Area One! Airport Junction! Lugbe!
The taxis are calling out their routes and filling up quickly. Meanwhile, minutes of waiting are threatening to stretch into an hour but you would rather be patient — the El-Rufai bus is fifty naira cheaper and you know very well how a little goes a long way.
Biding your time, you take in everything around you. The nascent sun against the pale horizon; the blood orange wares of the okpa seller; how ashy that keke driver’s legs are. The motor park is a photographer’s dream. A dream implanted in you back when you used to pore through your grandfather’s TIME magazine, the glossy photos opening your eyes to a world bigger than your neighborhood in New Haven, Enugu. Pictures that illustrated war and poverty; celebrations and culture in far-off places with exotic names like Albania, Cambodia, Peru and Tonga.
You should hail an okada right this minute, hop on it and head back home to retrieve your camera—it’s been in its case for too long. And while you’re at it, pull off this constricting tie, roll up these wretched sleeves and dump these fake Italians for comfy sneakers. To hell with your back-breaking, soul-crushing, low-paying bore of a job. With just one click, you can tell a better story than many a writer can.
The big red bus lumbers into your view and breaks your reverie.
Now, you can only think about how badly you want to build your own house in this town; the children you want to sire before the age of forty; not to mention Uloma and how much higher her bride-price will be, now that she is studying for her Master’s.
There are two people left between you and the door.
You still haven’t made your choice.
Post image by sciencesque via Flickr
About the Author:
Akumbu Uche was born in Kaduna, raised in Port Harcourt and educated at the University of Jos. Her writing has appeared in The Kalahari Review, Saraba Magazine, Qarrtsiluni and elsewhere. She lives in Lagos.