No, not a true life story.
I looked at the man pointing the gun at my head with bulging eyes. Sweat was further darkening the ski mask he wore on his head that left spaces for his two eyes and mouth. His nostrils, though not visible, were flared in anger as I sat firmly on the bench of the danfo bus, not moving or even planning to move. I knew his nostrils were flared because his chest rose and fell rapidly and of course, I could see them expanding with each second I remained on the seat. I also knew he had not pulled a trigger before. I would be dead or seriously injured if he had. But all this did not count. Only in death would people know my shame.
See, it is not my intention to continue to aggravate this thief. On a normal day, when I am with my dignity and senses, nothing will make me more obedient than seeing a masked man wielding a murder weapon and pointing it in my direction, threatening to end my life with a twitch of muscle.
“GET THE FUCK DOWN FROM THIS FUCKING BUS OR I WILL FUCKING BLOW YOUR FUCKING BRAINS ALL OVER THIS FUCKING BUS!”
I did not move. Tears clouded my vision as I pointed my bag at him as I had done for the past two minutes he had been raving.
“Please, I beg you in the name of God, take my bag. Everything is inside.”
Shame is a serious issue for me. Even slight embarrassment. Once, I had fallen terribly ill to the bafflement of the school nurse who found nothing to be the cause of my illness, just because a boy in my secondary school four years ago had told me that my skirt was unzipped. I had thought the whole thing through a million times in my head, wondering if he saw the holes that stood as Winnie the Pooh’s eyes on my panties (which my mother had promised to replace the next visiting day) that showed clearly when I turned to look at my open skirt zip. So, you see, I might just slump and die if anybody discovered me now, no need for trigger-happy fingers.
The driver had fled earlier at the sound of gunshots, just about two minutes after the conductor had left for the nearby bushes to ‘ease’ himself and left five frightened passengers struggling to open the door of the rickety bus to no avail. The moon and the stars had fled too, leaving us with no option than turn on the flashlight applications our mobile phones for illumination. There were no passers-by at this time and most especially in this location where the driver had passed to cut corners. The driver side of the bus was demarcated from the passengers’ side by a metal sheet with a window too small for any of us to fit through. The fair guy that sat beside me had begun to whimper, all thoughts of collecting my mobile phone number completely forgotten. The mechanic in his dirty overalls had fiddled with the door, cutting his fingers in the process and when he finally got the door open, the masked man was there waiting patiently, pointing his gun at the entrance. The middle-aged woman sitting at the last row had screamed and the boy with a wooden tray on his lap that had probably held agege bread in the morning had begun to cry. The thief had ordered us to lie face flat on the floor of the bus, gotten crazy when I refused to move as others were lying in awkward and uncomfortable positions, and exploded when I continued to plant my buttocks on the seat. This is where we are now and my mother’s voice is ringing repeatedly in my ears.
If you have sex, you will die.
Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?
Just three days ago, my boyfriend of two years dis-virgined me. He had waited long enough and I knew all the love he showed was no joke, (marriage tinz). It had been planned and I had taken the Postinor 2 he bought as he told me to but pregnancy was not what I should have been worried about. I had noticed an infection yesterday. Not sexually transmitted, no. I dis-virgined him too. Apparently, he pushed bacteria from my ‘backward’ into my ‘frontward’, at least that was what the pharmacist with the pitiful look on her face told me.
E. coli belongs in the rectum and goes crazy elsewhere. The female reproductive tract included. The trip from the first point to the second is very short in females, thus, we are very very susceptible.
I had spent about two thousand naira to purchase the drugs I needed to get well and I had called my boyfriend and told him. Of course he was sorry and felt guilty but I shushed and assured him I knew precautions for next time. Looks like there wouldn’t be and my mother had been right after all.
I had started taking the drugs immediately; the pharmacist even gave me the water I used for my first dose free of charge. Urination was frequent and painful. Thank heaven I was home due to ASUU strike. All those busybody roommates of mine would have asked me questions. My mother had sent me on an errand to Oshodi and traffic had been bad as usual, resulting in this situation. The noises in my stomach started shortly after my fourth dose this afternoon, right before I left home, and just like the ciprofloxacin leaflet said, my stool was loose. So loose, it felt like I was urinating via my anus. Four more days, I thought to my self, four more days.
I remembered the first time I wet myself during the journey home. The fair boy had faked a British accent and I had burst into laughter despite my state of duress. The smell of antibiotics filled my nostrils and I bit my lip hoping he was as stupid as he sounded. Subsequent ones had followed which I couldn’t help as the traffic dragged on. I was comforted by the fact that I had a permanent scarf in my bag. I would wrap it around my waist when the time came for me to get off. And I also thanked heaven for the darkness, I would walk the short distance home from my bus stop in the shadows. I would tell mom that her vegetable soup did not go well with me today.
It was when the rumbling began that I knew I was in trouble and told the idiot to leave me in peace. I resorted to insults hoping he would change seats, but he just sat there, giving the condition that unless I gave him my phone number, he would not leave me. As horns honked and drivers screamed, I let out a fart whose sound was drowned by the ongoing noise but whose release brought my doom for it was accompanied by loose stools. And that, my friends, is why I cannot, must not, stand from this seat.
“I WILL COUNT TO FIVE.”
“Please. I beg you.”
“I am sick. I cannot stand.”
“In the name of God.”
My mother voice was the last thing I thought of.
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