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Monday, April 15, 2013

A Wiser Than Solomon II


                                                                                I
I set my mind to search out deep matters and I arrived at this, that many women are like opportunistic infections; Their eyes move to and fro, seeking men with artesian wells of wealth at their backyards to latch unto. Only the wise man shall escape them. But sooner or later these women  fall into the hands of some rogue from the underworld. Innumerable are the souls that have been lost in the pursuit of easy fripperies.
One day as I sat by my corner, eating bread and savoring the mild saltiness of butter, I saw a young girl trooping in and out of the abortionist's pen and not so far off I saw a noble woman rocking an empty cradle.  How imbalanced and unfair nature is.
Here are four myths they told us while growing up, yes, five lies they told us:
-Lock a girl up and keep her a virgin; good men marry only good women.
-Do not be overly ambitious. Men are afraid of ambitious women and would rather do with those women with very modest dreams.
-Most times he hits you because he’s on heat.
-There’s a difference between sex and lovemaking.
-(Leave what is written on the body of the car and go inside the car); any man is a man.

Lies. Notions imbued with prejudice, simmered in a broth of narrow-mindedness. You locked me in a room and tied my legs to a bedpost in order for me not to spread them, so that when that good man comes along, on our wedding night he'd shall exclaim, Ooh lala, mon Cherie, you stayed put all for me? How I shall love you forever! No mama, there’re some things you failed to tell me. See Auntie Ogo who slightly escaped the nunnery because of her goodness, yet he treats her like a dish rag. She, a good woman who never knew a man. 
Goodness alone is such a fickle weapon. Mama there had to be more to shunning hanky-panky than that painful thrust on my nuptial night. I do not keep me for no man, for every man is transient. I keep me for me because it shall save me a catalogue of clinical woes. And there is more to this deal between man and wife than waking each morning beside a broad shoulder. Staying put has not made him love me more; it has not made him love me less.

In a certain town, once upon a time, there were two sisters. One was very good, the other evil. The good sister washed the plates and pots each morning, watered the plants, took the younger ones to school and brought them back, picked fleas from the dogs back and killed them in a container of kerosene, stayed by her grandparents bedside, shunned all youthful frivolities. But she did not expect much from life.All she wanted was some peace and quiet.
But her sister was the flip of the coin; uber-promiscuous, she went with all the men, fought in all the market places, had a love child. She was fearless and her eyes shone with wildness like a wolf's.
Well, a short while later, the good one went with a good and equally quiet man. But then, also came along a hardworking man who came for the evil sister and loved her more than his own tongue. They worked hard together and had rich prospects. But the good sister’s husband died and left her broke and she had to live off the evil sister, waiting on her cap in hand for what little handout she had to offer. This is a story I am still trying to figure out its moral.

“Well, that’s luck,” you quip.
Now who speaks of luck here? There’s no such thing as luck. I do not believe in luck, in fate, in chance happenstances. Luck is a reed shaking in the wind. Luck is dry tinder, igniting with readiness in the many fires of life. Luck is good things happening to you without you knowing why they happened. One ought to know why good things happened to them.  It ought not to fall on their lap like a ripe cherry. Show me a luck-reliant man and I'd show you a gambler on the road to destiny. For as he never knew why good came his way, he shall never know why evil would come his way and danger arrive at his door steps.

Here is another side of that tale. The hardworking man sees an evil woman and falls head over heels, falls right under her hex. But his parents would not give their blessings. But the lovers wax hot in their love and the son threatens to disown his parents. They split so much airs, caused so many grievances and vexing the old man and his wife. Reluctantly, the oldsters acquiesce and permit the union.
At the reception, the couple bends low and wiggles their hips so hard at the parents, as if in victory, mockery even. The guests mutter, With all this gyration, they'd sure be needing hot water to press down their swollen nerves tonight.
In time, after the spirit of the celebration had worn off, she begins to bully the man, nagging him to migraines, driving him to the bottle and making him lose contracts, job after job. Fought him and over him in public if he made the unfortunate move of glancing at a girl or if the girl was the one who looks. The young man is miserable and he says to himself, I shall return to my father and say, Father forgive those times my wife drove you out when you came all the way from the village to visit us. I have no job now but can I work in your farm and together we shall build a ranch?  But he remembers the wedding day, how he danced so hard and he changes his mind and endures the torture at his wife’s hands.

                                                                                       II
Leave what is written on the body of the car and get inside the car, any man is a man, they told her and she grabbed a bum off the streets. A bum whose occupation was football-watching at the street corners. He loved his bottle of beer and his plate of fried fish more than his own life. All day she is at the market buying fish, trying to keep him at home. What would people say when they see my husband everyday at the roadside restaurant? she says to herself. She guts the inside of the fish and feeds them to the neighbor’s cat, sprinkles flour and salt on it and fries it to crisp just as he likes. She waits at the table because the bum she got off from the streets would be returning very soon. May his club win, she prays, for if they do, he’d lick his plate clean and ask for a second helping. But if they lose he’d come home beered up,refusing to touch his meal. He'd lay sprawled in bed and sleep off his disappointment and he’d not even make room for her in her own bed.

                                                                                   III
The howling of a battered dog? The bleating of a lost sheep? Someone’s cry shatters my sleep like glass. BIM. BIM.CLATTER. CLATTER. CLATTERRRRY. Furniture dragged aside. Torrents of steel utensils rain down. Someone’s heavy breathing. A man’s. Pause. Someone is sniffing. A woman. The walls of our room reverberate. I reach for my torch at the foot of the bed and turn on the light. The noise awakes Mama too.
‘Where are you going?’ she asked.
‘They are at it again.’
‘So?’ Her face is a cocktail  of sleep and sarcasm. ‘Please turn off that light and let me catch some sleep.’
‘But he could kill her one day.’
‘Then we’d rest. Or do you want to go over and shine the torch light for them? That woman doesn't hear a word. She should steer clear when he’s on heat.’
A chorus of yelling children joined in the noise but like well-modulated choir, their cries died down as soon as it began. I turned off the torch light and rolled back to bed.                                           

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