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[Phone Ringing] “Hello Ngozi, how are you…. What! Dead! Mazi is dead!” Lekan hurriedly reached for his wardrobe, got dressed in a black shirt and black short as he set out for Ngozi’s house. He could hardly contain his thought, “Mazi is dead, I still have the yam tubers he gave me when he returned from the farm yesterday.  What a life…”

Stepping into the Okafors living room, his heart sank sighting Mama Ngozi pitiable look. He sighted Ngozi at the far left corner of the room, her eyes that shone bright about the same time yesterday had turn red and swollen. He got uncomfortable when he noticed a stern look from a chocolate skinned middle aged man. His looks matched Ngozi description of his father’s younger brother. “This must be Mr. Obiora”, he thought.

He walked to Mrs Okafor’s, knelt by her side and said in a low voice, “Take heart Ma, May his soul find rest with God”. He proceeded in Ngozi’s direction, held her to his chest and was generous with comforting words, “tears will not bring papa back, doing him proud by upholding all that he stands for will make him a proud father wherever he his”. He recalled the last words of Mazi to him on his last visit, “Take good care of Ngozi, don’t let her suffer”. He pondered what Mazi meant by, “don’t let her suffer”.

Lekan’s service year had largely been defined by Ngozi and her family. Her transformation from a gloomy and sad faced student to a happy and lively student made this possible. The turning point was initiated during a biology class where he asked her to sketch the female reproductive diagram on the board, her caricature attempt turned the classroom into a comedy show of sort.

She turned out to have a very friendly and respectful persona. The Corpers lodge soon became her second home while her home became Lekans favorite abode. Their friendship ended Lekan’s poor feeding habit. Ngozi’s mother treated him to different sumptuous Igbo delicacies. Nkwobi soon became his favorite delicacy.

Exactly one week after Mazi’s burial, on returning from his place of primary assignment to the Corpers lodge, Lekan found the painting of a pregnant school girl hanging in the living room. He found it amusing and intriguing at the same time. There was no need to guess who made the drawing, he confirmed from Chuks what inspired the drawing, “nothing” was his response. He could read the expression of unspoken conspiracy in the eyes and lips of Chuks. He later found out the truth from Tina, the talkative in the lodge. Her revelation came to him as starling yet amusing. “Ngozi, is preg what?” “Pregnant?” she scoffed, saying, “you want to flinch ignorance?” Bemused, Lekan affirmed, “Ngozi can only be pregnant if pregnancy now jumps at females”.

Later that evening, Lekan visited Ngozi and her Mother. Shortly after his arrival, there was a knock at the door. Mrs. Okafor left to open the door. Lekan could place the voice of the visitor as Mr. Obiora. They spoke in Igbo language, the only igbo words he had learnt during his 7 months stay in Imo state were “Ego–Money” and “Ihunanyam- My love”. The tone of their conversation grew from hush tone to fierce and threatening. He became alarmed when Mr. Obiora shoved Mrs Okafor out of his way saying in English, “This is the bastard that impregnated Ngozi”.

Lekan looked around for an escape route, there was none except the entrance where Mr. Obiora stood brandishing a shiny cutlass. Mr. Obiora ran forward in his direction and swung the cutlass in a cyclic motion.

“What am I doing here?” Lekan queried, looking around to what seemed like a hospital ward. “Uncle Obiora cut you in the shoulder” replied Ngozi. “Mum, I and others in the neighborhood rushed you here for treatment”. Lekan probed, “You are pregnant Ngozi?” She nodded in affirmation. “Who, where, how and when?”. “It’s Chinedu, Chidera’s elder brother”, Lekan interjected, “you slept with your best friends elder brother, where is Chinedu?” he saw agony in her eyes as she pulled herself together. “He has fled to Lagos” she replied.

Ngozi put to bed on August 15, 2015, Lekan got a call from her mother, “Lekan, your Ngozi just went into labour this morning, your attention is needed at the hospital, she needs you around”. He hurried to the hospital and was just on time to witness the joy that follows a successful delivery. His joy was mixed with disbelief, before him was a baby boy whose eyes, nose and nails were a replica of his. Smiling, Ngozi muttered, “He looks like you”.

Against his parents wish Lekan tied the knot with Ngozi. They have been happily married for a year now. He accepted his FATE in good faith.

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