Dec 30, 2019, 3:04 PM
It is midnight and the two lovers sit on a log, each facing a different direction, stomach growling and singing a tune they can dance from. Each is in a different world, yet in one world.
He whistles, picks a twig from the ground and blows sand grains from his hand.
A passerby passes and the girl hides her face behind his broad shoulders.
“How many times do I have to tell you not to hide your face from them?” he growls. “I am the father of the baby and that is a fact they have to live with!”
She comes out of hiding, blinks her long eyelashes, wipes her face with her left hand and looks up with admiration to the one man she could talk to, could feel at ease with.
“Kee…kee,” she stutters, a problem she has been dealing with since childhood. He understands her and doesn’t wait for her to continue the sentence.
“I won’t keep my voice down,” he spits on the ground and some of the onion soup he ate during lunch begins to decay around his teeth. She can smell his bad-breathe, but for all she cares, it can be fresh mint.
“They have to know that we love each other, that I want to marry you.” He says this for the millionth time.
He looks her in the eye – her deep midnight blue eyes, takes in her heart-shaped face, up-turned nose and pout lips. She is his beauty queen – whatever that word means to him.
She throws her head back in amusement, and her shoulder-length hair which she gathered into a pony-tail reaches the small of her back. Slowly, sweetly, he drinks in her soft laughter. They both know she is laughing at him – for seeing her as a goddess.
“Don’t look at me with those searching eyes!” she musters a false angry face.
“How do they make you feel?” he asks suggestively.
“I am not going to tell you.”
Suddenly, her face forms into a pinch, and she places her hand on her quick growing mound.
“What, what is the matter?”
“The baby, it kicked,” she says in between laughs.
“Can I feel it?” He attempts to touch her stomach, and she slaps his hand playfully.
“My granny said, the expectant daddy shouldn’t feel the baby because it would look like him, and I want my first baby-girl to look exactly like me.”
“How sure are you that it is going to be a girl?” A smile plays around his mouth.
“I can feel it.”
“Then I will name her after my mother.”
A deafening silence follows for some fleet seconds. She gets uncomfortable and sucks her teeth.
“Ah….I am a bit thirsty,” she says with pouted lips.
He gets up and buys roasted groundnut and a packet of water from an old Fula woman across the street.
He hands her the roasted groundnuts, but she shakes her head and takes the water. She finishes it and throws the packet behind them.
“There is no bin around,” she says as a form of defense because she knows he would rake her over the coals for littering.
He gives a knowing “humph” and munches the roasted groundnut.
She clears her throat and says, “I want to make a confession,” midnight blue eyes twinkling in the dark.
“Confessions can wait,” he says with a mouth half-filled with groundnuts.
As if by some form of voodoo, she musters all the courage she never thought she has and lets her mouth run, “The baby is someone else’s.”
His hand stops in mid-air and slowly turns to look at her. He thinks his ears are deceiving him, but he sees the coldness in her eyes, dark as midnight itself and knows she isn’t cracking a joke. The lover in him wants to drop on his knees, kiss her feet and cry his heart out so that she would tell him that she is only pulling a fast one, and they would cry-laugh their heads out over the prank she played till their bellies hurt. But the man in him will not let him. “Is this true?”
She nods and chews her bottom lip. Midnight blue tears stream down her face.
He gets up, wipes his trousers, gives her a glance and takes a long walk away from her life.
She opens her mouth to give an explanation, but he is long gone.
Her pride makes her not to run after him, to tell him that it wasn’t her fault, that the father of the baby forced himself on her. That he is a well-known friend to him. Her fists forms into a ball with anger, disappointed that he would judge her.
Midnight begins to laugh at her – at her foolishness as she walks to her parents’ home. With a shawl drape around her drooping shoulders, she hugs her arms around her to fight of the wind-chill whilst she sobs like a female banshee. She hopes faith will one day cross their paths.