Eba, Efo Riro and a Serving of Tears: by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Photo credit: Shardayyy via Flickr

She is angry with me.

I can tell, because her lips are trembling, her eyes are dilated, and her chest is rising and falling really fast. Both our eyes dart to the knife on the table, the light reflects off it and bounces back off our bright yellow wall.

“I’m going to make you dinner.”

She picks up the knife and I watch her with wary eyes.

“What are you going to make?”

“Eba and efo riro,” she replies. This is what she does when she is angry. She cooks a meal from her country, knowing full well that I don’t eat spicy food. And the food doesn’t look appealing; it comes in mostly browns and reds and greens – the colour of grass and soil and s***.

I watch her as she takes the gari, a grainy grey substance, and pours it into a pot of boiling water. I notice two tear drops fall from her lashes and into the mixture, which she stirs until the substance thickens and starts to look a bit like playdough. She dumps a dollop on the plate for me, heats up the efo riro and then she folds her arms. Dare I refuse the food?

She is tapping her foot now and waiting for me to make a choice, the wrong choice. I take my hand and scoop a bit of the eba she made with her tears and dip it into the efo, then I place it into my mouth and swallow. Her body is shaking now and I know if I look up, I will see that she is crying. I don’t look up. I keep eating till there is nothing left.

“I think I’ll have a second helping.”

She walks towards me and I fold her into my arms.


Oyinkan Braithwaite (@QaminaEbooks) is a writer-in-transit who suspects that the moment she lands a bestseller, there’ll be nothing left to life. She writes novels, short stories, scripts, poetry, articles and notes to herself. She has had work published in anthologies and has also self-published work. You can find her at Qamina.com

Related country: Nigeria

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