STORY ONE: Na you kill Bola Ige?
I’ve lived in our house since I was 9 months old. Or 6 months. At least so they tell me. And I have seen a lot of people come, go, get married, pregnant and even die.
Opposite our house is a face-me-I-face-you. When I was younger I used to run races with the girls there and I almost always won. And I admired the fact that when there was no light, the occupants of the house would bring their mattresses, or mats and lay them on the ground and doze off. I did not admire the mosquitoes or the creepy crawlies. Next to our house, there used to be an uncompleted building. Until 4 years ago that is. It was half built when it became the subject of a court case. Weeds choked the uncompleted structure and lots of people threw stuff into it. Every couple of months, someone would go in and burn all the weeds and refuse. Personally, when Tessa wouldn’t eat my garri or whatever else I couldn’t, I’d ball it up in a black nylon and haul it over the fence separating both houses. Or when I cleaned out my room. Now it’s a duplex and I keep trying to get used to people being able to look into our house. Plus their baby kept me up for 2 years straight with his night crying.
Then there was our neighbour three houses down. I remember her most for her goofy smile and the way she kept calling me Ada even though I kept telling her that my name was Uju and I was technically not the Ada. She had a daughter named Nonso. My parents of course remember her more as the woman who disconnected our water pipe so that when Water Corporation gave us water, it diverted to her house instead of ours. Apparently she diverted somebody else’s light as well.
But the funniest neighbours we’ve ever had are merely a house down from ours. She is a white garment church member with a penchant for shouting loud prayers at midnight, 3PM, 6PM and other times. I learnt pretty early on to start walking when I was greeting her. If not, you were liable to be pulled into a very long conversation in which she’d offer you and your family a “gift”, most usually a book and then 6 months later she’d come to ask for it back. Something she told you to keep oh. I have to laugh, if not I’d be super angry and it takes energy to be angry. I do not have that energy to be angry at an old, obviously lonely woman.
For about 4 years though, she didn’t stay in the house. Her husband, he’s dead now, was funny as well but in a different way. He did not seem to attend her church or keep the whole street up or wake the whole street up with loud prayers. But he had his own drama as well.
I remember him most as asking people, my cousins, myself, my brothers if we had killed influential people.
“Na you kill Bola Ige?”
“Na you kill Funsho Williams?”
About a year after he died, his wife moved back in.
My street is changing yet again, two new buildings are going up. I hope I don’t miss these days and that whoever moves in doesn’t advise my 13 year old brother to get a girlfriend like I heard one asshole doing last year. I don’t have the energy to keep arguing with idiots biko. And that the people who move in don’t scale our fence and steal my wallet, my Dad’s money or our generator. Amen.
So I like walking to the bus park. You know that. Unless its raining, or I don’t feel like, or I’m trying to avoid this keke driver that has taken a liking to me and seems to want to touch me etc
Last week, I was happily walking to the park but I had to pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Death i.e underneath the bridge. It’s a road on its own but it’s underneath the Expressway. As a teenager I used to love walking the path until the fifth time a truck almost hit me. The other option that would see me avoiding getting hit was to jump into a very dirty gutter filled with excrement, used plastic bottles and soupy algae. It smells like death. When Uche was around, because of the wait occasioned by her fear of okadas and the scarcity of tricycles she’d ask me, “Uju why can’t we just walk?”
I never did until this year when there were no bikes or tricycles so I walked. And it was all good until I was going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. A green car swerved headed directly towards me. It would have hit me but somehow it didn’t but it brushed me aside quite roughly and it took so much restraint not to break his glass. There was so much space in the middle, what’s your problem? Anyway, I’m still alive, he didn’t run over my feet and I didn’t have to jump into the gutter. Thank you Lord!
So on Thursday last week it was raining so my dad dropped me off at work. After work, I was walking to the place where I’d get a tricycle or Keke to Oregun when a woman hailed me. She asked where I was going. I told her. She said to get into the car and she’d drop me off. I hesitated. She asked me if I thought she wanted to kidnap me so I laughed and relented.
She said she knew me. I couldn’t place her face and I told her so. Then she recounted an episode to me where I’d done something nice for her. I’d forgotten about it but she hadn’t. She lived in Berger too. And she was super nice.
When I got out of the car, I just thanked God for encouraging my faith. It gets difficult sometimes.
STORY FOUR: My butt hurts but I’m happy
So I started exercising again and I started a new exercise regime- squats and lunges. My thighs hurt badly but still I keep on. Walking up stairs is quite painful though. And walking straight lines is just a little less painful but I really didn’t want to do that either. But today for so many reasons and at so many times I had to. Going to the police station, having to walk super far to get a tricycle to Ikeja, then the bus I was on overheated at just before 1st Oando and the choices were as follows:
a. Run across the Expressway. Heck no!
b. Or walk from 1st Oando to my house through another Valley of the Shadow of Death. This is the one I chose. Surprisingly with all the walking the tension on my gluteus maximus and my thighs has eased. Yippee!
STORY FIVE: Thank You God
So today, I saw a motorcycle flip over, dissemble on impact and throw off the rider and a passenger. They’re still alive and last I saw, they were well enough to argue with each other. So please thank God for those lives as well.
Have a fantastic week ahead!
http://subulolajiboye.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/the-unanimous-quest/- I really loved this one.