… continued from ÌBÁLÉ (the wedding night) 
Yorùbá. Ours is a culture of flamboyance and riches, actively engaged in a game to impress and outdo. Asake’s marriage rites were so defined.
It was one week of pomp and fanfare, preceded by the payment of her dowry two moons earlier.
Tethered goats were bleating their lives out, crying to the heavens in sight of the several, successive slaughter. Pots and pans in so many shapes and sizes, were coming on and off fire in quick succession , executing numerous services.
For Asake’s compound, and Ilori’s, with the adjoining compounds, it was all a smoky affair. Folks had enough to send their bowels on perpetual errands to the dunghill, almost discharging their very innards out. With just two days to the wedding ceremony, wine had already started flowing freely in Palm wine stalls, such that it was common sight to see men in Palmie-induced coma, fallen like logs of wood by the roadside.
On Asake’s wedding day, the quiescence of the poor little village was shattered into pieces. The couple’s Àdìre , tied, dyed and ordered all the way from Abeokuta was around already, ready to grace the groom and his bride, with the traditional beads- iyùn.
Tubers of yams were continuous heaping up at Asake’s backyard, till it became a barn, such that mortars were overworked, and the bush starved of meat.
The day was one of colors and a beehive of activities . Aso ebi in various shades and dye littered the entire scape, making a very colorful blend.
The whole village was at Asake’s, to participate in her ceremonious rites of passage to her husband’s house. There were the Praise singers and dancers, chants and renditions. Asake danced and danced, danced and cried with her friends and peer group. Her last moments as spinster. She was soon to become a woman. A woman with active hips, for her husband’s pleasure at night. A woman flanked by breasts full of milk. Asake did make much money too, shillings were tossed incessantly at her seductively oscillating ìbàdí, as she did her bridal dance.
At dusk, after the usual rites of parental blessings and Ekún ìyàwó- the bride’s parting teary moments of farewell to her Father’s house, Asake, veiled, with her bridal procession was led to her husband’s house, leaving behind a hysterical mother, with a trail of tears.
At Ilori’s compound, Asake’s coming was greeted with no small cheer and noise. Drummers, busy all day long, keeping the atmosphere lively, with a crowd of well wishers, who apparently had shifted base en masse from Asake’s place, to come see the day end here at Ilori’s.
The elderly women did have her feet cleansed, as tradition demanded, before she was led into the house, to be shown to her new family- her parents-in law and the entire household , who rained no small blessings and good wishes on her, the new Ìyàwó , keeping her locked up in prolonged embraces. She was then led to the inner chamber, her new room, settled in by her friends, for the concluding part of the marriage rites-.Ìbálé.
Ilori. The proud groom had been prepared all day, like a hunter’s dane gun.
In the company of his friends over calabashes and gourds of palm wine, they’ve jeered and taunted him, teasing his naivety. Getting him ready for the work of the night., they filled his ears with stories of their exploits with their women on their wedding nights. Drunken tales of them making their brides yell and cry for help, from beneath them.
The time came, and the call of the night dawned. Ilori rose from amidst his friends who would wait on him outside , till he was done meeting his wife. He went in to change into his Àdìre, and emerged minutes later, amidst the hailing of his friends, and the beats of the drums singing his praise, and reeling on his family panegyrics.
Tipsy, he acknowledged the well-wishers and made for his wife’s room at once.
The room was warm, cozy and dimly lit. It hadn’t been used in a long while. Days before, the maidens in the household had carefully washed it clean, and made it ready to serve the new bride. The air was fresh and damp. There was the local lamp – àtùpà , sitting right in a corner of the room. It gave the room’s dim light, making it romantic in a rustic sense, especially against the faint background of traditional music outside.
Asake’s mirror was about the only streak of civilization in the room. It was her wedding gift from her friends., and they had helped her set it on the wall opposite her bed. The beddings were neatly arranged layers of wrappers, adìre and òfì textile materials, stacked on a slightly raised wooden platform.
She had stripped off her clothes, ready for the night, and strapped a wrapper only. She laid on the bed, facing the wall, backing the door, waiting patiently with bated breath. Just in line with her mother’s instructions, she was waiting for the call of her name, in hushed tone, and the soft touch, to which she was to then turn in response.
Right there on the bed, her heart was racing and pounding, unsure of her fate. In the weeks preceding her marriage rites, she had had this occasional swings of mood, and pangs of fear. The outcome of this night terrified her.
In a society with absolute reverence and fear for the wedding night, and that the bride be met by her man a virgin, with the proof of chastity , the aftermath of failing to meet up was just too grave to think of.
A night gone bad had only happened once in the last one century, so did say history from the mouth of the elders. The girl in question was stripped naked and forced to dance a dance of shame at the market square. The shame and disgrace was too heavy for her tender soul. Her body was discovered a few days later, dangling lifelessly from the roof of her room.
Asake couldn’t get this nagging thought out of her mind. The question on her virginity. The thought has gotten more troublesome this night.
She feared that in those days of childhood escapades in hidden bushes with Akindele, her gate might have been broken. She did recall the day it looked like he entered her, he had taken the play too far. It was a day after she saw the signs of her first monthly visitor. They were caught up in the excitement of play. She did feel his thing harden against her naked thigh. It ventured towards its destination. Its entry was met with a hard wall of resistance that gave her this sharp pain, so that she let out a loud shriek. It seemed she came to her senses at this point. For she pushed him away, took her wrapper and ran. That marked the end for them. She never returned.
She had secretly ever hoped he only played at the entrance that day. She never saw the much talked blood that comes with the first entry. But her fears weren’t allayed still. Her friends she tried asking couldn’t help. They were novices, and when they were trying to poke into the reasons behind her strange questions, she had withdrawn and kept all to herself. No other ear heard it.
He entered the room stealthily, and put off the àtùpà. He stripped down to his waist and climbed up the bed. He said not a word. That was strange. He snugged close and turned her around. Her heart was popping out of its cage already. She was prepared for the worst.
He mounted her.
A first difficult stroke. Pain. Tear. Fluid. It was a breathless moment. But she lived it through. She was a virgin.
As she came to reality to welcome the successive strokes, it caught her. Her hand touched a familiar spot, the big navel. She had seen only a few, but seen, felt, and touched just one so close. It was that one that had pressed against her so many times as a child.
Akindele! He had only come to finish up what he started years back.
She screamed, but her voice never accompanied her cry. She was trapped beneath the accursed body. She gaped and gasped. On impulse she reached for the far side of the bed, a few inches away, to the corner of the room. She picked what her hand felt, and used it instantly on his head. It turned out to be a hoe. He let out a loud yelp, and collapsed beside her.
Just then, he ran in from the innermost chamber adjoining her room. Ilori. He had stormed in, alarmed by the noise .He was still fully clad in his Àdìre. Game over. She could see him at the door. She had been tricked. She broke down, weeping uncontrollably. The main door was yanked open. They broke in. Family, friends and all waiting endlessly for the outcome outside. The noise connoted a strange happening, and they came in to see the abominable. The story unfolded right before their eyes.
Ilori was whitefaced, looking like a ghost. All eyes turned on him, to the naked wailing bride, and the mass of flesh- Akindele, sprawling lifelessly on the bed. Ilori was Òkóbó. Our elders called that a ‘lame horse’. He was impotent. He had only hired Akindele to perform his conjugal duty on his behalf, hoping to cover up for his inadequacy.
It was one case like none other in a generation.
The elders sat, sat and sat on this matter…
The oracle was consulted…
Akindele was banished from the village…
Ilori left the village out of shame, to the far North…
Asake lived and remained in her father’s house … A man did later come for her, from faraway in the city, and took her for wife.
I know this story so well, because Asake, ìbàdí-àrán is my grandmother. She did tell me the story. My father was the fruit of Akindele’s seeding that night. Ìbálé.