‘Come here Dorothy’, my mother said.
She sounded like she was about to birth pearls of wisdom through her mouth.
I dragged the stool and squatted my long body on it, feeling the hard contrast of the wood on my buttocks.
‘Take this pineapple and eat it’, she said offering me a slice of extremely yellow and delicious looking pineapple.
I stretched my hand with the curiousity of a cat and collected the slice with the graciousness of a monkey.
My saliva, like the women in my village, ran out of their little houses ready to welcome this beautiful and attractive visitor with great expectations to be blessed.
But as the pineapple landed on my tongue, its first duty seemed to be to dry up all the saliva and punish them for welcoming it with such desperation.
The acidity of the pineapple then went ahead to slap the sides of my mouth as a punishment for not even acknowledging its welcome in the first place.
Before I could stop this bitter visitor, it stormed down my oesphagus threatening anything that stood in its way and leaving in its wake a smell of sourness.
It slumped in my stomach dully; as though it had lost all its strength from being such a mean taste.
I looked at my mother with induced tears in my eyes; begging her without words to tell me why she just let me go through that.
She did the *nkk* sound with the back of her throat, nodded and smiled simultaneously and then said, ‘Exactly. What you just experienced is the exact description of “beautiful woman with no substance”. Most especially these fair fair girls up and down; including you. Most of them rely on their beauty but they don’t have brains or character. They will be a disappointment to their husbands. Because after when they clean makeup after the wedding day and they spend one month together, he will see that cook, she cannot do; listen, she cannot listen; obey, she cannot obey; respect, she cannot respect. Then he’ll now be regretting just looking at colour or shape.’ My mother smiled again.
Then she frowned suddenly as though something just dawned on her. She said, ‘I hear that these men of nowadays are demanding more and more for yellow girls. That’s why girls are bleaching. Please call your brother Ebuka, let me make him taste this pineapple too. Let him know that wife is not cloth that you’ll be looking for color and shape before you buy…’