Amana loved her culture and she hated her culture. She hated the part of it that preached men could do whatever they wanted with their wives. That she was his property from the day they married till the day they died. But Amana loved the taste of her people’s food and if she felt comfortable in her skin at all, it was in clothes that reminded her of home. But above all else, Amana loved to weave baskets. It was her way of closing off memories of how he touched her in the wrong way, her way of dealing with it all.
But Amana couldn’t weave baskets anymore. Every time she tried, the wooden strips would poke at the wounds on her hands – the very hands he had drenched in scalding hot oil a few days prior. She couldn’t get them treated or covered; his mother said it would serve as a warning next time Amana wanted to use her mouth when it was not needed. Amana didn’t like that she could no longer weave, but the worse part was that weaving let her forget him for a while. Now with every throb of her palms, she saw his face in her mind.
Her husband, a man who was supposed to love her as much as she once loved him, had successfully taken everything away that was dear to her. She no longer saw her family; he insisted there was no room for them to grow if they were close to family (yet there his mother was barking orders through windows even when Amana was asleep). Now he took away her last solace, the one thing that provided happiness for Amana even on the darkest days when he was the thickest clouds trying to block out her sun, even when his mother was the torrential rain that tried to drown and wash her away. Amana was devastated. The one thing that would lay in silence as she created it, the one thing that appreciated a tender touch, the one thing that only thrived with patience and love. Now it was no more. It was gone.
Something cut through her transfixion. It was his mother, angrily calling her to start fetching vegetables for the evening meal. Shuddering, Amana began to heed command without even really deciding to do so. She shuddered once more at the memory of the steam from cooking the meal that would soon have her biting back screams, soon have her crying. On her way to the vegetable garden, Amana began to recite her own name in her head, trying to remember what it possibly meant. Very little meant anything at all anymore, least of all her. Then, her grandmother’s voice cut through her mind like a crack of lightning, sweetly reminding her that her name meant something great. Her name meant the exact opposite of what he and his mother thought she deserved.
Her name meant warrior. Remembering this, Amana stood still as the air before a storm. She looked from her burnt hands to the basket she had carried for the vegetables. Amana remembered making this one – it took a long time to get it just right, but when she was finished, it was beautiful and made to last. Despite her wounds, her hand tightened on the handle. She knew what she could create and she knew what could not define her. It is worth noting that Amana was completely petrified. And still, shaken and a little unsure, she clutched her basket to her chest and took off running.
han or hanna is a british-nigerian law student. she writes poetry, short stories, and on the rare occasion, song lyrics. han is based close to london and is constantly seeking creatives to explor through lenses with her. also han touches on themes such as self-love, self-worth, self-acceptance, blackness, racism, and much more through her current book in the works. / @myboycinnamon on instagram