I didn’t know what on earth made me wake up late to work. I got to the BRT station at Ojota by 7:15am, that is one whole hour behind the usual time I leave for work.
I started sweating profusely when I saw the long queue of people at Ojota waiting to board the few available buses in sight. I knew what was waiting for me already at the office. I needed to shunt the long queue by all means; I made up my mind to beg people in front, yes,people at the beginning of the queue. By my calculation, fellow ladies were out of the equation,so I decided to work up to the guys to ask for their permission to sneak into their front. Luckily for me, the first guy I begged accepted my explanation and created a space between him and the person before him. I squeezed into the space. On a good day, I wouldn’t have allowed any guy’s body to come closer to mine let alone rubbing it. This morning, I didn’t care. As I squeezed in, I heard a few voices grumbling at the back, questioning the young man that allowed me into the space.
Before long, we were all seated in the bus waiting for the ‘pilot’ (that is what they call BRT drivers in Lagos) to commence the journey to CMS in Lagos Island. In the bus, I was sitting by the guy who made it possible for me to be in the bus at that time. The moment the bus set off, the guy cleared his voice, he cleared it again and again. I waited for the words to begin to flow. Nothing came out.
I knew right within me that the guy was finding it difficult to break the ice. He was nice to me some few minutes ago, so I decided to help put him out of his misery. I opened the conversation. I started by thanking him for allowing me to move in his stead. I painted a picture of the misery that singular act had saved me. I paused and looked in his direction, he simply laughed and looked the other way. I was expecting him to carry on from where I stopped, none of that happened.
We had a break of about five minutes. The way he kept adjusting on his seat and other body languages spoke volume of his willingness to chat with me. The guy was simply restless.
At this point, I had to switch on my mischievous side; I imagined how a grown and handsome man like him was finding it difficult to engage a lady in a meaningful conversation. I would ask a question, the guy would answer. One liner answer. Nothing more than that. He couldn’t make contact with my eyes as he answered. He couldn’t even look in my direction either. He kept a straight face.
The rest of the conversation went this way…
Me: Which is your bus stop?
Me: Okay. I am going to CMS.
Me: Is that where you work?
Stranger: Yes, I have a shop in Balogun market.
Me: Hmmm… You didn’t dress like somebody going to the market. You look very smart.
My stranger friend simply laughed and looked the other way.
Me: What is your name?
Me: What is the full meaning?
Me: what do you sell?
Ikenna: I sell female hair extensions
Me: Nice, I will come and patronize you then.
Ikenna: Okay, when are you coming?
Me: Maybe this weekend, if I have the time. If not, I will come another time.
I didn’t say a word to him after that brief conversation, I pulled out Chimamanda’s Americanah and started reading . Ikenna did not utter a word too. I kept quiet until we got to Fadeyi when I resumed teasing him. It was fun looking at Ikenna as he blushed. Men blush too.
Me: You didn’t bother to ask my name?
Ikenna: Sorry, what’ is your own name?
Me: I won’t tell you, you didn’t ask me on time. If I hadn’t asked you, you wouldn’t have told me.
Ikenna cast his gaze on the floor of the bus, he raised his head after a while and looked out of the window. He looked everywhere except me. I wasn’t ready to quit the game, I was having the fun of my life.
Me: Ikenna, you won’t beg me to tell you my name?
Ikenna: Tell me nau.
Me: Is that how you beg?
I almost laughed as I watched Ikenna squeeze his palms. So men squeeze their palms too?
Ikenna: I have begged you na, you don’t want to tell me.
Me: Hmmm…Ikenna beg me now or I won’t tell you again o
Ikenna: But, excuse me; how do you want me to beg you again?
I was surprised he had such energy in his voice. Or maybe I was beginning to irritate him?
Me: am I disturbing you?
Ikenna: No oo
Me: Are you sure?
Hmmm.. Nice assurance. An assurance that encouraged me to tease him the more
Me: Do you have a girlfriend?
Ikenna looked at me, he wanted to answer me but changed his mind midway. His half opened mouth closed. What you may call ‘sealed lips’.
Ikenna: I won’t tell you, you didn’t tell me your name.
See this guy, suddenly, he wants to take the game to me. More like, na my area be this o, fire, make I fire you
Me: hmm… Ikenna you don’t want to tell me, huh?
Ikenna: I don’t have a girlfriend
Ahh, that came out too quick, I thought he had turned a corner.
Me: Really, why?
Ikenna: Nothing. I don’t have.
I moved a notch higher. Second base jare.
Me: Do you like me?
Ikenna: I don’t know
Today na today, you must answer me Ikenna. No, I didn’t say that to him. Yes, I said it to him….in my mind
Me: You don’t want to talk now?
Ikenna: But I said I don’t know
Me: Ok. I’m not talking to you again. I can see you don’t like me.
For where? I didn’t mean it. I wanted to see if he would talk.
Ikenna: I like you. Tell me your name first.
Me: Are you sure you like me?
Me: If you like me, look into my eyes and say yes
How else can you explain the word, putting someone in the spot better than what I just asked.
Ikenna looked at me but didn’t muster the courage to say any word.
Me: You are getting closer to your bus stop o.
Ikenna looked at me this time and said “I like you.”
Hahahaha… I won. I didn’t know some guys could be this shy. Now, I know.
The bus pulled up at Leventis, Ikenna waved bye to me as he alighted from the bus; I held myself from bursting into laughter as I waved back.
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