Chigozie sat by the palm tree overlooking the stream, counting the seconds as he waited. The evening breeze felt cool against his skin. The skyline above him was a dull orange gauze as the sun fell from its majestic throne above the earth and the sky’s creatures flew in waves as they receded to their nests. All around him he could hear the soft cooing of the birds, the chirp of the insects, the rustling of the trees, and the sound of flowing water from the stream. Nature played a simple melody, a soft symphony and this made him relax, made him feel conscious of himself and all that happened around and within him. He inhaled deeply, taking in the cool air that was thick with the scent of fresh green leaves and moist earth from the stream. The scent reminded him of Adama. She always carried the fragrance of fresh green leaves and moist earth with her, as though she wore nature on her skin. Whenever they were on their evening trysts, nestled in each other’s arms, Chigozie would close his eyes and inhale her scent, allowing it fill him within and envelope him without. He would hold her close to himself so her scent would linger on him long after they had parted ways, so like her, he too would wear nature on his skin. When he lay in his hut those nights, he would breathe slowly, taking in her scent, the scent of green leaves and moist earth that hung thick around him and he would imagine the nighttime breeze wafting into his hut to be the sound of rustling trees and flowing water from the stream. Those nights, he would dream of Adama enclosed in his arms, her skin the golden-yellow glow of the sun.
He still remembers the first time he saw that bright glow. It was on an evening as cool as this one. He was with Obioma under the udala tree outside his hut engrossed in the banter of youth. Obioma, with his huge chest and arms, had a presence about him. He made himself felt wherever he was. His voice echoed like a gong and whenever he laughed, it was like the roar of thunder during a storm: a deep rumble from within his stomach, followed by a loud cackling sound. He was laughing his thunder like laughter when Adama passed by, balancing a clay pot on her head, with her hips wriggling from side to side like they were dancing to the rhythm of the wind. Chigozie gazed upon her awestruck. If Obioma’s laughter was thunder during a storm, Adama’s beauty was the sunshine immediately after the storm. There was a brightness that came with her, a golden glow that made the evening seem brighter, and for a moment it felt like the sun had receded farther from the earth, envious of Adama’s shimmer. Their eyes met and she flashed him a smile that made his knees weak and his stomach flutter. He had almost forgotten about Obioma till a punch on his shoulder reminded him. It was a playful nudge but Obioma’s hands were so large, it had felt like a full on blow.
“Nna, have you been hearing me at all, or has Adama’s beauty stolen your ear as well as your eyes?” Obioma said laughing. Chigozie laughed as well, but it wasn’t because of what Obioma had said, rather it was because of a brightness that now enveloped the evening, a brightness that radiated all around him and filled him so warmly that his only expression of it was laughter.
He had spent evenings after that under the udala tree outside his hut watching the sun go from a bright golden-yellow shimmer to a dull orange glow over the horizon, watching the heat of the day give way to a cool evening breeze that carried away all the noise that came with the daytime, watching nature recede into a calm darkness all around him and then watching it all brighten up again as Adama passed by. Adama was daylight in the flesh. The very fabric of her skin was cut from the sun and woven intricately to from the purest of feminine beauties. When she walked, her slender body swaying gently, there was a calmness in the air; the evening breeze blew more softly, the rustling trees stilled, and the song of the evening birds soon became a herald, as though all of nature was watching in mouth gaping awe of her. Chigozie joined nature to revel in her beauty. Every time he saw her, his eyes stayed fixed on her, tracing every curve and every line on her delicate skin, taking in the radiance of her beauty, and blessing the gods for their handiwork till she disappeared from sight. He soon went from watching her from the distance of the udala tree to taking evening walks with her, wooing her with the sweetest poetry and watching her smile beam at him in a way that made him feel like the blue sky stretched out and her like the sun, bringing warmth and life to his soul. Soon, they were hiding away from the watching world and spending evenings by the stream, their voices drowned by the melody of nature around them. Chigozie looked up to see that the dull orange glow of the sun had given way almost completely and a pale darkness was creeping in to cover the sky. He imagined himself as the pale sky above him, without the bright glow of the sun, without Adama’s glow. There was something eerie about it, the pale sky. Without the burning brightness of the sun or the soft shimmer of the moon, it looked empty, lifeless even. A wide stretch of endless darkness and hollow emptiness. He understood why darkness was feared. Darkness was a deep abyss of loneliness, devoid of form or meaning. Love was light, love was warmth, love brought with it meaning and purpose. Love was Adama. He sighed deeply, feeling the warmth in his hearth fill his whole being. The rustling of leaves from behind him startled him and he turned to see Adama watching him with an amused smile.
“What is it?” he asked smiling.
“I am wondering what would make a man sit and smile all to himself in the darkness of the evening,” she answered, nestling herself between his legs, her head resting on his bare chest.
“My heart beats only to form thoughts of you.” His smile was wide. Adama lifted her eyes to meet his.
“Is that one of the lines you were running over before you saw me?” They both laughed and Chigozie looked up to see the moon slowly casting its light over the pale horizon. He smiled again and wrapped his arms around Adama, allowing her own light slowly envelope him.
About the Writer:
Victor Adams is a Nigerian student, budding writer and musician. When he’s not navigating the rigorous Nigerian education system, he’s either working on his music or immersing himself in beautiful literature.