POSTED 04/22/2018 16:28:33
Words couldn’t explain the pain I felt. I clutched my belly like it was a lost-and-found treasure. I think there was blood in my mouth. I really can’t remember. But I remember Adah’s green smile; her smile of victory. I remember Mother running towards me. She lifted me off the floor, scolding Adah.
“’Ana zu nwanne na-ahia?’ Do they buy a brother in the market?” she said.
Adah was my younger sister. She was strongly built and steadfast. She did things men were meant to do like skinning the goat at Christmas and climbing the Oil palm tree. Mother always doubted her origin, for she believed Adah was the result of her love affair with Ikemba, the village warlord. She never really knows.
Adah grew to be strong willed. She grew too bold for a normal Igbo lady. Thus men resented her. Market women cursed her. And Papa always searched for a suitor. Against all odds, Adah married the love of her life, Obika. Obika is known to everyone in the clan for his sweet, melodious music. I thus had this feeling that Adah married his music. I never really knew.
I just came home to see an uninviting crowd in Papa’s obi. That’s strange. Papa is a reserved man. He never brings home too much friends. He never merry too much, even on ceremonies like the okonko. I get more suspense when I see our in-laws. I hear Mazi Ofoebuna’s loud chatter. It isn’t chatter, it’s more of curses. I’m delighted to find Adah in the kitchen, pounding yam like a heartbeat. We hug. And tell stories.
I find out what went wrong. Obika’s family had come to return Adah. They said they couldn’t marry a man. Adah had beaten Obika till he’s face was as smooth a pounded yam. It sounds funny. In Igbo tradition, it’s common to hear a man had beaten his wife. It was a sign of power and influence. A woman beating her husband was nsoala (an abomination). Adah did just that. And I was never surprised. I knew.
Tomorrow, I’m uncertain of what Adah will do. Rumours have it that she wants to be the next king. I can believe such. I see the council of elders spit in the soil. I see Ichie Adindu shout a loud “aru! Abomination!” I see the high priest walk in with disgust written on his face, ready to perform a divine consultation. I see the council fall out in confusion.
And when the moment comes, I’ll be ready to say “She’ll be King.”
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