Anike’s Dailies (2): Our mother

by Tolulope Adeniyan

The figure moved away from the front of the shop to the middle of the road.

Anike held the metal tightly.

“What it’s holding a gun or a metal longer than mine?” Anike thought as she hurried towards it.

By then it had become dark, but not too dark for how far she’d trained her eyes to see in the dark. She had been walking that path for three consecutive years, mostly in the dark.

And never had she been so scared like this, not even when a supposed mad man had sprang up and pursued her one night when it had just stopped raining. If not for that ‘hovering spirit’ at that moment alone, she would have laughed at herself like she used to whenever she remembered.

Before she could meet up with the figure in the middle of the road, it had turned back again, making Anike slow down the pace at which she walked, hating the fact that the person would have that major advantage of attacking her from behind – if coming from behind

Imagining the figure hitting her on the head with a big rock or a big stick, Anike moved to the other side of the road so much that the nape of leaves touched her shoe. Then without any sound, somebody coming from the road at the left hand side she would turn into, appeared in front of her. She froze until she was sure the person had disappeared through the adjacent path, while the figure was near with its back turned to her.

When walking past him, she caught him with the corners of her eyes suddenly turning towards her, stretching his hand to touch her bag. Instinctively, Anike pulled out the metal and lunged it in the air before the familiar voice, and the words “Iya wa” slowly halts the gravity at which the sharp scissors would have dug into his veins. Instead, Anike changed the point she was going to hit him with to the brunt part and brought it down on his wrist

He quickly retracted the hand and yelped.

It was then she realised he wasn’t stretching out his hand to touch the bag but an Ivy flower that had become a shield over the fence of the house she was passing. He was the guy who had once threatened to kill and always leaped out at any slight argument to break bottles at the junction.

She didn’t feel sorry for hitting him nor did she answer the subsequent calling of ‘Iya wa’ in the dark.

‘Iya wa’ meaning ‘our mother’ literarily,  or ‘our matron’ on the street, was a general term, but not the words to be used for someone whom you’re not so acquainted with nor your mother, especially in an awkward place such as this. Moreover, the first time she got to know him, he came without reasons to fight her. She’d been dazed at how dramatic he could be.

If he is not oblivious of the negative happenings around this area in this period, but chose to be stupid nonetheless, he should go and nurse the injury sustained in his act of stupidity. “Nonsense!” She muttered as she walked away.

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