Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
And so it began. What was once unrequited love, bloomed into a forbidden love. A love that would change Folami and mark the beginning of a dark future for the Inaand awọn dudu. By embracing her love for Modupe, Folami slowly began to lose the traits that separated her from her people. At first, it did not seem that obvious. Folami and Modupe were so caught up in each other that they failed to see the differences.
By the moon’s tenth cycle, Folami could hardly conjure up a storm. If she wanted to hover above ground, it now required concentration. She found it more difficult to communicate with the animals and her healing abilities began to dwindle. But the joy and love she experienced with Modupe, made those losses seem minimal.
The real test began when Folami fell ill. She did not understand what was happening. She was shaking with cold, roasting with fever and her mouth was as dry as the desert sands. Folami’s body had become victim to the very illnesses that sometimes invaded her people. It was never necessary for her to develop a resistance to them and now she was unable to heal herself. Finally, the truth hit. It cut through Folami’s haze of love and brought her crashing back to reality. “I have lost my immortality.” she whispered.
Folami knew that this would be a consequence of her decision. But it was hard to face. When Modupe held her hand, she had the greatest urge to push him away both mentally and physically. But she knew that was wrong. “I cannot lay the blame solely upon his shoulders. The only thing he is guilty of is falling in love with me. I was just tired of rebuilding my wall each time he knocked it down.” Sighing, Folami looked away from Modupe. For the first time, she began to question her decision.
The high god was saddened by what he saw. Folami now suffered as a human. There would be no turning back for her. His vision of the future was beginning to come to pass and Folami’s bad health was just the start. He too questioned her choices. Though the high god created his people, he did not truly understand them.
Temitope was deeply shaken. Were they about to lose their sister? They did all they could to help her; everything from healing herbs to deep prayer. Temitope and Ayotunde were not great healers like Folami. The decision to save her life would fall upon the Mother Goddess and the High God.
Though she felt a deep connection to her people, there was nothing and no one in Aye that would compel Temitope to give up her godhood. Ayotunde on the other hand was not surprised by Folami’s choice. She saw the signs and she knew the exact moment when Folami lost to Modupe.
“Ayotunde we must speak to her!” Temitope yelled when she realize what her sister had done. “Has she already forgotten the consequences her decision will bring?” she cried. “There is no point. Have you not seen them together? The only thing that will separate them is death.” Ayotunde responded.
After tending to their sister once more, Ayotunde led Temitope to a nearby rock and motioned for her to sit beside her. “I have a story to share. Perhaps this will give you some clarity. One day, and I am embarrassed to admit this. I actually felt something odd within my soul. I could not understand what it was or where it came from. And then it dawned on me, it was a human emotion that I have felt and seen in different forms. They call it envy. I envied what I saw whenever I looked upon Folami and Modupe together. Then I felt anger. Angry that Folami would give up so much for a human. Suddenly, I wanted to know what was so special. I wanted to know what was so important that Modupe would try to drown himself and Folami would flee Aye to get away from it. I wanted to experience love!” I knew that Temitope was shocked. Her brown eyes were wide and a slight gasp had escaped from her lips.
“A few nights ago, I found Folami and Modupe by the lake. It was the exact place where Folami finally acknowledged her love for Modupe. They were talking quietly and laughing. Their lyrical sounds travelled towards me. It made me think that perhaps they were reminiscing about Folami’s stubbornness and the drastic measures Modupe took to finally win her heart.”
“It was then that I made my decision. I would open myself to it.” “To what?” Temitope queried. “I would open myself to the emotion. I would open myself to the feelings that they share. I would open myself to their love. So while they spoke, I sat down in the bushes behind a large boulder. Closing my eyes, I took a few deep breaths and visualized myself opening a door.” As she spoke, Ayotunde mirrored her actions from that night. “I was terrified. Terrified of what would happen if I did this. I have kept my door, my emotions, under control and closed for over 100 years. To be an unbiased decision maker, to be fair to our people, I needed to keep myself separate from them.”
Ayotunde laughed and continued. “I conveniently forgot all the beautiful things that made humans, human. I was afraid that if I opened that door, I might not want to return to Orun or to our family. Sister there are not enough words to tell you what I felt, when I pushed open that door. It was like a roaring flood of sensations. For a moment, I thought I would drown in it. It was so deep, so full, so rich and beautiful that I cried. I cried so much, that I did not feel Folami and Modupe when they laid their hands upon my shoulders. Modupe picked me up and carried my weeping self, back to the village.
They brought me to my hut and placed me on my mat. Folami kissed me on my forehead and cover me with a cloth. She had no questions. It was obvious what I had done. The farther away they were from me, the easier it was for me to regain control. By the time they reached the other side of the village, I was able to close my door and batten down those feelings once more.” Temitope looked upon me with awe.
“Now I understand what she feels. Why she was willing to give up so much. And yet in the deepest part of my soul, I still question what she has done. It hurts me to see her suffer,” Ayotunde went on “and I wonder, would I have taken the same path?”
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Mari e laipe!
See you soon!