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AFRICAN STORY; How I Was Arranged To Be Betrothed To A Man I Barely Knew

My own version of almost all girls’ story

‘Good day ma’

‘Good day, what can I do for you’

‘I’m a Corp member, newly posted to the dental clinic of this hospital’

Adjusts her glasses, looks up and continues,
‘Oh I see, I’m afraid I can’t accept you, the clinic is quite full with capable hands, you would be sent to another place where you would work hard for us and your presence felt’
‘But ma….’

‘But what?, let me see your letter first’ 
She peruses over the letter and looks at me again

‘How are old are you- never mind, you’re very young- are you married?’

‘No ma’am, I’m not’

‘Are you sure?’
In my head, I was wondering what my status has got to do with the placement, anyways, I maintained my honest answer, ‘ Yes ma, I am not married’

‘Ok oh, if you say so, I know why I am asking, because all of you that study professional courses are usually hot cakes, men don’t let you people rest, most of you graduate as mothers or quickly get married even before NYSC, or am I lying??’

‘Ma??….I stuttered few gibberish before she cut me again
‘Anyway, let me accept you here, but you must promise to be diligent and always be present at work, she said as she stamped and signed my letter

‘Thank You ma, I will be of my best behaviour’ I replied, flashing my monalisa smile 😊

‘Ehe, corper sit down, i want to ask you few questions’ 
‘Ok ma,’ as I pulled one the chairs facing her and sat down

‘Where are you from’

‘I’m from Awgu, in Enugu state’

‘Oh, I know Awgu na, my former roommate is from there, I have been a couple of times , do you know Udeh’s family, their father was a professor before he died, his burial was the last event I attended at Awgu’.

I rolled my eyes in my head…like we have just one Udeh family in the entire local government

‘Ma’am, i dont know them, they may not be from my village’ I replied 
‘Oh that’s true, my dear ‘. ‘So what church do you attend, I presume you’re a Christian’

‘Ma, I’m a Catholic ‘

‘How staunch are you’

‘Well, I attend Sunday masses, few morning masses weekly and belong to sacred heart society ‘

‘Wow, that’s good’ She said and looked me up and down as if she was trying to find sacred heart of Jesus imprinted on my body.

‘The next questions I want to ask you, I need you to be honest with them, there’s no wrong or right answers, just relax, I hope you know this isn’t an interview and that you’ve been accepted already here…So you have nothing to fear, just be honest. And I hope other answers were true??’

‘Yes ma’

‘Should I get you malt?’

‘No ma’am, I’m good ‘

‘ Can you marry someone outside the Catholic church’

Feigning a deep thought, I responded 
‘Yes ma, I can. I accept people based on their values and inter personal relationships and not where they worship God on Sundays, though I would love to marry my church person’

‘Hmmmm, ok. How will you cope with a troublesome mother inlaw ‘

‘It depends on what you mean by troublesome, ma’

‘Troublesome in the sense that she’d be difficult to please and always looks for your trouble, just like Patience Ozokwor in movies’ By the way, would you like your future mother inlaw to be dead, or alive? ‘

‘I would want her to be very much alive ma, it’s sheer evil to wish someone else death even before meeting her. I wouldn’t want that for my mum either’

‘Ok, very well then, if she’s troublesome , how would cope with her ‘

‘I will have to study her, if she’s genetically troublesome, i will do my best to avoid her, but if she’s conditionally troublesome, i could help her become better and avoid things that trigger her trouble. Eveyone has their high and low points’.

Now she was smiling

‘Ok oh, you did well. Fill in your details here, as indicated’ while she handed me a thick cover long note book. 
I filled it in and left to the clinic, which volunteered to take me to herself, but I declined.
Few days after I resumed, a Corp member came to inform that she was looking for me.

When I got to her office, she was so full of smiles and a lot more jovial. We exchanged pleasantries, and she started telling me about her family- this I didn’t ask. She told me of her sons whom she’s so proud of and her last baby, how he seemed to be the best of her sons. 
She literally ran down the guy’s CV for me, and if all she said were true, the guy wasn’t doing bad for a 29 year old.

Then came the moment we have all waited for, after the entire beating about the bush, she cleared her throat and continued;

‘Chi, I would love you to meet with Nonso m’ , please don’t say No, just go with open mind, I haven’t told him anything personal about you except that you’re serving here, just get to meet with him like you children of nowadays do, learn him and he would learn you too, don’t feel pressured, like I told you the other day, there’s no wrong or right answers. 
Be free and follow your mind, but I would love if you find him Ok, I’m sure he would like you, he doesn’t have problem’.

In my head; do people still do hookups these days, This Nonso that cannot find himself a bae, I hope he’s ok..as in normal, because I am not understanding.

Responding to her, ‘hmmmm,ma I’ve heard you but….Nonso could be in a relationship, I dont want to scatter anything for another girl.

‘Chi, no, Nonso is my baby and we’re very close, he’s been single for years now, if there were any girl, i would br very much aware..there’s nothing to fear.

Please, just meet him. I have given him your number already, i hope you don’t mind’

In mind head: if I mind, what would that change right now

‘No problem ma’ 
‘He will call you by close of work, i hope you’re free this evening…’
‘Yes ma, I am 
I left her office and around 3:50pm, an unsaved number called my phone. 
I suspected it would be Nonso, i ignored it and picked the third time, but it was Ayo, my camp wooer, aka Yoruba demon as I called him. We spoke at length until another call came in.

It was Nonso.

His voice was baritone and sounded like a radio presenter at BBC, goddamit I was intimidated. I feigned network issues to end the call. I had to clear my throat and speak in tune. Nawa for me sef. 🙄

He was at the hospital gate and asked if he should come to my clinic to pick me, but I declined. I didn’t want my typical Nigerian colleagues to start judging my sharp sharpability in getting a car driving guy already in barely one week of resuming, in a town I didn’t live nor study in. 
Nonso drove a nice car, he was just there, not bad for a guy, but his voice was waaaaaay cuter than his face. He had features similar to his mom, perhaps the rest were from his dad .

We drove to a closeby hotel and sat at the bar.

We talked over our soft drinks, and I concluded that, that was the last time we would see, in my head though.
He talked as though he had crammed a questionnaire from his house and bombarded me with questions, left, right and centre !

He could have mailed me the questions and I would gladly respond them electronically other than pretentiously sitting there sipping cold drinks like good children. 
It was 5:57pm, time to go home. He paid the barman and drove me back to the hospital while Cynthia Morgan’s German Juice played on. 
I laid on my bed wondering if that was all of him, he wasn’t spontaneous, everything seemed to have a pattern and the fact he stuck to questions that sounded well curated, bored me. When he was done with his questions he kept quiet and i presumed it was my turn to ask him, but i had nothing to ask. He gave himself away already. Our interest varied a lot or was he pretending?? Any which way…it was adios for me!

A week later his mom called to inquire ‘How far’. I told her we’re good, she happily invited me to their house for a ceremony. 
Since I wasn’t free to travel as a corper especially in that hospital, I told her I was going for ‘rural rugged’- you needed to her face, she was so pleased with me.

Excuses kept piling up and perhaps her son informed her of my decision, and she stopped calling me. I avoided her as much as I could until our send off ceremony. She said she really wished I ended up with Nonso

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