by Jacinta Chiamaka Ogiji
You were there, staring deep into the hearts of everyone. You wished you could see. You wished you could see what you didn’t have. A tin can wrapped in leaves was scattered around at the far end. You saw it and your heart shuddered. The sound they made didn’t rest in your heart. The ichaka played in reverberated essence, quietly inviting everyone for a dance. Aham rushed to the centre. He twisted his body and jumped up to touch the sky. He could have. You knew it. After all, his head was an Everest coated in human. His smile sent more dancers to the stage; they were children with patched-pants competing with the colors of the Earth. Each of them had a tin can. Whether it was noisy or not, they played, making a resounding point of happiness. Aham still danced; this time his back was coated in dust from the soil after doing a back dance.
You looked him in the eyes; you saw the lingering happiness that sparkled over him. It extended to his body, and you knew happiness was born.
The sky was losing its brightness. The children were growing stronger in play. Each part of the playground had everyone with a tin can. You knew it as it has always been; every play with a tin can picked at the roadside and wrapped in cloths to make it beautiful. Then that thought ascended. No! You saw it. The dazzling figure of Lota hitting her tin can at the far end of the playground. Her hazel eyes shone in the darkness, and it told you to smile. You! Omebe drowned instantly in thoughts while you watched her dance. She swayed her buttocks in the way she has always done, allowing her beads to shake too. Too soon she was gone. Her hazel eyes still shone a bit.
You sighed with a riding anger in you.
You turned your back, stretching into the darkness. the sounds followed you, they lingered deeply, calling you to happiness but you say “let them play”
You would go and sit by Lota’s grave and weep.
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