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A Lily In The Sun by Oladejo Victor Olayemi

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Adewumi saw her in her dreams or rather created a place for her in her
dream; sometimes as a Messiah and at a time a crescent fire casting light
to an opaque part of her life. from the stories people who tasted of her
kind gestures told her; they told her she owns a restaurant in ore, she
was a kind woman who assists people to find a strong foot in the city. All
this stories convinced Adewumi that aunty Clara(as she was fondly
called), was the reality to her heights of daydreaming of a pleasant life in
the city.

When aunty Clara came to the village, Adewumi was elated when she visited
her grandmother.  She told her grandmother in her own words that parts of
the salary Adewumi would be earning would be sent to her occasionally.
After all, preparations were made they set out for the city in Clara’s car.
While the journey lasted,  Adewumi was filled with anticipation. She felt
her lily spread its petals in the orange wash of the summer sun. She felt
within her that her spirit rose from its shadowy nadir into its colourful
horizon. she felt the gesture from aunty Clara would pull her from the
marshes she fell into from infancy when her parents deserted her. She
believed her lily would become luxuriant in aunty Clara’s restaurant, the
lily that showed sufferance in the face of hardship and pain, the lily she
nurtured on the soil of hard work and self-respect.

When they arrived at aunty Clara’s home, Aunty Clara tore the veil from
her face and Adewumi stared at her real face. She began to sketch the
picture of what her real work was. After weeks of her stay in aunty Clara’s
house, Adewumi began to notice what was subtle about aunty Clara’s work.
when all that was in the hazy revealed itself she was bewildered. The
business aunty Clara owned was a mirage of a decent job, the business was
prostitution in the disguise of a restaurant that highly influential men
patronize on a daily basis.  She was lost in the cyclorama of horrible
pictures painted in black hues, she was trapped in between two choices; join
the circle willingly or be forced into it. She could not fight her because
she had all the backing of the influential men who patronize her, these men
were the puppeteers behind the puppets that controlled the government of
the state. She heard about the way the girls she met at the so-called
restaurant was shredded of their innocence from the men whenever their
conversations grew bawdy. While those pictures floated, Adewumi decided
within her own piece never to yield to the circumstances she found herself.
Though she lived in a hybrid of fear and anxiety about what would befall her
when her turn comes, she decided that her lily would never be pulled,
twisted and offered to please men old enough to be her father. She thought
of her grandmother in the village, the poor woman who had always wanted the
best for her, she thought about the impression she would have of what her
work in the city was. The answer to her thoughts gave her the impression
that her life would come to an impasse forever if nothing was done. She
thought of any means of escape but found none. Her lily began to wither and
suffer a lack of water. She tried to pray but she could not, the maze she
found herself in began to make the pious imprint her pietistic village had on
her before she came to the city; a blur of the actual photo. she began to
sink under the weight of the bad influence Aunty Clara tried to make on her.

On a particular day, Adewumi decided to find solace in her diary, while
she was reading she stumbled on a message she wrote about a man who was
born a cripple but through his trust in God, he succeeded eventually in
life.  Drawn to this story, she saw her own very self reflected in it.
Though she wasn’t crippled, she had no parents to walk her through life.
she had learnt to trust God like the man in the story while she was at the
village. The story kindled her trust in God and a new form of energy to
strive even among thorns. After her brief meditation, she prayed silently
to God.
some weeks later, Aunty Clara decided to leave the city for Adewumi’s
village of Ifon.
A man visited the restaurant, seeing the birthmark on Adewumi’s neck,
begged for privacy with her.

The man told Adewumi that he was her father, he told her it was out of the
the shame of impregnating her mother who was a descent from a lineage of slaves
in their village that  pushed him out of their life, and over the years he
tried hard to reach out to Adewumi’s mother but couldn’t.
He begged her for forgiveness and promised to heal her wounds if he was
allowed to do so.
Adewumi forgave her father and she related the story on how she got to the
restaurant to him, upon hearing her story; he decided to rescue her and
those who were trapped in the restaurant. He filled a lawsuit against Aunty
Clara and her influential circle members and justice had their way. Adewumi
and her father went back to Ifon and reunited with her grandmother. After
many years she became a successful entrepreneur. whenever the poignant
story of her trial comes to her memory she always consoles herself that her
lily blossomed and flourished in the sun at the end.

Oladejo Victor Olayemi is a budding artist and a secondary school
graduate. He lives in Ore, Odigbo, Ondo state and wrote in via victoroladejo95@gmail.com

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