Of The Stronger Man

Ottih Onyedikachi

My uncle is muscular. Every morning he’ll wake up by 6am and entertain a number of equally muscular guys at the corner of the house where they lift weight.

I’ll get up around 7am and look out through my window to look at the sweaty muscular bodies and handsome faces, then daydream about the most handsome one amongst them picking interest in me. I am 13years young.

The weight consists of round heavy irons with a pole stuck in the two ends. The lift instruments are usually placed on an iron bench on which the men would lie and then lift while the others count.

When any of the men lies down to lift, I’ll stare at the crotch and imagine that there is a bulge and that the bulge is for me.
Oh, don’t be judgemental now! I know I shouldn’t be thinking that. But let’s not talk about me now, yeah?

My uncle has a girlfriend, Chidiebere. Pretty girl. I think she’s pretty because she bought me two polos. And she’s fair. I like fair people.

Everytime my uncle goes out with Chidiebere, he’ll ask her to walk in front while he walks behind her. He always wants to know the men who are interested in his girlfriend.

In my street, people know my uncle as a troublemaker. He’s muscular and handsome and honestly, I think it’s a qualification for someone to look for trouble.

Sometimes when I’m with them, I cringe when he begins to shout on someone.

“Oga, you dey blind? You no see me for this girl back? Why you dey call her? Eh? You dey look my girl bumbum. You never see nyash before? Oga, I dey talk to you.”

We’ll wait while he approaches the offender menacingly threatening for a fight. Usually, the person will plead in a jocular way that my uncle forgets the “toasting”. He does while still shouting on the road.

It’s hard to tell if Chidiebere likes it. Sometimes, there is a frown on her face while my uncle is at it. But I think she likes it because she always obeys him.

Don’t take my word for it. I’m a child so I’m sure that my assumptions might not be accurate. But hold on, I’d just tell you the story as it is.

My uncle picks fights all the time. This is so because Chidiebere has a big bumbum. I want my bumbum to be big like her own when I grow up and I want men to look at me the way they look at her now.

Sometimes, some of the men get aggressive, too but they end up apologizing. They call it “bro code”.

I wonder, do girls have codes? What does it really mean? Guys are not allowed to talk to guy’s girlfriends? What if the girl wants them to talk to her? What are my gender code called? Gal code? I don’t know.

***

Today, we’re going out to buy dinner at the fast food some minutes away from the house.

We get to the junction and my uncle takes my hand and tells Chidiebere, “gatụwa n’ihu.” She growls and obeys. We walk in silence till we get to the main road. My uncle waves at some people, greets them loudly and almost pulls my hand from the joint with his violently eager waves.

Out of nowhere, a hand grabs Chidiebere and slightly rubs her skin. “Excuse me, please, can I talk to you?”

My uncle stands transfixed, forcing me to stand with him. Chidiebere mutters “no”, looks backs anxiously at my uncle and keeps walking. The man follows her, my uncle does not move.

The man catches up with Chidiebere and takes her hand. “Whoa, babe! Hol’up. I just wanna talk with you.”

My uncle takes four steps closer and stops. I think he’s in a bit of shock. Chidiebere forcefully withdraws her hand and looks back at the horror-struck boyfriend. She tells the man, “I don’t want to talk to you. Please leave me alone.”

“I can’t babe. You’re beautiful. Just a minute please. I promise not to take your time.”

I study the man. He has full beard on his face, wearing a sparkling white shirt that looks starched and a brilliant yellow canvas. His eyes were small and intelligent and his lips looked like mine.

I like this man. Why is he talking to Chidiebere when I’m younger and more beautiful?

Plus, he has a body like one of my uncle’s friends. I look carefully at his face. Have I seen his face before? No, I haven’t.

My uncle vibrates and walks up to them. Chidiebere shifts. He takes her hand and pulls her closer to him, trapping the hand with his elbow. The man looks embarrassed.

He then faces the man.
“Excuse me, oga. Didn’t this girl tell you just now to leave her alone?”

“Sorry? Who are you?”

My uncle lets go of his girlfriend’s hand.

“Who am I? Look at this gorilla?”

“What’s going on here, please?”

“Thunder fire you. What’s going on here? A mature lady tells you to leave her alone. Instead of you to leave her alone, you touched her bumbum.”

The man’s mouth drops open. My mouth drops open. Chidiebere’s mouth drops open.

“I what?”

“Yes, you animal! You touched my girl’s ass. Who the fuck are you? Eh? Who the fuck do you think you are?”

“Are you crazy? What are you talking about?

My uncle pulls off his shirt. His eyes are on fire. His body burns the earth.

The man picks his phone and makes a call to someone giving directions.

My uncle runs off in search of…. I think a bottle or a cane. But he returns immediately with nothing and punches the man in the face.

The man screams and rushes at my uncle. They start throwing punches and pushing each other. I look at Chidiebere expecting her to go help him fight but she doesn’t.

I run into the fight and begin to punch the man with all my strength. People are screaming and laughing.

More hands join in the fight. One of the hands drags me away roughly and they descend on somebody.

By the time they are done, my uncle was screaming and cursing. They enter into the bearded man’s vehicle and leave.

My uncle struggles up, swearing and cursing. He takes me, leaving Chidiebere behind.

With the way he is wincing and moaning, I don’t think he’s going to fight again and I don’t think Chidiebere will continue to be his girlfriend. She didn’t help him fight.

Her bumbum has given him pain. Still, I want to have Chidiebere’s kind of bumbum when I grow up.

9 thoughts on “Of The Stronger Man

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