We leave the narrow path that leads out of our uncompleted building… our home. He raises his right leg over the bike and balances on the rickety old bike. I do the same. He doesn’t mind that I am seated on the bike, he firmly places his legs on the floor and vigorously shakes the bike to check for fuel. Then he hisses.
We have to be fast, he says
We ride the short distance to the white and blue painted fence and hide by its side to wait. For a few weeks now, we have noticed two corps members walk the distance to Oyeagwu where they take bikes to the local government for CDS. They do this every Thursday. And they are always putting on their khaki. I’ve always imagined myself wearing that white and green proof of education. I would still want to, but there’s a lot I still have to do to get there.
I am still thinking about white and green when he calls my attention with the rev of the brakes. I get up and climb behind him. He speeds past them and stops a little distance in front of them. I alight the bike and walk towards them. As I raise my shirt to pull out my gun, I see her face.
Her eyes are a cold black with a touch of fear. Her lips curve in unspoken confusion as her eyes move from my gun to my face to the gun and back to my face. She isn’t moving but I imagine that her steps are taken as though on air. I am closer to her now so I quickly measure our heights. I am just a few inches taller than her. As I take my finger to my lips, motioning that she doesn’t move, her eyes follow and for a second I wonder what it would feel like to place this finger on her lips instead. She hands her phone to me just as I notice her companion run away.
He is fast, he quickly rides over to her, blocking her path as he shouts a “where do you think you are going?” to her. I quickly run over to her, threatening with my gun and my eyes until she hands the phone over to me.
I turn around to look at those eyes again. They are now more terrified and more beautiful. I realise that we aren’t wearing masks. She could recognise me someday, with those eyes. Or I might never see her again, with those eyes. I can’t take that I’ll be doomed to a reality with no knowledge of where she’d be or who she’d be with.
So I raise my arm. It is not until I see blood run down her forehead that I smile. At least I’ll know she died by my hand.