by Olusola Alli
His toothless smile was wider than the ocean. Soft brown eyes, fringed with curly lashes peered out at the world with the expectancy of a farmer hearing the sound of rain.
Chubby hands reached out to grab mine in a quest for friendship only the truly innocent can initiate. I responded in kind, the stressful work-week forgotten as my own smile broke out.
Tension, hitherto a long-lease resident in my neck and shoulders, fled like a flock of birds on sighting a young boy’s throw. His sweetness was a refreshing chilled fruit juice on a hot humid day.
Yet as his soulful eyes brought a brightness to mine, as his unexpected friendship banned my worries to the far recesses of my mind, I could not help but wonder.
This innocent babe no older than six months, extending love to strangers across the divide of a commercial bus, what will he be like in twenty years?
An entitled youth who blames everyone but himself for his problems?
A chauvinistic Casanova who steals girls’ innocence with impunity?
An up-and-coming writer on his way to getting his first book published?
A professional pick pocket who has mastered the art of sleight of hands?
A soul-winning evangelist preaching the gospel around the world?
He could be any of these or more. The end result will come from choices, little seemingly inconsequential decisions that shape a child into a man, that mould a babe into an adult. A ‘no’ given there, a ‘yes’ said here, a refusal to turn blind eyes to injustice, an indulgence in the nonchalance of the ‘it-is-not-in-my-backyard syndrome’.
I honestly don’t know how he will turn out, but for now, for the smile he gifted to me, he was…