Monday 15 August 2016

Burning Woman part 10

April 1994

When he finally came to visit my husband had nothing good to say. He came with his city woman and her people in tow. It seemed everyone but me was overjoyed. Even my mother-in-law sidelined me in favour of the exotic creature purely bred in the city.
“It is the way of the world. We are women. We can do nothing but accept our station in life,” my mother-in-law says.
I say nothing as I pound the grain. If I open my mouth to speak I am afraid I will say something I will regret.
“Morris’ second wife seems to be a sweet young woman. It could have been worse.”
As I do all the work the delicate city flower can’t do, my mind can’t help but take stock of my situation. I am a woman, a mother and a wife in a place where I have no power or voice. Taking myself from this household would bring me peace but could cost my son dearly. Morris Jnr is an innocent in all this.
And if I left where would I go? My whole world revolved around the village. My uncles would never take me back. I would become a pariah among my own friends. They would only see a woman too proud to embrace the ancient customs.
“My dear sit down,” my mother-in-law pushes Onicca back onto the mat. “There is no need. Rudo will do everything. There is no need to endanger my grandchild.”
I barely suppress a snort. When I was pregnant I worked around the compound. No one had worried about my pregnant state. Onicca obeys and slowly lowers herself to the ground. Even fat with child the girl is beautiful. Her clothes are lovely and flatter her body shape. I know I am not ugly but compared to her I grudgingly admit I look drab.
Would things be different if I had grown up in the city, I wonder.

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