As we stand to buy tickets, a woman picks her nose absentmindedly unaware of the people who have time to stare.
“The queue is long oo. Before anyi e nweta bus nta- before we get a bus today” my mum says to my aunt and I. We move to the line of sweaty bodies who are anxious to get out of the hot Lagos sun. A man bumps into me and cannot be bothered with saying “sorry”. The sickness of Lagos; everyone is always in a rush. I allow my eyes roam from the woman selling minerals to the ticket master who has Pasuma blasting from his Bluetooth speaker. I was a confam omo get inside so no be everyday I dey stand for BRT bus stop. I avoid eye contact with the woman selling minerals. I don’t want to stare at the tiredness in her eyes.
“Are you the last?” my aunt asks the man at the end of the line. I expect him to retort with “I’m not the last in Jesus name”, but he just nods yes. We join the queue and I lean on the railings and watch the busy road. Across the bus stop, a barrow man takes a turn too sharp and spills the contents of his barrow on the busy road. Fat bodies of watermelons roll, and the ever impatient fast & furious drivers of Lagos roads yell at him to get his goods off the road. One more impatient than others speeds along and crushes some of the melons. I want to help him gather his melons but I remain rooted to my spot. If I were him, I might have cried. But, am not him. He gathers what he can and keeps moving.
The first BRT bus pulls up, but we don’t get on as it filled up by the first half of the line. We shield our eyes from the sun and continue to wait.
A beer bellied man comes along with his solar panel head as half of my secondary school would have described. He converses with the man who is ahead of us on the queue. The wandering eyes of hot Lagosians notices how the man tries to ease his way into the queue.
“Oga. How far nah? Where you bin come from?” someone asks.
“I bin go eat”
“Go eat for where?”
I know it is a blatant lie because there are no restaurants around so I just sigh. Plus the man is sweating so profusely you just know he was in a hurry to get here. Soon enough, an argument breaks out and the place is a mix of pidgin, Yoruba, Pasuma and blaring car horns.
“Oo ive e ne me je. O jere ri a n’ri n’awe? – That’s how they act. Where did he go and eat?” my mum converses with us. A lady joins in our conversation. She understands the mother tongue, so she throws herself into our conversation. A bus finally shows up as the argument starts to subside and some people bond over Buhari as the source of the country’s problems. The bus only had space for standing as we know it, but the hot faces could not care less. We all try to squeeze ourselves into the bus as the ticket master is quite overwhelmed and the driver impatient, but of course we fail miserably. The bus begins its journey after a pregnant woman has bullied her way onto the bus.
Thank you for reading this story💛. Ekó II drops next week Saturday by 5pm. You can read more of my creative stories here 😊✨.
P.S Featured image is not mine