“Just a few steps and I’m there”, I tell myself.
The scorching sun and the planting I’ve been doing since dawn has worn me out. My house is not far away but I need to rest my aging body and sore feet.
The children come just as I begin to relax my body on the tree and like always, I ignore them.
They sing and with every noise, I feel like something hit me.
” Could it be shame or my incompetence, or maybe helplessness? “, I ask myself. What I know is that they won’t understand and I pray they never have to.
Uchechi was one of the greatest dancers Onicha-Uku had. When she was on the dance floor, she moved her waist like a recently oiled engine. Her body vibrated and moved to the sounds of the drums. She was a wildfire that got me burning in desire for a taste. Whatever flame her waist failed to emit, her smile emitted.
On the dance floor she was a goddess who turned heads of men and made them salivate in want. She gathered attention to herself like sugar gathers ants. And like ants, we wanted a taste of her sweetness.
There are some paths that become more enticing because they are forbidden, Uchechi was that kind of path. That she was forbidden, made her more alluring and charming, it made her more appealing and I damned the consequences, because I wanted her.
May these children never have wants that will destroy them.
I pretend to get up. This usually chases them away but today, they see through me, they see my weakness, they see how much farm work has taken the strength old age left for me to manage so they don’t go, they keep on singing.
I remember how strong I was while I started taking the path to self-destruction.
I used to go to bushes to fetch firewood for Uchechi’s mother. She called me the son she never had and she showered me with praises. She blessed my generation, one she later deprived me of having.
I remember how strong I was when Uchechi told me the result of our little games at night was growing in her.
Oh, how I jumped for joy.
I remember how strong I was when Uchechi’s father told me months later when I took wine to him that I couldn’t marry her because she was the one chosen to bear the family its sons.
I knew that a family like Uchechi’s who had no male child chose one of its daughters to have children by men to bear the family its sons. It is a custom Anioma villages share. I knew the risks that Uchechi was the chosen one but I walked down this path.
I remember how strong I was when I continued the night games after our first son who is now her father’s first son, the one a huge naming ceremony was done for, the one many people attended and gave gifts to the family, because I was in love with her.
I remember that I was very strong when I held out our second and third sons after their birth, the ones that Uchechi was delivered of before she became an ancestor.
Now these children mock my foolishness and I pray they don’t understand that love and want are two things that can destroy one. I pray they never have to.
Confidence Chinedu Olika is a writer and journalist who has published on various platforms. She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org