In the last days of the second month of the year that began the new millennium, the embers of newness smouldered. Life unfolded itself in the mix of teaming expectations.
While the harmattan breeze was fading away, the humid air of the rains was being heralded. The rains dropped like tiny pieces of stones at first, then stopped.
Boys and girls scampered about relishing the familiar smell of earth that hung provocatively inviting on their nostrils. Some crumbs of the earth were scooped into yearning mouths with the index finger in a ritual playfulness that prayed as it pleaded.
“Allah ya’kawo ruwa. Bamu asoron ruwa kaman yan sanda.” They chanted.
And in answer to their plea, the sun evaporated all the waters from the land into the sky, and then hid itself, leaving the sky heavy with darkness.
The sky announced her immanent coming. She blew her wind.
Roofs winced under her ferocious caress. They heaved and fell in the wake of her tug, in spite their secure grip in between the rafters and the nails. The nails, already weakened by the years, felt the measure of her tug, held on, miraculously.
When the nails gave way, the roofs joined the many objects flying in the swirling wind in whose sweeping mass, were also dust and sand.
Cloths flapped on their lines, in readiness to follow the wind until the hands of their owners saved them from that immanent adventure. Even the giant trees that stood in majesty, felt compelled to bow over the roads, overlooking roof tops. The disobedient ones, it seemed, got cut off from their roots and fell.
From here and there, living and non living beings crisscrossed directions. The former moved purposely for shelter. The latter were a bunch of objects that moved aimlessly.
But boys were boys as girls were girls too. Their waiting eagerly anticipated her torrents. They would play and dance in her forgetful of their parents’ rebuke.
The open market was a beehive of hurried movements. Cloths clung to the bodies that wore them, accentuating the shapes of those bodies in the wind. The door of shops were banged into closure. Their owners rushed to their nearby homes. Those who had to cover long distances simply locked themselves in their shops.
Dogs raced home, as if chasing a game. The hen gathered its chicks, home bound to roost. The red head lizard crawled hurriedly into a crack in the wall, but it seemed to have nodded its disapproval and aimed for the roof.
When the sky became satisfied, her eyes flashed their brightness across the ambience to see clearly where she was about to land, then she roared a confirmatory note.
She began to pour out herself. She pattered on the roof tops, flowed down in single lines. Each made tiny transparent basins that appeared and disappeared on the impact of her fall.
Boys jumped about. Girls followed in their wake. Bare footed.They laughed. In joyfulness they screamed. Their voices rose high, pitched against the falling waters. The cacophony of those excited voices floated about, but soon got swallowed up in the downpour. The owners of the voices became scarcely aware of the silence of their voices or were soon to identify them with the torrents.
On roofless tops, she watered down the ceilings or the improvised thing that stood for them, in to the already deserted enclave. Even in those gaps in the roof deserted by nails or endorsed by rot, she let herself through without pity.
Legs shuffled around as hands were kept busy. Receptacles were put at various points. They were soon filled, carried out to be emptied and returned. The owners were on a steady standby.
She roamed, ransacked, pushed, and flowed out into the gutters that held her to the brim, and unable to bear the pressure exerted, their ramshackle walls collapsed at some points. The waters flowed into those spaces, and still unsatisfied, over the walls of the gutters did she flow, on to the roads, overcoming anything on her way, pushed the debris here and there, made ways through cracks, crevices and whatever space she could find or make.
They played! They danced! They sang! The rain enjoyed their company. And she slapped their bodies, smeared them with mud earth then washed them again. Yes! Those pristine bodies welcomed her torrents. They Relished the wetting of their cloths to their skin. Their flesh became one with their cloths.
Mothers called out. But who heard them?
The sky emptied her bowels. When she sparked and roared again, a gentle breeze blew and ushered in the night with its familiar darkness.
“Ruwa yayi jara.” One father said. “What a way to announce her arrival.” He shook his head with a triumphant smile and allowed the words to embrace his now shivering child.
“Let’s make fire.” Mother said.
Bodies retired into their beds, on their mats, wriggled under the comfort and warmth of their blankets, wrapped up securely in them like capsules.
This story first appeared on The Kalahari Review. Thank you for reading.