She smiled when he jumped into the bus, she’d thought he was lying when he said he was already at the bus stop waiting for her and seeing him eased her mind on his reliability. Her smile faltered when he ignored her and her big smile and bounded towards the lady with the wavy weavon sitting in front, put his hands on her chair and said “hello angel.”
“What is the meaning of that!” she spat as she turned around.
“I’m so-sorry” he stuttered.
“He thought I was the one sitting in front” she cut in, and kept smiling even as the lady in front looked at her with some confusion. They looked nothing alike and their hairstyles weren’t even close to similar with her afro bun and dark skin a sharp contrast to the lady’s weave and golden skin.
“Good morning dear” he said to her calmly without a trace of consternation on his face.
“Good morning” she replied with a measure of ice in her voice, she also hated being called dear.
He dove into a monologue about his morning and what lay ahead of him at work that day and it took all of her self-control not to sigh and face the window. He continued to talk as the bus left the park, talking while they climbed the many bridges that took them from Lagos mainland to Lagos Island, he talked until the bus stopped at a street behind CMS bus stop.
When they got down, she tried to tell him a story about her cousin who was in similar line of work as him but he kept trying to interrupt her. She continued to talk despite his disinterest in her tale, she needed to hear her own voice too. They boarded the second bus that would take them to work on different parts of the island, he chose the front seat that seated two with one person perched like a coquettish monkey dancing for a banana.
“I chose to seat inside because I know women like comfort” he was smiling as he perched on the seat.
“Well you’re the one who wanted to seat in front” she snapped.
“I did it because I’m nice, I had a friend who used to call me Bobo too nice” he said while putting her seatbelt in place.
He launched into the story of meeting a single mother and being her friend while she fought her battles with her boyfriend’s family, she was looking at the Atlantic from the window and wishing fiercely that she was on a little boat on the water with no one around for miles, especially not boring men.
“What time are you closing today? I want us to go home together” he murmured when he’d finished his story.
“Hopefully at past 4, if I can escape from the bank.”
She waited for him to ask what she did at the bank, to ask one question about her life, to be curious about her. He’d already bored her with the dynamics of his work and his company, regaling her with names of people who didn’t even work there any more. One quick question about her work wouldn’t kill him, she mused. The minute stretched into another and four more minutes passed in silence as the bus wiggled through the traffic just before Victoria Island bridge.
“I want to see you this weekend” he said suddenly.
“Saturday’s off, I have stuff to do. It would have to be Sunday.”
“Aren’t you cooking on Sunday? Or you don’t do the cooking at home?” he replied
“No, not really.” She said slowly.
“if you can’t cook then you are not beautiful, no matter how pretty your face is”
“What did you say” her voice had chips of ice framing each word.
“The beauty of a woman is cooking; you should know that” he insisted.
“To you.” She said with a bitter smile.
“No, it is the main beauty of a woman.” He countered.
“if you say so Oga, if you say so.”
Because he did not know her, he had no idea that ‘if you say so’ was a bad sign, he continued to talk about cooking and womanhood and she mentally vomited in her mouth while wishing for wings. The bus soon pulled to her stop and she clambered down joyfully.
“Will I see you this evening,” He chirped.
She smiled at him and walked away.