Àbíké

Omi tí Àbiké pon lati fi we tutu ju, àfi bi yìnyín! Kíá ló bó sídìí láti wá wòròkò fi s’àdá. Ó jé àkokò tí oyé kò láti fiyè dé’nú. Dé bi wípé àlùwàlá l’awon arúgbó ati òdó nse. Sùgbón Àbíké daa bi ogbon, ó gbé omi ka’na láti fi wè.

“Abike, ta lo gb’ómi ka’ná?” Ìyá Àbíké bií léèrè bí ó ti nwolé bò wá sínú ilé ìdáná tó sì nwo iná tó njò wìrì wìrì lábé ìkòkò omi.

“Màámi, emi ni. Mo fé fi wè ni. oye yí mú púpò. Mo férè le so wípé nkò ní wè láàrò yí. Sugbon, tani n o wa fi iwa-obun jo?”

“Áwùú, Abike! Omi gbígbóná fi wè ti jé, láìse pé ò ń sàárè? O ní láti kó bi a tí sara gírí àti iwa sìfaramó. O ni láti se bí akoni, akoni obirin.”Ìyá Àbíké dáhùn.

“Ah..haa, maami. E tun ti de pelu oro “obirinní láti se gírí” yin. O ga o. Àfi k’Élédùà gbà mí o!” Abike fa’ju ro.

Àbíké, m’énu lórò, ó tú pere pérè òrò, ó ní: “Béè le se di erù tó ye kí eni méji rù emi nikan soso láì kí se alábàrù àbi ìwòfà. Ní se ni mo bèrè sí ní rìn bí ìlákòse. Orùn wò mí, ní se ni mo n wó esè nílè à fi bí ení so nkan mó ìdí. Kàkà tí ę ò bá fi bù kúrò lara erù mi, níse le bere si ni ko òrò èébú sí mi l’ágbárí. Iyen kò tilè dùn mí bii onírúurú orúko àbùkù ti ę bèrè sí ní npè mí. Se bí Àbíké l’orúko te lée so mí, nibo le ti wá rí ‘òle afajò’ ati awon orúko tee npe mi níjóò níìí?”

“E ní sebí obirin ni mí? Se ká so pé èèyàn si ayé wá ni, nítorípé Elédùmarè da ní obirin ni? Se jíj’obirin wá túmò sí ki nwá se erú kú ni? Ó ga o! Emi o wá ní lajú sílè kí tàlùbò kó wòó o.”

“Gbénu ę dáké! Abike! Àyà mà kò ó o. Sé Mo ti wá gun igi kojá ewé nítorí pe mo gbà ó níyànjú? An hin? Dami lóhùn ke!”

“Màámi,” Àbíké fárígá, ó tutó s’ókè, kódà ó f’oju gbàá. “Sebi béè le so wípé kí n dáké ariwo Ie pa, bó ti lè jé pé mo so fún yín bi mo ti fi okuta ti a fi n fó èkùró fó àtànpàkò owó mi. Awí tàì wi tán, ení mo ni lati dibón pé kòdùn mí. Nítorí pé láìpé ojó emi náà á la bía tí robí kojá. Áwùú! Maami!”

“Ní ìjelòó, mo wá fi ejó Àdìgún sùn yín, kàkà ke pèé, kę si kìlò fun, níse lení kí n gbénu dáké kí n yé yonuso si gégé bí oko. Àti wípé kí se àyè obìnrin láti gbé’ná wojú ekùn oko nitorí pé o ti se’leri lati fé mi nísu-lókà ní kété tí osù bá lé. Àti wípé, gégébí obìnrin, èèwò ni fún mi láti ma tàpá sófinrè pèlú. Àt’òfin tó bójú mú, àt’èyí tó le kó ìjàmbá bámi pèlú. Nitori pe oluwa mi ni.Nígbàtí mo bèrè ìdí tę fi so béè, eni ojúse gbogbo obìnrin ni.Sé láì tíì fé mi sílé? Láì tíì fi mí saya? Ah Màámi, kò bójúmu tó rárá.”

Àbíké yan síwájú yan séyìn ó ní: “Maami, e je kí nso fún yín, gbogbo òrò ti e nso nípa ti lóko-láya ti tojú sú emi.Mo sì ti b’óri mi dá májèmú wípé, emi Àbíké, Omo Odérindé ko ní serú okunrin kankan, láyé! O doódì. Àpónlé ye emi náà, obìnrin ni mí, nkò sì wáyé wá s’erú enikéni.”

Àbíké bèrè mólè láti lè ko’ná mó omi tó gbéka’ná. Ìyá Àbíké dúró s’ójú kan, ó nro oun tó ki Àbíké laya ti o fi n soro bí akin. Orísirísi èrò ló gba okan ìyá rè kan. Kò mo oun ti o le so mó.

Léyìn ìgbà tí Àbíké gbéraso, ó tún sí ipele òrò lábala síwájú: “Màámi, bí eyin bá ti yàn lati s’erú ati lati jé kí bàámi ma fi yín se ‘oun èlò ikúùkú’, ati lati ma gbé awon ale onisina rè wá báa yín nílé, tí a tun le yín bó síta kuro ninu iyàrá sì òdèdè fún àlè.”

Ìyá Àbíké mi kanlè, omi ekún le si n’ípénpéjú. “Abike, omo mi, ó nbò wá yé o láìpé, k’Élédùà Fi òye yé o. Èrù nbà mí fún o, àfàìmò ko má di dàlémosú.”

“Olóun májèé! Èmi mo ìdí tí mo fi jé obìnrin. Àbi gbígbé ayé ìròrùn so ni d’okùnrin ni? Tóbá wá rí béè, ó témilórùn.”

Àbíké so ìkòkò omi orí iná kalè, ó dàá sínú garawa ti wón fi ń wè, o mú kàn-ìn-kàn ìwè ó sì m’órílé balùwè. Ìyá Àbíké nwòó lo, àfi bí ìgbà tí Ìgunnu rí òyìnbó. “Elédùà mà gbàmí kę, dákun má se jé kí omo yí dójuútì mí láwùjo. Ma je ko ko mi si rúkèrúdò!”

Íya Àbíké kúkú ti gba kámú nitori pe ó jé obírín. Àbí ìwòfà ni ka pèé?


English – Abike

The water was so cold due to the raging harmattan that had refused to ease up. To curb the unbearable cold, Abike decided to heat up some water to take her bath.

“Àbíké, who put water on the fire, and for what?” Àbíké’s mother asked as she approached the kitchen where she could see fire cackling under a big heathen pot.”

“I did, Mama. I want to use it for bathing. The weather seems to be too unfriendly today, and the water is just too cold to bath with.” Àbíké replied.

“No my daughter, you can’t bath with hot water. You have to learn how to adapt to the weather as it changes, you have to be strong, you know you are a woman.”

“Elédùmarè mà gbà mí o! Mama!! You have come again with all these your ‘A woman must be strong’ theory àbí? Àbíké asked. “That was how you overburdened me with a basket of cassava meant to be carried by two people the other time, to the extent that I could hardly move my legs. And when I asked that you reduce it, you bega calling me names, saying that I’m a woman and must endure, endure heavy loads and embrace hardship with my eyes wide open.”

“The previous week, when I hit my fingers while cracking kernel and howled, you said it was not proper as I must learn how to endure pain, since I would have to go through travails of child birth. Tell me mama, can the pain of childbirth be likened to the pain of knife or cutlass cut now?”

“Will you keep quiet! Am I the one you are talking back at? Oh, now you have grown wings and can now talk back at your mother?” Mama Àbíké queried in annoyance.

“No mama, this just has to stop!” She bent bent down to gather the fire burning under the pot as the fire seemed to have burned low. She straightened and continue: “Four days ago when Àdìgún talked to me rudely, you asked that I must be quiet as he is my suitor and had promised to pay my dowry as soon as the new moon surfaces and that as my husband to be, I must obey him with my eyes cast down because – according to you – he is my lord. When I asked why, you said it’s the woman’s place to serve her man, as he is her lord.”

“Now mama, let me tell you something, I’m tired of all these your talks. I, Àbíké will not be a man’s slave. Never! I deserve respect as a woman. I was born a woman, not a slave. If you decide to live a slave to ba’a mi, no problem, as you are happy you are his punching bag. And never say a word whenever he is too drunk and decides to bring home one of his numerous concubines and asks that you leave the room to go sleep at the door atop a mat until he asks you to come back to the room. Well mama, I will not be treated less than the woman that I am. Elédùmarè did not create me a slave, Asèdá called me a helpmeet. And if any man thinks that I will be his slave, he had better do a rethink o!” Ábíké said with a note of finality.

“Hmm, my daughter, you will soon understand why you are a woman.” Mama Ábíké said.

“No mama, I already know why I am a woman. Or if living as I please makes me a man, so be it. I am half man half woman then.” Ábíké replied before going into the hut to take down the already boiling water. She turned it into the metal bucket, collected her sponge and black soap, then left for the bathroom, leaving her mother to stare at her retreating figure.

“Elédùmarè, do not allow this girl to put me to shame and land me in trouble ” Mama Ábíké said, with the voice of a woman that had accepted her ‘fate’ for being a woman, or should we say ‘slave’?

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