Some sacrifices aren’t always rams and white fowls offered to whatever God you believe in. Sometimes, sacrifices are human; young daughters of African families, girls beaming with life. Their breast pointed like the round grey beads of nchokoro game and skin, smooth, supple like bread baked with bromate.
It was way past midnight when my mother woke me up to send on an unholy errand.
“Ivie, just try.” Mama said.
Baba Ade is not a bad man. Anything he tells you, don’t disobey o! you know say our rent don expire. See your younger ones, where do we go from here?
My father was pretending to be asleep, as he laid on the bed, his back on us. His toes were twitching, the same way they do whenever he was angry. My two younger ones are curled up on the torn raffia mat in a corner beside our old refrigerator.
I stepped out of our house, my mind set to save my home. As I ascended the staircase that led to Baba Ade’s chamber, my hands gripped the rusty rails, my heart pounded within me. Mother’s voice floated back at me.
Baba Ade’s white door soon came in sight. I struggled to numb my fear and silence the aching pain within me. Seun’s face floated before me, his laughter, the twinkle in his eyes, the energy in his voice and our promises of purity. Seun was my love and he had promised that he would buy me a big car when he went to the city. But my mother had waved that away saying that the wretched 17-year-old carpenter’s son will amount to no good. I wondered how the poor will call another person poor. But I didn’t believe her though. She didn’t know Seun as much as I did. I have seen him farm, seen him swim. Seun was stronger than all his peers.
But tonight wasn’t about me, Seun or my childish fantasies. This night was for family, for sacrifice, for survival. With every step up the stairs, my thoughts raged like a thunderstorm.
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The white door stood before me. With a deep sigh, I stretched my hand and knocked. The door opened. Baba Ade was standing there in the flickering light of his lamp, the light casting a dark shadow on his protruding belly, his wrinkled flesh and his swollen manhood. Baba Ade was stark naked.
Come in, Ivie, He said, flashing a toothless smile at me.
Written by Chioma Ngaikedi
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