You are fondling with your phone as you wait for the bus to get filled. Outside, standing by the door and shouting, the conductor is lying to attract travelers. Even though four vacant seats remain, he keeps saying, “One more passenger! Banye! O ga pu!”
A lone beggar walks to the open door of the bus, with a broken arm… pleading for funds, asking seated passengers for empathy. You watch as people give him N20 and N50, making sure it is the least denomination in their purses they let him have. As he collects these donations he prays for the bus. ‘God go bless una’, ‘Una no go poor’, ‘God go give una better pikin’, ‘Accident no go see una’, he prays.
You give him your widow’s mite before he leaves to another loading bus and then continue with your phone. Unassuming travelers fall for the conductor’s trick and in no time, the bus is on its way.
Thirty minutes into the trip, you notice the bus’ momentum decline. Looking up from your phone you see a long queue of vehicles ahead. Cars going to and fro are now sharing a single lane.
The man seated just next to you starts complaining. He talks about how the contractor in charge of constructing this road is deliberately slow on delivery. About how he has elongated the schedule of this project all in an effort to stay longer on site and get more pay. About how this was a fraudulent collaboration between him and the government. Other passengers around you affirm his story and soon the bus is resonating of talk of bad governance and corruption.
You sigh, frustrated by your own anger, and angry because you are unable to do a thing about your current situation. You realise that this trip that should have taken an hour would now take three. As you recline into your uncomfortable leather seat, with no outlet to vent your anger, you put the blame on that beggar with a broken arm. After all, he was the one who did not pray against corrupt contractors.
Long ago, in the olden days, the people gathered together to celebrate Falemtime. That is, the special day of lovement, and sharing of flowers, and wearing of red cloth like somebody that is Sango Priest. Ehen, so the people gathered.
Everybody had falemtime. Everybody had boo. Everybody had bae. So everybody was now now happy, doing falemtime with happiness, and joyness. But somebody was left out. The person did not have falemtime.
Can you guess who?
It was you.
You di nor haff falemtime. So you cried evritiem. I think of this and I cri too. I cri evritiem.
This is a very sad falemtime story. Very sad. *crien*
You woke up on Thursday of last week and just killed your roommate. You’ve always hated the idea of having one. You cannot sleep in a crowded room – this is the real reason why you moved out of campus anyway.
Your roommate didn’t ask for permission before moving in, and didn’t even share in the paying of rent. You just came back from lectures one afternoon, famished and tired, to realize that you had to co-habit.
Your roommate was a gecko with an almost translucent skin. You can swear you could partly see his insides just by looking at his skin… or is it her insides? Her skin? You are not sure.
Your roommate occasionally hid in the crack by the corner of your Southern wall, and ran marathons about the other three walls… and the ceiling, of course. His presence never really disturbed you. It was not like the rat living with your neighbour, eating up his documents and making noises at night when he was trying to study.
Since your roommate displayed good behaviour, you never moved to hurt him. You never chased him like your neighbour chased his. You never asked Umaru your gatekeeper about what poison was best to use on unwanted domestic guests.
And maybe your roommate saw this. Because he moved about proudly on your walls, showing no element of fear – even at times when you moved towards him to see if he would flinch. Perhaps he even trusted you.
But last Thursday you broke that trust. Thinking about it now, you can’t make out a reason why you did it. You just felt irritated by his presence. He came out of the crack on the wall to run his habitual marathon. You picked up a shoe and waited patiently for him to be halfway across the wall, far away from the safety of the crack and far away from the next possible exit. Then you struck him. It took just one blow. One swift, powerful swing of that moccasin shoe. Baam! And your roommate was dead.
Joy didn’t overwhelm you after the kill. Ironically, you felt almost sad.
There was really enough room for both of you. Nobody really needed to go for the other to have more space. As you think about it now, you realize this.
Then slowly, you also realize why Israel bombed Gaza, why World Wars have been fought, why ethnic and religious wars still rage in your country. There is really enough room in this world for all to co-exist, people just never want to employ the virtue of tolerance.