LIVING IN FEAR
(Dust and Gold)
Written by Nathaniel Anuma
The roof of a bungalow set before the eyes of Ohaji, an old man, was older than him. The colour of the zinc had changed from white to brown thus indicating how rusty it was. Some parts of the roof licked water whenever rain falls while the walls of the house remained unpainted.
There were only two minor stairs at the entrance, yet, none was in a good condition: they had cracked open both at the centre and by the side. The windows were made of wood but had also rusted giving out dust.
Ohaji shook his head sorrowfully and began to walk into the house making sure he was careful at the stairs not to completely break them off. He wore a white senator with black shiny shoes. Immediately he entered, he saw Denis, the owner of the house, not only sitting in the living room but was also lost in thought.
He knocked at the door which was already opened thereby bringing his senses back to the world of reality.
“Denis,” Ohaji stepped inside and sat down on a wooden chair opposite him while Denis hissed as he straightened up. “what is really the problem? You summoned me here strangely and only for me to come and see you wallowing in thought. Tell me my friend, what is happening?”
Denis exhaled. “Something bigger than the cricket has entered the Cricket hole” he adjusted his wrapper which he tied over a singlet. “I called you to tell you about my only daughter, Favour. She has been living in fear of what i don’t know”
“I don’t understand”
“She’s always afraid of something!”
“I don’t know!” Denis shrieked hitting his hand on a table before him, thus, generating absolute tranquility in the room because his expression did not only get Ohaji surprise but also speechless. He brought down his voice and continued.
“I have taken her to a man of God after which he prayed for her but it doesn’t seem to stop”
“I guess as time goes on, she’ll grow over it” Ohaji suggested.
“Grow over what? A girl of 21? Is she still a child?”
Just as they deliberated, favour rushed inside the house breathing hastily. She stood beside her father who had already rushed up seeing the force she came in with. Even Ohaji sat up staring at them in anticipation of was happening.
“Favour, what is it again?!” Denis asked as his daughter held his arm almost trying to untie his wrapper but he adjusted it upward with a hand to avoid another story of a daughter tripping her father naked.
“Father, I’m afraid” Favour replied fearfully staring at the door.
“Afraid of what?”
“I don’t know”
Hearing that, Denis looked at his friend, Ohaji, in a way that shows: HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT I WAS TELLING YOU?
Ohaji cleared his throat looking at Favour who wore a voluminous gown without footwears. She weaved her hair locally but only a man with inner eyes will know how extremely beautiful she was or would be if properly taken care of.
“Favour,” Ohaji called. “can you specifically tell us what chased you from wherever you were to this place panting like a mating dog?”
“I can’t tell. As i was in my room, everywhere became scary” replied Favour.
“There is nothing to be scared of. It’s just your imagination! It has to do with your mind. So, I’ll advice you to free your mind and go back to your room”
Both watched Favour reluctantly walking out of the living room. She occasionally looked back in fear and biting her fingernail until she went out of sight. The father exhaled sitting down again while Ohaji leaned forward.
“Denis, there are two things you need to do. Take your daughter to a psychologist for counseling and engage her on one thing or the other. Or you send her to the main road for her to sell something like others. From there, she won’t live in fear again”
Denis thought of what he said but didn’t say anything coz he believe that won’t solve the problem.
BY THE MAIN ROAD
Cars sped on the road but many slowed down to buy things from hawkers. A boy and a girl could be seen rushing to a car with a carton of Gala in their hands. One at the front door while another at the back door struggling to make a sale. Without much sale, Nath, the boy, went out to sit under an empty shade.
He was a bit fair in complexion with fairy beard sprouting out from his jaw. Suddenly, the girl, Jesse, joined him. She kept her goods and sat beside him. She was fairer than him wearing a black leggings trouser and a shirt she tied its base round her stomach thus exposing her navel. “Hey, Nath, xup? Are you tired”
“Yes, really tired”
“Such is life”
“But not for some people”
“What do you mean?” Jesse looked at him sweating on her face.
“Life is also dust and gold” Nath replied without returning the look.
“I still don’t get you”
He then looked at her seriously and said, “We are the dust while the children of rich men are the gold, so life can also be called dust and gold”
Jesse became speechless still sweating and looking at him..