Breaking away

Breaking away

Maybe she was being a little too severe but she didn’t see a way around it.
They all expected her to look the other way every time something distasteful happened. Women came to the market with bruises all over and anyone could hazard a guess whose handiwork it was but if asked, they shied away or skirted around the subject or some just came right out and told her she was intruding.
Ever since she could hold a chalk to her slate, she had begun to question things. The questions probably evolved as she grew, but they were there nonetheless:
“Why did she get to wash the numerous plates used and Antii Bisi only got to sweep the front yard?”
“What made her friend Bolu fair-skinned but she and many others were dark?”
“Why did the male population have license to wantonness and but her sex was admonished to be tame?”
“Why did her Bọda Dele get to go to school but she was discouraged from the same and only permitted to, albeit reluctantly, when she refused to give in?”
“Who made the laws?”
But nobody had an answer, and when they did, it went along the lines of “those questions are never asked” or she was told, “that’s how it has always been” or that “our fathers before us did it that way”.
Now she was going to St Peter’s Teachers’ Training College, Akure on a scholarship. She wanted to further her education. But her actions were frowned against strongly and she was told her actions would chase prospective husbands away. It didn’t help her case that she had called out her brother-in-law, Antii Bisi’s husband on making his wife a punching bag.
It just wasn’t done.
She told them it wasn’t right, they said it was none of her business.
She told them times were changing, this was the end of the twentieth century, but they said she was breaking away from her culture and her heritage. That made her ọmọ ale, a bastard. She would be disowned if she insisted on her decision. Cast out.
She squared her shoulders, her mind was made up.
She was leaving. There was no crime in learning. She would take the next lorry out of the village.
Better breaking away than to remain, enduring the obstinate backwaters.

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  1. Beautiful! I’d rather break away than endure the obstinate backwaters too!

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