By Orode Uwawah
I watch the snake moving forward. Slithering so slowly you could almost not tell it was moving.
Oblivious to the hustle and bustle around it as people hurry pass it to their various destinations, the snake stops for some moments, then it moves again. It is a very long snake, at least that is what the lengthy, S shaped queue, waiting at the bus-stop for the next BRT bus looks like to me – A long multicolored snake.
I finally get into the bus.
It is soon filled up with all the seats taken and people standing along the aisle, bodies tightly pressed together like a pack of cards.
Some days you have a woman suddenly shouting at a man ‘Why you dey take style touch my yansh?’.
The man always denies and a heated debate usually ensues, to be settled later by other passengers or the bus-conductor.
A guy takes the seat beside me and after a quick glance, I gave him Akpan.
To pass time while in the bus, I usually play this game in my head where I give my fellow commuters names and create stories about them. But I didn’t need to create any story about Akpan. He was a story on his own.
Immediately the bus starts moving, the first thing Akpan does is to ask me the time. I tell him, then he asks, ‘You looks familiar, Have we meets somewhere before?’
I smile to myself and answer ‘No’
Do guys still use that line, I wonder.
I give a cursory glance at the other passengers. A pregnant woman is holding the iron railings for support. She’s most likely Iya Ibeji, she looks heavy enough to be carrying twins. I wonder what would happen if her water suddenly breaks. I hope not. On the seat beside her is a young teenage girl busy on the phone, with her fair complexion she looks like a Sylvia.
‘Do you stays in Ojota?’, Akpan asks. ‘No’ I reply.
‘Because I think I have sees you in Ojota before’.
I shake my head and shift my gaze to the window.
The next thing I know I think I hear a faint hissing sound and a wave of smell hits my nostrils like rotten eggs.
Holding my breath, I turn to look at Akpan, he smiles at me and says, ‘Babeh angiel, do you knows you are very beautiful?’.
His name just changed from Akpan to Okoro.
Returning my gaze to the window, I observe the people on the street.
Lagosians have a habit of always being in a hurry. People never walk leisurely in Lagos. Once or twice, I actually almost stood up because I thought people were running and something bad was happening, maybe a fire or a robbery, only for me to see that they were actually just chasing a bus or crossing the road.
Someone taps me. I turn and see it is Okoro.
‘Nne, I yam talking to you since but you are no replies’.
He has just switched from being Okoro to JohnBull. He is as persistent as a bull.
I had deliberately ignored all he had been saying in the last few minutes but Johnbull isn’t giving up easy.
I can’t wait to get to my stop.
Looking up, I see that as impossible as it would have seemed earlier, the standing crowd had increased as more commuters got in.
Talk about rush hour.
Sylvia had gotten up for Iya Ibeji to sit down. Such kindness is rare these days.
Johnbull moves again and reflexly, I brace myself, sure enough, out comes the mother of all smells. I can’t bear this anymore.
Luckily for me, my stop is next so I get up.
As I make my way past him, Johnbull asks,
‘Bebeh, are you stops here? Please can you gives me your contacts?’.
‘No, I don’t use contact lens’ I reply, deliberately miss-interpreting him,
‘And please stop farting in a public bus.’
‘But Bebeh, I yams not fat na.’ he replies, a bewildered look on his face.
Several voices around us immediately shout ‘No dey mess for moto jare, yeye man.’ By that time, I am already at the door.