The yellow and black bus lurches from side to side like a drunk returning home in the morning. This bus could probably do a billboard ad for Titus sardines with the way we are packed in its cramped space. As I sit uncomfortably on the edge of one of the seats, I begin to reason again why I am heading home on this hot Friday afternoon.
Already my left ankle has been assaulted by one of the buss rickety seats which collapsed when one very endowed aunty sat on it. I am squeezed in by three other passengers on my right hand side and my legs are already becoming numb.
Back to my reasons for heading home:
Mums birthday. Jollof rice. The extra cash is also a motivation cos a sister is broke.
I am jolted from my thoughts when the bus lurches to a stop and evacuates some of its human content and new passengers get on.
To my relief, two people on my row of seats get off and I savour the temporary respite of sitting comfortably.
Too quickly for comfort, one of the new passengers squeezes in next to me.
He is a dark muscular guy with darting eyes that seem to rove all over the bus. He keeps glancing in my direction and continues to furtively glance all over the bus. At this point, I begin to feel suspicious as I notice his black tee shirt and bloodshot eyes. He notices my gaze and glares at me.
I mutter a silent prayer under my breath as I avert my gaze and look out the window.
Dark Guy thankfully gets down at the next bus stop and a wizened old man gets on and occupies his former position.
The old man looks like the average white haired grandfather and I relax. I plug in my earphones and start to doze. The man then brings out a tattered Ghana must go bag from under the seat .Wait a second. I didnt notice that when he got on. The slightly dirty bag has a weird bulge protruding from the bottom as well as a strange smell.
My sleep vanishes as my mind travels to all the stories I have heard about ritualists and their modus operandi on public buses. I begin to feel uncomfortable.
Then the man brings out a bottle with a dark liquid and pours out from it onto his palm and licks it.
Now I am legit afraid.
I say another silent prayer.
Then he begins to doze and as if sleep can be transferred I begin to feel sleepy too.
I quickly sit up and turn up my music to the highest volume I can without suffering hearing problems in the future.
Not today, village people.
Now, unfortunately, a traffic jam has brewed up and the bus comes to a jerky stop amidst grumbling and hisses from everyone. The LASTMA checkpoint in front is conspicuously empty.
I look out my window and happen to lock eyes with a trader who has spread her wares on the roadside. The woman is picking her nose and she is digging in so vehemently as if shes trying to find gold in there. I look away quickly.
The traffic finally clears up, owing mostly to the efforts of two belt-welding soldiers and some reappearing LASTMA officials.
A woman with a little boy gets on at the next stop and sits directly behind me. The little boy begins to fidget and she reprimands him sharply in Igbo asking him if his father has even a bicycle tire. Wow. Such savagery. There are some snickers from the back of the bus.
The boy quiets down. Strangely I think he understands the insult.
The portly woman in front of me begins a convo with the driver on money ritualists and the likes and how they spend money anyhow. Gist started when driver began to talk about a guy with no visible source of income giving his side chick 200k just for one small something. I didnt hear what. They soon move on to discussing which politicians have stolen money and their current net worth.
The woman keeps looking at me as if inviting me to join in. Me, ke! i just smile at her and plug in my earphones.
Not today, bus parliamentarians.
Thankfully my stop is at the next bus stop. As the conductor yells out my bus stop, my “owa” is so loud and relieved.
As we get to my stop, the driver moves past it. Anger propels my pidgin in that moment.
Wetin happen nah? Why you pass my bustop? Abi u no hear me when I shout owa?Shuo..
The conductor looks shocked.
I dont look like the pidgin speaking type. I glare at him for good measure.
He apologizes claiming that it was because of the touts at the bus stop.
Pacified, I get down and begin the walk back to my bus stop where the next okada will take me home.
Written By Miracle Eme
Published By Great Opara