DOZ Issue 40 February 2019 - Page 18

Golden Silence Grace Aideloje “This is it.” “What?” into my thoughts, “leave his presence, put a little of this water in your mouth. Do not swallow it or spit it out, not even a drop. If you do, one or both of you will die. While he is at it, pray for him in your heart. When you are sure he has cooled down completely, swallow the water and say, ‘I’m sorry.’ It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. Remember, defying these instructions has dire consequences.” “The Wonder Water! It will work wonders on your man.” How could I not believe? Oro was an oracle. Her wisdom spans through many realms. She was the village’s financial advisor, marriage counselor, relationship expert, medical consultant, and spiritual mentor. The bottle of water looked so ordinary. I sighed, so heavily it reverberated on my sore ribs. I went home, hopeful, eager to save my marriage from the demon called Rage. “This will put an end to the battering.” How could it? Two temperamental people living under the same roof. It shouldn’t have been, but the attraction was too strong. Prince Ade, my love, the first son of King Adepe, next in line to the throne. It was love at first sight and a marriage the whole region talked about for more than four seasons. My father, the greatest hunter in the history of our village, had warned me of the legendary chink in the royal family’s armor – their rage. It made them great warriors and gave them the throne. They fought colonial invasion to a standstill and challenged injustices, but they also lost good women at the home front. Domestic violence and messy divorces shadowed their history. Only very few of the Adepes had good marriages. “How could one emotion be both productive and destructive?” I remember asking my father. “All emotions have the tendency to be both. We humans, like the valve, have the power to control. Ebun, if both of you will be very patient and use your valve wisely, you can make a happy home.” But not quite two months, the fiercest of battles started in our DOZ Magazine | February 2019 new home. My loving husband would get angry at the slightest provocation and would not stop until he unleashed the rage on me. Afterward, remorseful, he would plead with tears and tend to my wounds. At first, I kept it all hidden; the swollen eyes and jaw, the bruises and limping. Last month, after a bout of his rage, I ended up at the clinic with fractured ribs. “I’ve told you to keep mute whenever he is angry,” my father had chided, “silence is the water that quenches the flame of fury.” “How can I be quiet when he is wrong?” “There are ways a woman gets her husband to see reason. A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands. You cannot continue to exchange words with your husband all the time. I wish your mother was alive to teach you these things.” So my father took me to Oro and all she is offering is Wonder Water! “When you notice your husband getting angry,” Oro’s voice cut 18 The next time Ade got angry because of a misunderstanding; I rushed into my room instead of confronting him. I closed the door and went for the Water. While I was at it, he banged on the door like a wild animal. I opened it. He charged in. I stood looking at him, scared he was going to slap me and cause the water to spill. He gave me a curious look, shocked that I was quiet. He started ranting again, but I answered not a word. He looked at me for a while and left. One month passed, no beating, not even a hot exchange of words between us. Ade looks at me strangely. His anger dissipates quickly. Before the water finished, I went back to Oro. “It’s working,” I exclaimed. “I need more.” “There is no more.” “No more,” I gaped, alarmed. “What do I do?” “Go on acting as if the water is in your mouth every time he gets angry.” Oro smiled knowingly. “Silence is golden, my daughter.” Looking curiously at her, I suddenly realized the Wonder Water was just ordinary water. * ‘Oro’ in Western Nigeria means The Word. Proverbs 15:1 Ecclesiastes 7:9