I Saw Calabar Yesterday BY INIOBONG LEROI UMOH

In Breaking News, Columnists, Opinion

By CrossRiverWatch Admin

I saw CALABAR yesterday.
She is a tall lady with cute dimples. She has always taken pride in her beauty.
She walks around with a graceful air.

She is a great cook and had learned at an early age how to prepare Edikang ikong, Afia efere ebot, efere afang ye ndek iyak and her favorite otor mboro delicacy.

Calabar is reserved but when you get close to her, she would open up to you. She could be crazy at times. Her major character flaw is that of inadequacy.

Right from the onset, she always had a feeling that she lacks something, a feeling that she wasn’t living up to her potentialities.

She envied Uyo, her sister. Calabar always felt that her sister was overtaking her and she needed to do something to assert her self.

As a fun loving girl, Calabar would attend music concerts in the evenings.

She would dance and sway sideways to the energetic beats of Chief Peter Effiom’s highlife band.

She would sing along to the solemn tune, appealing to her creator not to forsake her;

“Obot mi, obot mi, obot mi
Obot mbok mbok mbok kap nsioro mi uyio”

Her creator seemed to have answered her prayers when a handsome young man walked up to her on a Friday evening.

He introduced himself with a cheerful smile on his face,

“Ediye nkaifere, I am Duke, I want to be your friend”

Duke wanted to be more than friends, he wanted to marry her.

“Marry me and I will change your life for the better” He appealed to her.

Calabar accepted his proposal. The young man was rich and looked promising.

The marriage was blissful. The young man loved her and went all the way to prove his love. He changed her life.

He talked endlessly in glowing terms about his wife anywhere he went to. He had lots of friends from far and wide. He invited them to come and visit his home to meet his beautiful wife.

Calabar was delighted as her fame spread the world over. She never had it so good. Her dreams had finally come true.

People congregated at her doorstep to see her. They came to admire her beauty, to learn at her feet, to eat her dishes, to woo her, to take pictures of her.

She loved the glitz, the glamour, the compliments, the attention and the paparazzi.

She beamed with joy as Chief Inyang Henshaw complimented her as Ediye obio Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey.

She grew more beautiful every day. Her husband saw to it that all her needs were met. She became the envy of all maidens, even her sister Uyo became jealous.

“I wish I can spend more time with you,” Duke said to Calabar one cool evening as they took a stroll at night.

“Why are you saying this? Where are you going to?” Calabar inquired anxiously.

“My time with you is over. I am going away to a distant land.

He replied in a sad tone, and added, “You would have to learn to live without me”

Calabar laughed, Duke was obviously pulling her legs.

They walked home that night in silence.
But when she woke up the next day, Duke was gone.

Nobody knew where he had disappeared to.
Calabar was moody as she contemplated the reality of life without her husband.

“He can’t just leave me just like that, he would surely come back” She reasoned.

She waited for a long while.
She got fed up.
She moved on with her life.

She was still very beautiful and all the suitors from the land across the seven seas were still wooing her.

They all loved and wanted her.
She accepted a proposal from one of them and got married.

But things were not the same. It was a different kind of life.

Two heartbreaks and a divorce.
Calabar is now a sad woman.

I saw Calabar yesterday.

She is still attractive but she has lost the grace and charm. I saw her in a shop at Watt Market.

She stood before a thousand mirrors, gazing at her reflection in the mirrors.

I saw her frowning. She was displeased with her image in the mirror. I saw a wistful look in her eyes.

I moved closer to her.
I heard her humming a tune.

She was calling out to her ex-husband:
“Ebe mi di nno mi ikpaukot saika ima mi o ebe, Ebe mbok di no mi borkid ufuk ibuot ima mi ebe, Ebe mbok di sin mi ofong idem nkwa ke idem ima imi o ebe, Ima ediye ebe o, ebe mmi ndade ndio ebe!”

I looked into her eyes, I saw tears. I looked away. She walked out of the shop.

I followed her.
I lost her in the crowd.
I must admit Calabar is still a very beautiful lady… Efik edemede ke idap oooo.

Iniobong Leroi Umoh writes from Calabar.

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