Creative Nonfiction Sad Black

It is three pm and I am already tired of waiting for my flight. Time seems to be very slow today. I could chat or maybe read an ebook but I am not in the mood for any.

I got thirsty so I decided to get a bottled water at a shop. I had finished the one I bought earlier.

My steps were a little slower than how I normally walked. Probably because I was singing my favourite raggae song; redemption by Bob Marley. 

As I strolled, I watched an airplane took off. It was a sight I had gotten used to over the years, still, whenever i watched it, I am always awed by man's relentless strivings against the forces of nature. 

I shifted back my focus to where I was going to. 

Before I could say Jack Robinson, a clumsy scrawny girl with high sandal heels triped and bumped into me, with the items in her handbag crashing onto my navy blue shirt. It was a wonder that I didn't fall despite my not-so-great stamina.

"Oh my God! I'm so sorry." The girl panted.  

"It's okay. Stuffs like this happen." I replied as I helped her up her feet. 

We both looked down. Her stuffs were all over the ground. I sighed but bend to help her anyway. I figured I didn't have anything to lose. I picked her handkie, a cream or lotion, I really can't tell, a sunglass and her purse while she picked up the rest.

After we were done, she gave me a sheepish smile. "I hope you are not angry sir?" Her voice was uncertain. 

"No." I chuckled. That wasn't true. I was angry. But not at her, at myself. If I hadn't missed my flight two days back, I wouldn't even be here in the first place. I glanced at her face. She was actually a pretty lady.

"You are very kind. Thank you." She remarked.

I smiled, giving her an it's-okay-nod. 

We parted ways and I continued towards the store.

I finally got the water and headed back to my seat. My back and legs were hurt from the whole ordeal. 

Now on my chair, I checked the time on my watch. It was three forty-five. Just forty-five more minutes. I imagined the nap I would have in the plane.

While i was walking back to my bench. I had perceived a funny scent but i thought it was probably someone's perfume but now that I sat alone, i realised it was actually from me. It turns out picking the girl's stuff had left the scent on my shirt and palm. 

It wasn't an unpleasant scent but it also wasn't very alluring either... it was - well old, it smelt like palm and shea with maybe a flower -I can't say. I applied a hand sanitizer to rid off the scent but it does nothing.  

It was so strong. So old. Yet familiar. 

I tried so hard to recall where I had perceived such scent that my old brain starts to ache. I decided to call it quit. 

I checked my time again. It was four pm. 

I slouched lightly and closed my eyes. Not to sleep. To rest a bit. 

A child hurried past just in front of me with a laugh, so loud, that I lurched. My eyes are opened. But i don't see the child nor the large glass pane or the long paved runways out in front. 

The women are not dressed in pencil skirts with fashionable weavons and wigs but in wrappers, trumpet skirts and natural hairstyles. The men are not in sneakers and penciled trousers but in sandals and baggy trousers. There are no Gucci or Chanel handbags only wooden boxes and briefcases.

I am not in an airport. I am in a rail station. There are no tall buildings but old cement bungalows. The roads aren't paved, but red and rugged. My skin is smooth and my hair is black. It is 1975.

The sun is scorching and the canopy over my bench barely provides any comfort. I held on tightly to my briefcase as i waited for the train. 

Just then, a lady approached my bench. I had never seen an African lady so tall like her. I wondered if my five feet eight inches would beat hers. She was like a palm tree at an island. Her hair was long and made in cornrows. I had to slap myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. I wasn't -because she sat close to me. 

"Hello." She said with a smile. They were the most perfect curve I had seen. 

I gathered myself and answered her greeting. 

"What's your name?" I asked her. "Tamar."

"You?" She asked me. "Ife." 

"Hm." She beamed. "Love - your name. It means love." 

"Yes." I said. And I think I have fallen in love with you. I didn't tell her that. A robust middle-aged woman joined us at the bench. Tamar had to shift closer to me. Her shoulders brushed mine. I almost melted. The heat from the sun was nothing compared to the heat which burned on my inside.

With her long slender fingers she played with the long ends of her hair. I took in the scent of her hair. They had the scent of - the scent! that was the familiar scent. I was tempted to ask what she used as her hair cream but I didn't ask.

We said nothing no more to each other. After a while, she stood up. "I want to get some coconuts - do you mind following me?" She asked.

I jumped off the bench. "Yes!" 

We strolled side-by-side to the vendors. She was taller than me. "Where are you headed?" she asked me.

"Ebute Meta." 

"You live there?" She asked again.

"No. I have an exam there."

"Oh." She whispered.

"You. Where are you headed?" It was my turn to ask.

"Iddo - to my Aunty's."

"For what." She turned to look at me then turned forward. "I ran away from home - my father and his wife - they mistreat me." 

I chuckled. "Who would want to mistreat a precious flower as you." I didn't know when the words came out.

She smiled but didn't reply. We sat back on the bench. After about five minutes the train arrived.

Along with the crowd, we rushed to get in. We managed to get inside and then she realised she had dropped her second bag while we were hustling to get in. 

"I must go get it." She shouted. The noise in the train was much. "No!" I shouted back. "The train would leave you."

"It won't. I'll be fast." 

It did. 

I never saw her again. I did try to find her - even at Iddo. But I never saw her. At some days I just concluded she was a spirit or something.

For years I kept asking why she'd showed up in my life just for a moment only and left me hanging? I'll never know. 

With the passing years, she never crossed my mind. But she was there, somewhere in a part of me. 

I opened my eyes. I am at the airport now. I checked my watch. It was four twenty-five. I stood up to stretch my hands. My eyes strayed to the left side of the terminal. I saw the scrawny girl. She saw me too. She was with two other women, both who were also lean. Perhaps, family members. She waved at me. I waved back and sat back on my chair. She was a nice girl. I thought. 

Wait. The woman. The older of the three. I felt my eyes plug out. The taller woman. I stood abruptly from my bench. Where did they go? I ran towards where I'd last saw them.

And then I heard the announcement; "...Flight 20B to Nairobi..."

September 30, 2020 00:24

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Judith Buskohl
16:40 Oct 08, 2020

I would have loved to seen the two old friends reunited. I love your story and couldn't wait to get to the end to see if they got reunited. Good writing and keep up the good job.


Esther Salami
08:06 Oct 14, 2020

Thanks Judith! It means a lot.


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