21 August 2011

Mai Eddy’s Return by Emmanuel Sigauke

The sudden return of Mai Eddy turned Jakove into a polygamist. She emerged one morning carrying a heavy brown suitcase and a red handbag and planted herself in the compound. Jakove could not stop her from rejoining the family, nor could he tell his current wife, Mai Taneta, to leave because no one in the village would have approved of it, and, besides, he had gotten used to her to the point of love. When Mai Eddy said, “I’ve come back to raise my children,” although they were already being raised by Mai Taneta, the villagers nodded their approval and said, “Jakove has strong ancestral spirits. Not too often does a wife just leave and later return on her own.” The young men of the village made the loudest proclamations, looking at Mai Eddy, still plump and youngish, and saying of Jakove, “Lucky bastard. The idiot is only twenty-six and already has two wives, one he worked hard to get, and another who has given herself back to him!” They laughed and asked Jakove what herb or which n’anga he had used to make the wife come back. Jakove remained silent and maintained a grin that hid the chaos in his head.

This story has been selected for the annual StoryTime anthology African Roar 2012, please go to the African Roar site for more info.

Mai Eddy’s Return was written by Emmanuel Sigauke.

Copyright © Emmanuel Sigauke 2011.

Emmanuel Sigauke, is a Zimbabwean writer based in Sacramento, California, where he teaches English and Creative Writing at Cosumnes River College. He has published poetry and prose in numerous magazines, and co-edits Cosumnes River Journal, Tule Review, Munyori Literary Journal, and African Roar. He is the author of Forever Let Me Go a poetry collection, and writes online at Wealth of Ideas.


Anonymous said...

Love this story Emmanuel. It was to me, like an homage to strong mothers at its heart, who remain mothering and wise long after one has left home.

Stash said...

Still do not quite get a sense of why she left in the first place, and why she then returned. I find the process of acquiring wives a bit puzzling and the portrayal of women quite distrubing too. It seems the man was quite a woman puller, for some reason - perhaps because he held down a Harare job as explained. And mothers can be as involved and overbearing like that. Great work

Fungai Machirori said...

Hi there. Good work!

However, I felt that that long dialogue between Baba Eddy and his mother slowed the pace down to a trundle that didn't quite fit with the pace of the opening imagery of a raving mad woman who abandons her family. I read some of it impatiently, wishing to get back on course with things.

I am still not sure I fully 'got' the piece but I enjoyed it. This might sound patriarchal, but I am curious to know why Baba Eddy seems so 'uncharacteristically' tame.

Just my two cents.

Emmanuel Sigauke said...

Thank you all for the comments; they help me think some more about the story... Fungai, "uncharacteristically tame" is a great description of Baba Eddy, and Stash, good insight on the portrayal of the characters: all I can say is the story is part of an anthology which cumulatively begin to look at issues like marriages and gender roles a bit differently...in other words, cultural expectations versus the daily lived realities of the characters themselves; in short,I will take all reader interepretations with great appreciation...

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the story and liked the fact that you didn't define to the t exactly why she left and why she came back but clearly something was wrong when she left but she was well when she returned to take care of her children .When we were kids things like this would happen and no one would tell you why .it's intriging keep up the good work.

Fari Kays

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