BY DOROTHY BUDU-ARTHUR
“No! No! It is hard for me to just accept that regardless of my past you would still love me! My past will forever hunt me! It will always remind me that I don’t deserve you! I am worthless! Kuuku tells me that every time! That I am worth nothing! For a tuber of yam! For a few oranges other men have seen my nakedness! I don’t deserve mercy from you, my Prince. I don’t even deserve your love!”
“Sama! Sama! Trust me! My love for you hasn’t changed. Seeing you in this state rather deepens my love for you! And for every second I feel like strangling that animal! I’ll make sure he pays the price for all the humiliation he’s made you go through!”
“No… He’s just what I deserve! Kuuku is just what I deserve! But I don’t deserve you, Prince Jean! I’m just worthless!”
“Sama… No don’t say that!”
“Please Prince Jean…” Sama said as she got up. “I can’t just accept this! I have to go! I have to go now!”
“Sama! I went everywhere searching for you! I came to settle in this village just to find a way to get close to you, to reveal myself to you and to take you away with me!”
“I’m sorry! I am unable to accept this!” And with that, Sama just rushed out of the hut in tears.
She just could not comprehend the fact that Prince Jean still loved her and came searching for her even after all that had happened. Her guilty conscience would not just permit her to embrace the love of the Prince.
Prince Jean stood there with tears in his eyes as well as he watched Sama go. She was going back to Kuuku because she felt unworthy of his love. But he knew in his heart that he was ready to die for her!
“Where have you been?” Kuuku said with an intimidating tone.
Sama was speechless with fright.
“I… I… I fainted on the farm… And… And!” She struggled to say.
But suddenly, Kuuku held her by her hair then began to pull! “I am not going to listen to any excuse from you! I have been here for hours waiting for you to bring food from the farm! You tried to run again, huh? Huh? I’m taking you to the market square right now! At least someone will trade a meal to have you for the night!”
“No! Please! Please don’t! Please!” Sama begged.
And there at the market square Sama stood again with Kuuku, as some irresponsible men started to bargain to have her for a night. He was prostituting her again. But as she lifted up her head, she saw Prince Jean approaching! Her heart began to pound against her chest.
“A cup of beans!” One man shouted.
“Cocoyam leaves!” another man shouted.
“2 goats!” Prince Jean shouted as well as everyone turned to look at him.
Kuuku began to wonder who this stranger was, why he always appeared every time Sama was being prostituted, and why he always made the highest bid for Sama! Kuuku had never met Prince Jean. He only knew his name as Sama had mentioned him back in their town. But he never got to see the Prince. As such he did not know that it was the Prince who acted as this shepherd and kept giving the highest bid.
“I’ll give you 2 goats! Let me have the girl!” he said firmly.
“No!” One of the men at the market square protested.
“You win the bid every time to have this woman, because what you offer every time is so high, and we can’t beat you! But that is enough! Allow some of us to also enjoy this woman even with the little we can bid with.”
Sama was getting scared. And as Kuuku thought about it he said, “That is very true. I have observed that on 5 consecutive occasions you have been taking her with you because you always win the bid! I have been wondering who you are, since nobody here seems to really know you… No, I’m not taking your goats today! I’m not letting you have her today! I’ll give her to this man who is offering cocoyam leaves!”
“I’ll make it 5! Five goats!” he said again to Kuuku.
The whole place was quiet as Kuuku looked at this stranger who had already increased what he would offer just to have Sama.
Kuuku wondered what was so special about Sama that this stranger wanted to have her every time!
“I said no!” Kuuku said sternly to the stranger (Prince Jean).
“I’m not accepting whatever you will offer today. Maybe next time! But today I feel like allowing another man to have a taste of her!” Kuuku sneered as he turned to look at Sama who was already looking horrified.
Prince Jean was vexed.
©Dorothy Budu-Arthur, 2017