With the unpredictability of Lagos weather, I just had to rush home before things got messy. Today’s traffic felt like my village people were indeed after me. “Omo! This traffic no be beans.” I muttered under my breath, feeling antsy and frantically waving to the young man hawking bottled water at the side of the road.
After gulping down half the bottle’s content in one go, I opened the first two buttons of my shirt to let the fresh air cool me down. It was not until I had done that that I felt my senses come back to me.
“Ketu, Berger, Toll Gate. Gbagada, Ketu, Berger, Toll gate.” The conductor kept shouting at the top of his voice in a bid to fill up his vehicle. The clear weather had begun to change, and it looked like it might rain soon.
Less than thirty minutes after the thought crossed my mind, it began to drizzle. A heavy pall of cumulus clouds had darkened the atmosphere. Wow! If you thought the heat in traffic was bad, try being in traffic under the rain.
I quickly called my flatmate to ask if he could help me pack my clothes from the line. While still on my phone, the door of the quickly filling up rickety bus opened to admit a new passenger. “Thank you,” the female voice quipped before she came to take the empty space beside me.
The high-pitched voice had already caught my interest, but it wasn’t until her damp body touched mine did I finally look up from my phone. “Hi,” she waved briskly, “Hi,” I returned her greeting with a shy smile and quickly returned to my phone.
She’s pretty, I thought to myself, but I couldn’t help but wonder where I had seen that face before. She looked all too familiar.
“Did you study in Unilag?” I mustered up the courage to ask her, “Yes,” she said, taking out the white earpiece from her right ear, “Art Faculty?” “Mr. Adewale’s class?” I asked excitedly, “Yes,” she chuckled, matching my energy.
That was the beginning of our long conversation. We didn’t even pay attention to the rain, the rough ride, or the impatient drivers hurling insults at each other, all in the bid to outdo each other in ferrying the occupants of their snarling buses to the last bus stop before seeking refuge themselves from the pouring rain.
“Excuse my manners,” I said calmly. “I used to attend lectures with you back then. I really liked you, I noticed you a lot, but you hardly took note of anyone outside your circle of friends.”
Kate, (it turned out was her name), wasted no time in explaining why she was a bit preoccupied with her small circle in school. I still couldn’t believe I was here with my longtime crush under bizarre circumstances. I was lost in thoughts, so happy with my good fortune in the inclement weather.
“Gosh! I’m cold,” she said, rubbing her hands on her shoulder. I took out my jacket from under my arm and immediately put it around her shoulders without thinking.
“Thanks,” she said, blushing, “With the rainy season here, I should probably add rainy-day kits to the items I’m already ordering on Konga.”
“Sounds like a very good plan,” I responded while making a mental note to also shop for some essential items for the rainy season from Konga, of course. Just then, the driver called out the next bus stop.
“That’s my stop,” she said, arranging herself and her bag to alight.
“Okay, I replied, “Can I have your number, Kate?” She stopped, looked at me with a wholehearted smile, proceeded to collect my phone from my outstretched hand, and quickly inputted her number.
“I will be looking forward to your call, Jide,’’ she said while mimicking a phone call with her thumb against her right ear and the rest of her fingers clenched.
TO BE CONTINUED…