The sky looks heavy and practically ready to let out its bowel on the people beneath it anytime soon. Its looming darkness is becoming rather intimidating and difficult for motorists to operate without headlights on.
I am on a bike; on the passenger’s seat; behind an okada man who is speeding and meandering swiftly through cars and bikes just to get me to my destination. It’s rather a sight to watch from the distance, not one to be experienced. Though I love speed, but only when I’m the one handling the vehicle.
The sky is getting darker and heavier now; letting out flashes of lightning and is escorted by low rumblings of thunder. The trees dance to the force of the wind that’s whooshing through the earth; making the ambience of the earth a cooling and soothing one albeit a dangerous one to be on a bike.
The bike-man makes a dangerous meandering that almost makes a car hit its taillights. My heart leaps and I immediately tap him to stop the bike immediately. Luckily, there’s a shed—more like a secured stand where suya is supposed to be sold at night.
I alight, pay the okada man and head under the shed to wait for the rain to start, finish, before I continue.
Beside the stand, under a huge tree standing as shed from the coming rain is a girl roasting corn. The corns catch my attention. They are big and beautiful. I look at the girl roasting the corn. She’s a young girl, probably not above fifteen years but has a rapid growth. She looks eighteen, fair and beautiful. Her hair is undone, just combed backwards. She’s putting on a black polo shirt on a grey jeans trouser.
Her budding breasts are a little bit larger than one that is fifteen years old, maybe I’m wrong about her age, but God, she’s young. Her lips are pink on her fair face. Her eyes are beautiful and dreamy. Below her eyes is a small nose that fits her face. She shouts instructions to her younger siblings—two young boys who are fair, too, but unlike her.
She fans and turns the corns on the roasting stand, making them to roast properly while engaging in a discourse with guy leaning on the big tree—old enough to be her eldest brother—say like a ten years age gap between him and the girl.
She laughs amidst the discourse. She’s engaged in the discourse. It’s making her want more of it. He on the other hand is smiling. The look on his face doesn’t look innocent. It makes me uncomfortable. I’m in a hearing distance from them. I gently eavesdrop into their discourse, though I can’t get all of their discussion because they aren’t loud enough.
“You know sey you na my wife na,” the guy says.
She laughs. Not a shy laugh. A laugh of one not being told that line for the first time, “na how many wife you wan marry? What of Nneka?”
“No mind her jhor. Na you be my first wife. Na you I like pass,” he persists.
She smiles. A smile that shows she’s buying the lines. She’s loving the discourse and enjoying every bit of it.
The wind blows calmly now. The sky becomes clearer and brighter now. Maybe it’s not going to rain after all.
“She tell me wetin you and her do for your room that day,” she says smiling sheepishly, “you enh, you don spoil finish.”
The guys is leering at her now, smiling cunningly, “she tell you? You go like make I do you too?” he quips.
She shies away and doesn’t answer, still fanning the almost roast corns. He waits for an answer. None comes through. He takes it to be affirmative. He’s winning.
“Where mama go?” he asks.
“She go buy something for market,” comes the reply.
“When she go come back na?”
“I no know o!”
“E don tey she comot?”
“E don tey small.”
“Okay na. Light still de now. Maybe them go take am in the evening. I go on gen. If your mama send you make you come charge her phone for my room, I go show wetin I do Nneka,” he says and asks her, “shey you go like see am?”
She doesn’t say a word. She smiles again. A beautiful smile. One from the heart. She nods shy and doesn’t meet his gaze.
“Make I go see somebody, e go be for night na. Gimme that big corn.” He points at the biggest corn and gives her a five hundred naira note and tells her to keep the remaining for herself. She’s grateful. She hides the money in her jeans pocket and says thank you, broda.
He turns and climbs a bike behind the big tree, kick-starts it and rides away. I watch as his bike thunders away into the busy road. Then the sky thunders loudly and weeps. The rain begins to fall in torrents. The girl and her siblings scamper for safety in a shop before them, while carrying the corns and roast stand to safety.
Parents, be mindful of how you leave your kids. Mindful of where, who you send them to, and most importantly, be very close to them.
Augustine Malizu studied Linguistics at Usman Danfodio University Sokoto. During his free time, he enjoys penning down stories.
You can reach him on facebook via N’austin Malizu.