A Divorce On Christmas Day.

A Divorce On Christmas Day.

December 25, 1996. Abeokuta.

Christmas, to me, is like a mystical book whose chapters are lived out, or better put, walked into, one at a time, year after year. There have been years when I walked into certain strange discoveries; some brought me weird toys; a few brought me lifelong friends; while I walked into a deeper understanding of nature, her seasons, and climates, in one or two.

But, Monday, December 25, 1996, with the horizon obscured by fierce, dusty winds, which my Geography teacher later told me were spat out yearly by the awesome Sahara desert, brought upon me the first divorce of my life. Divorce is associated usually with nuptials, yet I was only a child. And child marriage is unheard of in my culture. This notwithstanding, I remember vividly that I did vow to put asunder a sacred, perhaps God-ordained union that very day.

Christmas in those days was all about fireworks, gifts, late-night movies, endless playing hours, carols, and above all, rice and chicken. Don’t get me wrong, we never relegated Christ. We sang great tunes in memory of his glorious birth in Sunday school. I found Cantata such as Keresimesi de, and wundia kan bimo titun, were far more melodious than Once in royal David’s city and O come all ye faithful. I used to wonder if Christ was not Yoruba after all. Time would tell.

I mentioned that above all, it was all about rice and chicken. I am not a glutton; I am only trying to be truthful. I think it was more of chicken than rice though. The blood of fowls were spilled almost ritualistically by most celebrants in those days (and even till these days). A good number of Christian families could not afford one because the times were hard. Children of such families were usually forlorn. Some luckier ones, like me, only had a bite of chicken flesh on Christmas.

It happened that in the days leading to the 1996 celebration, my friends and I, exhausted from a session of football, began to glib on how that year’s episode was going to be.

‘Oh, this Christmas, I would eat… ehm. Ehm. I would eat three full coolers of jollof rice’, boasted one of us.

Another replied, ‘look at you. Mere jollof rice! My mummy would serve me four coolers of fried rice, five trays of fruit salad, and two full bowls f chicken.’ Like a chain reaction, on and on went the debate of whose Christmas was going to be merriest. It ended in a bet amongst us.

So, when the d-day came, and the ritual of prayers, church service and exchange of pleasantries with neighbours had been done, and the time for the feast came, the challenge of my friends was my motivation. I devoured with the voraciousness of an Argentine horned frog.

My mother cautioned, ‘hey, are you sure you have not have enough for a day?’

‘Mummy, a day? Today is not a day. Today is Christmas.’

She shrugged and served yet another plate of rice. I was full but the challenge of my friends was great.

Revolutions are known to be spontaneous, the one that erupted from (perhaps my duodenum) was no less so, because I was still cocksure of having more when my alimentary canal mutinied. It reversed the natural cause of peristalsis, and with the soft bang of a low-calibre explosive, I jerked forward and threw up a cluster of saliva-tenderized grains.

But that was just the beginning. Like most revolutions, things began to go awry. About five grains marched out of my right nostril. I began to panic like a threatened tyrant. Rice from my nose? As if they heard, another two sauntered out. Has death come to visit me on Christmas? My mother began to resuscitate and stabilise. Another jerk, and her body was covered with my puke. Her face became suffused with anger, mine with shame. Was there a slap? I can’t remember.

I had been betrayed by the very food that pleased my gut the most, one whose form – jollof, fried, coconut, ofada, white – never mattered to me. Unconditional love had been fouled. A sacred troth had been broken. My shame was akin to that of a cuckolded groom. I felt let down. I muttered, ‘how could rice do this to me?’

My friends came around to have a good laugh. They were my witness when I made my statement of disengagement from my erstwhile love, ‘I would never eat rice again in my life.’

Alas, my estranged love, in its most sparkling form, with a head gear of well seasoned stew, and two breast-like pieces of beef on it, did lure me into its bosom again. I fell. Or rather, I forgave. Don’t blame me, I do not know how to keep a grudge. Interestingly, it was just the morning after our divorce.

17 thoughts on “A Divorce On Christmas Day.” by onireke (@onireke)

  1. I know a brilliant story when I see one, my good friend, this is absolutely brilliant!
    Am I surprised? No! I do not expect anything less than this.
    I am glad you heeded my proddings and joined NS. Welcome my guy, this is a solid debut.

  2. Ha! I don’t blame you for marrying the lady back, nice story.

  3. I totally agree, it’s a brilliant story indeed. And I made a broad smile at the end, when you made up from your figurative divorce just the next morning after stamping your feet on the vow.

  4. WOW! Really nice, the name is catching, the story sustains captivating interest from start to finish. Loved the way u honed the generous dose of vocabs as u narrated, yet the story maintained a real taste all thru. Well-done u got my vote.

  5. True, it is a brilliant story, your familiarity with medical terms was evident in the story as well. However, I kinda expected much more drama after seeing the title and reading the first paragraph. I also noticed this too,

    “…are you sure you have not ‘had’ enough…”

    I was also wondering how your friends happened to be present at the very moment you were ‘divorcing’ rice, shouldn’t they have been at home fulfilling their own bets? But again, it is your story, your nostalgia….I’m just an observer who had a good time reading your story.
    Well done!!!

  6. amy78 (@amy78)

    Nice work, could be voting for it…

  7. Hahahahaaha! Your title is sure misleading – totally misleading and the beginning did not help matters at all.
    I enjoyed the tale, with only the first and some part of the second paragraph being my spoilers.
    What I have tried to see in most of the tales is honesty and believability which I think this story has a lot of. It gives a very good laugh as most childhood tales would. Reminded me of @Seun‘s piece – you know, the exploitation of childhood charm and ego, the mother aspect…yes, the humour too.
    Well done…Is this truly your debut? Wow! Nice one. @banky sure did us good in bringing you in. Je vous en prie…or in my ‘mother’s’ tongue :) – m sugh u da vaan.

  8. midas (@midas)

    This is an honest tale told beautifully with just the right touch of nostalgia to make the story memorable. I like your use of metaphors and similes a lot and you slid that masterfully into the story right from the title and led us through it without skipping a beat. If there are minor glitches in the telling, the sweetness of the tale ruled over it for me. Nice one!

  9. midas (@midas)

    And yeah, when the votes are revealed, know that you got one from me

  10. This one is good too. Very good, in fact.

  11. Lovely,lovely story. Thanks for agreeing to come on board, and many thanks to @ Banky for bringing you on. This has definitely got my vote.

    Well done!!!

  12. gooseberry (@gooseberry)

    Ok. This is the third coolest to me so far. Might get my vote too. Lemme keep readin. Well done.

  13. Fred Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

    I say thumbs up. a very good one

  14. obi onyinye anne (@obionyinye)

    Beautiful story……i enjoyed it from start 2 finish…sorry i didn’t read it on time 2 give u a vote

  15. Lol, this is classic. Just beautiful. Well done.

  16. charisa (@charisa)

    nice story

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