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I KNOW YOU ed1. One night with a whore.

The first time I saw you, I thought you were an asshole.

The crisscross steps that fell ten centimeters apart suggested a night of randy unrest for your wobbly tighs. Even when the whole street whispered in hushed tones with the unbrushed stench of morning breath behind greasy earlobes, it didn’t deter you. I know. I know because I was the one who always cowed. I pry my gaze off, each time those eyes, like silver lightening dart my way. Afraid that the rising loath up my gut might give me away in a vomit.

How could a woman, an Igbo woman for that be so reckless? When someone greets her or hails her attire which is usually all flash and no dash with a contrasting shade of lipstick, it tickles her. Her throaty howl and instant clapping of hands is typical of two Ariaria market women engaged in a hilarious wordy combat. The laughter is fake. The hailing of course.

They said she’s a randy whore. I don’t know about that. But I know that a certain night, when my mother was Ill and there was no vehicle to rush her to the hospital, she volunteered hers. It was a four wheel crash tested car. More like a ‘third hand’ when she bought it. The kind that the seller still rode in two years after he had put the sticker ‘car for sale’ on it.

Regardless of my flaunting contempt, which I made obvious by refusing to greet her when we cross paths, she gave her car. She drove us to the hospital and stayed till my mum was admitted. “Ngwanu, jisinu ike” she said in a pensive tone as she turned to leave. Empathy was evident in the drop of her jaw. This midnight humanity shook me to a still.

Now I know. Behind that fake raucous cackle is a soul. Pain, pity, empathy, love, hate, I had thought it was sheer emptiness. Whatever reason she and the likes of her chose this profession may be difficult to explain but one thing is certain; there’s a soul underneath. And though different men with unshaved whiskers giggle by the passenger side of her four wheel drive each day, I know better not to judge this randy whore.

Just yersteday, while I stood at the balcony, loud beats of music frozen intermittently by a high pitch outburst and a boisterous snort, pieced the quiet evening. She drove past. There was a nervousness in her eye and in the rigid set of her arms on the wheel. She caught my gaze. I didn’t look away. “I know you” , I chuckled under my breath. She didn’t hear me. The rumble in the car, like glass shattering admits the rushing sound of waterfall loomed in the air. One image haunted my sleep that night. The toothless grin of her passenger as he ravaged her neck in short hot breath of beer and dry gin.


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