We left Surulere through Ijesha bus stop along the Oshodi-Apapa expressway and drove towards Ojota, Shagamu and Ijebuland.
Since I didn’t know that road very well, I decided to leave early and drive at a low speed.
To me, low speed meant between 100 and 130km. Though one advantage I had with the six cylinder engine was that if I was doing a 120kmh, no 4 cylinder vehicle can overtake me even if it was doing 130kmh.
We got to Ekpoma before 11am and diverted left to a street called ‘King Jesus’.
Surprisingly, Maria’s mother had been waiting for us.
”Una come early ooh” she said.
What! How did she even knew when we left Lagos to determine whether we came early or not. I thought I had Maria on check the whole time.
After greetings and smiles, we were led to the parlour were Her father sat on a chair with a plate of bitter Kola in front of him.
His stroke wasn’t severe. One can see the right hand where the deadly attacker had struck but he was still relatively fine.
”How are you my son” he had asked after speaking with Maria in a strange language. Despite the fact that I didn’t understood the language, I was paying maximum attention to see if I could hear something that sounded like ”husband” or its similarities. I didn’t hear any, not that I expected to anyway.
”I am fine Sir, how is your sickness” I had responded.
He said he was getting better. He motioned me to sit down in a sofa Chair opposite him.
I thanked him and chose a different chair. He didn’t complain.
Before sitting down, I remembered a story I had heard when I was a kid. It was about a Visitor in Ngwa Abia state who fell into a hole dug for him while attempting to sit on a chair prepared for him.
The story said that the people of Ngwa had dug the whole and covered it with some leaves, then put a seat on it. The story also said that the Ngwa people used to eat human beings then.
It could have been a folklore but whatever it was, I was determined not to fall into a hole dug for me.
The trait followed me whenever I go to a new place to meet a new person in Nigeria. I would try as much as I could to displace whatever plan one must have made for me.
( I did that two days ago in Port Harcourt when my host asked the hotel receptionist to give me a room. I was given room 203 which I declined and asked them to give me another room. I was eventually given room 205. I knew my friend firearm would know why I did that but of course, he is a gentleman and should understand why I did that. I even wanted to be at the hotel before him but due to hold up, he beat me to that and surprisingly, he had packed somewhere and saw when I entered the hotel smart man/move.)
”This one is better” Maria’s father said as he pointed to the seat opposite him.
I told him that I was Ok where I was.
Maria had sat beside the man, touching the affected parts of his body while the man asked where I came from and other expected questions.
I told him I was from Enugu state. He was a driver and said that he had been to Enugu several times. He claimed that Enugu people were hospitable and generous.
Of Course why won’t he say so? I was a potential son in-law and it would be better for him to start reminding me how generous my people were, so that I won’t change from that. And if I didn’t change, he would be a major benefactor of my generosity if I married her daughter.
I didn’t know what Maria had told them but I was sure that nobody was going to push me into marriage when I didn’t want.
He asked that I take a bitter Kola but I declined. I had come with over ten pieces of tom tom which I unsealed and threw into my mouth occasionally. I wanted them to know that I was eating something, so that they won’t ask me to eat anything but they did anyway.
Their house was a small bungalow of about three rooms and Parlour. I suspected it was built by Maria. I followed as she walked around and inspected the new house. It was painted yellow.
After touring the house, the mother announced that she had finished cooking.
The food was served in an earthenware pot. It was a combination of boiled planting and soup. The soup was made with ground tomatoes, red oil, crayfish, smoked fish and others.
I had forgotten what they called it.
Like always, since I was eating with Maria from the same plate, no problem. If they wanted to charm, confuse or kill the woman who had built their house, then let them do that to Ozoigbondu too but Devil would punish them if they tried and failed.
Well nothing happened after the food.
We spent over two hours with them before Maria said we were going to benin city to visit some of her friends. Fine with me.
When it was time to leave, Maria gave his father N10,000 and gave N20,000 to the mother.
I on the other hand, decided to be generous too aftearall I was an in-law, no matter how temporal.
I gave the man N15,000 and gave the woman another N15,000.
Maria was surprised. She said she didn’t know that i even had money with me since I had refused to pay for petrol on our way coming. I had laughed at her and told her that the Journey was her journey. I had already done enough by donating my Engine, oil, cacamber, music, suspensions, types and air conditioner for the Journey.
” The more generous we are the more joyous we become”