She had arrived the night before, exhausted and still in a daze, she wondered if this trip would do her any good. It was one of the several trips the family made once a year to their father’s home country Nigeria. All her aunties had lined up to welcome the family at their grand parents home. As Naomi laid on the bed, she relived the day she and her family arrived. She wasnt supposed to come on the trip, she changed her mind at the last-minute, an act she was almost now regretting.
Her favourite aunt had led the way while the other aunties followed. They looked radiant in their Ankara prints; some had the fabric sewn into skirts and nice fitted blouses while others had it sewn into kaftan. As they danced and welcomed them, she observed that their fabrics seem to glisten as the lightest shade of light bounced on the fabric. Interesting she thought and as she moved closer to hug one of the aunties, she saw that the Ankara fabric had been embellished with crystals explaining the reason behind the dazzle. Beautiful, she thought, absolutely beautiful.
Naomi had spoken at length with her aunty Bimpe, it was rather a negotiation. Naomi had insisted on not coming with her family members on the trip because the last time she had come home each aunt had a candidate for her; someone they thought would be best suited for her as a life partner. This came from women that saw her once a year and knew absolutely nothing about her except the fact that her father was their brother, cousin or relative as the case may be. Aunty Bimpe had persuaded her to come on the trip and promised her that her other aunties would not repeat such bad behaviour. The day had come and they had arrived safe in Nigeria.
Naomi’s father, Jacob proudly led his family into his parents house, his wife Natasha followed him while Naomi their first daughter and Segun her brother followed behind them smiling and laughing with the ladies as they hugged and ushered them in. Her brother liked attention so she was certain that he was enjoying all the love and attention the ladies bestowed on him.
After exchanging pleasantries, aunty Bimpe had pulled Naomi with her to the kitchen as she prepared to serve them dinner. Naomi stared at the line up of food on the kitchen island and looked at her aunty in dismay.
“Aunty! are you feeding the entire neighbourhood?”
Her aunty replied her jocularly, “No, I am feeding you fat for all the men that will be lining up in front of Pa’s house soon”
Her smile vanishing from her face, she changed her tone of voice and told and aunty firmly,
“Aunty don’t forget your promise o. Please not one word about this marriage issue, am I the only female in our family to be single at 26?”
Aunty Bimpe looked at her and her look said it all. She was indeed the first of their clan not to settle for less. Naomi thought. Sensing that the conversation was taking off on the wrong note, Aunty Bimpe summoned her to assist her with dishing the food to be served on the dinning table. As Naomi moved up and down with her favourite aunty in the kitchen, she wondered why he hadn’t called her. They had broken up shortly before the trip but it was one of several, it wasn’t as bad as all other fights they had in the past. The real reason she had agreed to come on the trip was to make him sorry after not hearing from her in weeks. Now all the determination that she had in bringing her beloved back to his senses had turned to regret. She wondered if she could actually survive the distance without him.