This here I wrote using a prompt. It was actually supposed to appear in the story. The plan was to begin the story with “In Umuchu, we do not hold funerals on Monday. But I started writing and decided to let my imagination run wild.
I love it when it happens. Letting the story take you wherever it wants. Take a look.
The road is slippery with mud as the car glides slowly down the road which leads to the village. It's Monday morning. My flight had landed in the afternoon of the previous day. I wanted to avoid coming in on Monday, but bad weather happened and the airways had to reschedule. I dread Mondays. Europe made it a little better. But here, after so many years, the chill is still in the air. Even now, I can't seem to shake it off.
Here is Umuchu, my father's village, and automatically mine too since birth. The little signpost –with the uneven font displaying the name– at the entrance used to hold so much meaning for me. Staring at it as we drive pass today, I feel nothing. I had asked the driver sent by my aunt if the rules are still the same. The haunted look in his eyes told me everything I needed to know. The people stopped holding funerals on a Monday after what happened that day. They termed it bad luck but everyone knows it's more than that. Aunt told me that the memories still haunt Grandpa at night.
I was only five but I remember everything vividly. It was on that same day that Mama Ebuka went mad. People murmur about it. Some say the events of the funeral was what pulled her brain but no one was sure. I remember how grandpa moaned like a wounded lion throughout the night. I had wondered whether it was the dead that had come to haunt Mama Ebuka. The persistent warning of my mother stopped me from leaving our little hut to see what was really happening.
Grandpa was burying one of his wives, the day Mama Ebuka went nuts. It was perhaps just a coincidence and probably shouldn't have led to the no-burials-on-Monday decree but Grandpa was the Chief of Umuchi at the time, and it was his loss. It was the saddest day in the history of the village.
Everyone knew what happened to Mama Ebuka. I came to understand too as I grew older. My mother never failed to remind me. It wasn't spoken about much because it was believed to be an insult to the Chief. When your wife decides to go to bed with another man, you lose face in society. It gets worse when you're the leader. I never understood why she would do that to herself, knowing fully well what the rule was. A woman has no right to look at another man. Going to bed with him is the most disastrous thing. She will go mad for it. The husband won't be spared too if he knows about it and does nothing. Grandpa was safe because she hid it from him. For a long time, I wondered why the rule was made only for women.
The warm laughter of children running past brought me out of my reverie. I looked out the window. The sun was finally peeking out of the dark cloud.
They think I'm coming home to finally accept the offer which has been there since I was ten. The prize is Obinna, my best friend. We used to be inseparable. Before I left for Europe to study, my mother's friend didn't fail to remind me that a woman's place is with her husband. It doesn't matter if she goes to the highest Cambridge in the world. She'll have to cut her wings in the end.
It'll be a shame to disappoint them. Not that I have anything against Obinna. He's the best person I know. The culture has nothing to do with it too. Everything changed when I met Ogechi. We were both fifteen. I couldn't stop staring. Her skin was so dark and shiny. I had dreams about her, the kind that soiled my underwear and made me uncomfortable. For a long time, I didn't know how to speak to her. When I eventually did, it was the best thing. I always got warm feelings in my stomach whenever we hugged. I never understood any of it. My mother must have sensed it for I saw her talking with Ogechi's mother many times. She was married off the same week I sat for the exams that made me go away.
Today, I'm home. Today, I'm prepared to defile society and it's rules. Today, I'll tell my family that my love is for a woman. And again, it's happening on a Monday.