Gambit

Gambit

It had been a long, arduous walk from the forests of Guinea up onto the highlands of Ouagadougou. He had decided to stop in Bamako and say one last goodbye to his great aunt who had raised him. It was twenty-five long years now and he wondered if she was still alive. But he knew she was. She was the main shaman in their village just outside of Bamako, and she would live as long as she wanted. She didn’t fear death, rather she was its mistress administering it to those who were deserving while keeping it from those whose time had not yet come.
“Efrenemi ekpo te kpo, mi tangwana ewoye, eyo ejunve. Menebom bon freke, eshutewo ewoteshu? Inani gwana?
Wetebiom meswene? Ina legwona!Telebu mawa powato venchikina uwelente. Telewe viyo mensuwena.”

(It has been ages since I last saw you, and when I do, you say you want to leave, that you may never return. Do you take me a fool? Are you raving mad? I do not want you to leave, my son! My eyelashes have been twitching ever since you arrived. There is a bad omen in the air but I expect you do not perceive it)
“It is a mad man running in circles in a pit, trying to find his way out. The world is calling out to me, mother. It has something to give.”
“Hush–
“I will not let your fears dissuade me. You forget all that I have been through — the wars, the deaths, the famines. Tewo ne mi a shutamve. (Mine has been a hard life). But I am still standing.”
“And you forget who I am. You forget that what I see under my welenge (wrapper), you cannot see standing on your toes on the Tibesti.”
“I have suckled at your breasts long enough, mother. It is said that when a man begins finding the bust of another woman to be more comfortable than his mother’s, it means he is no longer a child. I must heed the voice that calls. It is time I thrust my chest and take long strides across the face of this earth. And I have not come to seek leave of you but to pay my respects.”
“And to get my blessing, stupid.”
Ceremoniously she closed her eyes and he did same but without the theatrics. Then she opened them and stripped him to the skin.



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