. Let me call Okwuchi and inform her. Oh poor woman, I wonder how she will take this news. Let me go to her house and inform her in person” Nkechi said,
“OK do. I will also inform you on the latest development”
“OK, thank you so much” Nkechi said as they ended the call.
She burst into laughter, rejoicing over the news she just heard.
“This is so interesting. Let me call Okwuchi and tell her what is happening”
“You see, I told you not to worry yourself, that our plan will work”
“It worked?” Okwuchi asked, expecting a positive answer
“Yes, she has been exposed. Our plan worked. They are on their way to catch her and give her the humiliation she will never forget in a hurry”
“Oh my! I can’t believe this. So it’s finally happening?”
“Yes o, our effort has finally paid off. So just go to your son now and tell him how Ogechi has disgraced his name in the market, so that he will start making plans of sending her back to her parent’s house. Ndubuisi can’t bear the shame of watching his wife getting naked in front of the entire village. Eww, no man would stand such embarrassment”
“Nkechi my friend, I will personally come and thank you for this. You are indeed a great friend. I will go and do as you said”
So after informing Ndubuisi what was happening, he developed mixed feelings about it.
But his inner mind was telling him that Ogechi needed his help.
“Mama, I don’t know but I’m having this feeling that Ogechi needs my help”
“What type of help? I’m telling you that that girl is a disgrace to womanhood and also a mistake to be married into this family. I want you to send her back to father’s house, she can’t continue staying here as your wife. I can’t allow her ruin my family’s reputation”
“Mama, I think I’m beginning to see light in what Ogechi has been trying to tell me. I think somebody is after her life in this village. Somebody somewhere is not happy she got married to me. I think somebody is trying to mess her life up but I won’t allow that to happen. She is my wife and it’s my duty to protect her” Ndubuisi said, rushing out towards the market direction.
“What? What did I just heard?” Okwuchi stood dumbfounded, couldn’t fathom what she just heard, as she watched Ndubuisi leaving the house in a hurry.
Mama Why? By Ngozi Lovelyn O.
Warning: No part of this work should be copied, use, reproduce, redistribute either electronically or manually without permission from the author.
Contact Ngozi Lovelyn O @ Xperiawithngozilove@gmail.com