I ran out from my street rushing towards the bus stop. I could see and hear the conductor shouting,
“Ojuelegba!! Barracks!! Constarreko!!…..” he shouted at the top of his croaked voice with a sachet of paraga (local gin) and a burning wrap of indian hemp between his fingers.
“Constereko!!!! Constereko….” He shouted the words which were meant to be (Constain, Eko). These were places the danfo bus would make stops before it got to its final destination which was the island.
As I ran towards the junction, I was already envisaging a terrible day ahead; maybe the worst day of my life. Sighting me from where he stood with others calling out the obscured stops, the conductor ran as fast as he could towards me, beating others to the chase still reciting his ‘anthem’. This time it was something different but I could still make out a word.
“Ayaya eko….., Ayaya eko….., egbon where you dey go, Eko ni?”
“I’m going to Costain” I replied confused but still walking, with him trying to hold my hand.
“I dey go there,” he replied leading me on, taking a sip from the local gin and a puff from his hemp.”
“Costereko….. ayaya eko…., barracks eko…..” he kept shouting with spits from the side of his lips pouring on me while he continued shouting unconcerned. Under the circumstances of time been against me all I cared was to find myself in Victoria Island the venue for the interview.
I was about taking a leap into the Danfo bus when I noticed my left considerably lighter than the right. “No it can’t be,” I said in my head as I noticed that the sole of the left shoe was gone.
“What?” I shouted loudly looking around the spot where I stood. Taking a few steps back I kept looking around but couldn’t find it. “ What is this now?” I asked rhetorically as tears choked up on my throat. Walking away from the bus I slowly retraced my step back to the entrance of my street but couldn’t find anything resembling the shoe sole.
It had taken another thirty minutes, the fastest moment of my life to get home and change into another pair of shoe that looked dead in appearance. No blame to the shoe, desperate times calls for desperate measures, if events haven’t warranted, it would still be languishing at the extreme end of my wardrobe where dust was its only friend. As I was rushing home to change, I had prayed fervently in my mind for it to still be in good shape.
Sweat was pouring from every pore in my body soaking up the over fitted shirt I wore as I struggled my feet into the dusty shoe that looks more apology than real. Marching firmly on the floor after forcing my feet into them I nodded as they still fitted and rushed off to the bathroom to dust it clean.
“Seriously where in the name of God is this rag,” I said in my head looking around for the rag which never left the front of the bathroom until that morning; that exact moment. I couldn’t believe that even the rag has joined in conspiring against me that morning. It was right there in its position after I showered that morning. I couldn’t remember removing it from there. “Where the f*ck are you?” I cursed searching the length of the corridor with my eyes.
Pulling at my wet towel which hung on the door, I used a part of it and wiped the shoe clean before tossing it to the bucket at the end of the room, it will be taken care of when I return. Picking my bag, I looked over the room for the last time before rushing off to the door.
“Holy f*ck…..” I cursed as the tearing sound of my shirt kept reechoing in my head. “Who is doing this thing to me na? Who did I offend?” I asked rhetorically with clouded eyes looking from the torn shirt to the door handle that did the job. “Of all the days, you choose today to do this to me, why?” I asked the door handle tears trickling down my eyes. “I’m done, so done.” I said leaning on the wall letting the tears flow. “Why is everything going wrong for me today of all days?” I asked myself. “No, it’s too early to give up.” I encouraged myself springing from the floor rushing back into the room.
“Thank God you have not joined the conspiracy” picking the pack of office pin which I usually keep on the table. Picking few pins from the pack, I stitched the torn part together. I avoided looking at the mirror so as not to dash the tiny hope I had left. A quick glance at my watch, I shook my head pitifully, even if I had the length of the road clear to VI, I wasn’t going to make it to the interview in about an hour which is what I had left but until it’s over, it’s never over.
Approaching the door, I slowed down my steps and quietly walked through it locking it behind me. I flew down the stairs and ran as fast as my legs could carry me heading to the junction.
I couldn’t believe my eyes as I stood dejected at the bus stop looking around for a bus plying my route. How could it be? About five buses were loading barely 10 minutes ago, how could all of them have disappeared?
“Why me Lord?” I muttered, tears gathering again in my eyes. Just when something good is about to happen to me and everything is taking the wrong turn.
I was still bemoaning my woes when I heard from a distance the shout of a conductor.
Without hesitation I ran off heading towards the approaching vehicle with my bag dangling from my shoulder. Getting close to the approaching vehicle, I waved frantically at the driver who seemed not to care about me as he drove past like I didn’t exist. Turning, I ran with all the last strength I could muster behind the vehicle shouting “Costain… Costain…” Even the conductor seemed not to pay much attention to me as he kept singing his anthem mindless of me running behind them.
I was beyond care of what people around would think of me running after the bus which was suddenly slowing down close to a bus stop sign, moreover this is Lagos, nobody really cares about anybody. I was drenched in my own sweat when I finally got to the bus stop where the bus had stopped.
“Oga we no dey stop for there.” The conductor who jumped down before the vehicle stopped said to me as I stood panting trying to catch my breath. Without another word, he left to seek for other passengers singing his song, ‘costereko… costereko….
Walking tiredly to the bus, I climbed on sluggishly as every eye in the bus turned to me. Soaked and dripping with sweat, I walked my way heading for the empty space at the back. My mind, eyes and everything in me was so focused on the space which I was going to occupy as the thought of sitting down that moment seemed orgasmic that I forgot to look at my track until a slap that sounded like the clap of thunder which left me partially deafened and blinded brought back to my senses.