​People who were around while Zoba was growing up would attest that as a young child she hardly ever cried out loud. The annoying thing however was that she would curl up and cry quietly for hours unending. Whenever she was beaten and bruised by her father, which happened quite frequently, she would calmly wrap herself up – soft and stiff like moi-moi in a foil –  and sob and sniff for maybe three hours, perhaps four, till she lapsed into dreams.
She reminisced about her girlhood, concluding that she doesn’t miss anything in her past, just as she doesn’t like anything about her present.
The oil had become extremely hot by this time, so, she poured the sliced plantain in, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She could feel a sensation in her soul – like fat emotional women do when the chorister begins to sing their best song in church. She just loved that sssshhiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!! sound that trumpets when you put moist plantain in very hot oil. Very few things gave her joy and this was fortunately, or unfortunately one of them. 
For her, if this sound wouldn’t be occasionally heard in heaven, then she’d rather not go.
She was right there, thinking about heaven and shrilling sounds and didn’t notice when the plantain turned from creamy white, to yellow, to carton brown, to dark brown, to save me brown, to black!!! She didn’t care a whit anyway, she simply turned the gas burner off.
Gozie had just had a cold shower and was relaxing in his favorite armchair. He wanted to watch the news as he ate. His darling wife served him beans. “Where is the plantain kwan?” he asked meditatively. “it got burnt.” “Bring it like that.”
She dropped the bowl containing the plantain on the table and all he could do was belch in surprise. “What is this? What is this Chizoba!? Tell me, in which shrine did you swear to frustrate me? Why have you vowed to reduce me to a nagging husband. What exactly do you hope to achieve from all this eh?” By now, his voice was heavy with bitterness. He turned to look at her and there she was, expressionless and pale, like a kid in a casket. 
“Do you even have feelings at all or has the devil hardwired you with coldness and indifference? Oh God! What did I get myself into? There is absolutely nothing you get right. Your food tastes like Dudu-Osun medicated soap, you can’t have a normal conversation with your husband, you can’t make money, you can’t learn how to drive, you cannot even run errands without issues here and there. Even in bed, you’re just log. 
“Father! I married a stone. I paid for Zuma rock and carried it home. I was avoiding radical spicy women; I thought I would be better off with someone calm and cool. No one ever told me that flowing rivers usually have only one deity but a still lake is the abode of a thousand and one evil spirits…”
As he fumed on, undeniably flustered, all his wife could hear was blah-bloh-blah-bloh. She simply stood there looking at his bald head, imagining how she could pick up a frying pan filled with boiling oil and pour on his bare baldhead, slowing. She could now hear that sssshhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!! sound so clearly in her mind. That exhilarating sweet sound. By

  Chike Nwoke


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