Arimpe has come again, as she does everyday, to beg me to bless her with a child, most times she’ll ask for a boy that will inherit her kind husband’s eyes and even better his farmland but when she’s desperate she’ll tell me that even a girl will do, at the very least she’ll have a companion and a helper. When she arrives to the stream, she brings out from her basket the most beautiful of adornments; bright candles, cinnamon, beautiful sculptures, honey and even on some days, like today, sunflowers and she arrays them in perfect positions after which she bursts into tears at the altar she has created for me. She cries and cries, actually I’m almost certain she has tainted my stream with her salty tears at this point. She cries in different ways but nonetheless she’s always crying, I am able to decipher her day just by the way she cries at my stream. You can tell her husband has beat her again whenever she squeals in between the tears, if he left a mark on her she will scream and you will also know she just had sex when the tears come out easily, she will pray in hushed tones and play with the petals of her flowers as if I’m her best friend whom she’s telling the minor events of her day.
After hours of conversing with my river and praying to me, she blows out the candles, washes her face and her belly with my water and takes her leave. She walks away in long strides as if waiting for me to jump out at the very last minute and bless her womb with just a touch, not even a touch, just a mistaken graze would probably be enough for her, she walks away craving the smallest sign that I was listening to her pleas, that I understand her tribulations and that I will give her a solution but like every other day I simply stare at the patterns of the new adire cloth her husband has bought for her.
I wonder if she thinks of me as a wicked god, possibly she does but certainly not as wicked as Shango, after all I do not strike people dead with lightning, maybe when I’m really angry but that does not even happen everyday. Sometimes I catch myself craving to come down and tell her I am actually not a wicked goddess that I’m actually a kind and loving spirit, the kindest of all the Orishas! And that I simply just enjoy seeing her here everyday. Day by day my worshippers have reduced since the loud “Pop!” I heard over at the far end of the village, We held countless family meetings over that sound and Yemọja even brought up conspiracies of a stick that threw iron at its enemies, “Do you mean a catapult?” Ọbatala asked but she said “No I mean a stick that shoots out real iron!” Nobody believed her including me. Yemọja was naturally an attention seeker anyways. After all how exactly does a stick want to throw iron?
After that loud noise people no longer bring me flowers and stopped doing so much as throw parties at my feet. I felt alone and forgotten, heartbroken if you may. How will people who have revered me everyday, people who I have blessed with continuous water and everlasting fertility just simply cease loving me? It did not make sense to me or to any of my family members. But Arimpe, as I have gladly named her, my dear Arimpe never stopped. This particular girl that comes by my stream is one of the last people that still love and honor me, I do not want her to leave. She will just have to endure all the shame and reproach that comes with childlessness just a little bit longer for me. Although this is rather shameless of a goddess of my stature I am certain she will come again tomorrow and the day after that, for all the days she lives she will adore me, because she has told me that she loves me with all of her words and actions and I believe her.
Short story by Adeola Wright