BURNING RAIN. READERS DISCRETION IS ADVISED! IMAGES USED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE NOT THE WRITER’S PROPERTY.
The night was dark and cold. It was a little after 9pm. The rains hadn’t been merciful to us these past days. Always giving us the perfect weather to do what adults do at dawn apart from praying – that’s what Gina and I had been doing. To hell with what religion said. Body no bi firewood. Gina was the perfect girl every guy could ever wish for. We fell in love when I was in my final year back on Legon campus. I was in my senior year of Business Admin and she was my junior. As a sharp-brain student, some juniors used to meet me for extra tuition which I willingly obliged to. We took keen interest in each other since the first day I set my eyes on her. I heard “Bright….” and before she could continue her ominous sentence, I was caught in a mind-boggling expanse. One in which time stood still. Who was this creature in front of me? Her silky hair flowed around her scalp like the squirting of toothpaste from its tubular container. Her eyes had this deep effect as if she was looking into your soul. Her lips, oh gosh! Holy muscle specially situated there by God in his infinite wisdom. The lower lip was my match in the dark. I could feast on them all day and not flinch. It flowed downwards like a drop-down menu. Damn! God, I praise your Holy name. The way her teeth were neatly arranged, I’m sure an architect laid down her blueprint before the master creator started creating her. Her neck, the smell of her neck especially could make one drool in broad daylight. Her magnificent breasts seemed to command the air around. Always up and head high like Obama at a speech. Oh my!! This particular angel refused to return to heaven. Tuition classes turned into visits which turned into dates and soon enough we called each other “boo” and “bae” and other diabetes-inducing names. We were in love. She became close to my family and I to hers. But secretly we were having sex. Evidently our folks could not know about that.
I curled myself inside my bed-sheets and picked up my phone. I scrolled and checked my last text with Gina. She still hadn’t replied. As a matter of fact, she was offline. I decided to call her instead. The unending beeping ricocheted through my eardrums over and over again and I was getting impatient. Finally, a “hello bae” came from the other side. The voice was simply angelic. I responded. “hi my queen, watsap? I sent you a WhatsApp message earlier, as it seems you haven’t replied yet.” “oh I’m so sorry. My phone’s been acting up lately.” I cut in, “sorry about that okay. Erhmmm baby can you come over? I’m so cold and I need you by my side” “I’m not sure I can come o.” “why watsap?” “baby nothing! I just want to learn.”With shame written all over my destiny, I told her that I’m fine. Then we hang up. So after planning this for a week, she simply can’t come, today of all days. That is interesting. I was so vexed with Gina. That notwithstanding, she wasn’t able to completely shake off this gift of horniness the weather had brought me. I picked my phone, grabbed some Vaseline and some tissues. I entered the website and started looking for my favorites. In no time I was engulfed in the pornographic video, pleasing myself in any and every way possible. Some minutes into the act, immediately I heard “Herrrrhhh Bright!! Woo hw3 pono!” the coarse sharp voice pierced through the silence of the room. It was my mom. I dropped the phone and quickly grabbed my boxer I had removed earlier, and used it to cover my nakedness. It was the shortest ten seconds of my life. I was confused, scared and ashamed. My manhood had simply melted. I hadn’t locked the door to my room. Gosh!! How could I have been so careless? We exchanged glances. I saw disappointment in her gaze. This was a tongue talking Christian. I was part of the choir and amazing at bible quizzes. I knew I had lost it all-the honor,the trust, it was all gone.
Then I knelt down and began to beg her, hitting my palms together in a pleading manner. She looked at me, with arms folded and bloodshot eyes. I knew it was trouble if she opened her mouth to call out to my dad. “Maa please I beg, I just saw it on my Facebook wall and I clicked it, I didn’t know it was porn” “so you call me a liar. Your father will hear about this.” She sharply retorted shouting out my father’s name while exiting my room. My dad was the scary one. He was very harsh and would beat the crap out of you at the least chance at disobedience. There was a time he hid in my wardrobe just to wait for me to enter and lock so he could have a session with me. The beatings I received that day was enough to wake Lazarus up from the grave. It took a miracle – mom to intervene. I hadn’t locked the room like he expected. What made things worse was the fact that he hid in the wardrobe till it was 12 midnight. It was mom who’d stand in for us and plead on our behalf most often. If she wasn’t around, then you would really get the beating of all your nine lives.
As she kept on yelling for my dad to come around, I quickly grabbed my shorts, my slippers and a t shirt. I glanced around and grabbed my phone and my wallet. I scurried out of the room, slipping through my mom’s hands in the corridor. My sister stood in the doorway. She readily gave way for fear of me crushing into her. I rushed down the stairs and made out of the house in three quick steps. The area around the house was dark. I perched around a thicket and wore my clothes well. My mind was rushing. What was I to do now? I couldn’t bear the shame, especially in front of my dad – that I of all people was watching porn. I could still hear them talk loudly in the house. I ignored them and rushed to the road side to get a car. Where was I going? I thought hard as I felt the cold breeze touch my face and neck. The clouds were darker than normal and I wouldn’t be surprised if the rains repeated an episode one more time. I sent Gina an sms asking her to meet me at Circle near Vienna City, preferably near the GOIL fuel station. She stayed at Adabraka, but I didn’t really know her hood. It being a shady night, I just thought if she came to meet me, it’ll be better than taking confusing directions on phone. Before I could say jack, the drizzling had started. I ran under a shed and waited patiently for a troski. While my mind was racing whether Gina would come or not, the rains were also gathering momentum.
In the troski from Tesano, my dad called. Seeing his name and picture boldly on my phone screen even scared me the more. I didn’t pick up. For three consecutive times, I still didn’t pick up. Later it was mom who called. I was contemplating on whether to pick or not. Maybe it was dad using her number to call me. No! I wasn’t picking it. I wasn’t ready to fall for this trick. Even a toddler would know it’s a trap. I turned the notifications to “silent”and fixed the phone into my pocket. The rains were getting heavier. The usual hawkers had abandoned the roads. Some very desperate ones were in rain coats and reflector jackets and were still busily selling their wares. Soon the traffic had intensified and water was rushing everywhere on the roads. Inside,the troski was somehow hot but you couldn’t lower the window for fresh air. There were two other young men in the rear of the taxi when I joined them. I was scared to bits, but I just managed a strong charisma hoping things won’t get worse. It wasn’t uncommon for people to get robbed by passengers they meet at the backseat. Close to 45 minutes had elapsed and we had still not even gotten to my destination. We were at Ghana Post, just near the Vodafone office. We were close though and I knew I could walk if I really wanted to. The rains nodded its head, disagreeing with me on the idea of getting down to walk. To prevent the boredom that had already sat in my lap, I grabbed my phone and saw two missed calls. I checked and it was Gina. I quickly called back. I affirmed to her that I was nearby and that she should wait for me at where I directed her. She complained of the water getting knee deep and the smell of fuel all over. I assured her it was normal and that I’d be right there before she knew it. She calmed down and I hang up. Immediately,mom’s call came in. I just picked the call and waited to hear who’s voice it was going to be at the end of the line. It was a female voice and I heaved a sigh of relief. “Bright, where are you? Exactly where are you? Gina called me some 30 minutes ago saying you said you had to meet her as soon as possible cos you were travelling. She called to confirm with me. So you won’t stop telling lies eh, Kwaku. Ehh!!”. Gina was my girlfriend. Not a stranger in my house at all and so I wasn’t surprised she had called my mom to investigate reasons why I’d like to meet her this late. Mom was still on the phone talking. I just sat still listening to her rant on. I was just glad I wasn’t home and that was it. “anyway I’m in the car, caught up in traffic around Circle. I hope to meet you at her house. I’m picking her up at the filling station. If you’re near I can wait for you.” “oh mom, really? So you had to move out cos of her?” “No, I moved out cos of you. I didn’t tell your dad anything about what I saw earlier. We just wanted you home cos there had been an announcement warning us of heavy storms tonight. You wouldn’t pick up your phone.” “mom, don’t worry, I’m not near. I will…” before I could continue, there was a loud boom!It was so loud the ground shook. It sounded like an explosion. The driver was swift. He got out of the car and climbed it from the tires near the driver’s seat. Then he began to shout “Ewurade eeeeiiii!!me wu oo!! Aww nipa mbra!”. At once I knew something wasn’t right. I got out of the car almost simultaneously with the other two passengers. The driver pointed at the direction of the explosion. It was there that it dawned on me that I had killed someone’s daughter. The filling station was ablaze.
Exactly where I had asked Gina to wait for me. There were shouts all over. Of wails and cries. And we could hear it from our location. Other inquisitive bystanders started asking what was going on. Around that same time, a lot of the drivers behind us got out of their cars with some very inquisitive ones running towards the explosion, in order to help. I grabbed my phone and dialed Gina’s number. It didn’t ring even after the 6th attempt. I was shivering. The water was ankle deep. I could feel its cold hands embracing my feet as I walked through it towards where everyone else was going. My heart wouldn’t stop racing. My mind was vague and I couldn’t think straight. When I got close, there was a big fire with thick black fumes emanating from it. The heat alone was unbearable. There were shouts of “monfri nsuo no mu!!”. Others were lamenting. The womenfolk around were wailing and crying. There was water all over. There was fire all over too. The gutters had emptied their contents onto the streets too. The smell was pungent. The place was packed with people running around. Some had buckets of water, buckets of sand, shovels and sticks and other gadgets helping someway somehow. Then I saw it, the vehicles in flames. With some bodies floating near the station. Blood, mixed with body parts and intestines were all over. The men had difficulty opening the vehicles. It was still hot and the smell of charred bodies mixed with the pain in the air made crying easy and living unbearable. Apparently the fuel had leaked onto the road. The rains had mixed with the spilled petrol. Evidently the fuel will float on the surface. No one knew the source of the spark, but that had caused the explosion. There were shouts for men to come help at the accident epicenter. I just walked forward as if an apparition had beckoned on me to come forth.
The bodies were many, charred and black. It was a gory scene. We were told some cars had fallen into the gutters around the edge of the other side. Others were still getting into it. I went towards that side to see if I’d just catch a glimpse of Gina. Together with some of the men, we pushed cars out of the way in order to clear some space for fire fighting vehicles who were coming. In no time, I saw mom’s car. It was just in front of one car which had almost entered the ditch. My heart skipped as I heard her screams from the car.
There were a lot of screams from those stuck in the cars. Some people who were fast enough had escaped their cars through the windows. Tears freely escaped their shackles beneath my eyes. I shouted to the people around to help me get her out. They said they had to clear the space before they can get to her. Some others couldn’t come out with ease. On the left side, other cars from the opposite side of the road had blocked any exit from the driver’s side. On the right side was the gutter that was busy with rushing water. If you fell in, only a miracle could save you. There were trees, branches, furniture, kiosk parts, and a whole lot of debris. An object could kill you before the water did. Everyone could see the water was also building up around where she was. It was evident, she and others in their cars were going to get drowned if no one went to their rescue. I was relentless. I tried to rush to the area at all costs. As I struggled to release myself from the grips of my contenders who were preventing me from making way to my mom’s car, a couple of them fell backwards onto the closest car to mom’s. the force was enough to send the car slowly drifting towards the gutter. The driver stepped on the acceleration but it wasn’t enough to save him. The car slowly plunged into the gutter getting submerged face first. The driver was submerged completely. It was unbearable. The men threw a long rope towards the drowning man. I couldn’t hold on the sight. I took my eyes off this driver and made for my mom. I carefully slipped into the side of the water. At that angle, I was waist deep. And the car was almost deeply submerged I struggled to find the door handle. I held onto the opened windows of the car as I made a way to open the side door. The gushing water hurriedly filled the car, engulfing me and my mom. The car was drifting into the gutter. I had to act fast but I wasn’t fast enough. My feet met with mud. I slipped, twisted and turned hitting my head against many unimaginable things in the rushing water. The water filled my mouth and my lungs as I gasped for breath but all I could feel was dirt and rubbish circling my face. I somersaulted many times in the water, hitting this or that in the process. I was barely aware of what was happening but I knew the end had come- my end. I was surely going to die. Then I blacked out.
Fire fighting vehicles were all over. People were all over, crying, wailing, shouting. There were police officers picking up dead bodies and lining them up in their pickup trucks. It was a gory sight I puked. Some others were talking to some media agencies. Where was mom? Where was Gina? My phone was nowhere to be found. I felt blood on my thigh when I reached for my phone. The space there was quiet deep and I knew it was a big cut, probably from something when I was in the raging floods. It is a miracle I’m still alive. I asked one of the guys what happened at the other side of the fuel station where the cars had stuck in the gutter. “The fuel leaked to that side too, it was like a movie. How the cars caught up fire and shot up in midair and exploding in the process, it was so scary. Almost all the people were caught on fire or found themselves getting crushed under burning cars. “. He went on and on. Some others adding sugar and spice to his tale. My knees gave way, like melting candles. I knew I had been snatched away from the claws of death. Though it was in a very distasteful way, I knew I had been spared.
But I had lost Gina, I had lost mom too. There was no way they could have survived. The ordeal played over and over in my vision and I sat there shaking with cold and fear. Mom was gone, Gina was gone. I had lost two important people in my life on the same day. What was I going to tell my dad when I met him finally? What would I say to Gina’s mom? Many tales roamed my head. I had killed a final year student of the University of Ghana, ending her life abruptly cos of my selfishness. I sobbed the more when it dawned on me that I had killed them with water and with fire, like a Burning Rain, I had killed them both. Now I was going to live with that guilt and shame for the rest of my life.