Tosin coughed again, the pain in her chest was worsening. Each time she coughed it felt like her lungs would explode. Her throat hurt, her head hurt, her life at the moment hurt. She leaned forward, pulling her sweater lower around her hips and turned her face away from the taxi window.
She couldn’t possibly imagine a worse start to her day; she could barely imagine anything at the moment.
That was when she noticed him. She hadn’t seen him before. Well she definitely had, but she just realized there was a human being sitting beside her, not some vague apparition. There was a man sitting beside her, the only other passenger in the car.
Tosin glanced at him casually and turned back to the window.
Why isn’t he minding his business, she thought to herself.
She leaned back further in her seat, ever so surreptitiously moving away from him.
Tosin was on her way to see her doctor. She’d been coughing all night, barely able to sleep. It was also that time of the month, and though she had cramps they weren’t her main problem. She had impatiently willed daylight to come faster, but time just lumbered by. When morning came she was already worn out. She was in the bathroom when it started raining, so she waited a little longer till it reduced to a slight drizzle before she ventured out of the house.
She’d taken a cab hoping to get to the hospital before going to work, if she could still make it to work. Screw work. I don’t know if I can make it to the hospital, she had said to herself as she left the house.
Tosin turned away from the window again.
Was he being nice, or just pitying me? She thought,
Also, why wasn’t he saying anything else? Why won’t people just mind their business?
Out of the corner of her eye she peeked at the man beside her. He was slender, had a scraggly beard, and his whitish short sleeved shirt and brown chinos trousers made her think of those medicos in school. He was missing a tie though, and she couldn’t see his shoes. But his leather wristwatch looked simple yet exquisite. She wondered how much it cost.
She turned to the window, feeling the burn in the centre of her chest. Ow! She groaned
“Sorry,” he said again. “Have you taken any medicine?”
Tosin turned to look at him, barely believing her ears.
“Oh I’m sorry.” he said again.
How dare he! Such a condescending jackass.
She ignored him and put her hanky to her nose, cupping her hands over her mouth and exhaling. It wasn’t helping. She felt cold, dizzy, and the throbbing in her temples were more persistent.
She closed her eyes, half wishing she would wake up; but when she opened her eyes the throbbing confirmed she hadn’t been asleep.
The rain was trickling in through the window so she rolled it up completely. Now she was stuck in this mist of recycled CO2. She stole another glance at Mr Weird Guy beside her, shuddering at the thought of inhaling his expired air. She covered her nose again with the handkerchief.
Presently, the cab got to her stop. She just had to make a short dash across the road, and then take another cab into the hospital. But first she had to get out of the car.
She rolled the window down one last time, trying to gauge her path across the road, but by now the rain was much heavier and drenched her, so she immediately rolled it back up.
Now her sweater felt wet, as well as her seat. She opened the back door, pushing a crumpled N100 note towards the taxi driver as she stepped out of the car.
Finally, she thought, looking across the road. I just need to-
Tosin turned, mustering the most irritated look she could, and bent to look into the car.
The liver! Now he wants my number.
“Your skirt, sorry.”
“What?” Tosin mumbled,
Her eyes widened as she noticed the dark patch on the seat where she’d been sitting.
Her left hand instinctively reached for her backside,
Oh my God!