She hurried in like an esacaping rodent. Yaba! Yaba!! the bus conductor din’t stop clamouring. She had a medium size bowl paired together with a snake-twisted yard of ankara fabric – my stepmother calls it “osuka“. This without my poor mathematics amounts to a supporting cushion for sitting the bowl on her head. The parallel lines of skin folds drawn on her forehead flashed me a picture of how heavy the content of the bowl must have been. The mouse pointer in my head started booting round after the first click of what i knew the bowl content would be:- ice water, soft drink and sort.
I could see the malice between the length of her tight jeans and ankles; she rolled each leg almost to the knees. One moment after she sat herself mashily beside me, the stench that emanated from her axilla seized my breathe from further thoughts…..
“Sorry sister…” the calm voice breezing along a masculine scent of one of those #700 body spray cans in Shoprite snatched my nose and thoughts from the other lady. The slim phone he held together with his wallet should be an android, his fitted shirt was on tie vacation but still firmly tucked into his black pant and graced by a black leather belt. His reserved face and cute unparted lips whispers mid twenties, (about the same age as myself) he seemed like a young working class guy on the island. I was able to calculate few months of working experience with a large share of monthly salary yet consumed by yellow buses transport and the rest going to body grooming. He rescued me from the bad air – I hoped for him in my mind to be able to afford a Tomford perfume soon…..
Before i could least think of getting comfy, there came another specie of female – a robust woman this time. She kept on screaming millitary order of position to Junior and Victor. They were both responding by stampeding my brown brogues and practically mounting on my thighs. Turning on my figures WiFi to connect, Junior should be 3, not leaving Victor to be any much above 6. Their heights could tell their age progression really. Mummy Junior scatteredly made it into the bus at last with a deep heavy sigh – heavier than her polythene bag.
Just while I was summing up all the kilogram of weight she alone amassed, a tiny figure began wincing closely beside me followed by a kick starting sound of a crying baby. Oh Junior’s little brother! 4 months old on my precision. Poor little one wriggled in discomfort from his busy mother’s back. Few minutes later, he accepted his fate and ceased crying. I pitied his sense of endurance already.
Mummy Junior has got to be a trader….
With just three varying shapes of passengers stuffed up on the seat I was, I eagerly wished for the danfo to be filled up and zoom off.
No calculations needed to tell that the boy was a teenager, his snapback cap and animated tshirt boldly emphasized the suffix -teen at the back of his digits. Fifteen or Sixteen , his body movement let him out – not to talk of the pubertal acne spread all over his greasy face. The big gold imitated chain dangling on his neck carried an uppercase “W” pendant. Could that mean Wale or Wasiu? Nope! most likely it means “Wizzy” because his Aba made beats by Dre headsets hummed over an album of Wizkid’s tracks.
He’s a big fan! I could tell…..
Slender body – just a little ounce of fats more than mine. She climbed one foot of her gladiator sandal into the bus, her knee ripped denim jeans and sleeveless chivon top announced somebody needing so much breeze to blow her hence she found her perfect spot beside the window on the first row immediate to the driver’s seat.
Nothing more could tell how much heat she wanted out of her life as she began plaiting the 22inches hair that was touching her back. I could vividly identify the hair as the popularly demanded “Chocolate” human hair weavon. Her centre parting style revealed an oblong face and nose pointing the trendy way before the shinny nail polish could introduce a meticulous dresser.
I saw that we had that in common only that it wasn’t black. The powder blue polished nails and art carved eyebrows ( much unlike my scanty ones ) exactly emphasized a mindful dresser. Her fashion impression already gave half page details about her before the silver mini box highlighted a full description of a make-up artist. Yea the puzzles were fitting into meaningful pieces now!!! I didn’t have to do much more thinking about the well dressed late 20s graceful lady. Eerrr Nope! Not exactly late late 20s I deliberated; that is if 27 isn’t too much a figure for a finely appearing lady. The tiny stoned gold band on one of her left fingers made me flip open my amebo file of thoughts to ponder if she was engaged already??? but one fact I was too sure to know was that she must have been at countless wedding functions with her silver box.
For the last blink of thoughts about her, before a foreign dialect in high decibels hijacked my ears and mind. I imagined her face if fully made over and contoured, she would make a really cute face with that nose…..
The foreign dialect I recognised to be Igbo from the similar tune of Phyno’s choruses. Oh! I must have missed glance of the double wrapper attire before surfing too far about the foreign tongue. The rosary neck piece and customized ring showing on her index finger as she held for support to mount in the bus totaled up my calculations about her tribe and religion. Catholic igbo woman, the usual combination isn’t it?
To equate my tribal calculus about her, the conc pigin nagging “abeg abeg make una ajust this seat gree me sidon well…” solved it all. Bonus thoughts being that she might be an Ugwu seller. Crayfish, egusi, stockfish and ogbolo won’t be far from her reach…. Mama igbo (as I would choose to call her) started singing for her change before calling Jack Robinson!!!
As peace was instilled in the now moving danfo and the 5:46pm atmosphere was beginning to answer people’s aching prayers and drying off sticky sweat, a husky voice “Hey babe” returned my tranced mind back into the bus.
How did I not notice your entrance young man? I almost wanted to reply thus. Oooooops! that in my African girl mentality would mean that I responded too quickly (as if I’d been waiting for him to speak to me. Of which I wasn’t). Some kind of traditional hard-to-get mood from nowhere took over me. I looked straight and apathetic as if I din’t hear a word. That din’t last a while when the husky voice repeated the command “Hey!”
As briskly as possible i said a “Hey” back, in an unfamiliar tune as expensive as it could be. The husky voiced guy almost bought my audience when I saw that he was bearded. Oh my! He even almost made my taste!!! Only not head slammed and fair in my skin alliance. Not in his personal ride neither *I added as I waved him far off in my mind (I no come Lagos come dey catch danfo with man abeg) I quickly put us all in the hustlers zone and him as the zonal head…..but then his conversation game was well above ground level. He at least got me to answer where I was coming from and headed after our last bus stop.
Since we weren’t going same way afterwards, (as I no come Lagos come dey climb bike with man) the conversation fainted there as each party reclaimed their position of faces and stern stare…was that hostile? (lol)
To think we had ridden peacefully less than 6 minutes drive to the last bus stop, vexation entrapped the air when this iron body man with no other exact description than a labourer shouted at the highest volume of a twin LG speaker for his change!!! OMG my head pounded again….
Nobody had the patience to witness the noise resolve between the iron man and the conductor as we all hopped out hastily to escape from the cage of the bus. *whew*
#TouchDownYaba my twitter mind heaved out! Wriggling through the forever rowdy market had me to wish my purse was richer than the lone #100 note that would take me on a jet – speeding motorcycle to Nathan street, else I would have as well joined the “bend down” exercise team to pick myself at least a belt…
Pls buy from my non-fictional-fiction Obalende to Yaba story (means I imagined it all but could be really true)….one out of thousand scenes of Lagos city transport situation.
….and know ye this day I might not see those faces again…… “Irony of faces”
How lengthy was that, but hope you enjoyed it? I am willing to read an epistle about your experience in Lagos hustle too (or anywhere) in the COMMENT BOX.
Photo Source:- Google Images
READ ALSO:- BIG RICH TOWN BY SA’EEDAH IMAM