Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
The sun had just spilled over the horizon when the sisters crossed into their territory. There was a sudden shout and someone yelled out. “Ti wọn ti pada! They have returned!” Folami laughed as a young boy ran through the village. He announced their arrival like an abeng horn would announce danger.
Within minutes men, women and children began to flock out of their homes. The sisters were instantly surrounded and bombarded with questions and accounts of things they missed.
“It has been three days, where did you go?” bellowed a young man.
“Why did you disappear like that?” demanded others.
“You missed my born day!” yelled a little girl.
“Were you caught in that horrible storm?” queried another.
“We thought you would not return…” murmured an old woman.
Ayotunde did not know what to say. Their people looked to them for leadership, counsel, dependability, direction and even fellowship. “How can we look them in the eyes knowing that we were about to betray them?” she thought. “Given the opportunity, I would have left without a second thought. What does that make me? What does that make us?” she asked herself.
Guessing at her feelings, Folami whispered just loud enough for Ayotunde to hear. “It makes us more human than we realized.”
Knowing that the truth could never be shared, Temitope slowly raised her right arm into the air. As the long sleeve of her seeti , shirt slid down her brown skin, silence descended upon the village. Everyone anxiously awaited her words. To soften the blow, Temitope was about to exhibit another human trait. She was going to lie.
“Ebi, Family, hear me! It was not our wish to be away from you for so long. Three moons ago, we marked 100 years since our arrival here on Aye. As elders, we believed that our job here was done. That you had outgrown your need for us and the purpose of our presence here.” “That’s not true!” they yelled. “We believed that the high god had plans to return us home.”
“When he summoned us, we were not prepared for his news. He has asked that we begin a new adventure; one that will keep us together.” Taking her sisters hands, she raised them above her head. “I cannot share his vision for the future but it is more important than ever, that the Inaand awọn dudu continue to be of one mind and one spirit! Should we continue to do this the future will be nothing but bright!” With a roar of approval, the Inaand awọn dudu clasped their hands together in a show of unity.
At that same moment, a tall, powerfully built man of mid-age stepped out of the forest. Through all the commotion, no one noticed his arrival except Folami. Their eyes connected. His intense brown eyes, took in everything about her. They slowly travelled from her head to her feet. In all her 100 years, no one had ever made Folami feel what she now felt. Confusion, desire, guilt, and joy all engulfed her at the same time. She had an overwhelming urge to run but she did not know if it should be towards him or away. Just when she came to a decision, she stopped.
He too seemed to be experiencing similar emotions, but the one that stood out the most was anger. He was absolutely furious with her and she knew exactly why.
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Mari e laipe!
See you soon!