RAIN AND ROSES 1

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When I met Moji, she was on her hijab- a veil that Muslim girls wore that extended to her knee, and a long skirt that went pass the knee. I had just left my office at four when the sky suddenly became cloudy and darkness descended with the clouds. I went further hoping to catch a bus to the bus stop nearest my house, but all the buses that flew passed as if chased by the clouds were filled up. I decided to call a cab so I wouldn’t get caught in the rain, but then the heavens opened as if it had heard me and let down heavy downpours- thick pelts of rain that slapped hotly at my back. I quickly ran to a shade nearby- a closed shop that had a zinc extending over the pavement. I used my handkerchief to clean my wet hands before dialing for a cab. I folded my arms a little tightly because of the cold and waited for my cab while I watched the scene around.

More persons joined us and others scampered about looking for shelters, hawkers protected their wares with their wrappers and shirts, vehicles hurried on as if they would outrun the rain and motorcyclists parked their bikes and also sought shelters. I was lost in the scenario and didn’t notice a young woman running towards where I was in an overflowing scarf until she stood beside me, drenched and dripping. She began squeezing her clothing and I turned to her. She finished the squeezing and hugged her arms around herself to ward off the cold.

“Sorry, I said to her.”

“Yea, thanks,” She barely looked at me.

Quietness consumed us, only the loud battering of the rain on the roof and the blaring of car horns could be heard. My cab arrived and I convinced her to ride with me after Knowing from her that we stayed in close vicinities. Silence accompanied us, and determined not to let it fill the small space between us, I said when she still rubbed her palms together.

“Maybe you should remove the hijab, it would be a lot better.”

She looked at me like I had grown two horns on my head and I quickly said,
“Oh sorry, I just thought of how cold you are.”

Silence took over again and I settled for studying her face she had turned to face the window. I noticed it was oval and pretty and it made me think of what lay beneath that enormous hijab. Did her cloth hug her body, outlining her breast, or did it flow freely as the hijab? Would any hips show if she were to remove the hijab?

“I will stop at the next junction,” her calm voice broke into my reverie.

Oh I need her number. How do I get it without sounding like one of those men toasting random girls? I began racking my brain. Yes! I think I get it.

“Why not direct him to your house, the rain is still very heavy.”

“Oh no need, it’s not too far from the junction. I don’t want to disturb you.”

“You will only disturb me if you get down at that junction, I will be worried that you will be getting soaked again.”

“Em– well,” she seemed short of excuse. “Okay,” she reluctantly said.

We got to her gate and she thanked me.

“What’s your name?” I quickly said before she got down.”

She was hesitant at first but then blessed me with the privilege of knowing her beautiful name.

***********

I sought ways to woo Moji thereafter, but it was not easy to get a devoted Muslim girl to look at a man twice- one that never misses the “Alawuakuba!” I don’t even know what it was called, the prayer they said every Friday but not before chanting that. Sometimes I wonder what it was that attracted me so much to Moji. Was it her calm nature? Or the fact that she was plain, always on her hijab and clothes that passed her knee, no makeup, nothing at all. Or maybe it was because she was Muslim. I had never chased a Muslim girl before and the thought excited me.

The first time I visited her house, Moji had seemed surprised. Then she was angry the next minute. I saw the glare in her eyes, but she remained calm, as her father came into the parlour. Her junior brother had opened the gate for me and led me in. I greeted her father, remembering to prostrate and he welcomed me warmly. When she walked me to the gate, she warned me seriously never to visit her again, but I only smiled in response.

My next visit was to the school she taught. I had known about that from our discussion at her house, and she had remained polite as she received me, but I could see she wanted to scream at me.

“What is your problem?” She whispered at me when we were out of earshot.”

I smiled at that, I was really enjoying myself. “I will only stop visiting without your consent if you agree to be my friend.”

“Really?”

“Yea really.”

“Okay,” I saw the triumphant look in her eyes and I was determined to play my game well.”

“So can I get your number?”

“N–o,” she almost said but stopped.

“We are friends,” I reminded her.

“Just because I agreed we should be friends does not mean…”

“Does not mean what?”

“Okay,” she collected my phone and typed in her number and walked away before I could say more.

Was her buttocks shaking? I wondered as I stared at her behind as the hijab billowed around in the wind.

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