Skip to main content

OUR PUBLIC TOILET

When you live in a "compound" you'll understand what "real struggle" is. No
, No, No, real struggle is not walking in on your fiancee cheating on you with your best friend.
Real struggle is spending an hour and half at the public bathroom waiting your turn, fighting your way through some bullying neighbors to bath at your rightful turn then walking in on your fiancee cheating with your best friend. An hour and half later.


So next time, when one of those ajebutters or popular middle class ladies narrate to you, sobbing, "how she's struggling to catch up with her bills only for her fiancee to be cheating on her", slap her on the back and say, "Shut up. There are others who wait in line an hour and half, fight to take a bath then find out that all the while their fiancee and best friend are having an affair, all in a space of twenty minutes ."


Every story has a starting point; or a "trigger" as I always prefer to term it. For the Trojans, the starting point of their war against Greece must have been the abduction of Helen. For Romeo and Juliet, it must have been the party they met and feel in love. Forthe story of my cheating fiancee, the starting point was when I introduced him to my then "new bestie", Abigail. It was the starting point but at the time, I did not know.
In honesty, Abigail and I had met a week from the day I introduced her to my fiancee, Soji. I was bestfriendless then and probably desperate to get a gossip mate/ bestie, that I got it in my head to make Abigail my friend.
Everything was going on perfectly. She was from a wealthy home and the only child of her parents. At least, I had someone to settle the bills when we ate out. Not to exclude a personal driver slash bestfriend. Did you just ask, " whether my fiancee, Soji, didn't take care of me well?" Please, Please, let's not get into that. Ah Ah, don't be falling my hand in public now.
You see eh, Soji is a front desk receptionist for Glo. He's monthly salary is barely twenty thousand naira and by the time we settle the rent what's left is divided into two; the first half is sent to his mother and siblings in the small village of Umulungwe while the other half is spent on his drinking.
I know deep down you're "taking style" to insult me. It's fine, go ahead, God is watching. It's probably because you don't know how passionate  Soji is about his dream of owning a world-class mechanic shop and how loving he can be when he's not drunk. I love a man who dreams. That's the reason I cling to him like I do. So that when he makes his money, I'll have the right to say, " I went through the toughest times with my Soji" of course I'd be in an expensive designer gown, probably from Dash or Christian Milan or a wonderful designer I haven't heard of yet, giving a speech in Soji's 15m naira mansion.


Abigail was really a caring friend if I recall well. She was always getting me gifts, calling to how I was faring and even checking up on me at home those days I travelled. Kabiru, my next door neighbor always informed me of "that your phine frien wey find you come when you travel." Of course I saw nothing wrong in her visiting when I was absent.


Today is the fifth day of August. The time is 11:55am precisely. I'm supposed to be on my usual trip to Jalingo to get supplies for my store. But instead, I'm dripping bath water all over the cheap red rug that is already smelling. I am controlling myself for now. I have not screamed or rained curses as expected in this sort of situation. I am calm. Which is probably worst than the screaming and cursing because I cannot tell what my next actions would be and when. My head has started spinning. My hesrtbeat is racing. My mind is just not coordinated at the moment.


The two people in the same room with me both have their faces and entire beings ready for my angry outbursts. They seem confused now I haven't made any moves. The male, the one I share this house and everything in it; (including the smelly red rug) calls my name with caution and begins the, " it's not what you think. It is not what it looks like." I look away, thinking of a shock absorbing action to take. How else does my fiancee and my besyfriend kissing on our from-ages-to-ages sofa look like except what it looked like? The second, the female, is sweating tears through her eyes and nose. She also calls my name, but without caution and begins the, " I never meant to hurt you" speech that only makes matters worse. I feel like slapping away her sniffs and unhurtful intentions at kissing my boyfriend on our from-ages-to-ages sofa, as it's quite irritaring. I control myself again and then everything began to make sense.


I was woken up by Soji's soft tapping on my arm. I opened my eyes and looked at my watch, it was 8:34am.
I was already late for the tap. Thank God I had gotten two jerrycans of water the previous day. I had to clean up our two bedroom apartment, cook a meal and struggle at our public bathroom before going to the park.
Soji wanted to know when I'd be leaving. I misheard. I thought he asked when I'd be going to the bathroom. So I answered, 10:00am. He said okay and went back to chatting.


By about nine thirty, Soji stepped out. He was murmuring something about having to pick up something from a somewhere. I can't quite recall where. I was too busy to care. My bathing water was already on the fire. The yam porridge was almost ready too, on the other stove too.


Just like I planned, I was carrying my bathing bucket to the public bathroom at about few minutes past 10am. I hated our public bathroom. I dreaded it more than I dreaded our village masquerades. It was repulsive, and almost everyone got into a fight at our public bathroom. I braced myself up for today's fight. I had to conquer this battle, just like the Trojans. I spent exactly one hour and thirty minutes at our public bathroom.

I was right. They was a fight at our public bathroom alright. Today it was between Temi, the street tailor and Jenny, a polythechnic student. I was lucky. I had witnessed the fight from the very beginning. For you to understand this fight story, you need to understand three rules;

1. Everyone in the compound took turns for everything at everytime; with numbers of course.

2. If you missed your turn, you had to join the next set of queuing neighbors. (For example,if you missed your turn in batch 1 queue,you'd automatically be skipped and pushed to batch 2)

3. Everyone neglected these rules unless it suited them.

So today, Jenny was number three on the batch one queue to bath right after Kabiru's wife, Aisha. She had gone out " to get some body cream from the market" as she explained to all available ears during the fight. Temi was right after her and without any sign of Jenny, naturally entered the bathroom and started having her bath. She had spent almost fifteen minutes( Temi has the undisputed record of the slowest bather in the entire compound)when Jenny showed up yelling. She knew she had missed her turn (we always miracoulously knew when we missed our turns without being present) and began banging on the bathroom door. Naturally, we expected she'd quit her tantrum and come up with a better solution. She surprised us all; including Temi, who had handled the tantrum episode with such advanced maturity and undisturbed slow bathing process. Jenny broke into the bathroom and the next thing we knew they were both fighting; pinching, drawing each other's hairs, scratching, biting and throwing each other down. All the while, Temi was naked and Jenny's clothes were soaked. The bathroom was empty. Another rule;

4. The item of dispute was automatically subjected to no use in the course of the dispute.

I had spent over thirty-five minutes already  at the queue when the fighting ladies carried their affair to the other part of the compound.

Luckily for us, the bathroom (item of dispute) was once again open for use. I was the tenth on the batch 1 queue and with the absense of number 3 and 4, it got to my turn and I was through in roughly an hour and half alltogether.


I was whistling to "danfo drivers" all the way to my room from the bathroom. The time is 11:35am. I opened the door. Two people where on the only sofa in the tiny sitting room, kissing. The sofa I had pleaded with Segun the carpenter to make me when I moved into this house almost for free. The sofa that housed a few rats and their billion young ones. The sofa Soji was fond of throwing chicken bones underneath while watching his Chinese Kungfu movies. The sofa that had spoilt and was patched almost a million times. The same sofa Soji promised me we would change when we got married.

Two people were sitted on the sofa. Two people abruptly broke out from a kiss that must have been exhilarating. Two people who thought I had already left Lagos for Jalingo. It's 11:55am and I don't know what to do with these two.


g.o.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

SATURDAY SAD TALES

It was impossible to completely assimilate what Richard was going on about; what the group of umunna’s scattered around our sitting room were going on about. The only two words that had registered in my mind were, “new” and “wife”, and I wasn’t even upset. Hadn’t I seen this coming? Hadn’t my instincts warned me? My vicious mother-in-law from the start, threatened?No, I wasn’t upset; I was completely slapped across the face with surprise. I thought finally Richard and I were fine, that we were gone past the rocky months in our marriage. He’d been smiling more often the past few weeks. He told me just last week how much he loved me: with his eyes, like he did the first day he saw me, that day at the Customer Service room in the First Bank Headquarters of Nsukka, on the chilly day of December 4th .

Richard’s eyes were what Professor Agu¸our Classical English literature final year professor described as “sorrowful but intense; the kind of eyes that draws you in to want to know more...” he…

MARY DOES NOT KNOW

September1       September ushered in the last of the rains;  the kind that fell noiselessly and without the fierce winds like in May and June. 

May 17        May was when I saw it, the fierce eyes of Soluja the mad man. it had been a cloudy day, one where, the blackness of the cloud thickened, breaking up now and then with thunder and lightening, darkening my mood like charcoal.
       i was sitting by the window of the moving bus, lost in thought, what people refer to as being "absent minded," when my eyes met the mad man's. i'd expected to meet a blank expression but what my eyes saw were alert pupils; pointy unblinking eyes  with an air of artistic craziness. almost as if he could see through my fears, past my boldness to dare stare at him. he could see all of my secrets and those eyes,  still haunt me till this day...  

June 5           if i turned, she would definitely know i was staring at her and i wasn't about to give her the satisfaction of being admired. low…

20 REASONS TO JOIN AIESEC

If you have been curious about improving your leadership skills or joining the best student extra curriculum organisation eveer! then you're in luck because AIESEC is interested in YOU. Quickly go through these reasons to join AIESEC today.1. Go on a work abroad experience, develop your leadership skills.2.Network and meet new people in your university, around Nigeria and in 110 countries we are present in.3. Be a part of a network of ambitious and talented AIESEC leaders around the world and utilize this network for the rest of your life.4. Get the opportunity to travel to different places through the various conferences within and outside Nigeria.5. Find a suitable Mentor who can guide you through your career decisions and many life experiences.6. Cultivate a global mindset and develop entrepreneurial outlook in a flexible and customizable work environment.7. Increase awareness on things outside your text book through practical international experience and on the job learning.8.…