You check the weather forecast that morning before leaving the house. Yesterday, the wind had started out so fiercely and forcefully– without warning, when you had been only halfway home from your unsuccessful Interview at Hardwick. Its might teased and tossed you mercilessly, sent you crashing into objects and people, and when you got least lucky, crashing into trees. Your younger brother had once told you matter-of-factly, that the wind in Countries uptown would almost blow people away but you had not believed. And as it happened, you had felt wrong, ashamed, alone and wanted to cry. But when you saw the tall thin white boy whom the wind almost lifted from the ground, you laughed. It was a moment of homophilic epiphany.
The weather forecast looks good today: slight drizzle and a drop of sunshine, it says. You smile, your mind eases into calm. You used to hate rain. That was before you won the Scholarship to travel. It cast darkness upon the sky and that always dampened your mood, but not anymore. Now, it’s winter that irks you. For months now, Rain has become your new Sunshine. You straighten your black Jacket, and plug in your headphones to a soulful rendition from Indie Arie. Then, there is Adekunle Gold, and Simi, and Tekno. Your face splits into a wide grin when Duro starts to play, and you dance in your head; stopping every now and then, to change your steps to fit your imaginary dance moves. You love music and a good dance.
You reach your destination, the Post Office. You are applying for a job at a Youth Centre in Luton– your fifth application since the past month, but you persist in hope and faith. You fumble for some seconds at the do-it-yourself machine, and breathe a sigh of relief when the Middle-aged Brunette comes around to help you out of your misery. “You alright?” she asks, in the usual British style. You nod your approval, and smile your thanks to her once she’s all done. She is either nice or just doing her job, but you don’t really care, at least she has a job. You shove your self-pity away, quickly; and as you make to head home, you hear the Sky rumble. The wind, the wind is coming again, you think in fright. And curse the weather forecast silently in your head. Then you remember Asa’s song “No one Knows”, and you smile– then you frown again as your stomach constricts in fear. You hate Winter. You hate the blooming wind!
You head back home, half- running, half- jogging, half-hoping, half-praying; too distracted to even dance to Lil Kesh’s Shoki, one of your favorite Nigerian Jamz. Eventually, you make it home and collapse on your bed. The quiet around enshrouds you in a familiar mood. Melancholy sets in. You begin to cry. Your body erupts into schisms of nerve-wrecking sobs, you can’t control it. Your soul is unhappy, and you don’t know why. Maybe you just miss home: the bland Lagos Sunshine, people and car clogged streets, the echo of Up Nepa’s or Power Alarms in the neighbourhood on Friday evenings, the unsuspecting heavy- downpour, the lousy marketplace and umbrella stalls, breakfast of Yam and Geisha Stew and dinner of Poundo Yam, and Ogbono soup with Vegetable and Okporoko. Maybe, or maybe you just hate that the wind mocks your light weight, and even after spending half your monthly student loan on McDonald’s Burger as one of your course mates suggested, you’re still as thin as a broom stick. Loans and debts. The Government have defaulted on allowances for three months now, and you are running high on debts. You remember the last time you called Mama, and how she had shrieked in excitement, drowning the background chatter of her fellow market women, as she told you Mama Chima, and Mama Adaobi would not believe when she told them you had been sent to Cambridge to get a degree. Her voice laced with pride, leaving you in a cascade of fear and sadness. How much longer till the Pride lapsed, you wondered. She had asked “Bawo ni, Oko mi? (How are you, my child)” and you had said “Alaafia ni maami” (I am fine Mama). You had lied. Then, she told you about Funmi’s graduation from the Hairdressing salon she had been training in before you travelled, and about Tunde’s preparation for his SSCE exams… among other things– but you had not told her about you despite having so much to say, because you knew she would worry. You hate to see her worry. You owe Mama one, maybe two even. But before then, you need a job, and you need a miracle, you decide. Fresh tears break out, and you know at once that it is not the home you miss, or mama’s dues or the job and miracle you need, or your untold stories that worries you. You know, you realise at once, that it is you… the days are fast getting spent, and the road stretches farther ahead, but you don’t know, you just don’t know. Yet you remember Asa’s song again, “No one Knows“, and that makes you cry even harder, even longer.
“There can be no greater agony, nothing can be more painful than the not knowing, which will never end.”
© The Short Black Girl, 2016.