The dark sky, the thunder clap and the strong blast of cold wind;
these were the signs, the clarion call warming our hearts for the gathering.
Apart from the moonlight dance and the seasonal wrestling festival;
nothing was as exciting as the late afternoon April rains.

It took no time for the cold wind to usher in droplets of chilling liquid.
On the tatched roofs, they sounded like sands droppings;
On the zinc roofs, they were like the screaming of a thousand crickets.
On the skin, they were like diamonds pebbles;
On the village roads, the diamonds became mire.

Through the muddy roads, we would run to the square. The boys and girls whose breasts were the size of palm kernel, with just pants.
But our older girls dare not run in pants, their transparent dresses would hug tight to their bodies.

From the square, we would hit the road.
Down the hill, through the valley, and up the next hill.
Waiting for us were children of the next village.
Football, races, wrestling; any game was fun.

If on errands we would complain;
the next village was just too far.
But now under the rain, we felt no pain.
The rain was a spike to our systems; steroids to our muscles.

Later that night I would lay shivering on Maami's bed; wrapped with blanket and enveloped with fear.
'This boy, you won't kill me; ' Maami would say.
That was it; the fever had just saved me from spanking;

But then Maami would come in with the tray.
Boiled yam and dried fish pepper-soup with palm oil in a separate plate.
With all the love in her eyes, Maami would push me to eat.
I've never seen such a heart that would spank with love.

Few minutes later, I would drift off on the wings of my dream.
Only to continue dancing under the rain.

As I pen this, the sky is dark.
The thunder is rumbling in a distant.
The cold breeze is oozing through my window.
My children are all wrapped up under their blanket.
I feel like undressing and hitting the tarred roads.
But then I remember, there's the lockdown.


A Tribute: Late Afternoon Tropical Rain