The rain had subsided to a light drizzle, the ground was wet and soggy, beads of mud jumped onto Mrs. Ejima’s legs from her rubber slippers. They hurried through streets and came to the spot where Angela was. The crowd had dispersed, some people still lingered; people like the man who drew her out of the road who now made it his responsibility to wait for her guardian, the three man who had helped carry her to the spot where she now sat and a half dozen people who made it their business to stick around and wait for the end.
The crowd started to converge again at Mrs. Ejima’s appearance, wide eyed and inquisitive. People peered from afar and made comments. Everyone expected the little unfortunate girl to rejoice at the sight of the elderly woman but instead Angela squinted and wanted to blend into the wall behind her. Her face twisted into a tight frown, her eyes got wet again and poured tears.
Nobody asked her who she was. She advanced with a look of disgust on covering her face.
“Angela?” Mrs. Ejima called, stretching her hand forward.
“Ma?” Angela whimpered with no attempt to reach for the outstretched hand.
“Where’s my money?” Angela said nothing, her sobs grew louder and Mrs. Ejima took the hint and threw her hands to her head as she had done before.
“heyyy!! This girl has finished me oo! Where is my money Angela?” she moved to attempt beating the money out of the pores on Angela’s body. Angela, as if she predicted the move, found refuge behind the closest man.
Then the hand again, stopped Mrs. Ejima’s advance. The stocky fat man really knew how to make use of his hands, Angela thought.
“Madam please” the stocky fat man said to the raging woman “we saw what happened” he spoke for himself; half the people there now had no clue what happened. He continued
“It is not this girl’s fault, I saw what happened, the Okada man was….” His voice trailed off in Mrs. Ejima’s mind. She and her sagging breasts bounced impatiently and thought of a suitable punishment for the girl. Perhaps she could deny her food for the next three days, make her sleep outside the house on two nights, beat her mercilessly round the compound. She had done them many times before, none proved awful enough for now. She grew more upset that she could not think of any terrible punishment right now and one man kept blabbing something in her face with his mouth that reeked of gin and cigarette.
“Kai! Oga leave me!” she clapped her hands in front of his face, tightening her face in distaste. She turned to Angela.
“You You You…You would come back to the house then you would see what I would do to you” she sighed and gathered her falling wrapper. She rolled her eyes at the stupid man that had been talking to her and walked away.
“Ah, Madam am I not talking?” the stupid man called after her, he was just half way into his story.
The crowd was silent. The entire street seemed stunned. A carpenter held his hammer suspended over a nail (which was thankful for the moment of relief). Mrs. Ejima’s exit was the cue to resume activity again. Women slapped their hands, little children giggled at the petrified little girl; the men slowly began to depart. The fat stocky man stared at the little girl in pity. The rain fell on as many heads as it could find under the sky.
…to be continued….