It was 8:25pm, I and my sister had been waiting at the bus-stop for 30 minutes, the streets of ketu was getting unbearable, the stench of raw and spoilt tomatoes filled the air, the acrid smell of smoke stung my eyes and I was getting hit left and right by pedestrians who were scurrying home. There was absolutely no means of transportation, it was as though all the commercial buses had been evacuated from the streets of Lagos, a million curse words ran through my mind as I tried so hard to contain my frustration, there was no one to vent my anger on save my younger sister who was also as upset as I was. Not long after, a loud shrill rang in the air like a clap of thunder. “Owode-onirin, ajegunle, ikorodu garage” the conductor screamed. E wole pelu 150naira change, mi o ni change o, he kept ranting like a mental patient, it was obvious he was drunk, not with wine but with cigarette.
I looked at the Japanese made tata molue and made up my mind that I’d rather crawl home than go in. Then again, nobody knew when the next bus would arrive. I said a short prayer under my breath, summoned courage and entered into the molue with my younger sister following suit. As I stepped in, I literally lost my breath, not because I was fascinated but because of the horrible stench that teased my nose. Finally got a place to sit, was somewhat glad for a moment as my tired legs got the rest they deserved. Alas, I never knew my woes had just begun. I turned left to adjust my bag, there I came face to face to an ‘ancient’ man with scaly skin, I tried to turn my head but I wasn’t fast enough, he opened his mouth to shout at the conductor, and as his ‘breath’ tickled my nose, I felt my brain shut-down, and then I knew I had died a second death. As if it was not enough, his skin kept grazing mine, and at every touch, I cringed as if I was being sliced to pieces. Not long after, a tradesman stood up to advertise his wares, “goorevening good nigeriens, I have come in peace and not war, today I have this breast enlargement cream, for u women wey no get bobbi, if u rub am, your bobbi go big sote, your man no go fit leave you”, as he was speaking, a black young man asked: ‘how I go fit know say this tin go work’ and the other man retorted, shey u no know the size of your girl’s bobbi ni, you go see the change na, and at once they all burst into laughter. I opened my mouth to speak but no words seem to come out, how in the world did I find myself in this bus? Quite a pity no one could hear my thoughts but me. All of a sudden the bus stopped, the conductor started ranting again, calling for more passengers, I burst into hysterical laughter as I tried to imagine where they would sit or stand as the bus was already filled to its brim. How gullible this conductor is, I thought to myself, just as we were about leaving, a BRT bus rammed into us from behind, the force was so strong that it immediately sent shock waves to my brain. Everyone started raining curses on the driver in the usual Nigerian fashion, the cackle of noise filled my ears in a large volume that I feared the loss of my hearing. We were already half-way, my mind was pre-occupied with how I was going to spend at least an hour in the bathroom scrubbing and ridding my skin of any poisonous object I might have picked in the bus. As my thought process was going on, two fat men started a legal argument. I tried to focus on what they were saying, the more I listened the more the biblical saying ‘my people perish for lack of knowledge’ rang in my head, bemused I was as I heard a literate and illiterate man exchange words in brittle banter over a thing they both had no knowledge of. Not long again, a religious argument rose up, I thought to myself, cant these mere mortals keep shut for once, their incessant noise was pushing my frustration up the rung of the ladder. Then the conductor screamed again AGRIC!!! I shouted back without thinking twice, conductor owa o, e ma koja bus-stop mi o ehn ehn, mo ti so temi fun yin. It was 10pm, I finally alighted from the old rickety stinky molue, indeed it was a heavy sigh of relief, and I waved happily as the bus departed from sight, knowing fully well that I’d never board such again. What an experience I mused, I’ve got to write about this!

Hilda Obasanya

Hilda Obasanya



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