Frederick Obu was unresponsive to the situation around him. While the woman beside him wiped her baby’s spit up with the edge of her wrapper, and the conductor argued with a bald head man over 20 naira change, he just stared outside the window of the danfo bus, thinking about the pink slip he had just received from work.
The road was formidably tight that night, and it was certain he wasn’t getting home anytime soon. He made himself comfortable in his seat, not that the shaky wooden excuse for a seat was in anyway comfortable, but he tried to familiarize his butt with the rough edges, since they would be together for a long while.
He called for one of the road side hawkers, and three men came running towards his side of the bus.
“Gala yes?” A short stout boy with a half empty carton of sausage rolls called
Coke, Fanta” another one shouted
“Give me two gala” Fred said, and he waited while the young man hurriedly pulled out two rolls. He checked the expiry date, and returned the gala.
“This thing don spoil, abeg take!” he returned it, but the boy tried to force it on him
“Haba… no look date o. na mistake. na today they make am”
“This thing is one month late, and it smells funny” he said, and the boy just smiled, his face showing some guilt. he knew his goods were bad.
Frederick dropped them in his carton, and decided to buy a bottle of teem lemon from the lanky boy with a heavy Igbo accent, and while the bus trudged on slowly in the traffic, he found someone else with better sausage rolls.
He studied the other vehicles… fellow stuck-in-traffickers. The air was tense, and one could easily tell that everybody was frustrated, experiencing another day of hectic travelling, from Obalende to Ogba. and the loud blaring of various horns betrayed this feeling.
To worsen the situation, one molue that shouldn’t be moving anymore squeezed itself in between a BRT, and another rickety Danfo, and it puffed carbon monoxide into the air, and down the windpipes of all other commuters unfortunate enough to be in close proximity. Fred’s bus was right behind this molue.
He quickly wiped a tear, and stifled a cough. His throat tightened, and his eye balls reddened in no time. He couldn’t wait to get out of this jam.
Come to think of it… he thought to himself. What is waiting for me at home? How am I supposed to tell Adaobi and the kids that I have been fired from work? He took the last bite off his sausage roll, and washed it down with his drink.
Last night, he got home late, just like every other night.
” Where are you coming from!” she nagged
“Work ofcourse!” Fred answered.
She had her hair neatly curled in bendy rollers. All of her make up was wiped out, and there was a ripe zit on her forehead. She looked funny, but he dared not tell her that, while smokes were figuratively coming out of her ears.
” I called your office, they told me you left many hours ago.” She snapped, and slammed the front door shut. She locked the door, and walked past Federick, shoving him aside.
“Ada, I’m not in the mood for this. I’m tired, and hungry. I have a headache, and you can only understand how evil traffic in lagos is these days, if you had a job!” he said, loosening his tie, and unbottoning his shirt as he walked towards the bedroom.
“Eehen! Fred – ” She started, on top of her voice.
” Don’t wake the kids to this please” He murmured, kicking his shoes under the bed.
“Ehen! Are you abusing me now, that I’m jobless? Did you not tell me you were okay with it!” She said in a much lower tone. Fred was amused. Adaobi was really petite, and when she starts flinging her tiny little self in fury, its always a sight to behold. This night, she had on her silk pajamas, and her movements made her body shake in tempting places.
“Oh! I am funny now abi?”
“No my dear, but – ” he stopped, then asked. ” Is there food?”
“No food for you” she hissed, and then turned around murmuring that he should go ask his girlfriends for food.
“You know you are sexy when you are angry” Fred murmured into her ears, as he grabbed her from behind.
” Don’t distract me, I’m upset with – ” she didnt finish her words.
They made passionate love that night, and before she slept off, she whispered into Fred’s ears.
” I need money to buy a new peruvian hair” and then slept off, with her head on his chest.
Her once neatly curled hair had lost the bendy rollers, and were tousled from all the sex. It looked beautiful. Fred didn’t understand why Ada needed to fix another. That would be costing another 120,000 naira, and she hardly ever leaves the apartment.
He knew arguing with Ada was pointless, and you just can’t change the topic with sex, when it comes to her precious weaves. She had to have what she wanted.
That morning, she gave him a long list of all their needs. To top it all, Cythia, their first born would be resuming another semester in Babcock university. The house rent was nearly due, and the twins were going back to boarding school.
“Wow!” Fred said and heaved a sigh. He looked out the window again, imagining how Adaobi would start the quarrels this night.
How was he to tell her there would be no peruvian hair for a while?
“Driver, abeg I wan come down” He called, and the conductor opened the door. There was no need to park, since the traffic was a stand still anyways.
Fred picked a bike across the road, and started heading back towards the island.
Shey I never do pass myself like this? He thought to himself. They were living way above their means, but he promised her he would give her the life of her dreams.
Fred was trying his best, going to hell and back, to give her the life that she wants, but Ada will always complain.
“Let me come down” he told the bike man.
” Ha Oga, we never reach na, na on top third mainland we dey o” the man said
” Abeg park,” Fred replied, and the man did as ordered. Fred paid him 500 naira, and watched him zoom off, while resting on the railings of the bridge.
Shey I never do pass myself like this? he thought again.
He got fired from work, because the auditors uncovered the fact that he had been siphoning lots of money from the office accounts. Fred wasn’t just fired, he was humiliated.
He sighed, and waved away a Nissan spacebus that was about to park. He was the only commuter on the express, and it was pretty late. Many people would have thought he was stranded.
Shey I never do pass myself? He thought again.
Bills were piling up like crazy, and his wife was getting better at nagging. Now that he has lost his job, whats left, but ugly potato love?
With that thought, he took a dive. He screamed for the first nine seconds, but he had many more feets to go.
His mind was racing. He was in a panic, but he couldnt save himself.
What have I done?! The sex is great, the kids are great! Who will take care of them now? Who will take care of my Adaobi?! I love it. Our ugly potato love.
“I don do pass myself now. God please forgive me” he whispered, as his flailing body landed violently into the water. Fred kissed life goodbye.