They say it is raining, but my mother would say the sky is crying.
Once, when I was very little, my mother told me about the origin of rains. She said in the beginning Chukwu created the rivers, the seas, the earth, and the trees. And when He saw that the earth needed water to sustain the trees, He created the sky, took two fistfuls of water from the rivers and form clouds which he suspended in the sky. He then called Amadioha, who at the time was among other gods calming the chaos of stars, to look after the sky. He commanded Amadioha to melt the clouds whenever the earth is thirsty, and to summon water from the rivers whenever the sky is empty of clouds. Amadioha was sad because he would no longer be among the company of the other gods. My mother said Amadioha had been doing all that Chukwu had commanded of him. But the earth is not always thirsty, and when it is not thirsty it could still rain. This is because Amadioha is crying of loneliness, and sometimes Amadioha would cry for days. When that happens the earth floods.
My mother passed away before I turned twenty, but I kept this tale inside my heart the way she folded her Ankara into her box. I grew to love the rainy season because of it.
The rainy season usually began with a drizzle, as if Amadioha was telling the earth to get ready for his tears. Then came the normalcy, and then the flood, leaking roofs, the smell of Mama Ayo’s roasted corn penetrating our nostrils, late nights at Malam Adamu’s tea shop, the neighbourhood children bathing in the rain…
Tonight it is raining. It has been raining for three days. I think Amadioha is crying, even though I am now twenty-six and it would be childish for someone my age to hold such belief.
The thunders roar. Whenever I hear the roar of thunders I think Amadioha is sobbing. I open the door to my backyard, the cold wind brings me the voices of children singing and dancing in the rain. A tempting nostalgia hits me. I remember running under the rain with Ify and Kehinde and Mosco and the others whose name I have forgotten, naked, pants in hands, singing songs that have been past down to us from our forefathers. Such was the happiness the times of rain brought. I listen intently to the song of the rain crashing on roof tops, I drown myself in its tranquility like a man submitting himself to be sea, I let it carry me to a place where my mother once told me the stories of Chukwu and Eledumare.
The wind brings me the scent of wet dust. I do not know why I have come to associate this smell with the year 1997, maybe it’s because during the rainy season of that year our house leaked from the roof when it rained, and my mother would place a bucket directly under the spot where it leaked. I would dip a finger into the bucket and remove it to place a drop of the water on my tongue, because I wanted to taste Amadioha’s tears. I would tell my mother it tasted like wet dust and she would chuckle. I inhale this scent, I suck it into and through my nostrils as if inhaling the mint of a cigarette.
The cold wind comes again with a rush, this time with the voice of my mother. I think she is calling me. I pull off my shirt and pants and stand naked before the night. The cold wind caresses me. I shudder. I step into the rain to visit the joy of my childhood, to hear the voices of children dancing in the rain, to hear the voice of my mother, to taste Amadioha’s tears, to feel the full force of my favorite season.
The rain pelts me hard. I shudder.