Journeying into the heart of the crowded city…
“Sweeerryyy”! Lauretta squealed, walking down the street with arms spread out and a wide smile on her face despite the scorching sun.
I was tired of seating by myself on a lonesome part. Ran out of things to do with my phone. And I had crossed and uncrossed my legs to keep my enlarging bladder at bay as it threatened to bust open like a fountain and sprinkle water like it’s watering the weeds that has broken earth on the interlocked ground.
I heard her voice and turned.
Yes!! I wanted to press her throat and clip her with pegs, then stuff down mangoes down her throat and watch her struggle while I snicker wickedly at the background for keeping me waiting . But when I saw that smile and the way her eyes shone seeing me..it was impossible to stay angry. I found myself returning her smile and my heart warming. Yes..Lauretta is such a darl and all shades of awesomeness. So I got up, pretended anger but when she squeezed me in a tiny bear hug and purred all the “sorry’s she knew in all the languages she had learnt.I just had to give in and return a squash of a hug on my own. But I still wanted to pull her hair for effect. Lol.
We laughed and talked, gossiped and ate. Danced and drank water like booze cos the weather felt like an oven and then finally allowed nature set in as we battled sleep into the deep night. Tomorrow was indeed another day.
“When you get there please let me know ok. And Sweeerryyy be careful! ” a worried greece graced her forehead.
“Ok I will”.. I replied. For someone who didnt know TF where they were going . I seemed overly confident.
“Oga drive small small oh..else ” she pulled at her ears.
“No fear nothing go do am”! The ogada man replied and kicked his bike to a start..
I looked at Lauretta briefly and then give her a weak smile…
“Hey am a big girl. .I can take care of herself”… as he zoomed off I watch her wave and then fade.
As we biked into the city…I clutched my bag to my chest as though my life depended on it. Then a thought filtered through my head..
“Nigger act as though you belong fool..don’t be acting like you a tourist in a ghost town. Dude you gatto blend..Damn man!!” In Chris tocker’s voice to Jackie chan .
I looked around me and saw some folks wondering what the heck I was doing as we zoomed past. Then I adjusted and placed my bag on my lap and held on to just the strap. Then another thought comes in as though i got two minimes competing to give me advice.
“Some dudes in lagos got no chill mehn. So you better clutch that bag like you got your heart in it and every other delicates you possess, front towers and backbutt if you will, because you might go home with bones without flesh if they could work that. So clutch it..clutch it hard like you mean it. Clutch it like you just don’t care..touts gat nothing on you!!”
So I wrapped both arms around my bag, eyes darting from side to side..”I must protect my possession”! I chanted.
“Don’t enter one chance”.. I remembered that as soon as I alighted from the bike and waited to enter a bus to one of my many destinations. So I let that one pass.
“Don’t enter where there are all men”..
I shook my head when a yellow bus stopped with all men inside looking at me funny. I shook my head.
“Erm..check well before you enter with mixed men and women ” … ok..now you lot are confusing me. Should I wait for all women and then you say..
“Women aren’t women. So erm..don’t enter that bus too”..
Ah mean..decide already. I got less than two hours to get to my final spot.
So I bite my lips for the better part of 10 minutes deciding what to do. Eventually i went. .
“Screw it. It’s God that protects ” as I jumped into the one with less of the humans.
“Now you lot will rest baa?” I said to myself . The conductor looked at me as though I had had leave of my senses..
“Obalende ” I told the conductor who was too happy to know ..I was completely sane. While I settled into my seat and still clutched my bag to my chest.
“Yes…am new. Touch me..i got pepperspray and I know karate “…I eyed the passengers. You got to be alert uno? Right? Kool. Thought so.
I hated been a novice in a strange land all my my delicate self. On nearing the park, I tapped the conductor..
“Oga you know where I fit get lekki ajah??”
“Eh..go down the go ask. “..He was just interested in the money I had in my hands than the question needed to be answered. .
“Where??” I was as confused as one could get. I pressed..
He was tugging at the money..ignoring me..
“I will show you. Am passing there”..
A voice said beside me.
It was the dude that had been sizing me up for the better part of thirty minutes as we sat side by side.
I thought for a minute. .i was really running out of time.
“Where please..??”. Curiousity got the better part of me still.
” See those white buses over there? ?” He points. A few feets from us. “Go there and ask them. Am sure they will know better. Infact am going that way. I can walk you”.. He alights and I lose no second in alighting with him.
I could make a run for it if he tried anything funny. I follow him.
Typical dude, wanted to know me name, my family name and even the reason Bayelsa was named Bayelsa in just 3 minutes walking distance…ah mean..who talks that much in less than a minute sef..
All because I had to find my way..I had to indulge but walked faster. On getting there..
“So can I have your-……
“Oh thank you sir”..I cut him “God bless you” I quickly rush off.. time is of essence my friend. As I crossed the road.
“Oga..lekki ajah!!” He was jumpy. He danced from one end to another pulling or dragging passenger to enter his bus.
“Where for lekki ajah??” He asked. Stopping briefly..
“Erm..” I began as I dug into my bag for my phone. ” make I check am”..i said.
“Eh show me so I go check am too”..He jumps again…his sweat trekking down his body like he was in a constant state of showering .
“Its somewhere in 3rd roundabout…”..I look up after reading the text from my phone.
“Ehen. ..I know am. Oya enter..!” he keeps jumping like primantis or some adult kangaroo
“Are you going my way??” Now this sounded like a girl. I look up on hearing her voice to find a dark cute girl on the front seat who got the needy thing going.
“Er which is your way??” I asked. I had to uno?😆
“The one that says.., after 3rd roundabout. …??”
“Go on..” I was fishing
“Erm..for the meet by 12pm, today. At Audax. …”. She let her words trail off
That got me. Nearly I wanted to go “are you following me? Pychic or some girl who reads minds..or one who enjoys phone peeping.
“And you know that how?”..( see., there as no way I was going to jump at it without clarity you dig? Good. Now you are following.) I asked with my left highbrow lifted questionly
“Because I got the text too. And he , the conductor said he knows the area.i also don’t know where i am going to but he said he would pass and drop me there.. “.. she fished into her bag, flashing me a Samsung and shows me where it laid hidden inside her messages like a code to some secret syndicate blackops called “The Audax “!
Having fully convinced myself she was as real as the she seemed and said. I felt that wave of relief wash over me. Then all too suddenly I felt the tingling on my lips as I shrugged to hold down a smile. But i had no power to fight this things. My lips moved and broke into a smile , then it goes even wider reaching my right ear and then my left ear .i didnt care whether people thought I had gone suddenly mad. She had no idea why I was happy when a moment ago i was worried .
She had no idea why I was showing all 32 ,like I was on a closeup advert.
“Move over” I urged as I opened the front and climbed inside beside her. Still smiling. She was looking at me funny.
Oh she had no idea that the reason I was smiling was because I had found someone who is as confused as I was and didnt know TF where we were going either. And I know as they say..”Its better to get lost together and maneuver the harsh cruelty of the lagos streets than face it alone with an empty bottle of pepperspray and no knowledge of how to throw a kick in karate. I was indeed over the moon.
“Oh…don’t mind me. I am just happy to see you. “..I tell her when she kept looking. It didn’t wipe the puzzlement off her face..like I care to elaborate?? Nah!!!
*you had no idea how much *”.I’d chuckled under my breath. .as the bus kicked into life and zoomed off leaving dust and earthlings looking like desert beings in a refuge camp.😆😆😆