And as the school time-keeper rang the bell at 2:00pm, the students trooped out, shouting happily for it was time to go home, some other teachers in the staff room shared this same excitement, shuffling and calling on their wards, urging them to hurry up but I shared none of this excitement or joy for there was nobody at home to go to, I had electricity here in school, I had my phone, that was all I need, that’s all I’ll need. Moreover, I had just conducted a test, it provided the perfect opportunity and excuse for staying back, to mark and record the scores of individual students while passing time…
The school closed by 4:00pm originally but for the Ramadan fasting period, one which I had made myself a partaker of in search of some spiritual enlightenment, well, – the curiosity and thirst for knowledge and enlightenment which on the overall I don’t seem to recall where I picked it up from – and by the time I had finished marking and recording, it was almost 4pm, a few hours more and the pangs in my stomach from hunger will be satiated…
On my way home, I walked slowly, as there was nobody awaiting my presence, a few steps out the school compound, I hit my leg on a stone, mother always said these things held some meaning of sort – an omen -, which leg was hit against the obstacle, right or left and the outcome of the journey, all were but superstitious beliefs to me. A few houses to mine, a woman, she had probably found some money earlier in the day as she washed her husband’s clothes, she told him, he demanded the money, they joked about it – I smiled, averted my gaze as my face contorted into a grin “An African man doesn’t joke with his money” I said to myself”-.
Home now, I felt I needed to get some sleep, pass time till it was ripe enough to break the fast, I remember lying sprawled like a lifeless form on the mattress, I lost track of time but eventually, sleep carted away my consciousness… I had missed mother earlier in the day, we spoke on phone but it just didn’t seem enough to quench the thirst, I wondered why but I slept, lost in another world, I slept on.
I heard my name – It was a female’s voice, sounded so familiar yet distant and strange- once, twice, then a soft, gentle tap on my skin,
“Its time to break your fast,
Your food is ready…”
I was glad the pangs would finally be over, still drowsy I located the tray right in front of my bed, with sleepy eyes clear enough just to make out the shape and content of the tray, I picked the spoon, scooped its full of the plate’s content and chewed…
Then I remembered something, sleep cleared from my eyes instantly, my gaze darted to the lock on the room door which remained fastened preventing entrance from without, I live alone… Where was the food from? Who called my name?