The bus stops at the bridge in front of the National Stadium and you come down, there’s a woman at the back of the bus who’s insulting the conductor. You don’t linger to hear the end of the argument, it had started even before you boarded at Anthony bus stop and it will continue until she gets tired of shouting at him. You’re very grateful to have gotten to Stadium without losing a limb, the driver had driven with the speed of a man who was pursued by a vengeful ex girlfriend.
It’s 9:20pm on your phone screen when you cross the road, your eyes are searching for a bus to Aguda, yesterday you didn’t see any and you had to go through a circuitous route to get home at 10:10pm.
The okada man is waiting for you all to cross so he could get a passenger, a woman gets to him first but he shakes his head when she tells him her destination.
“Aguda” you tell him
“Where for Aguda?”
You fold up your gown and climb, it’s a beautiful bargain for any time of the day and it’s even sweeter because it’s past 9pm. When the bike noses towards the Shitta bridge, you know you’re in for an eventful journey. Shitta roundabout always looks beautiful at night, its shabbiness is glossed by the streetlights and car lights. If your mother could see you smiling on the bike as it flits the span of the bridge, she’d be horrified at your disregard for the “gift of life”.
The smile that blossomed at the thought of your mother fades into alarm as the machine picks up speed and the bus stops blur and merge before your eyes, the okada man is quick to use his arms and tongue to send “wakas” to other road users and you begin to mutter some prayers.
Just before the turn beside Fountain primary school, he turns to you and says “karanbada abi?” or that’s what you think you heard. He repeats his statement and tilts his heads towards you. The alarm settles at the bottom of your stomach, you want to tell him about life and duplicates but your tongue feels like cotton wool.
“No be small thing” you reply.
He smiles and nods his head with satisfaction, you smile because you’re talking about different things. Your legs wobble when you come down from the bike and the feel of the ground under your feet steadies your fluttering spirit.
As you walk the remaining distance to your house, a certain word dances through your head and leaves a golden blaze in its wake. Mortality.