Did I mention how insanely cold it was this morning?
The kind of cold that makes one a smoker. Yes, that one that makes clouds from your breath…
My feet and fingers were so numb that they could have dropped off and I wouldn’t have noticed. Well, not until I raised my stump for a handshake.
Having made my way into the city again and finishing what needed doing, I reclined into my seat on the bus that was going to convey us (my son and I) to the village we now call home.
I swaddled us together in a faux fur blanket and we snuggled close to each other to generate heat. My son soon fell asleep while I gritted my teeth as my ears popped painfully from the pressure that comes with travelling along the mountains.
Getting to our village, I alighted from the bus and laid my son down to sleep in his stroller. After I was satisfied that he was warm and snug, I began the long, brisk walk home.
I ignored the usual stares, pulled the hood of my jacket over my head and walked faster. My fingers soon lost feeling and my nose ran.
Then, I walked past a bank. Standing in front of it were two women. Their eyes widened when they saw me… I heard them catch their breath in shock. I knew what was coming so I hastened my steps. They broke into unintelligible Turkish and from their incoherence I eked out, “Oh, she looks just like Rihanna!!!”
Immediately, one of Rihanna’s hit songs started to play in my head.
Oh na na, what’s my name?
My walk had a sudden spring to it with even a detectable swing to my hips. I swayed slowly, mimicking Rihanna’s infamous walk down the street in that video. Yaaaaas girl! Werk it!
Just as I was about to dip and do it in the middle of one of the busier streets in a remote village, I heard, “Wait! Please, we want pictures!”
I was jerked back to reality. Nope, you’re not Rihanna. You’re a mom who is about to freeze her behind and immortalise herself in ice feeling out one of Rihanna’s famous moves.
My afro was frozen, my nose now slick, my lips were parched and my fleek brows had become a part of history. No, this is NOT the time to play Rihanna and definitely NOT the time to take misled fan pictures.
I looked back and saw that the two women were gaining momentum.
RUN!!!!!!! a voice shouted in my head, and before I could debate the wisdom of that advice, I was jogging away.
They followed…
I jumped over hurdles, they did, too. I turned sharply into a hidden street, they turned, too. I looked back and I saw their jaws were hard and set; their pupils glazed.
I mentally conjured a cup of steaming coffee in front of me and ran towards it like my life depended on it. I had no idea what these women imagined but it was definitely more compelling.
The soles of their feet hit the back of their heads and still they dogged me relentlessly.
I leapt, they did. I sprang, they did. I sprinted, but they’re distant cousins to Usain Bolt.
There was no way Rihanna was slipping through their grasps, not this time.
I began to slow down, I was breathless…. (sorry, fitfam 🙈🙈)
From the corner of my eyes, I saw the women ease to a walk. Only then did I notice that one of them carried a little child. 😱😱😱 I have found the missing X-man/woman. Take note, Marvel.
Their lips pulled up into broad smiles. They gushed.
“You’re so beautiful! Omg! I have never seen a black woman! Do you live here? You work here, too??? Can we take pictures with you?”
I punctuated their questions with appropriate smiles and blushes then nodded my head in approval. So there was how a gloomy day ended well.
A short story by Anthonia AFELUMO ARABACIOĞLU

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