Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
Modupe had a battle going on within him. He was livid and yet he felt relief. He was bitter and yet he felt elated. Modupe’s brain and heart fought for control. His mind told him that he was a fool but his heart could not help but skip a beat. “She was going to leave you!” echoed one of the many thoughts that ran through his head. “Not without great pain.” whispered his heart. Modupe heard what the others did not. Saw what others refused to see. Ayotunde only shared part of their story. Had they gotten their way, the sisters would not have returned.
Knowing Folami’s origins did not stop Modupe from loving her. For as long as he could remember, his heart had always belonged to her. Folami did not encourage his feelings. If anything, she rebuked them. “Modupe find someone your own age! Find someone who will grow as you grow, age as you age. Find someone you can have children with. Find someone who will not have to watch you die!”
Modupe could never see himself with anyone else. He would say, “One day you will see things as I do. You will weaken and you will let yourself love. On that day, I will be waiting.”
At the beginning, Folami did not take him seriously. As she watched him age into a handsome, virile man she expected him to find a wife. She even went so far as to introduce him to women who found him to be more than good husband material. Her attempts to remove him from her life only made him more tenacious. The women, who thought they had a chance, just gave up.
No one was aware of his love for Folami; no one except Ayotunde. For years she watched his feelings grow from admiration to the first blossoms of love. But she never bothered to warn her sister. As Modupe’s feelings were one-sided, she believed he would eventually out grow them. Ayotunde was mistaken. She watched Modupe as he watched Folami. The intensity of his emotions was frightening to someone who had never experienced them. Ayotunde warned Folami.
“Folami are you blind! Do you feel and see so little that you do not understand what is going on before you? Modupe is no longer a child and he only has eyes for you. You must deter him. We both know that nothing can come of his love for you!” Folami was not a fool. Short of hurting him, nothing she did worked. Modupe was just as stubborn and determined as she was.
Folami realized that if she did not leave Aye soon, she would be forced to re-evaluate her feelings for Modupe. Her once strong resolve was indeed weakening. And she found herself watching for him. Listening for his voice; working hard to ignore her too human response to his presence. She observed the couples of her village. The ones who were newly in love, gravitated to each other. A touch, a kiss, a caress. The linked couples were comfortable in their love. They knew each other as only couples with history would.
As a goddess, Folami knew that a relationship with a human was impossible not to mention forbidden. So Folami did what she witnessed some human women do. When they were scared to face the truth, they would find an escape route. They would run. Leaving Aye was the only answer.
When Folami realized that her path was blocked, she was distraught. So much so, that her emotions manifested into the powerful storm that almost flooded the entire valley.
He watched, Folami and her sisters as they tended to the needs of the tribe. Moving from home to home, they listened as their people voiced their woes and concerns.
“Jenrola has not paid me a fair price for the goods we have traded!”
“Efe will not do her share of the work!”
“My Yaya has been ill. Can you see to her?”
“The baby is coming soon. I don’t believe I will be a good mother.”
They pushed up their sleeves and helped to till the earth in preparation for the new harvest. Ayotunde sat with the little ones and taught them about the orisa. Temitope called a meeting between the leaders of the Ina and awọn dudu. She was bound and determined to avoid the future that the high god foresaw. Folami on the other hand was distracted.
Since their return, she avoided Modupe at every turn. She could feel his eyes upon her back. Feel his love and anger in the air. So did her sister. Ayotunde was not sure how much longer Folami could hold out. “If she hasn’t already admitted it to herself,” Ayotunde thought. “Folami has fallen in love with Modupe.”
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Mari e laipe!
See you soon!