Kneaded by nature
We see the sun rise in the round glassy thing that hung on the poles of this city streets, shaming the night, making the light from the moon scurry away hurriedly to hide and cry under it's mother's bed we guessed, we walked all through the night, watching and running our fingers on magnificent houses that sits next to others like igbo chiefs having hot debating sessions in a meeting, we stare at the roofs which sits on their head like red caps on emminent chiefs, like firm fila on well starched buba, like turban on a cleric one dears not question, we smell and suck the sticky fluids from flowers which adorned the surrounding.
At fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, our names are Bilikisu, Oluwaseun, Eniola, Chizoba, Chinonye, Fatima, Mena, Shukurat, Adanne or Tope. We are fair, black, chocolate. tall, short, chubby, or slim. We trek the earth reddened path that leads to the stream, our pots held firmly under our armpits, our sweats trickling into the pot as we gossip, singing songs from folklore stories Grandpa told us the night before. We look around on getting to the stream, shoo away children who incessantly come there to poo in the only stream that served as the village main source of drinking water, we curse their chicken brained grandfather that cursed them, thereby rendering them useless for this generation, we untie our wrappers, swim in the cool water, if some of us came with clothes to wash we do justice to those too, we pretend not to see the boys hiding behind trees, holding their manhood in hands vigorously rubbing it at the sight we offer them for free; our potential future husbands. We thank our gods when on our way home they charge at us, squeeze our breasts and takes to their heel, but first we chase them too, cursing their mothers anus, insulting their fathers manhood that spat out cows like them.
We turn eighteen, nineteen, twenty. We see life beyond our village setting, we plead with our visiting uncles to take us to the city, promising to be the best we could be. We stood grinning from ear to ear behind curtains as we watch them discuss it with our Baba, Dadi or papa. We quickly pack our things, rush off to our village lover's house to give them a taste of our honeypot as this might be their only chance and maybe ours too, we do not want to regret a thing
Now we are city people, working day and night to please our masters, they do not act like they know our names as they prefer to call us Cook, Idiot, Stupid Housemaid and German machine and for some of us that are unlucky, Whore. We take care of their home, dress their kids, set the soft giant beds they sleep on, not the springy type papa sleeps on with mama, that makes creeking sound as Papa's waist moves in the middle of the night making mama groan and at times moan. We do not sleep on beds, not even mats was spared us, we sleep on the floor of kitchens, on the cold tiles and sometime we climb unto the sink, some of us sleep on the veranda, on benches, swinging our hands in harmonic motion to stop mosquitoes from making noise in our ears, we soon get use to the noise, that now sounds like organized music to lure us into a good night sleep. we endured endless tortures we get from the wives, and their husband who come to plough our farm at night, taking away what Mama calls 'our glory.' and still treat us like shit during the day, and when we get pregnant for them, we are chased out, forever to roam the harshness of the streets.
We abort the stupid things in our protruding belly, once we are free again, our names are now Cherry, Angela, Jennifer, Angel, Beauty, Eleanor, Queen, Tracy or Diamond. We sell popcorn, iced water, and gala in hold-ups, we mumble curses about red necked cholera strangling their necks when children young enough to be our own kids if they weren't aborted call us, touch and press our goods, mumble some 'its too soft, it's not cold enough.' sometimes we cry when people take our goods and speed off, without paying us, and when we get the chance to collect money from travellers before giving them what they pay for, we speed off too, without giving them change. We sleep under bridges, covering our tan skin with torn cartons, inhaling the stale air, inhaling whatever trashy kind of gas the next person to us breaths out. We learn to find pleasure, and enjoy our thighs been spreaded and kneaded by hooligans at night, as a means of pay for the space we sleep in.
We become night workers, hanging out with senators, governors and the likes, we make enough money, and once in a while, we send money to mama and papa at home, "Abasi n mi, Oluwa seun oo, Ogenne Migwo, Nagode yesu o, is our God nor wonderful laidis" they will say, praying that our business blooms so we can remember to send them some enough money to tear down the family house and erect a bigger mansion, that will shame and make the village head jealous, and some once in a while, when we visit the village, cruising in borrowed exotic cars, grinning widely at the children chasing after the smoke from the car exhaust, we do not shed a tear when we promise to take a child too, along with us when going to the city, was the same not done to us?
On our quest for greener pastures, we become night walkers, or thieves as people prefer to call us, some of us who continue in the business of prostution, soon become lean, bar headed, bedridden, with grumpy red sore eyes, awaiting death as they've been diagnosed carriers of the all time dreaded AIDS, some of us have sex with dogs, monkeys and at times we are forced to pleasure ourselves with charmed cucumber. We die miserable deaths, yellow sticky liquid oozing from our vagina, we run mad, cursing the day we were born, and the phallus that spat us. And when the day for the owner comes for us who chose stealing as a profession, we are killed immediately, burned to ashes with tires around our necks, electrocuted to death on rusty metallic chairs, hanged till we stopped breathing, serving as a medium of seen preaching to evolving kids.
We are city people, kneaded by nature for sorrow, shaped into that at whose mention, we used to furrow.
We are city people
We are a lost people
Dosu David Ifeoluwa
(Physics department Uniben)