“I’ve balanced!” my colleague Fade said with a huge sigh of relief. That was basically my cue to leave the office each day as my Head of Operations had passed a strict rule that no one was to leave the office (especially the customer service officer which happened to be me), until the tellers had balanced their transactions for the day.
Truthfully it didn’t make any sense to me considering I was living the farthest but I was deter-“mind” not to complain and give my boss one more reason to think that everyone who attended a private university was a weakling. As I headed straight to TBS to catch the bus to Ajegunle, I mumbled a short prayer asking God to make me the last person in the bus. All this kabashing was so I won’t miss my favorite telenovela.
And you totally guessed right! The reverse was the case. Not only did I see someone sit on my dream chair, I painfully watched as a bus left the park making me the first in the metallic monster that was next in line. Hissing rather loudly (I know it’s a bad habit and I’m working on it), I got into the rickety bus, being very careful not to allow my knitted sweater get caught on one random nail sticking out from one of the seats. As I headed straight for the last seat by the window, I noticed that the bus had so many of them it could very well have been a cactus! Ajegunle buses are the worst I swear! The very epitome of the magic school bus from hell! I mumbled another short prayer this time praying the bus would fill up quickly.
I know some of you will ask why I didn’t stay in the passenger’s seat by the driver instead of heading for the back but trust me when I say it’s for the best. You NEVER want to experience sitting on the engine of an Ajegunle bus. The heat not only burns your derriere but the leather of your shoes. I digress.
As I waited patiently, a barbing salon cum video club was blasting music. I rolled my eyes as the song switched from Drake’s “Hotline Bling” to Big Shef’s hiphop version of his mother’s Waka hit “Gentle lady”.
“Gentle lady ni mi mi n ki se fighter o…” I sang along not because I liked the song but because I hated it. Call me strange but I find that I know the lyrics to songs I detest quicker that the ones I love. This makes criticizing the song sweeter as I mimic the musician in the most annoying way.
Barely 10 minutes later, I had paid the conductor (who became my friend simply because I helped him change a thousand Naira to crisp 100 Naira notes) and nonchalantly scanned my fellow seat mates. Sitting at the other end of the chair was an old woman and in between the both of us were two men. Now the thing is I typically wouldn’t care about whom I was sitting with on the same row but I just had to. I really didn’t have a choice. A rather unusual stench had followed one of them into the bus and right beside me.
Jokes aside, I pride myself at being able to discern scents and stenches and what makes up the combination and I kid you not when I tell you the stench reeked of shoe polish and fish guts. In fact, to be exact, the popular bony sawa fish. I assessed the carrier of the malodor expecting to see a fish seller but boy-oh-boy was I disappointed.
Mr. Polish was a well-dressed dude in a navy blue suit carrying a laptop bag. No he wasn’t eye candy (that would have killed me!) but he wasn’t bad either. Tsk tsk tsk…His mother didn’t scrub him well is what my grand ma would have said if she were in my shoes at that moment.
“Abeg conductor off this light make we no boil!” Mr. Polish said. Then he looked at me and added, “abi what do you feel?”
I knew that scope immediately. Na so toasting dey take start and seriously ain’t nobody gat time for that. I had already been seized by the bae and I was loving it.
Back to the matter, I simply gave Mr. Polish a nice smile, shrugged and put my head down to feign sleep.
Fast forward to 30 minutes later in the mad Ijora-Olopa traffic, feigned sleep became the real deal y’all. I was fast asleep with my head on the edge of the seat in front of me and was about to enter Stage 2, when I felt the tickling sensation to the side of my right breast! I woke up with a start and peered at Mr. Polish. He actually looked so innocent I thought I imagined it. In fact I assumed my bag was about to be picked.
Grabbing my bag a little tighter to my chest, I became alert and resumed my sleeping position only this time it was for show. I became a monitoring spirit for my own bag and bazoongas!
And there it was…
Two fingers tracing the side of my breast and heading straight for my nipple.
Omo! That was all the ginger I needed! Gentle lady went out the window and Warri area girl took her place. The slap was swift and deft! A resounding back hand slap across Mr. Polish’s mouth left not only his upper lip split in half but three of my knuckles bleeding.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked ever so sweetly, yet menacingly enough for him to dare retaliate or even answer.
A befuddled Mr. Polish stared at me in utter disbelief as he tasted his own blood.
“Ahn ahn! What is the meaning of this?” he asked shakily.
Beeeep! Wrong answer!!
And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. A quick jab with my elbow to his left side, two more slaps across his face and a head-butt to his chest answered his question.
Then there was chaos. Shouts of “wetin”, and “e don do” prompted the conductor to switch on the inner light. The old mama on my row decided she was in the best position to explain to the other passengers.
“If to say the girl wear open cloth I for say na em cause am but na office cloth she wear. And ashewo dese days no dey pass 300 naira for the cheapest one still yet na working class woman u see to go touch em bress”.
Truthfully I’m not sure if I was embarrassed by the fact that she had told the whole bus that I was sexually harassed but all I wanted at that time was for Mr. Polish to get off the bus.
“Oya come dan naa before I open my eyes! Oohhkay! Na because you won do bad thing na em make you tell me make I off light!” the conductor screamed. “Tell the girl sorry first make you come dan”. To the driver he added, “owa driver! Idiot won come dan!”
Mr. Polish knew his career in “exploring the contours of a female body” had come to a disgraceful end as he got up, adjusted his tie, muttered a quick apology and eased his way to the door.
Yet the craziest part of the whole ordeal was not the fact that everyone became buddies in the bus because they were all talking about what had happened and were exchanging stories, or the fact that two ladies identified Mr. Polish as a regular breast explorer or that a woman rebuked me for having slapped Mr. Polish because he could have retaliated and I could have lost a tooth. It was what my fellow seat mate, Mama to be precise, said to me.
“Fine geh, the soap wey u dey use baff no good. Na the soap dey attract this kain man and if you no change am, e go happen again,” she croaked.
I simply laughed, told her thank you and chalked her sayings as superstitious balderdash.
Well, guess who wasn’t laughing when the same thing happened the following week? Me! And guess what was even creepier? Mama was in the same bus when it happened and she gave me the “you-never-change-your-soap-abi?” look.
And just so you know…
No! I wasn’t sleeping again. This guy was way more advanced. I’ll save the details for another day.
Yes! I punched him in the gut before alighting from the bus. No need to start another ruckus but he wasn’t getting off that easy.
No! I haven’t stopped using my soap. When next I see Mama I’ll ask her to recommend one and as long as it’s not Omo, Mama Lemon or S.T, I’m good.
Yes! I now leave the office in time to the catch the ferry or better still I take a bike straight home. I milked the situation well enough to make my Head of Operations feel guilty for making me experience such abuse.
My breasts are still intact. Bae and the mirror still confessed it to me.
Nothing missing (my bag), nothing broken (my tooth), or deflated (my breasts).
Image via Science of Natural Game