The second half of the journey was one she had prayed wouldn’t happen. The traffic was moving rather too slowly and time was definitely not on her side. She would have alighted and began trekking but she had no idea where she was going,she wasn’t familiar with the vicinity. Tolani had not given her a time frame, all she said was “get here soon” She thought of alighting from the bus and asking people for directions, but she was afraid of being directed wrongly and missing her opportunity.
Less than an hour she was gloomy and non optimistic, but that changed in few minutes, like the universe had harkened to her request for a change in her life.
She relished and embraced the optimism life was throwing at her, she was going to have to face her fears and alight from the stuffy bus, she was starting to sweat due to the traffic anyway and being untidy was something she dreaded.
She alighted and started her journey by foot. The best people to ask for directions are those selling by the road side, most passer-bys are oblivious and sometime direct wrongly.
She made a call to Tolani whose number was busy, she sent a text message explaining her plight , but the message hadn’t delivered. Apparently she had less than four naira on her line so she couldn’t send a text. She glanced around quickly, trying to find a place to recharge and she found none.
A bread seller directed her to a small shed and she hurriedly went there. Time was definitely moving fast and the traffic was starting to clear, now she was starting to wish she had not gotten down from the bus. She gritted her teeth and hastened the shed owner up
“Sorry aunty, I dey find am” He pleaded
“I don dey late abeg, if you no get make I dey go” She answered impatiently , she had no time no waste.
“I don see am aunty, no vex” He handed the card to her and she recharged her line quickly.
While texting Tolani she stepped on something and fell flat on her face. She looked back to see the hurdle and it was a car tyre. “who puts a car tyre in the middle of the road?!” She screeched.
“It’s not in the middle of the road, it’s on the side of the road and if you had watched where you were going rather than being on your phone, you would have noticed it” A man responded from his car.
Kemi couldn’t think of a comeback
She considered explaining to him the urgency of the text,but quickly changed her mind.
She figured he either wouldn’t believe her or wouldn’t care to listen. She got up, brushed the dust off her clothes and dabbed her face with a handkerchief.
She noticed the traffic had cleared and she wished she had been a little more patient. Telling herself there was no point crying over spilled milk, she beckoned on a bike and gave him the address to make her journey faster.
“Na seven hundred naira ma” the motorcyclist said, smiling
“For what? I dey comot Lagos ni?” Kemi was confused, he must have noticed her impatience, hence using the opportunity to charge higher.
“The place far, we go pass many corners” He responded with the usual lie motorcyclists were known for
“Na so” She hissed and angrily walked away, he called out to her,but she ignored him.
She got on another bus and got to her destination soon afterwards.
She called tolani to let her know she was at the said address, but her number was not available.
“Who you dey find?” The security man at the gate queried her
“Good morning, here to see Tolani please” Kemi answered
“Who is that?” He looked confused
Kemi showed him the address Tolani had sent her.
“Na the address be this…but you sure say na here? Cause I no know any Tolani wey dey work for here” He said, chewing something in his mouth “you fit call am outside, make the person come pick you for here because I no fit allow you inside without company approval..you sabi how the thing dey go” He added, trying to be empathetic to her situation.
“Could you please help me go in and ask of anyone named Tolani” Kemi pleaded “She might be using a different name here, but I know her as Tolani” She quickly added
“We’re not allowed to leave our duty post ma” The security man said abruptly
“I know it’s a lot to ask, but please I’m out of options here, her number is not going through” Kemi tried to convince him
“Eeeeya, but there’s nothing I can do, you would have to wait till someone comes outside” He offered her a seat and she sat slowly, unsure of what to do as Tolani’s number was now switched off.
Kemi opened her mouth to plead with him again to let her go on, but he had a stern look that discouraged her instantly.
After sitting for thirty minutes with no solution in sight, she walked up to him, not minding his poker face and once again recounted everything to him, explaining in details how this was very important to her.
“I’ve told you there’s nothing I can do, my job is important to me, same way your friend is important to you. If I lose this job I won’t be able to feed my family. We would have to starve and would you like that ma?”
Kemi understood the rhetorical question and everything he stands to lose due to negligence. She wouldn’t want that sort of misfortune happening to him so she didn’t press on further and quietly sat down. She would have to be patient.