#StoryTime: Seen From A Bus Window

Today I sit on one of those yellow-and-black painted killers they call buses in Lagos. This one I’m on is better compared to the many I’ve been on recently. Quietly I sit by the window eating Lagos traffic staple of Gala and of course La Casera. They say the La Casera company underpays staff but who cares? So long as it’s cooling my internal system in hot, fume-filled, horn-blaring Lagos traffic while I let my imagination run, it’s none of my business. Not like I have much in the way of business anyway.
Just then, a song catches my ear. And before you think it’s the usual we produce as Nigerian music, it is not. It is a bunch of children come to my side of the bus window to beg for money. About 5 to 6 of them, all girls, are singing in that incoherent manner I barely make out as English. Just to get them moving, I give them the squeezed N20 in my palm. It is change from a pure water seller from earlier. They greedily left me and went to the next window opening to harass the next passenger. I look out the window to see another set of girls coming my way; I quickly shut the window as I look towards the conductor who is still screaming, “Ladipo, Ikeja Along, Agege o. Agege Agege o”
You see I’m one of the millions of young graduates in Nigeria who every morning leaves home in search of greener pasture. In truth, I’m not even looking for greener. I only want pasture. Before graduation, I had it all planned out. Finish school with good grades, serve Fatherland, save some cash during service, get back home, apply to companies, get a good paying job and live.

Here’s how that went. Finishing school with good grades is not a problem. It however becomes a problem when your good grades end with an HND. Serving Fatherland, that’s relatively easy too until you realize you are expected to work 8 to 5 daily while earning 19,800 Naira a month. That’s if you weren’t first thrown like a piece of garbage to a town where you have to travel miles to get phone network. That means all plans of saving anything just went downhill. As one who is never afraid of days of Garri, that isn’t a big deal either.
I’ve been home now a few months. Tens of job applications have been sent with the promise of “We’ll get back to you”, which almost never comes. The reality I was afraid of is already dawning on me. Most firms are requesting for Chattered Accountants. The ones that aren’t asking for an ICAN certificate are requesting 5 and above years’ experience and that’s making someone like me out of the league, for now.
Banking institutions? Those ones won’t employ HND holders as Staff. And as Tellers, the pay is certainly not encouraging. I’m not sure it will take care of transportation to and from work each month, not to mention feeding and accommodation. But I’m here on this bus eating Gala and hoping to get a call soon from this company I just left.
I feel a tap on my shoulder. It is a young man well-dressed in a buttoned-up shirt complete with tie. He is holding a transparent folder, the kind you keep important documents when going for an interview. He quietly whispers to me. “Bro, abeg you get 50box to take me to Ikeja Along?” Recognizing a kindred spirit, I dig into my wallet and hand him a worn note. Then I go back to looking out the window.

#StoryTime: A Hand From Within

It was a hectic day at work for Ade who is a Senior Manager at an Integrated Marketing Company in Lagos. Despite the stress, she made it back home early enough to catch her daughter, Princess, finishing up her assignment while her older cousin, Seun, monitored her. It was 7:30pm.

Seun being an ultimate poster child, always did what needs to be done without being told. In fact, Ade knew that if not for the presence of the young teenager in her home, she would have had to pick up her daughter every day at her mother’s because she was averse to the idea of housemaids. And since her schedule is most of the time unpredictable, that meant not seeing her child days at a time and she wouldn’t have any of that.

“Sade is good with Princess”, she thought as her eyes watch both girls; one older, the other with worship in her eyes- the way a little girl can only look at an elder sister. “As if she were my own daughter”, Ade mused.

Like a cat catching the scent of Fried Fish, Ade perceived the scent of Fish Pepper-soup wafting out of the kitchen which Seun went into just then. She blessed the day she ignored her friend’s advice to get a maid to help in taking care of her child. Instead of having stranger in her home, she’d rather have family.
“Family is worse, it won’t be easy getting them out of your home when shit happens”, Yinka told her when she mentioned it last year at one of their weekly catch-up.
“Family is everything”, Ade replied Yinka.

Just then, she heard her husband’s car enter into the premises. Soon enough, he came into the house with his keys dangling in one hand and his bag in the other. “Hi darling,” he beamed in that way he does with her. She blushed and moved right into his arms to give him a quick kiss on the lips. He didn’t linger as he hurried into their private bathroom to wash off the grit, and of course, road rage, which has become the new deal in Lagos. His mother always said there’s nothing a cold shower and good sleep can’t fix. She was right.

That night after dinner, they all sat as one big happy family watching TV. Usually, at that time, Princess would be asleep, even more so if the next day was a week day. However that night, she was up- bright-eyed too. Not like most kids are when they are trying not to sleep so that their eyes were half-slit. Ade soon asked Princess to go to sleep but Eze urged her to let her be since the next day was a Saturday.
Just then, Ade caught a scene in the movie which was showing on TV which she hadn’t really been focused on as she lay half-awake half-asleep with her head snuggly resting on Eze’s lap. Seeing Joy Bryant and Michael Ealy in explicit sexual position in About Last Night, she promptly whispered to Eze to change the channel.

Princess spoke up just then, “Mummy, so white people do that thing too.”
“What thing, darling?”, Ade asked absentmindedly as she concentrated on the news station, Channels, trying to catch the details since Eze just tuned in.
“That thing that Aunty Seun does to me in Church, every time she takes me to pee, or when we are alone at home.”, Princess replied.
This time, it was Eze who asked in that firm husky voice of his.

“What thing, Princess?”
Princess stood up, walked to the table at the centre of the room, picked up the TV remote and changed the channel.
“That thing”, she replied innocently pointing at the screen.

Ade and Eze both looked at the screen, to the scene unfolding before them, where Michael had his head between Joy’s leg while she writhe in ecstatic delight; slowly dawning on them that their daughter had all the while been left in the hands of a teenager who has been touching her in all the wrong ways.

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If na you, wetin you go do? *Let the comment section overflow*