#2: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJMAO

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Anaborhi sat down beside her mother and turned to face Akunna, and waited.

“When I was dating your father I was full of hope and love. Excited at the prospect of marriage, I dived in on the preparations. Mama was seriously trying to get my attention and I turned a deaf eye as well as ear” Akunna said hanging her head. She took a deep breath before continuing

“When the day drew close, I finally sat down long enough for her to tell me that my marriage was doomed from the start. That the moment that he and I exchanged the vows, his sanity will start to diminish for that was the curse on all males in our family”

“But doesn’t that mean that the curse is on those that are of our blood? Akin is not of our blood, in no way is he related to any of us so how can the curse affect him?”Anaborhi asked anxiously.

“The fact that he is married to you and you lay with him, he becomes one of us by right of what is called a ‘melding'” Akunna explained

“Is that why your younger sister refused to marry traditionally?” Anaborhi asked. She watches as her mother nodded in response.

“Hers is truly the only true success story for us all. She realized on time that no traditional rites should be performed and when they decided to give it a try, he agreed and they have been together since then. Over 10 years now”

“And the curse? Who laid it? What is the source and mummy why something so awful?” Anaborhi asked.

“I do not know. When everything started to unravel I realized I had to concentrate solely on ensuring that your kids lived as much of a normal life as possible”

“Aren’t you the least bit curious as to the origin?”

Akunna paused and stared at her first born for a few seconds.

“You would have to go looking for our Tsohuwa Dada,” She said bringing out her phone and flipping to the gallery for Anaborhi to view the picture of an old woman who must have been a rare beauty in her prime. “She is the oldest in the family and is even rumored to have some sort of mystical powers”

“Have you ever met her?” Her daughter asked.

“Not really. She came around when mother died and we met briefly when prayers were said at her burial, but I didn’t wait after the ceremony” Akunna turned to her daughter with tear filled eyes “Your father and I eloped that night. We forfeited any and everything we could have learned for love.”

“But your sister, Ahunna did?”Anaborhi asked, “Was that how she found a way around it all?”

Akunna nodded sadly “Though I do not know how much better she has fared in all this time, we are not that close. But yes, it would seem that she listened to some advice and her partner remains unaffected”

“And where is she? Our Tsohuwa Dada?” Anaborhi said looking down at the phone again and smiling slightly.

“I would assume she would be in Barwi where we are from. You may want to ask around. Maybe from Ahunna” AKunna said sadly.

Anaborhi could not really remember her aunt but had looked forward to the cheques that came in the mail on her birthdays until they had stopped. Now she suspected that the tension that ran deep in her family was from this festering wound that had refused to heal. Fear gripped her at the realization that she too could become lost in the pending avalanche of discovery that she was sure awaited her.

Not to be deterred, she left the room and approached her aunt Akpobome who she met sitting in the balcony staring at a bee hovering over the flowers that beautified the hedge in front of the veranda. She sat by her for a few seconds, joining her in staring at the bee.

“I want to so see Tsohuwa Dada” She started. Beside her, she felt her aunt shiver.

“What about?” She asked under her breath.

“The Curse. I need to understand, I need to know”

“Are you ready? Are you prepared for what you will find?”

“I do not know what to expect” Anaborhi turned to look at her aunt “I came to ask if you could take me to see Aunt Ahunna”

Her breath hitched “Did your mother mention her?”  From the corner of her eye, she saw her niece nod yet did not turn to her

“She said she must have spoken to Tsohuwa Dada and found a way to avoid the curse. She remains with her partner and her children are with her”

Anaborhi froze when Akpobome turned to face her with eyes brimmed with tears and a face filled with sorrow

“There is no way to avoid the evil thing,” Akpobome said as the tears she had held back flowed freely. Anaborhi frowned in confusion.

“How do you mean aunty? Mummy said she is happy, that she lives a fairly good life”

“Akunna does not know my darling. Your mother is oblivious to the fact. Ahunna’s husband died, Anaborhi. There is no avoiding the curse. It claims them all in the end” she said, turning back to the bee hovering over the flowers as both women sat in silence. The irony-filled Anaborhi with sadness. The insect as the only free one in their gathering

To be continued….

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#1: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJ MAO

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Her father was her world. Her mother too but everyone knew that a girl’s first love is almost always her father. She looked forward to coming back from school to him as well as visiting days when he would come to see her and her brother, regaling them with tales and fables that they believed even if untrue or outrageous. Such was the relationship that Anaborhi had with her father.

So when he started acting weird, she was confused and at a loss. She had returned home for a long holiday and looked forward to his 40th birthday when she met him in a horrible state. He was taken away one night after a week of her return and for two days she did not set eyes on him and her mother was gloomy, only smiling sadly whenever she asked.

“You will see him soon dear,” her aunty would say and she would be shooed away to her room. After another week, she and her brother were taken to a hospital on the mainland where their father sat in a corner, eyes wide, as they entered the room. Anaborhi and her brother started crying at the sight of their father. He cowered in the corner whimpering each time they tried to draw close to him.

“What is wrong with him?” she asked her mother as they returned home. She watched a tear rolled down her cheek.

“If I could answer that, we would not be in this mess darling” was the gloomy response her mother gave her. Anaborhi started to cry more. Things went from bad to worse as they had to leave their home and move to the family house. No one offered any explanation. All they knew was that it had to be done before daddy came back home.

Once there, Anaborhi started noticing strange things. She never knew that her mother’s sister Akpobome was not married neither did she know that this was the same for many of their cousins. She found out that the men who eventually married all ended up the way her father was and either their wives left them or they died.

“Is this a trend Aunty?” she had asked. “Will daddy be better?” Akpobome had only smiled and hugged her.

“Stop worrying your little head about all this. Nothing is a trend” she had reassured. “He will get better darling”

And it seemed things did get better but Anaborhi was only a child who didn’t notice the extra effort her family was put into ensuring that their childhood was as normal as possible. There was only so much and so far that the ruse could be maintained for with adulthood came the realization of their situation.

Many years after, Anaborhi graduated from the university and came home with a fiancée with the intention to marry after 6 short months. Akpobome stood strongly against this, disgracing Akin out of the house on one of the days that he visited.

“Why?” she had asked “this is the 6th time I am asking you this today and I promise mum, aunty, if I do not get a tangible explanation, I will take drastic actions on this matter” she had threatened. Akpobome had laughed aloud as they sat in the living room area of the family house.

Akunna eyed her sister. “So what is funny about all this now?” she had asked coldly. Akpobome stopped laughing, wiping a tear from her eye as she relaxed in her chair.

“Oh, nothing! Just that her threat sounds so familiar. Oh yes, it was the same action YOU took when you ran away from home” Akpobome spat out. Her voice was laced with venom at Akunna and she felt the sting. Tears framed her eyes and instantly she stood up and left.

Anaborhi watched her mother leave and turned to stare at her aunt. “I asked a question and you two turned it into a sibling spat? Is that the question I asked or are you guys trying to stall or change the topic?”

“Madam, watch your tongue! If you want to know what all this is about going and ask your mother and stop bothering me. She is the one that has been living in denial for years till it all came back to bite her!” and she was gone. Up and out of the living room leaving Anaborhi standing in shock.

After a few seconds, she turned and walked in after her mother finding her in her room seated on the end of the bed, staring into space.

“I asked a question and you came inside to cry? I used to leave you when the waterworks start but this time around it won’t work, I need an answer immediately” Anaborhi said, raising her voice slightly. She braced for more tears, resolute in her decision not to back down and to press on for the information she needed. So when Akunna asked her to sit and listen, she was taken unawares and in shock for a few seconds.

“I said sit down so I can tell you all you want to know”. Akunna said again this time looking up at her daughter when she didn’t react the first time. Anaborhi sat and Akunna sighed before straightening her back and narrating the story that she had been told before her marriage.

To be continued ………….