Short Story – Jide Existing as One and Many (3)

A short story on a young man in Nigeria figuring out his indentity.

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When she shapeshifts into my being, bearing all my characteristics, I go into a seizure. Little did I know that Mama is shapeshifting into her others.

In the unclear illuminated night, as sweat dribbles all over my body, I sprawl up from the bed. It is dark, through the window, the outside is brightly illuminated. I try taking charge, brainstorming. My skin shrivels, and I feel like Joseph the interpreter. I conclude that Mama is a witch. The room at the extreme part of the house lends credence to the assertion. Mama doesn’t allow anyone barge into the room, even the house girl says she has never been there. And she had been living with Mama for over five years.

During the children’s day celebration, Mama says the house girl should rest, that she will cook. We sit in the living room watching television. The door opens, a girl walks in. She says her name is Akpa Ego and I smile at her. She looks like her name, Akpa Ego, a bag of money, bubbling, and full of life. It reminds me of the women in the Catholic Women Organisation meeting calling mother Oriaku because of her glowing skin.
The house girl watches me closely. I feel uncomfortable. Little did I know that she does not see the little girl. She is one of Ekwunife’s others. The little piggybank she saves her money.

When the Eke market arrives, Ekwunife leaves us at home, carrying her basket to the market. The house girl is in the kitchen and I stroll outside to get a glimpse of the environment. At noon, the tree begins to breathe, pots in the kitchen clank, and I worry for the house girl. Eke slithers out. There has not been something spectacular since I returned from Lagos, except the village children making me the object of their glares because of how I speak. I overheard one saying I speak through my nose.

The gong sounds one, two, three… and he begins the announcement. Ekwunife is getting crowned as Nwanyị Osimiri, he says. Ekwunife will become the river goddess. When it comes to fruition, it will affect me because my body will never get dry.

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