June the 12th Cameraman, Nigerian Flag

12th of June

Aisha sat at the Abuja stadium with the others that day and watched slowly how the place became full. The whole place was slowly becoming a rush because people were struggling to get a seat for themselves and their family. They wanted to hear the president’s speech. Though some could not get a seat, they were still laughing and smiling. They were happy to be there. The noise was becoming more and more until she could no longer hear herself. She could tell the man beside her had already become irritated by the woman who sat beside him as she carried her son on her laps. He watched as the child cried and he played him to soothe him

“This is no place for a child,” he said as he revealed his Hausa accent.

But she continued to ignore him and kept all her focus on her little son.

Eventually, the man irritation got the better of him and he left his seat. Hoping to find somewhere better and more conducive for him. But the woman remained ignorant of the man till he was out of sight.

“She is too young to have a child,” Aisha said to herself. She watched the woman distinctly and noticed how curved her face was. Aisha knew she was older than the young woman who sat beside her.

When the baby stopped crying Aisha heard the woman whisper “don’t worry, daddy will come back”

At that point, Aisha realized the pot-bellied old man who had left not too long ago, was the woman husband. Aisha could not look away from the woman

“What could make a woman so beautiful marry such a man?” She asked herself.

The woman turned around and caught Aisha’s glance. To hide the awkwardness, Aisha turned away.

“You know, I have already seen you?” The woman said. “ So why are you looking away?”

“I’m sorry,” Aisha said and turned away again.

“You shouldn’t be,” the woman said. “I know it’s because of my husband. I’m sorry, he can be so dramatic.”

“There’s no problem,” Aisha said

Just as she was about to turn away, the woman

“Did you come alone? Where is your husband? Your family?”

Aisha chuckled at the thought of having a husband yet. She was just 23. Marriage now wasn’t her priority

“I don’t have a husband. My Family refused to come. They said it is boring.” Aisha said

“Oh! Okay”

the woman answered

“I’m sorry about my husband.” She said with so much disappointment in her tone.

“He didn’t want me to bring Malik, our son but he does not understand how important today is. The only thing he is thinking about is just seeing the president but I want my son to remember this day. He needs to know that he was born in a country free of fear or oppression or whatever and he needs to celebrate it.  That’s the best gift we can give our children you know, freedom.”

“why?” Aisha asked quietly

“ because I’m a Nigerian. And to grow, We must set our differences aside and support one another. I did not vote for that President, but I will support him. That’s the Nigerian thing to do.”

Aisha couldn’t dare interrupt the woman as she spoke. She could not believe what she was hearing. Never had she met anyone as patriotic than the woman who sat next to her.

The woman smiled at Aisha again but her smile became stiff when a man came in the presence of everyone.

“ may we please rise for the National anthem?” he said

And slowly everyone was on their feet, including Malik.

It wasn’t long until the president came out to give his speech.

Then they heard that explosion and everyone ran out, trying to take refuge wherever they could.

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