The godly amorous relationship between Ike and Chika is one that developed over time. It wasn’t the typical love at first sight because, at the time, both were fully immersed in their studies and service to God in the Church. In fact, before Chika began attending the Church, it was rumoured at some point that Ike was maritally involved with a sister from his faculty.
So, after her prayers, Chika goes to have her shower and to get the breakfast ready for herself and her son. She also got ready some snacks that Nnam will eat while in school. Nnam or Nna is a fond name that Chika calls Ebuka. Although it literally translates as ‘my father’, it’s an affectionate name that meant ‘my love, my darling’ to Chika.
Ebuka’s favourite snack is the egged fish, a name he coined for a snack that Ike, his father normally makes for him. It was an invention that Ike came up with during one of those lonely moments when he had nothing to eat in the university; a mixture of several things that normally wouldn’t go together. Well, since he enjoyed the snack, who cares what everyone has to say, right?
After his wedding to Chika, one of the days, he decided to prepare for his lovely wife his bachelorhood favourite snack. Chika appreciated the effort and thought that went into the whole process but not the final product. But since she didn’t want Ike to feel bad, she decided to modify the recipe a little… et voilà, the snack transformed into something more delicious… at least for Ike, and edible for Chika.
No one knew what name to give the snack all the while until Ebuka escaped the womb.
One of the holidays when they were taking a mini-trip to the seaside, Ebuka asked, ‘Daddy, are there egged fishes at the seaside?’
‘Egged fish? Yes, darling. I think you’ll see egged fishes there.’ Ike replied, with a little wonder on his face as to what egged fish really means.
‘Are they big and sweet to eat?’ Ebuka continued.
‘I think so, my dear. They should be big and sweet.’
‘Have you eaten them before?’ Ebuka quizzed further.
At this point, Ike didn’t quite know what to answer. He had played along all the while pretending to know what Ebuka was talking about. But he no longer wanted to continue in the lies before he’d be caught. Chika on the other hand was just enjoying the Dad-son conversation while giggling to herself; she knew that at some point Ike would be caught.
‘Daddy, have you eaten the egged fish at the seaside before?’ Ebuka insisted seeing that his Dad wasn’t giving him any answers.
‘Nnam, have you seen an egged fish before?’ Ike responded.
‘Yes, of course Dad. I’ve seen it many times.’
‘Ok my son, that’s good. And how do they look?’ Ike continued, winking at his wife who was sitting next to him.
‘Well, they look like an egg. But Daddy, haven’t you seen an egged fish before?’ Ebuka quickly took over the questioning.
‘Ehmmm… ehmm… Nnam, if you’ve seen it then I have seen it too, right?’ Ike babbled.
‘Yes, of course Daddy. We always see and eat them together.’ Ebuka insisted.
It was at this point that things began getting a bit curious. An innocent conversation was now turning into suspicion of several episodes of possible demonic possession in the dream or something.
‘Where did he see these creatures? Who gave them to him? How was I there with him? Is anyone giving him something at school? Is this some demonic initiation in the dream using my face? What’s really happening?’
These and many more questions were going through the minds of Ike and Chika when the voice of Ebuka interrupted again. But this time, with an answer that pleasantly shocked them.
‘Daddy, you made them yesterday and I even have one in my bag.’ Ebuka unzips his small rucksack and pulls out his favourite snack.
‘Ah ok. Yes, my son. Yeees… yees… yes. There are plenty eggs… egged… eggy fishes at the seaside, and we also have some in the cooler.’ Chika and Ike chorused, heaving a deep sigh of relief. That is how the name was birthed.
So, Ike made it a routine to prepare these snacks every weekend. He’d make five or six sets that’d last for the whole week.
The process of making egged fish is quite a stressful one for anyone setting out to do it for the first time. Chika initially wasn’t interested in learning it, but when circumstances changed, she knew that if she wanted Ebuka to remain happy, she had to do it.
Egged fish is made from freshly mashed boiled potatoes, butter or cheese, milk, salt, pepper and fish. Firstly the potatoes are peeled, then boiled. While they boil, a mixture of a small amount of water, milk, butter or cheese is made. Then a pinch of salt and pepper are added to the mixture.
On the other hand, some fresh eggs are broken, and their contents emptied into a small bowl and turned. When there are many eggs available, Ike would add them directly into the stock. Else the eggs served for decorating the external part of the snack before baking.
Next, the freshly boiled potatoes are mashed, and a handful of flour is added to make the potatoes more consistent. Afterwards, the stock is added little by little, kneading at each addition until a thick, semi-solid paste is formed. It’ll then be the turn of Ike’s magic fingers as he shapes the dough into ovoid or egg-shaped structures.
Next, he bores a small hole at the top through which he inserts some pieces of cooked fish. And finally, he rubs some liquid egg on the external part of the snack and positions them on the frying tray that goes inside the oven. Once they are done baking, they’re made to cool and later stored away in a cool place.
While Chika warmed the snacks in the microwave, the 6 am alarm rang and she went to wake Ebuka up.
‘Nnam, it’s time to wake up to pray and get ready for school,’ she says, while gradually peeling the layers of blanket that covers him.
Ebuka stretches himself, slowly opening his eyes. ‘Mommy, good morning.’
‘Good morning my handsome son. How are you doing and how was your sleep?’ Chika responds.
‘Mommy, I’m fine. Can I sleep a little more?’ he asks
‘Nna, no. You’ll sleep after school my dear,’ she responds
‘But Mom, it’s only 6 am and school opens at 8 am. Please just 30 minutes more.’
‘My dear, no. Before we get done praying, have you shower, get dressed, eat and walk down to school, it’ll be 8 already. So, get up and brush your mouth while I package your snacks.’ Chika concludes.
Ebuka slowly gets up and walks to the bathroom to brush his teeth while Chika tidies up her documents and other items she’d need for this all-important day, including going through her responses for the interview.
They pray together, eat and walk to Ebuka’s school, a few blocks away from the house.
‘Nnam, Mommy will be late today, so I won’t be able to pick you up after school.’ Chika tells Ebuka as they walk to school.
‘Mommy why?’ Ebuka asks.
‘Mommy has an important appointment today at the office. They want to promote mommy to a higher position. And mommy has worked so hard for this new position. So, I’ll be spending time talking to more people today than other times.’ Chika tries to explain.
‘But Mommy, you can still finish on time before school dismisses. Or you can come and take me to your office, and I’ll wait for you.’ Ebuka insisted.
‘Yes, Nnam. If I finish before school closes, I’ll come to take you to the office. But I have also asked grandpa to come to pick you up in case I don’t finish on time.’
‘Grandpa is coming?!’ Ebuka asks, visibly joyful.
‘Yes Nnam, he’s coming.’ Chika responded.
‘No problem then. You can talk to many people and get the new office while I stay with grandpa.’ Ebuka added excitedly.
‘Guess what Nnam?’
‘What Mom?’ Ebuka says smiling.
‘Grandpa will be staying with us for some weeks. And grandma is also coming over in the next few days.’
‘That’s great! I’ve always wanted to see grandma but I didn’t want to tell you because you’ve been busy. And I didn’t want to disturb you.’
‘It’s alright dear. They’ll both be here for some time. And whenever you want to ask anything, just ask ok?’
‘That’s my son. Alright Nnam, it’s time to go see Miss Ifunanya.’
‘Yes. I love you Mom.’
‘I love you so much Nnam.’
They kiss themselves and say goodbye as Ebuka enters the school gate. Chika picks her bike and cycles to the office. Her office is just downtown, ten minutes away from home.
In case you missed them, here are Chapters One & Two & Three.
Here is Chapter Five. Enjoy.
Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow with a fresh dose of daily inspiration. God bless you. You’re loved.
Room 39 has been a delightful read so far. It’s narrated in such a beautiful and captivating way.
Patiently waiting for the next part!
Thanks so much for reading. I hope you’ll find the next episodes beautiful and captivating too.
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