Inferno: by Ibifubara Davies

Mother never lies. She once told me every woman had a little madness in her, which she could set free at any time. Yesterday my madness escaped from its house, it tickled my feet, warned me about its arrival, traveled up my thighs, and then sat inside my belly with my unborn child. I knew it was there when my mother massaged my sore body with balm and fed me pepper soup to cleanse my broken spirit. I knew it was there when they came before I could finish my meal. The women with their enthralling voices, they used their tongues to my massage my ears, lifted me up with their linen tunics, and pushed me with the air from their brown lips. They took me to the back of my mother’s compound and began to attach my wings to my back. They applied oil to my wounds and kissed them whole. When they were done, they each took my feet with their hands that were made from satin and rubbed them till I couldn’t feel the ground anymore. I saw the grass turning a little brown as I stood beside the still sky. The rain stopped a while ago, yet the sky had not recovered.

My husband’s house looked very small from where I stood. I could see the lights on as I descended and sat beside the window. The same window I screamed at on days my belly couldn’t hold the screams anymore. His lover was laying down next to him and her hands were on his chest, the same way mine were on the night of our wedding.

I could feel my unborn child move a little as the women and I went round the house, making sure the doors were locked. Making sure they would not be able to leave once I started.

Then I began.

I took my wings away from the house. Safe from what was about to come. Then I began to dance, moving my hips and hitting the floor with my legs, waving my hands and floating to the whistle that escaped from the lips of the women. We began to dance, the three of us. We danced furiously, like my grandmother taught me to do on cool nights. We danced and danced until I began to feel it. It started with a spark. Then I saw it. The fire that started earlier today when my husband dragged me out of the house. The fire that brought me here. The fire that was in me.

This morning I heard a knock on the door and I knew they had come to tell me about the fire my husband and his lover did not survive. When they left, I felt it again. This time the women began to push me; they pushed till I got to the window, they pushed as I wore my wings, they pushed till I could not see my mother’s compound. Then I knew, that I was free.


Ibifubara Davies (@IB_DAVIES) is a feminist who adores knee high socks and is always late to everything.

Related country: Nigeria

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