Winter 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 1 FictionJanuary 1, 2008 |

The Ariran’s Last Life

When the first big boats arrived, I had not yet married. Along with all the girls in my age group, I was learning what I would need to know to go to market, court a mate, and, for me, initiation. For months I had been told to be patient as my parents worked hard selling herbs and woven cloth every four days to traders. Every morning after prayers, they both instructed me in things I should know about the history of our village and our family lineage. Sometimes, they would let me help in the weaving of cloth that would be used in the ceremony. I liked, especially, the white with gold threads at the hem. My mother was a master weaver and sewer, and every lappa, bouba, shokoto, and gele had a small fish on the inside hem to let it be known it was she. There were three of us to enter the egbe right before the festivals started. We were excited, but frightened and curious. We had heard only of what was done but couldn't believe it. In the village, the wind blew warm air through the t

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