Oma had been gazing intently at a fabric hung up attractively on the shelf against the wall. the mall lights refracted the turquoise and white colour of the fabric. The patterns and embroidery were exquisite and striking. They exhumed those perfectly hidden memories. Emotions swept recklessly at her as she dragged her fingers along the embroidered design, her eyes shone brilliantly with tears and she fought strongly to control them.
“It says you are the one”
Oma jumped right out of her skin as she turned to see who possessed the deep rich creamed voice.
“Excuse me?” She fought to regain her composure
“Only your body can tell of its beauty”
“Oh” Oma smiled, hiding her tear-stained eyes. She realized how her skin shone brilliantly against the patterned George, she would look great in it.
“Thank you but I wouldn’t be buying it.”
“Oh, It’s a pity. By the way, I’m Philip, Philip Dike but my friends call me Phil.
“Omasili Obinze, you can call me Oma.
“So, Oma you’ve been staring at it for quite some time now, anything the matter?”
Oma wouldn’t want to share her story with this stranger but the way his deep voice smouldered her name and his brown eyes shot brightly at her, made her reconsider.
“It’s quite a story, I don’t think you have the time,” Oma said trying to dissuade him, but he wouldn’t budge.
“I have all the time Oma, please?”
“She had all her hope in me, I had all of mine in my education but like our people say ”onweghi onye ma echi ” Indeed I didn’t know tomorrow, but I was certain it held a good job, with good pay to drag she and me out of poverty. Though I finally got a job in Lagos three years after graduation, we had been through hell. Coming back from her “umu-okpu meeting” I threw myself at her, and we cried, danced and laughed hard. She talked of gifting me the only property she had- her green and white George wrapper. I will have something to sell to add to the little I have, I thought out. I promised her of how I would buy her a truckload of them from my first salary, and so we chatted our dreams late into the night. The next morning, she had passed away, clinging to the wrapper. I’ve never felt so much emptiness and loss. Seeing that fabric ushered in those last moments of love and happiness.
“I’m so sorry about your loss, ” Phil said as he gently patted her on the arm. “You loved each other greatly and it will last forever. I would love to hear more about this love, probably over dinner tomorrow if you will Oma ?”
“Maybe,” she said gently as they strolled quietly out of the mall.
Thoughts of yesterday and the future strongly intertwined; she would learn to detangle them, learn to live, learn to be happy once again.
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