Stories, Photos, Faith…. Life as I see it

50 Minutes of My Lagos Morning

Armed with a backpack containing everything from my makeup purse, to a writing pad, change of shoes and my umbrella and gladly accompanied with my earpiece which makes the walk to the bus stop less unbearable… It is 6:10 a.m. 10-20 minutes before I step into my staff bus and have my second round of soothing sleep!

Every day is usually the same, I cross a few gutters, pass a line of empty stalls, I walk past a school bus down the first major road or go past it down the corner on days that I am late. I usually would see the area carpenter on my way to work… He resumes at 6 Oh’CLOCK I believe! Then I would burst out into the waiting arms of my Lagos. The aroma of fresh puff-puff would fill my nostrils mixed with the pungent smell of urine and weed.

 

My Lagos is already wide eyed at a few minutes after 6 screaming “Orile eyokan” Oshodi wole fity naira”, “CMS seventy naira” and my personal favorite “Eko down down eko… Eko down down eko wole”. I love the sound of “down down”.

6:20 a.m. I am certain that I would make it in time for my bus… my eardrums are filled with Flo’s “Twale” and I am waiting to cross the multiple lane express road (The pedestrian bridge was pulled down over 2 years ago because of the light rail Lagos has been awaiting for 13 years now!) I miss the bridge, it was so much easier getting to the other side of the road moreover, it served the dual purpose of home to many homeless people…

I remember a friend of my heart who would always sweep the bridge half way. He always had a huge bowl of faith in front of him to aid him accumulate his expected huge returns for the day. I still remember his ugly grin. I’m not sure he ever knew how to smile!

Anyway, left, right, left, right andleftright I look as I hurriedly cross the busy road and disappear into the rowdiness of Lagos. It is 6:24 a.m and my bus is still not in sight. I look at the various faces of Lagos today many look expectant, some aggressive and others just bland… It’s another morning again.. another possibility of hope… another opportunity to make it in the city! My red shoes guy is still in the race today.

I saw him first about two weeks ago. His hair uncombed, clad in a dirty black shirt, khaki pants cut in-between his knees and feet and those red shoes (you can’t miss him). He seemed like the definition of evil. He was overly restless like a free demon looking for a home. On the first day I saw him, I held on tighter to my phone, reduced the volume of my music and watched his every move. He was high on something I had concluded… Several times he walked past me and walked back. He would circle different buses but would still come back… Mr. Red Shoes had a love for the same spot I loved. He was the same most days… simply restless looking for who to devour somehow though, he never chose me as his victim he simply remained the same guy I met the first day… Scruffy and restless maybe hungry too.
I decided I would introduce myself to him today. I would ask for his name and ask for what he does, he would be my newest “weirdo buddy” (In my sometimes foolish mind I strongly believe that when you make the first move on the enemyyou have the upper hand). “Oga na here you dey work?” I practiced my lines… “How far na, na ur face I dey wake up to see every morning” “Abeg you fit tell me where den they sell credit”???

All my lines seemed lame and it was 6:35a.m. my bus was obviously running late and Mr. Red Shoes guy seemed more excited as the minutes ticked by… His restlessness began to border on expectancy… We was waiting for someone, for something, I began to see him in a different light, his restlessness became more like a child’s… he moved from corner to corner, walked past me and towards me until voilà!!!! I heard his voice for the first time… “Ekodown down Eko… Eko down down Eko wole” he sang as he grabbed the corners of the moving yellow bus swiftly.

Being restless was his job after all….
I laughed out to myself almost in shame…. He had only been awaiting his own bus as I did mine…. Only out to make it in the city as I did everyday….
I increased the volume of my music, relaxed and stepped into mine.
It was 7 Oh’Clock.

Picture Reference:
http://shopping.indiatimes.com/fashion/casuals/planet-red-men-casual-shoes-9901/41799/p_B1224234
http://news.naij.com/9948.html
http://leadership.ng/nga/articles/20510/2012/03/28/mararaba_pedestrian_bridge_now_beggars_haven.html
http://www.nairaland.com/1051018/african-cuisine/9

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