Nkem

Nkem,
How are you my Asa m, Di m, Onye obi m di. Do you remember how we laughed at lines like “my heart skipped a beat” after sharing a book, or watching a movie together; it seems now that the joke’s on me – anytime you call me these days, my heart does that little thing where it feels like I stopped breathing for a second. I think that was what those books and movies meant – most days it takes your smile and that throaty laughter I used to tease you of before, it’s amazing that when you are not around, I look forward to hearing that cackle that makes me tease you continually.
Omalicha nwa, you call me that and my head swims, I feel so light and I did not understand till now what people described as pure joy. I am in love with you too my Nwoke nmaranma; I regret the many times you asked and I didn’t reply you because I felt shy like a silly little girl.
Do you even know what you do to me? My soul prospers because of you, my mind soars. I carry you in my spirit Nkem, I am your Obi diya and you never make me forget that. You make me so happy and make doing little chores for you so easy. The way I love to smell your scent on your clothes when I’m washing them even with the washing machine in, I cannot imagine an inanimate object carrying your scent when it belongs to me. You and I are one, every time I serve your dishes; I playfully kneel just like mother taught me and you laugh, kiss me on the forehead and call me your Nwanyi oma. I know I am not that good but your presence in my heart has made me good.
People think I’m mad when I walk on the street and just laugh, they do not know that my soul shares our secret jokes. You come home each day with a little gift in your hand for me even as small as an highlighter, when I ask you why, you say – ‘a woman as priceless as you deserves everything the world has to offer’. Am I not lucky?
Obi m anchor I gwa gi; the peace you’ve brought to me, besides God, you’re my king, my lord, my own and I submit to you body and soul. The first time we made love I cried, you were so true, so kind and you worshipped every bit of my body even to the big birthmark on my back that I said made me look ugly, you kissed it and called me beautiful; the tears just slipped out then because all the hurt I’ve ever felt just went with that one kiss.
You will read this letter and laugh because you will ask where I got the words but is anything too much for the one you love? I am a Yoruba woman but you have made my heart Igbo, you have made me a believer that tribe is no barrier to love.
I am happy, I am content and someday you will make a great father to our children, oh! How they will adore you. A man after God’s heart, with every kiss, every look you make me whole again. Every time you stare at me as I walk, I blush; like that is an invitation, you move closer, scoop me up in your arms and twirl me around. I throw my head back and laugh so hard with sheer joy. I can’t get over how you make me feel like a porcelain doll anytime I hurt myself, you carry me like I’m the best China on a King’s table, and make so much fuss; most times I get upset and you remind me I am your Obi Diya and if anything happened to you, it’ll be the death of you. Is this luck or favour? It’s hard to believe we argue at all; I feel like a cheat every time I get you upset and you leave the house only to come back with a treat – Nkem! Di m! Asa m! Oh! How I love you? Can you hear the thump thump thump my heart makes? It’s exhilarating. You are a great man Di m and every day, I bless God for sending you my way.
Your Nwanyi Oma,
Tinuola.

TRANSLATIONS
Nkem (My own),
Asa m (Treasure),
Di m (Husband),
Onye obi m di (The one my heart belongs to),
Omalicha nwa (beautiful one), Nwoke nmaranma (handsome man),
Obi diya (husband’s heart),
Nwanyi oma (good woman),
Obi m anchor I gwa gi (my heart wants to tell you),
Obi m anchor I gwa gi (my heart wants to tell you)

Translations done by: Nwogwugwu Daniel Ikesinachi.

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