A Rainy Day In June

Rainy day in June

It’s raining again today, like it did yesterday and the day before. Rainy days are signature of June, my birth-month and the month I finally walked away.

Childhood in the Beluah temple cast some indelible marks in my life. Shadows that followed me where ever I went. The temple where father was a priest was situated along the Benin-Lagos road; rapid industrialization had fished it out from hiding, I was told. There I was born, and many more some who never saw the light of the day.

Ose and I were home-schooled. Mum taught us all she knew, it didn’t matter that she barely passed WASSCE. We were special, she always reminded us, and should not mix with other children. But I soon found it was the reverse. Often the children from the street threw stones into the compound. They pointed fingers and giggled at me when they felt I wasn’t looking.

I always sat at the balcony, daydreaming about setting foot on the dusty ground of the streets just beyond the gates. I longed for a time I will be allowed that freedom and maybe even extend it to visit distant lands. I sat at the balcony by 7am and 2pm, every day, as pupils went to and fro school hoping that one day I will be allowed to join them. But father would never hear it. No one ever leaves Beluah, he would say in measured tones, we are custodians of the mystical order. The farthest we were allowed to go was the gate where we doubled as gate-keepers to throw open the gates for throngs of Beluah worshipers.

I hated home-schooling and I made my displeasure known. Ose did not seem to mind though, he was the perfect Esomo Beluah. Father might have admired my defiance (he never admitted it though), but it was clear that he loved Ose’s loyalty more.

The year I turned 11, I knew I could take no more so I rebelled. Father threatened fire and brimstone while Mum wept in the corner but nothing was going to change my resolve. Not the first lash of the whip on my bare back which shot needles of pain into the deepest parts of me, nor the thirtieth lash which drew blood from my skin, already numbed with pain. I didn’t shed a single tear as he finally let me go; we both knew I had won the day. A month later, on a rainy day in June, I was sent off to Government College, Owerri. Freedom had come at last and I never looked back.

The college swallowed me up the first week. There were questions to be answered, friends to be made and adventures to be embarked on. With respect to the latter, it was intriguing for me learning the skilful art of dodging notorious senior students. Every day I spent in the school was worth the 30 lashes I had endured – the price of freedom.

One day, Uche, the class prefect asked which church I attended at home. I was confused; all I knew was Beulah and I told them as much. That was my undoing. Overnight, I became a plague among my mates for no one would associate with the child of a temple priest. And so if at night I stared at the stars, I was accused of magic and when I became thirsty at night, it was blood I drank. The beautiful free life I had found in Government College ended before it even began.

My days became lonely with no one to talk to and my nights, long and teary. It was on one such night that I remembered Ose. I had been so caught up in the euphoria of my freedom that I had forgotten all about him. I thought of his puffy eyes as he waved me goodbye the day I left home. Going back home was not even an option for me, so I faced the ‘giant’ in school with all the bravery I could muster. I was after all the daughter of Ehiosu, fifth in the lineage of priests for the great Beluah. I graduated with the best result ever recorded in the college and the university college admitted me to study Economics with full funding from the Commonwealth fund.

It’s my birthday today, another rainy day in June, and I still love to sit on balconies. I had just read the pages of my diary and a wave of sadness courses over me. But over that sadness, I feel a comforting satisfaction in knowing I made the right choices. Life has no place for the man who waits for things to happen to him but rather the one who goes out and makes things happen for him.

I do not know what became of Ose. I hear he replaced my Father, after he passed on, as the priest and caretaker of Beluah. I suppose he would have a loyal family – wife and children who would be home-schooled by their mother, without any complaints. I wonder if he ever thinks of me, the rebellious one. The one who got away, on a rainy day in June.

 

By Chizzy Odilinye

 

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46 replies added

  1. Nnamdi June 20, 2016 Reply

    I always thought there’s something different about you. I guess this answers it a bit. happy birthday Chizzy.

    • Chizzy June 21, 2016 Reply

      Exactly Nnamdi. Glad you finally figured it out..

  2. Tochukwu June 20, 2016 Reply

    Very nice piece which kept me looking forward to what the next line beneath had in store with its subtle suspense.

  3. Ekene June 20, 2016 Reply

    Always proud of my sister and twin! U keep amazing me! Hbd beautiful

    • Chizzy June 21, 2016 Reply

      Twinnie of life, thanks dearie. love you

  4. Scad June 20, 2016 Reply

    Another masterpiece from Chizzy as usual… Birthday girl 😉

  5. Nonipet June 20, 2016 Reply

    This is indeed a very nice and captivating piece, keep it going dear…I see the next best writer in you

  6. Bonasera June 20, 2016 Reply

    A good writer just knows how to work that balance between fiction and reality. I just sat glued to my laptop trying to reconcile Chizzy and Beluah. Lool. Good stuff. Happy birthday!

    • Chizzy June 21, 2016 Reply

      Like my good friend Deborah will say, “when fiction is believed to be true, that is fiction”
      thank you Bonasera

  7. Ebere Chukwuba June 20, 2016 Reply

    Chizzy, This is awesome. I so much love this piece. As I read, I began to imagine things and I almost forgot this piece is fiction. You’re really a good writer, Keep it up.
    Much love my dear and Happy Birthday to you!!!

    • Chizzy June 21, 2016 Reply

      thanks dearie. I am blushing from ear to ear. cheers

  8. Deenma June 20, 2016 Reply

    Nice one . Happy birthday Chizzy

  9. BelaChris June 20, 2016 Reply

    Classic! Such mastery @ Chizzy. Tnx 4 ur birthday gift 2 us.

  10. Michel June 20, 2016 Reply

    Lovely piece, happy birthday dear, Jesus loves you

  11. Ruthy June 20, 2016 Reply

    Chizzy has come again. Beautiful piece!!

  12. Wise-man June 20, 2016 Reply

    Perfect use of words and coherency. Keep it up and HBD.

  13. chinedu June 20, 2016 Reply

    interesting and captivating. but Chizzy is it just a fiction?

    • Chizzy June 21, 2016 Reply

      you can decide what it is..
      so tell me, what do you think?

  14. Noble Mayor June 20, 2016 Reply

    Chizzy. Beluah. Ose. Government College Owerri. June. Ehiosu. Rainy days. Uche. Esomo Beluah. WASSCE. Benin-Lagos road. Commonwealth. Happy birthday…

    Hmmmmm

  15. Lovelyn June 20, 2016 Reply

    Nice piece dear. God enlarge ur dream, Happy birthday

  16. Cheekoh June 20, 2016 Reply

    Nice piece. Quite captivating. Happy birthday swty

  17. Collins Mad June 20, 2016 Reply

    U really don’t need anyone to be happy. Happiness lies within you. I’m happy u’re happy, on dis special day. The piece was masterclass, but I’m not surprised. My #EditorInChief

  18. jovyfoundations June 20, 2016 Reply

    wooow wooow i was lost in thought n reality. thats awesomly awesome chizzy

  19. zay June 20, 2016 Reply

    Chizzy hun… U know how i admire your writings.. If only i could write as awesome as u do… Cool stuff hun… Proud of ya.

    • Chizzy June 21, 2016 Reply

      Thanks Zay.
      Chisom will always say that there is a story in everyone.. so just maybe..

  20. kunle June 20, 2016 Reply

    Happy birthday Chizzy
    slowly and steadily u getting there. Always refreshingly different. Tanks for de excellent birthday gift. You are de best.

    • Chizzy June 21, 2016 Reply

      Your encouragement keeps me going. Thank you so much Kunle

  21. Mshelia Richard June 21, 2016 Reply

    Nice one! Happy Birthday Chizzy…. dont know how u ended as a engineer but this is awesome.

    • Chizzy June 21, 2016 Reply

      Richard, I am still asking myself that o

  22. Ezeuduji Obinna June 21, 2016 Reply

    This piece is awesome… I was standing while reading it, though a little disappointed it had to end.
    Great piece… Happy birthday!!! Chizzy

    • Chizzy June 22, 2016 Reply

      Obi dear, everything that has a beginning will have an end.

      Thank you for reading.

      Chisom, where are thou?

      • Chisom June 22, 2016 Reply

        My dear, I’m just here, thoroughly overwhelmed by all the love pouring out on you. Well-deserved love, I must add. You are a beautiful writer, Chizzy, you know it. I know it more. Happy birthday again, sweetie

        • Chizzy June 22, 2016 Reply

          You know I could never have done it without you. Bear hug for you

  23. AvToMaT June 21, 2016 Reply

    Happy Birthday Chizzy….
    Nice write up…

    So Ose is a Full time Jazzman???
    Heheheheheheh

    • Chizzy June 21, 2016 Reply

      Thank you AVTOMAT.
      Ose chose the path he wanted. We all have choices to make.

  24. Chinelo Obike June 22, 2016 Reply

    OK, I got it late! Still am glad I read through it. Is fiction yes but is what you can do in life. Thumps up strawberry, you get better by the day. Happy rainy birthday. Heaven is your limit my friend my sister!

    • Chizzy June 22, 2016 Reply

      Thanks Vanilla,
      Indeed you can be all you want to be. We are of they that break barriers

  25. Ruru June 22, 2016 Reply

    Nice write up…thumps up for u…chizzy

  26. Chinedu June 24, 2016 Reply

    You write so well. I am inspired by your excellence. Keep it up! By the way, I can relate to this childhood. I think the farthest place we went was the gate. That’s why i value freedom.

  27. Kasinto June 26, 2016 Reply

    Couldn’t take my eyes of it from the beginning to the end. A time well spent for me on a Sunday in another town on a rainy day.

  28. Emmanuel Charles July 5, 2016 Reply

    “Life has no place for the man who waits for things to happen to him but rather the one who goes out and makes things happen for him”. I’m yet to recover from this and I may never. Good one dear. U’r great

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