“Hold it!” She screams
as she swings her blue Prada bag in the way of the impatient elevator doors.
The elevator cruises to the ground floor in seconds. Adanma joins a troop of
weary employees out of the revolving doors of Marble House as the sun makes a descent
toward the western horizon.
crosses the zebra crossing, wary of unrepentant drivers speeding across the
road unconcerned about waiting pedestrians. The orange seller beckons at her
from across the road, a big grin on her face.
She gives Adanma her usual purchase, a bag of three oranges and bids her
goodnight. Adanma glances at her wristwatch. 5.45pm, the bus park where she
takes the Iyana Ipaja bus would soon be empty.
Ebe, the passenger lobbyist hollers for passengers to embark. He circles the
windows of the cavernous bus and barks out requests for the bus fare from
disgruntled passengers. The fare has increased and nobody is eager to part with
takes a seat at the last row of the bus, squashed between a slim man on the
right and a plump lady on the left, the type of plumpness some women acquire
after children. She has a beautiful face too, light complexioned and spotless.
Her eyes are big but sit well in her round face. She has a narrow nose and a
full set of red lips. Adanma notes she is typing away on her android phone
oblivious of scrutiny. Every other minute she would shake her head and type
even more furiously.
bus takes off a few minutes later. Adanma takes her phone from her bag and
opens a copy of The Importance of Being Earnest on the Wattpad application and
is about to start reading when the lady beside her erupts into tears. At first
Adanma tries to mind her business, she buries her head deeper into her phone
and ignores the sobbing woman. “Madam,
psst, madam”. The man beside her whispers to Adanma “console her ask her what
the problem is”. Adanma sighs, drops her phone in her bag and turns to the
plump woman who cries louder as Adanma reaches out to her. “What is wrong
want a divorce, I can’t do it, I want out”, the woman says in between loud
sobs. The bus suddenly becomes as noisy as a market place. Men and women share
opinions rapidly as women begin to turn in their seats to look at this woman
who has the audacity to say out loud that she wants a divorce.
young lady sitting on the first row in the bus who looks like she’s in her
thirties says in a loud voice to the elderly woman sitting beside her “Ha,
that’s how women are these days o! Any little thing they will say divorce.
Nobody is tolerant anymore”. She claps her hands together and continues in a
low voice “My husband and I lived in the US for five years; two years into our
marriage I caught him with his best friend”. “A man” she adds softly. “But who
will I tell that my husband prefers a man? Hmm! My sister, she turns to address
the plump woman. “You just have to bear it o, these men? She shrugs.
elderly woman opens up in a quiet voice. “My husband of thirty years is hot-tempered
every now and then and he takes it out on me at the slightest provocation.
These days I don’t even argue with him about anything”. She says sadly. Once my
three children graduate from university, I am leaving him.” “Whatever it is my
dear”, she turns to address the plump lady kindly. “Just do whatever makes you
young man in the middle row begins to clear his throat then he says “What if
she is the one at fault? It takes two you know? “Look, my wife cheated on me
two years ago, we got married as virgins you see. I am a born-again Christian.
Next thing, I find her with our pastor. I had to file for divorce of course”.
man’s voice shakes with withheld emotions. The bus becomes silent. Everyone
seems to be engaged in private thoughts including Adanma who nurses hers like a
mother nurses a child-with wonder and then pain when a bite occurs; Adanma’s
pain is visceral and she feels it acutely as she ponders her own dilemma. She,
whose husband of five years and lover for ten long years suddenly desires to
have an “open marriage”.
plump woman cries silently now yet she keeps her story to herself.
falls asleep. Thirty minutes later someone nudges her. It’s the plump woman who
is about to alight from the bus. Adanma rises quickly as she realizes it’s also
her stop; the oranges on her lap fall, one orange rolling out of the bus and
unto the tarmac. She calls out to the plump woman who is now walking off
towards the gate of an estate. Her steps are surprisingly fast so Adanma has to
hurry after her.
“Is it that serious? She asks after catching up with the plump
he wants anal sex”.