Picture gotten from- Pinterest
When we were born, we weren’t told of sisters. We had cracked lips that were dried by the christmas’ harmattans. If asked about fear we pointed at masquerades, sometimes, at our parents but never ourselves. We were used to being indoors, settling our inner fights with communion. You’d barely hear us talk about love but you’d see it, you may even get to feel it.
I remember the first time I saw my christening picture. I cared less about the photography and the weak angles my parents were taken from. I pondered more on the priest’s left hand, how my tiny head was swallowed by his hard-looking palm. My godmother wasn’t in that picture but I knew her and her me. I’ve always wanted to ask her why she named me “Dyna”. Was she pressured? or was there a lot more to the naming? I still till today can’t tell.
Our neighborhood had boys that grew flowers on their chest. When I say this, I mean those that totally understood women even though they looked rigid. They loved listening to “Highlife”, meaningful songs played in most weddings they never got to attend. We also had girls at the age that never made being a girl look sinful, girls that were praised by other mothers, girls that were raised with fathers.
My siblings and I would gather with our other brothers and sisters in the village. We were told in our culture that we can’t marry them as we shared the same ancestors. They called them “Oganukwu”. We didn’t look alike, act alike, live together but it’s the culture. We would listen to old tales with them, sing folk songs and banter each other with thought-provoking riddles and jokes in our mother tongue until the moon reminded us of sleep. The noises we made those nights with our mouths and feet brought us together every other christmas. My very carefree days.
When I speak of home, it’s not the one most people talk of. It’s the one I identify with. The one I get to speak less with “I’s” and more with “We’s”. There are others like me. There are also others that bottle up these kind of memories or rather, people who are too embarrassed to speak of them. People who are too foreign now to be home-made. Memories can be hidden in your act but people you had shared those memories with can’t. What if they come haunting?
We are an epitome of our culture be it rural or urban. We are roots of tomorrow’s root. We are home-made. Shells of deep believes and graces enclosing beauties that can’t be sold.
Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2017.