When Glory’s parents christened her Glorybetogod Ngozi Akunyili, they did not foresee Facebook’s “real name” policy, nor the weeks she would spend populating forms and submitting copies of her bills and driver’s license and the certificate that documented her birth on September 9, 1986, a rainy Tuesday, at 6:45 p.m., after six hours of labor and six years of barrenness. Pinning on her every hope they had yet to realize, her parents imagined the type of life that well-situated Igbos imagined for their children. She would be a smart girl with the best schooling. She would attend church regularly and never stray from the Word (amen!). She would learn to cook like her grandmother, her father added, to which her mother countered, “Why not like her mother?” and Glorybetogod’s father hemmed and hawed till his wife said maybe he should go and eat at his mother’s house. But back to Glorybetogod, whom everyone called Glory except her grandfather, who called her “that girl” the first time he saw her.
“That girl has something rotten in her, her chi is not well.”
Husband pulled wife out of the room to prevent a brawl (“I don’t care how old that drunk is, I will fix his mouth today”) and begged his father to accept his firstborn grandchild. He didn’t see, as the grandfather did, the caul of misfortune covering Glory’s face, which would affect every decision she made, causing her to err on the side of wrong, time and time again. When Glory was five, she decided after much consideration to stick her finger into the maw of a sleeping dog. At seven, shortly after her family relocated to the United States, Glory thought it a good idea to walk home when her mother was five minutes late picking her up from school, a decision that saw her lost and sobbing in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot before night fell. She did a lot of things out of spite, the source of which she couldn’t identify — as if she’d been born resenting the world.
Read the rest of the story here: GLORY
Congratulations to Amina Gautier (’13) on the publication of her third collection of short stories. THE LOSS OF ALL LOST THINGS won the Elixir Press Award in Fiction. It’s available now, and visit Amina Gautier on the Web to find out about readings and events near you.