harmattan dusts.

Abena screamed. A deafening scream, so loud that her mother heard it whilst laughing with her friend in the neighbour’s compound. Her scream echoed, it lingered in the air like the smell of palm oil. Decibels louder than the generator that had become a permanent member of every conversation as it hmmed and ahhed as if in agreement with all that was said.

Her mother ran to her daughter as a mother does. No fear in sight, she ran to protect her daughter from whatever it was that caused this commotion. Embarrassed, Abena looked down. She could not bear to return Nana’s gaze. So she stared, fixated on the stain that now appeared on her white tunic.

Abena was used to the harmattan. The dust, the heat, the humidity, were all part of her life. A season that she knew would come. A season that connected her with the continent. A season that connected the continent with her. The thought that what had blown here had been in another land before, a land she had never been to, a land that she could never imagine going to. All she knew was her home, but every harmattan, she felt like she could escape. But this harmattan was different. It was the first harmattan that she was not alone. She had Kobe. Kobe was new to her and with him, everything else felt new. Harmattan slowly became an inconvenience. The breeze troubled her. It destroyed every effort that she made to look effortless.

“What is this Abena?” Nana asked as she looked around trying to piece the puzzle together. As she looked around the compound she knew that she had gathered all of the possible pieces but she knew that the puzzle was not yet complete. Frustrated now, she asked again “Abena, why were you screaming as if someone tried to come and kill you?”

Abena did not know what to say. It was not that she was lost for words but that she was ashamed of the words that she needed to say. “I..”

“Speak up and look at me.”

“I’m sorry mama. I didn’t mean to scream. It’s just that, this dust will not go. It has ruined my dress mama,” Abena finally said.

Nana recognised that voice, it was the voice that Abena usually used when she wanted to beg for something. She wanted to laugh but she could hear the tears that her daughter was trying to silence, so instead, she told her the words that her mother had once told her. “Darling, do not cry because this season frustrates you, it is that, a season and soon, God will bring a new season with its own troubles so find joy today.”


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