Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

This is how I remember you: pert nose, breakfast enthusiast, forger of tears, akara hoarder. You were with me when the old woman’s mangy dog dug his teeth into my buttocks; that day we took all our Christmas money—money scrounged from returnee uncles and aunties—to the old woman’s sweet shop, to buy snacks filled with saccharine. You were with me when the local nurse scraped the teeth marks away and gave me the chlorophyll of bitter leaves to drink, and you aped around me, saying that in no time I would only be able to bark, incapable of speech.

Remember when we rode our bicycles on the laterite soil, traversing every nook and cranny of the hamlet, city children full of pep and glee, until we came upon the priestess in her white calico wrapper tied about her chest, her eyes circled with nzu. She swung a dead and bloody chicken in her arms, invoking the rain to ruin the traditional wedding ceremony of a client’s enemy. We rode away fast, fear thudding loudly in our eyes and for days we never dared tell anyone what we heard or saw.

You were there when we thronged behind Grandma on the first journey to the farm to harvest cassava, with the birds fluttering and glorying in their songs, everything in the greenery of the bush crisp with life.

You were with me when we bathed our naked bodies, standing on a sheet of zinc, the hot water in the enamel pail filled with the smell of firewood, and the late night harmattan wind licked up our skin before we could reach the towel.

You were there with me under the plastic canopies when Aunty Ada was decked out for her igba nkwu and when, with a horn of palm wine, she searched shyly for her groom and we thought adult games were embarrassingly silly.

After Christmas, we promised to write each other. We were sad to see the end of another holiday season.

 

*************

#TalesOfAnAfricanChristmas is a seasonal series. Everyday until Christmas day, we will post a story or flash fiction about Christmas. So come back tomorrow for a brand new story.

*************

Post image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

About the Author:

Ucheoma Onwutuebe’s works have appeared in Prairie Schooner, LipMag, Kalahari Review and a bevy of other outlets. She blogs at www.ucheomaonwutuebe.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

What Is Literary Androgyny? Diriye Osman Tells Us

Diriye_Osman_Picture

Describing himself as “first Somali, second Muslim, third gay,” the enchanting Diriye Osman is arguably the most fascinating writer on […]

50 Years Later, the Swedish Academy Unveils the 70 Nominees for the 1967 Nobel Prize in Literature

nobel prize - new republic

As is their tradition, the Swedish Academy, custodians and givers of the Nobel Prize in Literature, have, 50 years after […]

The Johannesburg Review of Books Vol. 1, Issue 8 | Featuring Soyinka, J.M. Coetzee, Yewande Omotoso, Nthikeng Mohlele, Niq Mhlongo, Bongani Madondo

library - christian community in johannesburg

The 8th issue of The Johannesburg Review of Books was released last December. The issue, which is from the magazine’s […]

Opportunity for African Writers | Enter for Africa Book Club’s Short Story Competition

opportunity-for-african-writers-1-2

The Africa Book Club Short Reads Competition is open to submissions. African writers can enter fiction or nonfiction pieces of […]

Keorapetse “Bra Willie” Kgositsile: South Africa Begins 3-Day “Special Official Funeral” for Late National Poet Laureate

library - christian community in johannesburg

To honour the country’s late National Poet Laureate, Keorapetse “Bra Willie” Kgositsile, the government of South Africa has commenced a three-day […]

See the Gorgeous Cover for LGBTQI Art Collective 14’s Volume 2, Featuring Snippets from Taiye Selasi and Gbenga Adesina

IMG-20180113-WA0006

The Nigerian queer art collective 14, which is set to release its second volume this week, has shared its cover, […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.