Day 1: Birdsong by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I think almost all of us have had an unfortunate relationship – unfortunate in that we know that we should end or run before it starts. There is something wrong at the heart of it and as much as we lie to ourselves, it’s always there.
In “Birdsong” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the unfortunate relationship is with a married man. An older, successful married man who doesn’t love her but instead is fascinated (but at the same time repelled) because she doesn’t act in the ways he expects.
As she remembers their relationship, it is finally the appropriation of a joke they shared together to create a private joke with his distant wife that drives them apart. Finally she can no longer ignore that the world sees her as nothing in his life – not his driver, not the staff in the restaurants they frequent, and ultimately, not him.
And that’s when her anger bursts forth, towards him and towards all the injustices in her life, like when it is always she or the other woman who is asked to cut the birthday cake. Her anger and sadness is something she cannot contain because most of all she is angry at herself for letting herself accept the easy lies.