Episode 4 ‘Vision 2020’

Sometimes, you just have to eat the humble pie, no matter how sour or salty it tastes.
The visions I had just seen before my very eyes made me smile a bit; but it largely made me frown.
I felt embarrassed by Tosin’s actions; I was hoping she would, at least, had given me more attention based on the short and brief history the two of us shared.
But till the journey came to an end, and the driver stopped the car, we didn’t exchange even a single word.

Still unhappy at the manner I had been treated and mistreated, I tried to open the door before the car stopped.
But the door didn’t open. I tried again, but it seemed the door handle was no longer working.

The guy in the suit opened the door beside him easily and got out.
Tosin, who had been waiting for me to open the door so she could come out from my side, changed her mind and followed Judas out.
But stubbornly, I refused to go out of the cab through Judas’ door. If I couldn’t win a beautiful lady’s attention, at least I should be able to open an ordinary car door.

But no matter how hard I tried, I could not open it. The handle got stuck and I was left fuming.

‘Pass this side and come out.’ Tosin said to me as she looked at me struggling inside the car without progress.

I frowned and didn’t answer her.
I would have told her a resounding NO, but I didn’t want to seem childish.
So I kept quiet and continued pushing the car door.

‘Oga, what’s wrong with you?!’ The driver finally noticed my hard work. ‘If you spoil the handle, I will…’
I didn’t allow him finish his threat before I turned to him and sent bullets flying at him through my eyes.
‘So I need to read a textbook before I can know how to open your door?’ My tone dripped with sarcasm and I thought he would feel the verbal attack.

But he just laughed. He threw his head backwards and laughed at my words. ‘You funny o.’ He said.
‘Wait, I will come and open it.’ He added, and went out of the car.
He placed his hand on the door handle, drew it upwards, pushed it back and drew it upwards again.
And like an ‘Open Sesame’ spell, the door was wide open.

The driver smiled at me and shook his head. ‘Wetin the other door do you wey you no wan pass there?’

I didn’t answer him.
I was already walking away when I changed my mind.
I decided to stop asking Tosin for help and following her around like a shadow.
I wanted to be independent and be free of her, so I asked directions from the driver and decided to continue the journey on my own.

I forced a smile and tried to speak without giving away my frustration.
‘Please sir,’ I began respectfully, ‘How can I get bus to Ikorodu?’
The driver didn’t speak; he just pointed to the other side of the road where I saw two large long buses parked. They were the BRT buses.

I was already leaving and walking towards the road when his voice stopped me.

‘Are you new in Lagos?’ he asked.
I initially frowned, and then I slowly nodded my head.
‘No wonder,’ He said, ‘You can’t cross this road.’
He pointed at an overhead bridge some meters away. ‘Cross that bridge.’

As I looked at the overhead bridge, I saw Tosin already ascending the steps without looking back.
‘She didn’t even try to direct me.’ I thought and frowned.

I had started to walk towards the bridge when I remembered I had not thanked the driver.
‘Thank you sir.’ I turned, raised my hand and said, and he nodded at me.

I started for the overhead bridge and rolled the matter of Tosin and my behaviour around my mind as I walked.
I wanted to be sure I had acted in the right way, and after some moments, I realized I was not at fault for anything.
‘It is Judas that caused everything.’ I thought aloud.

I confidently walked on and got to the bus stop less than two minutes later.
I met a long queue and stayed at the end of it. When I looked ahead, I saw Tosin paying and collecting her bus ticket.
She looked back at me at the end of the queue and smiled. But the smile looked wicked in my sight, and I didn’t smile back.
I continued to watch her until she climbed the steps of the bus and entered.

The queue moved slowly until it got to my turn to pay.
I handed a thousand naira note to the young lady collecting the fare and she frowned.
‘Please, I don’t have change.’ I said apologetically. ‘Please ma.’
I chose to show respect and be loyal even though she couldn’t be older than me.

She looked me over and collected the money, gave me change, and handed me my ticket.
I smiled and thanked her as I stepped on the bus.

It was first time in a BRT bus.
I looked around and took in the neatness and intelligent arrangement of seats.

I didn’t know if I had to pick any seat, or sit according to the number on the ticket, so I hesitated a bit while I looked around.
And then, I met Tosin’s eyes looking back at me.
She was still smiling.
She nodded for me to come, and pointed at the free seat beside her.

I didn’t know whether to continue my plan for independence by abandoning her, or oblige her and sit down beside her.
In my process of deciding, a fat woman hit me from behind with the edge of the large bowl she held against her belly.

I stumbled forward and continued moving until I stopped just beside Tosin.
The fat woman never apologized, and I didn’t even bother to expect her to.

Tosin stared at my face and wondered why I wasn’t sitting down.
A certain realization finally crept into her face and she smiled.
‘You can sit anywhere.’ She explained.

I tried not to smile as I sighed and sat down beside her.

The bus doors automatically closed and a screen above my head blinked red letters.
‘Ojota to Ikorodu’ was written in capital letters, and the journey started.

A TV was placed at the back of the driver, and I was amazed.
I had always thought such luxuries could only be afforded to citizens of the developed world.

I looked around the BRT bus and realized the country wasn’t quite as bad as most people tend to think.

I stylishly looked at Tosin sitting beside me, and I decided I wasn’t going to speak to her till the end of the journey.

‘It is better for me not to have empty hopes.’ I thought.
‘It is not as if we will even marry sef.’


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