Fiction from Ani Kayode Somtochukwu

January 18, 2016 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

 

We today feature two short stories from Nigerian writer Ani Kayode Somtochukwu: ‘The Day It Rained In Kano’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’

 

 

 

The Day It Rained in Kano

 

 

I never imagined that it rained in Kano. Perhaps because every child in Enugu knew that the sun was harsh in ugwu Awusa. It was the reason everyone that went there always came back darker than when they had left, the reason why I hate the North. So when mama told me that I would stay with her sister after my Junior waec, I was enraged.

“Mama, I’m fair.” I explained but she did not understand. Because she was dark and had lived in the North till she married papa. So after my exams, I packed my bag and went with mama to the bus station. I wasn’t warned that the journey would last two days or that there were buildings there finer than those here, I wasn’t warned. The only warning I had was of the harshness of the sun.

When I got to Kano, my aunty was there to take me to her house. It was not a very nice house. It had rats and cockroaches but at least it was quiet because my aunty has no children. So every day, when my aunt would leave for work with her husband, I would stay indoors and shut the blinds to protect my skin from the sun’s rays except on that day. The day it rained in Kano.

I was shocked beyond words when I heard the sound of the rain on the aluminum zinc and the arid scent of wet dust filled the air. It was raining. It was raining in Kano. It had never occurred to me that Kano, with the dust and harsh sun, would have rain. It was something so obscure that it had to actually happen for my mind to be able to imagine it. The rain made aunty’s husband come back early.

“It’s raining, uncle.” I said to him.

“I know” he shrugged as if it has, since I arrived in Kano. As if the children in Enugu ever imagined rain falling in Kano. Uncle’s cloth was soaked and water was dripping from his body so he went inside and changed. I went back to the window where I sat, watching the rain. He came to where I sat and watched the rain with me. Then he put his hands on my shoulder and kissed my neck.

“Jesus!” I said in shock, looking at him. He had a smug look on his face that told me what he was trying to do. He was tall and handsome and lanky and aunty’s husband and twice my age. Perhaps that was what got me angry, made me storm off to my room to look at the rain from the window there, though it overlooked the dirty backyard. But uncle came into my room and started to touch my shoulder, to caress my breasts and all this without saying anything.

It made me kick him and push but that only made him slap me. His slap was hard and serious, nothing like the smug genteel look he had on his face. I kicked and clawed at him, not out of anger that he slapped me but out of fear of what he was doing. But it was all a joke to him. He kept smiling as he tore my skirt and underwear. I screamed, first in fear and then in pain as he thrust into me. No one heard.

Outside the rain thundered on the roof and no one heard my screams. I kept screaming nonetheless till he tensed and then relaxed collapsing on top of me, crushing his sweat into mine. When he left, I could not bring myself to touch myself. I packed my clothes into the travelling bag on top of the dresser; but realized I had no money and it was still raining outside. Water began to rise in my eyes as the rain intensified, then it poured over. I hated that I was crying, hated that I couldn’t stop myself.

I went into the shower and turned it to the highest. No amount of water was able to wash off the stench of his body from mine so I stayed there, crying till the shower stopped running. The rain also, had stopped. When aunty came back, chipper as usual, telling us how none at her office had anything to eat at lunch because the rain kept everyone at bay, I lost the courage to tell her I was going back to Enugu.

Instead, every morning, when she left with her husband, I would sit by the window waiting for the rain to fall, to convince me that I had not imagined it. But even though it didn’t, eventually, I started falling asleep as soon as they left; started retching and vomiting every time aunty told me to cut okra or whenever uncle would smile at me in that innocent way that made me want to stab him.

“Are you alright?” aunty would ask and I would tell her I don’t know. So one day, she took my urine along with her to a clinic and when the results came out, it changed aunty.

“Akwuna, Asawo. So it’s my house that you use for Akwuna kwuna?” she said and when I made to answer, slapped me.

“Who did this to you?” she asked, crying. It brought tears to my eyes too that she was crying for me, that to some extent, she cared for me. I knew that she would hate uncle if I told her so I cried and cried but said nothing.

“Pack your bag” she said crying. “Pack! You’re going tomorrow.”And the next day she put me on a bus headed for Enugu.

When I got to Enugu and saw mama’s eyes puffed and swollen like the time papa died, I knew that I could not keep it from her. So when she hugged me and said: “No matter what, Nneamaka, know that I am your mother and you are my child.” I broke into tears at the bus station.

“He did this to me” I said “the day it rained in Kano.” Mama started to cry too and we cried all the way to the house making the keke driver keep asking what was wrong.

Mama asked me what really happened, when we got to the house. But I couldn’t explain. The rain had stolen my stories so that all I could say was “He did this to me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Day After Tomorrow

 

 

I met Emeka after I had been married to Sadiq. The polythene Sikira used to pack what I bought from her had snapped and sent all my goods rolling about on the ground. I bought another bag but whenever I bent to pick them, my hijab would fall in the way, so I gathered the hem and tied it behind my back. That was when he came.

“Madam, let me help you.” he smiled. At first, I though ‘who is he calling madam, am not that old’ but then I let it slide. We bent down and picked and picked and then I realized, everything wouldn’t fit into the bag, even though it did when Sikira packed it. I bought another bag.

“Thank you.” I said lifting both bags, when we were done. He smiled again and nodded. I had gone far down the road when he came running, calling.

“Madam! Madam, you left your purse at the polythene shop.” So I thanked him and told him to put it between my armpit so I could clasp it there. He offered to untie my hijab.

“By Allah’s name, I forgot my hijab was tied,” I said and he laughed. I laughed with him though it was not funny, it was what his laugh could do.

Sadiq would be furious and his mother would be even angrier, if they had seen me like that. He untied it and then walked me home, straightening my hijab whenever the wind blew it askew. Telling me how he had never tasted kunu and how everything was cheaper in the Kara market. And we laughed, something I never did with Sadiq. He invited me to his lodge at the school by the bus stop and I told him that I did not know. Sadiq would be furious if I told him I had talked with an Igbo stranger for that long.

That day, when Sadiq returned and I came to greet him, he just nodded, as always. I had expected him to look at me and ask if I had spoken to an ‘infidel’. So the next morning, I made kunu for Sadiq. But when I said ‘Sadiq, I made kunu for you’, all he said was;
“Woman, do you want me to be late to the factory?”

When he left, I drank some of it then sat watching the rest of it in the bowl. I got tired of staring at it so I filled a bottle with it and went to the school at the bus stop, to Emeka’s lodge.

“Nafisa” he exclaimed when he saw me. He wasn’t wearing his NYSC clothes, just a white shirt and a pair of white briefs.

“I brought you Kunu.” I said. Unlike Sadiq, kunu excited Emeka, made him talk and laugh and cringe. I watched him drink it with relish.

“I never imagined it would be this good.” he said. When he finished the entire bottle, he came and sat beside me.

“Do you want me to help you take off your garb?” he asked. “It’s kind of hot here” he said and pulled off his shirt.

“Thank you. I’m fine.” I said. It made him scratch his neck and avoid my eyes for sometime. We talked and laughed. I laughed. That night, when Sadiq touched me, I felt angry that I was married to him. I wished that he would just divorce me so that it would all end. The next day, I went back there again, though without kunu. And again, he asked me if I would like to take off my hijab and then avoided my eyes some minutes when I said No. And then we laughed.

Laughing did a lot of things to me. It made everything remind me of Emeka. The kuka, the Rima TV newsman, the naked children, the grasses, everything. So every afternoon, when I was sure the school would be dismissed, I would go to his lodge and after the ritual of offering to help me remove my hijab, we would laugh with one another. People started to tell me how younger I looked.

“Your husband is really taking care of you”, they would say but I knew that Sadiq was not the reason, even a bus filled with people, driving past me on my way to the Kara market, brought a smile to my face. But it was too good to last, I knew in my heart that it could not last that long so when I came on that Wednesday and Emeka did not smile at me at the door, I held my breath. Allah, in his mercy, could not allow this to happen to me. Or so I thought, for he did. He let it happen to me.

“My program here is over, Nafisa” he said. I knew what he meant and at the same time, I didn’t.

“Am leaving for Enugu.” he said. I let out my breath. There was no reason to keep holding it anymore. We sat there in silence, Emeka looking at me with a pained expression.

“When?” I said finally.

“The day after tomorrow, Friday. Nafisa, are you okay?” he added worried. Was I supposed to be okay? Was he okay? I couldn’t blame him if he was. He had his entire life before him and he had a lot of laughter to keep him young. For the first time, the anomalous-ness of what we had, overpowered me.

“Nafisa” he called in that peculiar way of his that sounded like music “are you okay?”

“I want you to help me take off my hijab” I said.

“Are you sure, Nafisa?”, he asked. I nodded, then removed my hijab myself. And then quickly, removed my other clothes while he locked the door. I expected him like Sadiq to just get it over with and that was why it shocked me immensely, when he began to kiss me, to caress my neck and my breasts and my stomach and thighs. To just caress me and love me. When I finally felt him in me, it filled in my heart, a hole I did not know existed. When eventually, he was spent, unlike in Sadiq’s case, I did not feel the need to wash myself. So the next day, I removed my hijab also and the day after tomorrow, I left very early to see him off though Sadiq was still at home.

“Nafisa where are you going?” he asked. But I pretended not to hear and quickened my steps. Emeka liked my special hijab, the yellow one with the gold embroidering and the Kunu I had prepared for him too.

“It’s worn on happy occasions.” I told him when he traced the embroidering on my hijab. “I’m happy for you.” He started to cry.

“Am sorry, Nafisa.” he said. I nodded and used the hem of my hijab to wipe his tears, thinking to myself how well crying suited him. How well everything suited him. I watched his bus till it was out of sight. Then I went home and kept my hijab knowing I would never wash that hijab, that I would always look at the tear stains and remember the man that made me laugh, the man that made me young.

When noon came and I had nowhere to go, I sat beside the door and allowed myself to cry for the first time, to mourn the loss of my youth and happiness. To mourn me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ani Kayode Somtochukwu

Ani Kayode Somtochukwu was born on the 29th of July, 1999. He likes to see himself as a short story writer, novelist and poet though he has nothing in print, YET. He lives in Enugu for now and is currently studying Medicine and Surgery at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology.

6 Comments

  1. Ayomide January 20, at 17:54

    Guy you,ve got what it takes. If I were you I would register for all this short story comp like Caine prize or Boabab

    Reply
  2. onyebuchi January 20, at 13:42

    Jesus. Some people can write. Please Kayode I need your Email Address. It would be an honour to meet you. Lawrence we need writers like Kayode who don't shy away from these types of stories. I personally would kill to read his next piece

    Reply
  3. Sarah Micheal January 20, at 13:37

    Who is this Kayode? I'm loving both of your stories and to believe you,re just 16. Please when is the next one coming out?

    Reply
  4. Emmanuel Anyaoma January 20, at 13:29

    Lawrence, the first story is about child abuse and molestation and the second one is about a woman who fell in love outside her unhappy marriage. They r not about sexual immorality. Kayode I love your stories. They are soo...... infact, I don't know how to describe them. What I know is that I am now your number 1 fan and I,m seriously looking forward to the next one.

    Reply
  5. Lawrence Onuora January 19, at 08:34

    its a good story but why are they both related to sexual immorality

    Reply
  6. Atanda January 18, at 09:24

    Very good write-ups. Reminded me of Adichie.

    Reply

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