I’ve been hard at it the whole day. Just got back from the power plant. The job went well. I was still relishing it and my satisfaction was full. The customer, his delight has done so much to assuage my hunger pangs. I had skipped on breakfast and lunch. Exiting the factory’s gate, I spotted what looked like a restaurant to my left hand side of the exit road that connects to the expressway. “Food has finished.” So I have to make do with snacks. Reluctantly, I picked up two buns, two egg-rolls and two tins of canned malt. All these along with the bottle of water from the factory will assuage my grumbling stomach till tomorrow morning. I was not keen on trekking out of the hotel this night again. Or so I thought.
The damp work clothes were clinging to my skin and weighing heavy on me. Quickly, I parted ways with them as soon as I got to the hotel. The Carhatt over Dickies jeans have worked their money worth, having served me for more than four years and still counting. Back in room 17, the tap water was not running, so I’ve got a perfect excuse for not washing up first. Excuse granted, I quickly downed the two balls of greasy egg rolls. The oil tasted like moldy palm kernel oil mixed with burnt cooking groundnut oil. I trashed the two buns. The greasy rubbery taste was more than I could bear. The two tins of malt along with the bottle of water were quickly drained in quick succession.
The faucets and the water in the water closet are still experiencing a serious drought. So, I sprinted up to the receptionist. “Bros, the water is not running in the water closet, when will you pump water so I can have a shower? I have not washed up since I returned from work.” It turned out that they are rationing the water supply. The tall dark guy, the one with the square face, thick black tasseled hair like the popular comedian whose face adorn the mobile telecom billboards all over the metropolis. It seems he is the hotel manager. With the help of his assistant, the water was soon restored. Washed up and now refreshed, I soon settled down to rest my worn out limbs. Thanks to the heavy downpour that just commenced. No going out tonight.
The heavy downpour soon abated. Stepping out to the main road, I was greeted by a blindingly bright setting sun. Brighter than the brightest afternoon sun, I’ve ever seen in recent times, the sheen and the glow was overwhelming. I cupped my palms to shade my eyes from the glare. As if by the flick of a switch, the torrential downpour stopped a short while ago. The sun is reluctantly receding to its Western home with its unrelenting blindingly glow. Stare at if you dare. But, there must be a rainbow somewhere. Where is the rainbow? OK, I only needed to look in the right direction. Turning round, I scanned the horizon. And as sure as can be, there it was. Gradually getting brighter by the minute, Polaroid film style, I saw the rainbow. With its glowing vibrant colours building up. Stopping every now and then to admire its beauty, the colours were getting more saturated against the silvery dark background. It was a full arc rainbow with the expressway traversing the radius point of its semicircular arc hanging across the horizon. A second bigger rainbow soon formed above the first. Not as glowing as the first, but not less stunning. Still, the setting sun was unrelenting in it brightness.
Unpocketing my phone, I grabbed several shots. Praying with each frame captured that the camera phone will do justice to the vibrant colours of the rainbow. The last time I tried to shoot a rainbow, the camera-phone let me down. This time, it’s holding up better than before.
Most beautiful sighting of a rainbow that I’ve ever seen or noticed in several years. Of course, I’ve seen several rainbows. But the last time I saw a similarly impressive rainbow of this type was over 20 years ago. That was shortly after the creation of Bayelsa State. I was then travelling via Yenagoa, the state’s capital to work at one of riverine locations. How time flies. Or rather, how we fly through time. All of us.
The clay red laterite road was drenched and muddy. The run off waters of the recent rain forming rivulets from off the thinly tarred road and the bare sidewalk into a slight depression between the two. The depression is where the drainage pathway should have been. The powers that be always feel that we can make do with poor quality substandard work. Who is going to challenge them? After all, the masses have never seen or know anything better. Most pedestrians, were scampering and hurrying along to their various destinations. The rain was still shooting thin broomstick like darts down. No one wants to be caught outside, should the downpour resume with a stronger force.
Turning to one of the passersby, I quipped, “Bros, take a look, did you notice that beautiful rainbow?” As if to challenge him not to just walk away, but to stop for a while and admire another beauty of God’s creation. Querying further, I asked him, “Do you people experience this type of rainbows here often?.” Replying to my question, he said, “Yes we do. Even yesterday, a rainbow similar to the one you are seeing now was witnessed.” It sounds quite plausible considering the wide flat landscape and the tendency of the weather to settle into this type of pattern, this time of the year in this particular area.
The more capable pocket camera, the five years plus Panasonic Lumix was left in the hotel. Going back to pick it up is out of the question. So, I had to make do with the camera on my Infinix smartphone. Capturing more frames of the rainbow. I proceeded to the nearest restaurant. Located on a nondescript corner of a building off the expressway. I had my dinner there last night and their food was good. I ordered for eba, but the attendant served me “santana”. I downed it all the same. And it was good for a change.
The rainbow has soon receded and cleared out of the horizon to the East. The sun had gone home, but its radiant golden afterglow was still shimmering in the clouds towards the west.
Whatever it portends, this sighting of an uncommon double rainbow was a welcoming reassuring sight. Hope is the message as if to herald the announcement – “My child, heaven is smiling at you.” Amen and so be it. The rains may seem unrelenting now, up-cast your heart. Look up at the silver linings of hope. It may seem that the sun is shining on others while yet more rain is threatening to drench and drown you. Courage and hope brother. Look up and in the other direction and upward sister. The rainbow, heralding the bliss at the end of your travails may just be shedding its radiant beams on you
Incidentally, I was reading, Ernest Hemingway’s, The Sun Also Rises. I stopped at chapter four before stepping out of the hotel that evening. The location was at Benin City, along Benin Auchi road.
You may be passing through a long and lonely dark night of the soul even right now. Courage brother, joy is coming in the morning. It may be raining endlessly now, but be assured of this my friend, the sun will certainly rise again. And who can tell, the sunshine in the aftermath of the rain will warm your heart and cuddle your face with the rainbow of heaven.