The stories in this blog are first draft stories with minimal editing, sort of like a practice blog.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Windsong- the awakening

Today is the day I became a woman, my blood stained dress confirmed it to my mother when I got back from the stream. I didn't even know I'd been bleeding, only felt funny sensations between my legs and now my mother tells me I'm a woman.

   What does that even mean? Is the blood the rite of initiation? I don't ponder for long, my mother provides me with rags to place between my legs and demonstrates how to use them. It doesn't even occur to me to ask her why I'm bleeding or have become a woman by this flow of blood. This is 1949, Nigerian teenagers were still dumb- mothers had it good those days, don't you agree?
     When my father comes home from work, he demands that a cock be killed for me. I got to eat the jaw (as the Ada) and a whole thigh of the cock, my younger siblings were green with envy. After the meal my father called me to his hut and asked me to sit on a stool.

   I wonder what I could have done to warrant him to ask me to his hut which he claimed was a taboo for a person with only two legs to enter. I gingerly sit down, fear making my movements stiff and jerky. My father is a powerful man in the village, he works in the mission and was close to the white priests. He usually served as 'taplita' (interpreter) and translated the priests rapid fire English into the pidgin-English-Igbo mix that was spoken in my town.

     "Congratulations on becoming a woman" says my father, "I'm sure you're wondering why I have called you here tonight". I don't answer, my father would have been shocked if I'd replied. He continues "this is a day your mother and I have looked forward to for a long time, the day you'll become a woman and therefore start a new life for yourself. I don't know if your mother has told you this, when you were born you were betrothed to Maxwell- Ibeneme's son."

     I'm surprised at this news, Maxwell had never shown special attention to me when he was in village rather he was always teasing Uzoamaka the blacksmith's daughter. Uzoamaka had had all the men drooling over her before she married Ichabod the teacher, she had big buttocks and big breasts, maybe that was the attraction- I could be wrong though. I suddenly wondered if Maxwell knew about our betrothal before he travelled to the city where he worked with my elder brother Samuel, and what he thought of it if he'd known about it.

     My father's voice brings me back from my musings "Ibeneme has been pressuring me to send you to his son so he doesn't marry a city girl, but I have been waiting for you to mature a little more before I send you to him. Do you remember when Ibeneme came here with his kinsmen just after the cocoyam harvest? They came  to pay your bride price, you're Maxwell's wife now. Go and prepare for your journey to join your husband". I thank him, my only words in the conversation and find my way to the main house.

      My father's house is the only cement covered house in my town, as befitting the taplita. However the man still loved living in his mud hut, I'm sure he loved the solitude the hut afforded him. As I walked into the house I find my mother waiting for me in the sitting room.

  "Has he told you?" I reply in the affirmative. "Do you have any questions?" Shock at her question freezes my tongue, I barely manage to shake my head. "I'm glad you're not afraid" she continues "marriage is a normal thing a woman will go through, I have no fears that you'll disappoint me. I've taught you everything that you need to run a home, and you learnt how to sew and other of the white man's ways at the domestic center. You cannot say we have failed to prepare you". There's so much for me to take in, I thank my mother and find my way to my mat.

  A week later Onuchie came back from the city, he's a friend of Maxwell and my brother. I don't need to be told that I'd be going back with him. My father calls me into his hut that evening, two times in less than a fortnight, this should have entered the Guinness book.

    "Tomorrow you are to follow Onuchie to the city, you'll live with your husband from now". Again I thank him and head to the house to meet my mother, I tell her I'm going to join my husband the next day. "I know" she replies. I notice her fists, she's clenching and unclenching them, a sure sign that she's controlling her emotions. I kneel down and ask her to bless me. We cry a little by the time she's done. After that I go to find my siblings and tell them I'm leaving the next day, the tears flow freely, we know we won't see each other for a long time. After calming them, I go to my mat and try to sleep.

   Tomorrow is going to be a long day.


  1. I can't wait to see what happens when she meets Maxwell.

    Well done, Adaeze...very engaging and captivating. I love historical romance and Nigeria pre-Independence is also one of my favourite times. Jis'ike, nne.

  2. I can't wait to see what happens when she goes to the city to meet up with Maxwell.
    You really know how to draw people in and most importantly, keep them wanting more.
    Well done.


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