Flash fiction

THE TRAVELLER’S HAT

 
 

It was the rainy season in Ezeagu, a small town in Enugu, Nigeria; miss Sonia’s best season of the year. As usual, the beautiful flowers in their compound were booming and glowing, just the way she liked it. An ardent lover of nature, she didn’t think anyone loved nature or appreciated God’s creation more than she did. She would always take a stroll about town, inhaling the sweet smell of flowers and leaves. She was a writer, one whose inspiration was tied to the beauty of nature. It was the season her pen never stopped flowing, the reason she always had the best traffic on her blog around this time of the year.

Those who were familiar with her activities could always guess where she was and what she was doing at every point in time. Her activities remained the same, day time always reserved for her precious strolls. One would always see her with her diary, pen and mobile phone, walking from path to path, admiring the flowers and from time to time, penning  down a few things in her diary. The night time on the other hand was the time she created her stories. The quietness and siren of the environment made her imagination run haywire. There was literarily no picture she couldn’t creat in such environment. Whenever she got ready, she would always gather her writing materials, put on her cool music, connect it  to her little blue loud speaker, the volume high enough to keep her company yet not disturb her neighbours. This particular night was wonderful, she had painted such a beautiful story in her mind and was in the middle of creating it when the light was taken…the one thing she hated most as a writer in Nigeria!
 
She was one of those writers who got inspired by their environment. She loved to change environment. She was a love writer but majority of her stories were wrapped around nature…the very reason she traveled often, yet never spending more than one week in any foreign country. Just a week in her country, Nigeria and she is already pissed. She loved to make use of the light at night, why would NEPA choose now of all times to take it? She was angry but one thing consoled her: the weather, her favorite season…the reason she spent at least 3months in Nigeria, year in year out. With the power issues she faced whenever she was home, she was still proud to say that the Nigerian season (rainy season) was responsible for half her success as a writer.
 
Months soon passed and the rainy season dwindled away, paving way for the dry season to take over. Sonia as well rounded up her stories and made her travel plans. She had written a lot about nature, bliss, siren and comfort, it was time to give her blog a little touch of love and romance! Only one country came to mind: Paris- the city of romance, as many will call it.
 
As she queued up at the Airport waiting for her turn to be checked in, she readjusted her hat with one hand and with the other, clung tightly to the handle of her traveling bag that was on the floor right next to her. The need for a change of environment and breath of fresh air apart, putting on her creamy-brown, well knitted hat was her best feeling about traveling. She never traveled without it. The hat was a good depict of the African culture- her identity. With it, she didn’t have to explain to the ever inquisitive foreigners where she came from.
 
Whenever she landed at a new country, she would put on her hat, adjust it to whichever style she desired, put on her jacket, board a taxi and lodge at the nearest Hotel. The beauty and standard of the hotel had never been an issue as all it did for her was house her luggage and provide a place for her to lay her head at night. The moment she took in the breath of Paris, she knew she was at the right place. She soon dropped her stuff in a hotel, picked her writing materials, her tore guide and made her way into the streets of Paris…lots of beauties to behold.
 
As she went about admiring and taking pictures of anything that caught her fancy, she tried to act like every other French lady…she wanted to blend and had every reason to believe she had finally learnt how to do that as none of the usual stares she usually got at the other countries she visited came her way this time. She was glad but she was wrong. She had been found out. A young man, a photographer had taken interest in her and had been trailing her the whole time, taking pictures of her without her knowledge. He had come out that afternoon looking for fresh and captivating pictures to take when he caught a glimpse of Miss Sonia. The view of her admiring structures, flowers and the part where she paused to scribble down things in a book  caught his attention.
 
A few hours later, Sonia was soon seated at one of the seats at a garden. The seats were situated under a tree…the perfect place to take a rest. She sat for a while, going through the pictures she had taken. She found herself intermittently laughing and at other times, scribbling down somethings in her diary. It was after it began to rain that she realized she hadn’t come with her umbrella. She had forgotten it back in Nigeria. The creeping in of the dry season had made her assume that rainy days were far away…she had forgotten that she was heading for a different country.
 
She was soon back at her hotel, ready to eat and rest. She had enough jottings and pictures and couldn’t wait to turn them into stories. The photographer on the other hand had tried trailing her home but didn’t succeed. The taxi she was in had disappeared on him at the middle of the road. He had watched her at the garden the whole time, waiting for an opportunity to speak to her. One presented itsself when Sonia in a haste to escape the downpour of the rain forgot her hat at the garden. 
 
Sonia was set to go out the next morning to continue with her quest. It was at that point that she realized she hadn’t brought her hat back the previous day. She immediately rushed to the garden-the only place she had sat to rest. Disappointment was written all over her face as she made her way out of the garden. She felt like she had lost her identity in a foreign country…how she cherished that hat! So many thoughts ran through her mind…
 
“Looking for this?” Came an unfamiliar voice. Sonia looked up, not exactly sure what to expect. The voice wasn’t familiar and she didn’t think it was referring to her. Who did she know in Paris anyways. The moment she saw the hat in the young man’s hand, a broad smile spread across her face and she jumped at the stranger, embracing him joyfully. Variety of thoughts had crossed her mind but finding her hat wasn’t one of them.
woman wearing beige dress shirt and brown miniskirt