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People call the place "Ori-Okuta", a rough Yoruba translation for the phrase "The Stone's Head". It is a small community, located in the Western part of Lagos. A place notorious for its extremely hardened earth.
It is there, at dusk, on top of a deserted hill, that you will find her. She usually spots a full white robe, complete with a matching white bonnet, a red belt, with no slip-ons. And if she spots you, she'll smile and beckon to you as you walk by... A cross and a candle dangling in her hands.
And if indeed you are willing, she will sing you a song, and then she will dance, and dance, and dance some more... Then she will say a short prayer for you before you go.
But you wouldn't recognize her by the time it is dawn, when she strolls along the main streets of the town to get groceries. Or when she smiles at the man at the meat stand, or playfully kisses the seven month old daughter of the baker's wife on the cheek.
No, you wouldn't know her.. not even if you tried.
For she's everyone's everyday woman, she breathes the town, and the town breathes her. She epitomizes the culture and traditions of the people. And yet, she is her own woman.
By day she is Ayomide (My happiness has arrived), the darling of the town, mother, and friend to all... but at dusk she is Aduragbemi (Prayer has led me), the prayer warrior, a protector and shield to all.
But sometimes... in between this transformation, when she goes through the motions of cloaking and uncloaking her characters... Sometimes she pauses in moments of deep self awareness...
And in those brief moments, those very brief moments, she becomes someone else... And this is the personality she mostly craves...
She becomes the little girl who had grown up without the responsibilities which she now bore. That little girl whose only worry was the next meal, the next time out at the stream, or the next run around with her playmates.
The little girl who played dress up simply because she could, when dressing up had no real purpose, no real aim, but for the simple aesthetic presence, and giddy feeling of a child's random desires.
But like every single moment of reflection... It only lasts for a fleeting second...
A fleeting second before the soul of the town called out once more to her...
And she had to complete her transformation...
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Hope you enjoyed this read!