ENIOLA

IMG_20210218_130657.JPG

ENIOLAA.jpg

You will pay for your sins! Eniola shouted in a quavering voice to her husband. They just finished fighting in the compound over an issue that they have for the past 12 years. Eniola stands up from the ground and tied her wrapper. Her whole body is covered in dirt, her shirt torn and her hair covered with dust. She is weeping, her eyes are red. Some neighbours are trying to console her.

Oluwaaa! She shouted at the peak of her voice. What have I done to deserve this? What evil have I done? Tell me! Is it in my youths? Reveal it to me, so I can repent and get the peace I desire in my heart, so this burning hatred for my husband will die and then love and joy be restored to my home. She is still weeping; the neighbours are still trying to console her. A woman is looking for a pair of Eniola’s slippers.

7 hours later, Eniola is sitting outside her hut. She is preparing amala. She fixes her gaze on the moon. Tears gushed down her cheek. She enters a bitter-sweet mode, reflecting the early age of her marriage, how it was laid on a foundation of love, and how true love turned into pure hatred.

Evil man! She said to her husband, who always returns late. He is drunk with emu (palmwine). He staggers into the hut with a grin on his face revealing the tribal marks on his cheek. He falls on a bamboo bed and is talking gibberish because he’s drunk.

Eniola brings down the Amala, which has burnt a little; she simmers a remnant of the ewedu soup she prepared a day before. She dishes out the meal into two plates, one for her husband and the other for her and her 4 children. After eating, she slept in her children’s hut, as she has sworn to her mother’s grave that she’ll never sleep on the same bed with a husband who is a womanizer.

Eniola rises before the sun and wakes her children to help her cook. She sells food at the market. Her children also helps her in the market. While she was in the market, her husband walks into the children’s hut and began to search. “This woman has changed where she use to keep her money”, he said, giggling. He thought of every possible place she could have hidden the money. After a 30 minutes search, he finds it. He is going to gamble the money. This and the following of other women was the reason for the unhappiness and hatred in their marriage. Seldom do Balogun, Eniola’s husband win. And even if he does, he spends it on other women and on alcohol.

That day, Eniola returns home with five other women. They’ve come to collect their own share of the 12 months Ajor (savings) they did together, which Eniola held. They were all radiating happiness; they can’t wait to collect their money. Eniola screams and ran out of the house. The money is gone oo, the money is gone! My husband has killed me. There was a hullabaloo by all the women. You must produce that money today!, said one of the women. Eniola begs for a 3 weeks grace to raise the money, promising to fulfill her words, and she was granted. 2 weeks passed and she couldn’t raise 20% of the money. She became confused. She thoughts of how cruel life has been to her. She remembered all her suffering, how only her raised the children. She also remembered how her husband betrayed her, he didn’t keep to his marriage vows – vows of love, faithfulness and care. All hope to raise the money was gone.

At the middle of one night, Eniola sat in her children’s hut, with her hands cupped around her mouth. She tries to brainstorm on how to raise the money but couldn’t, then she gave a cry of despair.

Evil then whispered to Eniola’s heart to commit a terrible crime - murder. She wanted to end her sorrow. At this time, many thoughts on how to kill her husband flooded into her mind. She have lost it, she couldn’t control herself, she have endured for 12 solid years. Eniola, now in beast mode, stands up, runs into the kitchen, took a big axe used for cutting firewood, ran into her husband’s hut and hit him hard on the head. Blood splits out of his head, poured Eniola on her face, her wrapper, and some entered her mouth. She have killed him.

Immediately, she came back to her senses, she have killed her husband. The tears in her eyes were revealed by the light from the lamp. “I have killed my husband oo, egbami oo”, she screamed at the top of her voice. Her loud cry woke everyone in the neighbourhood. They all came and saw Balogun lying dead in his hut. They understood why she killed him, but she still have to face the laws of the land – an eye for an eye. She is to be hanged at noon.

3 hours after dawn, she stopped crying, knowing she’ll have to face the law. She became fearless to die. The villagers dragged her to the village square. Everything has been set. Crowds gathered to watch. Normally, according to their tradition, before someone is hanged, he or she is given the opportunity to say their last words.

These where that of Eniola:

My life is more bitter than gall, this is my fate, today, when I die, I will ask Oluwa, why I was designed for this, and what was his purpose for creating me. Then she said to her younger sister: Fumi, please watch after my sons, and let not my daughters get married!

O life! She shouted, at the top of her voice, (with sweats all over her body), why were you partial to me?

Return to list of stories

Featured Stories


Minutes of Memories

by InspiredLetters, published 4 months, 1 week ago

Screenshot_20210319-113259.png

The first thing you know is that you don't know how to run until you know how to run.

***

"Do you plead guilty?" The Judge asks, his glasses perches on the bottom of his nose.

"Do you -"

Although the ceiling fan whizzes faithfully, the room is still hot. It is still still hot.

You are held behind a dock not just by chains washing your hands and feet but by betrayal spoken in silence. Your hands, those large elements of bloody lust, gasp for the air of freedom, at least.

Anxiety is carefully sketched on the brown faces of the court.

The eyes in the room shining brighter than your future peep into your past.

***

Your anger started the day you met Mama sitting on the verandah; her wrapper had come undone, finger prints, five of them, kissed her cheeks, disheveled hair, and eyes blood red from crying. And Papa walked around like four walls with the paintings of Mama's curse words hanging on them.

"Prostitute!"

"Jobless drunk!"

Whenever they quarrelled, there was a cold war; minutes grew into hours, hours into days, days into weeks...

You know the air in your compound smells of their daily quarrells, yet you do nothing, can do nothing but run away. Away from it. It's now normal that if you see Papa saying I love you to Mama, you wonder if something is wrong, if it's a dream.

You keep on dreaming but the pain from the cuffs whisper reality into your eyes.

***

"Do you plead guilty?"

The atmosphere is now condensed like the hot thick pap Mama does for you and Ike every Saturday morning.

In nanoseconds, you could be kissing Mother Earth goodbye just from one statement of one man. One! One!

You look around, wanting to say the truth. Say it anyway!

But then you keep quiet.

***

That fateful day you were greeted by distant sounds of fighting. You know it's Mama and Papa again!

"Not again," you mumble and walk into the sitting room sluggishly.

Your sight beheld a liquid on the burgundy carpet. No, it was not water, it was blood, that sacred stream of life's mystery, Mama's blood!

"Daddy, stop, please, stop," your younger brother, Ike, screams, kept on screaming. He tugs at you to do something because the overflowing blood scares him. But you do nothing, can do nothing but run away. Away from it.

"Daddy! Daddy!"

The punches come in quick successions. Mama's body lay half-dead, half-consYou'vehalf-consYou'vehalf-consYou'vehalf-consYou've

The punches come in quick successions. Mama's body lay half-dead, half-consYou'vehalf-consYou've on the floor decorated with blood.

on the floor decorated with blood. on the floor decorated with blood.

"Daddy-"

The blood melts into thin air, into your eyes, forming a dark cloud, maybe an envelope on the canopy of your eyelids.

You can no longer take it.

So, you grab Papa by the neckcollar of his shirt but he pushes you away. Once, twice, thrice.

Your anger gets the better part of you when you forget the scissors in your hand in his neck.

Blood gushing out, Papa dies within minutes. The same minutes with which everything falls apart.

Papa is dead. Dead!

***

You know you should run. But you also know that you don't know how to run until you know how to run. Instead your feet glues to the roof of the earth and your tongue embraces silence.

Your mother's eyes, though dull with darkness, will you to run away. Still, you don't run, you don't want to run. You don't want to run but still run. Still, run!

Don't run again. The police are waiting out of your house.

"Who called them?" you kept asking.

***

Now.

You pose, one knee up, one knee down, before a congregation of rifles about to blow your dream off. An eye closed, you remember minutes of memories that you never can forget. Memories such as your younger brother calling the police against you, in fear. Memories such as the night you mixed rat poison in Mama's drinking water instead of Papa's.

You tiptoe through life into the bars of death. You are now your own fate. Can you run away from it?

#TheRun