Thursday, October 8, 2015


Kalaine is dead. This sorrow shall never end. Light-skinned, beady eyed, devoid of feminine curvatures - Kalaine had made her way that afternoon to my house, amidst the intense sun hiding behind the only storey - building in sight. I do not know what Kalaine, a chorister had seen in an atheist; without a living generation and with a hope of survival that was always born at ungodly hours when I and the other boys broke into luxurious apartments. The kind we craved; stealing their peace and sometimes privacy when we interrupted the premature passions of our victims.
“Chukwuneye…” she had called, with a familiar softness, she had called me the way it melted my heart then she asked for some money to purchase some drugs to quell a headache.
 “It’s just a headache it would go down,” I said, holding her palms, avoiding her round eyes; which could defeat my selfish resolve, lay bare this falsehood and destroy my plans with Catharine.
After a careful inspection around the vicinity of our next target. It was obvious nothing good could proceed from an operation in a well secured house especially with an electric fence.
We would relax over some bottles of beer in a nearby bar and Catharine’s figure would torment my existence for all the minutes I spent there as she served cold drinks. The last time she had asked for money for 'pomade' and tonight, I do not know.
 “I would get some from Doctor on my way out,”Kalaine said. She promised to see me tomorrow as she left my half empty room, made of wooden walls,  rusted zincs and a bare cemented floor. I felt some relief even though I knew I would pay Doctor after my next operation. He sold cheap drugs, he had no education but hardship had compelled him into his choice of trade. I was an area boy, infact a thief, we knew the illegal water manufacturers in the next compound. It was a silent consensus that existed - not to destroy anyone’s means of livelihood not even Doctor’s wife who made tasty stew from rotten tomatoes and sold them in distant streets in an old wheel barrow.
 The night came slowly and events had unfolded just as I had thought. I cursed silently as Catharine moistened her finger tips with her saliva, counting the only money I was worth, now her remuneration. I blamed my foolishness on the callousness of life that had stricken me with penury and made uncertain my good intentions for Kalaine.
A hungry man had no right judgment; what was good or evil did not matter. That was my fate, dropping out of the university had added more suffering to my living born without a silver spoon awakened in a world that had swallowed mother after my first cry as a result of malnutrition.
 As I looked around the house we would invade at dusk, I laughed at the foolish man who had sparingly secured broken bottles on the rim of the fence. I and my boys would defeat his intelligence without ample effort, I thought as I headed for Rumuokoro Motor Park deliberately bumping into an unsuspecting passenger. I made away with his wallet and was disappointed realizing that risk had only secured a two hundred naira note. Poor man! He was desperate to get on that bus and when he is half way gone he would remember the dividends of carelessness while I chewed on spiced meat.
I hurried to the neighbouring street, my usual meeting point with Kalaine on Fridays on her way from church, waiting patiently to see her before setting out with the boys – kalaine was not attractive but it had to be love I felt for the woman who brought me good luck, such that I had never been caught, handcuffed and paraded like a criminal. I wore a striped white shirt and a faded jean, hoping I had looked like a decent man.  Women in love hardly looked beyond the surface they bought even the dumbest lies half the time and to Kalaine. I was a plumber. I waited impatiently beside a small barbing salon but Kalaine did not show up. I resolved to wander around her neighbourhood perhaps she would spot me from Dumez’s unfenced house – her uncle. I was stunned when all that hit my eye was a wailing crowd. Kalaine was dead. I felt like strangling Dumez when he repeatedly convinced the crowd that he had a strong premonition of something bad occurring when he would hardly ever see to Kalaine’s welfare, making her my responsibility.
I ran home and I was sure I was going to kill Doctor for the fake drug he had sold to Kalaine. It was a bloody fight that had ended after serious persuasion from neighbours.
That night I wailed in grief, I wanted to pray the way Kalaine had thought me but I feared that Kalaine would appear in the last clothing I had seen her in - a flower patterned dress and strike me with a deafening slap so I sat there mute,  without a reason for living.