the joys of motherhood, buchi emecheta

"He married a few women in the traditional sense, but as he watched
each of them sink into domesticity and motherhood he was soon bored
and would go further afield for some other exciting, tall and proud female."

"So frightened was she in the aftermath of the accident that, together with
the men sitting around Agbadi, she forgot that food was meant to be eaten
and that night was meant for sleep."

"His tongue was biting like the edge of a circumcision blade.
---
All the same, she would rather have her tongue pulled out of her head than let
the beast of a man know how much she cared."

"'A statement like that coming from the great Agbadi! So you are just an ordinary
person after all - no, not an ordinary man but a spoilt who cries when his mother
leaves him. Nwokocha Agbadi, hurry up and die, because I'm going back to my
father's compound. My heart is not made of stone but I would rather die than let
it soften for the likes of you.'
---
If Agbadi were to lower himself to thank you, I am sure you would stop caring for
him. You need a man, Ona, not a snail."

"He moved her closer to him and letting her curl up to him, encouraged her to get
the bitterness off her chest. He felt her hot tears flowing, but he said nothing, just
went on tracing to contours of those offending nipples."

"'Please, Ona, don't let us waste our lives longing for each other.'"

"This type of man, thought Nnu Ego as she watched him, did not belong to a soft
place like this. He belonged to the clear sun, the bright moon, to his farm and his
rest hut, where he could sense a nestling cobra, a scuttling scorpion, hear a howling
hyena. Not here."

"'You are not only ugly but you are a shatterer of dreams. I imagined that when I
told my husband of my coming child I should tell it nicely...'
'Yes, maybe by the moonlight, or on your goatskin by the fireside.'"

"Who was going to give her the energy to tell the world that she had once been a
mother, but had failed? ... Her heart was pounding in pain, and bitterness welled
from the same heart into her mouth. She tried several times to talk, but her voice
produced no sound. She could only shake her head negatively at Nwakusor's angry
tirade, trying to tell him that he was wrong."

"All young people were the same: they never imagined they would get old. Why, not
so long ago he had thought that way himself."

"'Really? But you can't deny that he is a selfish man.'
'All men are selfish. That's why they are men.'
---
Inside their room, Adaku forgot her petty jealousy with Nnu Ego and said in a low,
near-tearful voice: 'If Nnaife dies, I will run and run and run, will never be seen again.'"

"'To go and worship your chi?'
'My chi be damned! I am going to be a prostitute. Damn my chi!' she added again fiercely.
---
'Maybe you're right again, my senior. Yet the more I think about it the more I realise
that we women set impossible standards for ourselves. That we make life intolerable
for one another. I cannot live up to your standards, senior wife. So I have to set my own.'"

"'After all, I was born alone, and I shall die alone. What have I gained from all this?
Yes, I have many children, but what do I have to feed them on? On my life. I have
to work myself to the bone to look after them, I have to give them my all. And if I am
lucky to die in peace, I even have to give them my soul."

"He wore no shirt and one could see that his breasts were forming like those of a young
girl. Pointing a shaking finger of blame at Nnu Ego he threatened:
'I have mind to tell you and your brats to leave this house immediately. I was not
created to suffer for you till I die.'"

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