A Glimpse of God

I’m one of those people who went cashless even before there were enough ATMs and POS terminals around. I just conveniently forget to withdraw. Somewhere in my head, it helps me spend less. In real life, it ruins my budget plans and makes me spend twice as much! Nonetheless, you’d still catch me with insufficient cash four out of seven days, and yes, today was one of those days.

I didn’t withdraw last night – conveniently forgot again. I’d thought “I’d just ask someone at home to loan me a tiny bit plus some more for emergency“. I had the thought till I slept for the night. Still had it when I woke up this morning. For some reason, I did nothing about it. My mum had put me in a bus already before I realized I hadn’t gotten any money from home and I had just a fraction of the total amount I needed to get to work.

The thing about this morning is it’s about 5:30am, it’s raining “elephants and horses” and the distance between where this bus would stop and the next ATM is probably 5kms (I do not really know what amount of distance this is though) away. I couldn’t believe my life. 

Somewhere in the middle of not believing my life… the bus guy asks for our fares and from absolutely nowhere, the guy beside me reaches out and says he’s paying for two; for both of us! There had been no prior conversation or anything. He just paid.

***

I like to think that there is a glimpse of God everyday, in the most mundane day to day activities that we experience. They are like tiny little miracles that we didn’t even ask for but we needed and they’re His way of letting us know He’s here. I live for those moments.

24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear – Isaiah 65:24

No Stranger, No!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Middle Seat.”

‘Cuz I like to paint the perfect picture everytime;

If you know a bit about Lagos, Nigeria, you do know it’s largely divided into many sects; the most profound division being the Islanders and the Mainlanders.

There’s this mini sect between the two, we’re the “betweeners”

We basically dwell on the mainland, but we spend the most part of our weeks on the Island. I like to think that we’re simply waiting for fate to take it’s course and we’d move up! Literally!

So, everyday, I take a bus to the island, to get to work.

Now, I’d like to cue in again, that in some unexplainable way, there’s some sorta communal feeling when you’re on a bus in the wee hours of the morning. So, we catch the last bit of the sleep we missed together, our heads falling on each other’s shoulders unexpectedly. Then, we wake up and have devotion together; the unexpected preacher starting off with “Let’s just zing diz worship song together” after which we get off wishing each other perfect days.

Mine has an extra twist to it, ‘cuz I take the same bus from the same spot every day, so at least 70% of the people on my bus are the same, everyday! All that’s left is to pack lunch boxes for everyone, in the spirit of communal living. Really.

On random days, roughly between the traffic and the fatigue, the person sitting next to me just glances my way… It’s always my cue to plug my ears and start nodding enthusiatically to sometimes  no song.

I’m not a snob. I’m just following instructions and avoiding a weird play of events.

On a given day, some months back, for some reason, the person sitting next to me and I were the only two awake. When he glanced my way, I reached into my bag quickly to avoid the conversation I was sure was coming. I had no earphones. :(

He waited a bit till I was settled and then began his onslaught. The conversation went thus:

Stranger: I’ve been seeing you everyday, you work on the island?

Me: Yes

Stranger: Where?

Me: Karimu Kotun

Stranger: No, I meant the name of the office.

Me: You wouldn’t know it

Stranger: Oh, Ok. I work on the Island as well. You might not know it too. 

Me: Ok

Stranger: Ahn ahn. Won’t you ask to see if you know it

Me: No

Stranger: Why?

Me: Nothing

Stranger: What’s your name?

Me: ‘Deola

Stranger: That’s a beautiful name

Me: Hmmm

Stranger: You won’t ask for my name

Me: No

Stranger: Are you always like this? Giving one word answers and all…

Me: My parents said not to talk to strangers

***

*Conductor screaming “Obalende bole o*

I shuffle off quickly, leaving Mr. Stranger bewildered :(

I’m not a snob. I’m obedient. 😀

Parable of the Talents – Retold

This isn’t clear-cut “retold” like Maleficient or Cinderella, it’s how I picture the scenario every time I walk by…

I use the overhead bridge in CMS at least 3 times a week, on my way to work. I’ll walk you through the journey.

I’m walking from Marina road to the other side of the road where CMS bus stop is.

From the moment a passerby hits the path that leads to the stairs up the bridge, you’re faced with 5 to 6 or even more small children. They’d swarm around you like little ants to sugar, arms stretched upwards begging for alms.

If you’re able to walk pass without budging, there’s more ahead.

On the filthy bridge, filled with unexplainable liquid sipping downwards by the side and wrappers of all sorts of junk eaten by pedastrians, there are no less than seven adult beggars. Their disabilities are mostly “unspottable”, blind and one; obviously crippled. The kind of crippled that has limbs smaller than arms and has his butt permanently on the ground as his fixed position. He’s the servant with ten talents.

He sits on the bridge with a broom in hand and a yellow plastic bowl somewhere close. He sweeps the bridge to make it comfortable for us to pass and for him to sit. He moves with his hand on the floor to move his body and he sweeps the dirt off the bridge to the end of the stairs. He feeds himself off the proceeds that come from his yellow plastic bowl.

The first time I saw him, my heart thud with something I can’t explain. I walked past and kept turning back to look at him. No, he’s not sitting there to beg to survive, he’s working for it. I see people file up the bridge with something in their hands already, waiting to drop it in the yellow bowl. There are at least 6 others on that bridge, none of them look as sorry and helpless as he does. And none of them do anything extra to make a difference.

Call me sentimental, but seeing him makes all the difference for me. I said good morning to him today and he responded with the brightest smile and added “have a good day”.

He spoke clean english :)

Read the Parable of the Talents here… I’m suddenly not sure there’s a connection x_x

Of Tyres and Death

The funniest thing happened to me this morning.

Let’s take two steps back.

Few weeks ago, I was at Obalende, en route home. There was a little fiasco afar off, people gathered, chanting different things. Some were stuck on “Ole” (that’s thief in yoruba) others on “Kill him” and some others again begging silently for mercy. I asked some passerby what he stole, he said gala. You know gala? That hard supposed sausage roll we consume in traffic that goes for fifty bucks. Yeah that. That dude was about to be sent to his grave for it.

I’ll move on.

I took a bus to work this morning. I was in front next to the driver. See ehn, I live at the end of Lagos and I work on the Island, so I leave my house in the middle of the night – 5 a.m. – to beat traffic and get to work in good time. It’s the life of a hustler, I know.

I’ll move on, again.

I spend the commute sleeping, as expected, so this morning, I was asleep. Unusually sound asleep too. Suddenly the driver taps me and hands me money, I hold it and sleep back. He taps me again and hands me more! It was at this point I realized passengers were passing their fares to him from behind and he was handing them to me so he could concentrate on driving. After everyone had paid, he said to count the money, the expected sum was 5,500, I had 5,400.

He shouted “Who never pay o!, the money never complete” I drifted off again.

I woke up when I realized the bus had stopped moving.

I woke up to angry shouting passengers.

You see, from the 5,400 accumulated, two passengers were gonna collect change summing up to 900 bucks!

ONE WHOLE THOUSAND NAIRA WAS MISSING!

Oh, the bus was filled with angry people, I say.

We spent the next twenty minutes tryna find four people who hadn’t paid. Everyone swore they had. The driver said he wouldn’t move an inch till he got his complete sum. They all continually screamed in frustration.

I sat still, blank eyed, wondering why I woke up in the first place.

Someone suggested we help the situation and contribute 50 bucks each for the guy. I dipped my hand in the side zip of my bag – where I put my change – to contribute my quota.

I found a stray 1,000 naira note.

You know the rest of the story.

It’s not you, it’s me.

This is the part where you call me in.
This is the part where we sit, an air of discomfort swirling around us
This is the part where you look me in the eyes and say with a broken voice “What went wrong?”
This is the part when I look in your eyes with uncertainty and attempt to proceed

***

“It’s not you, it’s me
I’m bored. I’m jaded. I just can’t go on.
I’m in dire need of some new kinda activity. Something different. Something new.
I didn’t grow out of you. I just…”

My voice trails off when I see your look

***

“Don’t patronize me!” you scream
WHAT. WENT. WRONG?!

***

I look at you, rise from my chair and walk towards the door.
I take one more look at you
“Nothing went wrong.” I say
“It really isn’t you, it’s me.”

***

This is the part where I walk away
This is the part when I hope you call me back
This is the part when I hope we would have another conversation when you’ve cooled off
This is the part when I hold on to that hope.