“How could a person’s beauty overshadow the moon’s radiance?” Labongo thought to himself as he watched his anyadwer gracefully dancing with the other girls around the fire. Her supple body moving in perfect rhythm to the beats of the drums. She was indeed the daughter of the moon, her beauty shone brighter than the stars that dotted the sky around her.
Her father laughed like a king that night; ofcourse, who would turn down the offer to marry their daughter to the new leader of the tribe? Labongo was at the epitome of power. He exuded pride with every fiber of his being. Everyone turned their heads, to at least catch a glimpse of his shadow.
While the function had been glamorous for Labongo, Gipiir could not say the same for himself. More than ever, he felt broken, his self-esteem at an all-time low.
Gipiir’s eyes stayed fixed on a group of elderly women who seemed lost in conversation rather than in the festivities around them. There was no mistaking it. One of the women was giving him a deadly stare. Her lips moved like a cobra’s as her head tilted towards her neighbor, obviously cursing at how weak of a man he was. He could swear he read the word ‘coward’ as she ensured to pronounce every syllable. The vulture next to her also turned, looking straight at him and laughing, throwing her head back.
This was a reality Gipiir had to face. He would never be anything like his omego. As always, his nerves got the better of him. He reached into his sheath and pulled out a pair of beads. His fingers played with them in a bid to calm the turmoil in his head.
“You’re at it again.” Labongo’s voice drew from Gipiir’s back.
Gipiir jumped, scared as a cat.
“It’s just you.” He breathed upon noticing Labongo
“And what did you expect, a lion?” Labongo asked amidst fits of laughter. Leaning against his firmly planted spear as he struggled to catch his breath.
“And what are you doing here anyway?” asked Gipiir “You should be enjoying the bliss of a fresh marriage in the arms of your beloved.”
“I come with good news omego,” Labongo whispered, “You finally get to prove your strength to the village”
“Yes! Me and the boys will soon be going out for a hunt, and you get to stay back and protect the girls”
Gipiir’s shoulders dropped as his face slowly sunk to the ground. It was obvious what they were doing. He was not invited for the hunt… AGAIN. It had been like that for as far back as he could remember.
“You were still asleep. I could not wake you up.” Labongo always said after returning from an expedition. Excuses. Gipiir knew the drill.
He had grown to understand his place in the tribe.
TO BE CONTINUED
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