Bipiamina, my Aunty Deceived Me!
Written by Victor Oroyi
At the village market, before noon, women are seen attending to their customers. Nne walks to Okwenbipi in her corner.
Okwenbipi: The sun is fast going down the sky; prospective customers may have finished purchasing all the items they need and you are just coming? What do you expect to sell at this time?
Nne: Your brother… he came immediately you left the compound. He left the bed very early as usual but came suddenly with his mouth oozing of alcohol…
Okwenbipi: [Cuts in] So what?
Nne: We had a quarrel generated by your brother’s son.
Okwenbipi: Your first son?
Nne: Yes, Sese… you talk as if you don’t know. How many sons do we have?
Okwenbipi: And if I don’t know him… you don’t know how to trim his little wings from now? And you allowed him set a quarrel between you and your husband this morning, forgetting your duties?
Nne: When his father is the chief drummer who beats the drum that makes him dance like a masquerade during our festivals, what else do you expect?
Okwenbipi: And you allowed him dance while you watch with admiration as a spectator in the dancing arena.
Nne: What have I not done…? I came to you this morning to complain; you said nothing. But remember he is your brother’s son. Your brother, even denied his son but Nemi like his father lacks discretion, only talks but doesn’t understand his own words.
Okwenbipi: How many bags of periwinkle do you want?
Nne: But our earlier discussion, what do you advice I do, Sese?
Okwenbipi: This is the case of one being beaten by her slave… Like the story of a woman who served her husband soup without pepper and taste of onion for fear of her hand not being hot and her eyes not running with tears as a result of the onion that she may cut in the kitchen… In the market, we exchange goods and services in monetary values and… [Nne looks at Okwenbipi and there is a momentary silence.]
Nne: [She bends down to pack the bags of periwinkle] Why do you hate your brother?
Okwenbipi: Please, we’re in a market place…
Nne: Ok… As much that can pay my children’s fees and at least put food on the table for the family.
Okwenbipi: You now pay their fees? What happened to my brother’s oil business?
Nne: You talk as if…
Okwenbipi: No… don’t confirm the rumours I hear around. Our mother’s burial helped to ruin him?
Nne : Of course, it was after the burial… Not just that… I couldn’t believe that after the burial, the business flopped as all his costumers flew away. [Feels pity] This resulted in idleness which led to his state of excessive drinking of alcohol. These twin devils ate up the remaining part of his savings in the business.
Okwenbipi: How did those twins creep into his life? [Someone afar eavesdropping, pretending to buy something from another corner]
Nne: Are you asking me… Sese, I am surprised, anyway, this is a place for the exchange of goods, and not to exchange my family matters.
Okwenbipi: [Reluctantly] These are four bags of periwinkle, make sure you bring my money before the hens return to roost.
Nne: Sese, thank you… [She leaves Okwenbipi’s corner and tries to find a place to sell her goods. She carries two bags to a spot up stage left. Goes back to carry the remaining two bags and returns when Bipiamina moved to her. Bipiamina stops her] I have an already-made-customer… thank God. How many bags do you want…? It is just N200 per bags…!
Bipiamina: Nne… daughter of Amba. The great waist twister!
Nne: Who are you… that calls me with so much familiarity? Like the sound of my mother’s voice.
Bipiamina: It’s quite a long time. I know you would not recognize me… I used to tease you like this when you were a little child. Indeed, your memory was still premature to capture times and events.
Nne: I know you not… but forgive my naïve mind and inability to recall those moments that you talked about. You must come from the city… judging from your well nurtured garden by a good gardener… I have never been to the city, it might be a mistaken identity.
Bipiamina: Mistaken identity…?
Nne: Yes… I have not seen this face in Oba Iwoama.
Bipiamina: [Draws her to a quiet corner] I am not sure and who do you think the gardener is? Ehen… you still carry your infant face and have not really changed much. What has been happening to you? Your tongue is still sweet… can you still dance as in your childhood…
Nne: Please don’t mind my tongue…
Bipiamina: Don’t bother, but do you still dance…?
Nne: Why do you ask?