Hello, thank you so much for the opportunity to read from my book, The Domestication of Munachi. My name is Ifesinachi, and I will be reading from page 87. Here it goes:
Mama Adanna did not kid herself that they had married for love. They had married for convenience. They had both been getting old and were ready to settle down, and then she had got pregnant. But in the beginning, there had been much to talk about, especially when Adanna was born. Gradually, things fell into routine and there were no more surprises. By the time Munachi joined the household, there was pretty much nothing to say to each other. Over the years the nothingness had grown to silence; they only talked to each when it was necessary. Civility forced them to raise two daughters together. They participated in church activities, to while away time, and in the night they slept with their backs to each other. They both had never seen anything wrong with it. She had been content to be his wife – whether in name only, it did not matter. Her life had meaning. She was a wife in her husband’s home and the society respected that. Her husband respected her.
Until the Sunday she had sent the children home ahead of her to start preparing rice, just before the church service was over. She had come home to meet the children in the sitting room, Adanna crying softly, Munachi cold as a stone. That day had changed everything. Adanna had been seventeen, Munachi, fifteen. She had asked them what was wrong. Adanna had kept on bawling like she had not heard anything. Munachi had been the one who sprang to her feet and snapped at her.
“We caught daddy on top of Beh-Beh there.” It had sounded like an accusation.
“What was he doing on top of her?” Mama Adanna had asked stupidly, still confused.
Munachi had rolled her eyes. “He was doing it with her, sleeping with her on that chair you are sitting on.”
Mama Adanna had jumped to her feet, shocked. Beh-Beh was the house girl who had been with them for a little over ten years. Quietly, Mama Adanna had taken the offending couch outside. That night, she had gone to bed with a headache, her heart heavy as lead, wondering if she ought to discuss the situation with her husband. In the end, things had worked itself out. Beh-Beh had left the same day. Mama Adanna had donated the couch to a charity event and that was that. She never allowed anyone refer to the incident again. Except that there had been a change in the house. Munachi never woke up early in the morning to prepare her father’s breakfast. In fact, she did all she could to avoid them. Both children did, but Adanna seemed to retreat into herself as if she was caught in a timeless void, reliving a nightmare. But Mama Adanna soon got over it. After all, the temptation had left them.
Then there was the time Adanna had come home with a cut on her head shortly after her son was born. Mama Adanna had suspected that the girl’s husband had been the cause. She had gone to her husband to seek his counsel on how to go about approaching the subject, but he told her what she herself already knew. If Adanna had not said anything about it, why put mouth in her daughter’s marriage? Besides, there was no way she would tell the girl to return home and leave her husband. It just was not done. She would become the laughing object of her peers.
Now it was Munachi’s turn to cause her heartache.
“Papa Adanna,” she said quietly, aware that she did not really want to spoil his mood. “Reverend Nwafor said we should go on two days fasting and prayer over this…this issue. Maybe we can start tomorrow?”
He grunted and continued eating.
“He said Munachi is possessed by the spirit of…”
“Can’t I eat in peace? Don’t call that name in this house, you hear me?” His voice was calm but beneath the calmness, Mama Adanna heard the steel that could cut through the surface of this water.
He resumed scooping well rounded balls of cooked unripe plantain flour and thick ofe onugbo into his mouth like nothing had happened.
“Yes sir,” she replied and continued eating.
The gulf stretched, yawned and widened. When she looked up at her husband, he seemed to be miles away though he was only at the other end of the table.
Thank you again for this opportunity. I hope you go out there and get the book, The Domestication of Munachi, and once again, this is the author, Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu.