Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Okafor's Trouser

This post was a little impromptu, and I had to cook it up on short notice. I have been busy writing a treat for you that would not be unveiled until next week, but I figured there was no reason to keep you waiting for so long. Please, bear with me, and just whet your appetite with this little story that a classmate of mine told me...

There lived a boy in the village of Umunnachi, whose name was Okafor. His father was a farmer, and his mother, while she was alive, had been a market seller. Back in those days, in Umunnachi, having tailor sewn clothes was a bit of a luxury. One day, while Okafor’s mother was alive, she had made so much profit from selling the snails that Okafor had caught on his expedition to Ogbuefi river that, in her appreciation, she bought him one beautifully made khaki trouser.

Okafor loved and cherished his one and only trouser. Some of the boys in school had two, but Okafor understood that he was lucky to even own any at all. He wore it sparingly; making do with the shorts papa had made from the scraps in the tailors shop. Times were hard, and their hard earned money should not be spent on purchasing luxuries, papa said, and he understood. In fact, he said to himself, he would keep it in his mother’s big iron safekeeping box, and bring it out only on special occasions, and this was exactly what he did.

Not so long after, a special occasion arrived. The end of the year’s school party was coming up, and everybody was going to be there, even Nma. Her name brought a tingling sensation to his ears, and he tried to hide the grin that was threatening to surface on his face from his father. He had been eyeing her from afar for so long, and would have been satisfied with simply eyeing, if that rascal Ogbonna hadn’t tossed a stick her way yesterday. He sighed; everybody knew Ogbonna and his stupid stick tossing tricks. The girl would bend over and pick the stick up and Ogbonna would then judge if he liked her. Most times, when he did, he licked his lips. This time, when Nma bent over, his mouth hung open. Okafor had stood still in shock, as blind rage filled his eyes. This Ogbonna boy was very stupid o! Chei! Mba nu! It can't happen. Tufia kwa. He had to act fast.

Some days later, Okafor’s father stepped out of his obi early in the morning, and espied his son walking the winded path towards the house. When did he leave the house? “Okafor!” He shouted. “Where are you coming from early this morning?”Aru odikwa ya? He pondered.
Nna anyi, I’m coming from the Ogbuefi river!”  Okafor shouted back. This time, he was close enough to his father, and he waved the wet trouser back and forth for him to see. “I went to wash my trouser there. Tomorrow is my school’s party and I want to wear it.” He blushed.
Papa Okafor smiled. He had seen the looks Okafor and that girl from his form five class have been giving each other every time they passed by in the market. “Fine, Nwa’m, nsobu adiro. However, before you go, I want you to the farm weed the area near Mazi Emeka’s own early in the morning. He complained that the weeds were choking his onugbu, and you know his leg is getting bad.”
Okafor nodded. He could quickly do that before two o clock, and get to the party in time before three. He spread his wet trouser away from the shade for the sun to dry it very well; hopefully it would be ready by tomorrow. Early next morning, he set out for the farm, happily whistling towards Mazi Emeka’s direction. Today was the d-day, and he couldn’t wait. Nothing was going to spoil it.

He got there early, and began weeding. The air was a little too cool, but it was ideal for farm work. He set to work immediately, determined to be done before noon. He had not gotten very far when he noticed a drop of water glistening on a leaf near him. Another one fell on his nose. He frowned and looked up, only to notice that the skies had begun to gather. His mind spun into overdrive immediately. Rain! He couldn’t risk returning home without finishing this work, and besides, home was so far away. He stood and deliberated for a moment, then shrugged it off. Papa would remove the trouser before it got wet, he mused. He bent down and continued digging, a little faster than before though.

Suddenly, realization hit him, and he jerked up. Papa had gone to see Mazi Emeka! Oh no! All his thoughts honed in on Nma as he struggled to gather his farming basket. The rain had started to fall in earnest, and he debated leaving everything aside, so much was his hurry to get home. He couldn’t miss that party. He couldn’t miss the party. Panic seized him and he began to run; tossing the basket and all its contents aside. He had to reach the trouser before it got too wet. He ran as fast as he could, willing the rain to fall slowly. It did not, and by the time he got home, his trouser was soaked. He sank down in front of it and wept bitterly. He had lost everything, he cried. Everything he had worked for, everything he had dreamed of. He cried even more the next day, when he espied Ogbonna eating corn and ube with Nma in her mother’s stall…

Fast forward twenty years later. Okafor is standing in front of a washing machine and dryer, in a little Laundromat in Kentucky, America. He is staring blankly at the rapid whirlings of the machine, marveling at its technology. In his hand, he held the a wedding invitation that had on it the bold inscription “Nma weds Ogbonnaya.” All because of a wet trouser. If only, he muttered to himself, if only the times had been different…


  1. "corn and ube" lmao! Classic... Nice one slim...

  2. lol thanks. Heading off to yours now..

  3. LOL!!! Since they made it all the way to marriage twenty years later, I believe even if Okafor had gotten there in time, he still won't have gotten her. 20 years is a remarkably long time to be dating.

  4. i thought he was still going to get her later on...ah well...like the originality, corn and ube!!

  5. LMAO!!!!
    That is all I have to say about that.

  6. This is hilarious.. I need to take some igbo lessons.. the culture and language just seems to tell some stories better.. Good stuff as always..

  7. *exhales* Okafor...smh, 20 years...smh, no chics in yankee abi? Smh...lol. Hilarious post slim, this has to be experience being written. Ur use of traditional settings are so on point, I have concluded that you are decieving us. No! U r not in yankee, u r somewhere in a hut near Okafors comopound. Aproko child...

  8. Lmao!! A hut near Okafor's compound?? #dead..

  9. lvlie! this is lvlie I mst admit.... :)

  10. I'm guessing you mean lovely...lol. Thank you :)