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.
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.