It’s Time, Short Story by Egwuatu Ogechukwu Peace

Cheta turned on the lights as she walked into her room on a fine Friday evening. She quickly deposited her affairs in their appropriate places with a sigh of relief for the end of a successful week. She was the picture of a successful career woman. Dressed in a knee length nude coloured gown and peach pumps with diamond studs, she was stunning. She looked in the full length mirror and smiled at her reflection. She was a very beautiful girl -no, woman. Yes, she was a woman, no longer a girl despite her teenage looks. It was still a bit difficult to get used to that fact. She wasn’t tall, just five feet five, nor curvy. She was slim with a nice figure enhanced by working out. Her most distinctive feature was her face. Soulful brown eyes, small nose and luscious lips framed by a round face that made her look a decade younger than her twenty seven years. She sighed. Good looks hadn’t done her much good but create a lot of distractions and make people take her unseriously. It was time to do something useful with her evening. She sat on her bed and removed her shoes, massaging her feet. Her phone beeped signalling the arrival of a new message. She stilled as she saw the title.
Obi m
There was only one person in this world who would address her with the popular Igbo endearment which meant “my heart”. She hadn’t spoken to that person in five years. She could vividly remember the last words that had left those lips. “If you leave today, don’t ever come back. Ungrateful brat!” A tear rolled down her cheek. It frustrated her that after so many years and so much effort to steel her heart and detach herself, just a phrase brought her back to square one: pining for her mother who had refused to support her dreams; Who had gone from a loving mother doting on her only child, to a bitter woman resenting the said child in the space of a day.
She opened the mail.
Obi m,
Come back home.
She let out a bitter laugh. Her mother would never change. The woman suffered from an acute case of Nigerian mother syndrome, believing it was her right to order her children around. Unfortunately, she had only one and couldn’t fully enjoy this particular blessing of motherhood.
I’ve ordered again, haven’t I? But this time, I’m not ordering. I’m coming down from my ‘high horse’ as you would call it and asking you to come home. I won’t hold grudges and I won’t mention your father’s death.
Another tear slipped down her cheek. She could still hear her mother’s hurtful words when she insisted she was still going to leave for her masters in Canada the day after her father died. Was it worth it? She shook her head. She didn’t regret it. She had studied hard, graduated well and gone on to pursue a successful career. She wasn’t going to put her life on hold for a dead man even if he was her dearly beloved father, but that was not all. She had run away so she could pretend that her father was not dead. So she could imagine that he was simply at home waiting for her to come back to tell her how proud of her he had always been. It was selfish she knew, but mother would be fine. She had five elder brothers, their wives and children who loved her so much. She had father’s sister who doted on her as the sister she never had. She had Chika and Chuka whom she had just adopted upon realising that her baby had indeed grown. She would get all the love and support she ever needed. She wiped her cheek with the back of her hands and continued reading.
I won’t nag or complain. Just come back home and let me hold you in my arms.
With so much love,
Typical mother. She hadn’t begged, just asked. No apology for the hurtful things she had said, just a promise to say them no more. It had taken five years for her mother to reach out but she had done so. Her mother could keep a grudge, a trait acquired as a result of being a spoilt younger sister of five brothers. She once didn’t speak to a cousin for fifteen years because he had insulted her husband. Cheta chuckled at the memory. She missed her dearly. She looked at the calender on her bedside table. 23rd December. It was time to go home. She would celebrate Christmas with her family.

Egwuatu Ogechukwu Peace is a 300 level student of French and German in University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria with her family. She has always loved writing and also like reading, singing and speaking. She’s a debater and the face of Parlizia 2018. She hope to influence the world with her words both written and spoken.

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