2020 Schlossberger Award Recipient: Ogechi Obi of Bangor High School

2020 Schlossberger Award Winner

Ogechi Obi

Grade 10, Bangor High School

Bangor, Maine

His hands had been lovely on the wedding day. Large and lucky, as your grandmother said. Calloused, hardworking, moneymaking hands as your mother said. Your hands were calloused too. A little smaller, trembling some, with what the aunts had called girlish nervousness as they decorated your skin and your feet, combed your hair and tied you into your wedding gown. You were apprehensive–nervous, scared, terrified–but good girls didn’t say no. And good girls knew no better, as was the way.

And so you were wed.

You were young–painfully–luckily, the first time you gave birth. Lucky, because there were no tears, no holes left behind with foul smells that sent women running back to their father’s houses. And good for you, the child was a boy, small and squalling, covered in slime, but so, so lucky to be alive. “A lucky girl births a lucky boy,” he’d said, and you’d smiled.

You were a little bit older when drought killed all the cattle. You were three children in now, still in your teens though. Your back hurt from the constant grinding of corn and millet against the stones. Your lovely fingers weren’t only calloused, they were peeling and chafing. He tried, against all odds, to make something grow from that chapped soil.

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