I went to benin to shop for my induction. I had asked Osama to accompany me to the market because she knew the place. Osama is my classmate turned church member, turned roommate, turned friend, turned flat mate, turned colleague. We have too much history together.
She texted me the directions and adviced me to tell the driver to drop me at Newman Pharmacy and I told the conductor immediately I boarded the bus. He nodded like he knew the place.
Fast forward to 5minutes later, many people had alighted the bus and it was left with me, one other passenger, the conductor and driver. The driver said he wanted to poo and the other passenger was in a hurry so when we got to the next traffic light, the conductor took him to join another bus and he used the opportunity to buy a sachet of water. I would later find out it was for the driver to wash his butt
They asked if I was in a hurry, but since I was resting my cramped leg, I said I would wait. The driver got into nearby flowers by the road side to do his thing (this behaviour can only be seen in edo state) while I sat in silence with the conductor fidgeting with my phone.
The driver finished and stood explaining to the conductor how the food he ate was peppery and is responsible for the burning sensation in his anus. His hands were still wet from washing his butt and he asked the conductor how much he took from me for my fare. The conductor replied that he charged me #70 and he took #50 and returned to me. I refused to take it because it was already wet but he when he tried to come closer, I took it with as few fingertips as possible.
I was asked to move to the front sit which made sense because the bus was empty and they weren’t sure where the pharmacy was so we would find it together.
“What is the meaning of this!” my subconcious screamed with disbelief in her eyes while I tried to grasp what just happened. I came to the conclusion that it was karma for mocking Osama when a bus driver gave her a free ride.
Omg! I know you just shit a very spicy shit by the roadside and I know the state of your anus. Have a little shame! My subconscious barked.
As I was still having a conversation with myself, he passed his phone to me. I refused to collect it and he placed it on my thigh. It was a Nokia touch light phone most likely made in Okonkwo’s backyard in Aba. The keyboard, battery and skeleton went their separate ways as i tried to pick it up and return to him.
He kept poking me with his damp hands as I imagined Proteus moon walking down my arm, Pseudomonas doing backflips and Salmonella laughing hesterically. It is different when you know microbiology.
I felt unclean and violated but I tried not to scream cus no one would understand and the story will be that:
“just because the boy na bus driver, the girl the form posh”
I shifted so close to the door, I felt like I had become the door.
Then he robbed my arm
“Father lord! Let this cup pass over me” I silently prayed.
“Why you no wan give me your number na” he said with his hand still on my arm.
“Because I no wan give you” I replied moving farther away from him. At that point I’d have given anything to be a rickety bus door.
I stopped before I got to the pharmacy and walked the rest of the distance untill I saw Osama. I recounted the occurrence to her and as expected, she laughed at me.
But my day was far from over.
I had gone to New Benin market once in 2014 and it wasn’t funny so in as much as I really hated it, I was mentally ready to be touched.
Those people can amputate your arms by dragging you to their shop. They’ll say their shop is nearby and then make you trek through the valley of the shadow of death before you get there. Some of them will hold your wrist so tight you’ll have to fight them off WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH AND MIGHT.
One guy grabbed my shoulders from behind and kept pulling me to come see his wares. I kept moving forward and saying I didn’t want to buy anything but he wouldn’t let me go. When saw that i wouldnt turn back, he shook me somewhat vigorously before letting me go. It was really crazy.
The more civilised ones screamed “aunty check here, I have it” and they didn’t’t even know what I wanted to buy.
The market smelled badly, they dump refuse any and everywhere and everyone pretends not to perceive anything.
The state needs to close their gutters. They have really big, deep, dirty gutters and the inhabitants are left with no choice but to put a tiny plank across these graves. One time in 2016, I heard over the radio that a man was found dead inside the gutter but as expected, the state government argued that he didn’t die as a result of the fall but because he was drunk or killed somewhere and dumped in the gutter. We’ll never know.
Osama made a scene and good people had to stop to cheer her on, one carried her box and I held her hand before she could walk across the gutter cus we have an abject fear of heights. So walking on a tiny shaky piece of wood with the tendency to break at any moment was some scary shit.
I let Osama have it like she was her state governor because even the most remote village in crossriver state does not smell and has no death traps called gutters.
It was a bizarre day, somewhat topsy-turvy but at least I achieved my purpose. I scrubbed my body harder than normal in an extended shower time and felt fresh again.
If you enjoyed reading this, CLICK LIKE. If you have anything to say, COMMENT. Will you like to be notified when a new post is published? FOLLOW or SUBCRIBE via email.