The Shivering

I went volunteering with a Lagos based NGO on a Saturday in September to impact underserved kids and it was raining like the skies weren’t merely leaking but had broken apart, a kind of loud pouring, and we were all exposed to the rain, all of us volunteering and the kids too, barely shielded and an hour passed and then it was getting into the second hour, all of us in that rain shivering and also trying to manage the kids too, most of whom were screaming through whatever way they saw to keep busy, making sounds with their mouths as though in attempt to drown out the loud pouring; looking at the sacs of food we’d come with like they were priceless objects, their eyes sharp with a desperate kind of hunger, and I was shivering so bad, perched with other strangers who I knew nothing of, just all of us shivering, me thinking of vodka and coffee too- anything strong enough to reset my cold skin, the goosebumps that poured all over me like holy oil, my bare arms, my exposed legs in those house shorts I wear every weekend, and then there was a lady too, I’d barely noticed her actually, maybe 28, who was sitting on a plastic blue chair and maybe it was true that’d I’d noticed her, she was next to me after-all in conversation with a man who I’d not noticed too, but they had been speaking through the rain, I was shivering you must not forget before the lady called my attention, and because I had no interest in whatever she was saying to her gentleman friend, she had to tap me into the consciousness of her, and then him, and I’d turned, facing her squarely now, her face unremarkable but pretty enough to sustain desire from a man I could tell, the kind who volunteered and perhaps she was grateful for this, who knows, and she said to me: a man like you, and because the air around us was so loud I begged her pardon, moving closer, and she’d said it again, a man like you you’re shaking like this, and then she’d laughed to what she said, a kind of dry laugh, and by now I’d stopped shaking, channeling all the effort instead towards my face so I’m sure when I speak I’d be heard clearly, for after that I’d turn around and return to my shivering: that is not funny, and you should be ashamed of yourself. ‬

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