THE SEARCH

I had just finished running more than a kilometer under the rain in search of a shelter from the growing and windy august rain, a kind I was sure would grant me sure access into the fever line. And because I couldn’t get any keke napep to quicken my journey to my interview location, I was soaked beyond wetness that I felt my underpants were becoming heavy like I wore a shield. The files that contained my curriculum vitae were so soaked that I had considered throwing them away at one point; my life was in jeopardy more so because I had an interview in an hour time, an appointment that I was sure would end my four years search for a job. It was devastating.

I reached a T Junction and still there was no corner shop or even a spoilt keke napep to take refuge while I prayed for the rain to stop. I was so pained that I started to cry, and still didn’t stop running, it was funny though, but I needed to remind myself I was still human.

“sisssssssss” a voice called.
Since the rain was much and it also was accompanied with a very noisy wind, so I couldn’t see much. I stopped and turned to see who had sissssed at me, hoping greatly that the caller had a place I could hide from the rain.
“Come and stay here oo” the voice called out again some miles from me.

Placing my hands firmly on my eye brows ensuring I stopped the rains from obstructing my view, I was able to sight some human figures under a covered zinc structure. And without thinking twice, I made a fast one to the location, running and smashing into gutters and ditches like it was a fun thing to do.
“Thank you so much” I said immediately I entered the shop that barely had space.
I actually didn’t care if the space was going to house me; all I did was to turn to anyone I saw and said thanks as I bowed my head alongside. The space was so small, and it looked like a shop where they sell cigarettes and kai-kai (gin). A bench that was occupied mainly with women numbering about seven was placed at the center of the shop, because everyone was avoiding the edges of the shop due to the leaking zinc. There were about five other people standing tightly behind them, and most of them were men.
“Were you going to keep running under the rain if we didn’t call you?” one of those sitting asked.
“Omo yes oo…it’s not like I have a mansion around here” I joked as I tried packaging my wet self after noticing the pretty lady that asked me the question.
She had asked and then kept quiet so fast, she didn’t even care about the reply I had specially arranged for her amusement. She had caught my attention like a nice Nike shoes would. She had turned my head upside down so fast that I actually stared at her without minding the consequences. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, and for some reasons she was smiling as she looked at her phone, and this made her more pretty. And that I wasn’t going to just ignore, not even now that I needed a woman in my life.
“Hey!” I called out facing her direction and then gesturing with my head.
She didn’t even care to look up; guess the fun that emanated from her telephone device encapsulated her so much that she didn’t even look up like everyone else. So bad I wasn’t referring to anyone else, but her.
“Hey lady” I match my call with two steps of boldness and strength, enough to aid Spartan warriors win the Peloponnesian war.
But still she was unshaken by the weight of my approach, as she continued to tap the screen of her phone with so much happiness. I even dared to wave my hands in-between her face and the phone, just to get her attention. But still she ignored me. And it was frustrating because I was beginning to draw the attention of other occupants of the shelter.
Then bending down enough to get even with her face, I said the softest hello known to man. I knew what I wanted, and I knew definitely that beholding such beauty was going to be a great, and I mean powerful catch. I wasn’t going to let go without putting up a strong fight, and that was exactly what I was about to start.
“Please would you stop this and get up, your embarrassing me” she pleaded without looking at me.
I smiled at her plea, I have learnt since secondary school that girls get a little shy when they fall for a man’s advances. At least I knew she noticed me, the next thing was to ensure I held up a conversation with her. I was poised to get her to look at me and then we could hook up well “at least am a fine boy” I thought. I had forgotten my wet clothes and the people who certainly must have noticed my behaviors, and whether they approved of it actually did not bother me. I was out to hit my target; such opportunities come once in twenty years, guess that’s probably the reason why some men get married late after missing such good targets.
“So please what’s the name?” I asked smiling funnily.
She was quiet for another ten seconds, but unlike her other silence spree, she had stopped flirting with her phone, and had put it inside her bag.
“So I guessed I looked for your trouble by speaking up to you right” she asked as she ensured her phone was placed comfortably in her bag.
I had no clue what to reply her, and I even wasn’t sure she needed me to answer. So I just smiled and waited for her to say something worth talking back.
And after another silent moment between us, I spoke up still smiling. “So please your name?”
“Lucky I told you that inside the bus we took from Kubwa” she spoke smiling mockingly.
I was confused and taken aback at her response. “What in any name is she talking about?” I thought in awe. I had every reason to be sure she was making a call, or talking to someone other than myself. And I felt embarrassed because I thought we were supposed to be having a conversation, and here she was insinuating something out of the box. I was still lost in the radicalism of her response when she spoke up again, and this time looking straight into my face.
“Lucky you asked me out in the bus this afternoon, abi you no dey remember person face?”

As she looked at me, I instantly and suddenly remembered her face. Truthfully she was the same lady I had held up a discussion with earlier this afternoon in the bus. And yes I had asked her out saying that I liked the smell of her perfume. I felt embarrassed as everyone now turned to our direction, and I guess the fear of the unknown was the only thing that stopped them from laughing at me. It was like I was desperate for a girlfriend, or as most of them would think ‘I am a pervert’ one that goes around asking girls out for pleasure.

“You better put your house together and stop this attitude of harassing girls make you no go ask ogbanje out oo” she spoke and ran into the rain.
I stood there wishing I could just vanish into the atmosphere. It wasn’t like I was desperate for a wife, but calls from home and from mama had made me a chaser of everything in skirt. I was now in the lookout for every lady that looks single, and would jump into any opportunity to talk to one and to ask her out. I was still lost in confusion when another female figure dashed into the shelter shivering and complaining of her wet hair. I looked at her with so much sweetness and a salivating urge to approach her.
“ahhh… Lucky you’re here sef, I haven’t heard from you since I gave you my number, how you dey?” she spoke to my amazement.
“Who is she sef?” I asked most confused than I was minutes ago.

Compiled by Eto Collins

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