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Prayers Unanswered A Short Story

Hi Everyone, this is could be read as a “stand alone story” but is also a continuation of Prayers Unanswered -1. If you can, please read it here first. Thank you!

 

The Story…

Afamefuna was trying not to stagger as he walked home. He was drunk, he had not expected to be out this late or to drink this much palm wine. But was glad there was a full moon unless he might miss his step and fall to the ground. What a shame that would be.

He was returning from the ezinta shrine. Desperation had driven him to the dreaded ezinta. But Afamefuna was not ill,  had gone to ezinta because he had overheard Okoro say that his wife had finally been cured of her bareness after a couple visits to ezinta. Afamefuna had gone to see if his case could be helped.

Afam was a peaceful and fairly prosperous man, he believed in the potency of his chi who always protected him from danger.  In return, he tried to keep his hands off evil and thrived that way.

Many years ago, he had met Nwakego on her way back from the stream. In those days, he was still a growing farmer and made his money from helping older men cultivate their lands. They would sometimes repay him with healthy yam seedlings which he would then plant in his own land.

The first time he had seen her, she was going to the stream with her sister. They laughed and talked as they walked pass him. Deeply engrossed in their discussion, they had not noticed him standing there like he had been pinned down by some powerful force. His mouths slightly ajar, his eyes fixed on her.

She was beautiful, she radiated with a glow that seemed to come from inside her. Her small eyes darted back and forth between her sisters as she laughed. Her smile seemed to ignite a fire in his belly.

They walked past him without a second thought and he wondered why he had never really seen her before. He knew her family well, he had worked on her father’s farm land in the last planting season but he never really paid much attention to anything else.

Standing on the road that led to the stream, on his way back from Uzumia’s plot of land. He decided that he was going to take that girl as his wife.

He would later succeed in convincing her to like him, it wasn’t easy. Nwakaego had been extremely shy and withdrawn in the first months after their marriage. She would hardly smile for him, only becoming lively when her sisters and her friends came to visit. But he didn’t mind, he was deeply fond of her and cared for her regardless. But as time went by, like a blooming flower, she began to open up to him and they soon truly became one.

In those days they lived in peace, Nwakaego seemed to already know what her husband loved and expected from her. In return, he always knew how to make her smile. He loved to make her smile.

But as time went by, her smiles once again started to fade. The thorn of childlessness had taken up residence in her heart, causing her permanent discomfort. He had tried to pacify her, but nothing he would say could bring her any comfort. She would cry herself to sleep, only to resume crying in the morning. She would spend her days at the shrine of the goddess ani, bathing in the sacred river.

But month after month, her heart would break anew. In those days, she became like a shadow of herself – devoid of vibrance and fading away. Her pain was evident and it saddened Afamefula.

But the real blow came a few years later, after he had succumbed to the pressure being mounted on him by this family and taken a second wife.

Afam was the only son of his aging father who had started to request for grandchildren shortly after his marriage. He did not despise his daughter-in-law, if Afam wanted to keep her in his house to cater for her despite her inabilities to bear children, it was up to him. But he insisted that Afam take another wife. A real woman that would bear him children – sons that will ensure continuity of this lineage.

Afam had married Ogonma and in no time, she had started to bear him children- sons and daughters alike. Nwakaego had tried to bury her grief in the early days. She had helped Ogonma in the days when the pregnancy had overweighed her and in the days that followed the birth.

All the while still hopeful and praying to the mother that she would bless her with children of her own. In those days, the cries of a child brought her hope. But as time went by, the cries and laughter of the children seemed to gnaw at her heart and further twist the thorn of childlessness that had taken permanent residence in her heat.

Afam tried in every way he could think to bring her happiness and make her smile. Nothing seemed to work. Nothing he did or said could penetrate the cloud of grief that had descended on her.

Eventually he stopped trying, grief had taken over her heart. There was no room for anything else. His heart broke for her, this was not the life he had planned for the both of them.

Today as he dragged himself home, heavy from all the palm wine he had consumed. He prayed, he bargained with the gods in his mind as he stumbled home

“Let her have one child, let her belly swell with one child. One will be enough. Let this work, let her have one”

He sighed.

He was getting desperate, Ogonma was growing wilder with each passing day. She has been trying to take Nwakaego place. Even once suggesting that she should be sent back to her father, calling Nwakaego a man. He had hit her across the face without hesitation, he was furious. Rage burned from deep within his belly. Tempted to hit her again, he had wanted to stomp the life out of her.

But he had walked her out of his obi instead. How dare she say such a thing? Nwakaego had been like a mother and a sister to her. In the days when she was first married to him, he had no interest in her. She was still very young and Nwakaego had taken her in and cared for her, teaching her everything she knows. And this is how she plans to repay her- to dethrone her.

She has never mentioned sending Nwakaego packing again, but now she complains about everything every chance she gets.

Afam knows that it is only a matter of time till his people will take her side. This is why he had gone to ezinta despite his disdain for that place. The villagers believe that the children that ezinta called forth were children of evil that had been cast off by the mother. The rumours prevailed after Obidiah was raped by her young son.

Everyone recalled that she had been married nearly five years with no children and had borne her son-Ekelia after she had gone to the ezinta shrine for cleansing.

But desperation had made a home in Afam’s heart and had guided his feet to the shrine.

He was nearing his compound now, the moonlight illuminated the compound.

The soft breeze carried up chars from a fire that had burned in front of Ogonma’s hut. He would have to rebuild that hut, what she wants is to trade places with Nwakaego but he would not permit that.

The assurance that the priestess at ezinta shrine had given him seemed to dissipate with every step as he neared his home.

A lantern stood at the entrance of Nwakaego hut. The low light partly illuminated the hut. His heart sunk a little further at the thought of how cold and detached she had become.

But he didn’t blame her, life had dealt her a hard card. He touched his waist and heaved a sigh as he felt the potion the priestess had given him. He knew convincing her to take it won’t be difficult. She had suggested they pay a visit to ezinta shrine a few years ago but he Afam had refused to go.

 

Things were different now, this was his last choice. He was inside his compound now and heading straight for her hut. He could not see her yet but he knew she was there. Waiting for him

 

August 14, 2017 2 comments
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When I woke up this morning I knew I was going to die today.

I had woken up before my alarm clock went off, it was still dark outside. The room was quiet the only sound was the constant ticking of the clock in the hallway.

It wasn’t a dramatic revelation like the actors on stage make it out to be. There was no voice over and there was no background music to give a sense of what was to come.

It was just a simple, slow yet steady awareness in the back of my mind.

Today will be your last”

I felt my feet go cold as a shiver ran down my spine. There was a sudden feeling of stuffiness in my chest and I realized I wasn’t breathing, I had been holding my breath all this time.
I gripped the side of my bed as I tried to calm myself

“You are having a panic attack, that’s all. You will be fine. Breathe”

Eventually, I calmed myself and was able to go back to sleep.

When my alarm woke me up a couple of hours later, I had forgotten all about my midnight panic attack. I was fine, until I was about ready to leave the house.

Once again that slow yet steady voice chirped in

“Last coin today, spend it wisely”

I froze. Determined not to have another attack I willed myself out the door and into the streets.

Once outside, I was convinced that something was wrong. It seemed like I was staring at the streets through an old blank and white TV. Like someone had drained all the color from the earth.

“What’s happening? Is this a joke?”

I stumbled over a man walking his dog. I couldn’t keep straight.
I tried to act normal, people where starting to stare.
I ducked into a nearby coffee shop and sat away from the window. I needed to clear my head. I must be going crazy

“or maybe you are just dying”

Surprisingly this time there was no quiver, there was no panic attack. There was nothing. There was less than nothing, emptiness.

Somehow, even though I can neither explain how nor why, I had always known that I would get a heads up before I died.

“so why are you so shocked?”

Suddenly everything lost its meaning. Earlier I had been worrying about meeting deadlines and finishing projects. None of that mattered anymore.

I was surprised by the sense of peace that seemed to wash over me. I resolved to spend this day, “my last day” doing all the things I absolutely loved while I awaited my grand exit.

For the first time in a long time I felt light and in control. I reached for my cellphone, but thought against it.

“No cell phones today”

I dropped it back in my bag and walked out of the coffee shop.

“Keep your eyes open!! open your eyes”

The words seem to drift towards me from far away, like when a person is overhearing a conversation thru a vent.
I opened my eyes and realized I was on my back and I couldn’t move. Someone was pointing a flashlight in my eyes, there was a ringing in my ears. A doctor was running towards the gurney that carried me while a nurse was trying to put a needle in my arm.
Consciousness was slipping back into me.

I looked around, trying to remember what had happened. Then I saw it him and everything came flooding into my mind. I felt my head going soft from all the weight of the memory. I couldn’t stay awake, like my mind was desperately seeking to escape all that was happening.

“I guess this is it, I guess I’m dying”

Then I blanked out again, except it wasn’t the type where everything suddenly goes black. It was the drifting kind, like I was retreating far away from my own mind, from everything.

I don’t think I ever came back.

The doctors say I was hit by a bus as I stepped out of the coffee shop. They say I fell to the side-walk and banged my head pretty bad. They tried to save me but even their best attempts have left me catatonic. I do not remember much of anything. Even in my most lucid moments I only feel the fresh taste of the wind outside the coffee shop and then I see his face, they say he’s the bus driver.

I am here always, I try to leave but my legs won’t carry me. I can hear all they say and I respond when they talk to me but they don’t hear me. It feels like it’s just me and the voice. The voice didn’t leave.

“Now you are dead”

This isn’t what death is supposed to be.

Maybe this is the death I deserve.

July 26, 2017 3 comments
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It’s liberating when you hold me,
pin me down with your strong hands
rampage my flesh with your tongue.
Your hungry eyes take in every inch of my body
neck kisses, kisses on both lips.
I’m curling my toes as my streams open for you
I am your siren and you are my sailor.

 

It’s engulfing when you feel me up
take me and rock me back and forth.
I am staring in your eyes and I see our souls connect
We are reaching for new heights

 

It’s exciting to yearn for the peak
dig your nails into my skin and draw my blood
bound by blood and sweat
we ride the waves of my river in search of our crown

 

It’s divine when you grunt and shiver
we have found it and it’s ripping thru your body
you are in your purest form
I drink from your purity
It is beautiful to watch

 

It’s depressing to watch you hit the bottom
you pull out and away from me-
body and soul.
I feel the disconnect
The twinkle is gone, no longer your siren
You’ve already set sail

 

-Ifunanya

 

Set Sail II Poetry

July 22, 2017 0 comment
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By the way, I tried to dye my hair again today and it didn’t work. I couldn’t get it right
I’ll try again by the end of the month.
I want to get a cartilage piercing but I am too scared.
I miss the days when I was a lot less fearful and more spontaneous.

 

“You tried to do it yourself?”

 

Yes.
That’s how I got my second piercing, I wanted to do it and I just did it.

 

“You are in a different state of mind right now.
“Thank God you aren’t scared of writing also”

 

 

Well I am actually
I am afraid of not being liked
That’s why I need to go back to doing things my way and being okay with it.
Like dye my hair.
Get more piercing.
Dress how I like.
I don’t know if its a getting older thing

 

“This too has a hand or two in it”

 

This is the warning we ignored. The bridge we said we’d cross when we got to it.

LoL

Bright eyed and bushy tailed we didn’t listen, we ignored parts of it.
The full picture is rather uneventful and terrifying
Life gets us all in the end

 

 

“I guess we shouldn’t let it then
Although it doesn’t matter if we let it or not, we still shouldn’t let it”

 

I think we shouldn’t try to fight it
It’ll absorb all your energy and still get you in the end, so whats the point?

 

“True.”
“So all we can do is preserve our best parts so we can spend them wisely
plant them in fertile soils so they’ll grow and survive us.”
“We need to start planting already”

 

I guess so
That way even when you are burnt out you’ll still have shade from the trees you planted in the past.

 

 

July 15, 2017 0 comment
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I visited Nike Art Gallery a while ago. Since then I have literally been unable to find the words to describe it. So I will put it quite simply; I was blown away.

Art is that one thing I personally have an insanely high regard for. As a creative that is forever struggling to express herself correctly, I always marvel at any completed work of art. It is inspiring to know that it is possible to communicate your thoughts and vision so precisely that everyone else can see it.

So naturally I quickly scheduled a visit to the gallery as soon as I was in town and let me tell you it was overwhelming. There were so many beautiful, amazing, diverse and insanely creative works of art.

Let me tell you how bad it was; I spent the whole day there and I forgot to take photos. Luckily I had taken a couple on my way in. Also, when I came out from it(yes, it was like a high) I was able to snag a couple photos.

Did I mention that they had to beg me to leave? I will certainly be going back as soon as I can.

You see that horse beside me? And that Baphomet looking one at the back there? Made completely from tires! How insane is that??
            The inside is remarkable!! Everywhere you turn you will find beautiful art.  There are three floors and every corner is packed full of amazing artworks of different kinds. Like I said, overwhelmingThe white walls are a canvas of their own and help highlight the beauty of the individual paintings and sculptures that grace them.

I feel like I have barely scratched the surface, and truly I have. There is so much more that I would like you to know about this place and yet words fails me. So I urge you, if and when you can go and see it for yourself.  Also please find time to read the story of the remarkable Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye, the mastermind behind the gallery.

 

 

 

If you have any questions or comments, if you are planning a visit and need more information please send an email to hello@sunlightdreamer.com and I will be sure to assist you any way I can.

July 7, 2017 3 comments
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It was a cold night; the sky was devoid of stars. It seemed to her like even the stars understood the magnitude of the occasion. The darkness seemed to have come with a cloud of absolute silence, only broken occasionally by the whimpering of young girls.

Nkechi sat on the only vacant stool in the waiting room area, she couldn’t put all her weight on it because it was missing a leg. It was uncomfortable but it was better than standing. By the time she had arrived, the place was packed full of girls. She seemed to be the oldest girl there, some of the girls turned and surveyed her with a smirk. She wondered how they could manage to be condescending at such a time.

Looking around she was relived to find that she didn’t recognize any of the girls there, for some reason that comforted her. She wanted to be alone with her thoughts. It was finally time “do it and get it over with” she kept telling herself. She was here now, counting down the seconds till it was over. Convincing herself to go thru with it had not been easy, the hurt and the loss she had felt from her first visit to this place was forever etched in the walls of her heart. The last time she was her, she had watched Okwuchi her twin sister die.

They had come here together three years ago for what should have being their introduction into womanhood. The prospects of becoming “full women” excited them and they had anticipated it in the beginning. They had always known that there was going to be a bit of pain involved but they didn’t mind. Everyone agreed that the pain was their ticket to womanhood and so it was to be accepted in good faith. But towards the final moments leading up to the actual ibi ugwu, fear and hesitation started to creep up Nkechi’s spine. Okwuchi had noticed this and decided to go in first in an attempt to pacify her, she was always the brave one.

That would be the last time she would see her sister alive. Even now nearly three years later, Nkechi still heard the screams and saw the blood most nights when she closed her eyes.

Everything had happened so fast that night, each time she tried to replay the events of that night in her mind she could not make sense of it. Something had gone horribly wrong. When she heard Okwuchi’s screams from inside the room she had immediately run to try to help her sister. Nothing could have prepared her for what she was about to see. Her sister lay on the mat convulsing, the mouth guard had come lose, she called out to her but she wouldn’t respond. Okwuchi was shaking vigorously, there was blood between her thighs. Nkechi started to scream and reach for her sister but was carried out of the place by one of the attendants. The next time she would see her sister was just before she was to be put in the ground.

Everyone said agreed it was a strange thing that happened, deaths were not commonplace during the process. For a while people shook their heads and frowned their faces as they talked about what had happened that night. Eventually everyone carried on with their lives, no one really understood what had happened or why it happened.

She had vowed never to return to that dreaded place.

But here she sat barely three years later, waiting in line to go into the room that had snatched her sister’s life.

 

“who will marry you Nkechi?”

“Don’t you want to give birth smoothly? Or you want to be giving birth to ogbanje?”

“You want to bring disgrace to this house and I will not let you”

 

Her mother had forcefully brought her here today and was waiting outside to make sure she went thru with it. She felt powerless, thoughts of running away filled her head but there was nowhere to run to.

She quickly wiped the tear drop that escaped her eyes and took a deep breath. Crying was pointless, she had resolved to do it, Okwuchi would want her to be brave and obey Mama. That same moment a woman emerged from the long corridor and held out a hand to her, it was almost as if they were eager to get it over with before she changed her mind.

She took the woman’s hand and stood up, fear and sitting uncomfortably for a long time had crippled her, her feet felt like dead tree logs attached to her body.

“maybe I will get to see okwuchi, I have missed her terribly”

she thought to herself as she half dragged, half willed her feet behind the woman.

Inside the room there was another woman sitting by a mat, she seemed to be waiting for her. At the corner of the room were two sobbing girls, they were being attended to by another woman who was giving them something to drink.

Being inside the room brought back the painful experience of the last time and she thought about running again but took a step forward instead and lay on the mat.

Not knowing what to expect she closed her eyes and braced herself for what was to come….

 

 

July 4, 2017 2 comments
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hippy-logo design

A short while ago, I once again found myself at a place i like to call The Nowhere Place. Sometimes I suddenly find that I have arrived The Nowhere Place, other times it is a gradual process. One thing is for certain, it is not a fun place so I always strive to spend as little time as possible there.

Waking up to find myself in the nowhere place again, I knew I had to find my space rocket, the one thing that was guaranteed to get me out in no time; learning, art, design. To put it simply, excitement!

When I was younger, I fared well with drawings and designs but with a paper and a pencil, if you know me at all then you might agree that I am a bit of a dinosaur-set in my ways, reluctant to change and doubtful of new

Flower power samplethings so as you would imagine, digital art form of any kind never resonated with me.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, with the help of a dear friend I got on the digital art band wagon. A couple of YouTube videos and pep talks later I started to try my hands at it and I think I haven’t fared so badly.

 

These are a couple of the things that I am most proud of.

Flower power sample design

As a peace-loving, tree-hugging, hobo, I naturally started with something that embodies it. It was also pretty simple and easy to make.

Enix logo

I also tried to redesign the logo for Enix Pets my pet care service brand. Its horrible I know, the original is way better.

 

 

go express sample design

go express sample

When you keep having delivery service troubles, you cant help but wonder if things would be better if you ran your own delivery company.

Samurai Jack Sample

Comp card sample design

Comp card sample design

Made a complimentary card design for my sister. She loved it, although looking back now I am certain I could have done a much better job with it.

 

Five-Star-revised design

Five-Star-revised design

I even entered a logo design contest, I didn’t win but it was certainly a learning experience. I made a couple designs for the contest but I think I like this one best.

Samurai Jack Sample design

Samurai Jack Sample design

Well, It wouldn’t really be complete if I didn’t try to recreate one of my favorite character of all times. This took me a little longer than I would have anticipated and even though it was a first attempt, i kept beating myself up over it. It didn’t look half as good as I would have hoped. But that’s okay, I am certain that I will do a better job next time.

 

I am curious and excited to see how far this will go. I have not been able to pay as close enough attention to it as i had planned but I will keep trying to carve out time.

July 1, 2017 1 comment
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Ndidiamaka tried to stifle a smile, but she was ecstatic and it showed despite her attempts to hide it.

The ruling had been in her favour, she was the happiest she had been in a very long time. She looked over at her husband downcast and almost in tears, she felt a flash of sympathy towards him but it disappeared as quickly as it had come. In truth, she did feel bad for him but she was happier for herself. Inspite of everything she had always felt responsible for her misfortune, it was only in this moment that she had finally let herself be free of all the guilt.

Looking back now she would never had believed that a day would come when she would put her own feelings before his.
But the day had finally come and she couldn’t be happier.

Ndidiamaka had met her husband 17 years ago at the wedding of mutual friend, the sparks had flown instantly and from that day they became inseparable. Two years later they got married, it was to be the beginning of a wonderful fairy tale life for her.
But the first blow came only a few years into the marriage, Ndidi and her husband Obi were returning from the wedding anniversary celebration of an old friend from school, her husband had been drinking like he normally did. She had tried to convince him that it would be better if she drove home, she was in the first trimester of her pregnancy and as such hadn’t been drinking. He had laughed it off and called her an overbearing “man-wife” Against her better judgement she had let him drive, they had suffered a head on collision with a food truck after her husband had spun into oncoming traffic that night.

She woke up at the hospital to find that she had lost the pregnancy and her husband had signed off on an emergency hysterectomy to save her life.

Ndidi was heartbroken, she spent many nights in tears and on her knees in prayer, hoping for a miracle but nothing changed.

Distraught and desperate for a child she pleaded with her husband to consider other possible alternatives to child bearing but he refused them all.

Ndidi was deeply in love with her husband and accepted her fate always hoping that he would someday come around.

By the time they were to celebrate their 10th year anniversary they had become two strangers living under the same room. She was constantly miserable, doing everything she could to get his attention and to get a feel of the love they had lost. Nothing seemed to work, he seemed to retreat further and further away from her.

One day everything changed, he suddenly seized to be faceless ghost. He started to dress better, and be more present. He would come home from work early and proceed to go out for a run. On one occasion on his way out Ndidi caught a whiff of cologne on him.

It was clear something was changing, there was little change in his attitude towards her so she was certain she wasn’t the reason for the change. She tried to talk to him about it but he dismissed her without any answers. She instinctively knew there was another woman in the picture. It took very little digging to confirm her suspicion, he was doing much to hide it.

Desperate to fight for her marriage she stayed on, even when his escapades became glaring she knew then that there was no hope. She threw herself into her work and tried to work the pain away.

One day he returned home distraught and close to tears, he confessed that he had gotten a girl pregnant earlier, he had planned to hide it from her to spare her feelings. But barely a week after the birth of the child, the mother had decided that she didn’t want the baby anymore.

“I don’t know what to do, what do I do with a new born child Ndidi, please help me raise him”

She did not hesitate in accepting to help him raise the child, they met with the birth mother and she signed the documents and handed the baby over to them.
The child felt like hers the minute she held him in her hands, she knew in that instant that her life was about to change forever. Her prayers had been answered.
Her husband suddenly became devout, even more than he had been in the beginning. She didn’t need to work hard to get a smile from him. He became a changed man. It seemed like her family was going to make it out of the deep dungeon It had been flung into years ago.

Everyone was finally happy.

Six months after she had assumed the role of the child’s mother her husband Obi got to the office to find that his wife had filed for divorce. The papers were sitting on his desks.

Confused and in shock he left the office and headed straight home to find that Ndidi had temporarily moved in with her sister. She had left him a note, it read

My heart only had
One thought,
One want,
One need….
Despite all, in spite of all…
All my heart ever wanted was you.
Thank you,
For showing me how wrong I was
Thank you,
For giving me so much more.

Getting the judge to rule in her favour was easy, Emeka had been careless with his affairs. Today the preceding was concluded, she was awarded total custody of the child.

Her sister led her out of the courtroom, she smiled at her son sleeping soundly in her sister’s arms.

June 18, 2017 10 comments
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Nwakaego sat in front of her hut and looked on as Ogonma told her children a moonlight tale. Even though it was already late, the moon was full on this night and the whole compound shone brightly. Ogonma and her children sat warming themselves by the fire while she spoke. She was telling them the story of Mbe and the Lizard.

A long time ago, there was scarcity of cooking salt in Mbe the tortoise’s village. He was then appointed to go and purchase salt from a certain village. The kinsmen blessed him saying “whoever is pursuing you let him die and they all shouted “ise!!!” the tortoise thanked them and commenced on his journey….

 

Nwakego smiled to herself as she listened from a distance, she remembered this particular tale from her childhood. It had been one of her favorite tales, she had imagined a future where she would one day gather all her children by the fire and relay all the tales to them. That was not the future she was faced with right now. She sighed as she slapped off the mosquitoes that sang around her ears.

Mosquitoes seem to be the only companions she could keep of late, she had been disgraced at the women’s meeting for suggesting a possible solution to the stubbornness of the Akambi brothers at the market place. The boys had formed the habit of harassing innocent market goers and even throwing stones at young girls on their way back from the stream. Even Adaora had broken her water pot by accident because of their mischievous acts. Their mother had been quick to remind her that she had no right to suggest anything relating to children’s upbringing as she had no children in her womb. Nwakaego had left the meeting with a broken heart and vowed not to return as none of the women came to her aid as she expected they would.

Just this morning Ogonma her nwunye di had accused her of being incapable of bearing children because of her wicked and cold heart. She didn’t bother trying to explain to her that year after year of praying to ani hoping that each year would be the year that she would receive her own child has frozen off her heart.

She didn’t know how to tell her that Afamefuna their husband no longer came to her hut with any enthusiasm but as an obligation, and that has left her cold.

She didn’t wish Ogomna and her 6 children any harm but she couldn’t muster any joy towards her either. She remembers when Ogomma was just a young shy girl, she had been married to Afamefuna immediately after her first nso and was still unaware of the path of womanhood. She had taken her as her sister and tried to show her the path. In the first year, she had given Obiora his first child Adaora. Nwakaego had celebrated and rejoiced with her, even after she had borne Ikenna the following year and she Nwakaego was still without child. She had celebrated because atleast now the cries of children would be heard in the compound and she had faith that in no time ani would bless her with children of her own.

Now nearly 10 years later ani still turned her back to her and Ogomma had gone from the shy little girl that she raised for her husband to a torn in her flesh, demanding that Afamefuna their husband move her to the outer mkpuke while her and her children move into the mkpuke closer to the Obi.

Afamefuna is reluctant but it is only a matter of time before he will give in. Can she blame him? Ogomma had saved his name from shame and disgrace. It is only for the deep affection he had towards her that has stopped him back from taking her back to her father and demanding that the ngoo be returned as is the custom of their land.

She got up and walked to towards the Obi, she was headed to the sacred grounds where the chi of the house was kept, every day she has come here and pleaded and venerated the ancestors and the goddess ani. Her request was always the same, her feet felt light and removed from her body, like they were acting on their own. She knelt before the wooden idol that represented the chi of Afamefuna’s ancestors and called out to ani goddess of the earth and fertility. Her heart was heavy and tears streamed down her face, she was shocked to find that she still had tears to cry.

After a while she got up and walked back to her hut, by now only the older children sat by the fire. The younger ones had retired for the night. She went into her hut, the lamp that stood at the doorway illuminated the place. It was empty but for the bed at the corner and the few pieces of clothes neatly folded beside it. She made sure the bed was made, she took off her jigida and returned to her sitting position outside the hut.

The night was getting quiet, sounds of laughter and happy children was slowly being replaced by the sounds of insects- the sound of the night.

Nwakaego watched the entrance of the compound expectantly, soon Afamefuna her husband would return and head for her hut. She was hopeful that tonight ani would finally grant her wish.

 

 

 

 

May 21, 2017 4 comments
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Hi Everyone, this is could be read as a “stand alone story” but is also a continuation of The Postponed Wedding. If you can, read it here first. Thank you!

 

Obinna walked down the narrow path that led to Ichie Obika’s compound. It was the eve of his igba nkwu and he was going over to his future father-in-law’s house to make sure that everything was ready. Nnamdi his younger brother walked behind him carrying the keg of palm wine they planned to present to Ichie Obika. They both walked in silence, Obinna was deep in thought. He was happy to see that this day had finally come. He thought about the day he had come to Ichie Obika for the first time to ask for Ogechi’s hand in marriage, Ichie Obika was a proud man and he had feared that they would be turned away but was overjoyed when he and his father had been welcomed into his Obi to begin laying plans for the ceremony.

Nothing could have prepared him for the events that followed, his father had died mysteriously the day after the arrangements were struck and his mother and only sister Amaka had succumbed to kitipka in the years that followed. Okoro’s household once lively and bustling with activities had been reduced to graveyard and a place of mourning. After the death of their mother and sister, Obinna, blinded by his grief had gone to Ichie Obika to call off the planned marriage. He believed the evil that had befallen his father’s house was as a result of his planned union with Ichie Obika’s daughter. Ichie Obika had been very understanding of his circumstance and laughed it off even helping Obinna bury his dead.

“There is no one in your place that will not be driven to madness by the grief you have had to endure, for that reason I will disregard everything you have just said to me”

He ordered his laborers to go with Obinna and help prepare Mazi Okoro’s compound for the burial.

Obinna had not expected Ichie Obika to be so calm and tolerant, he was known for his pride. It immediately quenched the fire that raged inside him and prompted him to apologize to Ichie Obika.

Everything changed after that day, Obinna started to work toward completing the quest he had begun with his father, he started to see Ichie Obika as a father and would often come to him for help and for advice.

Nnamdi was not as tolerant but who could blame him? He had been the one to discover their father’s lifeless body on the farm. In her last days Amaka had called out to him severally but he couldn’t go to her because she had been marked for death by kitipka. She died calling out to Nnamdi, he was convinced that the evil that had befallen them was from Ichie Obika.

“This family has brought this upon us brother, I can not say how but I am certain that they are to blame”

Obinna had cautioned him repeatedly, he was not to say anything disrespectful to Ichie Obika but to express gratitude for his kindness and understanding.

Today as they walked to Ichie Obika’s compound Obinna couldn’t help but wonder if things might have turned out differently for him had he chosen another bride. He tried to focus his thoughts on the event at hand but found himself thinking about Nnamdi’s words.

His mind took him to the story of Ginika, everyone called her Ada mmili. She was a beautiful lady with eyes that shown like the rivers on a sunny day. The story goes that each time a suitor came close to becoming her husband he would mysteriously lose all he had or die. After about a dozen men had tried to no avail, her father sought help from the eze mmuo, it was revealed that she was  to become the ezenwanyi of the river goddess ogbuide. She was to spend her days unmarried and living in the shrine of ogbuide.

“what if Nnamdi has been right all along, what if this is a curse? Maybe I will be the next one to die” Tufi akwa!

He had loved her deeply 10 years ago when he had first set out to marry her but with all that had happened over the years, he had not had a chance to think about love. She had waited for him, as beautiful as she is, she had decided to wait for him and that was all that mattered. The sound of the igba and the oja drifted towards them, they were now almost at Mazi Obika’s compound. Mazi Obika had once again gathered the umunna for a celebration. There was no turning back now, it had to be done. Obinna let out a long sigh as he walked into the compound.

 

 

GLOSSARY OF IGBO WORDS

  • Ada mmili: daughter of the waters. A female child born and set apart for service to the goddess of the water.
  • eze mmuo: high priest
  • eze nwanyi: High priestess of the gods
  • Obi: a large living quarters of the head of the family
  •  Igba: drum
  • igba nkwu:  traditional marriage ceremony
  •  kitipka:  small pox
  • ogbuide: Igbo goddess of water
  • Oja: flute
  • Tufi akwa: God forbid
  •  Umunna: a family gathering of men/kinsmen
May 11, 2017 10 comments
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Ogechi lay in bed with her eyes wide open. It was still very early in the morning, even the cocks were still asleep but she was already done with sleep. One would say that the excitement of the events of the day had stolen her sleep.

She listened to the muffled sounds of the women outside, the umuada were already getting ready for the activities that would take place this day. As she lay in bed listening to them set up extra cooking points and divide the different tasks among themselves her thoughts drifted off.

She was finally getting married, she had long awaited this day. Her mother was happy to see that Chukwu had finally answered her prayers. Her daughter was 29 years old and still insistent on waiting for Okoro’s son despite being so fortunate to still have suitors at her age. But she did, Ogechi was a beautiful woman with a pure and golden heart. Not once has it been said that she caused trouble at the market and no one could say that they had been wronged by her. She was gentle as she was beautiful.
Nwaudo, Ogechi’s mother never disliked Obinna, in fact she liked and accepted him many years ago when he first came for Ogechi’s hand. But she didn’t understand why he had decided to share his misfortune with her only daughter.

Ten years ago, when Ogechi was a ripe age of 19, Obinna and his father Okoro had come and made their intentions known to Ichie Obika and his family. Okoro was a hardworking and upright man and his first son Obinna followed in his father’s footstep, Ichie Obika spoke with his wife and she in turn spoke to Ogechi and they were all in agreement. It was a joyful day; the bride price was agreed upon and a date was fixed for the ewu-nna to be killed and the igba nkwu to be carried out.

Ogechi had been the happiest because she had secretly hoped that Obinna would come before other suitors began to flood her house and convince her parents otherwise and it had happened like she had hoped.

Ichie Obika was a proud and prosperous man, known in all the community for his love for his daughter and so he requested that two goats be slaughtered and cooked for the umunna in preparation of the igba nkwu. He asked Aiziza the best wine tapper to supply as much wine as the men could drink to his compound.
The next day was a day of feasting and merrymaking in Ichie Obika’s compound, the women prepared different meals and the men ate and drank and planned the igba nkwu.

Calamity struck that same day, as the sun was beginning to retire for the day, news reached Ichie Obika’s compound that Mazi Okoro had been found dead on his farmland.

Mazi Okoro had set off to the farm in the early morning to check the work that the laborers had carried out the previous day and had not returned by noon. As the sun was starting to set, Nnamdi his second son had headed to the farm to see what was keeping him and had discovered his lifeless body.
The marriage was put off as there was to be no merrymaking until after the akwamozu and the removal of the akwa ujuu. Ichie Obika had been very understanding as he had thought that once the mourning period was over Obinna would come and finish off what he and his father had begun before his demise.
But Mazi Okoro was a titled man and had to be buried accordingly, a big feast was carried out and for three days people came to his compound to eat drink and sympathize with the family. In the end Obinna decided that they were in no shape for another ceremony and asked Ichie Obika to give him a few months to recover from the expenses of the akwamozu.

That had been nine years ago. In the years that followed, Obinna lost his mother and sister to kitipa. It was rumored that a great evil had befallen Mazi Okoro’s compound but Ogechi refused to marry anyone else as she believed that Obinna was already her husband. She even threatened to run away with him and start a family without imego if her parents forced her to marry someone else.

This saddened Ichie Obika and his wife Nwaudo deeply but they let her be and prayed that their daughter would come to her senses.

Finally, so many years later the scheduled wedding was finally taking place. Ogechi’s mother had let out a sigh of relief and thanked Chukwu for finally intervening in the matter.

Ogechi was happy that she had not given in to the pressure and married someone else, all her friends and even her juniors had been married and had started to bear children but she had become nwunye nna. Sometimes she had worried that they were right but she had faith that Chukwu would reward her patience and endurance. She smiled because everyone had said that she was wasting her time waiting for him and that she would never leave her father’s house would have to eat their words.

But the smile vanished from her face as quickly as it had come, she was overcome with a different worry. It was true that everyone said she still looked like a young maiden but who will be fooled? Who knows if Obinna still cared for her or was carrying on with it as an obligation because she agreed to wait for him? Had she spent her child bearing years waiting for him? What if an evil cloud has indeed descended on Mazi Okoro’s household?

Everyone told the story of Ogomma and Ndubisi who were so in love that they had taken an oath to prevent their parents from forcing them to marry other people. As a result, they had courted a very long time because only when Ndubisi being the child of a pauper had reached his thirties was he able to afford the bride price and a feast. The story goes that they had been so in love during the courtship but Ogomma had died of iba two nights after the wedding, everyone said it was punishment because they had forced the hands of Chukwu in their union.

A cold shiver ran down her spine and she shuddered at the thought of a similar fate befalling her.

“Tufiakwa! Chukwu aju” she said to herself

She had thought that when this day came she would be free of all her worries and thinking. Now she realised that they had been replaced with new worries. There was no way to know what fate awaited her and there was little to be done but wait and find out.

The cocks had started to crow, day light was slowly engulfing the darkness and from her room she could hear that more people were starting to arrive her father’s compound.

“the day they have all being praying for is finally here” she thought to herself as she finally surrendered to sleep.

 

The End.

 

 

GLOSSARY OF IGBO WORDS

Akwa ujuu: Burial cloth worn by the family of the deceased

Akwamozu: Burial ceremony

Chukwu: God, creator of the universe
ewu-nna: The goat that is killed for the men of the family before the traditional marriage ceremony
Iba: fever
Igba nkwu: traditional marriage ceremony
Imego: paying the bride price
Kitipa: small pox
Nwunye nna: translates as wife of father, a nickname given to unmarried women past marriageable age.
Tufiakwa: God forbid
Umuada: a family gathering of daughters, for which the female kinsfolk returns to their village of origin.

May 9, 2017 19 comments
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