Akudo walked out of the house and into the compound. He wasn’t ugly, no, she had far exceeded that title. Despite all her mother’s effort on encouraging her to wear something presentable, she preferred to appear in her pyjamas. The visitors were disappointed. Her father pretended not to notice while speaking in his husky voice that couldn’t hide his greed for money that wasn’t his.
She noticed he was eating a kolanut while using fresh palmwine to wash the bitter taste. The plate before him showed the fate of previous ones he had eaten. He took one look at her and proceeded,
“Akudo, the morning sun, how are you today my daughter? These people are here to see you, the young man says he wants to marry you, do you know him?” he concluded amidst jeering laughter.
Then, the silence came, engulfing the atmosphere like bad news that took days to recover from.
She looked at each one of the men seated, beginning from her father who had suddenly stopped laughing, to a titled chief and finally her gaze rested on the young man, one she would better refer to as a young pig. She was trying to recognize him. After all, her father had asked, ‘Do you know him?’
Then it came, it sounded like something one heard in a dream, that subconscious period where you weren’t sure if you were awake or asleep.
They exchanged surprised glances. Her father was embarrassed; he had expected her to play along, why was she misbehaving? It was true that she didn’t know the man, neither did she love him but, any woman would fall in love with a man who had money in the long run. Wasn’t it so? Why did she ruin the plans of elevating the family’s financial situation?
The visitors felt insulted. After providing everything needed for the introduction, even at Okochi’s high taste, here was a girl whose father’s entire property could not afford one of their cars insulting them. Simply because they wanted to follow tradition. If it weren’t for tradition, it was her family that was supposed to ask their son’s hand in marriage considering the amount they had spent.
Akudo looked at them, noticing their mixed reactions but she wasn’t done yet. She moved to where her father was seated, took his glass of palmwine and emptied it within seconds. “I’m sorry Dad, but I was thirsty. By the way, this palmwine tastes fresh. Who tapped it?” Then after some seconds: “Thank you everyone,” she said bowing slightly in greeting before walking in the direction of the entrance to the house.
She left everyone astounded, including her mother who had come out of the kitchen to peep, wondering why everyone suddenly went quiet.
Then she stopped at the entrance and turned to her father, “One more thing dad, I will not marry that man!”