I stood still trying to clear my head as tiny stars of different colors danced before my eyes which left me blinking to clear my obscured sight.
“Remove you damn leg from my shoe mister.” Came a voice accompanied by a hand pushing me away from the spot where I stood recovering. The voice had sounded to me from a distance but it was closer than I thought. I must have been suffering from post traumatic effect of the slap as I staggered a little before steadying myself. Murmurs and hisses were coming from different angles, for or against me I didn’t know and didn’t care to at that moment.
Looking up with teary eyes, I stared at the lady who had compounded my woes for the day. My eyes met a flawless beauty who looked spotlessly neat sitting impatiently fiddling with her phone. Knowing little about designers and their cost, I needed no soothsayer to tell me that I deserved what I got; even more. For stepping on her gold Casadei shoe with my cursed, hard luck and poverty stricken shoes. Everybody in the car seemed to be watching and maybe waiting for my reaction but the lady had all her attention on her phone like nothing else existed around her. Of course I know the price of iphone7 which she wielded. Gathering myself together, I mustered a word of apology to her and carefully walked to the space at the back.
Settled between two guys at the back who tried stylishly not to make contact with my sweat drenched body, placing my bag on my laps, I laid my face on it letting the built up emotions loose. I was silently soaking up my bag with tears when I heard the lady shout at the driver,
“Driver can you please move this vehicle already, I will pay for the remaining vacant seats.”
Other passengers started murmuring and hissing curses but I was far beyond care soaking up my bag with tears while sweat stream down every pore of my being.
My ordeal had started that morning when I woke up to iron my cloth for the interview. I had spent the previous day seeing a movie as the PHCN decided to bless us with power after over two weeks of total blackout. Surprisingly, the power had stayed on without a blink from morning through to the evening as I buried myself in a movie which had pitched my attention. The stability of the light had convinced me to shelve the idea of ironing my cloths to the next morning before leaving for the interview believing that the power will still be on by then. A thought kept urging me to keep up with the movie while another was admonishing me to go and get everything set for the next morning before coming back to the movie but I decided to ignore the later.
I was seeing the last episode of the movie when power went off. Instead of taking some precautionary measure against the following day, I headed off to the kitchen to make something to eat. Before I was done cooking out something, I got engrossed chatting with a crush on whatsApp. As if luck was smiling on me that day, she was flowing with the conversation like never before. Every thought as regards what awaits me the following day had completely eluded my mind.
Some minutes past 10pm power was restored jolting me from the chat. I guess that was the last chance they were giving me which I failed to take. Instead of heeding the quiet voice, I went back to complete the movie while also chatting.
The movie finally ended leaving me alone to concentrate on the chat as it seemed that she was giving in to my proposal. The last thing I could remember was trying as hard as I could to hold my eye lids up.
Earlier that morning.
I had suddenly found myself in the venue of the interview but while others were allowed in I was not allowed in at the entrance because my clothes were rumpled. I had pleaded heaven and earth with the security who gave me the grace of allowing me in if only I could go and get a change of cloth. I had showered him with blessings rushing off home to change.
I was rushing and had all my mind at home that I didn’t notice a car speeding directly towards me till it forcefully stop few inches away while I screamed jolting from the couch.
“It’s a dream.” I murmured with relieve searching for my phone in the pitch darkness of the sitting room. I just felt my phone when the mosque not far from my place started calling for their six o’clock prayer. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I stared at the phone which I found on the couch crack; 6:03am.
“Holy sh*t” I murmured jumping off from the couch rushing to my room. Picking my white shirt from the wardrobe and the iron which laid on my reading table, I dragged off the blanket from the bed and headed to the kitchen.
I turned on the gas placing the iron on it before setting out the blanket on the floor ready to iron. As I waited for the iron to hit up my phone started ringing from the room. Leaving the iron on the burner, I rushed off to my room to get the phone; it was my sister calling to wish me luck. I walked back to the kitchen still talking with her. Having set out everything, without a though, I picked the iron from the burner and placed it down on my cloth before my mind suddenly came to realization causing me to pull up the iron immediately and together it came with my shirt.
I let the phone slip from my ear staring strangely from the iron down to the cloth.
“Why me?” I muttered as tears swelled up my eyes. In other not to wallow in self pity, I hurried back to the room and pulled out another white shirt from the wardrobe. Having not worn it for a while, I checked it to know if it was clean and manageable. Convinced that it could be managed, I headed back to the kitchen with it. My phone started ringing again as I spread the cloth on the blanket.
“Again!!!?” I said as I saw my sisters ID displayed on the screen. Leaving the phone to ring out, I used an iron sponge to wash off the remnant of the burnt shirt from the back of the iron before placing it back on the burner to hit.
I was almost through ironing the shirt before deciding to fold it and give it some lines to look smart when another disaster happened again. This time, the iron left a bold brown stain mark on the shirt. Flinging the iron to the wall, chocked up with anger and frustration I sat down leaning on the wall looking at the stained shirt with tears trickling down my eyes.
As I wallowed in my misery, I remembered my sky blue shirt which had been abandoned at the button of my bag. That single thought brought a surge of adrenaline in me as I rushed back into the room dragging my bag out from the wardrobe. Emptying the whole contents and locating the last hope took less than thirty second. It was a little too tight as it clung to my body with the buttons proving a bit difficult to come together. I convinced myself that I could manage it and will offer explanations to the interviewers even if they asked for none.
The next couple of minutes afterwards saw me leaving my apartment to the bus stop.
The noise around my surrounding woke me up; I’d cried myself to sleep in the bus. My eyes popped as I took in my surrounding with the remaining passengers alighting from the car.
“I have missed my stop” I shouted as another bout of sweat broke out on my fore head. “Conductor, why una no stop for Costain?” I asked from the back, “I suppose stop there.”
“Shuuu!! Shoro niyen, oloriburuku niyen,” he cursed in typical Yoruba tongue. “You no hear when Costain people comot? Abeg comot from there make people enter moto.” He barked furiously.
I was surprised and embarrassed as all eyes turned on me pitifully. Am I not supposed to be the victim here? Instead of sparing me some moment of pity, he was raining down curses on me. A quick glance at my time showed that I had less than thirty minutes to be in VI before even finding my way to the interview venue. A thought was pushing me to get it straight with the conductor and get even an apology from him but I have heard stories of how things get messy if you try to argue or fight the conductors.
Quietly, I pulled out my wallet and took a note of 1000 naira to pay for my fare.
“Abeg find me change.” I said holding out the money to him.
“Oga wetin dey worry you na? you no hear me dey shout 1000, 500 no change?”, he raged on. “Make una see me see trouble o. Abeg just respect yourself go find change.” He shouted conclusively leaving drops of spit over my face.
“Is that not change in your hand?” I retorted pointing to the folded notes in his hand.
“Your father.” He cursed pushing his five spread fingers on my face. “Na you give me the change? E be like say na trouble you dey find this morning. Kwo!! Ask people for here o, na me dey give people trouble o, they know me well well for trouble o.” she shouted as more people gathered watching us.
I felt so embarrassed and wished the earth to open and swallow me. Looking around helplessly, I contemplated on where I could find change. I stood at that point miserably confused while the conductor started shouting another version of their anthem scouting for passengers.
“Mushiosha stadium, Mushin Olosha, Stadium”
“Please can you help me break down this money?” I asked a young lady who just got into the car though she’d been around observing the scene.
“How much are you supposed to give him?” she asked opening her pulse.
“250” I replied thrusting the note forward to her.
“Don’t worry I will pay him.” She said with a smile having noticed my predicament. She called out to the conductor and handed a note of 500 naira to him to deduct my fare and hers. He collected the money from her and looked at me disgustingly,
“Your God don save you, were,” he spat.
I thanked the young lady paying no heed to the miserable conductor after which I ran off to where I will get a bus going to VI.