The rain continued. It’s not a prince’s peace herald. In the streets, trees fell. Some houses were beheaded. And since the locks of hair on houses had been scraped waters and hails had to drop on bald buildings and the flesh of people felt the anger of the storm. It soon turned to a great flood and people wondered if Olokun and Yemoja were at war against men or each other. All but one bungalow built on low land were flooded. It’s happened before but no two people now in Aramade witnessed the flood thirty three years ago. No house’s unaffected but the house on top of the hill and one other. Only the trees around the hill house broke, bent or fell. Some would say, “It’s a miracle!” Some would call the youthful old man a magician. And the people would fear the owner of the hill-house more. The people would offer him a crown which he’d reject several times. If he’s strong enough to be unaffected by Sango’s thunder, he’s the greatest king Aramade had been expecting. And they thought he’s really a prince.
There’s a very young doctor down the hillside, near the road. Many would think he’s too young to lead. Many would say he knew the rain would become a flood. That’s because he’d slaughtered a cock in front of his house before it began to rain. No one would think that he slaughtered the cock not for flood but for food. And the flood hailed the sacrifice and honoured his house. Even the storm spared his house. Only the small dog-house he made outside, beside the house and the one for the machine that brings light collapsed. He’s going to be a great rival of the hill-house man. Many think he’s greater because his house is below, and water from the top avoided his fenceless house. No tree around his house’s hurt. In fact, he’s bought some bricks and called a mason who will demolish and reconstruct the machine’s house. He’d planned to build a place for dogs and fowl. The storm became his servant rather than persecutor. Who is greater, the one who hid in a crest castle or the one who’s in the open and yet danger dodged him? The rivalry has begun in Aramade. That’s good for Bejide as a whole.
Inside the house at the top, in a big furnished room there’s a big party happening. The man’s called Baba. Only his old friend called him by name, Atewo. Atewo’s now sixty-five. The wives promised him a death at night because they’d drain his waters till death kissed him except he begged for tiredness. He’s old but strong. He’d not beg a woman.
“I’d rather drive you all”, he told them, “rough and deadly with all the power of a god. The beloved of the god mustn’t be known with all god-power less the-she fall victim of a goddess plot. I’ll drive upside down; run every line of the arc of the circle; run through point to point as the chord that tips the centre. I’ll accelerate as if Ogun’s no more in charge of the road.”
His friend doesn’t like the gods. He’d react to any mention of gods. “Oh, look, Atewo, Ogun may own the road, Esu may own the streets, but not the road to the world of bliss.”
“Oh, Yes, Ipa, you’re right. These ones will fear death and beg me to…”
“Look, women are… mothers! My dear don’t flatter yourself. Well, we’ll beg you to eat little and gently that you may not die of abundance.
“Oh, this queen knows I can consume a mountain.”
“I know indeed that no matter how invigorated a child may be, no matter how hungry, he’d never be able to suck his mother dried of milk. He’ll be the one to flee from lactation when his tongue gorged to its spewing and loss of will to appetite.”
“Ipa, do you hear Tundun? She’s daring!”
“Tundun, you’d better let the young ones talk. Atewo’s done with…”
“You’re a fish. Ipa, will a fish ever be tired of the waters? If he gets out, he must yearn to jump in and swim in the waters of life. Can a fish swim an ocean to dryness?”
“Tundun, Ipa’s only telling you that if I pounce on you, you may choke to death.”
“Who choked yesterday? Had I not shown kindness to my lord…”
“Well, darling, I may not like a cow’s milk better than I do goats’ milk these days.”
“Well, you’ve not got that chance to make such a choice. You’d just hasten the rod of death onto your head. A child weaned never takes breast milk again. Only if you’re done eating will you abandon your mother’s plate. I’m your mother. No acrobatics or mammoth can scare me. Do you have new stunts to show me?”
“Atewo, Tundun ti ya nnkan mo e lowo o!”
“You’re right, she’s really become something… she’s actually my wife. She’s motherly enough to be friendly with these ones because as a mother she wants my joy. And don’t be deceived. Obembe and Moyeni are also… hmmm… lovely terrible”. The birthday party continued. The rain’s no longer noisy. Now people could hear sounds of music.
As the rain settles to the ground and top of the gutters became visible the doctor would soon go out. After feasting with the woman he called Madam Ps, in full- Precious Potable Princess, doctor drove off to his office. Madam Ps. would sleep alone that night. But her mind’s not to rest. She wondered if doctor would meet the guest in some way or in some place. “He may have a plan that they meet somewhere. Who knows what he’s thinking since last night?" "Would she”, he might have worried, “be kind to the guest whom we’d given much hope as if we’re gods that care for the miserable?” No one knows what happened on the way. She watched the car faded into distance and then she moved into loneliness. She’d wanted to be alone. “When I’m alone, I get chance to enkindle, rekindle, fire and re-fire on the altar of prayer to God. I’ve always committed my family and future into God’s hands. Today, I’d be praying for someone new and nameless”.
The following morning, doctor told her on phone that he’d come home with a surprise.
He usually had a way of surprising Lady Precious. At times his surprise is weep-worth memory awakening. But the day he’d propose, it’s not in secret.