Cycling Stories

Salt Water

May 29, 2020

Salt Water

The harmattan crept. Then, it was sudden and accompanied by heat. The kind of heat that waited for you to dab your body in lotion, and then fried you like plantains in a pan. It left you with dark spots and patches of pigmentation on your face, like a guinea fowl.  

The heat was annoying, but you continued walking to the hospital. You saw patients and their relatives trudge with worry and anticipation. They were all the same. Their look resembled yours when there was an Ebola outbreak, and your mother forced you to drink salt water, even as a medical student.  

They would rather be in their houses, wolfing down bowls of pounded yam and black soup. It was the circumstances that made them stay in those walls that smelled of dried saliva, tears, and bleach. You shook your head and moved to Bed 17. 

Mr. Ose was different; he was old, but young in an intriguing manner. How could a sixty-four-year-old sing all the lyrics to ‘Yeye Boyfriend’ without breaking a sweat? How could he wink at a twenty-something house officer, completely forgetting the grey hairs lining his beard? He was the only lively face that bore some semblance of joy, and you loved seeing him. Then, seeing how his wrinkles rumpled when you called him Epa.  

You smiled as you went through your rounds. The competition was in a week, and your cycling shorts were the bomb. You were going to win like you always had since you were ten. Edafe’s pride would deflate like a punctured tire, and for once, he would admit that a woman could beat a man. It would be so good to see his head droop, like soggy fried plantains.  

You finished for the day and finally arrived home, Ese. It would have been wonderful to see you, cycling at the competition: oval face, big afro, and melanin popping. The Triple Dose, as your friends named you.  

You let the door open, and you were too happy to eat. You had a shower, then brought out your bicycle.  

Removing your contact lenses had consequences. You didn’t see the potholes as you sped down your street. You didn’t hear the car behind you as you galloped. I’m sorry you sprained your ankle. You need to rest. You’ll be fine, friend. 

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