THE BLACK SHEEP
The sun was getting hotter by the day. Children and women had gone back to their houses, men were now resting after working on the farm in the morning.
It was summer, everywhere was dry, dust filled the air, one could hear the dry leaves rolling around making noise and when matched, they make noise just like that of a frog
He came back home tired as usual, so hungry that he felt, he could eat up a mountain as big as mountain Kilimanjaro, but of course there was nothing for him to eat
After the death of his mother and sister, there was no one at home and his father had travelled to the eastern part of Nigeria, for years.
Therefore he went to the kitchen to prepare food for himself, he peeled the yams, cut them in to pieces and placed them in a pot of water. He brought out fire wood from the backyard, ready to make fire.
Hamza, his friend came in to the compound, putting up a smile like a baby whose lips is on his mother’s nipples ready to suck from the breast. What are you going to cook today? Pounded yam I guess, he teased his friend who was struggling to make fire.
Please would you stop all this cracks and come give me a helping hand.
Alright, Sir, he said and giggled.
As the saying goes, ‘’two heads are better than one’’. They both made the fire and placed the pot of water on it. Hamza brought out palm oil from the room and a bowl of [garri], a food made from cassava
He added a pinch of salt to the yam on fire and stirred it.
After cooking it for some minutes, his friend sieved the yam and poured it in a bowl and covered it. While on the other hand the palm oil was fried and the garri was soaked
Hamza spread a mat on the floor and placed the dishes on it. Food is ready sir, he bowed down in respect, for his friend.
The two friend sat together, enjoying their meal. While they were eating, he said; I want to go for a vacation next summer. Hamza looked at his friend with his mouth wide open, as if one who has seen a [ghost in the dark].
Where do you intend to go and how? To the east of course. I want to see my father!!!
Do you have his address? Yes he said and I would make inquiries on my way.
Alright if you say so, but I advise you to give it a second thought, please.
Okay sir, I heard you, he said; holding his two ears and shaking them together, like a child.
Later, in the evening, they went to check the traps they set, but unfortunately it caught something; a lizard and a frog
Summer passed and the rain this year was quiet heavy. Most areas were flooded with water, the storms were strong as tornadoes and the lightning vividly clear.
Sometimes when the thunder strikes, its feels as if the entire community was going to get collapsed!!!
Nevertheless, farming was not that bad. The plants were fresh and yielded good crops. Therefore, farmers earned good amount of money.
Hamza was arranging his tubers of yam when his dearest friend came in. I can see the yam harvest is good this year? Even in the dark he could recognize his friend’s voice without looking at him.
You are welcome and the two looked at each other smiling like those who have not seen themselves for a decade.
They sat together on a mat discussing about farming experience. After a while the eldest daughter of Hamza brought in food and water.
It was amala with egusi soup prepared with dry fish.
Are you still going? Were he asked, Hamza laughed as if one who has been guaranteed entering paradise
Oh, of course I would, my summer vacation right
Months passed, and as usual, summer was back again. Jerry, washed some of his fine clothes and got two other new pairs of shoes. His friend despite not welcoming the idea assisted him in the preparation.
The day finally came which jerry had longed dreamt of. I wish you safe journey my dear friend, Hamza said; and was putting something in to the pocket of his friend. Jerry quickly held his hand and to his surprise it was two thousand Naira note. Jerry was speechless!!
He hugged his friend and bade him good bye.
Jerry went to the park at 2pm, because the bus would start packing around 3; 00 pm, so there was need to go there early in order to get a better space.
At around 4pm, the journey from North to eastern part of Nigeria started.
He was so excited because he got a nice space, and could look through the windows of the luxurious bus.
Several hours passed and most passengers had gone to another journey in the unconscious world called [sleep]. Jerry had fallen asleep also.
Later on, they were asked to come down, in case anyone was interested in buying something.
After eating, they went back in to the bus and continued their journey.
However, the next morning they were in the eastern part of Nigeria and some travelers were already coming down from the bus, to go to their destinations
Jerry on the other hand, waited until they went to the park with others.
When he came down he asked some few questions, regarding his destination and he was directed to a nearby small town.
He walked for about 50km and then he went inside the town.
The way people looked at him made him felt Uneasy. The streets looked a bit neat, there houses with different shapes and sizes while other were shapeless just like the amoeba they were taught in their biology classes
However, jerry decided to check the address he was given on a piece of paper. Therefore he saw a bench close to a stall, he greeted the woman and was about sitting on it when the woman smiled and said, she was going to use the bench and walked away it.
Few minutes later, he saw a street adjacent to the stall. He saw a man passing by, he was of moderate height, fair in complexion, with dark lips, seems like he is bleaching, his nose wide open that you can see the hair in it.
His head was small, like a coconut but neatly shaved. He was built on the ground with muscles as if one who is ready to fight wrestling. Jerry and the man had few conversations and together they went.
However, He stood outside, waiting for the man to give him permission to enter in to the house.
May be he has asked his wife to tidy the house that a visitor was coming in from the North? May be he asked her to quickly prepare food so that jerry can eat or maybe they are discussing whether to give him shelter or not. All these thoughts and several more continued going through his mind.
It was getting to an hour and jerry decided to go in there, to his surprise, as soon as he stepped in to the, house, it turned in to an empty space.
There was no sign of the man nor the wife which jerry thought was preparing food for them.
It was all those type of buildings that looked like a house from the front, but inside was totally incomplete!
Then where did the bleaching wrestler disappeared to?
It was 3; 00pm, he had nothing since he came into the town.
Therefore, he walked further. He approached a compound, in it, was a girl, about the age of fourteen. She was dark, had a long neck, small head but on that head was a hairstyle he has never seen before, neat and attractive and you could see the hair so long that the tip was touching her back.
Her fingers were neatly cut and her hands designed with something reddish in color. Her legs were moderate in size but well-shaped and was hairy.
Her nose was pointed, that he began wondering if he had seen such type of nose before, her lips were so small, that, you would imagine if spoon could ever enter in to that mouth.
However, her eyes were as white as a snow, the eye balls vividly shining and you would doubt if she had ever shut those eyes and slept before.
In fact, that girl is a damsel.
Jerry came closer but next to her was an old woman sitting close by, it seems she is her grandmother.
He greeted both of them but there was no answer. The old woman looked up to him, and said a few words to the damsel in a language he did not understand.
She stood up and left. It was at that time jerry saw how tall she was, her flat belly made her hips curved well.
He kept on steering at the girl as she walked in to the room. I want you to be my wife!
He imagined both of them together, how he would introduce her to his father, how he would take her back to the north.
Of course he won’t allow her go to the farm, she is a type meant to be at home to be well cherished of.
When she becomes pregnant, he won’t allow her touch even a grain of rice, but how many children would she agree to bear for him! Even if it is one, please! Please! My love!!
Jerry, came back to life when an agama lizard fell on his right foot from an orange tree in the house.
It was at that time he realized the old woman he was about to start calling his mother or Mother in law was not there. So he was the only one standing!
Evening was approaching and still he had not taken water nor food. Therefore, he decided to go to a local restaurant. He ordered for Rice and beans with soup
Other customers came in and each was served different type of dishes depending on their preference and money.
After eating, he settled his bill quietly, he wanted asking the woman questions but the way she looked at him made him uneasy like one who was eager to get rid of something! Even her smile was unnatural that he could not bear looking at her face again
It was getting late, the sun is becoming cooler, some stalls and shops have started closing
He decided to move further, so he can get a place to sleep and then continue his journey, the next day.
While his walking he mistakenly hit a young man about his own age with his chest. Are you all right the man asked, No sir, I am so sorry jerry replied.
Jerry narrated his story and the reason for his coming, in brief. Its okay, come let us go to my uncle’s house, he is a police man I guess he can help
Jerry did not know whether to be happy or not. He followed the young man. They walked for about 15 minutes and then came to a well painted house. It was painted brown and milk. The gate of the house was black, in fact the house was not looking bad at all.
They both entered and he told jerry to sit and wait for him in the parlor while he go call his uncle. Initially, children were watching Television in the sitting room, happily.
Jerry on the other hand was feeling sleepy. His new friend brought soft drink and water for him. He wanted taking it immediately, but decided to wait for few minutes.
However, the youngest son came to sit close to him and was looking at jerry smiling. He was holding a cell phone. His father’s I guess.
He was looking at the boy also when the eldest daughter came and switched off the Television and asked them all to go inside.
The children started crying, because it was not time for their sleep yet.
The youngest in particular cried and refused to go in. Then the mum came in to the parlor and saw him sitting close to jerry, she looked at the child and slapped his head. Go inside, she said!!
Good evening Ma, he greeted, she answered slowly as if one whose tongue is going to fall out if she talked louder.
Minutes passed by, his new friend and uncle had not yet come out. So, he decided to enjoy his soft drink. He had placed his hand on the cover to open it, when his friend and a tall man came in to the parlor.
Good evening Sir he greeted, evening young man, he neither smiled nor franked his face
Where are you from? Jerry told him where he was from and where he intends to go and the purpose
Let me see the address, the uncle asked. Jerry brought out the paper and gave it to the uncle
He smiled and nodded, I know this place and I would take you there, it is not far from here
Jerry came down from the sofa chair and bent his two knees on the floor and thanked the man
Nevertheless, the Uncle asked the boy to bring his car keys for him.
Let us go now the uncle ordered, it is getting dark.
Jerry, felt something fishy because at least he should be allowed to take his drinks, but a beggar had no option and since he would soon be home to see his father he longed dreamt of.
They both entered inside the car and off they set towards the high way. I guess you must be hungry, he said, Jerry answered by saying Yes Sir.
They went in to a local restaurant, he asked jerry what he wanted and he said, anything sir
Fried rice was brought with chicken and a bottle of malt while the uncle took only a bottle of sprite.
While you enjoy your meal, let me go to a nearby filling station to fuel my car. Okay Sir, he said.
It was getting late and it was 11; 00pm, no sign of the police man.
I want to close my shop, the woman said.
Please do you know where the man we came together went to?
No but he gave me this!! It was jerry’s belongings he kept inside the booth. Oh my God!! Jerry exclaimed
Are you new here? The woman asked. Yes, he replied. No wonder, she said.
Why is everyone treating me this way? Why is everyone suspicious! Jerry said, weeping the tears rolling down his cheeks, because he had went through a lot!!!!
It is because you are a Black sheep among white ones, she replied, and please don't forget to settle your bill.