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Akin walked faster. It had been ten days, he felt he would implode. He needed to do this now, he had to. He looked behind him before hailing a cab. He was so ashamed; he was married man, a father, with kids, why? Why was this happening to him? He could not tell his wife, how could he explain it? She would not understand, she would probably tell that buffoon of a mother who would probably whisk him away to church where it would be confirmed as the work of the devil. No, he could not tell her. The last time she had found him having a smoke behind the house, there had been prayer meetings for a week. Telling his wife anything at all was a problem. When he had married her, he thought she was smart, after all she had graduated from a top university in the states, she had lived there for more than five years. She was the one that had wanted to move back to Nigeria. He had been happy with his life in the States where people understood these things…he had been happy there. Now, this is what he was reduced to, sneaking from the house, like a thief but this had to be done. He directed the cab driver to the busiest part of the park, he looked around, there was an almost full bus with market women. He never went to the same park twice, yes, that bus would do. The illiterate market women, they would not be able to understand, he had to take the chance.
“Oga, one seat remain, oya enter”

Akin sat in the middle seat facing a group of chatting market women. He had to do it now. This was his chance. The group of women began giggling and nudging to one another, an especially bold one called to her friend at the back.
“Ah! Sister, see as that man forget to zip im trousers, see as im penis just dey outside anyhow!”
The bus of women burst into laughter.
“See as the thing big!”
“Zip the thing na”
“Na bush be that?”

Akin quickly rushed out of the bus, zipping his trousers as he walked briskly away from the bus.
“Oga, you no dey go?”
He did not answer the conductor but hailed a motorcycle and  went back the same way he came.

 

Sylvia Ofili writes for  Guardian Nigeria. She is also a Brittle Paper favorite. 

 

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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