A private blog for my w-rants, writes and arts.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Abiku



1963
"Our gods are never unfair. They have set upon every one of us a misfortune. Rich, poor, royal, or not, a misfortune must befall you. And isn’t that fair enough? Or how else will the gods feed if our lives were to be fair and sweet? Owu! Dry your tears woman." A bare-chested, grey haired, old man, with independent strands of hair scattered around his chest like the descendants of Owu kingdom across Yoruba lands, and a white, woollen, wrapper, tied firmly around his waist, said from a corner of the shrine. The shrine, an abode of many gods, sacrifices, problems, and blames humans cannot stomach by themselves. The same man who sat in the shrine had told Moriyeba seven years earlier that the gods were not happy with her intended union with Babatunde, and to have a happy union, she had sacrifices to bear. But she had been obstinate, and here she was, begging, that the gods forgive her and spare her child. She had more gloom than clothes on, looking twice as old as her age. She had run from an end of the village to Baba Fatoki's shrine when her son, Kosoko was arrested by a convulsion.


Mori' had become used to these signs. She had watched four children go through the same agony since she became Tunde's wife, and at the end of the convulsing, she had a child to bury. Four times she had seen it before, four yams she had put under the soil. And for the fifth time, her yam had germinated again, and would soon be cut off at its prime like sugarcane. Like a woman whose five children were swallowed by a storm shortly after achieving menopause, Mori's children have only been canes, beating every ounce of happiness she could lay claim to since she became married. After every loss, her husband would console her and put new seeds in her. She, a fertile land would produce again, and would, in the end, lose another fruit of the womb. Some of the children stayed longer in her than they did on earth. She had taken enough herbal concoction to make a river and had been incised more times than footprints were engraved on the bank of the village’s river. Baba Fatoki had sent his apprentices to her severally, to tell her she had sacrifices of atonements to carry with Ifa, but she would often cuss at such emissaries while blaming Baba and his divination for her misfortune.
When she had Kosoko, she had travelled miles away from her village to see a herbalist whose potency was so sharp that it cut trees, while his good works flew on the wings of eagles and ran on the feet of Lions to all surrounding villages. "You can run, but the fate the gods have set for you can never be avoided," the herbalist had told her. He handed to her an iron bangle (aworo) and had told her "this will only keep the spirits at peace for a while, in the end, their interests prevail." And their interest had prevailed that morning, when Kosoko, the only of her child to have made it to the fourteenth moon started convulsing. The earth raised sympathetic dust behind her as she ran from her husband's hut to Baba Fatoki's house. The same man she had sworn to never set her eyes on till she dies had been her last hope for salvation. Baba Fatoki wasn’t surprised to see her.


She had met a woman whose infant was sprawled almost lifeless on the floor. The mother, with eyes sunken like the hollow trunk of a tree that housed too many birds, had had her fugacious joy terminated ten moons after her only child, Atinuke, started shrieking in her sleep, waking up with semen on her sex organ. Baba Fatoki had given both children water from a calabash to preserve their lives till he was done reading out the gods’ instructions to their mothers. “Atinuke escaped from her spirit husband to make you happy because you wouldn’t stop weeping for a child.” He said, before turning in Moriyeba’s direction, “Kosoko is an Abiku that’ll keep coming back to eat up bits of your happiness like termites would feast on wood until there is nothing to eat again. Then he would move on to throw another innocent mother into the pits of sadness.” He took a long pause and looked at both women inquisitively like he was just noticing their presence, before asking, “Are you ready to hear the gods speak?”




2017

A man with thick, round glasses, a crumpled shirt that must’ve been ironed by twenty confused laundrymen, was walking down a corridor, in the company of a beautiful, young woman who was neatly dressed, conducted, and seemed to be his navigator. In front of them was another woman who was walking in hurried steps. The corridor led them to a colourful room full of babies and walls full of baby posters. The neatly dressed woman stepped forward and picked an unclad, neat, chubby child, bursting with life and turned to the man, “Kosoko, we will pick this.”

The man forced a smile as he stretched out his arms to collect the baby. In the infant’s black-and-white eyes he saw his mother from many years ago. And her parting words as he left the village, “Kosoko, go to the city and study the ways of the white man, but remember the gods have a wife for you. Atinuke will be waiting for your return.”


Many years after he left the village, he had found love in the white man’s means of divination – medicine they called it– and in the woman carrying the infant they had come to adopt. His wife had however never tasted pregnancy, not even for a minute since they married twenty years ago. But he wouldn’t blame it on his failure to marry Atinuke; after all, he whom they called an Abiku was now ‘55’.





*Abiku was first published as KOSOKO in WRICON(Writers Connect) quarterly journal, issue 3.

1 comment:

Follow by Email

©Copyright of princelyfawx 2017, All Right Reserved.