He loves the way his chest heaves, his lips part, as he releases rapid breaths that Amobi finds attractive. A slow breeze moves past them. Amobi squints, closing his eyes intermittently.
He lowers his head before Jaiyeola hands him his shirt to clean off the sweat on his body. He wants to say ‘No’ but stops, stretching out his hand to take it from him. The word hangs in his throat, then he feels butterflies in his stomach. He collects it and licks his lips. The cloth smells of sweat. He breathes in and out, watching Jaiyeola staring into his dilating pupil. He helps him and cleans off the sweat.
The sun begins to fade in tardily. Amobi hangs his school bag on his shoulder. In the classroom, Jaiyeola ignores him and on occasions when their eyes meet, he looks away. He keeps stretching and massaging his shoulder. Amobi suspects he had probably sprained it, on the football pitch. The silence persists before the teacher’s voice echoes as she dictates in front of the classroom.
When classes are over, a bird perches on the tree flapping its wing, Amobi sees it and continues watching. He tries to guess if it’s the same bird he had seen the last time when walking home but this one has a pink upper head and yellow lower head, unlike the other one. His eyes dart all over, looking at some of the students running around the playground. He ignores the bird. He is overwhelmed by the tiring day same as the noises that rains torrent on his head.
The bird perches on Amobi’s leg. He jumps, stomps his foot on the ground, and the bird flies to his arm’s length. It let out a sharp shrill noise. Amobi freaks, then jolts to reality. Cold air puffs out from his mouth and his heart palpitates.
He walks close to the bird, it moves farther as he gets closer toward it. It comes down, begins to stagger, stopping at the back of the school building. Amobi follows it, as it leads it to the building. The building extends to the fence, leaving out a small space.
The surrounding is dimly lit and he bends low, and grabs the bird. His hand encloses its body and he feels the warmness of its feather. He tries to lift it but notices his hand is empty. Only a beautiful feather, whose colour bemuse him, remains in his palm. He looks around the eerie surrounding devoid of anything except the quietness of the backyard, the shrill voice of students shouting around the school environment.
“Amobiiii…” a voice calls and fades into oblivion.