I sighed with resignation as my car came to a halt. These will now be my neighbours, ma familia for the next couple of minutes hopefully, i mused as traffic came to a standstill. I again considered the wisdom in my decision to head towards Maraba at closing time knowing full well that i would get in this jam.
I crunched on the carrots i bought earlier to juice. Might as well get the fiber, i thought as my mind scanned the area to find some distraction. As we crawled along i noticed a girl on the road divider doing the chicken dance. You know, the one girls do when they are trying to cross the road. I find it mildly irritating as i believe the uncertainty poses more of a hazard than even stepping headlong into traffic; Lagos style, brazenly plowing your way to the other side.
I smiled as another girl who had just made it to the divider gives her the “what is doing this one?” look as she prepares to lunge into the sea of cars. The boys hawking are laughing and jeering at her when one steps forward and gives her the crook of his arm. The others cheer the Ribena-laden champion as he tells her in broken English to take his arm and he will take her across. She continues to whip her hands in that imbecilic way that is a cross between drying your nails and doing the spirit fingers as he calmly assures her that they will both be fine.
Finally she obliges and takes his arm. He expertly dodges the cars with one hand keeping his wares in place on his head while she clings to him, muttering what i believe to be a prayer of protection while not even daring to look at the cars. I watch through my side mirror as they make it to the other side, safe. She waves a thank you and scuttles off, embarassed and relieved at the same time. Our hero expert surges back inbetween the cars, loudly calling out his wares; his good deed done for the day. And as i face my own journey, i smile at the reality that for a moment that clean chic, clad in her shredded jeans and top with her baby curl weave and makeup on fleek was a damsel in distress who did meet her grime covered-sweat slicked-unlikely champion.
Valentine no hard. Let’s keep it simple.
Photo credit: “Feeble but blessed hands”._ Ibrahim Suleiman