The Cleansing Rites – A Short Story Prt 2

My heart pounded fast as I listened to more of mother’s sob. Tears flowed down my check as I wondered whether her resolve not to give in to the rites of having to sleep with her late husband’s brother in order to allow father’s spirit to rest. Would she stand the pressure been mounted on her by his family? It was believed that failure to carry out this rite as was the custom meant that family will be under a curse, which meant more deaths in the family.

Mother had been through a lot. Only the arrival of my brother Obinna gave her relief from the pressures of father’s family. I remembered uncle Ebuka taunted her with the fact that she had no inheritance if she couldn’t bear a son. It was only through father’s support and his refusal to take another wife that gave her hope for the 9years she had to wait after giving birth to me. I finally slept off only to be woken by grandma’s early morning chanting to chi, the family god. I heard her pray that her son’s spirit would find rest in the land beyond. She prayed that chi would drive away evil from her clan. Mother got up at about this time too. Her face was swollen and I knew she hadn’t slept through the night. I greeted her and she answered with a sigh. We both knew it would be another day of sitting down on the mourning mat, receiving sympathizers from all over the village.

Meaning of Word

Cleansing RitesPurification ritual – In the context of this story, a widowhood ritual expected to be performed by a widow in some cultures to wade of certain evil occurrence.

-An excerpt from one of my short stories collection.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

The Cleansing Rites – A Short Story

The circle of cleansing was about to begin again. Now there are three spirits that must rest in peace. I look up to the ceiling where dark cobwebs hanged. A fly was caught in the web and a big spider circled around to feast on its prey. Obinna and I were now as a trapped as the fly. I turned to look at his tear-stained face and then my eyes monitored the rising and falling of his chest as he slept. It was necessary to assure myself that he was still breathing. We were both lying down on the wooden bed with the flat dirty mattress. My eyes went back to the ceiling where the spider had now reached its prey. The voices of the elders mixed with grandma’s plea to the gods to have mercy on our entire clan were now even louder.

I felt a choke in my throat and then fresh tears began to flow down my face. Their voices became distant as my mind traveled to that night I was stirred from my sleep by the whispering voice of my mother. “I won’t do it Ebuka”, said mother. “I’m only trying to fulfill the cleansing rites”, replied Uncle Ebuka. “Please leave now”, mother said in a harsh tone. I heard Uncle Ebuka’s short clipped laughter as he said, “Chinwe, you know the elders have spoken” and I heard his footsteps leaving. Mother started to sob quietly. I laid down not saying anything and my mind went back to the time father was still alive.

– An excerpt from one of my short stories collection.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Dear Diary…Mom’s Tough Visit…TBEE Writes #11

jotterDear Diary I waited anxiously for mom’s arrival. Late into the afternoon, she came knocking on my door. As soon as I heard three gentle knocks that landed so softly in quick successions on my door I knew it was her. Mom knocks the same way on the door of the room I share with my sister. It was easy to quickly clear up whatever little secret thing we had going before she makes an entrance.

“Coming Mom”, I responded in a not too confident voice. When I opened the door she was nicely dressed and looking beautiful as ever in her newly retouched and set hair style. I curtsied like a proper African child and said, “Welcome mom”. She barely smiled and stepped into my room stopping in the middle of the room inspecting it. Her eyes roamed from my bed to my kitchen corner; books lying all over the place. I knew what would come next, “TBEE, you are living in a mess! “So…sorry mom, I was going to clean it up” I said. “Really…when?” she replied.

She did not even wait for me to offer her a seat before going straight to the issue at hand. “Young lady, can you explain what exactly happened in the early hours of this morning?” “Where were you coming from”? Mom reeled out like five questions and at first, I didn’t know which to answer first. Bottom line she wanted a very good explanation for my behavior. I took a deep breath and knew that my only option was to tell her the truth and go straight to the point.

I found my voice somehow and told her that I was coming from an all-night party with the guy I was dating. Mom decided she needed to sit down before responding to what I had said. She pushed some of the clothes on the bed aside and found a space to sit down. We had a long mother and daughter conversation. The gist was a long one but I did get the message that I needed to be careful of how I am living my life now on campus because it could either mar or make my future. Changing dad’s mind about how he felt about the whole issue was still going to be a herculean task even with an understanding mom. I am hoping I can get a soft landing with her help. We both agreed that I have to come home to have a father, daughter talk.

It wasn’t like Mom just accepted things without giving me her own stern warning about this boyfriend of mine…DT she means. She asked in a round about way to find out if I had been sleeping with him to which I didn’t respond to. Then she called out my name repeatedly…“How many times did I call you”, she concluded. I said, three times mom. Hmmm… if you are not ready to have a baby, don’t go doing what brings babies”, she warned.  After she left I was still sober but my friend came visiting and there was at least something cheerful to end my day with.

Catch up on the previous post

Dear Diary…Emotionally disturbed…TBEE Writes #10

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Dear Diary…Emotionally disturbed…TBEE Writes #10

 

I tried so hard to meet the Monday edition of this post but couldn’t…So sorry if you have been following the story of TBEE…Here it is now…Thank you for following.

Dear Diary features on this blog Mondays & Wednesdays

 

jotterThe drama in the early hours of this morning left me shaken. My thought was disoriented as I lay in my bed staring at my pink and blue flowery wall. My beautiful wallpaper which always brought a smile to my face didn’t have the power to do that at the moment.

I was really upset and sad that my dad had caught me right in the arms of my boyfriend DT while walking like two love beds in my tightly fitted mini dress. I was supposed to be in my room in the hostel, sleeping or at least awake cleaning at 6 a.m. on a Saturday like other girls. The disappointed and pained look on my father’s face kept coming back like pictures from a movie scene.

Dear Diary I expected Dad to raise his voice and give me a good lecture about how he had raised me up as a good Christian girl. At home when we misbehaved we usually got lessons from scriptures in the Holy Bible. God help you…if dad was in a good mood you will only have to recite like… ten verses of scriptures if not you are going to write down and memorize like twenty Bible verses. By the time you are done you would have preferred a good spanking to the rigor. It always left you sober but this made us learn verses in advance for the day of “discipline”.

But this morning my dad was different…his eyes said I raised you better than this. As soon as DT sneaked away, I stood there in front of dad expecting the backlash but instead, there was dead silence. Although one or two cars drove past us it felt like we were the only two people standing in the world. Father and daughter stood there facing each other. My head was bowed down in embarrassment but when no words came from my father I had to lift my head to look at him…my eyes were pleading with him to understand that I was young and just wanted to have some fun.

My father made a U-Turn, opened the car door, hopped in  and drove off without looking at me. I stood there in the cold watching as his car sped off leaving a big gap between us. I felt a lump in my throat and wanted to cry but the tears won’t come. I gathered the little strength I had left and forced my feet to move towards my hostel. Exhausted from the all night dancing and emotional drain of meeting dad in the parking lot I slammed myself on my made bed.

You see I love my dad and really didn’t want him to misunderstand me. “I am not a prodigal daughter”…I said aloud to myself. Then the tears flowed down my face. I had a good cry and was not happy. Throughout the day I refused to do my usual Saturday cleaning. I just didn’t have the strength to do it. DT did call to find out how things turned out between me and Dad. I mumbled a few senseless words and he said he’ll come over to check on me later. Now how am I going to settle this mess? An idea came…Yes

Moms always know what to do. When I called mom she had all the details from my dad already. She had just four words for me…”I am coming over”. She sounded even more disturbed than I was. They say a well-behaved child belongs to the father but a bad one is the mother’s headache. Is mom having a headache because of me? Who knows what Dad might have said to her.

Okay, I am bracing myself for the meeting at least I’ll get to explain my side of the story and get her to placate dad. Still waiting for Mum but I have managed to clean up and eat a little food. I better warn DT not to come see me today, I don’t want him and mom to meet o…that would be another saga!

Dear Diary writing this down sort of really calmed me. Now all I have to do is wait.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Dear Diary…Caught in the Act…TBEE Writes #9

jotterAfter the drama at our hostel, it wasn’t uncommon to see girls gather around the general tap while fetching water talking about the unbelievable act. I mean it’s not like fights hadn’t happened in our hostel before but this was definitely taking it to a dangerous level. I mean how does a person deliberately burn another girl with a hot electric Iron! Sheer meanness…! No one is sure yet what the school authority will decide about the girl who did this. Some of us wish she will be expelled because in my mind limiting it to just apologizing felt like saw dust in my mouth…yes, I’ll spit it out! Not in my church mind right now…forgiveness is tough o! Thank goodness the wounded girl lived through it and is recovering. I heard her parents came and took her home. So glad I don’t have a crazy roommate.

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Dear diary I should leave other people’s problems and face my own. You won’t believe what happened to me. How could I have been so careless…I mean I didn’t see it coming or I would have taken the necessary precaution. Now he would never trust me again. Heee… I am in serious trouble not with DT o, in fact, he is the reason why it became an escalated issue. The week had been a very busy one for both of us, lectures, assignments, and tests. So I had insisted that we couldn’t hang out as DT wanted. I mean I can’t afford to carry over any course o!

Well finally Friday came and we decided to go unwind at a campus party. It was all night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I managed to stay sober, no hard drinks for me still, my friends don’t get it neither does DT. Anyway, it would have been a double barrel trouble if I had been drunk when the palaver landed on my laps. So we were returning from the party early hours of the morning and DT was right beside me. Now picture the scenario, two love birds walking through the car park in front of my hostel. DT’s arms were wrapped around me and I leaned on him in my skimpy gown which was by the way strapless. I was tired and sleepy and on one hand, I held my shoes…my feet is killing. There I was feeling like the world was perfect and then right in front of me, he stood. It was a reflex reaction I quickly broke free from DT’s arms, dropped my shoes and stuttered… “Goo…good morning sir”. DT knew immediately that this was big trouble but not for him, though.

Here was my dad standing in front of my hostel a few minutes to 6 a.m. What in the world was he doing here? I screamed inside my heart. DT quickly excused himself on my signal. I was left standing there alone in the morning chilly air facing my dad!!

Haaa…it was not funny, I really don’t want to go into the details of what happened next. Dear diary…maybe tomorrow my heart will be less heavy…Goodnight.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW To catch up on

Dear Diary …A Hostel Riot…TBEE Writes #8
Dear Diary…An Abnormal Day…TBEE Writes #7

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Dear Diary…An Abnormal day…TBEE Writes #7

jotterI am so glad that I can get to sit down and write my thoughts about the day finally. The day was a mixed bag of normal and abnormal or should I say eventful and steadiness. Lectures went well with no drama from any of our lecturers. As a matter of fact, Professor Mark did not show up for his 2 hours class. In the midst of my noisy fellow course mate who had a great time catching up on old gist. I found the period to be a share waste of time I could have used in achieving something tangle. It is not like I didn’t join in, in the chats but I couldn’t help but feel guilty about not using my time to peruse through some of our ever piling lecture notes. Hmmm, exams are just around the corner. We all mimicked Professor’s mannerism of using the words, “open your minds, young people, this is simple”. LMAO…story…story…

How are students supposed to grasp anything tangible when a lecturer won’t come to class as scheduled for the semester and when the exam season comes knocking he’ll fix marathon lectures seven days a week. Such is the case with Professor Mark…some guys in class even said we would boycott his lectures if he dares fix one those ones that start 5 pm and runs through until 9 pm. I am waiting to see if this resolve and plan works out. Why did we sit in the hall for two hours waiting for our dear Prof? To forestall any surprises…Our dear Prof sometimes shows up 15 minutes to the end of a lecture time and simply take attendance…seriously who does that? Very annoying.

Thankfully other lecturers made it to class and we soon forgot about Professor Mark while taking notes. It was a great relieve to get back to my room, alone at last. I am so lucky my room- mate decided to move in with her boyfriend off campus. She pops in once in a while on days he annoys her. I wonder how things are working out between them… She does all the cooking, washing and cleaning for the guy…chei and they are both students on this campus Oh! I hope her education isn’t suffering for the services she renders ……well whatever!

My dear DT came by this evening and we spent a little time together. Yes, I decided to forgive him for the incidence at the joint. I mean he had pleaded with me enough and my friends think I am playing hard to get even though I didn’t tell them the whole story. Well, I don’t want to “shakara” so much that I lose him to another girl. Don’t blame me… A girl has a right to want to keep her man. And oh I have missed him so much…DT has a very good sense of humor so there was a lot to laugh about.

It would have been a perfect evening if I didn’t find myself in the middle of angry girls as I was coming back from seeing DT off. There was serious trouble happening live in our female hostel. I thought that I was watching a movie…

Dear Diary, I am too upset to talk about this now, tomorrow is another day. Goodnight.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Dear Diary…Thanksgiving Turned Sour… TBEE Writes #4

jotterThe incidence of that shootout left me watching my back and steps on campus. No more late night outs for now. Dear diary I did make good my promise to go to the school chapel for a thanksgiving. This wasn’t the type that my extended family celebrated every year where the whole family clan dressed in beautiful native attires with “geles” to make a statement and cover the views of other worshippers who get unlucky to sit behind us in the pews. Then when the Reverend beckons, we all file out to the back of the aisle and dance to the altar.
Now that I think about it, I smile, a family is important and “corporate thanksgiving” as we call it is fun!

thanksgiving

Dear diary did my own personal silent thanksgiving at the chapel go as planned? Hmmm…It was abruptly interrupted! So this morning I got dressed wearing the “bottom of my box”(My best dress) and slipped on my 6-inch heel shoes. Next, I got my dish like hat with that lovely feather I so loved. It was a, “to match outfit”, I was in my elements with my shade of gray flowery gown and magenta pink colored hat. hat-with-feathers

I felt good and most importantly wanted to impress Baba God. I figured that my outward appearance should portray my heartfelt gratitude.

I managed to arrive at the chapel and found a seat in the last row; I was a kind of late. The hymns we sang lifted my spirit and I realized that I actually had missed singing in the church choir back home. Somewhere in between, I realized my voice was louder than it should be as two people in the row of seats in front of me turned to look at me while we were singing. Was I embarrassing myself? Who cares I thought, this was my own personal thanksgiving.

As we sat down to listen to the next Bible lesson reading, someone took the empty seat beside me. When I looked sideways to catch the face of this late comer…” see who is talking o”! Like I didn’t come late myself. Behold it was DT, my boyfriend! No way… I blinked several times while staring at him with mixed emotion while he just smiled nicely at me and whispered in my ears “hello love”. With gritting teeth I whispered as well, “are you stalking me now?”. “Just in the church to worship as you”, he said and turned to face the altar as the Pastor took the podium for the sermon.

I only heard a few lines of what the pastor said, one word stood out, though, “forgiveness”. This is so unfair, I felt guilty about my grudge with DT but I still wasn’t ready to let go. What DT did was not something I will ignore. I just couldn’t concentrate; DT’s presence spoilt my thanksgiving.

What happened after the service? What is my bone of contention with DT? (Yawns)…Dear Diary tomorrow is another day to finally write about what our issue is.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW To catch up on

Dear Diary…A Frightening Day! TBEE Writes #3

Credit: Hat Image – Bonnie Evelyn Millinery(Pinterest)

Glossary:

Gele – African Headtie

Bottom of Box – Best dress in a person’s wardrobe.

To match outfit – Dressed in matching colors. Shoes, bag, dress, and  hat or head tie are colors that blend or match.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)