Short Story: Brightly In The Shadows | By: Victoria Adebileje

Alani was just giving himself one last look over when he heard a knock on the door.
“Isn’t it just annoying how people feel comfortable coming to someone else’s house early in the morning?” He mused.
Alani looked around and made sure nothing was out of place. He then assumed the manly gait it seemed he could never get used to before walking to the door to open it.
“Alani my friend! I thought you would still be asleep.”
“I’m an early riser Labisi. Good morning, what brings you here at this time of the day?” He stepped back as Labisi made to come into the house.
“It never ceases to amaze me how neat your house always is. Is that why you haven’t chosen one of the girls as a wife? I know they can be burdensome, but since warming your bed and taking care of the house is what they are made for you really should bring one of them in…or two if you want.”
Alani sighed silently. Labisi is one of the very silly, very shallow ‘friends’ he unfortunately has to put up with. His brain must be the size of a peanut.
“Hahahahah! Labisi my funny friend! You really shouldn’t think of women that lowly though, they are much more than cleaners and cooks.
“Please don’t start with your pet talks this morning joor. You speak so highly of women, yet we never see any around you, you know you actually don’t have to marry them if marriage is what you are scared of. Just frequently throw some little change at any of your choosing and she will do all your bidding for as long as you want.”
The smile on Alani’s face slightly went dim. What Labisi said couldn’t be farther from the truth, it is so sad that women have buried their self-worth for meaningless things.
“Did you come to my house this early to lecture me about my lack of a woman?”
20 minutes later, Labisi left. He had come to ask if some of Alani’s farm workers could come help on his own farm.
Alani hurried out of his house, Labisi had set him back on the numerous things he had to do before the day ends. He checked his wrist watch and saw that he had barely 5 minutes to make the monthly elders meeting. He of course had no business attending the elders meeting, but 6 months ago, the elders had permanently invited him to their monthly meetings stating that his unique and manly wisdom was needed. When he had asked why there was no single woman in the meeting, they had simply said; “what would be their function if we included them?”
How ironic…
After the meeting with the elders, he went on his routine rounds to all of his 7 farms. It was early evening before he finished from his last farm. He had earlier on received a message from the king asking that he comes to the palace at his convenience. The always ran his ideas and decisions by Alani before executing them. Alani had once told the king that he is sure his daughters would do a good job of listening and offering advice when needed, and the king had had a very good laugh with tears running down his black, strong face.
When Alani finally got home, he walked straight into his room and fell face down on his bed. He then slowly got up after a while and stood before his mirror, staring at his own image.
“I really do miss my hair, it used to be full, and long, and shiny.” He pulled off his dansiki and slowly rolled off the swaddle of cloth wrapped tightly over his breasts.
With a deep, long breath she thought; “It feels good to be woman again…”

Victoria is an editor and writer. She blogs at

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