Raluchukwu

No_title(144)[1]When you made your first million, the world rejoiced with you. You were in you mid-twenties and that was a huge achievement. Your mother was ecstatic,  now she could tie all the expensive wrappers to the next August meeting and climb the social ladder. You were not bothered, the woman had done so much for you and no amount of wrappers could equate that. Your only regret was that your father wasn’t here to celebrate this day with you. There were tales of his suffering from a mysterious sickness that defied medical attention. Your mother always seemed upset when you asked about him, what kind of things he liked to do, that eventually you stopped asking. Time and again, you would visit his grave at the back of the compound and talk about all you’d accomplished over a short time.

The best part however of being this rich was that you had so many people at your disposal, even elderly men. Everyone liked to associate with a rich man, and many others were willing players as your bus boys so long as you gave them a token, any token. Last time at the meeting with the umunna, a good percentage of the them always wanted to know what your opinion on every issue was, and then agreed with whatever you said. They would say, “I agree with Raluchukwu. The young man is wise” and nod their heads like the colourful Agama Lizard that lived inside the old Air Conditioner. Money did make a big difference.

Your friends were not left out. They took you from one bar to another to check out the babes. It was like an informal arrangement: you buy the drinks, they bring the girls. But you had always been a shy man and the girls didn’t hold much appeal.

“Guy you dey dull o.” Emeka roared over his sixth bottle of Star. Among his friends he was known as Nigerian Breweries for the alarming speed at which he downed his beer.

“What have I done now?”

“What haven’t you done?” Uche joined in. “All these chikalas and you won’t even bang one”.

Your laughter rang out across the bar. “I am looking forward to getting married, not bang.”

“Hah why marriage? You are rich, man. Stay this way and even if you turn seventy with grey hair sticking out of your bum, with your face as ugly as an Orangutan, girls will still be spilling out of your ears.”

“I just want to settle down with one sweet woman and have children.” You said taking a swig from your bottle “Besides my mother is getting older by the day and can’t wait to hold her grandchildren.”

That night you lay in bed and wondered about your future. You thought about marriage and kids, and if you were even ready to handle all of it. You would move to upstate with your new family and leave the village for Christmas visits. Tomorrow you would call Joe, the guy who helped you secure the deal that brought about all these wealth, and ask him to recommend a good area in Lagos that was family friendly. This marriage was going to work and not end up in shambles like Mr Emenike’s. And to think the man even asked you to tell him when you began to make plans. What would a person who could not keep his family together know about marriage? The man had failed to get you alone for months since you perfected your maneuvering skill. Your uncles always told you that people who sought your downfall would be lurking around, you would be careful. Surrounding yourself with wise men looked like the best option all round, and that was what you were doing.

Few weeks after, you broke the news to your mother. There was a woman, beautiful as they come, and you were going to make her your wife. You did not tell Mr Emenike about this, but you invited him for the wedding. It was a big ceremony. Everyone who was in attendance would speak about it for months. When you received your gift from Mr Emenike, he looked you in the eyes and you caught a faint glint in his. It felt like he knew something you didn’t. He squeezed your hand and muttered to your ear.

You would move to the city within the month. Your new bride was as happy as a Lark.

“What is Lagos like, will I love it?” She whispered all night, spinning stories of all she would do in a land she had only dreamed of.

You didn’t leave for Lagos that month nor the month after. That night you had come down with a fever that wouldn’t break. The doctors did all they could to make you better to no avail. Days turned to weeks, and weeks to months and years, still your condition only got worse. Your mother called on every neighbor who bothered to listen to her tales of woe, of how the devil tried to rob her of her only source of joy. Your wife cried and prayed all day, hopping from one prayer house to the other hoping for a miracle. Even Mr Emenike offered to bring you to Lagos in search of medical help.

Finally a native doctor proclaimed your ailment was a direct result of poisoning and had it been earlier detected, it may have been possible to cure. Pandemonium broke. Accusations flew like daggers aiming for the kill. They said your in-laws were into witchcraft and your wife was responsible, hoping to kill you and take your wealth. Others said your uncles were jealous you had succeeded even after they had tried to kill your father. Of course he was not really dead, no one knew what had happened to him. One day he left the house unsupervised in his state of lunacy and never came back. Some even said your mother had used her husband, and now the child for sacrifice to prolong her life.

You watched as gradually life seeped out of you, wishing you had paid a little less attention to the uncles and perhaps more to Mr Emenike. Currently he seemed like the only person who had been genuinely concerned about you.
That night when sleep came like an errant lover, you dreamt about your wedding day, the flowers, people, gifts  and his words came back to you, Be careful, people aren’t always as they seem.

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22 thoughts on “Raluchukwu

  1. livelytwist July 25, 2014 / 7:16 pm

    Lovely writing. Sad unexplained tragedy. We search for answers because we think they’ll bring closure, but do they? Do they not instead provoke more questions?

    Like

    • uju July 28, 2014 / 6:01 am

      You know it isn’t always about closure all the time. Sure it’s part reason, but perhaps we also want to be open to angles and possibilities we never really thought of before. Isn’t that part of the journey to finding answers and closure by extension?

      Like

  2. ifemmanuel July 24, 2014 / 3:25 am

    I think there’s more to Raluchukwu’s story that remains unearthed, more that can benefit from a longer story.

    I believe that a lot of life is controlled spiritually, but that does not make me live in a constant state of paranoia. I try to live my life to the fullest, doing the things that I hope please my savior and do not pay attention to death (this sounds like an irony, considering the number of tragic stories I write).

    You handled the 2nd person POV quite nicely. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju July 24, 2014 / 5:32 am

      I agree with you though, there is more to his story. This constant paranoia could lead one to seek protection from a hundred sources.

      Thank you Ifemmanuel 🙂

      Like

  3. pkboo July 22, 2014 / 5:52 pm

    bite kwa when im not suarez 🙂
    Good we agree… nice debate…

    keep it up

    Like

    • uju July 23, 2014 / 6:21 am

      It’s been a delight sparing with you.
      Thanks! 🙂

      Like

  4. pkboo July 21, 2014 / 10:05 pm

    Well I dont get the point of this … let me call it a parable as it leaves me waiting for more…sad

    Young successful men nearly cut down in his prime n he suspects everyone

    Why live a life drenched in paranoia?
    Why think certain acts are a result of one person or the other?
    Why live your life for another..it was not his wish to be married..

    I will write more.. i feel there is a short story in this though

    Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 10:55 pm

      I love where you are taking this 🙂
      Society expects him to be married at a certain age.
      Cultural superstitions(?) says there are people responsible for our downfall. Perhaps they are envious of our success, or just wicked–crab in the bucket mentality. I’ve seen that happen in so many places. Hell even Brazil displayed the same in the WC finals.
      Then there is our spirituality; one that says there are forces beyond the physical. Powers of good and evil that can be wielded by men.

      Raluchukwu is the average successful Nigerian. This is his story.
      Perhaps you’re sad because you were hoping for a happy ending? He died. His wife left the house. His mother was broken. Nothing was the same after that; suspicion flew around.

      People don’t always wish us well irrespective of the wide smile plastered on hungry faces. Man is capable of love as well as extreme hatred, and like the former it can be totally unprovoked.
      This is the reality of our world.

      Like

      • pkboo July 21, 2014 / 11:25 pm

        Well… sad because i did not get that idea of closure which you have somewhat alluded to..
        Are you a King afficionado 😦

        Anyway yes he married based on societal expectations and not his own idea. maybe he should have waited some more… who knows

        On cultural superstitions, i will quote a line from HBO’s hit series.Game of Thrones- . Valar Morghulis All Men Die and add from another series.. Its the manner and timing that differs

        Does it make for us to live in fear when the eventuality is the same no matter what we do

        Just heard today a well renowned Minister departed, a few weeks ago it was our affable Dora..

        Guess what I am saying is what will we be remembered for when we leave?.. Will the wife be grateful that she met Ralu and maybe had a child for him?

        Will Mama Ralu while experiencing poignant memories, remember Ralu was a child worth moving heaven and earth for?

        Will his friends remember he was dependable and loyal

        Yes it is the worlds reality but one should refuse to live in fear.

        Like

      • uju July 22, 2014 / 6:15 am

        “All men must die”, it doesn’t say when all men will die, Pkboo. Sure every man should live each day like it’s going to be their last, but that doesn’t mean people should not be cautious. Caution isn’t the same as fear, though may appear similar(even bordering on paranoia), but i think life is too good to throw caution to the wind all because we are assured of the inevitability of death. Dead men don’t get to see their labour materialize into a rich harvest; they don’t see their children grow up; their mothers live to a ripe old age before dying.
        Natural disasters may happen at anytime, accidents may occur, but people? People are not so easy to predict and someone who is a master of his own face and emotions is the probably the greatest liar you’d ever meet(another GOT thing ;))–doesn’t hurt be cunning as a serpent dear..

        Like

        • pkboo July 22, 2014 / 6:52 am

          Haha.. you focused on the all men die statement 🙂

          I agree with you that we should live our life with caution as it would be sad not to see certain things in your life.

          I also accept paranormal forces exist but are they within our sphere of influence..not really though we offer supplication to them God if Christian Allah if Muslim and etc etc to protect us from the effects of the great beyond and give us an assurance that the afterlife will be better.

          On serpents..yes even the Good Master said. Be gentle as dives but wise as serpents

          My point was this if one gets bogged down worrying about the metaphysical while living, you may never even enjoy the life you had. 🙂

          Like

      • uju July 22, 2014 / 8:40 am

        Bite me ;D
        I agree with you about living without being bogged down by the metaphysical, but seriously it just feels like our lives are already wrapped round it–the spiritual controls the physical?

        Like

  5. udoka_ July 21, 2014 / 8:43 pm

    Despite how much I wish all these are fairy tales, I still cant deny the truth in them. A lot happens that we cant understand nor control within the physical.

    Its is a horrific story, hope the mum finds the fortitude to bear the loss.

    Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 9:17 pm

      It was a trying time for everyone involved. There are times i wish things like this were just object of our imaginations, and none of it were real. But like you said, there’s too much that can’t be explained; i would welcome any explanation that tells me that young man did not die out of sheer jealousy of another.

      Thank you for your kind words Udoka.

      Like

  6. outlanderspecies July 21, 2014 / 8:21 pm

    Someone said “magic is simply science we don’t understand yet” a whole lot of things could have happened to him during the preparation for his wedding. A lot of things can happen. He could have been bitten by an insect and caught a rare diesease.

    I know doctors who will swear that some conditions are spiritual while some just say the doctors say so cos they don’t have the tools to find out what is wrong….

    In the old days, a couple who both are both AS were thought to have been giving birth to “spirit children” who keep going back into the spirit world not knowing they were probably having SS children

    Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 9:20 pm

      But that was the old days. How wrong can so many doctors be? What are the odds that someone else won’t detect what another missed?
      And why did it have to happen just when he had to go start a life for himself?

      Too many questions, very few answers.

      Like

  7. outlanderspecies July 21, 2014 / 7:39 pm

    Thing like this put me in a conflict zone. The rational side of me that wants to find a logical reason to it all, the religious side that acknowledges the existense of the para-normal and the indifferent side that sits with a bucket of popcorn, a ise cold Fanta and watches the debate between the first two

    Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 7:56 pm

      I’d like to hear the rational argument, pls?

      Like

  8. ericjbaker July 21, 2014 / 5:43 pm

    A side of your writing I have not seen before. Well done!

    Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 6:23 pm

      Thank you Eric, I’m humbled 🙂

      Like

  9. Ifedayo July 21, 2014 / 9:54 am

    The young shoudn’t listen to every fairytail of stories been said or says concerning [his] present situation(s) for their is no reality in it all.

    God’s plan for the young man is good and perfect

    Perfection and goodness were the only realities that charecterises [his] entirety of being; and [he] lives, move and have [his] being in Him (God).

    So, [he] should lift [his] thought(s) above all materialistic thoughts by focusing continually on what God is telling him that [he is] in (Him) moment by moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 10:46 am

      Fairytale? Do you presume that there isn’t supernatural entities against our success, as much as you believe there is a supernatural entity all for our good?

      Again, how do you place your trust and hope on a being you have yet to give yourself up to? You forget that the promise of protection and rich life from God is for His children, not every being that walks on Earth like a ship without a rudder.

      P.S It does pay to listen to what others have to say, and be cautious around people. We are told to be gentle as doves and wise as serpents, right?

      Like

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