Week 3: Vox Commentaries: Living Siege | ACEworld

by OLAYIWOLA Faith Adedolapo

Strings. Ruckus. The wind blew towards the west and brought the lyrics of ‘I no be gentleman at all. I no be gentleman at all. I no be gentleman at all’. She found herself tapping her left foot to the rhythm of the song. The song came louder this time. It was from the new African bar and suites down the road. She wondered why they would allow for such in a modern estate like the one she lived in. ‘Rich men’, she said aloud as she moved her hand across the bruises that ran from her forehead to her left eye. ‘Ouch!’ she exclaimed. ‘If only he was a gentleman’. She slowly walked across the path that led to the bamboo house. She sat and watched the house across hers. ‘The bamboo house is high enough’, she thought. There, an engagement party was being organized as she watched the new wife dance towards her suitor. She, the bride, smiled and gracefully expressed her willingness to have the man, her man, as her head and to obey him in all things and the man, to love her. ‘Love’, she exclaimed. If only love could do all things. Poor child. Only twenty three’. They had invited her but she could not go; she could not leave this cage. ‘If only they told her what she was going into’.
She brought out a long note from her tote bag. It had some written letters across its cover. They were fading and faint. She moved it closer to herself. ‘Living siege’, it read. Then she wrote…
Now, you are free like a bird, wild like the cat, sharper than a mouse until you get stuck; fucked up by marital vows and norms. Before then, you could sum up speeches against patriarchy, lead agitations for feminism, rule out supports and procedures for the establishment of the queers amongst the black; the blind and the merciless. You form new names. They trend on twitter; become popular pictorial jokes on Instagram, are used for the long messages among Facebook users. You feel popular. You feel in charge. You believe that someday, Africa will get civilized; free from its dark nature and polluted customs. You advise your followers and also follow likeminded individuals. You create trending posts and talk about readers-literary, political and social leaders who share your dream. You read about them and felt a burning sensation across your spirit. Your soul is at its heels; timely and swift; ready to join in transforming the world into a better place- where everyone regardless of gender can live without the fear of another or the law of hate.
She stopped as a red Honda Camry drove into the garage. She inserted the note into a larger book and threw it into her bag. She walked out of the house and then, towards the garage as quickly as she could. ‘Welcome Yinka’, she said silently. ‘What were you doing at the bamboo house’, he asked as he slowly blew his cigarette at her face. ‘Reading’ ‘Reading what?’ ‘This’ She brought out a book titled ‘Husband, the Crown of a Woman’. ‘Ahn Ahn Ahn Ahn’, he laughed loudly. ‘See!’ he smiled broadly. ‘You are now becoming the woman I have always dreamt of; always wanted to see in you’. She stared at him as he firmly folded her into his arms. ‘See Stella! I love you. I truly do. I just don’t want you memorizing those non-African lines and quotes from those books and making a mockery of me; {coughs}; of us, our family on social media’. He pulled her out of his arms and stared at her fiercely, ‘Do. You. Understand. Me?’
‘I prepared salad with fried lobsters’, she said and turned towards the house’s entrance. Yinka suddenly pulled her back which caught her off guide. Regardless, he held her on her throat and repeated, ‘Do. You. Understand. Me? She forcefully drove some saliva struggling between her freed oesophagus and the blocked one downwards. ‘Yes’, she whispered.
‘Now, go get me my food!’
Then, they would come simply like supporters of freedom. They were so innocent; so adventurous; ready to fight for the freedom of their mothers, sisters and wives. You fall for it. You fall for their constant supportive agitations and intelligently written essays and speeches against the unethical domination of men on the female gender. Just like Yinka; the beast called Yinka. I had met him at a writers’ club. Firm and strong. It was so easy to point him out from so many people. He had the most beautiful smile and the right reply for every question and theme discussed. After the meeting, they had both discussed various issues- the woman who divorced her husband twice for emotional and physical abuse, the man who got arresting for poisoning his wife after he suspected her for infidelity; the gay couple who contacted Aids after an unscreened blood transfusion- it was said to be the fault of the government who tolerated the immoral union of the same sex. Between, she asked whether he was a feminist. He said, ‘well people and their ‘ism-s, right?’ not like-well-I believe in their cause; in their zeal to fight for the advancement and betterment of the female gender. I really do not know so much about it-so- but-emm!- their regular tweets and speeches have been awesome. I have been following Chimamanda as of late…’
As though, that was exactly what she needed- a man who saw the light and was willing to follow it., to take advantage of it and proceed into the world of knowledge and social responsibilities. That day, she thought, ‘I will help him; I will bring him to that light.’ She smiled. It was fun. They had both read books and tweets together, created trends, argued and organised seminars…Nine months into marriage, Yinka changed. First, it was children, then her social work, then, her books; her type of books.
‘Stella! Stella!’, Yinka voice came from the dining room. ‘I am done. Come and clear the table.’ Stella quickly folded her note just has she had done in the bamboo house and left quickly for the dishes. As she cleaned the drops of water on the table, she felt Yinka’s lustful gaze ravage the corners of her body. She noticed a creaking smirk through the corners of his mouth. She felt fear flow limitlessly along her spine. ‘Ask him to stop…Run into the kitchen and hide…Allow him’, her thoughts ran. ‘The night is cold. My arms are warm’, his voice interrupted her thoughts. ‘Hmmm’, she replied without looking up. Yinka took up a toothpick and noisily plucked out some meat from between his teeth. ‘I will be in bed. Do quick!’
Sometimes, it is not our fault, sometimes it is not them. It is not what we see or what we hear. It was the things we fell for; that occupied our heart and forms our faith; our ideologies- Opportunistic irritating beasts in their angelic form; without any form of mental stability; show-mistic pigs. Now, she won’t claim to know how they felt; she felt it-spirit, soul and body. It is now her story; her life created by mistake; by the things that meant the most to her. She had seen them all-pain, tears, marital restriction, the manipulation of law, the power of wealth, women battering and the inability of women to fight physically, financially, legally but socially. These were the things she had often underestimated while pleading for women to strengthen and free themselves from its shackles. These are the things which matter the most; they are held beneath; lifeless; until we ourselves walk through the same tunnel.

OLAYIWOLA Faith Adedolapo | ACEworld
OLAYIWOLA Faith Adedolapo writes from Ibadan. She raps in literary forms. Her write-ups have been featured on several magazines and online platforms. She can be reached via:

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