Ella is two years younger than I am… I set forth to her place to while away the time. It has been a whole week, I have not set my eyes on her. Mere lookimjg at her fills my cravings for her; for her beauty is a thing to behold and having the thought that sooner than later both of us will be walking down smooth lane soothing each other’s weary heart gives me joy. She is my one gift I protect and guard with all my heart.
I walk into her father’s compound, she, Ella is washing her dress while humming a song to herself. Even in her present state, she is beautiful.
“Ella, how have you been doing, I have not seen you for the past one week, hope you are fine?” I take my seat on the bench in the compound.
“Igo, welcome. I have been doing just fine and you?” she rinses the last dress and walks towards the line to spread them.
“I am coping as you can see,” I watch her and it seems she has gone through a transformation over the one week I have not set my eyes on her. There is this sophiscation about her poise; my mind drifts towards Mr Moore. She joins me on the bench as she crosses her leg with a touch of a sort of a class. I can see her usual way of weaving her hair has given way for this touch of classy hair-do she is spoting and all this pleasant coconut fragrance about her hair, “I have not seen you for some time now, what happened?”
“I have been busy.” she stands up to clear the spot where she has done her washing.
“Busy that you could not spare a moment to be with me, huh?”
“Igo, please, don’t start again. I am not in the mood to start arguing with your right now.”
“I hope what I am hearing is not true, because that is when hell will be let loose.”
“What are you hearing?”
“You and Mr Moore…”
She resumes humming some tune to herself and completely engrossed in cleaning the spot where she had washed, that I decide to take my leave.
“I am leaving, see you some other time.”
“Igo… Wait, are you leaving so soon?” she tries to restrain me from leaving, but I have made up my mind already.
“See you later in the evening. I have to leave now. I’ll see you towards the evening,” I take my leave.
“Ok. If you insist, I wouldn’t hold you back.”
I leave the compound and head to Baba Oba’s place to buy myself some dope so I can smoke my head to a calmness. On my way, I meet Bremah and it appear we are heading in the same direction.
At Baba Oba’s place, we always sit on a raised, dry earth seat with thatched roof over the head smoking away our weariness. One wonders why the thatched roof has not caught fire from the tiny fire sprouting out from wrapped weed being smoked by his numerous customers.
“Bremah, how now?”
“I am still here, just that what I saw this morning at Kongah river was a pathetic sight.”
“I was there too, this morning.”
“Where were you coming from?”
“I went to see my girl, Ella. But her attitude seems to have changed.”
“What do you expect when Mr Moore is beginning to spoil her head with liquid black gold money. I saw him drop her last night.”
“Are you sure of what you are saying?”
“I am your friend. What do I gain by lying to you?”
We move into the thatched roof and sit on the raised, dry earth. I used the money Otuma II gave me and order for two wrapped jumbo size pots.
I put my chronic in my mouth and strikes a match stick, it sprouts out flame and I direct it to the tip of my pot as I begin to do justice to it. I drag, inhaling deeply and allowing the smoke drift with a sort of ritual. Bremah is busy rewrapping his with dexterity.
I smile for no reason. The situation and life in Kongah community revolving in my head. I take another deep drag at my chronic and puff away.
“This is our land. Must we leave it and run away?” I drag at my joint and puff away agin.
“Fish has become a scarce commodity in a land where they abound in the water,” Bremah inhales deeply and allow the smoke drift in a spiral form.
The fume from Driller Company has covered the skyline of Kongah community such that one can hardly differentiate between this present sky-line and a cloudy sky. We do not worry except when the sky rumbles with thunder that me know the rain is near.
The picture of Kongah community begins to hover in my mind. I do a mental assessment of the well-being of our community, it appears to be far behind the development and advancement I saw this morning within the soil of Kongah, yet the people of Kongah do not have a clue that such advancement is with them, let alone accessing this modern world in their land.
“Is our people ever caged and barred from pointing where their shoes pinches them?” I kiss at my dank and exhale. I feel a bit relaxed and I drift into a trance…
“My son, you are not caged. You are ever free. It all depends on where you are standing.” My grandfather with grey beard stares at me.
“But, we act like one,” I stare him with a keen interest.
He stretches his hand and offers me his walking stick, “This will guide you, son.”
In my attempt to grasp the walking stick, I come out of the reverie.
“Kongah will be free from all this in no time,” I get up from the raised, dry earth serving as seat, “Bremah, it’s high time we went home.”
Bremah and I leave Baba Oba’s place as we head homewards tracing the dirt pathway that leads to Kongal local market. As we pass by the local market to our respective home, we see women wearing mournful expression selling their wares, others some condiments. The stands for fish and vegetable are empty and the reason is not far-fetched. We see people going about their business without a cause for alarm. We see children hawking wares in their trays. We see those of them, children singing lullaby to their toddler siblings as their mother attend to customers. We see them, children playing hide and seek game in their peaceful world. We see a group of men drinking away the early evening in their loud chatter, near by a transitor radio blares out folk music from an AM radio station. We see a group of women weaving or plaiting their fellow women’s hair. We see a group of young men hanging here and there waiting for what the day brings their way. We see beautiful young ladies swaying their way into the evening falling into place. We see all these and hear the sound of Kongah community amidst the cacophony. We see all these as we head homeward to meet in the next two hours.
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