She is ugly. Her face is riddled with pimples in various states of progress, her skin, a crumbling sieve. She limps into the compound leaning heavily on her gnarled staff. A chorus of greeting rises to her ears and she acknowledged them with a nod. The children that are old enough to be frightened scatter like grains of beans behid doors and their mother’s skirts. She ignores them and makes her way to the last door.
The new grandmother is waiting, “Eka Udo welcome, how are you? How are your chickens?”
Chickens. That is all anyone asked about these days. Once they had asked about husband and sons. Husband had died almost two decades ago. He collapsed in the market and was brought home twitching like a headless duck. Death had come after three long months of hoping, praying and nursing his comatose body. she had been almost happy, it was over.
Her sons had been less considerate. One minute she had three young men she could call hers, the next she was childless. For years she would still see the mangled car and body parts wrapping themselves round her at night.
But she would survive. No matter how much she called–screamed,begged– Death to come for her, he wouldn’t.
She pours herself a generous helping of palm-wine and drains the cup in a swoop. She has to hurry, there are many stops that morning.
“Fine. We are all fine. Enewan. Where is the child?”
The child is brought wrapped in a rainbow coloured cloth. Enewan taakes the child and places her on the mat.
Soon the deed is done. It is evident by the earrings in the squealing child’s ears and a rice sized slice of skin on Enenwan’s razor.
The girl would grow to be grateful that Enewan’s eye weren’t what they used to be and that her hands shook when she wanted to touch things. It would be the difference between a slightly nicked clitoris and dire mutilation.
Many of her age mates would not be so lucky.