Since Friday the thirteenth of December, I haven’t been able to differentiate my life from chaos, it has been eventful with things that broke my heart, wasted my time or frustrated me and as I woke up earlier that morning to muscle aches from having rolled bags of rice the previous day, more irritation from my skin and a sober head, I decided to look into the bags of things I kept of my father pictures, letters and notebooks that had mostly his writings and small success scribbles on it, I hadn’t settled in when my mother called out for prayers and I knew she had heard me come down from the bed to the sitting room and maybe assumed I was going out to smoke.
With sermons of repentance, she chastised me- focusing and speaking about how Jesus is the most significant figure in her life, she continued to talk about God’s mercies when a message from Nix popped on my phone, she wanted to know if I was still coming to her hotel room to see her, only yesterday, she called me abruptly inviting me for a “Festival of light” I wasn’t in the know of and I had to cancel on her. My mother and I were in the market getting donation materials ready for an event on Sunday and I didn’t even know when we’re going to leave here.
It’s easy to get distracted in the market and it’s the same thing about life, I washed the school corridor and checked the time, ten minutes after ten and I hurriedly summarized the washing and headed home. where I was secretly taking a hit of some good herbs and coming to assist my sister, I forgot the lighter I sang in my head not to, jumping in the shower and taking a quick bath, I thought about how possible it was for me to leave my house to Gwarimpa in thirty minutes.
I picked a nail file, face powder puff, nail polish and a lipgloss and tossed in my bag, forgetting my wallet, I took the four hundred and seventy Naira on my bed and dashed for the gate. In the bus, I thought a lot about Nix, if I really wanted to fuck her, I’m such a vibe and passionate person when it comes to people I want to have sex with and even when I thought about Filing my nails in the Keke as I couldn’t do that in the cramped up bus I took, I hoped to recoat it so it’s shorter and brighter for Nix to see, and since we were going to have sex, it was only right that I filed my nails short not to injure her.
I knew Nix right from my university days and we never spoke while in school, she was always dressed as a guy and it was hard not to notice her, we began to talk earlier this year when she saw a tweet of mine looking for female buddies- This will be the first time we would be meeting ourselves and even though she promised we would see last Saturday, I was comfortable with her last-minute plans that eleven-thirty was fine after going MIA. I told her to touch herself as I sent her a screenshot of my Google map reading nine minutes away.
The keke I was in, stopped at Forty-one junction and asked me if I hadn’t seen the place I was I was headed to, I kindly told him I didn’t know the hotel and suggested using the Google maps, two minutes of booting and it told us to keep moving forward. At the third turn, he stopped and told me to get down, I had already told Nix I was nine minutes away and I didn’t understand the scene the driver was trying to create. I came down and began to walk down the directions of the map when he drove down to catch up with me, parking hastily, he attempted to get physical and demanded his money with so much rigour and spite, I told him to check my bag and that it was only seventy Naira I had, my journey from my house to Gwarimpa had consumed four hundred, realising the Seventy Naira, he collected my bag in the process.
I tried to get back into the keke and he blocked my arm, I turned around and sighting his driving key, I took it hastily and started walking down in hopes that he would come after me to get it. I thought about Nix and the numerous missed calls she would have given me, my entire bag was with the keke driver and I needed to get to the hotel, tiptoeing from the corner I was hiding and hoping to check on the driver, I saw him peddling his tricycle down the street with so much strength, my bag hung on the handle of his side mirror and he pushed, twisted and cursed.
Life is timing and the people who get to the market first get the best deals, I joined another empty keke and tracked the driver with my bag and as we approached him, he attempted to stop the keke I was in and saw me, he insulted in Hausa and attempted to rush into me, with sweats trickling down his face, his vein stood and longed for release; he explained to the driver that brought me what happened in Hausa, and other keke riders began to park and watch the scene, collecting another person keke keys, he started his tricycle and it came alive, seeing that the key with me was useless and every other keke key was able to start another keke, I hopped into his back seat before he got the chance to speed away with my bag.
As he sped towards the main road that brought us to the Fourth Avenue, obviously taking me back to where he took me from, I held his keys while he held my bag between his legs, a secured place where I couldn’t reach it. The issue with this scene is that I don’t know where he was taking me to and it seems it will be a general park of his fellow kind who may not be easy on me, I needed to act and as he was on a full-speed, I snatched my bag as he struggled to steady his bike and on the road, I flung his key to him and checked for missed calls from Nix and there was none, I sat calmly as he began to speed voraciously to the park.
A car almost ran me over as I leapt from the keke in a swift, apologizing to the car driver in a haste, I crossed the road and started walking down to get another keke when the noise behind me caused me to look back and it was my very keke guy trying to run me over.
I stopped to watch him come down and grab me by the arm, thank goodness I was wearing a silver round body hug that made it difficult to grab by the body and so my wrist cried in grips of an angry sweaty man, mid-twenties and had all the energy, he cursed and spat into my face, raising his voice and causing passerby’s and other keke riders to gather and watch the scene.
I kept my cool because I was aware of the seventy Naira in my bag comfortably slugged over my shoulders, so I threatened to show my ID card as people from the fuel station began to gather and demand explanation, the time was one twenty-six and Nix hadn’t called to find out what has been keeping me, last we spoke was when I told her I was nine minutes away and was two hours ago. In Nigeria, people will ask you what is wrong and you must explain because two people cannot be fighting on the road and concerned Nigerians won’t make it their business to find the root cause of the problem. It was in the cause of my explanation that three well looking Nigerian men and a woman joined the audience that was hearing me put out my case, my reasons were simple and thus read;
- He didn’t know the place and I was paying him for his knowledge and skills.
- He already brought me back to where he took me from so what’s the point?
- I only had seventy Naira and his money was two hundred Naira, he also had refused a five hundred naira bank transfer because he didn’t have a bank account and also an airtime recharge because he didn’t need airtime.
- He has refused to accompany me to POS cash spot to withdraw even when I told him to check my ID in the wallet to know who he was fucking with
The lady in the company of the two other men told me to pay him and that the whole stress wasn’t worth it but they didn’t know I had only seventy Naira hence my ineptitude to let go, the other guy brought out two hundred and paid the guy, I felt embarrassed because I really wanted to pursue him and give him back his money but I couldn’t and managed to say a thank you out of shame.
The next keke I took, drove me to Forty One junction again and asked me the same question the other rider asked me and I began to fume, I came down and asked a woman discussing with two men while pressing a traditional attire with a local charcoal iron if she knew the hotel and she said no, I got into the keke and thought about going back home, I suggested Landmarks and like Magic, he said he knew the place while reversing to the opposite direction of Forty One Junction, the map was right and as we cornered into the estate gate, Keke’s wasn’t allowed in and so I offered to walk as the map read two minutes away, collecting my seventy Naira with a grateful heart, we parted ways and I looked for the hotel.
Nix still hadn’t called and I was pissed that she didn’t describe the address properly cos’ I knew the estate and if she had told me the name the whole drama I went through wouldn’t have happened. The signpost of the hotel stood with shame as I located the reception of the hotel, thinking about empathy and if people ever think about other people’s predicament or what they go through to provide their presence or time or finances or orgasms as the case may be.
The receptionist signalled me to go to room three eleven and I as ascended the stairs, I thought of what I wanted to do to her, I wondered if she will like me and the different sex positions to try out- the keke incident began to play afresh and the fact that she didn’t call me through it all began to make me angry. I sat on a brown sofa directly opposite the door, dropping myself entirely on the seat out of tiredness, my body reminded me of the rice I lifted two days back and the corridor I washed yesterday- I opened my bag and brought out my file and polish and began to file gently, I discovered that I had broken two nails in the cause of snatching my bag from the keke driver; Nix asked me if I was okay and I filed on and she began to talk to some girl lovingly on the phone and she continued on how her hangover from having spent so much time in the club last night was taking a toll on her, she ended the call with ‘that is my girlfriend’ surprisedly, I hummed SDC’s Demo in my head and rolled out two joints from the remaining stash I came with.
She rolled and tossed and complained of her hangovers from last night, listing all the clubs she went to and the drinks she had, I rolled out a fine joint and offered her, suggesting it will help with the hangovers, she refused instead and passed me her phone with her girlfriend on the line, Why does she want me to talk to her girlfriend? Firstly I didn’t know she had a girlfriend, and the way she was consistently talking about her made me uncomfortable, like the time I got naked and searched for a shirt in an open box hoping she would see me and maybe come close so we could at least touch, but she was still talking to her girlfriend asking her how many pieces of her hair was remaining, putting on a fan jersey shirt that had an uncomfortable body smell, she told me it was her girlfriend’s shirt and I had enough honestly as she handed me another shirt and a phone with her girlfriend on the line, chit-chatting through the call and hearing her rollout plans for later in the evening for the three of us, made me wonder if these two people are this way, making plans hastily and leaving you to figure yourself out.