I still couldn’t believe I had a son who was 5 years old. The thought of having someone who would one day grow up to look like me worried me. Would he have the same luck with women as his father did? I thought Vivian and I were done for good but now, a child was involved. She didn’t even give me a chance to ask why she kept her pregnancy away from me. She simply gave me her phone number to contact her when I’m ready to see my son and then she got into her car and left with that man. I balled up the piece of paper she wrote her number in. I thought about it, I thought about throwing away the paper and just forget about everything. Forget that I had a son and also Vivian. I had nothing to offer my son. What good would it be if I was to show up in his life tomorrow? I had no job, no house, nothing! He would one day find out that his so called father wasn’t with him when he was born because he went to jail for murder. I couldn’t let a child of mine paint a horrid picture of me in his or her head. I decided to stay clear and move forward. I was so sure he was better off with Vivian and her new lover. For my first day out of prison, I had to find a place to rest my head. I definitely couldn’t go back to my old house. That would be like opening old wounds when I haven’t healed from the ones I had already. I missed Iffy. I thought about how grown she would look now. I would hate to see her one day and remember the hurt her parents had cost me. I decided to catch a bus to Esters place, my eldest sister or rather the only family member I still kept in contact with. She would understand. She would know that no one was perfect. She knew I was a good man. She was my last hope of recovering back to normal. I was so deep in thoughts, I didn’t see her walking towards me until we bumped into each other and her phone flew out of her right hand.
“Are you blind?” the lady shouted, picking up her cell phone. I really didn’t have the energy to answer her so I kept on walking as if nothing had happened.
“Excuse me,” she held my shirt back from behind. “Didn’t you see me coming?” In my effort to get her to release her hands from my shirt, I raised my hands up as if to hit her. She didn’t back down, instead she continued. “Oh so you want to beat me too abi? Make una see this man ooh.”
“Look, just let go of my shirt okay?”
“Oh I’m sorry, is that how you apologize? You’re the one who bumped into me and you’re giving me an attitude. Am I the cause of your problems?” she asked. She wasn’t the cause of my problems but she was about to become one.
“Save it please.” She hissed and walked to where the others were standing waiting on the bus.
When she saw me walking towards her, she began to laugh. I found her very weird and if no be small thing, I for call her winch. I believed she was sent to terrorize me that evening.
“This man dem send you come? What’s your problem?”
I didn’t answer her; I stood as far away from her as I could. She kept trying to get a glimpse of me and I did the same. She was such an unusual creature. My eyes kept drifting to her chest. She was fully dressed and packaged. She had on the tightest mini skirt that showed off her long legs. The high heels she had on must have been getting uncomfortable to stand in because she kept shaking off her legs. The bus finally arrived and we all rushed to get the best seat in the tight bus. The conductor shouted the transportation fee a million times as if his passengers were deaf.
“50 naira, 50 naira.”
“How much you say e be again?” A woman asked as she stood blocking the door to the bus.
“Madam you no hear me since dey shout 50 naira?” The already frustrated conductor shouted at her.
“Where I dey go? From here to there 50 naira? For what!” She also raised her voice.
“Ehn na I no force you to enter. From here to there con dey waka go.” He hissed and was about shutting the door when I finally made my way through the crowd.
“Oga you wan enter?” I hopped on and he shut the door. As I was about to take my seat, she coughed. It was the same lady from before. I realized I was about to settle down next to her. I knew she had a problem with the seating arrangement but I wasn’t about to get off that bus because of her. I took the seat and made myself comfortable. When the conductor called for his passengers to start paying, I shoved my hands into my pocket and brought out the last money I had with me which was 100 naira. I held it out to get the conductor’s attention. He asked the lady next to me first. She went into her purse and brought out nothing. She kept smiling at the conductor as if to seduce him into not asking for her bus fee. The red lipstick she painted her lips with made her lips bigger and most definitely inviting.
“Madam, abeg pay up joor, I get family for house to feed.”
“Sir, just give me 5 minutes to call someone, I must have lost my wallet.” I could tell she was lying and the conductor was not buying her explanation either. To save her from the embarrassment ahead, I decided to pay for the both of us.
“Hey, for two…” I raised 2 fingers up and handed the man the 100 naira.
“Na this man save our life today, the thing I for do you.” The conductor hadn’t had a lovely day and neither had I. My playing of Mr. nice guy cost me 50 naira that I would have used to get on another bus to my final destination. When the bus finally stopped, we all rushed off as the driver prepared for his new passengers. I saw her get off and headed south without saying a thing to me. I didn’t know how far of a walk my sister’s house was from where the bus stopped so I stood there waiting on some miracle. Some few minutes later, someone tapped me from behind. I turned around to find her smiling at me. She handed me a paper bag. I starred at the content inside the bag and then back at her.
“I’m sorry about before.” She said. I was about to return the paper bag back to her but the growling sound from stomach said otherwise.
“I’m sorry too.”
We stood facing each other, waiting for the other to speak next.
“Um, where are you heading to?” she asked when she saw me looking at a bus that was drawing closer.
“My sister’s place but…”
“Yes, I understand.” She smiled.
“How about I return the favor?”
“Oh no, you have done enough.” I rose up the paper bag which held the food she had bought me.
“Come on, it’s nothing. Do you know what? I caused this…” she smiled again. “I had the money to pay for my bus fee but I thought it would work on him; what I did with the others.”
We were both strangers who had met in an unpleasant situation but we chit chatted like high school buddies and for those few minutes, I was a new man, forgetting all my worries. The next bus came and we both got into it. I’ve always had bad lucks with women and I intended to right all my wrongs this time.