AWERO!

AWERO!

African literature

This is another old story. Let me know what you think.

 

African literatureShe held the mirror away from her body so she could see as much of it as the little square of it would allow. Her face was flawless, her skin was radiant and the wrapper tied around her waist hugged her curves just right. She smiled at the reflection of herself. Her mother’s voice brought her back to earth, “Awero! Answer me and let us go o!” Awero took one final look in the mirror and made her way to the front of the house.

“I am sorry, Maami,” she said. “I don’t even know what you keep staring at in the mirror; is it more than this? her mother replied, waving her hand up and down the length of Awero’s body. “O ga o!” She said, beginning to trek to her canteen. Awero picked up the large pot containing food spices and ingredients, balanced it on her head and trudged behind her mother.

All the way to the canteen, Awero’s mother raved about how men had been milling about Awero, and if she wasn’t careful, she would get pregnant and they would have to secretly pack her belongings to the house of the man responsible in polythene bags in the middle of the night, but Awero was only half listening; she had other things on her mind.

A skinny man made his way towards the canteen; as he drew closer, Awero saw that it was Dauda. There was competition between he and Sogo to see who would get there first, not just because the food was delicious, but also because they hoped to have some time alone with Awero before the crowd came. The girl was a looker, with curves in all the right places. But as much as the men tried, they never succeeded in spending time alone with her, because of her ever present and all-seeing mother. As Dauda approached, Awero sized him up; he was not bad looking if you look past the blackened teeth, but his looks didn’t even matter.

 

Dauda grinned from ear to ear partly because he was happy he got there first, but mostly because Awero was smiling so pleasantly at him. He secretly thanked the gods for whatever soap he bathed with that morning.

“Awero, ‘Wero! Bawo ni?” Dauda called.

“Good Morning, Broda Dauda,” Awero replied.

“Good Morning, Awero, where is your mother?” Dauda asked, grinning.

“She is at the back,” Awero replied.

“Good. Get me two wraps of Fufu. I eat Fufu a lot that is why I’m strong like this,” he said, flexing one scrawny forearm. Awero gave him a shy smile and left to bring his meal. When she placed his food on the table, he grabbed her forearm and pulled her back to sit on his lap.

“Awero, you know you are very beautiful, abi?” Dauda said. Awero smiled and averted her eyes.

“I like you gidi gaan ni o. In fact, I love you t’ori t’orun. I want us to know each other more,” he said.

She smiled at him from below her lashes, “Hmm… Broda Dauda, that is what you men always say.”

“Believe me, Awero, I mean it. I can even swear by Ogun,” then he touched his index finger to the ground and then put it on his tongue and pointed it heavenwards.

“I have heard you,”She said as she stood. “I have to go now; Maami will soon call me, but meet me by the Odan tree at 5 o’clock.”

“Which Odan tree? The one by the forest?”

“Yes.”

Dauda nodded, smiled and let her go.

The morning and the afternoon could not disappear fast enough for Dauda, but for Awero, it was a pretty busy day. Chief visited the canteen. Whenever he visited, everyone hailed as soon as he entered, “Sheef, sheef!” and then he would shamelessly flirt with Awero and propose to marry her. Awero’s mother of course always insisted that her daughter would not be wife number four.

 

Soon it was 5’o clock, Mama Awero had left for the market women’s meeting, the crowd at the canteen had thinned, and the new girl her mother employed was eager to please, so Awero strode away as though she wasn’t going far. As she walked the path to the forest, she looked over her shoulder several times to make sure no one saw her or followed her. Suddenly, a strong hand encircled her mid-section and another swiftly covered her mouth.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” He said, shoving her roughly to a side. “If you make noise, I will slice you into pieces, understand?”. Awero made no sound or move; she watched with an unfathomable expression as he roughly had his way with her. When he was done, he helped her up, and tightened the rope on his trouser. “Good girl, it’s good that you didn’t…” Awero turned, and went on her way, still without saying a word.

 

Later that night, as she lay in bed and her mind went back over the events of the day, Awero heard her window move slightly as the breeze blew, but she felt the presence even before the breeze. She didn’t turn, didn’t move; she didn’t need to.

“How many more?” Awero asked.

“Three, child. Time is running out.” And she was gone as noiselessly as she came.

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