Adanma said a quick prayer for journey mercies as the luxurious bus pulled out of the park. She smiled to herself, she could already smell the clean village air, and taste her mother’s cooking.
Finally, she was on her way to her village in Ohafia in Abia state. She was from Amaekpu, the first of the twenty-six villages in Ohafia community. It had been three years since she had been to the village and she couldn’t wait to see her family.
She was lucky to had been granted two weeks leave during this season, in the three years in which she had worked there she hadn’t taken a day more than her allotted leave days which were few and far between. She had only been granted this leave because she had asked in time, followed up on it, and she had a history of good conduct behind her.
Ada smiled to herself, this christmas would be wonderful, two weeks with family and friends, no work or the hassles of Lagos traffic. Just visiting, partying and husband hunting. She laughed, noticing her next seat neighbour in the bus giving her curious side glances, she smiled. He wouldn’t understand. At twenty-nine years she was hardly a spring chicken and needed to get married soon. She was going to shine her eyes very well to pick the very best.
She looked up to concentrate on the movie showing on the TV screen attached in a corner of the bus as she said a mental prayer for safe speedy journey.
Charles Ukwa admired and smiled to himself in the car as he drove. Looking at him, no one would guess the hardship he had endured in an American prison for the past seven years. It had been a long drive from Lagos and he was happy to be home. He drove past Abriba junction and sighed in relief. He was home already. To the Igbo man, home is your hometown(village), and not wherever you live to hustle.
It had been eight years since he had been to Ohafia, and the change was startling. Thank goodness he was part of a three car convoy or he might have found it difficult to locate his father’s compound.
Charles was driving Tochukwu’s second car. Tochukwu, his first cousin was a business man, dealing in imports and exports. What he imported or exported; no one knows. The most important thing was; he had money.
Tochukwu who was driving the first car in the convoy pulled into their family compound, followed by Chika; another cousin, with Charles bringing up the rear in the convoy.
The whole compound was immediately agog with celebration. All the women and children ran out to welcome them.
As Ifeanyi Kalu stepped down from bus, he heaved a sigh of relief. Home sweet home. The driver unpacked his bags, he waved farewell to the continuing passengers and walked down the bush path to his father’s house into the welcoming arms of his family.
He had just gotten a job as a teller in a bank and was lucky to be granted leave over the Christmas holiday. He wisely decided to come see his widowed mother and his siblings.
On Christmas day, Adanma went to church with her family, dressed to the nines in her blue skirt suit and matching shoe and bag she looked regal. The church was overflowing, an usher directed them on where to sit and she was squeezed into an already filled pew. She was about to get up to look for an alternative when she noticed the smartly dressed handsome young man seated beside her. She immediately sat back to enjoy the service, confident she was placed there for a purpose. After the service, the Reverend bade them a Merry Christmas and encouraged them to wish each other a Merry Christmas.
“Merry Christmas.” She said to him.
“Merry Christmas.” Ifeanyi replied stretching out his hand for a handshake.
She took the offered hand and shook it limply.
“I’m Ifeanyi.” He said.
“Adanma, beautiful name for a princess.”
She blushed under her dark skin. “Thank you.”
“Are you from this village?” He asked as they walked out of the church, ignoring others.
“Me too. From which compound?” He asked.
She told him, they got chatting. By the time he walked her to her house, they had exchanged contacts and told themselves a little about each other.
Later in the evening, Adanma left home to visit her cousin Okechi.
Beautifully dressed in a new blue jeans and purple top, she stood beside the road waiting for a bike to convey her, for her cousin was married in the next village Elu, a red Toyota corolla 2012 model pulled up in front of her.
The driver and only occupant of the car wound down.
“Hello beautiful, how are you?” He asked.
“I’m fine.” She replied, with a smile. He had an American accent.
“Where are you going? Let me drop you off.” His hands gestured to her to enter.
“I’m going to Elu.” She replied.
“That’s ok, I’m on my way to Ebem, I’ll drop you off.” He mentioned another village, after her destination.
“No, thank you.” She replied, bringing the tail of her braids to the front. A person needs to be careful, she didn’t know him, except that he was good looking and drove a nice car.
“Come on, hop in. I can’t harm you. I’m Charles, from Ndi Ukwa compound. Are you Ohafia?”
“Good. Come in. A gorgeous lady like you shouldn’t be standing in the sun.”
Adanma looked around, crossed her fingers and entered the car. She smiled inwardly. Christmas is good!
Hello, I hope we all are enjoying the holidays? This story Christmas Frenzy will run on thursdays because both Christmas and the new year fall on wednesday’s. Read, enjoy, and share.
Hope you enjoy the season.