I’m a Feminist. I would expect you to understand what that means. Saying that isn’t all that matters, being able to live with every aspect of it is, the sacrifices involved as well as the courage to ascertain no one ever utters the rather demeaning phrase – “you are just a woman” ever.
If you are against this movement or even remotely indifferent on the subject, kindly board the next available cab and occupy a very comfy seat, thanks. Although I can’t help but wonder what kind of world you intend to groom your daughters in; one which sees and treats them as equals and with respect or one that treats them like garbage or an accessory?
“We’re in the 21st century mum, no one does this anymore, how do you expect me to do this? It’s like condemning me to an eternity of sadness” Amaka ranted as she broke down in tears and clung tighter to her pillow.
“Amaka, you know I love you very much. You are my only daughter and I need you to understand your father. Getting married to Michael would be a huge boost for the family’s status and you would have everything you want or could ever think of.” Amaka’s mum persuaded as she sat beside her daughter.
‘Mum what is the point of the marriage if I don’t love him, I hardly even know him and every time I see him all he does is stare at me like meat meant to be grilled and devoured. I’m scared mum, please don’t make me do this, please mum, don’t.’
‘I’m going to try to speak to your Father again, but if I end up being kicked out of the house then it’s on you, but don’t worry everything will be fine.’ She encouraged pulling her daughter closer and hugging her tightly.
‘But do you really believe everything will be okay? He’s so blind, his method of reasoning is ancient and all I keep hearing is I can’t go against my father’s wishes.’
Nathaniel, my elder brother called out from the living room.
I recognized his voice and I hurried out of my room to welcome him. He resides in a different city and I’m sure my father had summoned him all in the name of this useless arranged marriage.
Yes I’m a lady, a woman and that fact doesn’t make me any less of a human being. I have the right to make my own choices.
Few hours later, my dad called a family meeting and I was placed in the center as everyone gathered around.
Only my mum and my cousin were in my favour, everyone else was just on the ‘You are a woman, you will do what we want you to, we are your elders and we know what is best for you.’
I was so dumbfounded, and I could hardly believe my family had such ideas. How unfortunate!
I had no choice than to succumb to their proposition to hangout with this so called suitor. My plan was to be as annoying as possible and hopefully in a short while he will inform his parents he has no interest in me anymore.
I slept through the day and in the evening I started to get dressed. What I really had in mind was to dress horribly, draw horrible eyebrows, rub my body with garlic if possible – but no no no, why would I dress down or bathe in garlic all in the name of a man? No way! Not happening.
I didn’t put on the ideal “dinner gown”,Instead I wore a white jumpsuit with a gold high-heeled sandal. Almost everyone in the house assessed me to make sure I had no plans of ruining things before they even kicked off.
Michael picked me up as planned, paying his respects to the family as each of them blushed childishly. I couldn’t just believe my eyes for in this very house I was taught that money and status wasn’t everything and here I see them loosing their minds over the Vice President’s son.
I can proudly say my family is very comfortable, financially and in every other sphere possible. So it’s so disheartening that someone just wakes up and says ‘We want to wife your daughter’ and just like that, I’m stamped – SOLD!
‘Amaka Amaka ‘ Michael said.
‘Yes’, I responded with a smirk on my face and he returned it with a smile.
‘Pretty lady, I just can’t wait till I make you my wife’ Michael said as he continued driving, reaching for my lap and almost immediately I smacked his hand off my lap “how dare you”, I exploded, don’t you ever dare touch me, you don’t even know me and here you are already running your mouth like an illiterate. Who’s going to marry you?’
‘You don’t have to be rude dear, you know at the end of the day, I will have everything beneath that dress and more’
‘Lord have mercy! You most certainly are a special breed of jerk, which or what are you? ‘ I asked rhetorically with disdain.
‘The one you will be jerking off all your life hun’
Tonight couldn’t have gone any worse, like why and how did I get here. Finally, we arrived at the restaurant and I couldn’t wait for this shit to be over, I’d heard and had enough bull for one night.
Of course he couldn’t shut his trap hole while dinner was underway, he kept asking insane questions while I gave straight up answers at times and applied the silent treatment at other times.
There is no way I’m marrying this idiot. I thought to myself.
‘You know you are not going to work when you become my wife right?’ he said with this self-inflated smile on his face
‘Excuse me! Mr. ‘Homosapien’, you don’t have the right to tell me what or what not to do with my life and there’s no way on earth I’m going to be a full house wife or even your wife at all’ I asserted.
Before I could lift my next spoon of food he grabbed my hand across the table and said ‘listen to me you little bitch, I’m a man you are just a woman, hence, you answer to me and when you become my wife you are my property and I can do whatever I so please to do with you and I mean what-e-ver…
I got up immediately grabbing my glass of wine and splashed the full glass on his face and I walked right out and rode in a cab home.
The next morning, I could barely yawn my first before I was summoned to the living room. Gathered around the room were various people, men and women wearing disappointed faces and I swear for a second I thought I was in a coven meeting and I was the sacrificial lamb, my heart was beating so fast and in a matter of seconds, my eyes adapted and I realized that it wasn’t a coven at all but my family members.
My uncle was first to speak, ‘young lady we heard about what you did and we are all very disappointed’
I interrupted promptly saying, ‘you don’t know what he did’
‘Shut up Chiamaka, shut your mouth‘, Grandma yelled.
Uncle continued saying,
‘If you don’t want us to disown you, you will disappear from here this minute and reappear at his family house and apologize remorsefully to him and his family members’
‘But Unc.. ‘
‘Don’t utter another word, that’s the final decision and your Father does not want to see you until you’ve regained your right mind.’
In no time I was dragged to his house and I went in to apologize but his family wasn’t home and it was just the spoiled perv, Michael.
I apologized and he did same. He expressly pleaded with me to have lunch with him and in the spirit of truce, I did.
Interestingly and surprisingly, he seemed nicer this time around but my instincts perceived something fishy.
After lunch I asked to use the washroom, upon returning from the washroom he grabbed me and forced his long sour tongue down my throat, the more I resisted the more force he applied. He threw me over his shoulder and straight into his bedroom.
‘You are just a naive idiot. You want to be treated like a lady right, I will show you how ladies are really treated.’ He muttered.
I kept struggling as he dumped me over the bed. I made a quick assessment of the room, I spotted a small stool to my close right corner. He got up to take off his clothes as I quickly rolled over and said gently.
‘We can do this gently you know’, I psyched, as I slowly went over him and took off his shirt, kissed him on the neck gently as I gradually drew him in the direction of the stool.
Like a Kung-fu movie, I went straight for his head and raced out of the house immediately. I knew I had but a few seconds so I didn’t even bother to pick up my shoes, I was lucky my car keys were in my jean pocket so I engaged my Toyota Camry sport car and headed straight for the gate as I heard him order the gate man not to open the gate except he wanted to lose his job. I honked and honked repeatedly while he made his way downstairs. He came by the car as he attempted to open the doors one after the other but they were locked.
Then I spotted him grab a golf club resting beside a flower vase and I knew he was going for my wind-screen. Smartly, I engaged the gear and reversed as I headed straight for the closed gate with so much speed. My first attempt was quite fruitless, now driving forward in an attempt to make another go at it then I saw the gate open automatically and I headed straight out of the premises, while out I managed to spot one of Michael’s cousins. I assumed he must have had a control for the gate.
Like a freshly released ‘Chibok girl’, I sped straight home without making any stops. On getting home, I narrated the whole scenario to my family, you will be disturbed to realize they were actually comfortable with whatever the guy decided to do, justifying his actions with, “after all he is your husband-to-be anyway so he has the right.”
I couldn’t sleep all night, I laid up imagining all kind of things that could have gone wrong with Michael.
I prayed and cried to God earnestly and I believe he heard me.
The morning didn’t bring anything new as I was recalled to the family coven and advised,
‘You are getting married to Michael in precisely two weeks from today and you will not dare do anything to jeopardize this wedding arrangement. You shall also be under close supervision at all times especially when you’re outdoors’
I was so dispirited for I felt like my life was just snatched away from me before my very eyes by people I thought loved me and I could do nothing, absolutely nothing to stop it.
All the wedding talk, the shopping and other miscellaneous arrangements, it just felt like I was in a dream, no, no, more like a nightmare, a very bad one and the world was still spinning.
Spinning, spinning and spinning over and over.
My friends came over, we conversed about several things. A few family members came in one after another to check in on us, to make sure no one was planning a coup.
We are feminists and to think that the very thing we stand against is exactly what we are settling for is appalling.
THE WEDDING DAY
Everything was set, the bride was ready, the groom too with his family.
That sounds hilarious, doesn’t it?
Me, being the bride to an abominable excuse for a groom and being held hostage in my family house.
Finally, it was time for me to surface.
Where is the bride?
Where is she?
Why can’t anyone find her?
This girl had better not be playing tricks.
“*sigh! She has finally put our family to shame”
AN HOUR EARLIER
My bag is all packed, I could only carry one suitcase whilst my friends helped out with the perfect getaway plan.
Well they were right, we were planning a coup after all.
I was sneaked into the trunk of one of my friend’s cars after biding my mum goodbye.
Finally, boarding a plane directly to Chicago. I can’t tell if I’m ever going to return home or if my family will ever forgive me.
What I do know is, I just want to be me. Yes, I’m a woman, Yes, I’m strong, I’m independent and I will not allow anyone take my life from me.
I’m Chiamaka Obi and I’m a feminist.
THANKS A LOT FOR READING.
PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS AND SHARE.
WRITTEN BY: MARIAM ALAYANDE (IG: @m.a.temi)
EDITED BY: CHUKS NATHANIEL AMAHIA (IG:@cnmeister)
PHOTO BY: (IG: @gay_guppy.arts)