My Status Quo and the Fish Seller At My House Junction.
Being jobless since after nysc and till date, I have done 15 different jobs but I claim I am jobless coz I am not doing what I dream of doing.
As usual, somebody promised me a job that will earn me 40 every week. I eagerly ran to the bath and printed my CV faster than the speed of light.
Enroute to the bustop where this dude will collect my CV, there she was at the junction of my house. As usual, with her mother, selling fried and smoked fish which wasn’t my favourite, especially the smell of the smoked fish when it is been heated, gosh! It chokes me that I feel I’m gonna get an Asthma.
Anyway, there she was with that friendly smile, right under the nose of her mother. My respectful Yoruba Boy mind, I greeted her mother and smiled at her, surely, she wasn’t expecting me to accord her the same respect I dished her mum.
Back to that friendly smile. That was the second or third or fourth of its kind within a couple of weeks. Wait a minute! What’s happening here?
My brain was quick to respond when she reminded me of the very first time that friendly smile came up on her face.
After her jamb lesson, she was heading home with her friends when she saw me driving my Dads car. Honestly, she wasn’t dressed like the regular Fish seller’s daughter I had always seen, she was dressed like a little confused teenage high school girl trying to impress her crush but, she really digged it and I was stunned? Only a bit!
My brain was done with the reminder, I searched her eyes for any funny blink, but none. OK
… I passed by like nothing had happened within the space of 7 seconds or less.
Now this dude, I waited 2hours with a good excuse, he was stuck in the usual Lagos traffic, but eventually, I met him and submitted the CV.
Enroute home happy. I even hugged the Beggar I usually don’t give money because I believe he was lazy.
Passing by the junction, that aroma of smoked fish again hit me like a sand storm. I ran for cover, a bike man briskly missed me coz I ran toward the road for my cover.
Finally, I passed by the thick smoke, I looked at the office of the CEO of the smoke fish company, I mean her mother, she was there, covered in smoke fish with four customers, all women waiting to buy.
I sighed for relief when I didn’t see this Jambite because already, somebody reading this is already whispering, ‘ child abuse’…
Suddenly, the strong smell of a Fish Seller came upon me like a tornado and then poked me from behind. My brain was quick to access the situation, if not, I wanted to rant a well organized insult on the Fish Seller that poked me, I wanted to call the fellow without knowing who or cared, ‘Endangered specie’ but my brain rained on me the spirit of humility and said, “Look behind you and smile”.
Without second thoughts, I did, but I killed the smile with a big grin.
Ahaha! It was her! I’m like…WHAT THE …FISH?
She couldn’t stop smiling at my weary face of her surprise attack. Soon, she busted into laughter, very loud. I felt like I was in the midst of a group of Panda, often called, ‘An Embarrassment’.
I looked at her from a distance, I immediately began to walk backwards, ten steps away from her. But her prolonged laughter propelled her feet to walk towards me without looking.
Alas! Her mother called for her. She used her hand to stop her mouth from laughing. I heard a baby crying from behind with some quick foot steps. It was my sister’s hairdresser leaving her shop and heading home. I greeted her and began to walk behind the baby being carried by her mother.
The Fish sellers mum called again, this time, she responded shabbily and began to cough. Strange cough I tell you! But I think the source of the cough is clear and in plain sight, the heated smoked fish-smoke cloud could be lungs usurping.
I ” Hmmn!” Continuing gracefully behind the hairdresser who double checked her behind to see who was following her. She greeted me again, her Yoruba greeting at this point was for security sakes as the night kept coming in elegantly. Lagos can be funny at such times.
The next turning to the right will be two blocks away to my house. Just then, PHCN did their thing, switched off the ‘light’.
“Arrrgh…!” I groaned coz that just earned me tons of phone calls from my mum.
‘Home dark home!’ Thanks to PHCN, another poke from behind, the fish sellers odour smell had registered in my nostrils. This time, I didn’t turn around with a smile? No!
I’m like, “What is it again young lady?”
Her face could spell it out that she was confused as to if she would smile or frown.
I totally expected an apology.
She said, “Hello brother” In that typical local Yoruba accent voice.
I was about to respond in my typical proud American-British-Man voice when my phone rang-twas mother…She panics at night when PHCN unlawfully seizes her legal right to energy. I’m her generator man and my attention was needed.
I dropped the call and she was quick to speak, “Is that grandma? Greet her for me ooo!”
I sighed again, why does she and her mother call my mum, grandma? I like Yoruba culture and all but this respect of a thing was getting on my calm nerves.
Finally, I cut her with my ‘don’t delay me voice!’
I said, “Yes, you tapped me, why? Hope nothing?”
A fat Big smile filled her small face like a full Moon, and she didn’t stop smiling.
So I asked again, “Yes, you tapped me, why? Hope nothing?”
Then she said, “Why are you always frowning?”
I’m like, speaking to myself, I said, ‘Is that why you tapped me?’.
But I spoke openly to her and said, “Frown? No! I don’t frown, its just the way I look!”
She suddenly bursted into another series of loud laughs.
Now she crossed the line, so I said, “Young lady, I have to leave, Dad ain’t around and mum needs her generator.”
Then she stopped laughing and looked into my eyes as if to say, ‘Are you seeking for an excuse to walk out on me?’
Just then, PHCN released the energy again and the neighborhood was lighted up. She shouted, “Up NEPA!”
But I refused to insult her instantly coz I felt relieved that my mum ain’t gona bug me again about the generator.
She said, “Do you even know my name?”
Sincerely, my mum and sisters had bought fish at her company a few times and 60% of which I drove them there, so, not to know her name was embarrassing.
Then she asked the second time, this time, my ego was broken as she asked with my name within the phrase of her question, she said, “David, do you know my name?”
I stammered and said, “N…n…n…no! we…we…we’ve never been introduced to each other before…(suddenly I felt boldness in my bones as more excuses kept flowing down my brain) this is in fact the first time we are meeting.” I concluded on high notes.
She looked straight into my eyes, probably wanting to search my soul for the iota of sincerity I put into those words.
She said, ” But, I know you and your mum, dad and sisters?”
My eyes bulged out in awe of my embarrassment and replied her, “I’m sorry, what’s the name?” I asked.
She said, “Guess?”
Honestly, I whispered to myself and said, ‘Fish seller!’
But, no, I smiled and said, “I’m not good at guessing.”
She said, “You don’t even look it.” With a proper American English accent.
My jaw dropped when I heard that.
She searched my eyes again, this time she bent to look up into my eyes and said, “What? Are you surprised I speak English?”
OMG! I lied, “No! I’m not?”
She laughed again, sarcastically and jumping in victory, ‘Over what?’ I murmured.
Her mother called her again, then she stopped laughing abruptly.
Like a superhero saving his girlfriend from an accident, she grabbed me by the arm and threw me against the wall. Bending her head towards me and said, “See, I need your help terribly. My friend from New York is having her birthday this weekend and I need you to be my boyfriend!”
Honestly, the odour of smoked fish oozing out from her body and mouth didn’t let my mind pick exactly what she said. She left me there and ran away like a little brat who is running away from a thief.
I actually did feel like I just got robbed. As I reached the gate of my house, PHCN seized my legal rights to paid energy supply, just then, like a recorder in replay, I remembered what she had told me, her ridiculous request made me had water to the generator gas tank, well almost!!!!