"Broken at 17"
• Travails In The City Of Lagos • -01-
"Mom! I'll be right down... Just give me a sec okay?...", Shewa said, staring into the mirror one last time.
~I'm beautiful~ she thought, smiled.
The house was big, modern. A great view of the indoor pool could be seen without a struggle. It was a good day. The laughter of her mom could be heard from where she stood. Her dad was probably the cause. They both seemed happy she thought.

Walking down the stairs, she looked up with confidence. She had just turn seventeen. Her mom had reluctanly promised to take her to the mall. She'd always loved shoes or maybe the fact that she thought that 'good shoes takes you to good places'.
She seemed too independent and well spoken for her age, her mother thought. Scared that she would probably lose her child sooner than she had anticipated.

Getting into the mall, the sweet melody of wizkid's 'fake love' could be heard. Shewa, filled with joy grooved to the rhythm as she carefully selected and tried out various designer shoes and dresses. Roland Kakulu, her crush had asked to take her to prom the night before hence her unusual happiness.

Few hours later…
"Kinì omó yi shey laatè kan haha…(whats this child doing thats taking so long haha)..." Shewa's mom said facing her her husband,
"Fì lè ahh (leave her alone)… Its her day today… She's a girl, if she is not taking long then there'd be problem… Let he…" ,
"I'm done dad" said Shewa cutting through her fathers statement.
"Oya lets get going, I don't want to be held up in traffic again today", Shewa's mom said obviously angry though Shewa could care less.
Lifting her shopping bags she exhaled, head tilted skywards and moved out of the mall with her parents who were still arguing about her taking so much time. She got in the backseat of the rather small Toyota dad had drove them in. Buckling her seatbelts, Putting on her headphones, they drove off.

¶Baby gyal nobody a fi know… Baby gyal nothing concern them…Baby gyal kee…¶ … She removed her her headphones and looked out the window to find out what was causing the gridlock of vehicles on the road. Other drivers were yelling for reasons she could not understand while some 'keke' drivers were out trying to find a narrow routh to take.
"Irù rubbish wô leleyi sín, Mó dè sò fun e pè emí o fe ba nkan bayi o (what sort of rubbish is this, And i told you I didn't want to be in something like this o)…" her mom said,
"I'm sorry mom, there were just so many designs and I-" ,
"Gbenu e dake jor (shut up your mouth)" her mom cut in.
~you could atleast be nicer~ she thought, vexed she plugged in her headphones and focused her attention on her iPhone.

Two hours had passed and they were still amongst others stuck in traffic. Meanwhile, others had already started turning back to pass the one-way route not too far back.
"Lets just turn back already abi kilo feel?",
Her mom said facing her dad who was already falling asleep in the car. He was a man in his 40s, blessed with a beautiful wife, and a single daughter. Though with a long medical history of fatigue.
"Eh…o…okay le...lets go o jare", he stuttered.
Slowly he reversed the car, turning into the same direction they'd just passed. He honked several times to signal other vehicles of his passing. Took a while for them to finally get moving freely, Shewa's mom relieved, sighed long and cursed under her breath. She ignored her mom's unusually angry attitude. ~she'll feel better once they got home~, she thought.

The car bumped a little. It was probably the unfixed express road. But then suddenly she caught a glimpse of her fathers face. His eyes were blinking faster than normal, head falling slightly. She called the attention of her mom who still mad at her only shoved her aside not hearing her out.
"Mom I'm telling you, dad's not doing so well",
"Can you not disturb your father and let him drive in peace haha",
"but mom da-"
"Mom look at him he's falling asleep aga-"
"Ehen! you feel you're all grown up abi… You're talking back at your mother! Ah Shewa lets get home"
"But Mom da-"
Just then Shewa's dad fell into a sudden sleep, head facing skywards, car still in motion, driving right into another vehicle.
They both yelled…

There was a loud bang…
Apparently dad had missed a red light and drove right into mini van.
She sat awkwardly upside down in the damaged vehicle. Her head bloody, Shoulder dislocated. She tried to move her legs to see if it was affected, luckily for her it wasn't. Gaining a little consciousness, she wriggled her way out of the car.
"Dad… are you alright? mm...Mom?…", she called out feintly.
She heard no reply. There was a siren of an ambulance in a distance already on the way. Impatient, she crawled over to the drivers seat and met her dad face first on the car's wheel, soaked in his own blood.
"Baami… daddy… g..get up we have to get home now", she said,
Struggling with breath, refusing to acknowledge the fact that her dad was unconscious or even probably…DEAD...
Crying now,
"Mami è so fun Daddy pé ko ji now. (Mom tell dad to wake up now)".
"Mami è jor…(mummy please).
She turned and found her mom bleeding. Apparently, when the car crashed she had hit her head with full force and had died almost immediately.
Everything felt unreal to her, she layed on the rough road crying for what felt like ages.
Rolling, choking on her tears, also bleeding.
She wanted to die too, she wanted the pain to stop, she wanted to rest.

¶…and if we should die tonight…then we should all die together¶
(siren stops as ambulance approaches)
The medical team quickly attended to Shewa and then not more than five minutes later pronounced her mom and dad dead!. Shewa, who was traumatized by the whole event, Just sat blank, just staring. She had totally shut down, trapped herself in her own thoughts.
She felt guilty,
~maybe If I didn't age?~ …~maybe if I stay too long at the mall~ … She was flooded with thoughts, her face was pale, battered. She didn't really give a damn.
How would she face a society who would show her nothing but sympathy, and a few who would throw the blames at her.
¶…oh I see fire…burning the mountains…i see fire…¶
Her life had been ruined in one day, one afternoon.
She'd lost a mother… a father.
Her birthday became a death-day.
She bent her head, exhaled…and cried till there were no tears left.
Her life had torn apart at just seventeen…
¶…oh I see fire burn auburn on the mountain side…¶

-Phaày ll The Wordsmith
song >
Wizkid - Sweet Love,
Ed Sheeran - I See Fire