We’re running out of time (A short story)

We’re running out of time (A short story)

My father paid good money on my mother’s head so why should mine be different? My mother found a husband who she could boast of any and everywhere she went, so why shouldn’t I have a man who I can boast of? My mother said.

That was how my so-called “good” friend told me to settle for one Nwoke Otu Ukwu. (One legged man).

Tufia kwa. (God forbid)

For what reason would I do such? Do I want one-legged children? Yes, I was getting to 30, so it didn’t matter to my parents that I had finished obtaining my Ph.D and was living comfortably in my own house, with a high-earning job. My independence was but a grain of sand in their shoes, totally worthless. They forget that many of my mates were housewives who couldn’t raise a penny without their husbands’ knowledge.

Chukwu aju (God forbid), that that would be my case.

I did try to be less intimidating (after my mother rang it severally and – aggressively too – that men found my show of extravagance a bit too intimidating.) I did not understand why a man would find me intimidating, why can’t he just go and make his own money and leave me to spend mine in peace?) Hian.

I stopped riding out and took to my sleek Toyota Avalon with the tinted windows; you know, so that when I roll down the windows there’s this feel of suspense on the part of the person outside like, “Who dey inside this car gan?” and I’m wearing my fresh shades (that I hurriedly put on just a second before) with my perfectly drawn brows and makeup so the person is like blown away like, “Who is this mami water from…”

Wait what? I diverted. Come back, come back.

Sometimes, when my mom managed to make me feel guilty about having no grandchildren from her only daughter, I would ditch my cars and take public transportation.

After all the unnecessary sacrifices comprising of my mental state of mind as well as my heavenly car air conditioners to cool me down in all the heat of Lagos, all I ended up with was a goat of a man who had scattered dentition, making it seem like there was a verandah inside his mouth; just too much space biko.

How exactly would I live with myself, having someone like that smile at me for the rest of my life? 

I even met another sorry excuse for a man, what was his unfortunate name again? Shina abi? Someone that had the mind to tell me that his name was Shina as in “Sina,” pronounced without the “h” and that I should stop spoiling his name given to him by his mother and that it would soon be my last name. Abi eleyi ti ya werey? (Is this one mad?)
What is my own with your name? I got up from the table we were seated at (this was quite painful because I was not even halfway through my delicious meal of jollof rice and chicken) and glared angrily at him for a whole five seconds before I walked out fuming.

(You might think that I was overreacting but that was like the hundredth time he was telling me. Besides, the extra part about me bearing his ugly name set me off and even the jollof rice was not worth it.)

It was at that point I realised it was over for me. Maybe I was meant to be single all my life and I didn’t really mind. I got sex and attention when I wanted it, abi what else did people get married for? To have children? No, thank you. Just look at how I turned out.

My mother must wish my father’s pullout game was stronger, afterall I was the last of seven children; unplanned and sort of a mistake even though my mother did not like to say so to me.

Sometimes (that’s an understatement – a lot of times), what people said did get to me. I was busy a lot of times with my job but there were times that I just wound up absolutely lonely and I did wonder if chasing away all the men that had the courage to even walk up to me was a good idea.

I also wondered if I thought I needed a man because of what the society said or if it was what I should really discomfort myself over. My immediate elder brother was well over ten years older than me and he was still a bachelor. I don’t remember my mother ever pestering him the way she did to me.

I also wondered about a lot of things in the days to come. And all my mother did was call me every morning pretending to check up on me but I knew the real deal. After she ended the call, I only knew one thing:

‘I was running out of time.”


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June 2021