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No Longer At Ease
by Chinua Achebe
Clara Okeke Timeline and Summary
Clara and Obi fight over going to see a film, and Clara accompanies Obi to his friend Christopher's house. The book flashes back to Clara and Obi's first meeting. Clara is unimpressed with Obi's dancing skills, and limps off after he crushes her feet. Clara doesn't recognize Obi when she meets him again on the boat to Nigeria after they have both graduated. She brings medicine to all the passengers who are seasick. She's a nurse, after all, but somehow it makes Obi think she's has feelings for him. Or it makes him have feelings for her. When Obi declares his love for Clara, she tells him he's being silly and will forget about him by morning. Then she kisses him. Months later, Obi and Clara's relationship is established. The night Obi gets a car, the two go for a drive. Clara is clearly worried about something but doesn't want to talk about it. Obi insists. He reflects about how he really loves her, and he's never really loved a girl before –always thought it was absurd, in fact. Finally, Clara says she cannot marry him. Obi is upset and he doesn't understand, until Clara explains: she's osu. Obi insists they can get married anyway. The next day, Obi uses his clothing allowance to buy Clara an engagement ring. At Clara's insistence, he also buys her a Bible, which is apparently part of the engagement custom. Then they spend the afternoon shopping. Clara comes home when Elise Mark is there, just after Elise has offered to sleep with Obi if he can get her an appearance before the Board. Clara's a pretty cool cookie. She doesn't blink an eyelash, seeing another woman in her fiancée's apartment. But she does apologize later for spoiling his good time. After she hears the story, she tells Obi that he was too hard on Mr. Mark. Her reasoning is that offering money is not as bad as offering your body. Clara gets mad at Obi for thinking he couldn't ask her for help when he discovered his car insurance bill. She sends him fifty pounds the next day and tells him to cancel the bank draft. She and Obi go dancing that night. While they're in the nightclub, somebody enters their unlocked car and steals her fifty pounds. Clara breaks up with Obi so that she doesn't come between Obi and his family. Obi coaxes her back to him by claiming that the real reason she doesn't want to marry him is because he's bad with money. When Obi returns and says they need to just lay low for a while, Clara knows what he really means. She gives Obi his ring back and says there is something else, but she'll figure out a way to take care of it. At the abortion doctor's office, the doctor asks Obi why he doesn't marry Clara. Clara says she has no interest in marrying Obi. Clara's abortion turns septic and she ends up in the hospital. Clara returns Obi's letter of apology to him, unopened. Clara leaves Lagos when she gets out of the hospital.