Alongside 2020 is the ever hazy and harsh weather. Osaze couldn’t remember any other year having it this intense. This year the fog grew thicker with each passing morning and dust found its way to settle easily on every surface. Some days like today, it was difficult to see the sky or people’s heads.
Osaze, peeking through her window, was instantly thankful that it was Saturday which meant she wouldn’t be struggling her way through the harsh weather to work. She hated the white patches the harmattan leaves on her light brown skin which she always tried to combat with petroleum jelly but to no avail. Asides clothes drying faster, Osaze didn’t see any other benefit of the weather.
Bringing her focus back to her cooking, she decided it was time to add some seasoning. She squeezed real hard, pressing the seasoning cubes but they remained intact not giving in to the force from her fingers. It didn’t baffle her that the harmattan had gotten the best of her cubes which she habitually leaves on the shelf rather than in a container. Left with no other option, she simply threw them into the steaming pot of Jollof rice and hoped the steam will melt them.
Seeing her work was done, she made her way to the L shaped sitting room which was a little cozy room with three cream couches, a turquoise coloured one and a mini center table. Some beautiful artworks hung on the wall beside the plasma television and directly opposite it hung the air conditioner, giving off air slightly below room temperature.
Osaze never liked it too cold and never hot. But one thing she loved the most was sweet scents, she always felt more relaxed when the place smelt fresh and clean.
The turquoise coloured couch which had the softest fabric was her favourite one. It sat facing the wall on which hung the television. She slipped her petite frame into it and then picked up the remote. Bored, she surfed through different channels and finally settled for CNN.
Her choice of any channel, most times, was to satisfy her need to stay abreast and well informed about everything in the world and rarely for entertainment. Amongst all the news stations, CNN met that need. Conscious of the type of information she received, Osaze had an inner sieve that wouldn’t accept just anything she heard on television and any social media.
Her fear was not about taking in false information, rather, it was about taking in excessive bad news. Bad news always made her prone to depression and this she fought tirelessly. It was this same fight which made her indifferent about the roses on her table. The roses brought back memories of her ex and these memories depressed her.
Roses had always been her weakness; their scent, their bright colours and their elegance had the power to light up her whole day and all the men that had come into her life knew this. The secret admirer who dropped this bunch in the early hours of the morning must have discovered this as well and obviously wanted to use it as a bait to get her attention.
Prior to this time Osaze would have been ecstatically trying to speculate who might have gotten them for her. But right now her bruised heart still had the tendency to bleed if she gave love and all its mysteries much thought.
She was still in the process of unravelling what went wrong with Ebuka who she had been in a relationship with for two years. Some days, she tried to figure out if the problem was her. The images of that last day at his place has remained fresh in her memory. Seeing his sweaty black body and that skinny girl in his bed made her boil with fury.
While she argued with Ebuka in his sitting room, their voices raised, she had a strong urge to smash someone’s head with the flower vase close to her hand, but instead, she took a deep breath, put herself together, grabbed a framed picture of her which Ebuka had hung on the wall and dashed out of his apartment.
At this point in her life, Osaze was tired of all the drama love had brought her way. From her teenage years, she had always tried to fill the vacuum she felt in her heart through some love interest. Maybe that void could never be filled by anyone but God.
Her friend, Nkem, who she considered too churchy, always said God loves in a way no human could. For once, she yearned for that kind of love and not the ones that left her hopelessly desperate. This time, she simply desired something that made her whole.
For the moment, she let the aroma of Jollof rice wafting in from the kitchen envelop her as she fixed her gaze on the Tv watching the latest news on Trump.
As for the roses, she knew the harmattan would dry them up.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi