To Love Some Body
It was a terrible day, the rain was about to fall. The harmattan was ending, the dryness was too much before the first rains of the year had come. The mangos were ripe and the toddlers were dancing and playing in the rain. Uzoro village, in the delta part of Nigeria ( named by Lord Luggard's wife a few years ago ) in West Africa was all a lush, fertile land, with rivers. I wanted someone to love but, my parents were banished, from Uzoro so I was more like an outcast. They were accused of robbery. I had a cancerous growth in my mammary gland , which they had to meet Nnaronene the highest witch doctor in Isoko land. They were told that, Rebecca would die, they had to bring five hundred cowries (which could buy a farm land in the village. Our hut was in an impoverished part of the village so could not be sold for that purpose.) Instead they stole. They stole for my treatment. They stole so I can live. They stole to keep me alive. They stole so I would not die.
I , Rebecca who was named after "the white man's” wife. (Who were missionaries from Great Britain.) They thought me a lot about the Bible. And when my parents left for the evil forest having no relatives I spent my time working as a maid, for Mrs. Rebbecca Clarke and par time with Oreva's half sister. Mrs. Clarke was barren so took me as her own. We had two prayers that wanted to be answered, that like Rebecca in the Bible I marry into affluence, and or so my parents could be redeemed from being exiled , but unlike any other girl I was not interested in the opposite sex. I had virtue. But the greatest hunter of the south - west wanted to marry me. His name was Onome.
Onome had many friends and even the Princess Ekuesiri was his lady friend. She was in love with him. In fact the Princess had been the talk, around some circles. That she had been sleeping with, Onome, the most eligible bachelor in Uzoro. And Rebecca knew her secrets. (She had done three abortions with the head witch doctor and priestess, who was her dead mother's eldest sister from another father.) Rumors also had it, that when Nnaronne's sister, the head concubine of the king, Ekuesiri's mother Ese, was a mermaid. Because that Ekuesiri was pretty, but Onome wanted to marry, the poor ignoble girl - Rebecca.
"Onome, I am not in want of your company."
"Rebecca. I greeted you mavo ! See I have brought game for you, Bush meat." Onome shows off the antelope he caught.
"Onome, stop pestering me. Both of us are not on the same page.'' Rebecca walks out on him.
Now the children by the river banks where ignoring, " the hunter " and "the hunted"; " the wooer" and "the wooed" except Efe, Ekuesiri's twelve year old junior brother. It was drizzling but the sun, that is the African sun was shining at the same time. Meaning in Africa that an elephant was born that very hour. One could smell the succulent palm nuts on the palm trees, which was used to create delicacies like "Banga" and "Owo" soup.
It is amazing that Onome could ever dream of loving Rebecca after laughing at her parents , the day they were exiled. He always brought game for her, which she never accepted. Call it pride or call it virtue, but that was the way Rebecca wanted it. Unlike Ekuesiri who used to enjoy his company and used to get into the sheets with him. Onome had slept with at least seven of the maidens who had transitioned to woman hood and were born sixteen solar years ago.
Rebecca had always wanted to be queen and have somebody to love; and be loved by some body. The truth is true love and not true lust , can not be searched for but can only be found. Uknown to Rebecca she was destined to be Queen of Jesse, another village in the West of Africa (also in a Deltan region in Nigeria).
"Where are you coming from, you traitor?"
"Ekuesiri, I will never betray you!"
Efe had just told Ekuesiri about the rendezvous between Rebecca and Onome (that evening or rather afternoon). The princess was angry but I told myself that I better explain to her that the real traitor was not her maid but Onome. He was shady, but unknown to Rebecca she was dealing with a cobra.
It is so amazing how women always fight for men , but rarely if not always a man would never fight his friend for a woman. Rebecca had so many of Ekuesiri's secrets. Secrets that can maim or kill. She was a lot to Ekuesiri, Oreva's sister from another mother. But she would keep a secret, the secret of her abortions and her clandestine activities. Her running into the arms of her lovers who were more than one.
"Yes, sir she seduced me. O great 'Ovie' of Uzoro. The king of our land. In fact, I have slept with her. You know she follows the ways of the white man. She is a bomb waiting to explode. She has defiled the land. That is why it has not been raining the way it did last season. The day after her transition to woman hood, I slept with her. This Jesus she preaches, bible she reads and is trying to teach the Princess, is a hoax. Sir as asked, I will not marry her. Rebecca is a liar and I have only eyes for the princess. And king as a son in law I know, I will make you proud. I have no feelings for any one but the crown princess."
"Onome, thank you." The King got up turned three times holding his specter. His royal coral beads shaking like the tide. His anger reigned like a lion. "Now! Rebecca would you want to be imprisoned or banished? You have explained yourself, and I trusted your defense until Onome brought forth his friends. And even as my little son, Efe,who said they had seen you with Onome even yesterday after , Ekuesiri gave her report.
" I was confused, cause the whole village thought you had virtue. But you could not wait to be loved by somebody . A man who will treat you like a Queen. You had to run into the arms of Onome, who has already been chosen by the priestess to marry Ekuesiri, since Oreva went to fight on my behalf with Umutu and got missing. What do you have to say?"
Rebecca prayed, she knew her time was up. "'Ovie' live long. I know my Redeemer liveth." Rebecca cries kneeling down in the mist of the chieves in the palace courts. Which was built by Umutu slaves four hundred years ago before they rebelled.
Oreva the kings first son ( who was missing after the war with Umutu) would have been twenty eight that month, but something was going to change everyones destiny for ever.
"Oreva, when you were captured by the Umutu people of the Kwale tribe, we helped you. Jese village loves you. You married my daughter. As the Obi of Kwale land you became, the king. We told you that if you prayed hard enough the gods of the white man will give you back your memory. So now that you know, that you are Isoko and from Uzoro, the king's son . And now your wife, my daughter is dead with her baby. What is your plan?"
"I want to get a wife from my village see my sister Ekuesiri, brother Efe; see my father and rule in his stead. Also making Jese village and Uzoro come under one ruling, since I will be king in these two villages. My king I have a plan to get a virtuous wife."
"Oreva after saving my daughter from being kidnapped by the men of Abraka village I owe you my life"
It was after their talk in the palace between Oreva and his father in law, that he left for Uzoro by that time Rebecca had gotten ready to be exiled. Oreva disguised himself as a blind, old, beggar. Ketesna, Ufoma and even Ese, who was betrothed to him ignored him, but some one came along, a pretty girl who he had loved but could not marry because of his father, ( that is his biological father, ) kicked, against it.
"Sir, I am hard working and you have no children, I am on my way to Abraka because, I have been exiled. I cooked for my journey through the forest. Take my hand and let me lead you."
Oreva removed his white beard and hair, " Rebecca, I will be the one to take care of you."
Nine months later.
"His name shall be Oreva, Oreva the third after me and my father. And my daughter Rebbi after her mother." The Queen removes her veil and adjusts her coral tiara and wrapper on chest and waists and smiles to collect the babies and hand them over to her mother.
The Queen is Rebecca... Here to be loved by some one and there to reign. Onome and Ekuesiri could not watch, as they were exiled to Umutu after investigations were made.
At the end, destinies change for those who believe. My Redeemer lives... To love some body and to be truly loved is a wonderful feeling. One day, you can find love if you believe.
By Daniella Idogho