by Akinsanya Damilola

“Broda please, please find me something, my belle dey crack, broda please, please abeg you.”
He said this line in the same precise version over and again as though he spent an entire day memorizing that part. I looked straight into his green eyes searching for a shred of lie in them but all I felt pity for the poor boy. The kind of pity I had for the boy who had lost his right arm to the whim of a drunken policeman wielding a gun. The kind of pity I nursed toward my first crush when she lost her father violently during the Boko Haram winter strike. The kind of pity I could not describe when my next-door neighbour was diagnosed of the Ebola Virus. The fair-skinned boy could not be more than ten. I could tell by looking at his unlined face that bore a sea of endless uncertainties. He was a Fulani boy on the busy Iwo Road with crinkly hair the colour of a coconut husk.
Owo yin da? The driver shouted, etching out his impatience with meaningful glances. His calloused manner must have disgusted a woman in the back row and a rowdy barrage of words ensued. It was at that point I realized the bus was full.


“Ki ni e wan ro?” He added. Maybe the bus conductor knew I had been thinking of Oyinda before the Fulani boy came. Maybe he knew I had been picturing Oyinda’s beautiful figure in my mind. Maybe he knew Oyinda and I had, earlier that day, being in the same lecture room and I had not learned anything from the whole sixty-eight-minute class. “Is that your sister? The man sitting beside me asked when he saw me staring at Oyinda’s picture on my phone- the one with her mum. Yes, I replied sharply to avoid further questioning. Unfortunately, the man was not one to give easily.
“She is very beautiful,” he added.
“Thank you, sir!” I said as I looked away- the universal signal of disinterest. The man still didn’t get the hint.


“She looks just like my daughter, with her wide smile on a naughty face. I lost her last month to meningitis,” he added sadly. I became febrile as a cold current ran down my spine. I tried to blot out the reality of his words but the statement had blindsided me. Meningitis! That was the same disease that the state health workers had come to my hostel to administer vaccines for. At first, I had snubbed the whole exercise writing it off as unhygienic because of the limited number of needles and syringes available. And there was a man who had lost his daughter to what could have been my killer.
“I’m so sorry sir,” as words managed to make their way out of my mouth. “She must have been an angel to you.” The man did not utter a word. He was looking in the opposite direction, fixing his deep-set eyes on the verdant hedges along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. His eyes were filled with tears that trickled down like raindrops from a roof in September. The atmosphere between us was thick with sorrow.
“God will rest her soul in His bosom,” I said breaking the silence. The man looked at me, the wealth of sadness in his eyes piercing me like a knife as he said to me, “I hope she will be safe there.”



Akinsanya Damilola(Akindavies), a final year student of the Faculty of Law at the premier University of Ibadan. He discovered his writing aptitude after an encounter with Richard Wright’s Black Boy a couple of years ago and has ever since written a considerable number of poems works and short stories. He is the recipient of the Lagos State (Alimosho Local Government) Essay Contest 2009 and was among the ten finalists of the Unesco Goi Peace Essay, 2015, among others. Away from writing, he has a fondness for trees and wildlife conservation.



Join our reading community

Join our reading community

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter and get free access to our library of poems, short stories and essays. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

It's worth sharing

Share this post with your friends!