It was midnight,the crickets were chipping,the bats were playing hide and seek with their prey,the goats in our yard who always made their unpleasant noise were deep in sleep .My parents who retired early to their cubicle they called a room because of their marital ‘rites’ were also snoring loudly,I had known what they were doing any time they went to bed early some months back,mama and papa left the door slightly open on that day and am guessing it was to much excitement,mama was making noises as if she wanted to catch a bird in the air but couldn’t,any ways,I kept the information privy to myself…..my father’s snort was the loudest,mama always teased him that he snorted like a deranged cow and it always seemed to get him annoyed even when she would reply him by saying that she was only teasing him,the way they played and showed their love always seemed to amaze me because they were a bit gone in age,but their show of affection towards each other was still very fresh and real,I always told myself that I would want to become like them someday,even better…but my own man would not be a fisherman like papa,my man would be macho,very tall and handsome who would be living in the town with many ‘big big’ cars and houses in the white man’s country,those were just my childish thoughts,youthful exuberance I would say.
I had planned my move over and over again in my tiny little head as mama Zikere who plaits my hair every sunday in preparation for school on monday always called,she was not a fine woman per se,but she had a wonderful heart,her husband died of diabetes,it was a blow too much for her to take,I used to think she was not sane as she would sit beside the door to her house and talk to herself non-stop,sometimes for hours,there are times she would become so depressed,she would wail and then my mother would run to her and ask her why she was tormenting herself so bad,and she would ask if she also wanted to die and leave her daughter Zikere all alone in this evil world,zikere was my best friend and we always played together,we laughed,fought and gossip ed together,we were like sisters as we happened to be the only children of either of our parents,I felt bad I did not tell her about my plans because I was afraid that she would dissuade me from going on with it,I wanted a good life,despite the fact that my parents tried their best to provide all for me,it wasn’t easy because papa toiled day and night in the Great Odi River trying to catch fish so mama would set them for sale in her small stall she had in the market,she would roast some for me to eat and tell me to stay at home and play that I did not need to work because I was their jewel,it was while I was growing up that I got to know that my parents were childless for 12years before having me,they went everywhere but were told the same thing ‘the both of you r fine,don’t worry yourselves,the babies would come very soon’,fortunately,mama’s in-laws were far dead so she had no one to make life unbearable for her because of their childlessness. If they ever got to know what I had planned,it would have pained them deeply because they felt they did everything possible to make life comfortable to an extent for me,but due to the insatiable nature of man as Mr fine man who was my history teacher would say,I wanted more,I wanted to see the world,I had a certain longing for adventure and I made up my mind to go all the way and nothing,absolutely nothing was going to stop me.
Since papa came back to the house slightly drunk,I used the opportunity of telling him to leave the door open that I would lock it after I finished with the goats,I had finished feeding them a while back but this was just a ploy to make him leave the key so I would carry on with my plan,my little strategy worked out because papa left the key and went inside to meet mama,I later got to know that it was their anniversary because I was suprised he was tipsy as he never drank,maybe papa Ebiwari who was his best friend took him to the local beer parlour near Kolokuma junction. As I opened the door,I got nervous,mainly because I did not really think deep of the step I wanted to take,I summoned courage but that squeaky sound the door makes seemed louder this time because it was deafening to my ears in this instance or so I thought,I immediately froze with the hope that the sound would not wake up my parents,it did not as I heard them snore again,I always wondered how they managed to sleep with each other snoring so loud side by side,my heart sank once more how they would feel when they woke up in the morning looking for me when I was gone,I felt bad but determined to go.I had already taken my little ‘ghana must go bag’ to a nearby bush near the express earlier in the day so I would not be noticed in the case of any ugly uprising,this was done with utmost secrecy as I was discreet about it with the plan to say I was sent to drop the bag somewhere by my mother if anyone asks me on the way so that they would not be suspicious of me. Immediately I stepped out of the house,I ran as far as my legs could carry me,anyone who saw me would have been convinced that I was been pursued by ‘nomukimi’ the mad woman or some other evil spirit,but no I was running away from poverty,from my childhood memories,from my heritage,from my identity,I was not a coward,inshort I was far from it,I had no inclining as to what I was going to meet on the outside world,I just wanted to live odi and not to be referred to as a village girl by townspeople that visited during christmas,I ran to were my bag was and when I got there,I sat down waiting for the person I would follow to the city,I knew I wouldn’t stand for long because I was fair skinned,tall and very pretty,a pick-up loaded with plaintain pulled over and I entered,I was glad for that moment that I was beautiful..no wonder my parents gave me the name EBIERE,which means the beautiful woman!.