HARMATTAN TALES: Flights Of Fancy.
The lizard was staring at her again.
Usoro muttered under her breath testily as she bent over to scrub her feet. The early morning air was chilly and the warm water on her pebbled skin steamed gently. She straightened up and stretched an arm out, squinting at it and giggling as wispy steam rose off it.
Something moved in the corner of her eye, and she looked up, distracted. The lizard perched on the wall was nodding its head. The sunlight shone off its blue-red-yellow skin, and its eyes shone with a weird intelligence. She stuck out her tongue at it, and resumed scrubbing at her feet.
Someone walked past the bathroom and stopped, and Usoro, still bent over, saw a pair of slippered feet beneath the wrapper covering the makeshift-doorway of the locally built enclosure.
“Usoro, come out of there quickly. Other people have to bath.” A male voice ground out hoarsely.
“Yes, brother.”, Usoro replied distractedly, staring at the steaming water in the bucket. It was really quite beautiful to watch. She could see fantastic shapes churning in the air. It was one of the reasons why she always insisted on bathing with warm water, even though she had to get up early and build the fire to boil water herself. Her hair always smelled of smoke. But it was worth it, she thought idly, stirring the water in the bucket with a finger. Warm water felt and looked wonderful…
“This instant!”, the voice came again, “Stop your day dreaming.”
Usoro wrinkled her nose at the person on the other side of the wrapper, and quickly finished her morning ablution, careful not to splash any sudsy water on her hanging wrapper. The lizard was still staring at her, nodding its silly head. She wondered if it was the same lizard she saw every morning, and imagined it was a person. Maybe the local village wizard, come to watch her bath. She grimaced and tossed a handful of water towards the reptile. It started slightly, but kept its perch. She gave up, and with one expert movement, slid the wrapper off the horizontal stick it was on, and secured it around herself. As she walked off, steaming, her thoughts were on school….
…..For the umpteenth time, the lizard basking in the morning sun wondered why the little human tried so vigorously to drown herself every morning.