SUNSET AT NOON (3)

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Anty Ojela called this morning to find out how you are doing and to remind you that your cousin got married on saturday.
“I know you have forgotten. Better call and congratulate her o” she warns.
 
“Yes ma” you say.
 
“Sorry I’ve not sent money to you. My account has been restricted”
 
“Anty! So you’ve not done your BVN? What were you doing all the while now?”
 
“Abegi! Lemme hear word. Is it the end of the world? Hope you are not broke o”
 
“I am o very very sef. Broke like broken mirror” you say
She laughs.
 
“Hunger does not kill anybody Fatima. That fine-bobo you’ve been following up and down should send you money na. Or have you been giving it to him for free?”
 
“Anty! I don’t know what you are talking about o”
 
“Better call and beg him for money o or else hunger will finish you in that Maiduguri.”
 
“Ah ah but you just said hunger does not kill anybody”
 
“Eh en oya stay like that na”
_
You talk about other things like the bible, the pastor of vision ministry and his all seeing eye, Buhari and the 5k salary for unemployed Nigerians, sex and idoma women and you both have a good laugh.
_
After the call, you dress up and head for school.
_
You stop at your school gate for regular check.  While the security was checking your bag and massaging your breast and buttocks to see if you have any explosives, you hear a loud screeching sound. Then silence, then exclamations; “auzu billahi.” “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.” “Jesus christ!”
 
You turn to see what was happening and you met a gory sight. A little girl in a pool of blood.
One of the girls who hawk groundnut in front of your school gate just got knocked by a hit and run driver. You remember her face, you always buy groundnut from her until July when your boyfriend told you groundnut is the cause of your unending pimples. You stopped eating groundnut but the pimples have still not cleared and you hate him for that.
Groundnut is scattered all over the tarred road and some almajiris are rushing to pick while you and a few others rush her to the hospital.
 
The hospital wouldn’t treat her without any deposit and so you give them the last 3k you have in this world. You begin to think of how you’ll even go back to school.
 
“Thank you Anty. My father will pay you back when he comes” the one whom you’ll later know as Zainab (The victim’s sister) says to you. You bring her close to your chest and she begins to cry.
 
You want to ask why they had to hawk but then you know it is not the appropriate time for any interview.
 
You stay with Zainab till her father arrives. She tells him in hausa that you paid a deposit of 3k. He thanks you and is about to pay back but you tell him to use it to pay Amina’s bills (The victim).
 
He thanks you profusely. You collect his number, pat Zainab of the shoulder and start trekking back to school.
_
Halfway through your journey, you remember you still have a thousand naira in your account. You look around for an ATM and withdraw it sharp-sharp.
_
As you sit in the keke napep that’s taking you back to school. You keep smiling at yourself. You paid someone’s bill for the first time in your life. You are wondering why everyone suddenly disappeared when they were asked to pay a deposit. You try to not think too much about it moreover everybody is on their own in this world. Nobody should be responsible for the bill of the other. You are very happy, you keep smiling and greeting everybody around when you get to school.
But your smile vanishes when Amina’s father call to say she did not make it. He thanks you for your kindness and asks that you come and collect your money since there will be no need for any further treatment.
 
You go back but not with theintention of collecting your money.
 
You want to see for the last time the face of the groundnut seller you once patronised and ignored sometimes and you wish she didn’t have to cross the road this morning.
The end
BY Farida Adamu