‘All was once perfect,
All was once beautiful,
All was once exact,
Or was it all a façade?’
You were the angel of the family. The pretty face with the unparalleled wit. You were the apple of your father’s eyes; the envy of all the other daughters. There was none like you, none as beautiful, none as enlightened, none as dainty, none as worthy. You were the bold, brave and strong warrior. You were the one true daughter of Fagbohunmi, the great one. You were his priceless jewel, his most valued possession. He spoke endlessly of your many achievements and endeavours. He blew your trumpet ceaselessly. He was proud of his daughter. You were happy, you loved your perfect life, you loved your perfect family. Though mother was gone, life was still blissful; your father filled all the voids she left. You knew no sorrow or hunger or lack. It was all as they had prophesied it would be; rosy, but it was a little too rosy don’t you think?
Right at the peak of perfection, the mighty walls, forts and towers you built around your heart began to crumble. Alas! Your secure forts proved no match for Odekunle the son of the peasant hunter. How dare you love such a man? He is not of your status or class. Your father dare not hear this. You tried to keep the thoughts and feelings at bay, but they mocked your failure and weakness. Like a snake charmer, he got into your head and you got lost in his world. You shared your dreams, anger, regrets, pain, love, joys, sorrows and lives. Soon your world began to revolve around him and his world around you. You treasured all your moments together for each day you returned home to face the harsh reality that you will soon become the wife of Prince Adetokunbo, the heir apparent to the throne. You will become the wife of a king, you will make such a wonderful Olori.
Dilemma. You love Odekunle, but you do not love poverty. You do not hate the Prince, neither do you particularly love him, but he is capable of taking good care of you. You could learn to love him; it wasn’t unheard of. After all, mother had learned to love father after she was offered to him in marriage and she died very happy. Your heart crumbled at the thoughts that plagued your mind. How could you an advocate of true love be willing to sell your heart for material possessions? How could you betray the one you love for status, wealth and class? How could you subject your heart to such misery just to become the next Olori? So many questions, but the answers you are unsure of or maybe just afraid and ashamed to admit. What on earth are you going to do?
Solution. Sell out. You informed Odekunle of your decision to go ahead and marry the prince. Odekunle got on his knees and begged you, begged for your love which you were ready to sell to some pompous brat for mere pieces of paper. Odekunle threw his pride into the furnace that night, all for you. You told him that was the only way, you couldn’t afford to break your father’s heart. He asked you if you loved him and you said yes. He said, ‘then flee with me before dawn on the day of your wedding’. He was ready to give up his life for you. You protested, but he said you’d do it if you really loved him. You re-asserted your love for him and gave him a re-assuring smile. On the day of your wedding, he waited before dawn at the city gate. No sign of you. He waited and waited till the sun was high up in the sky. He was worried that you might have been caught. He prepared himself to fight to rescue you and alas, he heard the sounds of the drumming and singing. The people were celebrating, celebrating your marriage to the Prince. He couldn’t believe his ears. He ran to the town centre only to find you married to the Prince. Something died in him that day, but what did you care? You were to busy in your own regal world.
Regrets. Soon you discover that your new life isn’t as rosy as they said it would be and your joy joy is short-lived. Barely after eight months of marriage, your prince comes home with a woman, heavily pregnant saying she is his wife. You think it to be a joke, but soon, she becomes the apple of your Prince’s eyes. Soon she would have a baby, a boy the priest had said and he would bring great fortune to the household. You were to shocked and horrified to even try to process anything in your mind. You think it is all a phase and it would soon pass. How wrong you are. The child is born, and you’ve been married for almost a year, no signs of an issue. You are depressed, you run to your husband to find solace. He mocks you! He laughs and spits in your face! He says he knows the truth. He says they told him, but he failed to believe them. He speaks of how you messed around with Odekunle and because of that, the gods have decided to place this curse on you. You are devastated and you retort, ‘had I known you were a monster, I would never have married you, you worthless son of a gun’. He slaps you and gives you the beating you would never forget.
You run back to your father and rather than see reason with you, he chastises you of being a bad wife and being rude to your husband. He packages gifts which you are to use to appease Prince Adetokunbo and sends you on your way. You see Odekunle on your way, but you hide your face and walk on like you didn’t see him. He saw your scars that day and his heart died.
After seven years of marriage, you have become a childless scarecrow. You are not the Olori as they promised. Prince Adetokunbo now Oba Adetokunbo Adesida chose the junior wife to be his olori. You are just another item in his house. The last time he made love to you was six years ago and it was more of rape because he was angry and drunk. His son, Prince Adekunle mocks you and insults you. Fadekemi! What mess have you gotten yourself into? How did you go from hero to zero; from grace to grass? Fadekemi! You caused your own destruction with your hands. Se oju e ti was la n sin? Se o ti ri ara e n sin? Hope you are satisfied? After all, you’re still the wife of the king. Your thoughts mock you as well. It becomes too much to bear. As you plunge the knife into Adetokunbo’s belly, you curse him and the day you married him. You tell him how much you hate him and how happy you are to watch him die in this slow and painful way. You twist the knife as you plunge deeper and deeper into his guts. He finally dies, and overwhelmed by rage, you stab him repeatedly all over his lifeless body, chanting hateful curses.
The city gate. You look up and realize you should have been here before, to flee with the one who truly loved you. You look at the gate and there you find the love of your life Odekunle, waiting patiently for you. This time however, he isn’t there to take you on a love escapade. He is there to lead you away from the city which you’ve been banished from. As he escorts you, he says to you that he never stopped loving you and walks with you to the unknown land which is your destination. He stops at the entrance to the cursed place and there he bids you farewell and returns to his family, a walking zombie.
And at the end of it all,
Only your memories survive,
Marked by the scars you had
And tears you shed.