The sun rays brim.
Amobi strolls through the field cracking his fingers, occasionally sparing glances at the playground. The students are playing football in the field. He walks through the field during break while some of his classmates are playing football.
The noises are refreshing and he doesn’t notice the effect of the sunlight on his skin.
On the field are students running up and down, chasing a ball, heaving. They stop to wipe out beads of sweat on their foreheads.
Amobi did not fancy any of them, but he likes the sound of their coarse voices when they are having an argument. He finds it fascinating as they argue who would play on the field first.
Amobi halts, his eyes stroll to the security man standing at the gate; their eyes meet. The security man has a scary demeanor, so, he looks away. He is irritated. His posture remains slant, his mind rewinds to the countless of reprimand he gets from his family when he keeps the same posture. Mama and Papa would always shout at him to stop.
He looks away, his gaze moves to the bird, perching on the school fence. He smiles, expecting the bird to smile too. He does not stop watching as the bird escapes out of his sight. Amobi stops at the side of the playground, watching them, tussling with the ball. His eyebrows crease when the ball goes up in the air, then he gasps. He wonders what fascinates people about football. It is a group of people running around the field, being tactical on what he has always been trying to understand.
One night, Papa returned home with a ball, as the night flies whispered their melodies. Ifeoma was helping Mama in the kitchen. Papa would have smiled at him which he always did when he walked home at night. This time, he did not. Amobi walks up to hug him, he drifts, leaving his hand floating in the air. His face is taut. He looks away when their gaze meets, allows his attention to concentrate on the television. He knows it is a ball Papa is holding, wondering when Papa’s desire to play football started.
Papa walks into the living room, the air is filled with a foul smell, coupled with the aroma of Mama’s oha soup boiling in the kitchen.
The room is quiet until Mama and Ifeoma walk in and they notice Papa’s mood. They sit on the sofa and the room becomes silent. Then Mama speaks. She says, “Ifeoma go and turn the soup,” in-between a heated argument. Mama has a unique accent. Her words are fluffy as they come through her nose. It is what Amobi’s classmates had said when Mama came to school to address them. It is their school ritual for each student to invite any of their relatives to speak in their class on ‘Life issues’. This time, Papa tagged along. At the end of the session, Jaiyeola, his seat partner, made a comment. Papa hears it and he is easily annoyed. Jaiyeola said I acted queer and doubted if it was Mama that gave birth to me…