She was on her way to the bus stop where she would board a bus that would take her home when an okada zoomed past her missing her by a few inches. She fell on the dirty road with her books scattered around her. She sat up in shock and slowly got to her feet brushing off the dust on her minor bruises and books. The okada stopped at a little distance, reversed and stopped in front of her. A young man in his early to mid-twenties, stepped out and went to her aid. She screamed invectives at him calling him every name she knew while he apologized profusely, picking and dusting her books. When she calmed down a bit, he offered to take her home.
“I am not going anywhere with you,” she had declined angrily.
The way he said biko in his Yoruba accent had made her smile and she relented and climbed his bike. They did not meet again until two weeks later on her way to the bus stop. This time there was no accident and soon it became a habit for him to take her at least to the bus stop every day from school. They became friends. He said his name was Ayo. He was Yoruba. She replied that she was Amara and Igbo. He was an aspiring musician. He sang and played a guitar but since his music career was not doing so well, he had taken up riding okada for a living until God would smile on him and grant him a breakthrough in his music. She said she wanted to be an accountant. Phone numbers were exchanged, home addresses were exchanged and bodies began to exchange too.
Looking back now, Amara wondered why her Aunty and other members of the family did not notice what was going on. They didn’t notice that she left home a little too early and returned home a little late. They didn’t know she had a young romantic boyfriend who sang her romantic Yoruba songs she did not understand but it didn’t matter. He always translated them to her afterwards. They didn’t notice her glow, the radiance, and the light spring in her steps that could only come from a girl ensconced in the bubble of love. She hid the extra cash, the jewelries and smartphone that Ayo bought for her away from the family.
In fairness to them, Amara played her cards well. Her grades were still up- the romance with Ayo did not affect that. She still did her chores diligently though she was often tired. And even on the rare occasions she forgot to do them, they excused her. After all, her school was a little far from home. Who wouldn’t be tired after racking the brain with studies and going through the stress of Lagos traffic? So they understood why she left home a bit too early to beat traffic and came home late because of the traffic. Since they trusted her, it never occurred to them to search her room. As for the glow, that was a physical evidence of good living. Amara was a good girl, simple and short.
And then it happened.