(judge not a book….)
From 93million miles above, the 3pm sun of Agbowo shopping complex hit me mercilessly with one of its scorching wings. Oh my God! I exclaimed from deep within and swore against hell. Yet i proceeded under the hot burning rays – either at faster or slower pace for the sake of relief, fact remained that i was still under the heating sensation.
A swift race of survival had me to be out at that sweltering time of the saturday, else my flat unfed stomach that has been growling in melody of hunger would drop an album sooner than when an ambulance would rush to my rescue.
Seeing the free double – lane road that crosses directly to the First bank atm gallery beside the University of Ibadan felt like the triumphant breakthrough at the Red sea. There seemed to be long suffering ahead till i get to my Canaan land located at Bodija Ojurin for heavenly mannar of volcanic hot Amala & Gbegiri. Hmmmm *Ibadan people am i right pon this??*
The straight file of 8 people before my turn at the ringing atm began tempting my faith for what seemed like the 40years long Israelites’ journey cos i was lost in thoughts.
At the forefront, a woman with some flamboyant yellow gele (head gear) held the grounds down on her matching yellow heels. Her countless rolls of bangles jingled as she punched the machine keyboard. I stretched my neck as if i could see the figures, only a sky blue lace fabric glowed at my eyes. Na owambe this mama dey go ooo! No need look for the yellow purse – i was too sure it would complete the match. “Off to where?” My investigative mind queried. Of a sure – T i could provide two straight bet answers :- wedding or burial ceremony cos those two events usually took charge of saturdays most especially the former.
She turned out a size 16 plus African woman as she stepped off in butts jiggling moves. In my journalistic yeye mind i walked up to her to welcome her on the red carpet with a microphone asking her details of her gorgeous dressing.
As Iro & Buba no dey too get designer labels, her party-ready well made face looked mid 40s, fortified with some aura of humour. She’ld pass for an average mother of three. Further in my mind as she approached the back seat (aka owner’s corner) of her sleek black Toyota Camry car which i recognized to be the one popularly called “muscle,” i signed out of her profile as a “cash madam” as her driver zoomed off.
Next in line all i could see was a short figure. I managed to quickly snap the natural hair with my camera eyes to capture her as a girl. While she was headed into the entrance of U.I, i gave up the need to stress too much thoughts on her. She would be a student there. Her naive face and petit stature made me easily conclude her an undergraduate. Her thick coke bottle medicated glasses was dictating different departments in the science faculty i couldnt make a pick till she walked out of sight. I gulped down the last sip of thoughts about her as one of the very studious types they call “Efiko.” She looked like someone who has alot to read with those her pair of glasses. I had drunken to stupor of her thoughts when i found myself summing up her CGPA. Haba Sa’eedah!!! She made it worth thinking with the big textbook she held to her breast. Even her kind of hair spoke of someone who is freaked in some type of way about unconventional fashion. #Naturalista
The eager queue was progressing rather slowly with the undaunted sport enthusiast as the fifth to my turn. My tommy would soon resume from the short growling break. I could still afford a bit more strength to put my brains to work about the sport lover that was typing commands on the machine “money commands.” On his up and down Chelsea football club jersey, making a loud argumentive phone call about position and points on the Champion’s league chart. I could tell by the adrenaline that had him blarring carfreely that the money he withdrew would be to enable him watch the upcoming match over some bottles of beer.
I have no interest in sports at all, but a memory of my neighbours back then in school made me know that he would have a spot where he watches soccer.
The soccerholic man dint serve so much for my hungry fangs to chew on before another phone call invited my ears.
Straight forward details, Emeka dey call Osas for Onitsha say how many standing fans hin sell lastweek , how much hin dey send to am??? He nagged further in an unprocessed igbo pigin dialect say brother Ekene don report to am say naso so wayo hin dey always do! Make hin no follow am perform rubbish make hin send hin complete money to am! He ended the call with sharp hiss and an igbo curse “Oye-ochi” (thief).
No be small thing! Oga Emeka continued with the money machine face frowned like he was going to punch Osas in the face if he dare shows up at the moment. You suppose don know wetin i go dey think for my aproko mind like that; say how much fit con dey Oga Emeka account like that sef? (I dont wana know)
As the chorus of Phyno’s raving track “Connect” screamed at him to pick another call, i wanted to translate my thoughts from pigin to Yoruba when i was made to wonder how he conversed expressly in Yoruba with the person on the other phone end about nothing else but how the ordered electric kettles would be supplied in due time. Business! I heard him clearly asking in Yoruba that “shebi otunla le fe ki gbogbo awon oja yen dey odo yin” (meaning; You want the goods to get to you unfailingly in two days time right???) I wasnt permitted to be all that suprised, there are alot of them plenty in Agbeni market. I was only made to realise that nothing and nothing can come between the love an igbo man has for his money. Ego!!! I doubt if he would be answering to any other call aside for business. God knows how many more calls before the day ends. I used that as my roundup thoughts on him as he made for the hoods of Agbowo.
The hunger choir stand in my stomach started trembling when the clattering voices of some young girls filled the air in disarray.
What now? I was bothered to spit out. The scenario as angrily debated by a woman on knee – length tailored gown was like the trio of the girls yelling back were up to some funny stunts on our queue. The atm dispensing cash for some other queue just stopped working hence two girls decided to abruptly switch turns behind their friend on our queue. I was equally mad at the smart girls’ drama. So na we come here come dance to atm song abi??? I was denied of the strength to even attempt to contribute my voice to the noise. The woman tackling them was enough defence. All i could do was watch the rumbling event with the not very much joules of energy left in me.
I typed in the girls statistics in my surfing file of thoughts as i might not waste time doing any much calculation on them. I pushed their nagging selves into a sub-section file of probability studies. Their ages and errant youthfulness belonged to the types in late teens; 18/19 or thereabout. That fact was exactly what made the mid 20s self pride in me respect myself and just enjoyed the scene. Though i was scheming them in my busy mind, nothing says i do not have the right to condem the girls’ arrogance with few more peeps on the queue sending unsatisfactory comments from behind too. *Come close let me whisper you a secret* (i no fit fight na hin no make me bother talk – make he no be my own na hin go pepper them pass con cause serious wahala for there.)
Peace alongside some manners was reinstilled in those three girls as the tailored-gown woman conjurred some serious grammar about ill mannered acts the such that those girls displayed. You sure have more ideas of what a learned woman could possibly speak of such girls. Small time we go soon dey open dictionatonary for here.Hmmmm!
All the three girls had very long braids on their eccentric heads. I could imagine the longer hours invested in adding different colours to the tip of each strand of the attatchment.
The spiteful beats they made with bubble gums in their rioting mouths made me borrow one of the tailored-gown woman’s adjectives ‘RUDE!’ not to talk of the scornful looks they wore on their faces when they pissed off. They jumped inside a taxi facing Sango-Mokola way. I tailed them halfway to their destination which was likely to be Polytechnic junction. I scoffed out of the thinking that adolescents their age have tendencies of such impudence.
I dint realise how long i had gone thinking when i miraculously found myself very close to the atm lips. I did some dab dance of relief in my mind as this guy already cashed out and walked off.
This tall guy with headsets burried in his ears didnt appear bothered about the whole drama. He seemed like the type who would even loose his turn for everyone on the queue. The phoney way he walked in his tight jeans and hightop shoes called him a “geek.” Too much intelligence would be required to explore his possible character traits. All i just wanted to do was walk up to him, ask him of his age and if he ever gets angry….
Only a lanky sweet smelling guy was standing between me and the tailored-gown woman. The gown colour was wine and neatly fitted on her literate figure. With all that grammartical syntaxes down the drain who would ever argue her educational status lesser than a first degree??? I could boastfully speak on her behalf that she even has a masters degree to her Mrs. so-so-so title. The twin rings on her married finger already gave me that much of info.
Mrs tailored-gown woman sounded quite experienced in dealing with younger sets – this made me pen her down as a lecturer too. She just had to be mehn with the way she beat those girls hands down in strong caution words! I admired her as she moved past me into the Uni too, i smiled sheepishly at myself if i wont grow into some kind of novelist like the fair tailored-gown woman the way she sprayed out those grammar.
A buoyant smile lavished on my face as it was just the sweet smelling guy on the black vest before my turn. Nothing made me happier than that knowledge. That alone could afford all my brilliance on him.
To begin with; the sweet smell, it was a ravishing expensive one. The type that was capable of gluing my mind to him for longer than i did on others. I called him expensive – his black leather maybe Gucci or Prada sandal originally added to the quality masculine musk. And yes! I was closely behind him for this much of details to diffuse into my box of thoughts.
Sun glittered the tiny blades of his gold necklace to somewhere beside my eyes for me to squint out more from him.
Lord save my soul am i crushing already??? I couldnt pretend not; it was one of those kind of brisk feeling that could be transpired by overtly willing exchange of contacts or just a nicely waka-pass exchange of glances. I was more honest than my starving state of mind to be down for either of both.
He left the pace for me to use the atm at last. A thin cycling of ring around his married finger as he counted his cash sank my heart for a bit before the screeching sound of my money on the way jolted my mind back to the intensity of acute hunger hitting me.
My mind couldnt stand any more heart breaking thoughts of such guy who looked all the way single and ready to mingle (lol) but reverse was the deal like when a young pregnant lady surfaced from God knows where to accompany him arms locked in his akimbo to wherever i no longer cared to know. I discarded it all as one of the day’s little pinch of heartbreak. I hailed on a jet-speeding bike to take me to Bodija Ojurin where my hungry tommy would be tended to jare!
With the current inflation in the nation, the price of my non-fictional-fiction story has gone up yet i see you bought it cos you read it through to this line. I meant to write my mind imagining my starving self on a queue at the atm point.
Irony behind the faces i saw there….truly one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Not everyone seem as they appear…..
Photo Source:- Google Images
DID YOU READ:- IRONY OF FACES I BY SA’EEDAH IMAM