Showing off was a cool thing. All the cool kids did it at strange extremities. The bigger boys did it. My friends admired their coolness so much that the seed of jealousy was planted in my mind unconsciously. I didn’t want to openly acknowledge that it was stupid. The trauma of my previous experience taught me that it was better to argue it out first than let it slide. 

Gabriel, Chima, Olisa and Pascal were standing beside me as the skies wept. As a slow writer, I had beckoned to them to wait for me after dismissal so we could go home together. We lived in nearby neighbourhoods. Besides, it was way more fun going home in their company than alone. We had run into a roadside provision store when the first droplets emerged from the skies. 

Pascal and Chima stood behind Olisa, Gabriel and me when an older teen walked by with an unbuttoned shirt. His bag was waterproofed – something we didn’t always see – and his hair was dripping wet. Out of mere coincidence, a lightning bolt flashed making the entire scenery incredibly cool. The thunderclap that followed it was loud enough to make one jump. I should have known, I almost did. Olisa was the first to start a little moment later.

“Wow, I like that bag!”

Gabriel followed suit almost as if he had been waiting for someone to start.

“I’m going to tell my mom to buy me a bag just like that.” He swooned. “It’s just so cool!!!” 

The excitement in his voice soon got the attention of the rest who weren’t really paying attention. Turning to Pascal as if we had suddenly become invincible, he continued.

“He’s just like that ‘actor’ in that cartoon that defeated the evil ‘bozz’ , remember?” 

“Yes! Yes!! I see that now!!!” Pascal was trying to get his voice heard as the downpour intensified. 

Chima had been getting his shirt unbuttoned and looking like he was finally ready, called out to us. 

“See how cool I look!” 

One after the other, we followed in his example. Minutes later, we had broken into an argument as to who looked cooler. The sky had let up some when our argument matured into a challenge. 

“I bet I’m the coolest!” Gabriel jeered.

“No! I’m the coolest!!” Pascal argued.

We soon joined the argument to the dismay of the storekeeper. Our argument had touched the issue of lightning and Pascal had given us a lovely discovery.

“Lightning bolts are actually flashes from God’s camera.” He’d started. At first, we didn’t believe him even though he’d explained.

“Every time we travel home, the other children and I come out in the rain to pose so that the cameraman above would get a good shot of us.” 

Chima stepped into what had become a light shower and called out to us.

“If you all are so cool, why aren’t you out here?” 

In moments, we were all in the rain striking one pose after another. Few lightning bolts flashed while we tried to get our best poses for the cameraman above.

We felt like the coolest kids and for a while, we loved the idea behind it: God snaps us whenever we pose in the rain and that was coolness at its peak. 

What did we know? We were just boys.

Chizaram D. Ezugwu

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May 19, 2021 2:23 pm

This is hilarious!

A really interesting read