Cuba Ukoh was born and raised in Jos, Nigeria. She is a final year
student of English and Literature at the University of Abuja,
Nigeria. A female aspiring writer who savours the melody and passion
Here is her winning story: The New Word
was at first thrilled to learn a new word, divorce.
The next day at school he explained to his best friend Ginica that it simply
meant one thing; he would soon have in addition to his Parents, a new Daddy and
Mummy. Therefore it would be four times the attention, the toys and the pocket
money to buy more sweets, even for Ginica.
And she concurred telling him he was a lucky boy.
Udi’s Parents argued countless times in court, the arrangement was settled. Udi
would spend weekdays with his Mother but from Friday’s to Sunday’s he belonged with
his Father who now lived in another house. Udi hadn’t realized this sort of
arrangement could come along with divorce but he consoled himself. After all, didn’t it mean he would now have
hated his new Daddy from the first day they met. The man had a stiff square
pout to match his annoying voice. He changed the TV channels sporadically and
never gave him money for sweets.
when Udi whistled at night his new Daddy struck his head with his knuckles and told
him he was stupid if he didn’t know that whistling at night was the language of
hooligans besides the fact that it attracted evil spirits.
Udi always used to whistle that way with his Mother yet rather than revolt, she
nagged, “Udi will you keep shut!”
next day by his school gate, Udi’s Mother bought him his favorite biscuits then
hugged him tight against her heart. Cupping his face in her palms she coaxed, “Nwam,
don’t you want your new Daddy to marry me, don’t you want me to marry again before
your Father, eh, if you love me don’t whistle again at night.”
didn’t like how this divorce thing was unfolding. It was starting to look like
he wouldn’t be sharing four parents, like he was supposed to pick who to love. He
agreed not to whistle again because he loved to make his Mother happy. He would only whistle on weekends now.
was a Friday, but Udi stood perplexed by the school gate for almost an hour.
His Mother’s stall was just a street behind and his Fathers’ house was walking
distance too, but he wondered who to show his test result to first, who would be more lenient. He had never
done so poorly. Eventually, he heeded with the
law of divorce.
by his Father’s front door Udi began to shiver. His class teacher Aunty Caro had
already arrived to tell his Father the bad news. So this was what happened when you failed a test!
“Oh! it’s Friday,” his Father squinted on
said the startled teacher.
I’m sorry I failed the test!” Udi blurted in tears
Caro hurried and snatched the paper, “Oh, I must have given you Ummi’s script.”
She said stuffing it into her purse, “So this is your boy, he’s so bright!”
didn’t know you taught his class?” Said Udi’s Father
was transferred last month.” She smiled stroking Udi’s head, the same head she
had given a fierce knock earlier when he failed his mathematics class work yet
made a beautiful lunch Udi.” Her shaky lips managed to smile.
very next day, Aunty Caro gave Udi a new test script in which he scored an
impressive eight out of ten. He smiled at his new Mummy.
Labels: 2012 International Essay Contest, CREATIVE WINGS SHORT STORY COMPETITION 2012, Cuba Ukoh, Second Prize winner, The New Word