Akụnne was the luckiest boy in my town as we grew up. He was an only son of his parents being that his father died two months after he was born.

What Akụnne lacked in companionship of siblings, his mother Nwakaego provided in extraordinary care.

Following the untimely death of Akụnne’s father and the palpable fear that her husband’s relatives would eliminate Akụnne and usurp his vast inheritance, Madam Nwakaego would not take chance hence her decision to ensure that Akụnne married early.

But she decided to discreetly get a wife for her young son. The groom was not even informed of his marital status. Not until at a later date.

Those that hail from Ọdịda Nnewichi, Nnewi and went to secondary schools in the late 1970s to early 1980s should be familiar with this story.

Nwakaego arranged with Nkechi, her childhood friend married to an Ụshuagụ man to betroth her friend’s 13 years old daughter to Akụnne. The two women had the marriage deal wrapped in secrecy, hiding it especially from Akụnne paternal relatives.

Bride price was paid by proxy unbeknownst to the young bride who was to come live with her new mother-in-law (who she only knew as her mother’s best friend) on the pretext that she needed to stay close to her secondary school.

Though Akụnne was of the same age as Ụtọnwa, he was older than her by three months. He had known Ụtọnwa right from their early childhood as their mothers had been inseparable friends.

Akụnne thought that Ụtọnwa was his cousin and was elated when she come holidaying to his house during vacation and was even happier when he learnt that Ụtọnwa would stay back after the second term vacation.

Akụnne and Ụtọnwa were secondary school students at that time.

While Akụnne was a student of Nnewi High School, Ụtọnwa was attending Maria Regina Comprehensive Secondary School. Both schools were less than 600 metres apart.

Living at Ọdịda Nnewichi in Akụnne home was a great relief to Ụtọnwa as she would no longer have to trek several kilometers from her father’s house at Akabọezem Ụshuagụ to her school located in Nnewichi.

Ụtọnwa’s mother had told her that she needed to relocate to Mama Akụnne house to reduce her suffering in trekking a long distance to and fro school.

Akụnne and Ụtọnwa did everything together to the gladness of Akụnne mum who both of them called Mama.

They went to the stream, school, church and to fetch firewood together, to the extent that Akụnne was being taunted as “woman wrapper” by his peers.

Akụnne and Ụtọnwa not only slept in the same room but also on the same mat. They were inseparable and related as brother and sister.

Everything changed the day after Akụnne and Ụtọnwa sat for their last paper in the West African School Certificate (WASC).

Mama Akụnne had called her son into her room for a mother-to-son discussion.

“Akụnne my son, Ụtọnwa is your wife”, Nwakaego said while looking intently into her son’s innocent eyes.

“It is not possible Mama. I thought I’m related to Ụtọnwa and I have always seen her as my cousin. Even at that, we are still young to be husband and wife!” Akụnne protested.

“It is not your fault. It was a closely guarded secret between me and my brothers on one side and Ụtọnwa’s mother and her husband’s family on the other side, just to ensure that your wicked uncles did not pluck you out while you are still young.

“Now, I called you to tell you that you have to give me grandchildren so that I won’t have to die of hypertension.

“I have spoken to Ụtọnwa to allow you into her so that she could become pregnant”, Nwakaego said throwing away her eyes because she too was embarrassed by what was coming out from her mouth.

What Akụnne just heard was too much for him to digest at a go.

He remained withdrawn and didn’t speak to her mum or to Ụtọnwa that day. He slept as a corpse lying on the morgue and was woken up by a cock that crowed at about 5am the next day.

“Akụnne, I’m so sorry,” Ụtọnwa managed to say as she sobbed beside Akụnne as both of them lay on their wide mat laced with a blanket. It was a harmattan period. And the cold that night could make a saint move near a sinner to get warmth.

“My mother came around yesterday, in the afternoon, that time you went to play football. She broke the news of our unconscious secret marriage to me and I felt awkward,” Ụtọnwa continued.

“My initial anger suddenly evaporated when I was confronted with the fact that I love you so much and couldn’t have been happier with any other man in this world.

“Your mother promised me that our marriage would not affect our education; that she just wanted us to give her a male child and that she was still strong to raise the baby or children while we continued with schooling”, Ụtọnwa ended while artfully laying her head on the bare chest of confused Akụnne.

Akụnne had been a good boy. At 18, he had never had sex even though he had fantasized about his Biology teacher Miss Ukwunnu. He flew into fantasy land right there inside the class, as they were being taught the topic: Reproduction.

He had also had a couple of wet dreams in many nights, waking up with maps of the whole African continent on his short pants.

But he had never fantasized about Ụtọnwa who had never hidden from him, while dressing up after bathing, her well rounded breasts and the pubic area that housed her endpoint or “ogbe ndịda” and the naked version of her well endowed waist.

He was never aroused by Ụtọnwa as he took her as a relative.

Akụnne was expected to psyche up himself and rise up to the occasion of visiting the inner recesses of Ụtọnwa to produce the results his mother earnestly needed.

Two weeks passed with Akụnne not initiating any mounting behaviour. The mother also did not notice any romance between the young couple.

Ụtọnwa was ready but Akụnne seemed to be acting in self denial to the disillusionment of his mother.

Mama Akụnne was getting impatient and needed to do something.

She had decided to intervene. That would be unthinkable but never predict a desperate mum.

So, on that fateful night, Nwakaego treated her son with a dinner of cocoyam fufu and ora soup. She also allowed her son drink three glasses of palm wine she specially ordered from Nwokolo, a seasoned wine taper from Ọkpụnyo Ụmụenem.

About 9pm, Mama Akụnne woke up his snoring son and ordered him to remove his underpants.

And he did.

She further instructed Akụnne to put his phallus into the natural hole inside a honey pot in between Ụtọnwa’s legs and he obeyed. The alcohol in the palm wine helped to make him more pliable as his John Thomas increased in stiffness as he traveled inside.

“Now, keep thrusting your waist, up and down!”, Nwakaego kept ordering her son as a sergeant major conducting an aerobics class for new army recruits.

After about ten minutes of thrusting, and more rapid thrusting, this time, not waiting for the next command, Akụnne shouted, “Nne, Nne ooo, achọrọ m inyụ maamiri!” (translated as “Mama, my Mama , I want to urinate!”

The mother shouted “afịọpụtakwana ya ooo. Nyụbaya ebe afụ, ọ bụ ya bụ ụlụ afụrụ na ya” (translated to mean “don’t ever remove it from there, that is the whole gain from the exercise”

Ụtọnwa who was initially writhing in an explainable pain at the point she was entered, because that was her first time, she later joined the party as she started moving her waist in a synchronized rythm to the gbụlala beats by Akụnne.

At about the time Akụnne was obeying his mother’s instruction not to pull out, Ụtọnwa began to ask a rhetorical question “ọ bụ gịnị na atọ mụ ife a ọọọ?” meaning “what is this ecstasy I’m feeling?” which triggered a nostalgic response from Mama Akụnne as she murmured “nwa m, ọọ uru gi” translated to mean “my daughter please enjoy, it is to your benefit”.

In the minutes that followed, all the parties were satisfied in their own ways.

But Madam Nwakaego seemed to be the happiest.

The next day, Madam Nwakaego just laughed when she overheard her son telling Ụtọnwa, “do you have to wash those clothes this evening? Please come let’s go to bed”.

The night works of Akụnne and Ụtọnwa didn’t go unrewarded as children came and in the mix their parents prayed for.

It has been an age long practice for the parents of an only son to arrange an early marriage for their son to hedge against the risk of the discontinuation or termination of his father’s lineage that might arise if the only son dies before he gets married.

By Anayo M. Nwosu

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