We ignored them by Mama telling me stories about her childhood as we sat by the dying fire and my head lying on her legs with her hands going through my kinky African hair. As the last fire wood chunk in I suggested we go in as it was getting colder without heat and the firewood left will be use to boil hot water in the morning. we got up to head inside, I glanced back to look at the small crowd with my step mothers and it really seemed they weren’t sleeping anytime soon which really was awkward since my step mothers always retire to bed early.

I closed the thatched door behind me and locked it firmly with the lock, blew off the lantern and I lay on the mat besides mama mattress. Mama fell asleep within a few minutes but I lay awake listening to the crickets and the distinct conversation from the small group outside. I guess we must have slept for over an hour when we heard the noise of jubilation outside.

It was the ceremonial sounds they make when a rich man is getting married to a new wife but we wondered why that late and who it was. I guessed it must be a young girl and I was beside myself with anger towards the disgraceful tradition surrounding my community.

Mama and I opened our door to see what was going on outside .as I stepped out first, it was then that I was grabbed by strong fists of hands and raised up high on shoulders. It all happened so fast that it took a few minutes for me to realize what was going on; I was the unfortunate bride. I started casting looks around to really see what’s going on if the hadn’t made a mistake by picking me up. it was then I spotted father with his pipe in his mouth and my brothers standing next to him grinning ear to ear like fools who just hit a jackpot, then it sank in me and I started to cry after he gave them a signal to take me away.

I glanced back to see mama on the floor weeping, with my step mothers standing next to her dancing to the beats of the ceremonial drums then it occurred to me I have been sold into marriage and mama didn’t know anything about it. She was denied her role of a mother to even decorate me or spend few minutes with me. I guess that might be the reason for the tears or maybe her only daughter undergoing the same fate as her.

Who I am married to I don’t know but I wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly and I was caught unaware just like Eli which broke me down emotionally the more and my tears flowed freely. I fought hard against the pair of hands all grabbing me at once and carrying me away to let me down but I failed and I watched myself being carried away from the compound I grew up in and mama.


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