“Kpom kpom kpom”
I heard the sound again, this time louder and clearer, it was the sound of the romance between a mortar and pestle. Immediately I was reminded of my childhood, how mama thought my sisters how to pound.
“Pound it harder”, she said.
“It is the true test of maindenhood, one mastered by only the well trained and well mannered”, she always added.
The pounding continued and all of my mother’s words came rushing back from my childhood years.
“Perhaps, I have found the one” , I murmured to myself drifting away into wishful thinkful.
This could be her, the one I had traversed seas and rivers to behold in the white man’s land, these thoughts never left my head as I juggled down the staircase tracing the incessant pounding as it continued.
“Jide, I am well advanced in age and the great beyond calls out to me with pride” , mama began her speech one evening.
” You have to give me grand children before I answer the call of nature ” , she continued amidst sobs.
I love my mother so much and seeing her this broken weakens me but I am trying. The hunt for a wife to fit mama’s description of a true African wife has been a wild goose chase.
I was determined and patient.
“Knock Knock” , I tapped on the door of the apartment where the sound seemed to be coming from.
As the door creeked open, I stood peering into the eyes of a young woman; who from my estimate wasn’t more than twenty years of age.
“Hi, my name is Jide” .
That fateful day, my stomach rumbled, my head ached; I was uneasy. A sudden fear of death gripped me.
“Was I going to die? ”
“What would take care of my wife and our baby?”. I kept asking no one in particular.
Thought of my aged mother’s would be reaction lifted me up my seat, I grabbed my backpack; packed my laptop and other personal belongings and headed straight home.
“Kpom” , “Kpom” , “Kpom”.
I heard the intense pounding as I walked into our compound.
“That must be my wife, preparing a special dish for me” , I said ; smiling to myself.
Gently turning the doorknob, I tiptoed in to the living room and headed to the kitchen where the poundings usually takes place, not wanting to make a sound.
I stood by the kitchen door rooted to a spot and in shock when I saw our baby lifeless and in disjointed embers in the mortar and my African bride pounding away.