”We are all artists… Our emotions paint different colours into the wind. The wind is an endless sheet of a drawing paper, wide enough to accommodate everything our lifetimes would sketch.”
-Chukwuemeka Akachi (How to Remember a Place)
Misty morning. The Whistling Pine trees that stood outside the compound were covered in a hue, a lazy breeze blew drizzles across, and some particles fell on the half-opened window forming tiny Os. I watched as they slid and slipped down the glasses, leaving lines.
‘Please roll down the curtains.’
I reached and dragged down the curtains, letting my fingers feel their texture. Darkness fell silently in the room and took dominion. It enveloped me and Kosi; she prefers darkness to light. One night she had said with a voice that seemed not to belong to her, ‘Darkness is bliss, it’s the origin of everything tranquil…’ She swallowed her last words in a sleepy murmur.
‘Baby, you can light the candle.’
I shuffled my hands on the reading table, picked up a match box and ran a stick across the side belly. An orange flame flickered. I cupped my hand around it to protect it from the breeze that ruffled the curtains. The room melted into liquid yellowness. It made me want to eat banana, but it was too early for such foods.
I joined her on the bed, our bodies silhouetted on the wall: two lovers folded into one another like Siamese, crawling into flaming yellowness searching for warmth and safety.
‘Nne, your body is cold,’ I said caressing her shoulder. ‘You should put on your clothes.’
‘Just hold me close, there’s enough warmth in your body for me…’
Outside. The rain fell in pebbles, the sound fell on the roof like the stones of angry mob at Opi junction yesterday, the mob that hurled stones at two boys, the mob that later set them ablaze.
Kosi didn’t eat last night; she said she didn’t have appetite for food. She felt feverish all through, cried too much. They were her friends. I blinked twice to forget.
The candle flame shook like the wind. It was dying out quickly and I wouldn’t replace it. I reached for my wrist watch. 7:42 am.
‘This weather makes me long for akara.’
‘Me too. Maybe we should buy it later when the rain has mellowed.’ She shrugged in agreement, her fingers running down my torso like tiny drops of water on glass.
‘Your body is a hot oven.’
‘You’re bad at compliments,’ I said, stifling a moan. She laughed into my mouth. Our lips held soft songs of pleasure, deep and sincere.
‘I feel God so close when I touch you. He honours love with His presence.’
‘Is that why you scream His name when you orgasm?’ I asked gasping.
‘That’s how I worship.’
‘Your road is a honey driveway, with warm wetness,’ she said, her fingers digging deep inside me.
‘That’s the kingdom of God.’
‘God is amorous.’
‘Why do you say so?’ I asked catching my breath.
‘He shares you with me.’
‘He is a jealous God, haven’t you read?’
‘But He let those boys burn!’ Kosi yelled, her body shuddering.
‘Save that picture please, I’m trying hard to forget. He burned in that fire too. He died with them. He is a powerless lover.’
I felt rage rising beneath my skin. Life shouldn’t be like this.
‘God committed suicide.’
‘Shut up Nne!’ I screamed, feeling surprised at my sudden madness. She rolled away from my body. Silence fell, drowning the voice of our heartbeats.
‘You should go, this rain is not going to stop today.’
I slipped into my clothes, used a black nylon to cover my hair to save it from the rain.
‘You’re leaving your bra?’
‘Yes, use it to remember me. I was here, with you.’
‘Maybe you should stay, nothing will happen to us. They won’t find out.’
‘No, Nne, we are cities under siege,’ I replied blowing out the candle. ‘There is no haven here.’
Dark hue embraced us. So did fear.
The fear that crawled inside me yesterday and weakened my bones, that same cowardly fear that made me swoon as I watched the burning flesh of those boys yesterday at Opi, their flesh peeling off like burning rubberized liquids flowing into running waters of flammable passions.
‘Come and see me off.’ I said, my voice trembling.
The breeze was gay, the rain heavy. It washed our feet into the colour of clean brown sand. Tiny drops of ice fell with the rain. Kosi picked some and placed them on her palms.
‘Water to ice, ice to icicles, icicles to water. It is only a circle, we return to our beginnings…’ She repeated herself slowly like a diviner, until the ices melted into water and mizzled down to join the running waters on the ground.
The wind blew giddily and the Whistling Pine whistled; it swayed to the movement of the wind. God photographed us with veinlets of lightning. He blinked intermittently as two black angels kissed in the rain, our skirts hiked by the wind. He shielded us with mists.
Image: Pixabay.com remixed