Thursday, September 29, 2016

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learning to burn part 4

Please begin at the beginning!

My sisters, your mother and another two aunts you never met, were all very much like our father. They angered quickly and flamed fast and brightly when they did. It almost always began around their eyes, spread to their whole head, and then encompassed their bodies. They all first ignited in anger, not knowing they were on fire. I think it's because of this that they never really got good control of their flames.

Your Mother. Did you know her name is Amenze?” Ofonode shakes his head.

One meaning of this name is 'always bring calm and brings order into chaotic situations.' She fulfilled the first part of her name, but not the last. It may be that calm arose around her because others feared to see the flame rise in her. It was well-known that she was not well in control of her fire.

I digress. Amenze and our other sisters often fought. It became a problem once they were alight because they did what we are not supposed to do: they used their flame against one another.”

Oh, no! My mother did that?!”


Does this story have anything to do with how she died?”

If you would like it to stretch that far, it can.”

Yes. Please tell me if you are finally willing.”

Your mother was married to your father very young. They became pregnant with you almost immediately. They were so excited to welcome you into this world, even with the difficulties they experienced here. They definitely loved you long before you were ever born.”

Ofonode smiles softly, a dreamy expression on his face. Trying to remember what his parents looked like. He cannot see their faces in his mind any longer. He can only see them as if a strong light is shining on them from behind.

You were still within your mother when she told me the prophecy she'd learned when she was off the plateau, before she and your father married. A woman she didn't know stopped her in a large town to the north and told her that either she or her child would live too long. The woman was disturbed and tried to convince your mother to ever after stay away from her home, our village.

She did return here and soon met your father. When she heard the prophecy, she didn't know the whole truth about Ughegbe. She told me that if she'd known, she might not have returned. She was afraid of what it meant, given what she'd so recently learned about the safety of our home.

Anger was constant in her, it seemed. Her fire never fully subsided after she returned from the cities of the north. Most of us were really amazed that she was able to get pregnant and carry you the full length of gestation.

One day, when you were only a little more than two years old, she and one of our other sisters began to argue. Their flames came up quickly. The other sisters joined verbally and their fires just got bigger and hotter. Your father saw his wife begin to strike two of her sisters and attempted to stop her. Instead he fell dead from her strike. The strike was so great that all of my sisters, except your mother, fell dead. 
Your mother was filled with grief and mourned herself to death. Her fire went out within a few days of the incident and she died the next day.”

My… my mother killed my father!?”

Basically, yet. But not on purpose. I'm certain she wasn't trying to kill anyone. She just wanted to make her point. The problem was, though, that she'd never gained good control of her flame.”

You tell me this now to warm me. Don't you, Auntie? You're worried that I will hurt others because my fire has ignited in anger.”

Yes, my nephew. I do feel concern over this possibility. Do you know the other reason I related this story now?”

I'm not sure. But I think it's because you might think that I'm going to take Ughegbe's place?”

It's not what I think that matters. That is what the prophecy would seem to indicate. What you think about it matters most.”

I guess it's possible. I mean, you've always taught me that we grow toward that which we despise. Isn't that so?”


So because I have wrongly despised Ughegbe, I should rightly take his place and earn another young boy's dislike, regardless of how unfair.”

That does seem pretty likely. Do you want to take his place? Are you willing to do it?”

I don't think so. I mean, if it's what I'm meant to do, I know I will be unable to escape my duty. But if I could choose to do something else, I think I would.”

My dear one, you may not have learned as much as you think. You do have a choice. Ughegbe will be supported and enlivened by the counsel's fire until someone takes his place of their own accord. No one can or will be forced to accept such an unending responsibility as his is!”

So, you think I don't have to do it? Even with that prophecy?”

That's right. Prophecy gives us an idea. It does not demand us give up our agency. I believe our God knows us so well that when a prophecy is given accurately, he is just speaking through a human to communicate what he knows about us here on earth.”

So, if this prophecy is accurate, it's just expressing what I will some day willingly do of my own accord?”

Yes. In fact, I believe such a responsibility would necessitate that you take it over rather forcefully. Ughegbe would be glad to be relieved of it, but he also loves us and feels a great responsibility for us… much like a parent would. So, he will not allow anyone to just SAY they want to take over for him.”

Oh. That's… um… interesting. Well, right now I cannot imagine being so determined to take over that I would force him to give me that job!”

That's it for the story for now.  Check back in a week for more... or better yet, subscribe so you know when it posts!

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