They say a problem shared is half-solved; even if you shared it to a brick of stones.
As the evening started, and the bus neared the bus stop, I started to think about my predicament.
The person who I was going to visit instructed me to call him when I arrive at the bus stop, but my phone battery was empty and dead.
Since my former approach of keeping my problem to myself had failed, I decided it might be wiser to share my problem with Tosin.
But I was a bit hesitant, and didn’t exactly know how to start.
The bus continued its forward run, the sun was reducing its light, and I tried to look at Tosin’s face without looking.
I cleared my throat a bit and shifted my head. My eyeballs moved to the edges of the socket as I tried to spy out her demeanour.
She was still reading something from her phone, and looked peaceful.
The light in her eyes sharply contrasted the gloom in my mind and impeding doom I could face within minutes.
Different stories of people being kidnapped, stolen and carried inside sacks on the streets of Lagos came to my mind, and I started to get afraid.
I didn’t want to stand around the bus stop or walk around aimlessly like a lost puppy while trying to find a place to charge my phone battery.
The new realization made me drop my covert observation and I decide to be open about my problem.
So I turned my head and faced Tosin directly.
I continued to look at her face and I was starting to get carried away by her beauty before she raised her head and looked back into my eyes.
And in that split second, something magical, like a spark of charges or a speck of an inexplicable yet extraordinary feeling, passed in my mind.
It came quite suddenly, and went away just as quickly. It was like a traveling light, yet, it was very glaring within me.
Tosin frowned slightly, and then bent her head in a what-are-you-looking-for manner.
‘We are not at the bus stop yet.’ She said.
Just as she spoke, the vision I had seen in the cab returned to me sharply, and it cleared as soon as I saw it. But that fleeting delay was enough to change my look into a stare.
I quickly looked away.
‘I know we haven’t got to the bus stop.’ I gathered myself quickly and remembered my problem.
‘I have a little problem.’ I confessed to her.
She frowned, sat straight, and shifted on her seat.
‘Don’t worry, it is not a money problem.’ I tried to joke.
When she didn’t laugh immediately, I started to think she took me serious.
But then she laughed. ‘Even if it a money problem, I will try. So far it isn’t an algebraic equation.’
It was my turn to laugh, and I really did.
The laughter seemed to soothe some of my fears, and I was able to think clearer.
‘It is not a mathematical problem either.’ I assured her. ‘My phone battery is dead.’
‘Okay…’ she said.
‘The friend I am going to visit told me to call him at the bus stop so he could give me directions.’ I explained.
‘You can call her from my phone then.’ Tosin offered even before I asked.
For the second time that day, I began to wonder if she was an angel particularly sent to me by my friends in heaven.
‘God bless you abundantly.’ I said without thinking.
She smiled and didn’t say ‘Amen’ but I didn’t overthink that fact.
‘But the problem is that I don’t know his phone number offhand.’
‘Oh!’ Tosin said. ‘That’s really a problem.’
I nodded in agreement with her. ‘That is my problem. And I don’t know what to do.’
As I said the last statement, I realized I was speaking to a stranger who I had only known for about one hour.
And there I was, telling her I didn’t know what to do, as if she were my mother.
The two of us stayed silent for the next moments as we tried to think.
‘So the real problem is how to charge the phone?’ Tosin asked.
‘Yes. The real problem is how to charge the phone.’ I stated.
Just then, the bus tyres rolled slowly towards the bus stop and one or two passengers stood up and held the rail that ran below the roof.
The bus honked and finally ground to a stop. A neon light blinked in red and the words, ‘Agric Bus stop’ rolled through the glass.
More people were on their feet and the electronic door opened automatically.
It was the first time I would witness such height of technology physically, and I was impressed though I tried to hide it.
I turned to look at Tosin and found her already standing, so I stood up too.
‘We get off here?’ I asked her quickly.
‘We get off here.’ She answered.
We walked towards the door and as I waited for the rush to reduce a bit, the engine of the bus kicked into life again.
A woman, the same one who hit me with the big bowl, shouted at the driver. ‘Oga, better wait!’
‘You this small boy, leave the road if you are not passing.’ It seemed she was shouting at me, but I convinced myself it wasn’t me.
I joined the throng anyway, and squeezed between a man and a woman whom I presumed to be his wife.
When I finally got down from the bus, I found Tosin already standing outside.
I was sincerely shocked and got more convinced she must be an angel.
‘But you were behind me just now.’ I said to her as I moved away from the bus.
Tosin just smiled, but before she could answer, the bus door closed and returned to the road.