Abike

abike

For her sake I woke up early in the morning. Before the cocks crow and sunlight awakens.
Straight into the forest, I went to target the fattest of the animals. And right on her laps in the evening I dropped the day’s gain – two antelopes and one cheetah. I walked about like the man, I raised my shoulders and told her my brave story – how I hid and silently followed the animals’ trails.

hunter

My spear that has never failed me and my arrows once again did their job. But right in the middle of my story she walked out, shaking her head in utter disappointment. I wondered and asked myself “is it not enough?”

On Tuesday I ran to the river alone. I sailed deep into the middle, where Banjo last saw the ooni. That’s the biggest animal in our waters. I dived inside and wrestled with the great monster. It pinned me down and was about to inject venom into me when I summoned my last strength with the blade in my hand. I cut the monster’s throat and lifted its helpless body from the bottom of the sea. Abike must be pleased with me now, I’d tell her I walked through the valley and shadow of death for her sake. Thank the gods who came to my rescue, I would have been meat for the sea monster.  But after the great presentation and the hero’s story, she eyed me and left for the room sobbing… He has no idea at all. She murmured while she slammed the door after her.

I have done all I can for Abike. I won the yearly gladiators’ contest for her. Those contests are cherished by the wives of the warriors.

gladiators

In fact the wife of the winner parades herself as the luckiest woman in our village. I bought her necklaces, earrings and lots of aso oke that only the olori (king’s wife) can afford but my wife would sit right in front of me, gaze at my precious gifts and reluctantly mutter the words thank you.

Finally I got frustrated. I lost one tooth because of you; I have travelled several miles for your sake, climbed mountains and crossed seas to make you happy. All you do is gaze at me and watch me like drama. Tell me what I should do to make you happy. Must I bring the head of my father and mother?

Abike replied me for the first time. Ajani, the son of Asake, I do not need your mother’s head neither do I need the trouble you often put yourself into for my sake. All I need from you is a rub. A rub of your hand on my back… from my left shoulder to the top of my waist then take it back up, up…down…up…down..up…down. Make it gentle like Oguntade does it. Some days you are busy killing your buffalo, Oguntade is around rubbing my back.

That very day, like you’d expect I visited Oguntade my late friend with three dozens of machetes and five sakabula (Dane gun). I had not left my wagon before Ogutade screamed it’s just twice Ajani! It’s only two times!   

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