Many of the faces that had been around the pool had changed, most had been replaced with new faces while the old were gone. Chizaram was tired of playing and many of the children she had been playing with had left with their parents, she walked over to where her mother was seated chatting vivaciously with Akunna, they had moved from one topic to another. Fate had brought them back together and they savoured their moments together.
One look at her daughter and she knew that the girl was tired. Her eyes were heavy and tired and she looked hungry. Ezinne yawned, folding her lower lip up between her teeth to suppress the extent to which she opened her mouth in public.
“You are tired” Akunna said, stating the obvious. The little time she had spent sleeping had done her a lot of good and now she was grateful she had taken that nap, otherwise how was she going to handle the steering until they got home?
“Yes, and I still need to see someone on the mainland” Ezinne answered for her daughter. She smiled at the realisation, it was what mother’s did for their children.
“Don’t worry, I would take Zaram home then you meet us at home”
She groaned inwardly, of course she was grateful to Aku for helping her with a daughter, her only issue was that somewhere within her she had hoped Aku would offer to drop her off, well wasn’t she asking for too much? The lady had her own life and wasn’t her driver. She kicked herself, she was beginning to see life from a different perspective, and now she was getting too comfortable and even enjoying comfort, which was one part of life she hadn’t expected until it came knocking. No, not just knocking but until it walked into her life and took a big seat.
“Thank you Aku, God bless you.” She meant it, even more than she could show.
She picked up Chizaram who was leaning against her and drifting between sleep and awake. Gently she placed her to lie behind and closed the car door before giving Aku a brief hug. They bade each other good-bye before Ezinne found her way out of the small private relaxation centre towards the road. She flagged down the first car, upon informing the driver that she was headed to Toll-gate, he drove off.
She hissed, “Lagosians are so rude, what’s wrong with him just saying ‘I am not going that way’? Must he just zoom off like someone high on something” she hissed again, well he probably was high on something. The heat was doing some terrible harm to her skin and she longed for the relaxation she had just left behind. Now she agreed with Akunna that little enjoyments here an there really did make a difference.
She flagged another vehicle down, it was a small red private car, despite herself and the unsettling feeling in the pit of her stomach she joined the other two passengers in the car before informing the driver that she was headed to Toll-gate. He assured her that she would get a vehicle going to toll-gate when she alighted at Iyana-oworo, which was his last drop. Rather than get into any argument or request to be allowed to alight, she confirmed to the driver to continue on his journey. She shrugged off the inconvenience, at least she was moving and before long she would be closer to the main-land and out of the sun. No sooner had she settled in, the young man who sat behind beside her, informed the driver of his intention to alight and requested that he be allowed time to pick up his luggage from the trunk of the car.
The driver began to query the young man, desiring to know where he obtained the foreign currency in his bag from. Stating to his defence, even though he hadn’t been accused, that the bag had opened when he was taking out the bag of a previous passenger.
Ezinne zipped her bag and clutched it closer to her bosom when the young man started to confess that he was just a house-boy in his bosses house and that his boss just passed on and that was how he stole the money. He told the driver that the boss was a Mallam who changed currencies. When the man was done talking, the driver blatantly stated that he wasn’t going to allow him alight, that he would rather take him to their park at Iyana-oworo and report to members of his union. In what passed like a minute, the man sitting at the passenger’s seat pleaded on the so-called house boy’s behalf, and suggested to the driver to rather allow the man settle him then drop him on the way. After making his suggestion, the passenger asked Ezinne for her opinion. She turned her head away, setting her gaze on the road and pretending not to be listening to the conversation. Her interest wasn’t piqued, besides why would they be asking for her opinion? What business did she have in the matter?
She heard the driver complain about the passenger’s suggested and protest that what if it was a bomb the guy was carrying. He then turned to her to ask for her opinion. Rather than respond she told him to drop her off at Iyana-oworo as agreed. To her amazement, he stopped immediately and asked her to come down that she would find another means of transportation. She protested before coming down but before she could say more the driver sped off leaving behind him a trail of smoke. She stood on 3rd mainland bridge staring behind them as they left her standing there wondering what the hell had just happened. Immediately she gathered her wits she quickly checked her bag for her phone and wallet, and heaved a sigh of relief when she found them. Now she was back in the sun, she hissed in despair, the devil really had it out for her today. As she waited at the bus-stop where she had been dropped her mind revisited the event she had just witnessed. It didn’t make sense that the driver had told only her to alight, after all the guy in the passenger’s seat had made a suggestion which was contrary to what the driver had in mind. They all had to be in on the plan, she nodded her head to confirmation, they wanted to dupe her.