When I woke up this morning it appeared that my chi (God) was still with me. Beacons of light penetrated the window and laid bare on my face. The first rays of light i was greeted with as i first opened my eyes reminded me of the stories i had been told about creatures who are human, allergic to sunbeams in the day and only move around at night. The thought of this alone causes me to shudder and wonder if there was really any truth to these stories.
I remembered today’s events and knelt down to pray, i prayed through the bitter taste I was beginning to feel now in my mouth, I did this without so much as any doubt knowing now that I had the courage i needed to take care of home and defend myself
I was drained, and this time, not even my normal early morning pepper soup will revitalise me. I remembered now those early morning bowl of hot and spicy pepper soup broth that my mother agunwanyi would normally serve me up especially when i had gone to bed the previous night angry. Agunwanyi the lion woman as she was fondly called was loved by all and respected by many. i remembered those moments and the moments that followed her death thereafter.
I remembered that day unlike any other, my father had just been buried, and I remembered as I was taken to a family member’s house, my aunt, they called her, I was still wondering why i had been hurriedly relocated when i overheard that discussion which though i could not quite comprehend as a child, i truly understands now. My mother had been one of the first Igbo women in her clan to gain a western education, she was working as a teacher and was teaching at the Anglican school ogbor hill, the story was that Agunwanyi was approached by Nnadozie, who was working as a representative helping to take the census of the people living in the district controlled by warrant chief Onwudiwe. Nnadozie accosted Agunwanyi early in the morning since her husband had died, at her house and requested that she count her goats, sheep and people. Agunwanyi realised that she was about to be taxed as a woman and she flared up sending and shouting curses his way after their argument ensued, Agunwanyi proceeded to the market square and assembled all the market and village women and proceeded on a sitting protest against the taxation of women. Agunwanyi today remains the reason women were ever allowed in the native courts. She is also the reason the British colonial government abolished the system of warrant chiefs.
When you go into Agunwanyi’s house now the cogent smell of new hollandis and pomade lingering in the air and the blinding darkness in her room would make even an infant whimper. But for some strange reason, i enjoy this smell and sometimes like to also dwell and meditate in the dark room. This was not one of such days i decided to allow myself some air which was why i slept in the room i had once known as a child. The other reason i decided to stay in this particular room was because of the memories it reminded me of memories of my husband and yet now the more we live as strangers the more i get awakened by the true fact that marriage might really not be a thing my family has been blessed with, i was once more jostled back to reality with the bleating of the goats and crows from the cocks. i wondered why Agunnwanyi needed all these animals in her home for anyway and now she was gone what exactly was i to do with this creatures? And now that the owner is no more i felt pangs of guilt at the thought of any idea that has to do with my selling the livestock.
I remembered the promise I made to Agunwanyi, and wondered if at some point in my life I would also want to request that my daughter makes me the same promise.