In Ignorant Bliss

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Under The Heat of An Afternoon Sun

The day Nnedi put to bed, the oldest midwife the village boasted could not be excused from assuming the responsibility. How she could not perform the duty for the girl who was the sunshine of the village was beyond her comprehension. An ardent fan of hers, she even offered her services for free. As well, she even came along with the necessary ointments that new mothers usually had to buy at the end of the delivery of their babies.

“I want it on record that I was midwife at the birth of the next songstress of the clan – be it male or female - as the gods will please.” As she said this in a beam of a smile, her face advertised the lovely dimpled high point of her cheeks. As she made the intention known, they served to add credulity to the intention.

Enabled by her well-honed sense of duty, she was beside the mother-to-be as and when she was due. Taking charge on arrival, she had ordered Nnedi sprawled out on a mat in the fore of the house for air indoors. As the hour dawned, she was already in charge of the proceedings as always. The patient as compliant as all first mothers-to-be obeyed all her directions in between grunts as spasm after spasm trailed her birth canal.

When it appeared as if it had become unbearable, she was ordered to push. Push she did and in no time the shrill cry a baby pierced the ambiance of the expectation-filled compound. As it were,she dropped the baby effortlessly on the mud pavement that the aged midwife had readied ahead as though it was just another song.

Nnedi’s heaved sigh of relief had hardly expired than the midwife’s one look at the baby revealed the unthinkable. The baby was not of the normal color most people bear in these shores. It was as pale as a spirit come all the way from the land of the dead. Then did the midwife arrive what must have gone wrong. He had definitely supervised the birth of such a baby before.

Only then could the aged midwife conjure what must have happened from the experience of his age as well as profession. Having no time to see each other in the nights following their engagement, she reasoned to herself, Tatu and Nnedi had the baby conceived under the heat of the midday sun.

Well aware of the rules governing the taboo, the midwife immediately removed the baby from the sight of the mother. Having sent for the priests that would commence the cleansing ceremonies, she returned to finish her remainder duties and brief the couple of the sacrilege they had committed.

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