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Slowly we fall asleep
Slowly we come awake

"Papa once told me why it rains"
A gust of cool breeze entered the room, like an eavesdropper. It threatened the flame within the lantern, but that was all it did. How wonderful it is that such little illumination can prevail over the vast space that is his living room, Collins thought. He decided to pay attention to the young lady he had brought into his house under odd circumstance. She noticed his renewed interest and continued her story.
"In the beginning, Earth and Sky were one as sister and brother. There was no space between them as it is today. One day, the Creator decided he needed a place to put things he had conceived. So he separated Earth from Sky. It was a sad day for the two who had known each other since the beginning of time. The mountains and rivers he put on Earth, and bright burning things he placed in the sky. There was one who tormented Earth during the day"
Must be the sun, Collins said to himself.
"It burned her beautiful body till it hardened and cracked. When Sky saw this, it pained his heart till it bled. The blood of Sky healed Earth for the next day trees and flowers sprang."
"hmmm…interesting story." But the silence that followed made Collins feel uneasy. Maybe she thought there was sarcasm in his voice. Maybe there was sarcasm in his voice. She looked worried. Her brows slanted, close to a 'V'. Her head slightly stooped in a bow. Now he was worried.
"I miss papa." stopped him from asking the obvious question.
'And they said boys were stubborn'.
What will they make of Akwuoma's behaviour now?
Chomp Maybe it's a genetic thing. Her mother was stubborn too, though hers was fuelled by passion. Akwuoma's seems to have no origin.
With each thought, the axe ate deeper into the Acacia trunk, weakening its intercourse with the earth. A cold chill had roused him from bed that morning, and he knew the sky would bleed that day. He also knew his store of wood was vast depleted. Coming to his farm this early, he had broken two routines - his early morning brew made of local herbs and spice, and his morning chats with Akwuoma. She would bring his brew at about 6:45am hot and potent. In between sips they would talk about everything, from how the world was formed to the latest deaths in Ntalagu. 
"but papa, why didn't the trees and flowers cover every part of Earth to end her suffering?" she had asked when he told her the rain story. 
"erm, I guess it will be like that in the end. Time heals everything."
Her questions had grown more difficult as she aged. That was expected. She had also come to refute some of his stories with facts from Mr. Gregory's class. That too was expected. He had hired Gregory to teach Physics because of his lucid teaching style. He had once teased Greg that he could make the local market women understand the atomic theory. Greg had replied straight-faced, 'I can'.
What he had not expected was Akwuoma's answer to his question on her career choice.
"I want to be a fashion designer"
At first he had thought it was one of her jokes.
"I want to be a fashion designer", no smile this time.
She was not joking. He was disappointed. She is too brilliant to spend all her life paddling a sewing machine. It seemed unfair of her to crave such ambition in spite of her remarkable intellect. It seemed no ambition at all.
"But you'd always wanted to be a doctor"
"That was eight years ago, papa. I was in primary school"
"Well, you've done remarkably well in secondary school science"
"I've done well in every subject, papa"That jolted him. She is really serious about this.
"Where is this coming from, Oma? Is it Miss Hilder? I know she's always making you girls bake, sew clothes – "
"Design clothes, papa"
Now he was angry. He kept quiet. Not one to talk when provoked, he had continued sipping his herb in silence. A simple conversation had turned into an argument, was it even an argument? He had not even made his position clear but she seemed to know already. She seemed ready to fight. And that was what hurt him the most. She would not let him make his point. She could feel his eyes on him as he drank, he avoided her gaze. Unknown to him, she was crying.
"You can go" he managed at last.
"Maybe I should have talked it through with her", he reasoned now in the quiet of his farm. It has been three days since they had that talk. They didn't have their usual morning chat, she had dropped his brew and left hurriedly.
"Stubborn girl" he sighed, leaning on his axe. He had forgotten about the tree and the lingering rain.
Michael Osumo
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