The scene: 5:35pm at Adeola Odeku bus-stop. I looked to the right side of the road where buses and other vehicles going towards the mainland and another part of the Island- Ikoyi I believe it is, drive through. My first ten minutes at the bus-stop was pretty hilarious. It wasn’t the first time I was witnessing this but some days are just for me to laugh at issues that can break one’s spirit. Earlier that day, someone had called me smiling girl. What was funny about seeing grown men and women, tired and looking famished stand for a very long time before they get buses? Was it really amusing to watch them struggle for buses on sighting one? Maybe I was amazed at the way they shun drivers and conductors who shouted higher amount of money. Whatever it was, I was having my moment.
Fifteen minutes later, my smile had disappeared and now my face had changed into a concerned one. In fact, my concern had turned into a prayer, ‘Lord I need a bus. Still waiting, a car halted and the driver started shouting Iyano Iworo. Immediately people rushed to this car and started and began pulling the door open. You know these uniform men and women at the bus-stop who are like fierce animals on the prowl and will mercilessly devour their prey. Lastma! Lagos drivers fear these people but that is simply because they don’t want to give them their money. The diver saw one Lastma official approaching then he started driving slowly away but his eager passengers were still struggling to get in. On one of them on the side of the vehicle, this guy kept just pulled the door harder in desperation but the door wouldn’t open so he quickly ran to the other side of the car but before he got there, the car was filled and the driver zoomed off. In disappointment, he flung his head in the air. Back to the waiting position. I felt sorry for him.
The traffic light went green again and the buses like mad men set loose in an asylum, these vehicles started streaming towards us. ‘costain Elo’ then one car parked and again, people started struggling to gain entrance. This particular lady was fierce. Her approach simply said, ‘I must be in this vehicle or no one else will’. She pushed and pulled open the door, tucked in her head, then the upper part of her body into the car even with the car on motion and finally, she was in. Ha, she won I told myself. God send me a bus, I was ready to cry now. The disappointed man was still waiting and the next vehicle that comes, he fights harder to enter. I kept watching him and I thought, this is somebody’s dad and husband. Truly, he was married. Hope his wife does not nag and hope his children understand what daddy goes through every day? Is his home peaceful and filled with love that will calm him after all the struggling of the day and prepare him for the next day’s struggle because it just goes on and on. Someone told me, the billboard that tells you that you are now in Lagos says THIS IS LAGOS unlike that of other states that say welcome to Ogun or WELCOME TO ANAMBRA OR WELCOME TO CROSS RIVER. In Lagos, expect anything.
‘Costain’ ‘Costain’ the conductor shouted as the bus halted in front of us. Immediately, I slid my bag up my shoulder and rushed to the bus. Yes! I can’t wait to get home. The ride was slow, Lagos traffic is another story on its own. My mind flashes back to the man and the lady, I was thinking of their struggle and mine and that of everyone else who goes through one kind of struggle or another. My concern wasn’t the struggle in itself. I was concerned about what succeeds and supersedes this struggle. How do we fare with life; our daily hassles and pains and inner tears that others do not see because we manage so well the façade of our beautiful smiles and laughter.
I can’t eat this food, I just lost my appetite, he snarled. She was trying to stay calm, then she asked him, what will you have? This is a conscious action to get me upset that is why you cooked this. What is wrong with him? Don’t try to say anything in defense he snorted, you would aggravate my anger and that wouldn’t be good for you. Days like this one in the past had taught her that silence was a brave act. She picked her despondent self and went to the kitchen to cry. She loved him and was willing to stay in the marriage but her inner self was asking, where would I find solace? Don’t I work too? Why should I continue like this? You love him, that is why.
I am forced to say this, I don’t think I want to pay your school fees again. I cannot continue to waste money on a child that brings home shame and a worthless report after every term. Where is your brain? If you lost your mind somewhere, tell me and I will gladly join the search so you can have it back. Mom, I did my best, I did my best. Her eyes filled with the tears of a shattered heart. Don’t give me those crocodile tears. Your best is awful, terrible and you are just dumb. Now get out!
These are our everyday individual lives in reality. Father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife: everyone. Our connections to too many things and we are losing our minds.Work is stress because your boss believes that your second class upper makes you a genius, your wife nags because she wants you to keep your job out of your home. Your parents don’t understand that it is real work to Walk from one lecture hall to another and take notes for two hours. But we cannot continue to live our lives like insane people, we can love.As a teenager, the only word I could define love with was LIGHT and it is still my best definition for it. We have to understand that everyone we encounter both at home, work, the bust-stop or anywhere is dealing with one issue or another and rather than choke them with nagging and tongue lashing,we can help them. Guess the beautiful part? By helping them, you help yourself too.
We have established that merely saying ‘I love you ‘ doesn’t prove that the person truly loves you. Actions! I believe that is why I keep my mouth shut and try not to think when my dad sees me reading and calls out to me to come dice the onions he’s cooking with..It can be annoying (let’s be realistic). A quote I read years ago says ‘ Being in love means to do for this person something they would ordinarily not do, something like peeling an orange because they don’t like to it. Maybe your child lost her mind the day she noticed your love had dwindled and she needs your light, your love and not harsh words thrown in a fit of pique. I like this song by Michael Bolton, WE ALL NEED SOMEBODY TO LEAN ON. Someone is struggling with low self-esteem and you still shut her down? When you come home from work tomorrow, you will find a corpse and a note saying, I LOVE YOU BUT YOU ARE TOO MUCH TO HANDLE.
Another quote, Darkness cannot drive darkness, only light can. Hate cannot drive hate, only love can. We cannot deal with our inner tears with the darkness in the hearts of our spouses or parents or siblings. Here is the sad truth, we all can love but love is not innate. Not everyone can love. Now I am controversial right? Keep your hearts ready for the second part of this article.
I remain your friend, Ezeani Flora Chinenye.
I hope you enjoyed this article, I would love to have your response, please leave comments in the comment box. Thanks.
I love you.
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