​Lawumi Visits the Paperback Bookstore on the planet, Yemoja. 
The name of the planet was Yemoja and it was one of the six heavenly bodies orbiting the red giant called Olodumare. The planet was made up mostly of Yoruba people, whose ancestors had developed interstellar travel and had colonized many star systems in this part of the south-western rim of the galaxy. each of the planets had different attractions; the vast fields of Ogun were rich in Sudarium, the fuel for hyperspace travel; Oya had perpetual storm clouds high up in its atmosphere, a beautiful sight indeed; the planet Yemoja was famous for its psychedelic fluid seas that brought aliens not only from faraway Andromeda but also from a place called Florida, on the third planet from the star, Sol. 

But that wasn’t why Lawumi had come here. The oceans and the need to surf could wait. She wanted to see the last standing paper bookshop in Olodumare. For some reason, she didn’t quite fancy e-books or virtual books and the rave they inspired among many people was lost on her. Lawumi preferred to hold a book in her hands and caress its soft pages between her fingers. That was one of the three moments she could count when she felt confident and bold and didn’t feel so small against the vastness of the universe; the second instance usually happened every night when her mother held her hands in hers and prayed to Sky-Father, Olodumare for help and protection from the people of the worlds and their wicked, unforgiving nature.

A soft, swishing sound broke her deep reverie. The clouds were gathering and from the look of things, they were pregnant with thunder, lightning and difficult torrents of rain. They also looked like they were on the birthing stools ready to push and bring forth at any moment. Lawumi sighed. Her favourite weather to go out in was sunny, clear skies. 

 Winter rains on Yemoja were known to sometimes create ojiji crystals which were hard, shiny things that were on the lower tier of the jewelleries that the Yoruba colonies exported. On the black market, one kilogram of the crystals could go for as much as a hundred cowries; nothing much really but if Lawumi could snag one and get some money to add at least ten more books to her collection, that’d be awesome indeed. The mere thought made her smile long and wide. She immediately went to where she’d parked her hoverbus and got out her umbrella and an oversized hoodie that had belonged to her dad; the only item of his she had left. In many ways that her body could not even begin to understand, because she was from a planet where their winters were rather short and mild, it was about to get really cold. 

She tucked her hand into the warm fabric and three minutes later, stood on the porch at the entrance to the bookshop. Her breath had begun to come out in short, icy bursts too and she wished she’d read more about Yemoja and its weird winter weathers before she came out here. The sign over the shop was brilliant neon with some luminous metallorganic technology added for glamour. Lawumi could identify the additional lighting equipment from three years ago when she went to visit her brother who had been a postgraduate student on the planet Ogun, which led all of Olodumare in terms of innovation in science and technology.    

She squinted and looked up as her brain tried to sort the dazzling display of colours into something she would be able to read. A couple seconds later saw Lawumi mutter the words ‘’Oluwole’s Bookstore: Come in for a Fantastical Adventure.’’ And boy was she was ready for more than a fantastical adventure. She’d been saving up for this moment with all the tips she got helping her mom out at the space restaurant station popularly called ‘Alamala’s’ that she owned. Now all her late nights and extra shifts were going to pay off, finally. 

Below the neon sign was a quote she hadn’t noticed at first but she walked close and read it. It was from one of her favourite authors from who’d lived in Nigeria centuries ago, Prof. Wole Soyinka, from his famous play, The Lion and the Jewel. It said, 

          ‘These thoughts of future wonders, 

          Do you buy them?

          Or merely go mad and dream of them?’’
She laughed out loud at this. She remembered this scene in the book. Whoever Oluwole was, he had just become her favourite person and her first friend in all of Yemoja.
The rains began to pour slightly and for the second time that afternoon, they broke her daydream. She stood on the balcony thirty floors up, the pink skies behind her like something out of an LSD reality and her, a joyful silhouette against the busy, colourful background. The pitter-patter of the rains on the roof made up the soundtrack for the moment Lawumi had been waiting for ever since she knew what words were.

 She hugged her sweater tighter and said a prayer to Olodumare under her breath. And with the courage of the thousand and one kings that had ruled the Yoruba in times past and with all the confidence in themselves that her people had developed over the centuries, Lawumi held her head high and quietly walked inside. 

 Osamudiamen Joseph

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