Of Cakes And Abacha

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Nnamdimma died with poopoo in his pants. It was a very embarrassing way to die for a man so wealthy.  The morning that Nnamdi died, I had just finished preparing ofe nsala with boiled yam, and I was aggrieved by the news on TV about the abducted Chibok girls. Nnamdimma is not my husband, but he died in my toilet, and so you see where my problem is?

Why didn’t Nnamdi die in the train on his way to my house? Or last night, when he slept on in the arms of his wife? Why did he have to die in my house, in the toilet of all places?

The affair between Nnamdi and I started off with very cold hatred. It began in Nigeria, Nsukka, where he was managing his father’s business. There is a cold streak to Nnamdi, a part of him that is arrogant, aloof, recalcitrant, and very annoying. This is the part of him that I was immediately introduced to the first time that we met. I had gone to get supplies for a job I had been commissioned to do by the state. Upon getting to the only facility in Nigeria where these supplies were produced, I was immediately led to Nnamdi’s office. He sat in his father’s chair, proud as a peacock. In some ways, it felt like I was seeing a toddler in his father’s shirt, happy with the comfort it provided however unbefitting of it he was. The room was cold, dank, sparsely decorated or furnished, and a direct antithesis with everything I had expected the office of a multi millionaire to resemble. His first words to me were,

“Why didn’t you make your hair?”

Before I could say anything, he added,

“Or is the economy affecting you too?”

He looked at me, deadpan and unflinching and I was flustered by how embarrassed I felt.

“This is how I like to carry my head, sir, natural like this.”

“Do you mean head or hair?”

There was more embarrassment for me.

“Hair, sir.”

That was the moment I decided that I disliked Nnamdi with everything that I had in me. And in the weeks to follow, he would always think of a stupid excuse to ensure that we saw. If he wasn’t coming to my church on Sunday, he was coming to my office under the blatant ruse of conducting urgent business with my boss. Nnamdi always wanted to go somewhere with me, and whenever I did agree, I always saw the pure bliss on his face like one newly baptized. The first time he tried to put his hand around my waist, I smacked him so hard I could see the stars he saw, but this didn’t deter him. He would keep trying and trying till one day, I got tired of resisting him and he went one further. He put his manhood in me.

For what is worth, there wasn’t any objection on my part because at this point, I was in love with the man but I was careful not to show him so much of this. I understood, even then, that a man like Nnamdi would only respect someone whose love he had to win. So that day, after we defiled his Mercedes, I was quick to let him know that I was unsatisfied with his lovemaking and that he needed to do more if he hoped to keep my eyes set on him.

And do more he continually, strived to do. I envisioned a life where Nnamdi and I would grow old raising red nosed kids who speak like white people, kids who would blow flutes and play the violin. When I relayed these dreams of mine to Nnamdi he seemed excited. I recall the day that I told him about my first pregnancy and how his face changed as if he had just drank stale palm wine. We lay in his room and as the radio blared all the latest news, I threw one of my arms over his hairy chest, my full breast rubbing against him. I had satisfied him, and when Nnamdi was satisfied, he closed his eyes and hummed any tune that came to his head.

“Nna, I am pregnant. Let us take the wine to my people before this baby comes.”

I would never forget the look in his eyes, one of total shock and betrayal, as though by breeding his baby in my tummy I had committed a grave sin. He threw my hand from himself, and immediately, got up. I watched him keenly, seeing how it seemed as though every fiber of him struggled, and gradually came to terms with the news.

“How did this even happen?” he said, “Aren’t you old enough to know what to do after having sex?”
Nnamdi’s response left me speechless. Wordless, with his eyes trained on me like poisoned darts, I got dressed. I didn’t spare a look at him when I left his room that day.

There is a delicacy that is fancied by the Igbo of Nigeria. Abacha is what it is called. Ingredients used in the preparation of this are ugba, potash, crayfish, smoked fish, onion, pepper, palm oil, and garden eggs.

Nnamdimma came to my house the next evening with gifts of well prepared abacha and a flagon of chilled palm wine. I was impressed by his show of penance, the way he begged on his knees, and I was moved to regard him all the absolution that display of his insisted that he needed. So I consumed the abacha till all that was left were streaks of palm oil on the silver of the plate he had brought with him. When I was done, he smiled at me sweetly, and he embraced me tight.

We would later make love in my father’s bed, as that was one of those days when papa would follow the missionaries to the deep villages that remained ignorant about the word of God.  There was something different about the way Nnamdimma came into me that day, and in retrospect, maybe it was the taboo of it all that fuelled his desire.

The day Nnamdimma got married to Chimmamanda was a day I won’t forget quickly. I had always believed that I was an embodiment of all that he desired. That he would fight tooth and nail for my hand even after his parents had said what they said, about my family being of osu line, and so Nnamdi cannot marry me. He came to me distraught, or so I believed, and I held his head in my arms.

“Dim,” I fondly, called him. “Marriage is too small to kill what we share.”

It was an exhibition of style, class, money, and power the day that Nnamdi got married to Chimmamanda. Dignitaries from all the nook and crannies of Nigeria came in their numbers to support their union and petty me, I was in attendance as well. They asked Chimamanda to dance and dance, and to present the palm wine in the cup to the man whom she had chosen to marry. It irked me to see the way she moved, like a worm that has just entered salt. And she got to Nnamdi, and he put his smelling mouth on the cup. I left in disgust. That evening, Nnamdi came to my house and while he entered me against the wall of my bedroom we kissed, and I could taste the palm wine on his lips.

Years later, when Nnamdi relocated his wife and two kids to this cold place, he offered to do my papers as well. I accepted it without reluctance and insisted that he bought me a house which wasn’t so near to his house to draw suspicion, yet wasn’t so far that I could not have him whenever I wanted.

Yes, I loved the man to my bone, and he bought me this beautiful house.

My only regret at the time was every pregnancy I ever had for Nnamdi, five of them, ended in miscarriages. I was desperate to have and own an everlasting link to the man for he was everything to me. Nnamdi had two beautiful boys with the lady who had married him and sometimes, I would wish that I could wrap my slender fingers about her thin neck and choke her slow slow.

“I want only two kids,” Nnamdi always told me. “I don’t think I can ever do more than two kids.”

“What about me, Dim?” I would ask, alarmed. “Don’t you want children with me?”

There would be a flickering in his eyes.

“We would have ours, Mma. God’s time is the best.”

We maintained hope till my last miscarriage which happened few weeks after we had relocated, and the oyibo doctor told us that I would never be able to bear a child again. Nnamdi cried so loudly, with so much pain, that it was I who ended up doing the job of consoling him.

There is a delicacy that is fancied by the Igbo of Nigeria. Abacha is what it is called. Ingredients used in the preparation of this are ugba, potash, crayfish, smoked fish, onion, pepper, palm oil, and garden eggs.

So I do not understand why, after Nnamdi had complained to me some days back about his wife is pregnant and he doesn’t know what to do, he came to my house with these ingredients plus one extra, lying there in his breast’s pocket. I couldn’t have seen it if it had not mistakenly fallen to the ground when he attempted to pick up onions that had rolled down from my table top.

I remember what he wore so vividly, the same grey shirt he died in and the blue jeans she got him for Christmas. I picked the drug from the floor, and yes, it was an abortion pill. One look at his face, and I knew what he had done. My heart beat so fast it rang in my head. All these years, all those days that he would come to me with abacha and palm wine, and I would fall sick and lose our child. How many had he killed in this manner? He made to beg, to get on his knees and cry like he always did.


I got a sharp knife off my shelf and Christ didn’t need to come down from the skies to tell Nnamdi to run away. He ran like an alarmed hen.

For weeks after that, I remained indoors, mourning every soul that Nnamdi had sacrificed. I mourned for the loss of me as well, that I would never be able to trust anyone ever again, that what he did had left me reduced, a withered rose. He never called, never came back, and when he saw me, he evaded me. I was a past he was running from, a past he tried to blot out.

Well, it was his birthday yesterday and I know how Nnamdi loves cakes. I think that Nnamdi loves cakes almost as well as he loves to be the centre of attention. So I made him one. I used flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar, all the normal ingredients which you know and I added a surprise of my own. I got the cake delivered to him with a text on top of it: from your secret admirer. See you at work, lover! I knew that because of that note on the cake, he would never show it to his wife.

Nnamdi came to my house crying this morning about how he knows he has done me wrong and I should forgive him. He begins to complain about he has been having a running stomach since last night and he doesn’t know what he ate. Good thing about the poison I gave him is that he would expel it all out of his system before he would eventually die and so, there would be no trace.

The look on his face when I said, “I see you got my cake,” was priceless. His eyes were wide with shock and just then, he took his hand to his belly, his face spoilt, like, ehem, stale palm wine.

Nnamdi ran to my toilet and he died with poopoo in his pants. Now who would clean up the mess the fool has made? You cant eat your cake and still have it….



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